10:33 AM

by John Gied Calpotura (Flash Fiction)

Marcus Fernandez fished out his phone from his pocket. It was 10:32 AM. Damn those jeepney drivers who had picked up pretty girls and ignored him. He was late. Might as well skip first period.

Clutching three books against his chest, Marcus continued walking, and when he passed by a coffee shop, he contemplated if he should go inside. He wasn’t thirsty or anything; he was just—

His brain stopped working for a moment. His breath shortened. He didn’t believe in love at first sight; God, that idea was ridiculous. What he felt right now was not love. It was just attraction. Inside the café, near a hanging flower pot, sat a boy with jet-black hair and piercing eyes behind a pair of glasses. Marcus couldn’t understand what it meant, but there was a click.

The boy behind the glass pane was with a pretty fair-skinned girl, and he was laughing at something she had said. Maybe it was his girlfriend. She had to be. Marcus’s brain was screaming for him to go inside, to make the other boy see him, but Marcus put the idea down.

He’d had enough of risking. He was broken enough from the risks he had taken before, false hopes he had clung to dearly, cut without hesitation. So he shook his head. He took a deep breath, took one last glance at the handsome boy, and walked away, forgetting the boy that might change his future.

Ten years since that day, sitting alone in the same café with a laptop on a table, Leo Rupert Romulo is exhausted. Leo looks outside the window, remembering a certain day. He was with his sister—they were having a sibling time—when he caught a boy staring at him for a second before walking away. The boy had curly black hair and deep-set eyes.

Leo wanted to follow the boy but put the idea down, not wanting to make a fool of himself for risking. But since that day, the boy has not faded away from Leo’s mind, haunting him from dream to dream, a face he would always remember. But it’s done, so Leo takes a deep breath, shakes his head, and begins typing the report he has to submit at work, done with remembering the boy that might have changed his past.