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Esher Jabes Escalante

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Click. Click. Click… Taking pictures of myself gives more comfort than being complimented as beautiful. I could see the glow in my eyes, my perfectly white teeth, my well-structured lips, my glass skin, and my pointed nose. Well, I don’t have any of those, but I have filters. I thank God for the invention of these things. I have never doubted myself ever since, just don’t show me a mirror, ‘cause I’ll definitely panic.

“It’s time to change my DP,” I took another picture of myself with a slightly angled view, emphasizing my jaw, adjusting the colors, exposure and a lot more to make my skin glow.

Well, it takes me an hour to find the best shot, but it is definitely worth it. I am sitting in an isolated reading table in our library. I don’t want to be with a lot of people.

“Don’t you have class?” I heard a familiar voice.

My insides are shaking right now. I know it’s him. As quickly as I can, I put my best make up, a smile and my perfect angle to answer him.

“Well, yes. I’m just finishing this up.”

“What up? I have been seeing you taking pictures all this time.” He is looking directly to my eyes. I am melting. “Oh come on, Jess, you don’t need that.”

He has been a friend of mine since we were in 4th Grade. He has always been one of the popular kids. He is good looking. And that is an understatement, because he is definitely perfect. With his baby blue eyes, symmetric jaw line, his sculptured lips, pointed nose, soft hair and everything else, makes me want to drool every time. Aaaa, I am being carried away with those thoughts again. He sees me as a friend only and I respect that. I don’t even how it happened but it did.

Guess I have to smile back. “Stop lying, dude. You are not a good liar.” I could see his eyes annoyed and suddenly puts his hand to my head to give me a thump. He holds my hand and carries me to our class.

We are walking and I kept thinking if he is really looking at me all that time. But I have to stop, because I know what’s true.

I suddenly notice that we are in a different route. “What the hell, Jez? Where are you bringing me?”

He gazes at me and gives me his ever-melting, heartwarming crooked smile. We continue to walk.

What’s up with this guy? What is he doing? I just couldn’t take it. We have to stop to whatever it is. “Jez! Jez! Stop!” I am laughing inside because I remembered we have the same nickname.

“Oh no Jess, I don’t want to stop. We are almost there” he answered.

I have to stand up and not move. Good thing he did. But what the heck is that look in his eyes? Why is he looking that way? He then moves his right hand towards my face, then touches my cheeks, grabs a cloth with his left and covers my eyes with it.

“Jez, we have a class. What is this?”

He whispers with a very calming and seducing voice, which I find sexy, “I’ll show you something. Just relax. I told Mr. Principal about this.”

I slowly walk with him. I don’t know what to expect. He never did this kind of things before. We are friends for a very long time. And this is the first.

I hear the door opening. We enter inside.

Click…click…click. I am hearing shutter sounds all over the place. What is this? I have to see what’s happening.

“Open your eyes slowly.”

I take a deep breath. I open my eyes slowly.

There is a big mirror in front me. A MIRROR. He knows I hate it. I am seeing myself, my true self. Around it is a bunch of monitors with my pictures flashing in them. I can also see cameras all over the place. I am freaking out. I want to scream and run. Until, suddenly…

Jez holds my hand out of my confusion. He turns me around. “This is what I see every day and I want this.” He suddenly put his perfect lips on my forehead. I can feel the softness of it and it’s giving me chills.

“Why are you doing this, Jez?”

“Why are you doing this to me, Jess?”

“Don’t answer me with a question, you dumb ass!” I want to hide my butterflies inside, trying to stop my face from smiling.

“Can you not see what I see?” He points towards the mirror. I can see myself with him. He is holding my hand.

“All I see is the perfect you perfectly standing beside me and me, being your ugly friend.” My eyes are full of horror. It’s the truth. I don’t even know why he is treating me as a friend.

“No, you’re wrong. What I see is your perfect smile, always trying its best to cheer me up and hide your pain. What I see is your perfect eyes, sees me not as this ‘perfect’ guy, but someone who is more than this face. What I see is you every day.” He is holding my shoulders, trying his best to convince me that I am beautiful. “Jess, you don’t need anything to make your face beautiful. ‘Cause you are already beautiful.” Ugh, his eyes, his sexy voice. I am speechless. Is this how he treats his friends?

I don’t know what to say. He is just smiling.

“Can you be my…” What is this? What is he gonna say? No. I have to stop him.

“No…” I blurt out.

“Why? Do you know what I am going to say?”

“I thought we are just friends? Why ask that question?”

“You are my only friend. True friend. Best friend. But I never wanted it to be that way.”

“What are you talking about? What do you mean?”

Click…click…click. He was making faces. He was putting his hands on his nose. I wanted to laugh really hard, but I can’t. I was seated that day for a photoshoot of our IDs. Until he showed his tongue out, I laughed a little, and the photographer took a shot of me, wearing a big smile. It was my best ID picture.

Being a 4th Grader was a lot of fun. We looked on each other’s ID and laughed on how we looked. I’ll never forget what you said.

“You have the best smile.”

“You have the nicest way on picking your nose.” I chuckled.

I never knew love back then. But I know I was genuinely happy.

 

Click…click…click. The flashes are hurting my eyes. Tears are holding on to them. He is still looking at me. I am still waiting for his answer.

“I like you. Not just as a friend. I like you ‘like’ you.” His eyes are weary and nervous. His voice suddenly changes too. He is taking deep breaths.

I’m frozen still. I am trying my best to open my mouth and say “I like you, too,” but no words can go out from it.

He is waiting for a response. I am not ready at all for this. Thoughts are rushing in my mind…

 

Click…click…click. I took a shot of me leaning on his back. We were in his family’s vacation house. We were looking at a landscape of a forest covered with fog. We were talking about how amazing our first year in high school was. You had a two-life: a public life of being the popular kid and a private life of being with an average girl, me.

You were talking a lot. You seem so comfortable with me, which I never saw in school whenever you are with your popular friends. I felt so special that day. Because you were really trying your best to cheer me up. You were giving that smile of yours. I was hitting you because I was laughing too hard. I forgot what’s on my head that day. But…

I posted a picture with a caption. “Leaning on my happy talkative pill. Want more of this.”

Yeah, I know. I was carried away during that time. Now, I am realizing it meant something more to him than to mine.

 

Click…click…click. Tears are starting to fall. Why am I crying? Are these tears of joy? I don’t know.

“Hey. Why are you crying?” He is very much surprise as I am. “Oh shit. Oh shit.” He is panicking more than I am. “Is this too much?” There is worry in his eyes. I have to say something.

“I…just…don’t know…what…I guess… I’m overwhelmed.”

“You never really noticed?” What is he talking about?

He is trying to reach his pocket. He shows me his phone with a screenshot displayed on the screen. It is my post. It is that photo of me leaning on his back.

“Ever since I saw this. I couldn’t stop agreeing. I want more of those moments, too. But I was seeing you changing. And that’s when I realize, I have to do this.” He is becoming seriously sincere.

Changing? What does he mean by that? To do what?

He is now touching my shoulders. I am still stunned. I can see some tears in his eyes. He wants me badly. I want him badly, too.

 

Click…click…click. I took a selfie outside his house. I made sure that he is near his windows and he will be seen in the photo. I posted it on my account with a caption. “ATM. House of my happy pill.” I tagged him for the first time. I was just being myself back then. No filters. I never did any filters ‘til our junior year. I never cared for anyone, until that post.

I was the talk of the town. Especially, when Jez commented on it, “That smile. Was this for revenge? I’m shirtless! Lol”

I wasn’t able to reply, because I was flooded by comments.

“Who is this girl?”

“I hate how she smiles.”

“Flirt.”

“Famewhore.”

“Ugly.”

He talked to me about it. He said I just have to let it slide. And I did. But they didn’t.

I was walking everyday in the school hallways seeing those eyes looking at me as if I’m some leech trying to befriend a god, who is actually a friend of mine. I never liked people. I only like him. But it needs to be as a friend.

 

Click…click…click. The cameras are still taking pictures. The screens are still showing my pictures. We are still standing in the middle of it. I feel like I’m standing for an hour now.

“Hey…” His eyes. Ugh. Why me?

I am glued to his eyes. I want to kiss him. I want him. “Jez… can you complete your question again?”

He is puzzled for a second. “Ah. Okay. Uhm.” He is fixing himself. “Can you be my…girlfriend?”

I don’t know what to do. All of my anxieties won’t stop from saying how ugly I am. My heart is heavy. I want to break free from this misery. I have to do this now or I would regret this. I am planning to reach his lips. Oh damn! He’s tall. I am looking on his eyes and, on his lips, slowly repeating the sequence. Out of nowhere I grab his neck with my two hands. Stand with my toes to reach him, and press my lips to his. I close my eyes. What the heck am I doing?

And suddenly, I could feel his soft lips finally touching mine. I could feel his hands around my waist. He is kissing me back. All my worries are disappearing slowly. What’s just inside my head is this moment. We don’t want to stop. But slowly, as we are losing our breath, we unchain our lips apart. I realize I am now smiling and crying at the same time. He is smiling so bad.

“Is that…” he giggles “…a ‘yes’?” I nod. Oh! It feels so good.

On his excitement, he carries me up holding my waist shouting “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

 

Click…click…click. I can see a big smile on my face. I can see it all over my screen. I am sitting on an isolated bench with a perfect view of my best friend. He is walking towards me. Just like always, I am pressing that capture shot rapidly until I am drifted away from his presence…

“Don’t you have class, Jess?” He wakes me from my daydream.

“Well, yes, I’m just finishing this up.” I am hiding his pictures from him, smiling like crazy.

“Okay, see you later.” He winks at me and walks away with his friends.

He has been a friend of mine since we were in 4th Grade. He has always been one of the popular kids. He is good looking. And that is an understatement, because he is definitely perfect. With his baby blue eyes, symmetric jaw line, his sculptured lips, pointed nose, soft hair and everything else, makes me want to drool every time. He sees me as a friend only. I respect that. And it will always be this way forever.

I love him. I love filters. I’ll just have to click it all the time to capture him in my heart.

Click…click…click.

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Maverick
Maverick

❤️

Maverick
Maverick

Teacher namin yan, ❤️