Pakipot daw ako.

I didn’t know what it meant. It was a strange new word that I’ve never heard before.

With my not so vast vocabulary in Filipino I had assume that this word PAKIPOT is a mix of: PAKI + IPOT= Pakipot, meaning Please poop.

I rationed that it means, “Shit ka.” Pakipot was just another way of saying it.

When I went home, I had asked my yaya what it meant. See my yaya is 19 years old and she acts 45. She has these weird explanations about why the world is really round or why we have our periods. Call it superstition, but I call it profound.

“Yaya, ano ibig sabihin ng Pakipot?”

I asked her when I was having dinner with another profound philosopher, my nanay. In an instant, my yaya, Anne, had turned around to face me and explained to me what it meant:

“Ma’am, ang pakipot is like you know they are you know giving you pansin, sign or anything but you act shy pa pero you want naman. Like that.”

It was hard to understand her Manny Pacquiao English but I kind of gotten the idea.

I was simply pa-hard to get.

As my yaya continued to explain further, she said that pakipot people are those who won’t admit their real feelings even though it’s quite apparent. Some pakipot people appear to be “Feeling” because they seem to be liked the chase and attention way too much. She also said that these people are also like torpe people, the type of men who doesn’t want to make a move because they are shy, prideful, or afraid of rejection.

I asked my best friend, Paolo, to explain further. He was one of the few men I really like talking to because he was straightforward and probably, a walking encyclopedia.

I had called him up and he explained to me with textbook accuracy that pakipot have numerous meanings. Pakipot can be used in a sentence wherein someone is offering you a candy or piece of an item and when you say no, they would say pakipot, assuming you really would like some but you’re too shy or embarassed to do so. When people say pakipot with regards to boys, it means that a man is already trying his best to show his feelings about you but you ignore it, play dumb, or deny how you feel about him.

When he had asked why, I told him a friend of mine told me that I was with one boy I liked, who was already making “suyo” me. It made him laugh and say:

“You’ve always been like that, even with me.”

You see Paolo had courted me a total of 7 times. Once when I was 11, twice when I was 13 and thrice when I was 15, and I finally gave in when I was 17. He was actually my very first boyfriend. It lasted for a couple of months until he moved to London to study and so on.

If there was this guy who knew everything about me, it would be him.

Despite the fact that he has met none of my friends in neither high school nor college because he was in and out of the country, he is updated. He knows about my heart aches and heart breaks. He seemingly has this unique ability to call me just in time. He knows my favorite food. He knows how I would react to something. He knows how many times I say, “tawang tawa ako.” He knows when I’m about to cry in a movie. He knows me all too well- better than myself.

“You know when we were young; you really gave me a hard time. You were my best friend and I assumed that you would say yes but I had to wait for 6 years to get an answer. Talk about Pakipot.”

I liked Paolo. Don’t get me wrong. He is by far the best-looking guy I know- very good combination of Spanish, Irish, Filipino and Chinese. He has an awesome ride, a beautiful home and a very nice big ass flat screen TV. He is smart- graduated at 19 and now 24, working on his Ph.d. He is confident and speaks his mind. He dresses like a movie star. He earns his own paycheck as well as pay for his own expenses since he was 17- even if his dad is a rich folk. He has always been “malambing.” He has always been caring. He has always spoiled me. He has always been romantic. He has always been a good listener. It didn’t matter whether I was a big fat ugly blob or a very pretty blob. He always had the outmost patience for me and his understanding is supreme. He really is all that and more.

There were times people teased us as a “match made in heaven,” because we were born on the same date, same hour and same day, just three years apart. To make it cute, when he turned 21, I turned 18. Our parents had already talked about our grandchildren when we were toddlers. His family was my family and likewise. He taught me how to sing, dance, play the piano, basketball, soccer and many more. He fixed my hair when it was messy. He played girly games with me. He bought my napkin when I ran out. He gave me my first kiss.

But I never did like him more than a best friend and he knows that. Moreover, I don’t think he deserved the very complicated unpredictable me. He deserved way better.

“I think the whole point why you’re pakipot, Florence, is that you think men don’t like you. You’re afraid if you believe it, you’re one big air head. That if ever you were wrong, you’ll end up more broken than usual.”

As he laughed over the phone, I felt utter hatred for him because he knew me. I don’t like expectations- I despise it. I’ve learned my lesson that expectations are rarely met- when they are, it’s too late or unexpected. I decided to only expect when things are calculated, studied or explained. Gut feelings are rare and if I do use them, it’s for shallow things like fashion sense and such.

My intuitions are mostly right but often it gets ahead of me that I assume too much so I don’t trust it. My feelings are proportionate to my expectations, so I don’t like expecting meaning- I don’t want to feel sad and bitter when they’re not met. I have to be sure- and that’s that.

“You know Florence, when a guy asked you out, you had to call me abroad to help you figure out if he liked you. What’s even crazier is that it was my brother. Talk about sensitive to my feelings.”

“Okay- so I’m mean. Whatev, Paolo. Bye.”

I hanged up the phone. It was about 10 pm. I couldn’t stop thinking how I am pakipot. I thought about times I thought some guys liked me but I won’t believe it until I hear it. It’s crazy- I’m like that. It’s different with other things- trust me but when it comes to men, it’s totally something else.

Put it on a silver platter and I still won’t get it. I still go dilly dally with my day because I don’t want to be wrong. It’s not that I’m PAKIPOT, it’s just that I’m really scared to expect something that might not even be there. I know me. When I get all hyped up about something, I fall in love with it, want it and when it never happens, I keep thinking on why and yes, I get more broken than usual.

It was one of those nights that caused me even deeper eye bags, not to mention lack of sleep because I kept thinking. My books were all scattered on behavior, psychology, women, men and relationships. It took me hours before I took a shower. My stuff for work were all scattered on the floor. I didn’t even prepare what to wear tomorrow. I haven’t checked in on my mom- nor have I exercised.

It was going to be a long night.

The doorbell rang a quarter past midnight and it was quite unexpected. My mother who was awake at that time- waiting for me to be done thinking- had leaped out from her room, peaked at me and ran downstairs. I knew something was up. Anne, my yaya, who was downstairs, reading Twilight, had opened the door then squealed.

It was no other than Paolo.

“Sir Paolo! Ang handsome you! Para kang si Edward Coleng!” Anne, making “bola” as usual.

“Paolo, anong dala mo sa akin?” My mom had asked who was used to him bringing something for her.

He lives in San Juan, about 45 minutes or with traffic, 3 hours away from me. He usually gets out of work at 7, heads to the gym at 8, goes home at 10 and sleeps at around 11 on Mondays to Thursdays. I wondering what he was doing here at my house.

“FLORENCE ABIGAIL LAUREANO EDRALIN! How are you doing? Did you get why you’re pakipot or explain Pakipotism?”

I looked at him with a very big smirk on my face. He had brought me a caramel sundae, complete with my cheeseburger meal, upsized, as well as 2 boxes of chicken nuggets. It was my favorite stay-up-all- night food. He sat down beside me quietly as he read my notes.

“You actually have to explain why you’re pakipot with theories and all? Sometimes Abigail, I don’t understand why you have to think too much when things are just right in front of you.”

As he watched me eat and munch my food away, my mother came in, all smiles with her Cappucino from Starbucks that Paolo brought, and said:

“Paolo, torpe ka pa rin ba? Di ba sabi mo pag hiwalay na sila, tatry mo na ulit.”

Paolo’s face, at the moment, was filled with horror. He was shocked. My mom does that. It’s not that she wants to embarrass you, she just is candid. She doesn’t control or seem to filter out what comes out of her mouth- and I think Paolo forgot that.

He couldn’t look me in the eye, flustered at the sight of my mother waiting for an answer, and then, he bailed.

“Tita, I think I have to go home. It’s late na oh. Layo pa bahay ko. Abs, you stop that and sleep now. You have work and you have to look great and stuff.”

He stood up and picked up my books. He took my low batt phone and charged it. He handed me the make-up remover and forced me to do it. He took off my earrings, prepared my pajamas and demanded me to go straight to the shower (HAHA).

When I was done, I found him walking towards his car. I chased after him, and bid him goodnight in which he got mad because I might be “hamogan.” He dragged me all the way up to my room and told me to stay “like a dog.” After a few minutes, he went back into the room and sat in front of me.

I joked and panted like a dog. He laughed and then moved beside me. I leaned on his chest and somehow tears started to fall. I guess his presence made me feel that it’s okay to be weak and not be strong all the time. I told him it’s been hard lately. He hugged me tight and comb through my hair.

“Everything’s going to be alright. I promise.”

I woke up a couple of hours later to my mother’s face. She told me that Paolo had left at 4 am. He waited until I fell asleep and carried me to her room, where I usually stay so my mom won’t get nightmares.

“I still think he loves you, Anak.”

“You think so? He’s always been like that mom.”

“Then he has always loved you. You’re so pakipot pa, you know naman.”

“I have other friends as sweet like Erwin and Junee, Ma. No big deal.”

“They’re called gentleman or who knows, they might have a thing for you. But Paolo loves you.”

“Ma- he has a gazillion of girls he goes out with.”

“Well does this gazillion girl have Paolo driving all the way here just to see you snore?”

Established way back in 1991.

Established way back in 1991.