Dame: I'm sorry.
As i turned around i had a glimpse of a tall man in gray sweatshirt before ii pushed the button number 25 for my floor.
I scrambled out of my bed and went straight to the bathroom to take the quickest shower I could do.
I found myself running up the escalators 15 minutes later. I sometimes surprise myself. I walked in my Business Law class finding out that the professor was a Dean of some remote school.
Prof: Please fill out the class form Mr... ?
Dame: Gonzalez. Engineer Gonzalez.
It was our first meeting in this class. Everybody introduced themselves. Some were obviously way older than I am, some not so old but pretty much have a background of this subject. While I am oblivious of what an Engineering Graduate is doing here taking Law Courses.
The whole 3hours and 15 minutes was grueling. It was cold. The professor kept on talking and talking about stuff, half of it I didn't even bother understanding, while everybody seem amazed of his wisdom. To make it worse, my bladder is about to explode and since I'm late I didn't have the courage to ask permission to go out.
The bell rang and swiftly as i got out of bed 4 hours ago, I dashed outside and straight to the bathroom.
Dame: Oh I'm sorry...
Clarence: So you're like that all the time huh?
Dame: Huh? What?
I didn't had time digesting what he said. I went straight to the cubicle and unzipped my pants. While I unloaded all the piss in my bladder I suddenly remembered him. I quickly fixed myself and tried to run after him. I needed to apologize.
I saw him went inside the lift and so i tried to catch up and crammed myself in.
Dame: You're my classmate in Business Law, right?
Dame: I'm sorry the last time and this time. I forgot all about it.
Clarence: Well it seems that that's not the only thing you forgot.
He looked straight at my crotch and I noticed that I left my fly open.
Most of my classmates in the elevator saw and held in the most obvious giggle and tried to keep the subtle burst of laughter to themselves.
Dame: I think we're even.
I held out my hand and gestured for a handshake.
Clarence: You sure you washed after?
Another subtle burst came inside the elevator.
Dame: Now you owe me.
The door opened and I got out as quickly as I could and walked towards the building lobby.
Clarence: Hey! Wait up. I'm sorry.
Dame: Nah! That's Ok. I Think I deserve that.
Clarence: Well, since I owe you. You want to grab something to eat? I know this persian resto that has the best shawarma in the city.
Dame: I don't usually go out with strangers.
Clarence: Well I guess I have to take a risk and shake your hand. I'm Clarence. This is my second year in Business School.
Dame: Damianne. It's only my second term.
I reached for his hand and an hour later we were eating at this persian restaurant and I'm having the best ground lamb I've had in years.
Clarence: Tell me. What food can't you live without?
I got a text message from him five days after we first introduced ourselves.
Dame: I don't know... I think "ICE CREAM"?
Clarence: Great! It just so happen that I have two pints here at home.
Dame: Nah! It's late and I have work tomorrow.
Clarence: What do you mean it's late? It's only 8pm. Come on. I don't want to finish this all by myself.
Dame: Ok... Ok... I'll be there in 15 minutes.
He lives four blocks away from my place. I was nearing his building when I saw him waiting at the corner.
Dame: What are you doing outside?
Clarence: I changed my mind. I wanted to have dinner. Come on.
Dame: But I already had dinner.
Clarence: Well, we'll think of something to eat.
He suddenly grabbed my hand and hailed a cab.
We ate at a resto-bar in Makati. He ordered a lot and finished everything. I ordered ice cream which came out to be too much for me so I asked him if he could help me finish it.
Clarence: No. That's for you. You love ice cream right?
Dame: I do. But i'm already full. I could finish a whole gallon but not this fast. I usually eat slowly while watching Sex and the City Marathon.
He gave a roaring laugh. I didn't understand why he did that. There's nothing funny in what I said.
We digged in and finished the serving.
Clarence: I got ice cream! Wanna come over?
Dame: I had dinner already.
Clarence: I said ice cream.
Dame: You stay there ok. I'll come over.
I don't know if it's the ice cream or the thought of seeing him again which excites me.
I trembled a bit, going up in his room. The smell of vanilla scent filled the air. I knocked three times and he opened the door.
Clarence: Hi. I got DVDs.
We ate ice cream while watching Brothers and Sisters. I was starting to feel cold with all the ice cream and the breeze of the AC chilling the air around us. He slid his hands at my nape and started massaging the back of my neck. It felt warm and safe.
Clarence: I'm going to the bathroom. Be right back.
And he kissed my forehead.
He left me wondering what that meant. I didn't know what to think.
Dame: Ummmm... Clarence. Where's the remote?
Clarence: It's in the drawer beside you.
I pulled the drawer and saw the remote and a picture in a frame. It was Clarence carrying a baby and if I was not mistaken, looks totally like him. Beside him is a woman, around his age, hugging him and the baby.
I was thrown into a state of intense desperation, of sudden panic. I didn't know what to do or what to think.
He came back as soon as I shut closed the drawer.
Clarence: Did you find it?
Dame: Huh? What?
Clarence: The remote.
Dame: Oh yeah. I did.
I needed to ask. I needed to know.
Dame: I need to go home. It's late. Have work early tomorrow.
I grabbed my keys and rushed towards the door. He caught my arm on my way out and pulled me to his chest and hugged me tight.
Clarence: I'll see you in class on Monday.
Monday Business class was just an hour away. I felt tensed not because i hated the subject but because i'm about to see Clarence again. I was 15 minutes late as usual and the class already had started.
Clarence: I wanted to write your name in our group but i think somebody already did.
Dame: Ummmm... Thank you?
He grinned and picked a seat that would be at far proximity from me. I got annoyed by that. The whole 3hours of class was excruciating. The professor was blabbering the whole time and all I did was to take momentary glimpses of Clarence. He had this deep groany laugh that vibrated and crept through the floor. It excited me and at the same time depressed me.
Finally the class came to an end and I noticed a girl waiting outside the room. Sure enough I knew who she was. She looked very familiar. She looked like the woman in the picture. I had to know who she is. I had to go there and ask her.
I waited for Clarence to get up his seat and hed towards the door and then i slipped passed him and tried as hard as i could to intentionally bump him.
Dame: Oooops. Excuse me.
Clarence: Hey! That's just like you when you left the other night.
Dame: I'm sorry.
The girl went up to us and smiled
Clarence: Dame. This is my sister Nikka.
Nikka: Hi Dame.
It's like the gates of heaven shone above me and I swear I could almost hear the angels sing.
Nikka: I haven't had dinner bro. Let's grab something to eat.
She looked at me and paused.
Nikka: Hey Dame. You wanna join us for dinner?
I hated myself for answering too fast to her invite. I hoped it wasn't that obvious.
Dame: Ummm... And let's have ice cream after. Right Clarence?!
Nikka: Hahahaha... Bro doesn't eat ice cream. He hates it. Hahaha.
Her laughter lingered for a while in my ears but what stuck in my head was...
"HE HATES ICE CREAM...???"