Though traffic is imitating, the noise is irritating and there are a lot of guests to be welcome, smiles still dominate from the faces of the residents there for it’s the City’s town fiesta.  Almost all the people in the Lipa City were happy except for one girl named Stephanie. She’s so irritated from the moment she was awakened because her baby sister, Jaja, spilled a glass of pineapple juice at her bed! Shock and angry, Steph had shouted her sister that made Jaja cried out loud. Because of that, Steph mother, ka-Inday, got angry with her. Still mad, Steph walked out from her room and just try to calm her self by sweeping the floor of their house so that their house would be clean already when her visitors come later. Unluckily, she was slipped from the crams of “Leche Flan” that made her knee painful like a baseball bat hit it. Thank God that after a 20-minute of curing it by a pain reliever, it became fine and all right.  After a while, she prepared her self for the hundreds of guests that are coming to their house every fiesta. When the afternoon came, when she’s getting her allowance for the whole day entertaining and welcoming of guests, ka-Inday didn’t gave any amount of money for the reason that she made Jaja cried. Steph, with a “tampo” effect deep inside, went to what she and her friends called FD (Fiesta Divisoria). Since she doesn’t have any money except for 20 pesos that was her debt to her cousin, she walked almost 1km. to reach the place. And that’s the reason why she’s not happy as others.

Alone and bad trip, she’s now walking around the FD. She just has her window shopping until she saw a cheap green stretchable anklet that was just exact with her money. With no second thought, she bought the anklet. When she got tired, she decided to go to the church there which was only a few steps away from the FD. As she was walking, her cellular phone vibrated twice so she looked upon it and seen who texted her up. It’s a friend who only forwarded a joke about Juan and Pedro. Laughing and smiling, Steph replied to her friend “,heheh,! Ü” not noticing that she would bump to a guy! And…blag!!! With Steph sitting on the ground with a lot of people passing by she shouted out loud, “Tumingin ka naman si dinadaanan mo! Buwisit!”. The guy with a white Guess cap then replied, “Eh ‘kaw nga ‘tong text ng text habang naglalakad! Sira ka ba?!” “So,  fault ko pa?!” “Oo!” “WALANG MODO! Ikaw nga ‘tong tumtakbo ng…” “Ok! Sige! My fault…fine! Sorry ha! Oh ito ang calling card ko. Just called me up! Sungit!” The guy ran fast leaving her in that condition.  Brave enough, she stood up. With all her giggling tongue blasting, she looked the card that the guy handed to her. She found out that the guy’s name was Clarence Lexther Tan Jr. and is residing at Camarines Sur which is very far from Lipa.  Mad and insulted, Steph went to the vigil room of the Church and just prayed and asked God to serene her angriness.

Upon reaching home, she went straight to her room to take some rests for the tiring and bad day she had. As her cellular phone beep and received the same joke she had received a while ago, she remembered the guy who made her day hell! She stares at the calling card and wonder why this teenager guy had already a formal calling card. But still, she opted to call the landline number from the card. “Steph, dinner is ready.”, ka-Inday shouted out. “Yes Ma, Andyan na po.”, she immediately replied. While on the table along with her whole family, her father, Mang Donnie, opened up a topic about the newest owner of the mansion in their town which is only a 2-minute walk far from their house. According to Mang Donnie, the new owner was one of the greatest business tycoons all over the country. “Oh…”, the rest said.

The next morning, Steph woke up late since she got tired at yesterday’s celebration. The common tapsilog, a hot chocolate drink and a pandesal are her favorite breakfast. Since she woke up late, there’s no pandesal left so she went to the nearest bakery to buy some. Luckily, there’s 7 pandesal left. As she took her way home, she saw a newly-styled Chevrolet van that is entering the mansion. And, yes! It is their new neighbor. Curious, she followed a look to the pick-up and saw a man that goes down from the driver seat. She taught that it was the business tycoon that her dad was talking about because of the man’s for that man opened up the back seat and a man with a very formal wear and a guy that is wearing a green long sleeve go down from the vehicle. “Sila na nga ‘yon.”, Steph whispered. As soon as she reached their home, she ate her meal.

After awhile, her childhood friend, Chin-chin, comes over. Chin-chin wanted Steph to be with them as they play badminton in the nearby court of their town. With a smile on her face, Steph accepted the invitation of her friend. She gets her favorite Nike racket and goes along with Chin-chin. Steph was shocked for all of her childhood friends are also there playing Badminton. Excited and happy, she and Chin-chin joined in playing though the crew of the court was already angry to them for only 2-4 persons are only allowed per court and counting all of them will give you the number 14 persons—7 versus 7. When they are all got tired, they noticed a guy watching them. “Familiar s’ya sa’kin. Di ko lang alam kung bakit. Parang nakita ko na s’ya.”, Steph said to her friends. “Malamang! S’ya ‘yong bagong lipat d’yan sa mansion no!”, Chin-chin said. “Eh? S’ya ba?”, Steph replied with wonders on her eyes.  Not long thereafter, the 2 members of the Barumbado Boys (BB) came. The group is actually consists of 7 members that are called Barumbado for their war-freak attitude. Steph and her friends actually hate that group from the very start. One of the BB that came challenges Steph and the company to choose the best player with her circle of friends to play with him one Badminton game.  And when they defeated him, BB would not be showing up with them anymore but if they lost, they would be all part of the BB fans club.  Unfortunately, no one would wanted to accept the challenge for two reasons: first is that they are all tired for playing awhile ago and secondly, the BB member that had offered the challenge was the 4th time Champion of the every year’s Badminton league in their town. Until the guy that they’d had seen laughing accept the challenge. “Leave it to me…Ms. Sungit”, the guy whispered with a smile to Steph. “I will pare. Race to 12 lang ha…” he exclaimed with confidence.  As the match started, Steph and the rest are very nervous not only because they might be the soon members of the BB but also because their reputation as the challenger of the game for their group is not yet defeated by being a challenger.  To their surprise, the guy playing for them is a very great badminton player. In the end of the game, that young man outscored the BB member, 12-0. Yeah! You read it right—12-0! Shocked, insulted and happy, Steph’s friends thank that guy and are asking how did he defeated the all known Champion of their town. The youngster said while laughing, “Guys, f.y.i, I’m a 2nd time holder of the Championship belt in Badminton of our school—De La Salle Santiago Zobel that’s why.” “Wow!”, everybody exclaimed. “So, anong name mo?”, a sweet mellow voice of Steph comes from behind.  “Ms. Sungit, nalimutan mo na agad ako?” “Don’t tell me, ikaw si…” “Clarence..” , the guy said seriously. “Clarence Tan..”

From then on, they all became friends.  And among the Steph’s kaberkadas, everyone can notice Clarence and Steph’s closeness. And because of that, no day passes by that Steph and Clarence weren’t tease by the others. For the reason that almost everyday Clarence and Steph got to see each other and became at ease with one another, Clarence started to call Steph buddy. They both share with one another their laughs, corny jokes, cries, grief and smiles. Their relationship as buddies went deeper. In fact, they promised with one another that no secrets are allowed. And since Clarence was a vocalist of a band, he wanted Steph to be part of the band. Luckily, Jed, the drummer, and Dana, the keyboardist, agreed with Clarence so Steph became the rhythm guitarist of the band immediately. As a matter of fact, they garnered their first championship title in a contest, Manila BANDastry: Tugtugan Caravan.

But one time, something went wrong. Every laugh and smiles of Steph just made Clarence teary eyed for such unknown reasons because every time that she’ll ask him, he would said, “its tears of joy buddy.” Steph didn’t mind it because she thought that its part of her buddy’s joke.  Another is that Clarence is not as often as before in seeing Steph. Clarence’s alibi was that he is busy with his school works so he’s not being in the barkada that often. But actually, something’s really really really wrong.

One day, when Steph planned a surprise friendly date with her buddy, Clarence rejected her invitation for he said that he’ll go shopping with his friend, Jed. Disappointed, Steph just managed to smile and told her buddy to just have fun in shopping. As they parted their ways, Steph’s Chin-chin called up and said that one of their friend was rushed to the hospital—dengue! So, Steph went to St. Mary Hospital immediately. As she reached the hospital, she, rushing, find the room where her friend was confined only to her shocked that she saw Jed came out from the Chemotherapy room in that hospital. “Anong ginagawa mo dito? Kala ko, magshashopping kayo ni buddy?”, Steph said nervously. With a depression in Jed’s eyes, “(Sigh), Steph, we didn’t mean to hide it. I’m sorry but its Rence (Clarence) wish and want.” “No, Jed! You’re lying! Wala namang ganyanan. Ok lang naman na tanggihan n’ya ko kanina eh kung busy talaga s’ya eh, magagawa ko?” “Steph…c’mon!” “Ala Jed, d’yan ka na. Iniintay na ko ng friend ko.”, Steph said as she start walking again but Jed stopped her and said, “Don’t left him. He needs you. Go and see him at the room.” “Bakit Jed???” “He’s sick Steph…leukemia. Only 3 months left. Just 3…” Tears rolled down in Steph’s lonesome face. She cannot move her feet. She felt like her feet have already roots. She cannot believe on what she had heard from Jed. As she had restored her mind in the reality, she goes and sees her buddy. Upon entering the room, she saw the face of her buddy as if there’s no blood behind his skin. Crying, she embraced her buddy tightly. And because of that, Clarence woke up. Seeing Steph made him cried. He wanted to explain why he kept the sad reality to Steph but, Steph wouldn’t want it to hear. All she wants is be with her buddy for the remaining months of living. No explanation needed.

From then on, Steph, Jed and the rest of the band always have this surprise party, gimiks, outings and the like to made Rence’s life worthy enough before going up there. Moreover, all of them had this around the world trip for 60 days except for Steph who can’t leave because of her studies. Though not with them, Steph see to it that she is updated everyday on what’s happening to her buddy. By the use of the internet YM, Jed reported everything that they were doing. Until one day, Jed told Steph that Rence will undergo not only chemotherapy but an operation—an operation that will result to either life or death. From the moment Steph knew this, she started praying—every hour. Yes, as in every hour! And that night when she went to the rooftop of their balcony to gaze the stars, she saw a star glowing very bright. Then she remembered the star called Yesha that Clarence kept on mentioning to her. And, yes, Steph was right. That star that she was staring up was Yesha for Jed called her up to be informed that Yesha would be visible that night. Imagining her self with her buddy gazing up Yesha, tickled her tummy for Clarence was a joker and for sure, it would be also a highlight of her life. Since according to Rence’s story that Yesha is a wishing star, Steph then wish for the success of her best friend’s operation. But, as she closed her eyes, her mobile vibrated twice. An international roaming message it is. She opened it up. And, tears run down to her face and simply look up the dark sky and wave her hand goodbye to Yesha.

And now, she’ll gaze Yesha alone—forever.

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