We were requested to read excerpts from our books after our gracious host, Mina Esguerra, introduced us. I really wasn't comfortable with my public speaking skills, so I tried to keep my excerpt short. I read that part when Val met Jake for the first time.
His name was Jacob Isaac Clementia.
She knew this because she had read the name off the paper as quickly and unobtrusively as she could before tucking those three words in the folds of her memory.
It happened three years ago but she could still remember every detail including what he wore—a red polo shirt that highlighted his fair skin, dark blue jeans that hung low on the waist, and immaculate red and mocha sneakers.
Val looked up at his thin, boyish face—a contrast to his towering height. His hair was in that growing-out stage, a week shy of a trim, with bangs creeping down the forehead and the top shooting out in small spikes. (cut)
“I’m Val,” she squeaked. The baboon was still making its happy dance on her vocal cords.
“Jake,” he said in that deep and gentle voice.
(cut) he turned to her. “Well, I guess I’ll see you around, Val.”
That was the first time that Val realized that eyes could smile. Sure, she had heard and read about the phenomenon often enough to know that it existed. But when Jake said his goodbye, it was the exact description that leapt to her mind.
His eyes had creased at the corners, making tiny lines that reminded her of ripples that gently lapped at your feet. For if there were a word that would always remind her of him, it would be gentleness.
Then there was the Q&A portion, then we raffled off our prizes. It just blew me away that boys read romance, too. Don't you just love the democratizing power of books?
The highlight of the event, at least for me, was meeting new people, and seeing familiar faces among the audience. I was able to finally see bloggers and twitter-friends in the flesh, and we were just all excited to make small and talk and get to know each other.
(my bungisngis self flanked by Kate and Chrissie)
Thanks to everyone who came and made this possible. If you're a reader, I hope you continue reading local books. And if you're a writer, I hope to attend your own book launch someday soon.
Photos by Grace Gatdula. Check out her article on the launch!