5. Kyle Simoun- First Sight



I didn’t want to go. But father insists that I come with him to visit a friend. I’m not in the mood for family gatherings right now. There’s a lot that’s been bothering me. Not the right mood for mingling with others. I walk behind my father and keep my head low. My father greets Mrs. Joaquin first shaking her hands and thanking her for inviting us and then Mr. Joaquin greets and laughs, his voice echoing all through the room. She then walks towards me and holds me by my shoulder and leads me the way to the table. I smile weakly. She pulls a seat for me. Now I lift my head up and I find myself sitting beside a girl, I think about my age, with her hair braided to the side, a bit messy, and wearing a casual skirt, plain shirt and a pair of sneakers. And then I look at myself, wearing thousands of worth night blue coat and slacks with leather shoes. Am I over dressed? I look at the rest of the family. The girl in front of me is wearing a decent looking pink dress with lace around her collar and her hair in an up do. No question for Mr. and Mrs. Joaquin for they wear their best all the time. I think I’m not. The girl transfers seat giving it to my father who now seats next to Mrs. Joaquin, and then her. Wait. I thought Mr. and Mrs. Joaquin only have two children? A boy and a girl. Who’s this other girl? I know that this girl beside me is not the one because I heard the girl across me call Mrs. Joaquin mom. I steal a glance at her. She’s now playing with the golden spoon on the soup drawing circles in it. I couldn’t see her face clearly. Her long bangs cover the side of her face. Mrs. Joaquin starts to introduce us to each other.

“These are my children, Matt and Jane.” She waves her hand in front of her pointing to the man sitting next to Mr. Joaquin and then to the girl sitting across me. I guessed right. “Matt, Jane, this is Kyle, son of Mr. Simoun.” I nod my head to each of them and smile. They do the same.

“And this is Larra. She’s been our friend since she was a child. She’s like our daughter now.”

I see father nods to her and smiles. She nods to him too. Then she turns her head slightly towards me and nods. I now see a part of her face. I suddenly feel tingling electricity shot through my spine. I disregard the uncomfortable feeling. We now start eating. Only Mr. and Mrs. Joaquin and my father are the only ones talking. They talk about business and etcetera. I busy myself with eating. The food’s really delightful. I want to ask who their chef is but I don’t want to interrupt. After the appetizer, the maids start to serve steak. I thank her as she puts a plate I front of me. I start slicing it to pieces. And I take a slice with my fork and slide it slowly into my mouth. Wow. I think that’s one of the best steaks I’ve ever tasted in my life. I smile to myself.

“You liked the steak, Kyle?” I stop slicing and look up.

“Yes Mrs. Joaquin. It is very delicious. Give my compliments to the chef.” I say.

“Oh.” She holds her palms on her chest. “Well, thank you. I’m very glad that you like my cooking.” She smiles brightly. I smile back. She’s the one who cooked this. Amazing.

“I heard you’re getting married soon, Kyle?” Mr. Joaquin asks. I feel my stomach turn and my appetite are all gone. I put my fork down slowly and look at him calmly. I breathe in slowly.

“Uh…Yes.” I say to him. “I think.” Now I say to myself.

“Who’s the lucky girl?” He says excitedly. I don’t want to answer that because I don’t think you can call this situation being lucky. I look at father. I throw him a look saying that he should answer the question. He pick up quickly.

“He’s the daughter of one of my close friends that owns large malls across the country.” He explains.

“Oh. Well that’s good. When’s the wedding?”

“We haven’t planned that yet.” I interrupt. “Both families are still very busy.”

“Ah. Yes, very busy. But when we figure out when will the wedding be, I’d be expecting to see you and your family there?” My father says to Mr. Joaquin.

“Of course, of course. We’ll sure be there.” He smiles, showing his golden tooth on the side of his mouth.

The meal went fine. No more conversations about the wedding. No one asked further about it and I’m glad. We’re now sitting in their very wide veranda with a vast and green meadow on the view. We’re having tea. The older ones gather around the small white, round and steal table with its steal chairs designed intricately. The rest of us Matt, Larra, Jane and I are by the stairs entering the meadow. Matt’s sitting on the marble banister. Larra leans beside him. Jane and I stand across them. We’re silent. I mean, I’m just silent. Matt and Larra are talking. Jane butts in every now and then. They try to include me in their conversations but I pull away. I’d rather just listen right now. I notice that this girl in front of me, Larra, has been acting strange every time I look at her or every time we get close to each other. It’s like she’s repelling automatically every time I move closer. We’re like magnets with the same charge. Do I smell bad? She doesn’t even look at me for more than a second. I now look at her, studying her. She’s very conscious with me around. I try to remember if we met somewhere before but I think not. Does she know me?

My father and I leave before dinner. Mrs. Joaquin offers to join them but my father, fortunately, declines. The driver fetches us on time. We sit at the back seat a meter away from each other. This silence is not new to me. I think it has become the normal thing now. We just don’t talk. But then he breaks it.

“Why do you have to be so ill-mannered, Kyle?” he says without looking at me.

“How was I ill-mannered?” I say with my voice a pitch higher than usual.

“Why did you give an impression to them that you’re not into the wedding? I even have to answer for you.”

“I’m not into the wedding. You’re the only one who wants it and your friend that loves your money more than you.” I can feel now his eyes piercing through me. I don’t dare to look.

“This is for your own good. Claire is beautiful, kind and she comes from a good family. What more can you ask for a girl?”

“I don’t like her. She’s materialistic, superficial and she cries when her nail polish gets a scratch.” I say. My voice gets louder. I’m starting to get mad. He takes a deep breath.

“We’ve talked about this. And you can’t change anything about it. It’s fixed.”

“Can’t you just let me decide for my life just once?!” I’m now mad. “You’ve been telling me what to do. When you said I should get home schooled, I agreed. When you said I’d go to the States for college, I did. When you said I’d be working in your company, I did. Can’t you just let me go this once?” I say, mad, with a hint of pleading in my voice.

“It’s our company, Kyle. Our company. Who do you expect I’d leave it to when I die?”

“I get that, dad. I do. But does it include in the criteria in becoming Lou Amore Hotels’ president to marry someone that I don’t…even…love?” I feel my stomach turn when the word love came out from my mouth. My father laughs now…sarcastically.

Love?  You expect to find love despite your busy schedule? You’ll have no time for that. I did the work for you. You’re marrying Claire.” He says firmly. And then he laughs again. “Love…”

I guess I wouldn’t find true love in this lifetime. I start to give up the thought of actually finding someone that you’d never get sick of even when you’re together every day for the rest of your life. That’s what my mother said when I was young, months before she died. She said that when I grow up, I should not play with a girl’s heart. I must think of her always when I date a girl. To treat that girl as I treat her. I follow that. She also said that when I find that girl, I’d know. Our hearts will know. Time slows down and everything makes sense. And the way that we’ll look at each other would be magic and people would be left to wonder. It would feel like we’re the only ones in this world. But I don’t feel that with Claire. I took Claire to a few dates, trying and convincing myself that I could marry her and that I could actually get to like her. But I still don’t. She’s not even my kind of girl. I guess I should stop worrying about that now because there’s no stopping this wedding. When my father decides, it’ll be hard to bend.








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