by Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla


Can you really stop men from getting an erection just because you're in a long-term relationship? If a sexy starlet gets married, can she ask men to stop masturbating to her photo?

Sometimes, I have a very weird way of rationalizing things. Take what happened in the office for instance. I actually told my officemates that the guy they saw me embracing was a cousin I had not seen in a long while. Comic Stealer, as I call him now, is the neat, tall, and chinito type. He wears a pair of rimless glasses. His hair is short, almost crew cut. And since a lot of people think I have Chinese blood, they believed my story. It became my official press release, one I first told during our manok's press conference at this swanky hotel in Makati.

A week later, I find myself in Shangri-La Plaza, too early for my scheduled meet-up with Rose before she flies to Malaysia for a writing fellowship. I walk to Starbucks for a quick caffeine fix when I hear a voice too familiar and annoying to be real.

Tsk tsk pati ba naman dito sinusundan mo ako? Grabe a, are you stalking me?”

I turn around and see the familiar rimless glasses, the same smug face, and the equally smug smile. “Third time's the charm!” he adds and opens his arms to a mock embrace.

I want to cause a scene but Starbucks is a solemn place for a java addict like myself. I ignore him and calmly order my coffee, decide to get take out instead, and stand as far away from the Comic Stealer as I can manage. He does not order coffee and instead walks to the shelf of designer mugs and studies them with exaggerated curiosity.

“One brewed coffee for Kit!” the barista yells my name. I make my bid for freedom when I hear Comic Stealer yell, “Hey Kit, wait lang!”

Praying that this would be a ridicule-free conversation, I turn around and face him para matapos na ito, “What?!”

Bakit ba lagi kang galit?” he asks when he caught up with me. Okay, I wasn't expecting that response. “You need anger management,” he says in a very casual way.

Kapal nito a. “You don't know me,” I start. “And I don't know you, so please leave me alone. Comic Stealer!”

“Okay, okay,” he wipes perspiration from his forehead. “I know your name na. I'm Will. Will Naval.”

I give my standard bitchy response—one raised eyebrow. Hindi ako nakontento. Kulang pa. So I add, “E ano ngayon?”

“Okay, sorry about your comic book, papalitan ko nalang.”

I raise another eyebrow.

Ganito nalang, pumunta tayo sa National Bookstore ngayon,” he says. “Pumili ka ng comic book, tapos bibilhin ko for you.”

I don't know what exactly mellowed me down and prompted me to go to the book store with him. But I do know exactly what to get. When I walk to him to the cashier holding a collector's item comic book worth 700 pesos, I know he knows that his scheme just backfired.

I also figure that it's okay to give him my surname. After all, he did replace my Double Digest Archie comic book with something seven times more expensive. I did yell at him quite a few times and he remained cool. I figure, he's not that bad and between the two of us, I am the dangerous one.

He asks me to stay for coffee but I decline. Rose's phone call cut our conversation short. I wave goodbye and head straight to this German pub where Rose and I order sausages. We talk about my fortunate accident.

Gwapo ba?” she asks.

“Okay lang,” I reply.

Mr. Johnny “Big Spender” Montreal arrives an hour later. Naturally, he orders expensive beer and of course, he insists on paying for everything.




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Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla is a journalism graduate from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. She wrote Bedroom Blog by Veronica, a relationship blog for Cosmopolitan Philippines from 2009 to 2011, which covers most of her single dating life. In 2015, she published her first book Before I Do. She’s passionate about coffee, red wine, books and Mad Men. She stopped collecting hearts when she got married in 2013 and went back to collecting Archie Comics ever since. Send the author a tweet @kceustaquio.

Edits: Paula Bianca Abiog

Before I Do

Philippine Copyright © 2015 by Katherine C. Eustaquio-Derla

Disclaimer: This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, places or persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental. Image from

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any written, electronic, recording, or photocopying without written permission of the publisher or author. The exception would be in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews and pages where permission is specifically granted by the publisher or author.



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