4 February 2012, Saturday - This article is long overdue. I have been trying to write about this guy years back, but somehow I couldn’t be done with it. Until now that is, when I’m also finally (finally!) done with him.
I write this with uncanny calmness, with my previous misery and despair thankfully vanquished, and despite entailing much risk on my part. Not only will I pour down some of my supposed to be private thoughts, but express my weakness too, toward this gentleman-turned-jerk.
I sit here in one of my café nooks, comforted by a cup of mochaccino, alone with only my thoughts and remembrances of him.
This ‘love month’ provides the perfect time for me to really assess what I have been dubbing as my not-much-of-a-love-life. You might have read pieces of him scattered in random posts here in my blog. I thought about not naming him here, only referring to him as ‘someone dear’. But it doesn’t seem necessary now.
Hopefully, with this piece of written narrative, I’ll finally gain the closure, the detachment, that has also been long overdue.
* * *
We are all permitted one utter foolishness in our lifetimes; Dave was mine.
I met him about six years ago, on the morning of May 16, 2006 in our high school. It was enrollment day and I noticed him before my friends did – Maybe because he was wearing a red shirt; or because he is tall; or because he was a new face in campus (and a good-looking face at that!); or maybe because his mom approached me to ask for directions.
Soon we became friends (never mind how), then found ourselves seeing each other after classes, going to church on Friday afternoons, him walking me home… and so the folly began.
I am older than him by one year, eleven months, and ten days. I was a senior and in the first section of the Special Science Class. He was a junior and in section 10 of the regular (curriculum) class.
I was the editor-in-chief of the campus papers, a physics and history whiz, and chess and scrabble champ. He was the school’s Mr. Intramurals, Mr. Best in Sports Wear, First Prince, basketball jock, etc., truly a campus heartthrob.
Despite a major downfall of mine that year, my last year in high school was blissful and nostalgic, thanks to him. It was high school love at its finest.
Then came my inevitable high school graduation, and college happened.
Like they say, what destiny unites, life divides.
I moved to Baguio City for my studies. Dave and I only saw each other during school breaks when I go down the chilly mountains and spend short vacations in my hometown. He never went to the city of pines to see me.
When he graduated in high school, we were both rooting for him to study in Baguio too, for college. Instead, his parents had him enrolled in a local university in nearby Dagupan City. Apparently, being the eldest child, and his dad being abroad every other month, he must be the man of their house. Studying away was not acceptable.
Whenever I’m in Baguio, we communicated through our phones, and online through the old Friendster, Yahoo Messenger, and eventually Facebook.
Whenever I’m back in our hometown, we’d see each other. Whenever he was busy with his own activities, or I am busy with my own family events, or when it is raining and we couldn’t do our usual strolls in the neighborhood, or bicycle rides, or simply hanging out in our house or theirs, we talk over the telephone at night until early morning.
Although there was much to be desired in our circumstance then, we were okay. Or at least I thought we were. He was my perfect escape from academic pressure. He made me feel like a girl, if you know what that means. My world was perfect.
But who was I kidding? Life is mean.
Halfway through my college years, he met someone else in his English class, the same class he asked me for help with his assignments, which I willingly permitted.
He told me about her; that they shared the same interest in music and anime (I find his taste in music noisy, and animes for me are just cartoons with bigger eyes and spiky hair), and she is part of his same circle of friends in their campus.
I did my research and found out that they were of the same age, she was fair-skinned, wears eyeglasses and braces, with side-swept bangs, not really pretty, lives in the town east of Dagupan, and other more private information that I do not wish to write here.
My perfect world crumbled. Well not really, since heart matters have no effect on other aspects of my life. like studies or career. But I was really hurt.
We were still friends but communication efforts became less and less. My trips back in my hometown during long weekends became infrequent to my family’s wonder. I was, and still am grateful that Baguio City is clean, free from any remembrances of him.
There, I settled in embracing the chill.
I isolated myself, spent many vacant hours in solitude among the pine trees of the different nature nooks. I poured all my sentiments to my journal, listened to the songs he used to sing to me during those telephone calls of the past. Memories of the two us kept playing on my head, and I started to feel misery for what could have been.
Nothing breaks me more than succumbing to failure; of giving up an ideal; of letting go after holding on for so long. But I had enough female pride to stop me from doing anything reckless and degrading.
Nonetheless, trying to forget someone you used to always think of is like trying to sleep after drinking three cups of coffee – pointless and heartburning.
I told myself that it takes more time for me to stop caring. After all, we did share memories worthy of treasuring. No matter how many complications, and hindrances, and neglect that kept us apart, I couldn’t conceal the fact that he is really so dear to my heart.
I simply consented to admire him from a distance. On rare Sundays that I am home, I sit alone in church for the morning mass, with the sight of him and his family on the right pews. His smile upon seeing me was all I needed to go on.
When I started going out with another really nice guy in Baguio, Dave pulled me back in and wanted to spend time with me again. But don’t assume anything.
The girl dumped him, that’s why. He said something about the girl focusing on her studies and not allowed to have a boyfriend.
But whatever was wrong with what we had couldn’t be fixed altogether since our circumstance hadn’t changed at all. I was still stuck in Baguio with an even more hectic schedule and heavier subject loads for that matter.
Seeing each other from time to time was all life could offer.We are friends, if anyone asks.
As for me, I considered myself reserved, until the time he comes to his proper senses. Besides, being the lady, I could not plead him to love me back. All I could do was show him who I am and what I feel, and it’s up to him to realize my worth.
April 2011 arrived and I graduated in college. I was back in my hometown to live my ideals. I thought everything would finally fall back into place. I’m happy. I love my job, I have good friends, and I have time to read and jog and do the things I love. Only one thing in my life’s puzzle is missing, and I must work on that.
Then another girl came along; some girl a former high school classmate of his introduced to him. Also the same age as his, fair-skinned and really pretty, but short. We happened to come across each other one afternoon in the town plaza and she was looking up to me, wide-eyed and jittery, with no sense of discreetness at all. Cute.
I knew he wasn’t that serious about her for no reason. If you’re a girl you’ll understand. I didn’t bother to do a background check on her. With that said I didn’t mind her and still saw Dave. Yes, that rascal courted that girl and still spent time with me.
But the Dave-thing wasn’t exclusive. I also went out with other guys. After all I don’t owe commitment to anyone. He dates other girls, I date other guys, and we have a monthly rendezvous.
Apart from scheduling when to meet (usually just spending an afternoon in their house, and manning their rice store in their building nearby), we received no texts, no updates at all about each other. I knew it was no longer mere neglect, but an attempt to forget on both our parts.
It was all routine, a habit that couldn’t be set aside.
But the happiness I felt being with him was short-lived compared to the piercing pain when he finally told me that he has gone back to courting that girl who dumped him two years ago, that same girl from his English class.
Apparently she is graduating this year so her no-boyfriend-while-studying ban is soon to be lifted. I didn’t bother to find out what happened to the other girl, the short pretty one.
Still, I persisted on keeping our monthly rendezvous, I was still a constant presence in his house, his neighborhood, and in his life despite knowing my hopeless state. I know how much he loves her, but he still lead me on.
Before, I believed that something is better than nothing. I would rather suffer much pain and lose in the end knowing I did my best to win, than simply quit. All those time I was banging my head trying to figure out what to do…
But later last year, one wickedly foolish afternoon it got out of hand.
I found myself messed up.
And that’s when I learned that not all battles, especially those foreseen to be hopeless and disastrous, should be fought. Saving yourself from much damage and disgrace is essential. But it was too late because he has already left me in a state of wreck.
That same afternoon, he told me that he regrets tolerating (tolerating!) me for so long. He felt guilty for still having me while he courted the girl he says he really loves. He even rendered our actions as wrong, pride-less, exerted out of false hopes, and lack of commitment.
Tolerate. I hate that word. It’s more hateful than the word hate itself. Better to hate than to tolerate. Better be hated than to be only just tolerated.
Hearing more ‘truths’ from him hurt me more. But like they say, the truth has indeed set me free.
He did admit his guilt in the affair, and even said he deserved to be slapped, if I wanted to. But no matter how many times you slap the person who just took everything (everything! EVERYTHING!) away from you, that doesn’t change the fact that you can never get ‘em back.
As he walked me home that night, we were both silent.
When we arrived at the gate, he hugged me and said, “Someday, you are going to thank me for letting you go,” and my world couldn’t be more shattered. I knew I have really lost him when he took out his phone as he walked away, never looking back.
A month after, when not even coffee, or alcohol, or company of friends, or even prayers can soothe me, I decided to write him a letter. It was on my pocket when I went to see him unannounced in their building two days before 2011 ended. Wrong move again.
Simply seeing his smile was enough for me to tear that letter to pieces. I still loved him and my prepared ‘goodbye’ and hope for closure were set aside as we talked about other things that night, as if everything was okay between the two of us.
You see, he has that strong peculiar effect on me that makes me forget about the bad things and fall back into his arms.
He is that one guy who makes me weak in the knees, my kryptonite, my utmost frustration, with all resistance barred.
And I remember his lips touching mine. The feel of clinging to his arms. Scrumping his hair. I miss him poking and pinching my waist teasing me that I’m getting fat, when really I’m not.
I remember that afternoon when I saw him on the bus as I was leaving the dentist, and how the world became silent and time seemed to have stopped. He smiled at me and a soft breeze swayed my hair. Mesmerizing. That afternoon, I believed in the magic of love.
I remember when I pretended to not know how to play the keyboards. We were in their living room, and I asked him to teach me instead. He only knows a little and just uses his ears to memorize pieces. He doesn’t even know how to read notes. He’s better playing the guitar.
I miss watching him play basketball with his relatives/neighbors, while I man their rice store and get free fruity iced candies his mom makes. I remember the times he had to buy Coke for me in a nearby store because all they have in the house are healthy fruit shakes. I still remember the taste of avocado when I tried one. And oh, they have no coffee in their house.
I smile with the thought of us trespassing in my elementary school one afternoon of our aimless strolls. I was giving him a tour of my childhood.
I remember his expression when he doesn’t know what to do, when he looks at me as if to see if I approve. I remember the look on this face when I went to their house in work clothes. He doesn’t approve and asked me to change into ‘pambahay’.
I miss him walking me home, and his embrace before he leaves. I miss our talks, about our day, and our dreams. They were so long ago…
No matter how much I keep myself preoccupied to shun thoughts of him, he still ends up in my mind whenever I take a rest. I know I love him, that I’ll never love anyone else as much, but then, so what?
It doesn’t matter anymore.
I know it has to stop. I have to stop. My friends bear witness to everything I suffered, and they were unwilling spectators to such folly of mine. However, I do not regret being weak, and a hopeless romantic. I do not regret loving him. I do not regret giving him my everything (EVERYTHING!). But like I said, I have to stop.
I didn’t see him or contacted him anymore. I asked him to stop too. When letting go becomes easier than holding on, especially if you don’t have him to hold on to anymore, it’s time to walk away and save yourself.
So here I am, gaining back my proper disposition after much pondering. I don’t know if the girl finally answered him ‘yes’. I don’t know if the girl will answer him ‘yes’ if she found out whatever took place between Marla, the fool, and Dave, the jerk.
I don’t know if I still love him right now, or just loving the memory of him. But I know I’m no longer happy about it. I know I don’t want to suffer anymore. I know I have to detach.
I admit that I had this strong notion before that he was just thwarting destiny. I was oblivious of the fact that I am the one trying to force it.
Now I give up.
And even if Dave and I never talk again, even if he will never be a part of my tomorrows anymore, I hold no grudge, no resentment. I’d like him to know that I am forever changed by who he was and what he meant to me.
As I write this as a conclusion to what has been my not-much-of-a-love-life, I bid ‘goodbye’ to all the pointless drama of lost love. No longer fretting. No longer in misery. I am now living in busy tranquility.
For we are all permitted just one utter foolishness in our lifetimes; I’m done with mine.
Posted on February 4, 2012, in Journal Entries: Notes to Self and tagged Baguio City, detachment, foolishness, letting go, lost love, someone dear, toleration, valentine's day. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.