…are the ones not caught on video. That I know of.
I walked towards him for the photo op, with my phone-camera in my hand but not daring to take footage. Not just because it’s against the rules (yeah, me and my stupid habit of following the rules) but because I just wanted to stare at his face. This is one of the rare times that I’ll get to see him up close without risking my life and limb so I wanted to savor every moment instead of focusing on other things like sneaking in a selfie or two.
He saw my friend first, for she was ahead of me in the queue. Then I saw his eyes averting to the person behind her, which was me. His face changed from a simple smile to one where his eyes disappeared and his dimple sunk deeper. He slapped the table, covered his face with his arm and then extended his arms to give us a beso. His face was a mixture of happiness and… was that relief that I saw? Like, “omigad, you’re here!” Which is totally weird, because… shouldn’t it be US who are supposed to react that way? After the beso, we took our places in the photo op while he greeted the other three people in the group. Then he turned to me (I stood behind him) and asked a question. THE question. I stared back at him, like this: Then I gave him the straight answer to his question. His reply was a follow-up question, coupled with the most bewildered face like he was flooded with more questions on his head. Kinda like this – but with the eyebrow lowered.
On the corner of my eye, I saw the photographer looking utterly frustrated because, hello, photo op! She was signaling him to face the camera. So we went on with the photo op with my friend still muttering out the corner of her mouth like a ventriloquist to answer his questions. After we’re done, he still wanted to continue the conversation but unfortunately, we had to go. I just told him, “someday, we’ll talk about this some more.”
Coming down the mini-stage, we chanced upon his mother-figure who asked us the very same question that he asked. And we gave her the same answer.
As we were leaving the premises, I only have one thought in my mind: I’m fine. We’re fine.