It was a hot, sunny, summery day, and the fire trees were in bloom. Their red leaves littered the streets with sunset though the midday light cast contrast on every little awning and ledge.
You were hanging out by the Big Brother store, talking to the friendliest shopkeeper I ever knew, drinking soda and listening to his stories.
From far away I thought you were a boy; your hair was cut so short. It was the first time I ever saw a girl without long hair, and ordinarily I would have been curious, but I had other problems, as you knew. As my little feet marched closer to the store I saw (though I tried to keep my head down) your face, which was so pretty with your huge luminous eyes and your fair soft skin.
I was twelve back then, though, and so were you, so those weren't exactly the things on my mind as I reached the awning of the store, facing the storekeeper and trying my best to get it over with. I was disappointed because you were there; that there was another person to see me. I was even more shy back then than I am now.
I must have made quite the curious first impression on you, huh?
As I said, it was a hot summer's day, and the sky was robin's egg blue, and there I was beside you, about to purchase some juice and biscuits.
And I was soaking wet with water.
My hair and my clothes were heavy and dark and drooping, as if I had just been submerged in a river with all my clothes on. A trail of tiny blue puddles followed me from the gate of our house to where I was, where a big puddle was forming under my feet. I was frowning.
You just stared at me with wide eyes as I told the shopkeeper what I was going to buy. Straight to the point. Oh, and back then I couldn't speak Filipino very well, and so my words had an outlandishly English accent. The friendly shopkeeper was used to it, but you definitely didn't hear me speak Filipino every day. He didn't even ask me why I was giving birth to puddles. He was cool like that.
He handed me the juice and the biscuits. Great. I could splosh back home. But I hazarded to look at you, so ever so shyly I turned my head to look and remember who it was that saw me so I could avoid her.
Then oh man, I blushed. I didn't know you were that pretty with your short hair and your wide eyes and your fair skin.
I'll never forget it; how right then and there you lost it. All this time you were biting your lip while watching me, but then you just giggled and laughed and bent over and laughed some more. I was so embarrassed, but now as I sit remembering that moment, I realise how happy and innocent your laugh was.
Then I made like a dish with a spoon and ran away in a blush as red as the fire trees. I hoped I would never see you again, but of course I did.
I did, sometime later, when we were older, and I remembered you. You didn't let off that you remembered me from sometime past, but I couldn't miss the way you half-smiled and held back a chuckle after you studied my older face.
I never did tell you why I was dripping that day. You never asked. You're cool like that. I swear though, that someday when we meet again I'll tell you, but for now it's my little secret, and you'll be the first to know.
And oh how I was in love with you and, I think, always will be.