The Third Wheel

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

On the way home one evening, I came across three joggers- A guy and two ladies. The guy and one of the ladies were running side by side, and the other lady was trailing behind them. A couple and a third wheel, if that wasn’t too obvious. It’s been a while since I’ve seen joggers in our subdivision, jogging at night. These guys must be really motivated. What can I say? It’s the first week of January.

Nah, I’m kidding. C’mon, we all have that joke about January, don’t we? At least they’re trying. How long would they last? Would this become their lifestyle? Or just another January hype? Judgmental? Oh, shut up. You’re laughing. I wonder who’d be the first to show signs of laziness and giving up in the upcoming days, weeks, or months, considering they’d last that long. Is it the guy? His girlfriend? Or the ever so loyal third wheel, who’s with them all the way?

Probably the third wheel, huh? I mean, why would I tire myself out just for a pretending-to-be active couple just because they needed extra company, yet they just keep me behind them while they go all coochy-coochy-coo with each other? If I was her, I’d give this couple a slap in their butts, run past them and go, “Stay fat, you ugly couple! 2020 is my year!” and then just sprint away. See if they could catch up. Nobody does it like me!

Or maybe it’s gonna be either one of the couple who’d give up. “Honey, I already have you and I know you adore me as much as a baby adores ice cream. We don’t need to do this, do we?” Have you ever stumbled upon this article shared on Facebook that says a couple gets fat when they’re happy? Yeah, it’s because of that lame-ass excuse they give each other when they finally realized what a fool they are for even attempting to become better.

But there’s a bigger reason the third wheel won’t ever give up- she’s running after her dream. Not a fit and healthy body, but the man of her dreams, the guy that’s been in front of her all along. The one she’d always been running after ever since they’d met but had to do it in the shadows, the one who couldn’t get beside him and tell him how she really feels because she knows he’s already taken, and he’s happy. So she always lags behind him and his lover on purpose because she knows that that’s the closest she’s ever gonna get. Now she has to literally run after him because he asked her to run with them, and she would never refuse a request from her dream guy.

Call it a selfish and foolish thing to do, but this third wheel chooses to stay behind her dream, the guy, and would continue to trail behind him, run after him. Even when she starts to run out of breath, she won’t ever try to stop and let him go, or run closer to him and reach for him. She’d just stay behind them both. Even if she knows that she’s much stronger and could run much faster than the couple, this third wheel chooses to stay behind them and be their shadow.

His lover suddenly sprints away, not looking back and never comes back, leaving him with a clueless look on his face. The third wheel, being only two steps behind him, easily runs to his side and paced with him, even if he tries to run after his lover who ran away and left him behind. He never knew this would happen. He thought he was all she ever wanted, and now she’s gone just like that. “Was I too slow? Was it something I said?” He stops, almost standing in the middle of the road, and cries to himself, “Fuck! I only did this because it’s January! She left me. I don’t want this anymore!”

But the third wheel isn’t gonna let that happen. She knew they’ve ran too far already just to stop right here. She won’t just let all of their efforts to end like that, clueless and hopeless. With the little skills she learned from her karate class in college, she strikes a strong leg kick as strong as a black coffee would give your chest a scary palpitation in the morning, and hits the guy on his butt. He almost shits his jersey shorts but was able to hold it in after using every bit of strength his ass muscles had left.

Then, despite trying to catch her breath from all the running, the third wheel shouts at the guy, “Get it together, ya pussy! I only agreed to run with you because you promised you’d treat us to McDonald’s afterwards. I better have my double cheeseburger or that shit you held in is gonna go up your throat!” They arrived at McDonald’s and found his girlfriend, who probably dropped at least a couple calories after a five-minute fast-walk and ten seconds sprint, eating her quarter-pounder with large fries and coke like she’s never had a serious meal in ages.


The Misunderstood Lad

Nick has been the talk of the family recently. Whenever my mom would talk to her siblings- my aunts and uncles- over the phone, they’d talk about the latest things about him, most of which are bad news. It all started with his gambling issues. I thought he was working in a casino. He did, but that was long ago. Apparently, he’s now a client of the casino. And he’s one of those clients who play honestly. How do I know? Because he keeps losing.

I’m not saying that all those who win tons of chips in casinos are cheaters, but how much can you trust a person who gambles? I’d hate to break it to Nick, but it would also be hard to trust him, not after their scooter and their AUV had disappeared, not because it was just gone or stolen but because he had pawned them. For more gambling money, or for paying his debts for the money he lost gambling, I don’t know. Probably the latter.

But it’s not like he wanted it to happen. He just lost so much and drowned himself in debt for his desire to win, however he kept losing. Nick’s mother, Aunt Lucy, is very also upset with him after hearing about what he’s been doing. She’s been working overseas almost her whole life and hasn’t been there to look after her sons, Nick and Olin. She doesn’t come home very often, not even every year. She works hard overseas to give the siblings a good life. Not luxurious, but just enough for them to buy themselves good stuff.

Now, Nick and Olin are the ones taking care of our bedridden grandmother, Grandma Stella, who’s recently been rushed to the hospital after coughing up blood due to infection. It’s been like this for a while now. Grandma Stella had gotten old and could no longer move. Nick and Olin would take turns to look after and take care of her. They would change her clothes and diapers, wash her, feed her with liquid food with a process called tube-feeding. The siblings do a good job at taking care of our grandma. Our Aunt Faye is also with them looking after her.

Aunt Faye tells all of this to our Uncle Neal, who also works overseas. She says that Olin does a nice job of taking care of grandma. All the washing, changing of diapers and clothes, and feeding her. But Nick is different. He does all of it better. And he not only does the job very well, he’s also much of a joker. He would tease grandma with little jokes even though grandma would not respond, or may respond simply by opening her one eye.

He told us of that one time, how Grandma suddenly opened her eyes wide after he joked that she’ll be receiving P100,000 (about $2000) as a cash incentive from the government for seniors who’ve reached 100 years of age, although she’s still a few years away from it. Nick is the sweet kind, and he’s got a good humor. Aunt Faye gets a little emotional while telling Uncle Neal- who’s also aware of Nick’s situation- about all this.

Nick never wanted things to turn out this way. All this gambling, he just wanted a sweet life where he could buy all the stuff that he wants, not only for himself but for the whole family. But he’s too much of a nice and honest person to win big in this kind of game where many other players hide some dirty tricks up their sleeves to steal your luck. Uncle Matt, Nick and Olin’s father who’s now in heaven, must feel very sad to see what Nick has been going through. If he’s watching, I’d pray that he’d guide him to a better path and start anew.