It was from Anne, and he was surprised to find the SMS that was sent to him around 11:45 last night. Apparently she was asking if Josh was busy and if he was still awake.
I remember what Josh thought of it as he related to me this incident, whilst he thought that the conversation he had with Anne was only good as long as we were in school, and after which would end as soon as we go about our daily lives. Sure, there was a possibility of conversation or even text forwarding and all but not as something as a text mate. I’m sure Josh has no intentions of mortifying Anne in any way.
Puzzled, Josh replied and inquired why Anne texted him. The response was not immediate, so my good friend decided to have a swim and go about with his usual routine. Night fall came, and once again the time for Josh to retire arrived as he has to get up early since his job mandates him to check in as early as 7 a.m. He read Anne’s message, in which she replied “Nothing, just wanted someone to talk with.” Josh replied that message and went to sleep, and missed her reply that claims she cannot sleep without a text mate.
The following day, Josh hesitantly replied Anne’s message because he was particularly uneasy of having a text mate at the time, aside from the fact that he was still reeling in from a tumultuous relationship. Along their exchange of texts, Anne wondered where is the other cell number Josh mentioned to have because as she lamented, is draining her “load” for she was currently subscribed to the “unlimited” promotional package of her network. He said it’s “empty” at the moment and can’t seem to find a way to buy one because of conflicting schedules. In the following days, Anne continued texting Josh. One particular message read, “I hope you’re not stressing yourself too much from your work”, and another “Hi. I just came home, our practiced is finally over. Are you asleep?”
When our next class came (that was on August 23), the usual stuff went. But I noticed Anne’s friends, specifically Fay seem to know what is going on between them. She naughtily smiles and insinuates something like “Hey, you two. You’re getting swweeettt.” Often, she gives way to Josh whenever he approaches Anne. I overheard Josh making a proposition to Anne during our last subject. He was wondering if he could invite her for lunch sometime next week. Anne, on the basis of the tone of her voice happily replied, “Sure”.
On the following week, the exchange of text messages between Anne and Josh grew, aside from the fact he had already activated his other phone that has the same network as with Anne’s. Most of them, however, usually put Josh on the baffling side because Anne apparently knows a lot about him than he is to her. That is, she mentioned that Josh is usually funny and comical whenever they are in school but dead serious and almost as dry as a rotting dead tree in the forest when he is in his office. Josh inquired, “What made you say that?” and she replied, “Well, that’s what Israel told me and he also told me that our school is some form of outlet for you.” “Really now,” Josh told himself. “You know, I learned a great deal about you from him. He told me a lot of things about you.” At this point, Josh was some what puzzled as well as curious to what else did I tell her about him during the lunch break gathering we had almost two weeks ago. So in-between the text messages he sent to Anne, he texted me to satisfy his curiosity. He explained his predicament, and I replied by assuring him it’s just all about where he works, what position and how old he is. I was beginning to suspect there was something going on between them.
By this time, Josh was extremely curious about Anne and what other “pertinent” information she knows about him. I remember as he explains to me the rationale behind Anne’s “bizarre” behavior in which I totally agreed to. He said no one would ask anyone about a specific person with such ardor and zeal unless they have something, much more that they “feel” something. I know what he meant, but I wanted to be exactly sure on what he was driving at so I asked him if he could be more specific. He said he just knows it but just can’t seem to put his finger on it at the moment. He also emphasized that her behavior is way out of the ordinary. Given the circumstances and judging from how she was behaving, nothing could be further from the truth.
Since Josh wanted to gauge how much she had learned from me especially when she began asking about his age, he texted, “Israel already told you, right? Just curious, why is it that you ask a lot of things about me?” Anne’s intent was crystal and obvious, but she was caught off guard as well that’s why her “excuse” was forced and lame. “Actually, I asked our classmates about their age, too. I asked them about other stuffs.” If I could only see Josh’s face when he read Anne’s message, I’m pretty sure that his right brow have risen denoting a sense of sarcasm and disbelief and would probably be doing some inflection with his voice in a deep, dark tone as he would say, “Tell that to the marines.” But instead, he hid that disbelief and texted Anne a different response, “Uh, okay, Annie dear.”
She then asked Josh what is his favorite number. “Why?” Josh asked. “I just wanted to know,” replied Anne. “Well, if you insist. It’s eight.” The reply did not take that long for Anne to give the corresponding “interpretation” of Josh’s favorite number. It read, “Hot and very good in sex.” Josh thought, “Cute. Totally absurd, but cute.”
When our next class came, Anne told Josh through SMS that she has to take a rain check over their date and if they can reschedule it next week. He jokingly replied, “Why? Cold feet?” In class, Anne refuted Josh’s rag by saying that her mom was in the vicinity at the time and decided to fetch her home. To which he said, “No problem, Annie dear.”
Before our class ended Josh received a message, “But I hope our date will push through next week. I’m looking forward talking with you. And I’m more than willing.” Josh looked up to see what Anne was doing, and as expected, she was looking as if waiting to meet his gaze. She waved a simple goodbye and displayed her sweet smile to Josh.
At night, Anne continued to exchange texts with Josh. She said, “I’ll be going to church later and I’ll be back around 9 p.m. I’m preparing the table so I could have my dinner early. Have you had your dinner?” “No, I’m just surfing the net.” And Josh added, “You seem to spend a great deal of your time in church.” “I love spending my time and with my students in there.” There was a brief silence in their exchange of messages, after a few minutes Anne said, “I’ll be going now. Text you later.”
“Hey, can I ask you something,” Josh hurriedly texted back. “What is it?” was her reply. Josh paused for a moment. He pondered if he should really have to ask that question. His hesitation was that he was trying to avoid offending Anne, or worse could be labeled as paranoid, the usual response that he gets whenever his officemates would want to dispel much less to dismiss his query. He decided to pass, thinking Anne is probably busy by now in her church activities and would probably forget his question altogether.
“Never mind,” he said to himself. He then placed his hand on the mouse to navigate the cursor to the topic he was researching. When the silence of his room was broken, more than what the usual sound of his keyboard produces. It was his cell phone and the message alert startled him. “Hey, I thought you wanted to ask me something. What is it about?” Again, the act of asking her that question roused his conflict, but finally decided to text his query. “I was just wondering, are you judgmental? I hope you won’t get mad or anything.” “No. Why do you ask?” Her reply was much faster than Josh’s.
“Because you are young,” Josh texted back. But at the back of his head, he wanted to add “and because of that, you lack the proper experience to see that the world is not an entirety of black and white. Your youth may have the tendency to label certain circumstances as ‘wrong’ when they are nothing more but a part of being alive and living in this world.”
“Ganun?” was the only reply from Anne.
“I hope I didn’t offend you or anything,” explained Josh.
After a few moments, Anne texted, “You know, I just noticed that you always seem to be extremely cautious on the things you say.” Josh replied, “Sorry, force of habit. I guess this is what you get when you are surrounded with people who blew things out of proportion, even if you don’t intend to hurt them about what you said.”
Anne and Josh’s communication continued, albeit most of it was only on SMS. But the former continued to enjoy the company of the latter. She seemed to be very free about her time except for the fact that after work, she is devoted to her “spiritual” duties of her religion. She, however, would text Josh as soon as she is done and would stay late at night “talking” to him.
On the third Saturday, Josh and Anne were beginning to be more comfortable with each other. From where I stand, I could see there were some major changes in both of our main characters. Anne in particular, became more mindful of her appearance. Now she usually wears a blush-on and pays more attention to her hair; unlike during the first months of the semester where she goes to our class as simple as she could be. Her aura exudes bliss and what many may consider as “blooming”. Furthermore, I noticed that she always looked at Josh from the corner of her eyes and usually catches him staring at her. There was also the sense of awkwardness on Josh’s part whenever he is near with Anne. Fumbling on a simple conversation and often saying the wrong things just to have something to say. Thereby causing a lot of blunder on their tête-à-tête is the usual scenario, for Josh at least.
The typical courtship that goes with two people was evident, and Anne is somehow tolerant in things that Josh manifested. Whenever we transfer from one room to the next, I noticed them that even without speaking, seems to understand one another. More than what words can truly express, they seem to be happy and were enjoying each other’s presence. Then I remembered: they’ll be having a date sometime today.
Unfortunately, once again that date was not realized. She told Josh that her mom was in our university campus and intended to fetch her home from school (again). It is interesting to note that at this point Josh was still remarkably detached from their date and simply replied to Anne, “Well, okay.” The usual stuff ensued. Josh hanged with us for an hour before he went home. But he did picked up a trick from Ryan where he told Anne a simple joke which goes something like this, “I’m not surprised that our date didn’t push through because you were having a date with Ryan right now.” I know why he sent that because it is a simple assessment to determine Anne’s veracity and its extent.
The reply was immediate. She said she was with her mom in a shopping mall near our school and informed Josh after she left that she was in fact with her. She also added that we only wanted to know what’s going on between them. Then the next message was that she was very concerned whether Josh believes her or Ryan. “I’ll text Ryan about this why he would say such a thing.” Josh had that covered for he already texted Ryan and me, asking us to connive with his little trick.
Even I received a text from Anne but she was not asking about the “date-with-Ryan-thing”, but instead why Josh and me were laughing in the hall way. I was a little surprise about her query. Why so concerned about what Josh’s think or for that matter, our topic? But what really made my “spider sense” go off the roof is her text message to Josh that inquires, “Are you disappointed that our date was postponed again?” Genuine concern? Perhaps. At first glance, that is what all evidences suggest. However, when Josh casually replied, “No, why would I be disappointed?” She replied, “I think you are.” As cerebral as I have known him to be, Josh sense that Anne’s query is a question inside a question. She was trying to elicit a more specific though vague answer from him, and from a psychological standpoint, there is a need for her to know. As if deriving a sense of satisfaction.
He decided to play with her mind game and replied, “Nope, what made you say that?” “That’s what I feel. Based on texts,” was Anne’s reply. Josh made it clear that everything Anne claims is in the contrary but she kept on insisting that he was in fact disappointed. A little tired because they were arguing (not in a negative sense) in circles, he replied “Okay, if that’s what makes you happy. Good night, Annie dear.” It is interesting to note that their little debate dragged on till past 11:30 pm, and as days went by, their course of texting usually goes beyond 1 am (which as you have noticed, is way past Josh’s bed time.) Anne replied to him, “I like it when you call me ‘dear’”.
Josh was intrigued of Anne’s questions as well as the way she conducted herself. Anne’s message could be construed as simply harmless and denotes nothing but a genuine concern. But he sense it is just a tip of the iceberg, and his inquiry is simple and can be described as one word: why? Why does she keep on insisting that he is disappointed? And why does she want him to be disappointed in the first place? Not to mention she wanted Josh to be very disappointed.
Weeks had passed and Anne continued to be sweet and concern with Josh. Whenever her cell phone is “empty”, she went to great lengths by doing a miscall using her landline just to let him know that she was still there. Anne also asked Josh to add her in Friendster because he was asking if he can have a picture of her. Day by day, Josh takes his conversation with Anne to the next level. He made his messages sweeter. Sweeter messages that denote his intentions and one cannot afford to miss it. He also reached the point of telling her his past.
And our hero, in the course of their conversation was slowly beginning to ask a lot of questions to himself, gauging and defining the things that go on inside him. “Am I falling for her?” He was hoping that somehow in some way, Anne feels the same. Otherwise, why would she exert too much effort, money and time even if she doesn’t? Albeit he was afraid because nowadays, people are full of lies and usually pretends to be something else in order to attain their ulterior motives. They are ruthless and will stop at nothing just to accomplish their goal. That night, he cannot sleep as well as he has no one to ask some advice to help him with his dilemma.
“Anne is nice and very thoughtful,” he began, “and very religious. Should I tell her how I feel? I mean, I already made my intentions clear to her, too.” He paused for a moment. He let it sank in his mind and weighed everything. As he gazed back in his monitor to finish his research, he realized his query requires a deep thought. One that cannot be answered immediately.
Two days later Anne texted Josh, “Take care on your way home. Text me when you arrive.” Josh, who has finally managed to muster enough courage, began to spill the beans with Anne about how he felt. He explained that since they began talking and exchanging texts, he felt unperturbed and extremely happy. He also added he became tolerant of his officemates even if they were jerks; and more importantly she inspires him. He told her he was in love with her. Anne didn’t wait that long to reply, she texted back asking, “Are you really in love with me?”
“Yes. I’m sorry if I felt that way. I didn’t mean to take advantage of you.” “Don’t say sorry. That’s ok. No one can teach our hearts not to fall for anyone,” she replied. He then asked Anne what she felt, but forgot to get the answer as their conversation went and as always time was a little short and they have to bid each other good night. She texted him this message, “They say, we’re too old to play hide and seek… but if I were given a chance, I’d do anything just to hear someone say… ‘I found you…’”
The following day, Josh was overjoyed. He felt he was walking on air and everything that he sees are like gems that sparkle. No task was too hard for him, as he is deeply moved and inspired by Anne. Usually he stares blankly and don’t pay much attention to the people who irritates much less to say who mock him. When he remembered he didn’t get a proper response from Anne. “I’ll ask her again later this evening. I guess it’s as good as a positive response because of her last message.” Their text continued throughout the day, and when the right time came to ask the very important question, Josh did not hesitate. “Annie dear, how about you?” Josh began. Anne understood what he meant.
She responded, “Before I answer that, are you aware…”