A Short Story

 

 

 

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Vinnie and Andie were High School sweethearts.

 

He was captain of the basketball team and she was the editor of Freedom, the school’s newspaper.
They were the darling-duo on campus, fondly-admired by their schoolmates. Vinnie was always ready to lend a helping hand to friends while Andie had that sweet smile and was never too busy to chat and perk up anyone’s day.

 

When not together, one could always catch Vinnie hanging out with his friends, Bobby, Mitch, and Benjie.
One might think that Vinnie was the unofficial ‘leader’ of this group but when these guys get together, the teasing and bantering make them all equal – with Vinnie oftentimes the easy target of the ribbing.

Andie likes it that way.
She says it keeps Vinnie grounded.
She’s got a good head on her shoulders.

 

Vinnie (jokingly makes sumbong to Andie)  : Hey Andie, will you tell the guys to stop picking on me. Kanina pa sila.

Andie (laughingly shouts.): Serves you right for not calling last night. C’mon guys, sige pa, let ‘im have it!

Vinnie: Oh, about last night . . . sorry, but I had to fetch mom. Why? What’s up?

Andie: I just received my college scholarship!!

Vinnie/Bobby/ Mitch/Benjie: Congratulations! Wow! Galing!

Vinnie: I knew you’d get it. Hey, this deserves a hug.

 

Vinnie and Andie hug . . .

TING!

There’s a certain sparkle in Andie’s eyes when she’s happy.

 

As the schoolyear was about to wind up, everybody was busy and focused on prom night. It goes without saying that Vinnie and Andie would be going together and would most likely be voted prom king and queen. They were both deserving.

Vinnie: You all set for the prom?

Andie: Yup, I’m picking up my gown later. You should see it!

Vinnie: I’d rather you surprise me. How ‘bout you guys . . . rearing to go?

Benjie: All set. I’m bringing Ellen.

Mitch: Joy finally agreed to be my date after a month of persuasion. Haha.
Buti na lang. . .  I thought I would end up going stag.

Bobby: Why? What’s wrong going stag?

Mitch: Pare, It’s prom night. I’d look stupid going stag.

Bobby: Then I guess I won’t be going.

Benjie: Pare, walang ganyanan. Kailangan kumpleto tayo. Bakit? Wala ka pang date?

Bobby: I never did ask anyone yet.

Vinnie: Nahiya ka nanaman?

Andie: Bobby, would you like me to set you up with someone?

Bobby: Naah, it’s ok. I’ll manage. Thanks anyway Andie.

Vinnie: Pards, you have two weeks to go before prom. You better work fast.

Mitch: Basta siguraduhin mo present ka sa prom ha?

 

Prom Night

 Andie: So guys, where are your dates?

Benjie: Ellen’s on her way and she told me to just meet her here.

Mitch: Yah, my date’s running late too.

Vinnie: Anyone see Bobby?

Benjie: I texted him earlier to ask if he wanted to hitch a ride with me. No reply.

Mitch: Nakakuha ba siya ng date? Baka mag-absent yun ha!

Vinnie: Tawagan ko nga . . .

Just then, Bobby enters the prom in a fatigue-colored suit. All eyes were on him as he approached his friends.

Vinnie: Wow Bobby, that was quite an entrance!

Andie: That suit looks ummm . . . interesting.

Mitch: Haha, saan baul mo naman nahalungkat iyan?

Benjie: Ok yan ha. . . para kang si Tony Ferrer, agent X-44! Haha.

Bobby: Diba, sabi ko nga I wasn’t attending. Didn’t have time to have a suit made so I had to settle for this.
Talo ba talaga? Uwi nalang ako!

Vinnie/Andie/ Mitch/Benjie : No!!! Ito naman hindi mabiro.

Vinnie, being the good friend that he is –

Vinnie: Ok lang yan. Just stick with me and Andie. You’ll be alright.

 

The dates of Mitch and Benjie arrive and the two go over to meet the girls just as Vinnie’s phone rings.

Vinnie: Ma, isn’t there anyone else? It’s prom night . . . but . . . ok just wait for me.

Andie: What’s wrong?

Vinnie: That was mom. She had car trouble and is stuck in the middle of EDSA causing traffic. I have to go help her. Sorry, but I’ll just be a while.

Bobby: Pare, you need any help? I’ll go with you.

Vinnie: No, you better stay with Andie here. I can’t entrust her to anyone but you.

Bobby: No problemo amigo. Am now switching to ‘sidekick mode’.

Andie: Go ahead Vinnie. Your mom needs you. Bobby and I will just be fine here.

 

Vinnie rushed out of the prom weaving thru the different couples on the dancefloor, leaving Bobby and Andie behind on the table.

 

Bobby: There he goes. Good man, that Vinnie is.

Andie: You really don’t mind being called his ‘sidekick’, do you?

Bobby: Naah, If I were a girl, I’d probably have a crush on him. Haha

Andie: Really? Haha.  I didn’t know you were the type to extend your opportunities.

Bobby: Well, without a date now, I just might be heading that way. Haha.

Andie: But seriously, the sidekick role doesn’t bother you?

Bobby: Ok lang, besides, I shun the limelight. I have this allergic reaction to attention. Haha.

Andie: Well same here. I consider myself to be one of those forgettable persons.

Bobby: You forgettable? No way? You see, there are two kinds of people. One that repels attention and one that attracts. You are the latter – for good reason, that is. And it’s a no-brainer why.  

Andie: Hey, you’re really playing your sidekick role to the max. You’re even starting to make bola like Vinnie. Haha.

Bobby: Haha. Some of his ‘wattaguy-ness’ must be rubbing off on me. Seriously, You’re one lucky girl and he is one lucky guy too.

Andie: Yup, I agree. Vinnie is so sweet. His daily morning text messages just gives my day that good start-up.
He won’t hesitate to help me edit the paper even when he’s dog-tired from ball practice. He’s also full of surprises.
Just last week he came over the house . . .

 TING!

 Bobby: Hey, hold on. Is it just me . . . or do I see a sparkle in your eye when you talk about Vinnie?

Andie: Oh, you noticed that? My dad told me a story when I was a little girl. He said that we all have our own little fairies hovering around us and that when we’re happy, they sprinkle us with pixie dust.  . . and when the dust reaches our eyes, they emit a certain sparkle. Do you believe that?

Bobby: I dunno. It’s something I’d like to believe in but . . . ok, let’s put it thru a test. Do you see Mitch over  there dancing with his date? He seems to be enjoying himself but I don’t see any sparkle in his eyes.

Andie: My dad says that the sparkle comes from a deeper inner joy and thankfulness. And that a little bell will tingle to cheer on that joy and thankfulness.
Mitch is always happy when he’s beside girls . . . so that doesn’t count. Haha.

Bobby: Yup, that’s mababaw na happy. Haha. How about Vinnie? Have you seen any sparkle?

Andie:  None yet. His fairy is still working on it. Haha

Bobby: Haha. It’ll come . . . or you just probably haven’t noticed it yet. How about a drink?

Andie: Sounds good. Thanks.

 

Bobby walks to the bar and orders some drinks. While waiting, he turns around and sees Andie singing along to the music by herself. All he could think of is how lucky Vinnie is.

He returned back to the table with the drinks.

Bobby: Can I let you in on a secret?

Andie: What’s that?

Bobby: The song that you were singing? Sorry to tell you, but that’s not the song being played.

Andie: Haha. I didn’t think anyone would notice.

Bobby: Ok lang. It was kinda cute actually . . . in a weird sort of way.

Andie: Speaking of music, I have a gift for you pala. My brother was doing some house cleaning and he was about to throw a bunch of his old records when I remembered you. There are a few Rolling Stones which I thought you might like to add to your collection. I’m keeping a few Sting albums . . . he’s my crush.

Bobby: Hey Thanks. There’s always room . . .

Andie: Oh my brother said that those records were of the early 60’s Rolling Stones.

Bobby: Better pa! I like the earlier Stones when Brian Jones was still with them. Contrary to popular belief, Mick Jagger wasn’t the group’s leader. Brian Jones set the direction for the Stone’s music. They started off as a blues band and . . .

Bobby rambles on for a few minutes more giving a brief history of the Rolling Stones.

 . . . If not for Brian’s untimely death, the band would’ve . . . Oh sorry, I must be boring you.

Andie: I must admit, I know little of rock music but you make it kwento with such enthusiasm making it interesting to listen to.

 

Bobby and Andie make kwento for an hour or two more

 

Bobby: By the way, congratulations again on that university scholarship. University of Melbourne diba?

Andie: Yup, way down under.

Bobby: So. . . . how’s that with you and Vinnie? I hear he’s going to NYU.

Andie: Well, we really haven’t talked about it. Let’s just say we’re taking it a day at a time.

Bobby: Well, I do hope things work out for the best. Right now, I feel like munching onto something. How about you?

Andie: I saw some cheese over at the buffet table.

Bobby: Sige, I’ll get some.

 

Bobby stands . . . then sits back again.

 

Andie: O, why?

Bobby: I’m afraid to leave you again . . . you might decide to sing solo once more and change all the lyrics of the songs being played. I’ll just call a waiter instead. (signals to the waiter)

Waiter: Good evening. Can I get you anything sir?

Bobby: Waiter, paki-kuha lang kami please ng cheese. Salamat.

Waiter returns

Waiter: Sorry sir, wala nang cheese. Naubos na daw sir.

Bobby: Ah ganun ba?  Andie, they ran out of cheese. Care for anything else?

Andie: Anything will do.

Waiter returns

Waiter: Ito po nalang sir ang meron. . . Century Tuna sandwich.

 

Bobby and Andie munch away at their Centuty Tuna sandwiches and talk more.

 

Andie: Do you ever wonder how we’ll be 40 years from now.

Bobby: Old!

Andie: Haha. Yes, that too but I’m told there are quite a few here going to med school.
Mavic, wants to take up law. Who’s she with tonight, by the way?

Bobby: I saw her with Joseph earlier.  He naman wants to join the police force and teach English grammar on the side. . . O, there’s the two of them, dancing. . . .

Andie: Teka, is that a sparkle in Joseph’s eye?

Bobby: Lemme see . . . Ha! Fake sparkle! That’s just a reflection from one of Mavic’s many necklaces she’s wearing.

Andie: Yup, Fake sparkle nga. Keep on looking at other eyes Bobby. Tell me when you spot a sparkle. . . I know na. Let’s dance so we can check out some other eyes.

Bobby: Didn’t anyone ever tell you that sidekicks don’t dance?

Andie: You don’t need do dance. Just sway. You don’t even need to move your feet. C’mon!

Bobby: Sige, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

Just as Bobby and Andie stand up to dance, Vinnie arrives back.

Vinnie: Hey I’m real sorry guys. The car fix took longer than I thought.

Andie: How’s your mom?

Vinnie: Oh she’s ok, safely tucked in bed. She extends her apologies to you.

Andie: Tell her it’s fine. Really. I would have done the same thing.

Vinnie: Anyway, the night’s still young. What you guys say we go out and transfer this party somewhere else?

Bobby:  But they haven’t announced the prom king and queen yet. Word is, you two are gonna win it hands down.

Vinnie: Naah, just give the crown to Mitch and his date. I’d rather spend the rest of the night with my own queen over here (winking at Andie). . . C’mon let’s go.

Andie: You coming Bobby? Tara.

Bobby: It’s ok. You two go. I’ll stay behind . . . diba three’s a crowd?

Vinnie: Pare, it’s never a crowd with you. Tara na. Ano gagawin mo dito mag-isa?

Bobby: Really, I’m cool . . besides, I still have to check out a couple of our classmates’ eyes here. (winks at Andie)

Vinnie: Huh?

Bobby: Nevermind. Don’t ask. Go na.

Andie: Bobby, all things considered, I really enjoyed the night. Thanks much. . .
(She pecks him on the cheek and whispers) You still owe me that dance.

Bobby blushes.

 

 

As Vinnie and Andie walk away towards the exit, Bobby said a silent ‘thank you’ – that despite his fatigue-colored suit, he felt like the prom king in those last few hours.

Vinnie: So where do you wanna go?

Andie: Anywhere is fine. Wait!  I’ll invite Bobby one last time to come . Kawawa naman.

 

Andie turned and saw Bobby sitting alone at the table.
But she could have sworn seeing something else.
Was that a sparkle in his eye?

Andie smiles as she walks back to Vinnie.

Vinnie: O, I thought you were going to invite Bobby?

Andie: It’s ok. He’s just fine. . .

 

Yup, sometimes, even sidekicks do get to taste a slice of heaven.

 TING!

 

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I Saw The Light – Todd Rundgren
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-TCMuagVn4

 

 

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