The First Time

We’re not stupid.(Most of the time.)

We know what’s right and wrong. We know what are the things that we can and cannot do. We know the difference.

Bad = thou shalt not do.

But when interest joins forces with opportunity…

What do we do?

“Just this once.”

It’s okay to indulge ourselves. Just this once.

Is it?

Maybe. How could that one single time possibly harm us?

Interest and opportunity. Undisputed World Tag-Team Champions.

As long as you’re interested, and there’s opportunity, what’s to say that that “just this one time” wouldn’t turn out to be “just this first time”?

What’s to say that you wouldn’t want a second helping, especially if you already know how good it is?

As long as the opportunity is still there… and you still want it…

All avalanches start with the first trickle of loose snow.

All “hard habits to break” start with the first indulgence.

As long as interest and opportunity are there, “this one time” always has the potential to turn out as “the first time”.

And you’ll always have the potential to keep saying “just this second time”, “just this third time”, “just this fourth time”…

We’re not stupid. I’m sure we all get the picture.

To hell with this…

A wild churning, wilder than the maelstrom where the epic battle between the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman happened in the blockbuster movie Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, raged in my stomach as I emerged from the shower last Wednesday morning. What followed was (pardon the graphic content) an eruption of gastric juices mixed with small bits of eggs, danggit and fried rice from my mouth. Then queasiness and stomach ache joined the gross parade, leading me to think that if I was my wife, I’d be jumping for joy. But no, I’m the husband, so I couldn’t be pregnant.

Consulting a doctor later that day, I was told that it was either due to a viral stomach infection or over-fatigue. Since the vomit-fest didn’t persist but my jelly legs did, I bet on the latter.

Last Friday, it was migraine – splitting headache, nausea, inability to look at anything without your head feeling like it’s in a vice-grip. Not the I-have-to-excuse-myself-from-work migraine. I know because even though I feel like a victim of Jack the Meat-grinder, I still reported for work.

Am I starting to sound like a martyr? I assure you that I’m not trying. It’s simply that bad at work. Wanna see how bad? Here:

– Almost everyday I get out of work unable to remember where I parked my car

– Yesterday, while in my room I was wondering when’s the next time that I’ll see my room with sunshine streaming through the window. Because I honestly don’t know.

– I could no longer trust an associate (the client PM) because she has the ability to smugly look everyone in the eye while lying through her teeth, knowing full well that everyone knows she’s lying (this person does a lot of damage to the brain and she doesn’t have the nerve or the professional integrity to own up to her mistakes)

– I no longer feel alarmed whenever I receive an email-full of expletives and insults from the client manager

– No other manager, I repeat, NO OTHER MANAGER wants to be involved in any account by this client

– Some of my subordinates suffer nosebleeds, get hospitalized, or miscarry because they’ve been working too hard and too much

– The others start thinking about consulting the DOLE for laws imposing too much work (and they have a point in doing this)

– I’ve tried several weight-loss techniques, from weight-training to boxing, for years, almost to no avail. In two months here I’ve lost more weight than anyone would have lost with a strictly-followed South Beach diet or typhoid fever

– Seeing my plight, the manager I replaced could only shake his head in sympathy and say “Don’t say I didn’t warn you”

– Why do I have a job here in the first place? Above-mentioned manager was removed from the project by the client because he kept pushing back on obscenely unworkable schedules. I’m talking about projects with computed 40-or-so man-days that the client demands to be finished in one week.

– Why do you think my team is suffering from over-fatigue and losing babies and whatnot?

– And when I say “it’s not doable, you have to give us more time”, client says “If you can’t do the job I’ll find someone else who could.”

So I say…


Disclaimer: to those who know the company I work for (or used to now that I have submitted my resignation), it’s not the company itself that’s the problem. The company is actually good, with a nice location, good management, and some exceptionally great people to work with. The problem is with the client… really…


“Sir, baka ma-chorva tayo dyan sa endorsement.”

“Guys, cho-chorva na kami, gabi na eh.”

“Joy, chorvahin mo na, uploaded na siya.”

I hear this word every single freaking day ever since starting with my current job 2 months ago. It’s one of those really admirably peculiar words (and there aren’t very many) that instantly change meaning depending on the context of the sentence. And also one of those words that either sound amusing or annoying, depending on who’s saying it. Coming from my team members, it’s amusing. I guess I haven’t really heard anyone who’s thundered it out to the consequence of my getting annoyed, though. Well, maybe this one person I know, but I haven’t heard from her for a long time (and I say that as a good thing  )

It’s also one of those words that I know, given my age, I will never, ever find myself uttering. It’s not because I think it’s jolog (irony intended, ahahaha) or cheap or unbecoming. Just… inappropriate. I’m a 38-year old overweight unsightly geezer who elicits an automatic “po” from everyone younger than me by 1 year, so don’t you think it’s kinda weird if I say something like that?

This evening, we had to stay to cover for a blunder one of my people made. My guys and I allowed ourselves to take a few minutes break before diving into the grinder again. Then I finished my McDonald’s fried chicken, stood up, and said “Tara, chorvahin na natin ‘to.” The looks on my teammates’ faces were priceless.

Question: how could you tell when I’m overworked, staying too long in the office and spending too much time with my team? There’s your answer

We should all get a life, but sometimes we can’t

Working on a Saturday should no longer be a new thing if you’re into a field as demanding (and sometimes unforgiving) as information technology or software services. I’ve been in that business for 15 years now and I could say with confidence that I’ve had more than my fair share of weekend work. No big deal.

Problem is, working extended hours becomes a big deal when it becomes the norm instead of the exception. And no, this is not whining. This is lamenting on the plight of good people who are dedicated to their work but at the same time have lives outside of their work. Yes, some of us can be workaholics in the real meaning of the term, but that’s not saying that workaholism is a good thing. In the grinding fast lane of the corporate world, being a workaholic may be admirable, but only for people who, we probably could say need to get a life.

It’s no laughing matter when people are consistently made to work extended hours to the point where they could only talk to friends via instant messaging, only see their kids to tuck them in and their husbands or wives to kiss them goodnight, with the kiss being relegated to nothing more than a fleeting peck from someone who’s been up so late the person could hardly keep his/her eyes open. I wouldn’t call that a life, not by a long shot.

This week could probably be the last straw. I jumped on board a company with the group I’m handling already in the thick of a war against deadlines that had been going on for more than half a year. Interesting time to come into the picture, says my colleagues. At the time I thought it was said as a good thing. I was wrong. With the way the client gives us so-called “hard deadline” — to finish in one week or less (that’s the trend) enough work for a 50-man crew to take a month to finish under marginally reasonable estimates, I learned that my group had been working like horses in the most unforgiving timelines I have ever seen.

Like I said, I’ve been in software services for more than 15 years now, and in all that time, save some rare exceptions, the relationship between client and vendor has always been that a client presents a task and a vendor evaluates whether that task is doable with the given timeline and resources. If not, the vendor pushes back and proposes an alternative. Now here at my current workplace, the term “push back” is almost synonymous to eating live, 12-inches long irradiated Chernobyl earthworms as far as the clients are concerned. Which is the reason why my people have been working as if the office is the only place on earth where they could breathe oxygen. Of course, if they could have it their way, they’d rather spend Saturdays and Sundays with family and friends and relax even for just a bit. But the clients won’t have it. “We have a hard deadline” is their usual statement. Which doesn’t sound like a statement at all. Sounds more like a decree from a dark and angry god.

I’m pissed. I am royally and immutably pissed. I have never seen one sincere and heartfelt smile from my 24-strong group for several weeks now and that’s quickly making for the most hopelessly gloomy workplace I’ve seen. So a few days ago I decided to exercise my prerogative as manager. With the deadline that we have to meet today, the client agreed that they wouldn’t be pushing for additional work anymore to help us meet our commitment. They violated that agreement the next day with another task that required at least a week of work but they demanded we finish for two days. It took us three days, and set us back for that much with our original task for the week. So I sent a status report to the client management stressing that because of the additional work they gave us, our current deadline is now compromised. Of course, I have an action plan in place to make up for lost time, but that would require another working weekend for everyone. The client didn’t catch the part where I said I have a plan and simply told me that if I couldn’t get the job done, they’d find someone else who would.

There’s something I need to clarify because of this. Did they really hire me to manage? Because any manager could manage for only so much without having to resort to slave-driving. And right now that’s what I’m forced to do.

And I hate slave-driving.

Two days ago I felt myself choked up from seeing the exhausted and exasperated expressions on the faces of my people when I told them that again, we have to work overtime and weekends. I feel so sorry for them, but I couldn’t do anything about it. The client has released a statement that if we don’t meet this deadline, heads will roll.  If I get axed because of it, that’s fine, anyways I don’t think I could last in a job where I will be forced to treat my team like slaves and work them past their limit. But what weighs heavily on me is I couldn’t guarantee that my team will be spared. Most of them are parents already and they need this job.

Oh, and did I mention that I got this job because the manager that I replaced was axed for this very same issue?

Suckiest job ever. But I care about my team so I couldn’t leave just yet. Wish there’s something that could actually be done to alleviate their plight.

A true friend knows when you’re in trouble or doing something stupid

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. —Proverbs 27:6

Confession: Sometimes when a Christian friend tries to point out a mistake I made or is currently making, my first instinct is to lash out with an annoyed “Mind your own business”. I never did, if my memory serves me right. I’ve never been good at baseless confrontations. But I do remember falling silent and listening to my…

Check that. PRETENDING to listen as my friend finishes his self-righteous preaching of the ills and wrongs of what I’m doing. Inside, I’m really only counting the minutes, hoping for him to decide to stop so I could go on my merry way. In some of those, I actually made a memo to myself never to say things to that person again. Ever.

Seems right, doesn’t it? That person may be my friend, but my life is still mine to live, and if he wants to stay as my friend maybe he should start considering what part of my life he could and could not encroach in.

Until I encountered this Daily Bread article.


Never will I forget the rebuke I received from a friend when I was 17. He walked into the back of the butcher shop where I worked and saw me laughing at an indecent cartoon. He said he had admired my Christian character, and was surprised that I would laugh at something sinful and degrading. Instantly a wave of embarrassment swept over me. I shamefully admitted that I had sinned.

It’s not pleasant to be rebuked, nor is it easy to rebuke another person. So I can imagine that the apostle Paul didn’t like confronting Peter (Galatians 2:11). But he felt he had to, because Peter’s hypocritical behavior was hurtful and confusing to the Gentile converts at Antioch. Peter had freely eaten with them, but after some Jews from Jerusalem came to the Antioch church, he shunned the Gentiles, fearing the Jews’ disapproval. I imagine that he felt shame, but he apparently accepted the rebuke gracefully and changed his ways. He knew that Paul was a true friend who loved him. And in later years he referred to him as “our beloved brother Paul” (2 Peter 3:15).

If you must rebuke someone, do it gently. If you are rebuked, avoid an angry response. You may be getting a needed “faithful wound” from a friend.
 —Herbert Vander Lugt

A friend will gently say what’s true,
Although it may cause pain;
He’s really thinking of our good
And what we stand to gain. —D. De Haan

A true friend will put a finger on your faults without rubbing them in.


Well, not only did this teach me that a friend who makes me aware of my mistakes really cares about me, but also that if I’m a friend to someone, I should start doing the same.  A person who tells his friend to mind his own business when he gently admonishes about a mistake is like someone who gets angry at a flashlight because it showed him that he’s heading into a brick wall. On the other hand, if you like being with someone only because that person tells you what you want to hear, be careful. This “friend” is nothing more than a flashlight that doesn’t give you light. I.e. useless.

So if I tell you that you’re losing your way, it’s because (a) you are, and (b) I don’t want you to.


What do a tooth, a tattoo, and a friend have in common?

An excerpt from something I wish I had written. Wanna know why I love FFVIII so much? The way it deals with emotions and interpersonal relations are so real and life-like. Don’t believe me? Read on…


With a little help from the FH techs and a lot of prodding from Irvine, Selphie had pulled off the Garden Festival surprisingly well, considering that she’d had less than a day to do it. A stage had been erected next to the mayor’s house, and SeeDs and SeeD candidates had flocked out of Garden to join the party and dance to the music. Why Selphie had picked out an old-fashioned jig, Squall had no idea, but it sounded pretty good. She was just lucky that Quistis and Irvine could play the instruments she’d given them.Squall had never known that Zell could tap-dance.Rinoa was the one who’d dragged him out to the party. He’d meant to take advantage of the event to rest, but left to his own devices, he found himself getting restless. Even… bored.

That was when Rinoa had found him, dressed up for the party and coaxing for all she was worth. Even if he’d refused, she’d have pestered him until he’d agreed to put in an appearance. He let her drag him out to the concert. Irvine somehow managed to clear out the area near the stage, so that the two of them could sit in peace.

It quickly became clear that Rinoa had something more serious than the concert on her mind.

“What is it?” Squall finally asked, when it began to look like she’d be all night getting around to saying anything of importance.

“Umm,” she began hesitantly. “Well, it’s about your promotion.” She paused, not quite meeting his eyes, before venturing, “Things are gonna get real tough for you, huh?”

He didn’t want to think about that.

Something must have shown on his face – or else it was his silence that gave him away. “Squall, I’m sure there’ll be a lot of difficult things that you’ll have to deal with from now on. We were talking about that, and saying how you’ll probably try to handle everything on your own.”

I probably will, he thought, but kept that to himself.

Rinoa smiled, noting, “They know you too well. I do, too, although I haven’t been around you that long. Y’know, when you start thinking, you tend to frown like this…”

He’d hunched forward, propping his elbow against his knee and resting his chin on his hand. When he glanced aside, he realized she was mimicking his posture. He swiped a hand at her irritably, but she rolled nimbly backwards and hopped to her feet, laughing delightedly.

Oh, perfect. “I’m out of here,” he grumped, preparing to get back to his feet.

“Oh come on! I’m sorry!” she protested, making him hesitate. “But really, we were saying that…well… You can’t handle everything on your own.”

As she was saying this, she strolled casually around behind him, creeping up behind his back – and shoved him off the ledge he was sitting on, down onto the array of solar panels below. As he shot her a killing glare, she hopped down after him, meeting his inarticulate growl of frustration with a triumphant look.

“That’s it!” she exclaimed, holding out both hands in an almost pleading gesture. “Just let out anything! Anything… We want you to talk to us a little more. That’s all.”

When he tried to turn away, she followed him, persisting, “Y’know, if there’s anything you want to tell us, or anything we can do, don’t hesitate to let us know. I know it’s not easy, but I wish you would trust us and rely on us a little more.”

Squall couldn’t think of anything to say. Am I that untrusting…? he wondered to himself. Maybe I’m this way because I’m scared. Nothing lasts in this world.

It feels great to have friends who believe in you, and adults you can rely on. That’s why it’s so dangerous, especially if you become used to it. Someday you’re bound to lose everything. Everybody around you will be gone. Then what are you left with? Nothing. Nobody… It’s so miserable.

And it’s inevitable. It’s so hard to recover from something like that. I never ever want to deal with that again. I can’t. Even if it means being alone…

…for the rest of my life.

“What a night,” Rinoa mused cheerfully, breaking into Squall’s grim thoughts. “Great music… Good-looking guy… Not only is he good-looking, he’s the sweetest guy… a great listener. Right now, he’s seriously thinking about what I said. He’s shy and doesn’t say anything, but I know.” She turned to him now, smiling. “So, what do you think?” she asked brightly. “None of our business?”

Squall sighed, shaking his head. “I appreciate your concern,” he began. “But…”

“No ‘buts’!” she interrupted him sharply. “Just think about this. This might be the only time we’ll all be together. So, as long as we’re together, we might as well enjoy each other’s company and… just talk, right?”

“…Just for now, huh?” he muttered, a little sourly. “Forget it. I don’t want friends who won’t be around tomorrow.”

“Gosh, you’re such a pessimist,” Rinoa complained on a half-laugh. “There are no guarantees in the future. That’s why today, the time we have now, is important. Squall,” she insisted, “we wanna help you, as much as we can, for as long as we can. We all love you.”

He blinked at her, caught more than a little off-guard by this pronouncement.

“There,” she added, a little wryly, “I said it. Please don’t freak out. We just wanna live, y’know, live through this time with you, together.”She’d unbalanced him. He wasn’t sure what to think. “…Together…?” he echoed uncertainly, half to himself.

“Keep it in the back of your mind,” Rinoa told him gently. “Call on us whenever you need to. We’ll be waiting. Like I said, who knows what’s gonna happen in the future… but I have a feeling we’ll be together for a while.”

They were both quiet for some time, while cheerful music drifted in from overhead.

“So,” Rinoa spoke up at last, smiling again, “what’s on your mind? Do you have any dreams, Squall? Anything you want to do with your life?”

He’d never actually thought about it. The only goal he’d ever had in his life was to become a SeeD. Now that he’d done that… “That’s something I’d rather not talk about,” he told her. Then, a little less stiffly, ventured, “What about you?”

“…I don’t know,” she admitted. “I guess I’d rather not talk about the future, either But right now…” She looked up at the night sky, where the stars glittered down at them both. “…I wanna stay right here…” she murmured, “…like this.”


What a bitch…

A. “I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.” — Robert Brault

B. “when a friendship ends…it means it never even started” — Joy Perez

C. “The only thing permanent in life is change” — Markku Seguerra


Perhaps one of the worst sins a person could commit against himself is being the friend-for-life type, at the same time with being a poor judge of character. Item A runs smack into item B and causes a deep gash into a person’s heart. That, or item C rears its ugly head (not refering to the quote itself or the quoter, just the innate truth behind the quote), and the result is no less painful.

Most of the time it’s C. “Change” is one hell of a monster. Change for the better could lead to a better life, but for the worse the frustration and disappointment it causes seem to outweigh the effect of it being a good kind. It’s especially painful when it happens to people, those whom you have accepted into your life, invited into your house, taken into confidence and invested a portion of yourself on. So if you’re the friend-for-life type, get ready to be hit by a big rig squarely on the face. Making a poor character judgment by doing such things with one who turns out to be a “temp” friend could be one of the biggest mistakes you could do in your life.

Each of us has had his share: people lying to you; people easily believing lies about you; people who used to make plans with you but suddenly stop for whatever reason. The friend-for-life type person normally takes such things hard, and who can blame him? Well, one. Himself, for choosing the wrong person for a friend. That’s about all there is, really. When you’re the type who takes friendship seriously, so much that “once a friend, always a friend” is one of your guiding principles, and you make the mistake of opening up to someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you, it sucks. Being dissed by a person you care about always sucks.

That’s why personally, I’m grateful for people like Rachel, Cathy and the Bay Area gang, years-displaced friends who always remember to call me when they’re in the country. Rollee and Oyee, two who remain friends-for-life even if it takes months for us to get a chance to get together. Hana, Mike, Markku, Leia, Charina and the rest of the lunchtime pack and the Iskul Bukol gang for making it a point to get in touch with me when there are plans to go out, even though I’ve already moved to another job. Oh yeah, like I said, we’ve all had our share of “temp” friends, and the not-so-few times I experienced being taken out of the plan by people who used to make plans with me were never easy dealings. But, like most of us, I just had to choke down the frustration and move on. (Like I had any other choice)

Yeah, change is the only thing permanent. But when it happens to people you value, it could be such a bitch…

Click here only if we’re still making plans together

One friend in a lifetime is much, two are many, three are hardly possible. ” – Henry Brook Adams

If two friends ask you to judge a dispute, don’t accept, because you will lose one friend; on the other hand, if two strangers come with the same request, accept because you will gain one friend.” – St. Augustine

“Friends, both the imaginary ones you build for yourself out of phrases taken from a living writer, or real ones from college, and relatives, despite all the waste of ceremony and fakery and the fact that out of an hour of conversation you may have only five minutes in which the old entente reappears, are the only real means for foreign ideas to enter your brain.” – Nicholson Baker

“A friend loveth at all times.” – Proverbs 17:17

“A puppy plays with every pup he meets, but an old dog has few associates.”Josh Billings

“Friends come and go but enemies accumulate.” – Arthur Block

“Friendships are fragile things and require as much care in handling as any other fragile and precious thing. ” – Randolphe S. Bourne

False friends are like our shadow, keeping close to us while we walk in the sunshine, but leaving us the instant we cross into the shade.”Christian Nevell Bovee

“I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar. ” – Robert Brault

“Thus much for thy assurance know; a hollow friend is but a hellish foe.” – Nicholas Breton

“A good friend is worth pursuing… but why would a good friend be running away?” – Ashleigh Brilliant

“If we would build on a sure foundation in friendship, we must love friends for their sake rather than for our own.” – Charlotte Bronte

“Friendship should be a private pleasure, not a public boast. I loathe those braggarts who are forever trying to invest themselves with importance by calling important people by their first names in or out of print. Such first-naming for effect makes me cringe.” – John Mason Brown

A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil — but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small silly presents every so often — just to save it from drying out completely ” – Pam Brown

A good friend who points out mistakes and imperfections and rebukes evil is to be respected as if he reveals a secret of hidden treasure.” – Buddha

“Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.” – Samuel Butler

Friendship without self-interest is one of the rare and beautiful things of life.” – James F. Byrnes

“I have always laid it down as a maxim –and found it justified by experience –that a man and a woman make far better friendships than can exist between two of the same sex –but then with the condition that they never have made or are to make love to each other.” – Lord Byron

The dearest friend on earth is a mere shadow compared to Jesus Christ.” – Oswald Chambers

“I have three kinds of friends: those who love me, those who pay no attention to me, and those who detest me.” – Sebastian-Roch Nicholas De Chamfort

“A friend is someone you can be alone with and have nothing to do and not be able to think of anything to say and be comfortable in the silence.” – Sheryl Condie

“A friend is someone with whom you dare to be yourself.” – Frank Crane

“A good motto is: Use friendliness but do not use your friends.” – Frank Crane

The bogeyman is lurking around the corner… again

Thought (it’s now obvious I never stop thinking, even in my sleep) about this through as a reaction to my wife’s blog post about friends. Like I realized that people are priceless. Whoever they are. Friends – goes without saying. Enemies – though you’re happy about their absence, there are people who feel happy with their presence. Scum, lowlifes and politicians – all loved by their mothers. Pseudo-friends (those people who only stay with you as long as they enjoy your company and then cut out when things aren’t so pleasant) – there are other people who they stick with through thick and thin.

Bearing this in mind, it’s not easy to understand that when you have a friend, enjoy his/her presence while it lasts. Because friends seldom stay. Only about 1 in a million actually become friends for life. The others, well, for so many reasons and factors they seem to have some sort of “expiration date”. Yes, they could have become your true friends, sticking with you though thick and thin, listening to your rants and vents, or simply staying quiet with you. But even the best of intentions don’t last, and sooner or later what used to be warm becomes lukewarm, and then finally grows cold.

You will feel it, and as soon as you do, you know it’s going to be another round of letting go. It’s just sad how often we have to do this unpleasant recourse. Letting go.

Enjoy your friends. Love them as much as you could. But never think they’ll always be there, because 999,999 out of a million they won’t. Be ready to release and move on.

What most people have been sorely missing out on

Except maybe for Tiff, if she had reached this far. But I guess my point is that for you sucke… er… those of you who love a good love story, one of the best love stories ever written is in a Playstation game! And here’s an excerpt, featuring the two main characters, Squall and Rinoa


Rinoa: “What’ll become of me?”

Squall: “Don’t worry about it. There’ve been many good sorceresses. Edea was one. You can be like her.”

Rinoa: “But Edea’s still… I can’t guarantee anything, either, if Ultimecia possesses me again… You saw me. She controlled me   in outer space and made me break Adel’s seal. What might happen next time? What will I end up doing? Will I end up fighting everyone? …Scary thought, isn’t it?”

Squall: (Rinoa…… Even if you end up as the world’s enemy, I’ll…Â I’ll be your knight.)

Rinoa: “If I fall under Ultimecia’s control again… SeeD will come kill me, right? And the leader of SeeD is you, Squall… Squall’s sword will pierce my heart…… I guess it’s ok if it’s you, Squall. Nobody else. Squall, if that ever happens…”

Squall: “That’s enough! I’ll never do anything like that. The sorceress I’m after is not you, Rinoa. My enemy is the sorceress from the future… Ultimecia.”

Rinoa: “Ultimecia lives in the future and possesses me. She uses my body as her extension in this world. How? How will you save me?”

Squall: “I’ll come up with something… There’s gotta be a way.”

Rinoa: “……”

Squall: “Don’t worry. Trust me.”

Rinoa: “…I trust you. Well, until you find a way, maybe… Maybe IÂ should stay in Esthar, at that memorial? Wouldn’t that be better?”

Squall: “No… That’d be pointless. I’ll just end up going after you again. Rinoa… Just stay close to me.”

Rinoa: “Oh… Those words!”

Squall: “What?”

Rinoa: “That’s what started everything.”

Squall: “What are you talking about?”

Rinoa: “You don’t remember?”

Squall: “Something I said?”

Rinoa: “Oh, just forget it!”

Squall: “No, it’s because of the GF. That’s why I forgot.”

Rinoa: “That’s just an excuse.”

Squall: “Feeling better?”

Rinoa: “Yeah. Can I tell you a story? I had a dream. It was a scary dream. We make a promise. We promise to see shooting stars together. I get dressed up an put on your ring. But the thing is, I can’t remember where I’m supposed to meet you. I start to panic. I really want to see you, Squall, but I don’t know where to go. I start running through the mountains, the desert, the plains… Through Timber, Balamb, and Galbadia… When I realize I can’t run any longer… I…I just want to see you so badly… So I scream, Squall, where are you!? Then I woke up. I was crying. I’m sorry. You don’t have to say anything. I just felt like I had to tell you.”

Squall: “It was just a dream… It doesn’t mean anything. Don’t worry about it.”

Rinoa: “…I guess you’re right.”

Squall: “How about this… I’ll be here…”

Rinoa: “…Why?”

Squall: “The reason why you couldn’t find me was because we haven’t promised yet.”

Rinoa: “Promised?”

Squall: “I’ll be waiting for you. If you come here, you’ll find me. IÂ promise.”