Justin: The sound of Alexi’s giggle just completes my day. It makes my heart melt, lifts my problems away, and just… plainly stops my world.
She was holding a cute tarsier and was telling me to take more pictures of her, and she was projecting real well, and I was cracking up at the faces that she was making. And then she pulled me to join her, telling the tarsier handler to take photos of us, and was cracking jokes about the tarsier being our first baby.
After that “photoshoot,” she took my hand and then we started walking, and I heard that sigh that I last heard when she wanted to tell me about her ailment. “What?” I asked her, and she shrugged. “I wanted to tell you that I got the operation re-scheduled. It’s on Friday,” she said, and I stopped walking. “Why?” I said, surprised. “That’s two days after we get back.”
Alexi held both my hands, her eyes trying to make me understand. “I don’t want to prolong the agony. The days in Palawan with Joshua and Nyah just made me realize how life just shocks you and surprises you, you know? And the days here in Bohol with you just made me realize how happy I can be and how I look forward to falling in love with you every single day. And I want you to look at me without having to think if I’ll be okay or if I won’t be. I want you to be relieved of that. I want us to move on,” she explained, and I pulled her into an embrace.
“Christ, Alexi,” I whispered, “you just made me more nervous.”
Alexi laughed. “I always told you that you are overacting, and I am pretty sure you are aware of that, right?” she said, and I grinned. “Yeah, you said that a couple of times already,” I told her, releasing her from the hug. We started to walk again, and then she asked me, “Where are we headed now?”
“I don’t know. Where do you want to go? I think there’s a beach here—”
“Nah, not another beach.”
I paused to think. “What do you want to do?”
She looked up at me and smiled. “What I wanted to do the first night we were here,” she answered, “to stay in and just cuddle.”
Alexi placed her arm around my waist, directing me towards the direction of the hotel. “Justin,” she said, “sometimes it’s enough for me to have you near. It doesn’t have to be in Bohol, in Palawan, in Hongkong or in Rome. All I need is you, a bed or a swing or a chair, and I’m good with that. We can be in a public playground for all I care. I just need you. Just you and I’m content,” she said, and I sighed. I kissed her on the forehead, my heart swelling with emotions. “And I need you,” I told her. “I love you, Alexi,” I said, and she laughed.
“Ah, the classic Claudine Baretto in Milan line. Justin, do you love me because you need me, or you need me that’s why you love me?” she asked, and I rolled my eyes. “It’s not an or, Alexi. It’s an and. I love you because I need you and I need you that’s why I love you,” I said. “But even if the reasons why I love you don’t exist anymore, I know that feeling will stay, Alexi.”
Alexi winked at me, nodding. “Good answer,” she said. After a while she looked at me again, expectant.
“Mom and Dad will be here on Friday,” she announced, her voice gaily, and I groaned. “Why do you always spring things like this on me?” I asked her exasperatedly, and she gave me a toothy grin to tell me that she didn’t mean to just do so.
“Sorry,” she said, and she held my hand, intertwining her fingers with mine. “I want you to meet them.”
“Lexie, I don’t promise to be at my best. You’re going to have that operation, and I am not so sure if I can concentrate being that perfect guy for your parents,” I said, the irritation in my voice showing. She was silent for a while, and then we were already at the lobby of the hotel. That was a very long walk, but with Alexi and all the surprises she had popped along the way made me feel like it wasn’t a three-kilometer walk.
“Justin, how many times do I have to tell you that you are good enough? My parents don’t go out with people our age, and they haven’t talked to Alisa. They wouldn’t know your history because all they are going to look at is how you’ve dealt with your past and how you’ve moved on from that,” she argued, and I just sighed. “Fine. Your operation will be on Friday, and I will also meet your parents on that day,” I concluded, and she nodded, her other free hand dipping into my pocket and producing our room key.
Alexi was already pulling me to the elevators when I said, “Next time, can we talk about this before you decide about things?”
“Of course,” she said with easiness, and she winked at me. She raised her right hand. “Promise,” she said, and I just sighed, shaking my head at how Alexi, my girlfriend, never fails to amuse me.