"Hmmm... eto na lang?" Edgar asked, pointing to the menu. "Parang masarap to. Tsaka madami servings."
I smiled at the waitress. I grabbed Edgar's hand and squeezed. "Kahit anong gusto ng baby ko." Th waitress smiled at us. "Three years na kami," I told her proudly. I felt Edgar squeeze my hand back.
The waitress went to get place our orders. Left alone, I moved in closer to Edgar, my client for the night. He's a UP graduate, he keeps a blog about movies and his social commentaries. He is quite good looking, and would be more so if he could lose some weight. His eyes are brown in a shade that would get you wondering about his lineage. Whereas I am a hairy mestizo, he is a smooth one. Probably have Chinese in him that he doesn't know of. He makes it a point not to laugh in public.
"Happy three years, baby," I whispered in his ears.
He placed his forehead on my shoulder. He stayed that way for several seconds, not saying anything, not doing anything else.
Finally: "Three years," he repeated. The lamp hanging over our table seemed brighter in the reflection in his eyes.
"So, what... you were with him that long, or has he been gone that long?" I asked. I instantly regretted it. It was one of those rare moments when I break out of character, and reveal my true personality. It's a big deal breaker for clients to realize that they were actually dealing with a real person; most of us enjoy the pleasure of a doll's company: faceless, formless, blank enough for us to draw into them the faces of those we wish to hold us.
Edgar was no exception.
The waitress came back. Edgar asked to have water served then.
Edgar looked at me. "Don't psychoanalyze me, *****," he said, using my real name, the one he knew me by when we were classmates in a general subject. "That's not what I'm paying you for."
"You're paying me to celebrate three happy years of being together with a man who isn't here anymore," I told him.
"It's none of your business."
I backed down. "You're right. I'm sorry. I was out of line." The enchantment was broken. We have gone beyond the established rules of client-escort relations. Even if he's someone I've known for a long time, I shouldn't have said anything.
I took his hand again.
"It's none of my business, yes," I said. "But three years is quite some time, and whatever it is, a story three-year long deserves to be told. You owe it to him. You owe it to yourself."
And he told me.