Bea and I are a picture of girl power. Here we have just finished a nice lunch. We would be able to shed the calories in the next few hours.

Josh appears startled as I took his picture. Growing boy, huh?

My Dark Temptation. I am here with the Axe mascot; hardly Mr. Right, but stil...

"Crass commercialism and all the cheese that goes with romantic love has made February 14 a day for gloating, for those who know better."

I would have said this last year. Perhaps the reader would cut me some slack. Not now, though. I did have a decent Hearts' Day date last Saturday. Two dates, actually.

Apparently it's never too late to learn a thing or two.

"Lagari" would be the appropriate term for what I did on the 14th, a Saturday, my day off. First I went to Trinoma with my daughter Bea, had lunch at Bigoli (Italian) and spent the next three hours looking at prom dresses. Bea's Big Night is on the 27th.

I had a reasonable budget for the dress but it's always a challenge to find something below it about which you will be happy nonetheless. Bea and I scoured the mall -- from signature stores to the eclectic ladies' section of Landmark -- with a vague idea of what she wanted in the first place, and were, for the first few hours, unsuccessful. We must have shed the calories from the pasta from all that walking -- and our legs were hurting already.

Bea was already frowning, already entertaining the possibility of not showing up at the prom altogether. Something was out there, I assured her, it was just a matter of finding it. We have certainly relied on hard work. What we needed was grace. Apparently Bea would not settle for anything passable, reminding me: Diba ikaw nagsabi, kung hindi ko gustong-gusto, wag na lang? (Mom, do you not always say that if I did not want something bad enough, I must not settle for it?"

In a less-enthusiastic stroll into Folded and Hung, on our third hour, she found The Dress: A black-and-silver thing that went perfectly with the shoes we had purchased a week before. It was at half-price. We rushed to the fitting room and Bea ermerged, all smiles. "This is it," she said.

Sigh. If only finding a suitable partner were just as simple and scientific.

On the way home, we took a cab, but the traffic on Edsa was monstrous. Indeed I was late for my second date, with Josh, whom I agreed to fetch at a friend's house at 4pm. I told him I wanted to go home and freshen up first.

The plan was to go to Gateway in Cubao. I still had a leftover gift certificate at Rustan's that I wanted to use for groceries. Of course, on Valentine's Day at 6 in the evening, traffic would be impossible everywhere. I was relieved when we made it to the MRT North Avenue station but stopped on my tracks as I saw the long line at the ticket booths. Oh well. We were here already, I thought. Fortunately my date was still in high spirits, his head bobbing up and down as he amused himself with his MP3 player.

We changed our minds and went to Makati instead. I imagined that Cubao would be crowded, that finding a cab home would be a nightmare, and that Edsa would be horrific. Instead, it being a Saturday, Makati might just be deserted. And the cab would have other options for taking us back North.

I was right.

Dinner was at Mong Kok (Chinese) in Glorietta 5, which I had heard of but never been to before. We then proceeded to the old Rustan's and finished our groceries in 30 minutes flat. The certificate was worth 5,000 and I did not want to shell out any excesses; my normal trip to the grocery for a two-week stock only cost a little over half of that.

I must be so talented: the total bill came up to 4,999.58. There was not a single item left in my pushcart.

Going home was a breeze. The driver, though he sneezed and sniffed all the way home, was smart enough to take the least-troublesome roads. We were home in less than an hour. Josh slept half the trip, and in the silence I pondered my well-ordered, predictable life nowadays. I concluded I liked it that way.

I am probably going to like it for a long, long time. For now I certainly can do without anybody turning my world upside down. Being alone is not a state of bliss, to be sure, but the occasional short-lived pangs of sadness are nothing compared to the horror, the indignity, of having somebody around to cramp my style.


Gigi said…
What a way to spend your Valentine's day! Lagare talaga. Trinoma and then Makati? But if I were in your shoes - I'd do the same thing...Anything we can for our kids... Ironic naman for me - I spent the Valentine's day morning GETTING ALL our stuff from our home in Paranaque... It was a tough day for me - good thing Sky was there at the end of the day to make it all worthwhile.

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