Another Excerpt from my book…

There are occasions in life that I dreaded and wished just pass by, like today! I am turning 27, oh, no, I am already 27 and I hate it. Not that I hate aging, I believe that it’s something inevitable, I just don’t find any reason at all to celebrate it, after all , 27 years had gone by without much significance and happenings.
        Ice made a peck on my right check as she beamingly yelled “Happy 27th birthday!” She needed not emphasize on the 27th, did she? Nevertheless, I managed to utter a casual and cold, “Thanks” as I grabbed my gift from her. Then I told myself, “Birthdays aren’t bad afterall, as I would be getting” I started counting the people around me “twelve gifts” from my college friends alone. I still gave a weak and fake smile as everyone ushered me towards the table to blow my birthday cake. I really couldn’t figure out the matter with me, I just didn’t feel like celebrating my birthday. I just didn’t feel like watching the calendar as my age gradually reaching the close end of being “dalaga” and be tagged as “matandang dalaga”. Don’t get me wrong, though, to think that I was one of those measly singles wanting to hit coupledom for the sake of “coupledom”, because they are afraid either to grow old alone or feel insecure having no one to hold during cold nights. Read : I AM NOT ONE OF THEM! And puh-lease, don’t get my signals crossed, thinking that I was one of those bitter fools who had never found the “The One”! I was no bitter. Not finding “The One”? Hello? So what?! “Well, am I just” I couldn’t even utter the word “bitter and perhaps insecure?”.
         Insecure? Now, where did that come from? How could I be insecure? How could I be insecure of — say, Shelley, my college bestfriend, who’s sweetly holding hands with her husband of three months who looked like they’re alone in their own world; Cesz, who’s lovey-dovey wih her fiancee of two years; and of my niece, Jonah who’s just nineteen and pregnant and set to wed her boyfriend come December of the current year? I definitely wasn’t insecure and jealous of their good fate in love, was I? I definitely didn’t mind going home to this small and hollow apartment, sleeping and waking up alone, did I? I-AM-NOT-FRIGGIN’-INSECURE! I. AM. NOT.INSECURE!!!
        “Wish muna, Karrie” they all beamed at me. I closed my eyes as if really wishing, but little did they know that my head started aching, and into wishing I pretended. The moment I opened my eyes, everyone applauded as if I’ve given a nice performance onstage. I looked around and saw sincere and pristine smiles plastered on everyone’s faces that I couldn’t help but smile back. For one, this day’s supposed to be happy as it’s my birthday and second, I was surrounded by friends, who stuck with me through thick and thin. Kumbaga, “Tibay Standard!” I divided the cake into slices which signalled that it’s time for us to ravage the table. “Kainan na!” Everyone began busy getting served food on the table when I heard the doorbell.
        “Mukhang may humabol pa” Ice commented as she sipped on her champagne glass.
        “Well, another set of well-wishers” I supposed as I shrugged my shoulders. I went to the door and opened it.
        “Surprise!” I am looking at a pretty face whom I vaguely recognized. I frowned as if that would help remember who this stranger happened to be.  
        “Hey, hindi sinisimangutan ang isang magandang babaeng kagaya ko”, indeed she’s pretty, no, to say she’s pretty won’t be enough to decribe her. And her accent, there’s a thing in it that only Southerners in America have. “Karrie, this is Jessie, remember. You elementary bestfriend.” She hugged me even before I could react. Could this really be Jessica?
        “How did you know…”
        “Hey of course I know that today’s your birthday” she waived a hand to everyone as if she already knew them. “and you did give me your address.”
        “I did?”
        She nodded.
        “Come on in. Tamang-tama, kainan na.”
        “Wait, I have company. I’m going to introduce my fiancee.” and that was the only time I noticed she indeed, had company, who was just standing at her back. The guy must be over 5’10” as I was forced to loook up just to see him face to face. I first encountered his eyes, I noticed that though they’re expressive, there’s a sudden coldness in it as it bored on me. That was before he smiled, flashing perfect, white teeth. But still, no matter how sweet and intoxicating that smile was, never reached his cold, sad eyes. I was stunned. This guy looked familiar, no, he just didn’t look familiar, because I knew this guy, knew him so well. He couldn’t be…
        “Karrie, he’s Yussof, boyfriend ko,” Jessie introduced him to me — to us.” and she’s Karrie, she’s the one I was talking about the whole time, my very bestfriend in the Philippines.”
        I couldn’t move, I was paralyzed. To be dead would be better than to be in this situation. This couldn’t be happening. He couldn’t be Yussof, he could be a different Yussof, not the Yussof I know, I knew.”
        Yussof smiled again, then Yussof started walking towards me. Then he kissed my right cheek as he whispered “Happy birthday! It’s ages since we last saw each other.” he gave me his gift- their gift- Jessie and his’ gift. “Musta?”
        I tried to focus on everything he said, he asked. But I just coudln’t react. Everything was too bizzare for me. I know that birthday celebrants were normally given surprises, but the surprises given to me were too much.
        I was shock to the core and if the universe conspired to surprise me then indeed I was surprised…Truly surprised…