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Friday, May 24, 2024

LOVE FOR SALE (Rain – Chinese Zodiac Sign, RAT) by Geraldine Monzon (translated from Tagalog)

“RIGOOOOOOO!”

Rain’s incredibly loud shout nearly shattered Rigo’s eardrums. Both were twenty-two.

“Rain, what’s your problem? Can’t you see I’m sleeping?”

“I saw you, that’s why I’m waking you up, remember you said you’d accompany me to shop for goods at Divisoria?”

Rigo scratched his head.

“Hold on, bestie, look at the time, it’s five in the morning, the vendors there are still asleep!”

“What sleep? They operate 24/7 there, and if we delay, all the good stuff will be gone, come on, get up!” Rain urged, smacking her friend with a pillow.

“Alright, alright, I’ll just grab some coffee, then I’m coming.”

Rain rolled her eyes at the guy before leaving his room. Enter Aling Nora (Rigo’s mom).

“Next time, don’t let that girl disturb my sleep in my room,” Rigo grumbled.

“Next time, don’t make promises to your best friend. Alright, get up, I’ve already made coffee for you.”

At Divisoria.

Rain stopped walking and stared at the display of clothes at the closed boutique shop.

“Rigo, look at that, the dress I’ve been eyeing is on sale!”

“It’s on sale because nobody’s buying it, it’s been there forever, means it’s ugly and nobody likes it!”

“Really?”

“Yeah, come on, you might miss out on fresh veggies.”

As they walked, Rain still glanced back at the dress.

Rain sat on the sidewalk with her basket of vegetables for sale. There were eggplants, okra, water spinach, and whatnot. This was her gig during vacations, and the money earned was for her college fund. Rigo, on the other hand, had a side job at a fish market, hauling tubs of fish in Navotas. But only when he felt like it. They’d been close friends since elementary. Among the common girls in their area, Rain had an average face and a slender figure. Rigo had a good physique too, not from working but from his love for exercise. Truth be told, Rigo had a touch of laziness in him, opposite to Rain’s diligence.

One morning, Rain was surprised to see the vendors scatter.

“Dang it, here they come again!” Rain muttered to herself.

She was referring to the cops who apprehended the vendors. Rain was caught in the fray, so she was among those sellers playing cat and mouse with the cops.

Then she tripped over a rope. She dropped a basket of goods. Luckily, she held onto a car, or she would’ve fallen flat on the concrete. The car window rolled down, revealing the face of a handsome guy.

“You need help?”

Rain was stunned. She didn’t answer right away. The guy waited, so she extended her hand.

“Th-Thanks…”

“By the way, I’m Darrell. And you are?”

“Rain…”

Rain hesitated to shake hands with him, but he waited, so she did.

Rigo was furious when he found out.

“What, you hid in a car, and you were with a guy you didn’t even know?”

Rain sat on the steps of their house.

“I’m grateful someone showed kindness and helped me.”

“But what if he was a bad guy?”

“But he wasn’t, and I didn’t have a choice, if I didn’t get into his car, I might still be in jail now, waiting for my mom to bail me out.”

Rigo’s mom approached them.

“Alright, enough arguing, let’s have a snack.”

While having snacks, Rain grabbed the Horoscope Magazine and read her fortune.

“Rat – You’re looking elsewhere, but the one who truly loves you is right beside you. You will be the one to make them fall in love and change their ways… hmm.”

Rain glanced at Rigo.

“Hey, take it easy with the bread, you’re about to choke, have some juice.”

“You’re making me laugh, huh?” Rigo teased.

The friendship between Rain and Darrell began, and Rain also started hoping for a fairy tale.

Rigo bumped into Rain as she returned from selling.

“Are you selling fruits now?”

“No, Darrell gave them to me, he passed by my stall earlier. And you know what, he said he’ll help me get a spot inside the market so that the police won’t bother me!”

“What? Do you know how expensive those spots are?”

“I do, that’s why he’s helping me, and I’ll just pay him back whenever I can.”

Rigo frowned.

“Rain, it’s better if you stay away from Darrell, my gut feeling tells me something’s not right!”

“Oh, maybe you’re just jealous because I have a new handsome, rich, and super nice friend!”

“I don’t know about you!” Rigo said before turning away from his friend.

The friendship between Darrell and Rain lasted. Until one day. They were sitting side by side on the grass in a park.

“Rain, there’s something I want to tell you…”

“What is it?”

“Is it okay if…”

Deep inside, Rain was thrilled. She felt like she knew what the guy was about to say. Just like what she saw in movies and on TV. The guy was about to confess his love for her. That’s why she was so nervous.

“Is it okay if I… invite my girlfriend to get married?”

“I-I’m sorry, you have a girlfriend?”

“Actually, she’s my ex, and we just got back together a week ago… I’m just afraid of losing her again, so I want to marry her.”

Rain was disappointed. She had a lot to say, but she seemed speechless due to the pain she felt.

Rigo was surprised when he saw Rain holding a cardboard with “for sale” written on it while sitting on the stairs.

“What’s that?”

“I found it in front of the boutique, the dress I wanted to buy was already sold…”

“Why did you pick it up then?”

“Just because, I thought, maybe love… or the heart… can be sold too… so it won’t hurt anymore… so when someone else buys it, you won’t get hurt again… but will anyone buy my love, you said only the unsellable are tagged for sale? Because they’re ugly…”

Rigo took the cardboard from Rain.

“I’ll buy it, but can I get a discount?”

Rain smiled but rolled her eyes at the guy.

Rigo held Rain’s hand.

“Best friend, do you remember your horoscope, about looking elsewhere but the one who truly loves you is right beside you? That you will make them fall in love and change their ways?”

“Y-Yes, I remember…”

“That’s me… and I’m willing to prove it to you… I’ll change for you… and do you know what my Chinese zodiac is?”

“No.”

“Rat, and Ox is compatible with Rat. Just like you and me.”

Rain was surprised.

It was a long courtship before Rain gave her sweet yes to Rigo.

As the vendors scattered on the street again, Rigo grabbed Rain’s basket and held her hand while running away from the cops.

“Rain, this is the last time you’re running away from the cops!”

“Why?”

“Because I already talked to Aling Sita for you to take her spot in the market, in exchange for your help with her goods too.”

“Really?”

“Yes, and I also got a job at a fast food joint, and I’m going back to school this coming semester.”

“Wow, you’re impressive!”

As they distanced themselves, they rested in a waiting shed. Rigo still hadn’t let go of Rain’s hand. Suddenly, heavy rain poured down.

“Rigo, why haven’t you let go of my hand yet?”

“I have no intention of letting go of your hand, especially when it’s raining.”

“That’s cheesy, haha!” Rain said, leaning her head on Rigo’s shoulder.

Rat and Ox – They could be together for a long time and happily under the matrimony of marriage because they are compatible with each other.

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