Let me just say: I’M HALFWAY THROUGH 50,000 WORDS! Praise God! The next 25,000 words won’t be easy, but I can do this! :)
Okay, excerpt time again! :) This particular excerpt is from Chapter 5. :) Click the â€œRead the rest of the entryâ€ link. Comments are open, but please bear in mind that most of the words here are due to the pressure of having a 50k word count by the end of the month. So forgive any run on sentences or whatever grammatical error there may be; Iâ€™ll deal with those after Iâ€™m done. And be gentle on the comments. :D
I need some happy food. I could blame my slightly flabby tummy and arms on all the “happy food” I had consumed all my life, from all the times I felt down and needed a pick-me-up. Since I don’t really do retail therapy — also known as shopping — for myself when I feel bad, I usually just make sure our fridge has the following essentials: a big jar of Nutella hazelnut spread and bananas. Sometimes if I need an extra boost, I get myself ice cream and eat it with the bananas and Nutella. It’s not entirely healthy, but it can sure make me happy. That and some good company: the combination of these two never fail to make me temporarily forget my problems.
I think I’m going to need ice cream tonight.
The elevator voice announced our arrival at the ground floor, and I decided to go out there as well to buy myself a pint of ice cream in the nearby convenience store before heading for my car. I got a clear view of the sky as I stepped out and I noticed it was unusually dark and humid for an October evening. That just means one thing: it’s going to rain. I sighed again.
I hate it when it rains. That may sound weird coming from a person who is named after the weather; I was named such because I was born on an unusually rainy April day. But still, I don’t like rain. The rain makes everything so dark and gloomy. I don’t like how it can be so noisy especially when it rains really hard. I don’t like how raining makes it hard to travel, both in driving and commuting home. I don’t like how rain brings all sorts of natural disasters like flash floods and landslides, as well as electricity outages. I don’t like the creatures that a long rain brings out: frogs, snails, leeches and sometimes even snakes! I don’t like the humid and sticky feeling that comes before and after it rains. Most especially, I don’t like how rain comes unpredictably. Like one moment it’s all so sunny then all of a sudden it comes pouring. I think the only thing I like about rain is the fact that classes can be suspended because of it, and I haven’t been in school for years. I really just don’t like rain.
Seeing the impending shower, my mood plunged even deeper. I really am going to need that ice cream.
I sighed for the third time and headed out of the building as quick as I can. Mentally, I was telling myself not to make such a big deal out of the missed promotion, and that I should believe whatever I told Francis earlier. My position in the company is not my worth as a person. I won’t die if I don’t get the promotion. I know I am still a good worker, and that’s what matters. Besides, promotions are worldly things, and didn’t the Bible say something about not setting our hearts on worldly things but instead on things that will last even after death?
By the time I had reached 711 a few buildings away, I was already feeling a whole lot better. I entered the store, and I felt the corners of my mouth twitch up to form a smile as I approached the giant freezer that held the prized ice cream. I slid the cover open and felt the cool air rise up to my face. I surveyed the array of flavors in front of me. It seems like they must have had a new delivery of ice cream today, because there are a lot of new flavors in stock. I pulled out a pint of Coffee Crumble and closed the freezer cover. I stood there for a while, contemplating for a while if I should buy the half-gallon one so I could leave some in the condo for my brother to eat too, or if I shouldn’t buy it anymore, since I was feeling a bit better already.
I looked at where the call came from and saw Mark, who stood at the entrance of the store. I felt a full-fledged smile coming before I caught myself, and he strode towards my direction.
I started to feel a bit apprehensive as I watched him approach me, but then I told myself to relax. He is still my best friend, even if he already has a girlfriend and all. I am still entitled to talk to him. And besides, if anyone could cheer me up, Mark would probably be the one.
“What are you doing?” he asked when he got to me.
“Buying ice cream; what else does it look like I’m doing?” I said in a teasing voice.
“Well, duh,” he said, grinning. Then he stopped and eyed me suspiciously. “Wait, why are you buying ice cream?”
“Why are you asking? Am I not allowed to buy ice cream?” I asked.
“You’re not sad or anything, are you?”
Amazing. For a guy who used to have such a short memory, he actually remembered my choice of food therapy.
“Do you think I’m sad?”
“Aw, Rain, quit playing,” Mark said. “You know I’m a guy and we are not as sharp as you are with decoding emotions!”
I laughed. “I’m not sad; but I need some comfort food.”
“So you are sad.”
“No, I’m not,” I insisted. “There’s a difference between being sad and wanting comfort food…right? Anyway, I’m just stocking up.”
“So you’re preparing for some kind of sadness that’s coming up,” Mark observed.
Oops, that was a wrong answer. “No. That sounds silly, Mark. And quit asking me about my ice cream!” I cried, mock hugging the cold container in front of me. “Can’t a girl buy ice cream without getting the third degree?” I think I said the last statement kind of loud because some people looked at me oddly. I blushed and looked away while Mark laughed.
“Tell you what,” Mark said. “Why don’t we pay for that, let’s sit down over there and then you share your ice cream with me and I won’t bug it again?”
I paused to consider. I guess it won’t be that bad to spend some time with him again. He still counts as good company, anyway. “Sure, why not?”
Mark and I went to the counter to pay for the ice cream and asked for two spoons. Then we looked around for an empty table. We had to share one with two girls who are sharing a bag of chips and drinking a Slurpee each, but since that is pretty much the rule around here, we didn’t really take notice of them. However, I did see them steal a few glances over at Mark, who, I have to admit, looked good today. As he always did.
“So how have you been?”
“I’m good,” I said automatically. “And you?”
“I’m good as well,” Mark said. “So again. How are you?”
I laughed. One of the things my closest friends know about me is that I always answer that I’m okay on the first “How are you” question. I guess it’s just my instinct to do that. It’s like when you meet an old acquaintance, you automatically ask them how they are, even if you don’t really care. You know?
“Seriously? I’m fine,” I said, opening the cover of the ice cream. I peeled off the thin piece of wax paper on top and then dug my spoon in. I shoveled a mouthful of coffee crumble into my mouth and sighed happily as the cold solid melted in my mouth.
“Yeah,” I said, taking in another spoonful. I paused, wondering if I should tell him what happened earlier. “Well, okay, fine, I wasn’t feeling that stellar earlier, but I’m better now.”
“Why, what happened?” Mark stuck the spoon in the ice cream but didn’t bring it out. Instead, he looked at me. The look in his eyes kind of caught me off guard; it’s been so long since I got myself a good look into his eyes. I focused my attention on the bag of chips our seatmates were eating, suddenly all self-conscious.
“It’s not important,” I said, taking another bite of ice cream. I don’t know if it’s still working its magic.
“Hey Rain, come on,” he reached across the table and put a hand on my arm that laid on the table. “You’re not being fair to your best friend.”
“It’s nothing. Just work stuff…worldly things, you know. I wasn’t given a promotion for next year, but it’s okay. It doesn’t matter, no big deal.” I took another heaping spoonful and crammed it into my mouth. It definitely wasn’t working its usual comfort anymore; I felt like washing the ice cream I ate with a big glass of water already.
“Oh yeah, promotions were given today, right?” Mark pulled his hand away from my arm. “Cams told me about it earlier; she got promoted to a manager, isn’t that great?”
Whatever happiness I felt earlier instantly evaporated. I should have known that Camilla’s promotion would be brought up in this conversation. I felt so stupid for not being able to see it before we talked.
I saw Mark seemed to be waiting for my reply, so I said with as much gusto as I could manage, “Yeah, great,” I put my spoon on the cover of the ice cream then fixed my bags. “Look, Mark, I have to go now.”
“Huh, so soon? Why? Stay for a while; Cams won’t be out for another thirty minutes!” Mark said.
I knew it. I knew he wasn’t here for the best friend. He just happened to see me here and he knew his girlfriend isn’t about to go home yet, so he needs company and obviously it was me. Suddenly I couldn’t stand being in the same place as he is. “No, Mark, I really have to go,” I stood up. “Kuya must have fixed dinner already and I don’t want to be caught go home too late.”
“Hey, why don’t I drive you home?” Mark offered. I thought I heard a hint of desperation in his voice, but I told myself I was just imagining it. “Come on now, please?”
I laughed in spite of myself. “Mark, you’re forgetting I have a car now,” I showed him Betty’s keys. “I really have to go. Sorry. We’ll talk next time,” I paused before adding, “Say congratulations to Camilla for me.”
I headed out of the store. A few steps on the way back to my building, I felt the first drops of rain fall on my head. Fortunately, I got to my building before heaven opened up and a heavy rain started to pour. I looked out again and saw the people outside rushing to find shelter from the rain.
I was already in my car when I remembered something.
I forgot my ice cream.