“WHERE have you been?” Ismael asked Sarah in a raised voice. The man sounded mad at her, but Sarah knew that her friend is just worried about her. “I thought you already got home, but when I came here, I can’t find you.”
Sarah plopped down on the couch. She leaned her back and took deep breaths repeatedly. “I just took a breather.”
“Really, huh?” Ismael stood in front of her and propped his hands on his waist. “Then why you’re clothes are dirty? What are those?” He crouched in front of her to take a look at the green stains on her yellow blouse. “Is that a moss?”
Sarah looked at her clothes and gasped. She covered her hands on the stains. “I-I stumbled on a wet road while walking…”
Ismael grabbed her blouse to take a close look at the moss. “You can’t fool me, Sarah. These moss can only be found in always wet places, and it’s a dry season in Manila…” He looked up at her. “What did you do in Manila Bay?”
Sarah’s eyes widened. “Nothing!” she said and avoided Ismael’s scrutinizing gaze. “Are you a detective? Let me remind you, Ismael, you’re a nurse—”
“Did you jump off the bridge?” Ismael asked and pulled her blouse. “Sarah, answer me!” He pulled harder, making Sarah lost her balance and fell on top of her Ismael.
They were in the same position when the door opened, and Carlo stepped inside. He stopped on his feet when he saw them on the floor. “What is this?”
Sarah quickly stood up and kicked Ismael away from her. “It’s just an accident,” she said and raised her brow at Carlo. “And, you? What are you doing here?”
Carlo smirked. “Did I just catch you cheating on me, Sarah?”
“What?” Sarah asked in disbelief. “Me? Cheating on you with Ismael?” she laughed out loud. “Are you serious?”
Ismael pushed her in the head to stop her laughter. “It’s just an accident, Carlo,” he said. “I’m just asking her where did she get those moss in her blouse. She just arrived here, a few minutes ahead of you.”
“Do you really have to say that to him?” Sarah made a ‘tss’ sound. “Anyway, back to you, Carlo, so why are you here? I thought you have a team building for the whole weekend?”
Carlo removed his coat and hanged it on the rock. “This is my house. I will go home whenever I want to.”
Sarah burst out laughing again. “Excuse me? This apartment is mine. I pay the bills and rents monthly. I’m also the one cleaning it, including your dirty clothes. So what makes you say that this is yours?”
Carlo faced her in furrowed brows. “Can we talk about it, Sarah? I’m tired—”
“Tired of what? Tired of flirting with your other girlfriend?” Sarah spat the words, but it looked ineffective. “I think I should be the one saying that I am tired, right?”
“Ah, Sarah, I’ll go now…” Ismael told them. “Call me when something bad happened—”
“I don’t have a phone, remember?” Sarah asked, not taking her eyes off Carlo.
“What happened to your phone?” Carlo asked in a knotted forehead.
“You’re more concerned about my phone because it was the latest model, the new version, and not old. Unlike me?” Sarah tried to fight her tears, but she failed. “Am I right, Carlo? You don’t like me anymore because I am old-fashioned. You get used to me because I’m not excited and adventurous, just like your new woman.” Tears started to fall from her cheeks. “Is it because I have belly fats?” She squeezed her belly. “Is it because I have pimples? And, my skin is not as fair as the woman working in an air-conditioned office? Is it because my hair is frizzy and dry, and I seldom hold a brush to fix it?”
Carlo looked away from her and sighed. “Sarah—”
“You can’t even look at me…” Sarah whispered and started to cry. “Carlo, do you know why I looked like this? It’s because I spent most of the time thinking of the best ways on how to make your life easier. I wash your clothes, iron it, and make sure that it’s ready for you to wear. I cook our food, wash the dishes, and clean the house at the same time. Then at night, I will go to the hospital for my shift. If I’m on a dayshift, all the house chores will be done once I get home. I don’t even have time to look at the mirror…”
“That’s why I’m letting you hang out with Ismael, Sarah,” Carlo said and shook his head. “I leave the house more often because I wanted you to have a time of yourself—”
“What a stupid reasoning, Carlo,” she said blatantly. “That doesn’t justify your wrongdoings. It doesn’t give you the license to cheat on me!”
“Then what do you want to happen now?!” Carlo shouted back. “What do you want? Tell me!”
Sarah pressed her lips together. Her tears fell endlessly on her cheeks. She looked straight into Carlo’s eyes, hoping that she will again see the affection he has for her before. But she doesn’t. What she saw in his eyes were hatred and anger…
“Let’s break up…” she said and broke down in tears. “Let’s end this here… Four years of living together are enough for me to realize that I don’t deserve an immature man like you!”
Carlo didn’t speak for seconds. It felt forever for Sarah. Every second ticked by is like a timer threatening her heart. Any moment now, she will be a broken-hearted ugly woman who looked older than her real age because of the stress that her boyfriend gave her.
“Is that what you really want, Sarah?” Carlo asked in a pleading tone. “Why don’t we let it pass for tonight and talk about it tomorrow?”
Sarah smirked. She wiped her tears and looked at him. “Let’s end this tonight…”