I woke up after my sister kissed me on my cheek.
“Happy birthday,” she said.
“Samuka nimo Laine uy, katulgon pa ko na,” I told her furiously.
“Sorry te. Si Tigger man gud ingon na pukawon naka kay naa nakay minion.”
I was so sure that she said the magic word. Minion. I have always wanted a minion stuffed toy. I wondered where my sister got the money to buy one. Perhaps she skipped meals. Ah. Things you would do for your loved ones.
“My sister loves me,” I thought.
So I gave her a hug that did not last that long. My eyes were too busy looking at my minion and my beloved Tigger.
“Pukawa na imong ate diha Laine kay mangaon na.”
“Ta adto na ta kay masuko na si Lola.”
We went downstairs. My grandparents greeted me. I thanked them. Even though it was my birthday, we had a normal day’s breakfast. It was always like that. Life was so simple. Life need not to be complicated. I was already happy with that. After having a breakfast with my grandparents and sister, I could not really ask for more.
As lazy as I have been, I went outside the house to play with our dogs and of course, to save myself from doing household chores. Alpha looked so dirty but she was my favorite. I talked to Handsome and Muffy using their own language. We had fun. I was so sure.
I told my sister to get my phone and give it to me. There was no service inside our house that was why I had to go outside to receive messages.
My phone started to ring. First message was from Elro. As usual, he sent a very long message. I had to read it anyway. I replied with all the sincerity in this world.
The sun was already getting brighter. Minutes had passed. But there was no signs of any incoming message.
“True friends, really.”
I rarely send group messages but I had to send at that time.
“Murag naa lagi moy nalimtan karon hahaha,” it read.
Still, no reply.
So I had to call Buque in desperation.
“Is that all that you can say?”
“Oo gud. Ngano diay?”
“Birthday man gud nako ba.”
“Aw, tuod no. Happy birthday mama!”
“Nice save. Though I would like to see your dad today. Atik lang.”
“Buang jud ka Sals. Crazy.”
“At least I’m not a freak like Tracy or Mec.”
“So, here is the plan. I would like to host an ice cream and cake party at your place. You think it’s okay?”
“Okay! I’ll send a group message to everyone including you. See you. Siguro unya mga 1pm.”
Then I ended the phone call.
Seconds after that, my facebook messenger chat head, whatever you call that, popped out into the screen.
It was a birthday greeting from my mother. Of course, there is no way that she would ever forget.
And there was something on her greeting that made me laugh. My mom really was so careless.
I thanked her and sent a sticker. I always do that. I love sending stickers.
And I did send a group message to my friends.
“Free ice cream and cake later at 1pm, Buque’s Residence. Attendance is required. – The Great“
Then I went back inside my room.
“Tan-aw ta anime te. Naa koy bag-o.”
“Diba hapit na inyo finals week?”
“Okay. Let’s watch.”
For hours, we watched Aldnoah.Zero and Barakamon. Tigger and Minion were with us.
They liked the shows. I could see it in their happy faces.
I was welcomed by Buque at her house. I gave her a hug and asked where her father was. Her father was my crush when I was in high school. But that was before. Not anymore.
She just told me that I was disgusting and we laughed.
It was quarter to one and we were making guesses as to who would arrive first and last.
My guess was that Regine would be the first and Elmera, Tracy and Charmaine would be the last.
I have known them for years that I know their true colors.
Buque simply agreed with me.
And we were damn right.
The gang was complete. We ate and ate until we could not take it anymore. I could really afford a lot of ice cream and cake at that time since I had a lot of mysterious money. I did not know where the money came from but who was I to refuse anyway.
Then we talked and talked until it was already 6pm. I had to go back home. We had to go back home.
I thanked them for not remembering and for coming to my party.
I took a bus ride, well, as if I had any other choice. I sat by the window and looked at the sky. I could barely see the sun at that time. It was getting dark. I could see Venus and Mars in the western part of the sky.
I have always been fascinated by the heavenly bodies. They have always been a reminder that the universe is so vast and being a part of it makes me feel blessed. I closed my eyes and listened to the radio. Songs by Bread were being played. It was my birthday indeed.
At home, I was surprised that they actually had some preparations. There was sinugba, a cake and fried chicken. Nanay approached me and gave me money. I told her that I do not need money because I am actually a princess and I have lots of money. Still, she gave it to me even after a thousand refusals.
We then had dinner. My sister ate a lot. I was happy with that. It has been a selfish wish of mine that she should remain cute, if you know what I mean. I call her baboy and I plan to call her that as long as I live.
It was already eight in the evening. I wondered if there were still who remembered and bothered to send me a message. So I went outside, felt the cool breeze on my skin and smiled at the stars. I always do that for dramatic purposes. And yes, there were indeed a few who still managed to send me messages.
One was from my dad. He has been living a new life and I had accepted that fact not so long ago. Another was from Gatz, telling me that the birthday present would be given to me as soon as possible. Really. Her presence at the party earlier that day was more than enough.
Then, also received messages from Hillary, Chloe, Mec, Tracy, Charmaine, Glory, Regine, Via, Yllana, Esther and Alyanna. Thankful was I.
My Nanay came to me and told me that she would already go back to her newly-constructed house. I loved that house because of the rooftop. I said goodbye and gave her a hug. I love my Nanay.
“Te, tan-aw na pud ta.”
“Laine, sakit akong mata. Tan-aw na lang ta stars kay daghan kaayo karon. Chada. Kabalo pud ko sa mga ngalan nila karon.”
My sister joined me in my favorite activity, stargazing. I told her lots of things, half of them made up by me. Haha. I love making stories.
Then she said that she was already sleepy so she went inside the house.
I was left there, alone with my stars. I love them. I just love them.
Then I began to think about the possibilities of almost everything.
What if, in another version of reality, at that moment, I was in another place?
What if I was studying really far from home and had another friends?
What if I was celebrating my birthday in some other ways? Like with some beer and KTV perhaps?
What if I was going to get lost at midnight at a place where I have never been to?
I hate what ifs. But those were the things on my mind. I laughed. I smiled. The whole night sky was with me. The stars shone so bright and sang me another rendition of the birthday song. I love them.
But I love the people around me more.
“Ga, tulog na. Gabii na. Daghan lamok diha,” grandfather said.
I have always liked it when he calls me “Ga”. I have always been his favorite, or so I thought.
“Kadali lang, lo,” I said.
I was saying my final words to my beloved stars and planets.
Then someone made noise on the gate.
The gate was opened. I could not see clearly who that was. But I had a feeling.
It was my mother.
I immediately ran towards her and kissed her on the cheek.
She was smiling. I was, too.
“Nope. Not at all. You forgot to disable your location in facebook earlier this morning when you were in Hong Kong.”
“Happy birthday, Nak.”
“Thank you, ma. I love you.”