The college days are over. I am now in the next stage of my life: adulthood. The realization of adulthood brought into focus the travails of my academic life which was riddled with ups and downs, gains and shortcomings, conflicts and compromises, losing and finding passions, championing and antagonizing causes. It was an age of crisis where political ideas and poetic dreams had bloomed and withered. It was an age of emotional droughts and breakdowns that made me question my own existence to the point that I lost my sense of self for my heart bled dry and made me believe that I was somebody nobody wanted, even though it was contrary to the dozen requests of some family heads to me to become their son-in-law, and to the handful of followers who emulated the examples that I exhibited.
The final curtain of my college days were brought down by my graduation and inauguration as a registered and licensed civil engineer. The anti-climax came unexpectedly just right when the climax was unfolding. As opposed to some graduates who were relieved and delighted that the arduous college life of theirs was over, I felt incomplete as if it felt like I departed prematurely from the university. It was all because of Telle-chan, Marie Christelle Joyce C. Alava. It suddenly felt like there was an act omitted on a play, a chapter removed from a book, and a stanza missing in a poem. I met her at the final chapter of my college life when she was on her first. I fell in love to her, yet there was an abrupt stop, just when things were about to unfold or wrap out or even wrap up. Here I am, still waiting for her. Here I am, still confused on her mixed signals.
That is why I cling so much to UP as much as I could. I did voluntary researches and extension topics to the undergraduate research that I’ve done. I sought to be a researcher and a faculty member of the UP. That was why I became so much disappointed when I was not accepted into the UP-ICE Faculty. I made a promise to her to become an academe of UP to wait for her to graduate (See: Missing You 3), so I was disappointed that things went away from what I promised. I was thinking that I should have pursued high grades back then, and that I should not have lost my appetite for high grades years ago. It was a regret not worth regretting because the past me could not have imagined that things would culminate into this. The past me could not have expected somebody bringing back the life in my eyes again. Nevertheless, I am still determined to contribute to UP even though I was not receiving any monetary benefits from it. The very thought of being given a chance to see Telle-chan again is enough.
After the events of October 2015, I hardly met her. She was busy with her org works and her livelihood. If I indeed occupy a significant portion in her thoughts, she would find a leeway within her busy schedule. But nil… it already seemed the opposite. My fear number one was probably correct. Maybe she just used me to adjust to UP’s environment. I set out to confirm my fears.
November 2015. It was the book launch of one of their organization’s members. I knew that she would be there. I bought the book and by the counter, I indeed saw her from a distance, bonding really well with her colleagues. Realizing that my fears have come true, tears ran down from my eyes (Thankfully, it was already dark and nobody noticed.). Because I was shy, I can’t come close to her in front of many people. I clutched my heart in pain as the painful throbbing returned on a regular basis. It was maybe a moment of goodbye.
But fate doesn’t give up. Ambiguous signs were being sent to confuse the hell out of me. That tiny hope was rekindled as I wrote the Missing You series. She remained in my heart as this presumably one-sided love lingered on. Still waiting and even abandoning a chance to a new love interest, I waited for her.
When I was in Singapore, I bought some dark chocolates for her. And that was the token to our first meeting this year. It was her enrollment period while I sought for the University Clearance. That day, there was a scheduled pool match for me in the afternoon. When we met, after giving the dark chocolates to her, she invited me to join her on her way back home. Thinking about the scheduled pool match, I humbly declined. After we parted ways that day, I received a call from a friend, telling that the scheduled pool match was cancelled. I literally slapped myself in frustration. I prioritized billiards over her?! That might give her the wrong signal that there were higher priorities than her.
It was the time that people should be reviewing for the incoming May Board Exams in Civil Engineering. I was not motivated into acing or even reviewing for the board exam, for it meant that the distance between me and Telle-chan would grow further. In the time of lack of contact between us, in order to temporary forget the feeling of missing her, I focused on my data gathering. I still visited UP thrice a week to sit in progress reports of the ongoing theses of the Structural Engineering Group back then. I used that as an excuse to go around UP, hoping that I would get to meet her by chance, but to no avail. It was very tiring, to hope then be disappointed as those hopes went down the drain. I found a refuge on the Everybody’s friend in ICE who coincidentally was also gathering data from PAGASA around that time. My heart wavered into considering rekindling what I abandoned for Telle-chan. I tried making the Everybody’s Friend in ICE as an inspiration to ace the board exam, but still I was not motivated enough to review.
I met Telle-chan for the second time that year, in the solidarity event of those affected by the fire that reduced the UP Faculty Center, the cauldron of the Filipino literature, into ashes. I never thought that she would be the one speaking on behalf of her organization, UP UGAT. I was recording the whole event and she got to speak and I heard her voice again and I accidentally recorded it which I listened to over and over again. She remained lingering in my heart.
I supported her organization and their events with the hopes that I would see her again. And I did see her again, for a third time this year, when they were selling tickets for their movie screening of Tulay ng San Sebastian. I was dumbfounded that I didn’t realize that it was her who was calling me while I was playing chess with my friends at the UP FC parking lot. That gave her the wrong signal again of my disinterestedness. I bought the ticket and asked her if she would be present at that event. Even though she was not sure whether she would be available, I hoped as I attended the movie showing. I did not see her there….OR it was just that I failed to see her there. She was present, taking selfies with the actors and actresses, yet I failed to see her. Was it my heart wavering or was it my heart already being wrung out? I walked alone, dejected, looking back to the past (See: The One Who Joined My Lonely Walks)
Looking back, I thought that I’ve tried everything already. In the social media site, ask.fm, I asked her out for a date again. She answered that I must ask permission from Keima first, her “husbandu.” I asked myself: “Who the hell is Keima?”
The World God Only Knows
“Who the hell is Keima?”
I asked my best buddy Erik about it. He recalled, “Ah, Katsuragi.” He just answered me with Keima’s surname. I looked into it on Google and I found out that he was protagonists of the harem series, “The World God Only Knows”. Since the show was supposed to be on the Harem genre, I sighed on the realization that she was already deep in the anime world being a weebu or an otaku. Thinking that the explanation sufficed answering the question, I let the question hang for a long time.
…Until I accidentally watched one of its episodes on Animax. I was immediately hooked up on the series as I found the main character, Keima Katsuragi, very hilarious and relatable. A week before the board exams, I abandoned the thought of ever reviewing for the board exams, abandoning the intent of acing the exam in order to date the Everybody’s friend from UP ICE.
Since Telle-chan told that I must ask Keima’s permission first, I sought to know more about him and his world. It is not a typical harem type of anime, that Kami Nomi Zo Shiru Sekai. The characters were generically written like they were real people, with the exception of Keima himself, whom I found affinity with. This series provided heartfelt moments.
In Ayumi Takahara’s conquest, we were shown that being in love reclaims the confidence that we have lost. In Mio Aoyama’s conquest, we were shown that it is our choice to be happy. In Kanon Nakagawa’s conquest, we were shown that love will guide us if we happen to be lost in the darkness. In Shiori Shiomiya’s conquest, we were shown that we need courage in order for our voice to be heard.
In Kusunoki Kasuga’s conquest, we were shown that it will feel incomplete if we abandon a part of ourselves just to achieve our goals. In Asami Yoshino’s conquest, we were shown that it is alright to embrace our solitude. In Amami Tooru’s conquest, we were shown that all of the negative things will become positive in the end, if we work hard and remain positive. In Chihiro Kosaka’s conquest, we were shown that we can stand out and have value if we want to. In Jun Nagase’s conquest, we were shown that even though it is hard, we need to cling on to our ideals.
In Tsukiyo Kujyo’s conquest, we were shown that love can bring the beauty out of anything. In Minami Ikoma’s conquest, we were shown that it is alright to move on from one chapter to welcome the succeeding chapters of life. In Rieko Hinaga’s conquest, we were shown that sometimes, the gaps in the our heart which were caused by loneliness can be resolved by accepting the loneliness. In Shino Akugarawa’s conquest, we were shown that in order to obtain hope, we must overcome the darkness in front of us through force of will.
In Sumire Uemoto’s conquest, we were shown that the disappointment of not being able to help creates crevices in people’s hearts. In Nanaka Haibara’s conquest, we were shown that winning is not everything, and that losing can sometimes help us grow. In Aoba Fuse’s conquest, we were shown that only when we value something that we will find our own value. In Yui Goido’s conquest, we were shown that we need to defend the things that we value in order for them to not be taken away. In Hinoki Kasuga’s conquest, we were shown that being an example does not have to include hiding your weaknesses and frustrations. In Akari Kurukawa’s conquest, we were shown that the ideal will always be us pursuing the perfect but not achieving it.
I have two favorites in Keima’s capture targets: Kanon Nakagawa and Amami Tooru. Kanon represents the traditional professional idol. All of her songs were catchy (My favorites were: Love Call and Snow in my Eyes). She replaced IU as my number one idol. All the things that Kanon demanded from Keima were coincidentally the things that I would be willing to give to the one I love. The capture of Amami Tooru, on the other hand, was the parallel on how I approached Telle-chan. I would be willing to jump into Telle-chan’s world if that is the only way that I would get close to her. I’ll be dedicating a separate piece for these two as well as the other heroines and the Goddesses Arc.
Of course, we must not forget Keima himself. I understand now, why Telle-chan admired him deeply.
If you think I’m missing someone from the series, you were mistaken. Of course, I would not be forgetting Tenri Ayukawa. Of course, I shipped Tenri for Keima in the Heart of Jupiter Arc. I felt very sorry for her, on how she remained loyal to Keima for 10 years, on how she loved Keima, so much, and for who he really is, and on how Keima rejected her with “There won’t be an ending between us.” I cried when I saw Tenri, disregarding all the danger, jumping over the void just to convince Keima to come back to continue, and when she volunteered to share the burden that Keima was carrying. But the major flaw which led to the downfall of her love to Keima was pointed out by her goddess, Diana, herself, which somehow plucked some strings in me:
“You live next door to someone you’ve loved for ten years. You must want to talk to him to spend more time with him.”
Tenri believed in fate, or unmei in Japanese. But Keima believed otherwise:
“No way! As if our destiny … is to get dragged into a shitty game like this!! We are fighting to change our fates.”
Heeding to that statement from Keima, I snapped back to the real world. Putting all the TWGOK discussions aside (I’ll dedicate some write-ups on the later posts), I resumed my efforts. So, last Friday, I found the perfect excuse to meet her again. I was invited by my adviser, Dr. Jaime Y. Hernandez Jr., to share my research experience before the graduating batch of CE that day. That day matched the day that Telle-chan’s org was selling their pocket books or zines.
There she was, indeed. But there were no stocks of zines available at that time. I lost my excuse to meet her. I was about to turn back and accept that this brief meeting would be all the reward on the research that I’ve done, when she asked me to draw some of the rolled paper containing questions on a plastic cup.
I drew the first question: “When was Noli me Tangere published?”. I knew the answer: “1886”. Then I drew the second question, “What is the meaning of Noli me Tangere?”, on which I’ve answered, “Touch me not.”. Then the next question: When was the first publication of a book in the Philippines? = Doctrina Christiana, 1593. Then came the non-sense questions which gave us laughter.
Then came the very last question: “Bakit hindi ka crush ng crush mo?”, which is a Filipino movie title. But it was being addressed as a question from Telle-chan to me. I dearly wanted to ask her in reply: “Bakit nga ba?”
Bakit hindi ka crush ng crush mo?
I went there with the intent of asking her out for a date on her birthday, which will be tomorrow, August 30. I can’t bring myself to ask that question. Maybe, I was just a coward, that is why hindi ako crush ng crush ko.
Even though the question hurts, I pondered deeply upon the question.
The answer was simple. To quote what Ayumi said in the final chapters of Goddess’ Arc:
What do you take me for? I gave it some serious thought too, you know! I won’t let anyone manipulate my feelings. I’m… I’m the one who decided to fall in love to you.
No matter how hard I try, it is still up to her to decide. She should be the one answering that damned drawn question.
Yet all of these useless noise throw me deeper into confusion. The signs were already clear. Exchange in correspondence is seldom as ever. In social media, I now belong to the non-special group of people who don’t see her status whether she’s online or not. I just occupy a tiny dot, not worthy to being even called a space, in her thoughts. Yet fate still gives me a tiny bit of hope with its maneuverings, that maybe it was something else, that maybe there was another layer. Those maybes were enough to carry on this tiny flame of love, even though it was already flickering against the wind.
But these hopes weren’t enough. I was strained to where I stand, destined to just look from afar. I tried chasing her but the distance kept growing. I was already tired and my body just wanted to rest to be at peace. The winds kept speaking of a bleak tomorrow awaiting. I was holding back because of that fear.
It is love for it hurts. But why does it hurt? It has only to work once, yet all of those failures in the past made me reluctant into crossing the Rubicon. I kept my heart at leash. I kept things the same way to protect what our relationship was to the point that I don’t know anymore what kind of relationship that I was protecting. What would be more regrettable: pursuing love only to fail in the end while contemplating on the actions that were done, or not pursuing at all, leaving lots of questions of what ifs. Is she really my Mariang Sinukuan?
Lahat na lang sinukuan ako, dadagdag ka pa ba?
No. That’s not it. I just refuse to accept that she likes somebody else. I’m just a delusional idiot who doesn’t know about love.
Or maybe I was the one giving the cryptic conversations and the useless noise on her.