“So do you have everything planned out for this weekend? You haven’t forgotten it’s Valentine’s day have you?”
“How could I forget? It’s all over every store window and advertisement.” They both shook forward as the train stuttered to a halt.
“So… what are you getting for Lu?”
“Flowers? You’d better be planning more than that. How long have the two of you been together now?”
“Six years.” They both stepped back against the window as people squeezed on and off the train.
“See? After six years you should be giving her some jewelry. Like, I don’t know, a ring maybe?”
“Nah. We’ve talked about marriage. It is just not a good time for that right now. Her mom really needs her at home because she is sick a lot. And I need to be at my house to help out with Jeremy.”
“How’s he doing, by the way?”
“He’s still taking treatments, and they make him really weak. The doctors won’t know if it’s working until his next scan in March. It’s really tough on mom and dad.”
“I can imagine. So do you think you and Lu will ever get married?”
“Of course. It will happen in time.”
“Well, you better plan something more than flowers if you want to make it that long.”
“Mga bulaklak. It sounds more romantic in Tagalog.” The train lurched again.
“Whatever you say, but I’m just saying you’d better be taking her out somewhere nice and have something more than flowers. This is my stop, catch you later.”
“So this weekend Marc and I are giving each other matching watches and then going to Subic for the weekend. It’s going to be so much fun!”
“I told Randy I wanted to go to Tagaytay, but I doubt he planned it. We’ll probably just go out to eat and see a movie. He’s so predictable like that.”
“What about you, Lu? What are you hoping for this weekend?”
“Ok, yeah, and what else? You guys have been together for a while now.”
“It doesn’t matter. As long as he gets me flowers.” Lu looked down at the floor.
“Girl, we need to talk. If he doesn’t get you something more than flowers then you need to start looking again.”
“It’s ok. We’re saving our money for when we get married.”
“If Randy only gave me flowers for Valentine’s Day, there wouldn’t be any talk of marriage.” Mary Ann wagged her finger as she spoke.
“Is your mom doing ok?”
“Yeah. She’s doing better today. But I need to be back by nine to check on her. Sorry.”
“It’s ok. We’ll take a cab all the way so it is faster.”
“Where are we going?”
“Rizal Park.” He realized it sounded as much like a question as a statement.
Once at the park, they found a place to sit near the fountain.
“The fountain is so beautiful at night.”
“So are you.”
They both blushed.
“I brought some food that Ate made for us,” he said reaching into this backpack. “You seemed to like her pancit palabok.”
“Oh, yes! That is one of my favorites.”
He brought out a container and two spoons and forks.
“Do you remember our first Valentine’s Day together?”
She looked at him suspiciously. “Yeah? So what did we do?”
“We went a movie. It was packed!”
“Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cinema so crowded. Do you remember the name of the movie?”
“Uh.” He took a bite of food to give more time to think. “No. I don’t.” She was chewing, but she still had her eyebrows raised.
She paused even after she finished chewing. “Yeah, me either.”
“Whew! I thought I had failed the test.”
“No. The test is whether or not you remember what you told me that night after dinner.”
He smiled. “Ha ha! I remember when we were leaving the dinner, there was a lady selling flowers outside. I bought you some, even though they didn’t look all that great.”
“Mga bulalak. You said you preferred the Tagalog word. I thought they were perfect. They were roses.”
“They were puny and starting to wilt.”
“Maybe a little, but I loved them. But do you remember what you told me?”
He nodded his head as he turned back toward the fountain. “I said I would buy you some every Valentine’s Day for the rest of your life.” He watched her face light up as he said it. He loved to see her smile like that.
“But wouldn’t you rather have something else too?”
“When you give me flowers, you give me something else too.”
“When you give me flowers, I see more than just flowers. I see that you are a man of your word. I see that you love me. And I am able to believe you when you say you’ll always be there for me. All of those are the things that I really want.”
“All of that from one little gift?” He reached into his backpack again as he spoke.
“Do you want to guess what I bought you this year?”
He pulled his arm out of his backpack. “Mga bulaklak.”