When Gela snickered, Trina blushed and rushed to explain: "I didn't mean it that way, loka!"
The girls stood underneath Manong Timbo's dirty umbrella, eating their afternoon snack. Gela sucked a stray piece of breastmeat from between her teeth while Trina recounted her story.
"Naghahalikan na kami e," Trina said. Instead of sweetened vinegar, she chose the spicy sauce to compliment her second stick of breastmeat. Gela noticed that. Trina tended to eat more when she was anxious, like the time she wolfed down two servings of rice during her first date with Rich. "Alam mo yun?" A rhetorical question. Gela nodded silently, urging her to continue as she swatted flies away from her legs. "Tas, yun. Magth-third base na dapat kami. Biglang -- ayoko pala. Nakakadire tignan!" Gela frowned.
"Kuya," She took another stick from Timbo's cart. "Isa pa, ah." Gela's eyes scanned Manong Timbo's greasy cart. Among his regular fare -- fishballs, squidballs, kikiam, bright red hotdogs -- he also served breastmeat, mermaid eyes, and some TTQs. The breastmeat was golden brown, the skin crispy, thin, and so delicate he served them on small paper plates to catch sweetest honeyed mermaid mik. The TTQ, on the other hand, were gruesome. Probably salvaged from last month's meat rain, Gela could tell -- just by looking -- that the reconstituted meat was dry and hard. Most of it must have been fried at least twice before being hauled out and reserved now. Gela and Trina stayed away from the dubious meat but, as the girl stared, a brilliant idea occurred. Instead of taking another stick of breastmeat, she asked the manong for three large pieces of kikiam.
That should be enough, Gela thought, while Trina munched thoughtfully, chewing on her problem.
"Hindi ko alam na mandidire pa ako. I mean -- palagi naman nating napag-uusapan."
"Halika na." Gela pulled her inside their house. In the living room, she made Trina sit on the floor and handed her one of the sticks of kikiam. "Magpractice ka." Gela held out the two extra she brought. "Sasabayan kita." She held out the other stick. "May extra pa kung kulang." The girl urged her friend to take the meat in her mouth, showing her what to do with her tongue, how to use her lips.