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Tisha took a drag of her cigarette. Noon niya nadama ang mainit na palad sa kanyang mga balikat. Napapitlag siya at agad na lumingon. Giovanni took her breath away. Hayun ito, nakatitig sa kanya na may ngiti sa mga labi.

“I’m glad you came.”

“I was invited.” Hindi niya nagawang salubungin ang tingin ng lalaki, sa halip ay idinutdot ang sigarilyo sa isang ashtray. Kailangang umalis na siya ngunit hindi niya naiwasang magtanong, “So how are you? Great job, by the way.”

“Thank you. You look lovely tonight, Tisha.”

“Thank you.” Genuine ang nadama niyang pagsikdo ng dibdib. Dahil lang sa isang papering ilang ulit na niyang narinig mula sa napakaraming tao. She was beautiful, she knew that. Everyone did. She had a sweet classic face and possessed a sophisticated grace most women only dreamt of being born with.

“I’m happy to see you.”

“Me, too.”

This isn’t me. I hardly recognize myself. Taliwas sa kanyang maamong mukha, pagdating sa trabaho ay mahigpit siya. She demanded the best from employees. She demanded perfection. Kung hindi ganoon ang nadarama niya sa harap ni Giovanni, marahil ay niyaya na niya ito sa kung saang hotel. There, she will fuck his brains out and be done with him before daylight.

Ngunit ngayon, ang tanging nais ni Tisha ay ang titigan ang guwapong mukha ng lalaki, pag-aralan ang mga katangiang taglay nito. Those eyes… those deep-set eyes that seemed to look at her with such admiration. She wanted to drown in those eyes, drown in them forever, if it were possible.

“You didn’t come with anyone, I see,” patuloy ni Giovanni, nanatili ang ngiti sa mga labi.

“What are you implying?”

“That maybe you want to see me. Is that too much of an assumption?”

“Know your place, Giovanni.” Hindi alam ni Tisha kung bakit iyon ang naitugon. Bakit kailangan niyang burahin ang ngiti sa mukha nito? Nais niya iyong muling makita. “But yes, of course I want to see you.”

“You did?” Kumislap ang mga mata ng lalaki.

Sinakmal siya ng pangamba. “I want to fuck you again. Are you available?”

Saka na niya pagsisisihan ang mga nasabi. Naalala niya ang mga pinagdaanan nila ni Giovanni. Ang mga party na hindi nanaisingdaluhan ng isang babaeng marahil ay pinapangarap seryosohin ng mga lalaki. It was bullshit. She had always believed it was bullshit. But she knew it was the way of the world. Palaging pipiliin ng mga lalaking itangi ang isang babaeng birhen. She was far from being one. She was a seductress. She was a goddess of lust and desire.

Patutunayan niya iyon kay Giovanni.

 

~Her Secret Life

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