“It would not be fair, son.”

All his life, he discussed nothing so serious with his parents than that moment.

Theirs was a relationship envied by other people. Like a caricature of a zany family, horsing around a lot, they were often seen as a group without seriousness in living, that their daily problems could go away with rounds of jolly laughter.

Aling Tina kept her voice low. She needed to sound calm and convincing.

“Who would want me?” Allen asked, scratching his head even though it was not itchy. Such actuation was more less a display of helplessness for his predicament. “Tell me, Ma!”

“I am a woman. I don’t want to be fooled. That’s more painful than an outright lie, I think.”

Allen expressed disbelief. He thought his mother would understand what he planned to do.

“I just wear the glasses,” he replied, insisting it was a harmless ploy.

“What do you say if she asks you why you wear them?”

“Son, your mother has a point,” Mang Tony added. “You’ll have to lie.”

“I’ll evade the subject for as long as I could,” he replied. “Once she accepted me, I’ll tell her the truth.”

“And you risk hurting her,” Aling Tina said. “What if she breaks up with you after that?”

Allen stood up and walked around the kitchen, thinking of an answer to his mother’s valid query. He knew she thought of his well-being first than being correct with her assumption.

“I’ll cross the bridge when I get there,” he replied lamely. It was not enough but he hoped he could pull it off when the time came.

Mang Tony could sense his wife’s concentrated gaze toward him, silently nagging him to say something good to motivate their son into better judgment.

“I won’t tell you it would be easy to approach a girl as you are,” he began, choosing his words carefully not to sound hopeless for his son’s sake, “but that’s the surest way to show your honest intentions. Your sincerest message could overcome anything if she gives you a chance.”

“She looks me in the eyes. Game over.” Allen said it too succinctly not to be misunderstood.

Aling Tina held her son’s arm, providing him the motherly affection he badly needed. If she could only think of a way to dissuade him from getting mixed up in a complex situation he was liable to hurt himself with in the end, she would do so. At that instant, she feared Allen would go for it with or without their blessing.

“You are old enough to decide for yourself, son. You asked us what we think and we responded.”

“I think I need to be alone for a while.” he said, nodding to his parents as a sign of gratitude. “Like you said, I am free to decide.”

He went back to the living room, leaving his parents unable to discern what he planned to do. Turning the TV on to ease the confusion in his mind, he weighed everything that was said, risks and consequences he could face.

Allen slumped in the sofa and wished for a sign from above.

Yes. He needed one.

(to be continued)



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