Dates to Remember by Pauline Navarro

February 1, 2015

They were going to break up.

When she entered their coffee shop that day and saw him by the counter, talking to the new head barista they hired, she knew he was planning to end them.

His shoulders sagged when he greeted her, and when his hands reached for hers, there was a certain heaviness, as if she was an obligation he had to pull around. Even in the way he looked at her, she saw nothing, just the reflection of a girl, searching for the eyes that fell in love with her.

She knew he sometimes appeared detached and sometimes his workload got to him, but that day, he wasn’t even trying.

When they headed to the office, she stayed a few steps ahead of him.

September 28, 2011

It was only during the last day of classes that he truly noticed her.

Sure, she had been a part of the creative team during his campaign term so he saw her a few times at the office. He’s also pretty sure she’s attended a few of the conferences he’s been in. Plus, he knew they’re both business majors, though from different sections.

But she never really stuck out before. She was just always the girl who wore her hair up, perhaps to keep it out of the way as she worked.

That last day, at the faculty room, lining up for consultation with the same professor, was the first and only time he saw her hair down, tips almost reaching her waist. Maybe that was it that got him, that tiny difference. She was so alive, her arms moving around animatedly, her voice commanding half the room, and her hair was down. He was captivated and he couldn’t put a finger on it.

With a swift movement of her hand, she swept her hair on one-side as she debated with the adviser. He thought she looked beautiful.

October 7, 2011

It was only a few more days until the launch of their thesis project.

She thought everything was going well with their business plan. They’ve finished the paper, found a place to rent and contacted the suppliers. It was going to be a stretch for her group to start an actual business, even if it’s just a school requirement, but with everything in her list checked, she felt a little bit at peace.

Until Cheska called her about Bea and how she does not want to speak to the latter ever again. Cheska was forcing her to drop Bea from the group or else she would pull out the suppliers from the contract. Bea called shortly after her conversation with Cheska and she threatened to call off the location contract if Cheska wasn’t going to be kicked out.

Everything was unraveling.

She tried reasoning with the two, showing them that splitting up wouldn’t be practical. She asked them to push themselves a little bit further, to try working as a group again. It was starting to work, until it didn’t and they couldn’t handle each other anymore. They blamed her for further damage.

August 10, 2014

They couldn’t possibly pull it off.

Sure, they’ve been a stable establishment for almost three years but they didn’t have the money to sponsor a big media event in their wee little coffee shop. They have just opened another branch a month ago and that already took half of their budget. Plus, they have the usual expenses to worry about. Why didn’t he get that?

“Don’t worry too much,” he said. “It always works out at the end of the day.”

“I’m glad you have this great plan for our business but don’t you think it’s too much?” she countered, touching his arm.

“We can do this,” he affirmed. “Since when did you retreat from a challenge?”
She moved away from the counter where he was. “That’s not the point, Jade.”

“Trust me. Please.” He said, holding her gaze.
She could’ve just nodded, believed in his dangerously optimistic trust in them. She could’ve held onto his words. But inside she truly felt that giving in was just like making a big mistake. She couldn’t let him do that to them.

So she stopped him. And though he didn’t tell her then, he blamed her for the loss he felt.

October 17, 2011

He didn’t expect to see her like that.

She was shouting in the middle of the school oval. Her hair was a mess and the wind continued to blow it in all directions. Her hands were stained with dirt and a little bit of grass, just like her skirt. She clenched and unclenched her fists and her feet were unsettled. It looked like she was arguing with someone except there was no one there.

He approached her, nonetheless.

“I wouldn’t go near if I were you,” she said when she saw him.

“I was just wondering if you could help me.” He came closer. “You see, I was on my way to return these balls to the athletics building but some keep falling off my grasp.”

“Now is not the time,” she crossed her arms.

“Why not?” he asked.

“Just because,” she turned away.
He stood there and waited for her to continue talking.

“Leave me alone!” she shouted.

“Grumpy, I see.” He said. “Well, Ms. Grumpy, I know a person who needs someone to talk to when I see one.”

He began walking away. “Catch up if you want to.”

After a few minutes, right after he left the athletics building, he turned to see her walk towards his direction. “I do need someone to talk to.”

“My group had split up and I couldn’t do anything about it,” She told him.

She continued talking as he waited for her to reach his side. “It’s either I would choose one of them or I would go solo.”

“I chose to do it on my own,” she said. “Except right now, I have no idea what to do.”

“I just,” she clenched her fist. “Don’t understand why this had to happen!”

“Breathe,” he told her. “It always works out at the end of the day.”

And it did.

It was crazy but for the three hours that followed, he managed calm her down and convince his thesis adviser and his group mates to allow her to transfer to their group.

She was also planning to open a coffee shop anyway.

October 25, 2014

He didn’t mean to bring it up. Not during the coffee shop’s anniversary.

But she was asking for reasons and explanations and he had to come up with one.

“We’re back to that?” She said. “That was two months ago. We decided to turn down the offer together.”

“I know,” he told her. “But I don’t know what else you want me to say.”

“Ever since then, I felt like you were the only one ever deciding on anything about this shop.” He continued.

“Why didn’t you tell me? I could’ve adjusted for you.” she asked, struggling to hold his hand.

“How was I supposed to?” he turned away. “You were always so intense. I couldn’t get a word in.”

She closed her eyes and exhaled. Then, she stood up and walked towards the exit.

“I didn’t mean it like that.” He said.

“Mae, come on.” He approached her. “Talk to me.”

She stopped walking and looked at him.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t know what to say anymore.”

“Maybe,” she told him. “You should just stop thinking about how bad you felt and start thinking how horrible it was for me to have to hurt you then.”

It was crazy because for the next three weeks, they didn’t contact each other.

October 25, 2011

She loved the rush. He must have loved it too.

The doors opened and the world around them changed. It was real. They finally launched the café.

She moved closer to him and sneaked a high-five before looking all professional again.

November 22, 2011

She watched him end his phone call.

It was already two in the morning but they were still not done with the preparations.

Ronnie, one of their teammates, had to leave early so only three of them remained at the café. The boys were putting up the new signs outside while the girls arranged the furniture inside.

She was redecorating the menu when she caught a glimpse of him, calling. He was probably explaining to his parents why yet again, he would be sleeping over at his friend’s apartment near the shop. By the look on his face, the conversation did not go so well.

She left her work and headed to the kitchen.

After a few minutes, she came out holding a tray of coffee and cookies. After setting it down on the counter, she called everyone for a break.

Jade came in last, since he had to answer another phone call.

He sat away from everyone after he grabbed a cup and took a sip from it.

She approached him and handed him a cookie.

“You’re welcome,” she told him. “You needed the break.”

“Yeah,” he muttered, checking his phone.

“I took the cookies from our stock. I hope you don’t mind.” She said.

“Uhuh,” he nodded, still occupied with his phone.

“Hey, don’t worry,” she said. “Everything is going to be worth it.”

For the first time since they conversed then, he finally looked her straight in the eye.

“You’re right.” He smiled and pulled her closer, putting his arm around her shoulder.
With that, she remembered the first time she saw him. She saw that man in him again.

Before they all went back to work, she sneaked a cookie pack in his pocket. Just in case he needed another boost.

January 1, 2015

Perhaps a new year would do them good.

For the past months, they have been going back and forth between bickering and not talking. She doesn’t know him and he doesn’t know her anymore.

Celebrating in their separate homes, they count down to one.

March 18, 2012

It’s over.

They turned in the results of their five-month business to their professor. After that, all that’s left is to divide the profit and ace the defense. After that, they would be busy with the graduation and applying to new jobs.

Holding the clear folder, she looked at him. She was going to miss making that face worried over her little fits, making that face scrunch up in confusion over her pointless jokes, making that face smile when he starts making the world’s problems, his problems too.

“We did pretty good,” he said, taking the folder from her and skimming over its contents.

“We did,” she nodded. “I honestly think that the café could grow even bigger in the future.”

He nodded beside her.

“You know what,” he turned to her. “Who says it has to end here?”

He gave her the clear book again and smiled. She immediately took his hand.

“Mae…” he began saying.

“Sorry,” she said. “I just got really excited!”

She tiptoed so they could be eye to eye. “I like you too and I would love to continue the café with you.”

He raised his eyebrows. Did she get it all wrong, the signs, the sweetness during the last week? She felt like she was on the edge.

“Always the anxious with you, Ms. Grumpy.” He rubbed the top of her head.

December 19, 2014

She learned to love him only sometimes, because sometimes, he only loved himself.

He had to meet with investors every day. It was suddenly all about the trade and the stock market. Gosh. She loved the café and all the memories it held but only because she loved him.

But because of his distance, it seemed as if he only loved his dreams of success. How could he be okay with not seeing her, talking to her?

She loves him. She loves him so much. It had been the worst couple of months and she loves him. He doesn’t show up and she loves him. He makes her wait and she loves him. He hurts her because she loves him. And today, alone in a corner of the café, she could not pretend not to.

March 23, 2013

He loved her.
He kissed her and he knew, it would be hard to leave her.

February 1, 2015

They were going to break up.

For a moment, they just stared at each other, the words hanging in the thin air. Who was going to say it first?

She took his hand and brought him at the office, at the back of the café.

“I don’t want to do this anymore,” he said.

She let him speak.

“But if this is what it takes to stay with you, then okay.” He continued.

“Okay?” she asked.

“Okay as in okay, I love you. Okay, let’s not breakup. Okay, let’s fix this.” he told her.

“You would seriously put up with me?” she asked.

She saw it in the way he pulled her closer, his answer.

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