Five years ago, on a same Saturday, the 23rd of July in 2011, I embarked upon a journey to the hometown of the person who I cherished the most at that time who became the subject of most of my Dear Tel entries. A week ago, I asked her to tour me around on her hometown. Without confirming it to her, I went to her hometown without her knowledge. It was until I was an hour away from Orani, that I learned from her through a phone call that she was still in Manila, celebrating her friend’s birthday.
It soured the rest of the day, as I sucked and endured all the disappointment to continue on touring her hometown alone.
I actually never had the courage like that in my life, when I was with her. I had the courage to ask her for a date. I had the courage to fully commit to ask her for a courtship. I had the courage to tell her, although indirectly, that I loved her. I had the courage to declare my love to her before anybody else. I had the courage to even go to her hometown not knowing the circumstances. I had the courage to even confess to her, now directly, and ask for her hand, if she was indeed there in her hometown that time. I had the courage to say to her that the feeling of being slowly separated from her made me crazy and anxious, just like normal people do.
I don’t know, if I didn’t commit enough or I was not brave enough, but all of that courage and commitment became trash when she suddenly discarded it all, with these words:
Putang ina mo, lubayan mo na ako. (You son of a bitch, leave me alone for good.)
It was maybe the only time that I loved somebody for real. It was maybe my only chance. And I lost it. It became traumatic. This conversation dated in May 2, 2011, might be foreshadowing of the events that came after:
Me: “Narealize mo na ba kung gaano ka kaganda?” [Have you realized how beautiful you are?]
Tel: “Hindi ako maganda. Matagal nang sinasabi sa akin yan ng nanay mo.” [I’m not beautiful. My mother has been saying that to me all the time.]
Me: “Sino? Si Mary Joy?” [Who? That Mary Joy?]
Tel: “Ay, stalker, paano mo nalaman ang pangalan ng nanay ko?”[You stalker, how do you know my mother’s name?]
Me: “Hindi ah, narinig ko lang ang usapan nyong magkakaibigan nung sumama ako sa inyo. At saka kaya lang naman sinasabi sayo ng nanay mo yun kasi pinoprotektahan ka lang niya. Ayaw niya kasing maging overconfident ka dahil sa kagandahan mo. Ayaw ka niyang maglandi.” [I’m not. I’ve just overheard your conservation with your friends when I was tagging along. And besides, your mother has been telling you that to protect you. She didn’t want you to be overconfident because of your beauty. She does not want you to flirt with others.
Tel: “Basta panget ako” [No matter what, I’m still ugly.]
Me: “Hindi ka panget.” [You’re not ugly]
Tel: “Ba’t walang nagsasabi sa akin na maganda ako?” [Well, why there is no one who has been saying that I am beautiful.]
Me: “Alam mo kapag ang lalaki ang nagsabi sayo na maganda ka, ibig sabihin gusto ka niya. Pero ako na ang nagsasabi sayo, maganda ka. Ikaw ang pinakamaganda para sa akin. Ano ba naman yan, wala ka atang self-esteem eh?” [You know, when a guy tells you that you are beautiful, then that means that he has feelings for you. But mark these words that I will be saying: you are beautiful. You are the most beautiful girl to me. What the hell, where on Earth was your self-esteem?!]
Tel: “Matagal ko nang nilibing yung self-esteem ko.” [I’ve buried my self-esteem a long time ago.]
Me: “Pwes, ako ang huhukay sayo nun.” [Then, let me recover it for you.]
Tel: “Tapos ikaw ang ilalagay ko dun sa hukay. Hindi tuloy ako nakapagjogging dahil sayo.” [Then, I’ll bury you in its place. Because I will not be able to jog because of you.]
Since that, I saw how my courage and self-esteem slowly vanished. To the next girl that came after, Athena Lim, I only half-heartedly asked her for a date(on which she accepted) and for courtship. To the next girl after her, Erlyne Santiago, I only managed to asked her for a date (on which she turned down), but no longer for a courtship. Since, it kept ruining the relationships that I was investing my heart to, I could not longer ask for such things directly.
I became a coward then when it came to relationships. I would then only commit or make a move when the girl made the signs clear. That was the case with Faye Abo-abo in 2012, Leah Julian in 2013, and Choco Nery in 2014. But it backfired with overly-friendly girls or cold bitches who just wanted to play with the guys’ hearts.
I was becoming more reluctant as months have passed. I turned myself into a boring robot: monotonous and anti-social. I kept the crushes in myself. I’ve been trying my best to suppress those feelings. For the most time, I’ve succeeded. But, in the recent time, there has been trouble.
It was a gradual blossoming. I had a crush on her since she went with us on the national competition of Civil Engineering majors, the PaCEkatan, where my orgmate and close friend, Arvin Sanchez won. Unlike, the other crushes that I’ve had, I interacted with her in a regular basis. She was my colleague in the UP Institute of Civil Engineering. I was her upperclassman.
What troubled me was the fact that she was the friendliest girl in the institute that I’ve known of. That type of her would give off mixed signals that would confuse people that she was interested romantically to them. That “She was just being friendly.” cliche is the greatest weakness of those who look for signs into hurting themselves emotionally again. I fell victim for it once (That bitch Sh***a!). I tried moving forward, looking for more time with her, but to no avail. Indeed, that girl was the one to whom I confessed publicly here at this site.
I already felt hopeless. This was an excerpt to my February 14 entry (which I never posted):
There were many times that I have to act indifferently, to act disinterested. It crushes my heart to restrain myself from showing any more emotions. I do not want that girl to find out that I was still holding on dearly. Everyday became a disappointment as she kept taking the evening CE 112 classes instead of the noon ones on which she was enrolled to. I kept looking to that empty chair of hers, wondering if these were the undertakings of fate, if indeed that I already lost that one chance to love for real, if I already lost that chance since you, Myrtle, came. My heart was already wavering. It was already losing hope. I was already thinking to give away that little light that I was holding on for so long since she and I took the same train together. I found refuge on Telle-chan who I was treating as a younger sister. My heart was wavering. I have to do something or else I would go nowhere with my confusion. I let out one last sigh, that confession on the previous October 2 entry. I was hoping that she would read it. I dearly hoped that it would reach her so that she can either untangle herself from the tethers that I cast or reach out for my hand to pull me out from that confusion to be by her side.
She crushed that hope by choosing the former. She pulled the brakes, telling that if I were to confess personally, she would reject me for she has somebody else in her heart.
That “she has somebody else in her heart” is what was keeping me from doing anything to close the gap. Even though I was in front of her, even though we met at the hallways, even though we were seated at sometimes next to each other, even though our eyes met, even though her eyes were following me begging for a gaze back at her, I have to act indifferently and give a cold response in return. I knew for certain that I would break down with this facade of mine. Soon, I would reach the threshold. But I have to endure it up to the point that she won’t be there to witness that I could not take it anymore, standing up to the decision that I chose Telle-chan, who already revealed that she was just onto a senpai-kouhai relationship, over her, as if love was a choice to make. Even if her friends would begin to ship for me, even if my friends would begin to ship for her, I just can’t, knowing that it was I who put the fences around her. With all the trouble that I caused on her, I knew for certain that I would break her heart also, like mine as always.
Life always give us plenty of choices. But like when I lost and alone in your hometown, I could not see those choices anymore. I also wanted to move forward and be happy, like everybody else. Everything was just pitch dark. The life in my eyes was already gone. Please, bring back my courage and self-esteem once more. So that I can live again.