Tonight is Bonita and Gema’s third date. Their second was two weeks ago. He’s busy with his work, she’s busy with her study, but both managed to carve up some time from their tight schedule today. Both left early from their appointments and made a conscious decision to go somewhere near Bonita’s dorm.
That afternoon, Bonita sits in front of Gema in a café.
Bonita can tell that Gema is infatuated with her. She can tell — she’s good with these kinds of things. It’s not her overconfidence speaking (although she tends to be overconfident), but some of the men have some signs if they’re interested.
The simplest one must be how they try to impress. From funny stories, interesting take about some random cultural thing (artists’ mini-documentary about their last world tour is technically a diary-vlog with better cinematic and writing, but if it’s good then it’s good), or to show how smart he is by showing how he knows a lot of random things (the difference between earmuff, earphone, and earbuds or that he knows what’s a fascinator is). Gema did them all, and more.
Gema has different looks in his eyes. Yes, it’s just the third date but Gema is one of those expressive persons with eyes that speaks more than he lets on. The way he looks at her when she was laughing is different than when he listens to her telling him a story. When Bonita laughs, he chuckled and his eyes’ gaze turned…soft. Gentle.
After two hours in that café, Gema took her for dinner.
The dinner was fine. They did that too on their first and second date. The conversation was flowing, flawlessly. He made a poor joke about one of the food on the menu, but Bonita laughed anyway. It wasn’t that bad. But then when dessert came, Bonita knows she has to do something different today. It’s the third date, after all.
“Were you always funny like this?” Bonita asked, still chuckling from that last joke.
“No, I started being funny when I was in high school,”
“I mean,” Bonita paused a bit. Still maintaining her smile, “Were you always funny like this when you went on dates?”
“Well,” Gema shrugged. His gaze shifted to the dessert, a small chocolate mousse, which he carved gracefully with a fork. He continues his sentence once he’s done swallowing the chocolate piece of heaven. “I guess I am just a funny person?”
“I bet you are,” Bonita replied, also carving her chocolate mousse, smiling and munching. She exchanges that smile with Gema’s, and then she strikes again. “Gema, are you a liar?”
Gema is expressive, that is a fact that Bonita already established for herself. But once she sees Gema’s reaction to her question, his expression came flooding like never before.
His eyes gave that gentle gaze on her, but this time he didn’t just smile — he smirks. The gentle gaze is now beaming a sense of excitement. He’s impressed, differently than the way he was impressed by her since their first date.
Gema leans forward, two elbows on the table. His voice turned to almost a whisper, “Oh, I’m a good liar — and so are you.”
A tingle is conjured inside Bonita’s gut. “How so?”
“Your first question earlier — am I always this funny — and you made it two-tier. The first one was rhetorical, usually perceived as a compliment. To disarm. Then you tried to catch me off-guard with the second part: funny like this when I went on dates. Insinuating that I went on dates other than our dates, and using the same approach every time. Impressive phrasing, I must say.”
Bonita smiled, but her eyes gaze at him with pure excitement — as if she met a worthy opponent that calls out her common tactic most guys fell for.
“Someone who is that masterful in phrasing a question must’ve been masterful at maneuvering the lines between lying and telling the truth. Someone so good at lying that they know how to lie without lying. How to be technically honest. How to handle half-truths.”
“It takes a good liar to know a good liar, huh? I also must say, you’re quite masterful yourself. That shrug, that carving of that mousse before deflecting my rhetorical question with another rhetorical question? You pretend to be an obvious liar, but you can’t help being a good liar.”
“You know I’m not.”
They both smile as they reached an understanding that denying yourself that you are a liar is in and out of itself, a lie. Because everybody lies. Everybody. Anyone who thinks they’re not a liar is either never been in a situation where they couldn’t do anything but lie, or yet to realize that they’re lying to themselves.
“So what do we do now?” Bonita did not change the topic.
“Right,” Gema considers, “Everyone wouldn’t want to date a liar.”
“Because not everyone is a good liar.”
Gema raised his eyebrow, just realizing. “Except us.”
Bonita, who also did not realize that her statement would lead to that idea, is caught off-guard. “You’re right. Except us.”
“A good liar knows to never make a bad lie…” Gema said, again with his almost whisper, “…and a good liar, like us, knows that lying to another good liar is…”
“…is making a bad lie.” Bonita finishes Gema’s sentence. “Yes. They will figure out how each of them lies, and that way, they can’t lie to each other.”
“They can lie to the world, but not to each other…” Gema chuckles, “Two good liars, being honest to each other.”
“And what’s more fun,” Bonita added. She’s excited she can’t stop smiling, “When one of them lies, the other one will instantly know the truth.”
“Well, you made two good liars sounds so good together.”
“I bet they do.”
They both smile, again. They finished their dessert then a bottle of champagne came. The pop of the cork is satisfying. A glass for her, a glass for him. He raises his glass towards her.
“Go out with me tomorrow?” Gema asked. Bonita welcomed his glass with hers. A clink.
“No,” she answered softly. They smile at each other and drink their champagne.