I wonder how other people became able to draw people precisely on their sketches. Some were maybe professionals and it was understandable that the feat was a product of training and experience. But to those who never drew precisely previously, how did they do it? What willed them to portray the intricacies of their subjects into vivid lines and shades of graphite on paper? Do they smile as they find what themselves have drawn resembling their model? What kind of emotion did they use to be able to perform such task? Is it admiration? Or affection? Or love?
I knew that it wasn’t easy to draw somebody, even the ones you love. Love was not enough in my case to force myself into drawing somebody. I have started to do attempts since 2008, with Leah Julian or Mikee Dalumpines. I just can’t back then. There has to be a certain emotion that an individual needed to be able to perform this task. I just don’t know back then. In the first place, why I have been doing this? It was until I saw my dormmate, Ian Biagtan meticulously sketching one of his crushes, that I’ve found my answer. Even though the task was arduous for him, which took him weeks to finish, he was in glee all the time. What sustained him was the thought of showing it to the model herself, which made him gleeful.
It was with that thought that I attempted again. I kept hoping that she would get to see this drawing that I made, as I was hoping for the subjects to my write-ups to read what I wrote for them. I kept thinking on the possible reactions if she happened to see this sketch of mine on an olso paper, which was beginning to resemble her. Her images were becoming ingrained into my mind as grains from the graphite stick themselves on the paper precisely where I wanted them to be. The last task to be accomplished was finally drawing her eyes. It was the most difficult task, for the eyes were the windows to the soul. It was as if I was putting the sketch of mine into life with her soul being incorporated to it. Her eyes kept melting my heart as it kept throbbing. If felt that even this sketch of her was gazing upon my soul, naked against the warmth of her presence.
After three day, I finished it. (I showed it to my classmates in Chem 16 class, notably, my groupmate, Frederick Jaysol Tandoc). I was eager to show it to the girl, therefore I brought up to her the idea of touring me to her hometown in Bataan. It would be the token of my love confession for I believe that it was the invigorated heart that willed this amateur left hand of mine into making this masterpiece. I loved her. That was why I was able to draw her. It was an indication on how pervasive and vivid she was in my mind. And yet, she was not able to come. I was contemplating in her hometown’s church on what to do with this sketch of her. It was maybe my final concession of defeat to being heartbroken, leaving the drawing at the front aisle seat of that church.
For maybe 3 years, I was in a state of depression, thinking of the what-should-have’s or the what-should-have-not’s. I kept drawing her as a consolation. The drawings of her were piling up, but the feeling was incomplete. I was nowhere near the closure that I was expecting.
It was until I accidentally met her at the UP Main Library that I’ve found a way to get rid of the burden, by leaving the drawings at the UP Main Library. But things got complicated. My colleagues from my organization have found out that the girl was working as a student assistant in the computer room of the General Reference section of the UP Main Library, after busting out so suddenly, when I realized that she was the one at the counter and I was the next one that she would be serving, in their presence. That was their first time seeing me getting flustered because I was typically acting detached to them.
Suddenly, they were beginning to hold our org meetings at the main library. They wanted to see more episodes. I tried ditching them, assigning to my colleague, Leonard Burdeos, the task of leaving the sketches to her, but still they’ve found a way to force me to go. They told that they won’t be attending the duckpin bowling tournament that day unless I would be present at the meeting there to assure their attendance. I went there, but much to my horror, the librarian guarding the door switched with that girl moments after I went in. My colleagues were laughing their hearts out as they saw the uneasiness and tension in me building up as they were anticipating my first interaction with that girl after 2 years.
I was more horrified when Leonard came. That girl inspected his bag. Right after her inspection, he pulled out my sketches of her from his bag as he walked towards the computer room with a determination that he would accomplish his task, no matter what. I ran frantically on the pathway to stop him before he entered the computer room. I managed to stop him. Still, I couldn’t find myself going out, with her by the door. I was already 45 minutes late to the tournament that I would be participating. Thankfully, a librarian switched place with her just at the nick of time before I was supposed to throw the opening ball on the tournament.
I returned the following week, with no familiar faces around, neither hers. I found it as the perfect time to leave the sketches beneath one of the keyboards of their computers. It was a cowardly act, yet it delivered the closure that I was waiting for, which did not last for long as I discovered another plank to be driven to my heart.
I’ve drawn others, who became my crushes, like Erlyne Santiago and Kimberly Arriola, to keep me inspired even though the depressing factors and influences were in full throttle. I was also able to draw Jeshea Faye Abo-abo, who was my girlfriend that time. Also, I was able to draw her friends, much to my confusion. Now, I realized that even though I was not in love, I was still able to draw. That thought of showing the model what I drew of her was the remaining condition or thought that drove me into drawing. Choco Nery, a person who was once special to me, was first one that rendered a drawing of me. Yet, I wasn’t able to return the gesture. Maybe by the time that I was attempting it, the drawing was meant to be a token of reconciliation after throwing a fit of jealousy on her. The penultimate sketch that I was able to draw was of Nikka’s, and that drove me into testy waters of public opinion.
I just accepted that time, that I lost my chance already to love again. Then came Telle-chan. Some years went back to me as I was feeling invigorated with this affection of mine to her. I regained my drawing sense. After a year, I was able to draw somebody again. Chills met my spine as I basked upon my artwork. It was one of her profile pictures that was nowhere to be found now (I don’t know why). I kept thinking out scenario when I would be giving it to her. In my mind, there were only two possible reactions or response: one was that she would be glad, as simple as that; and the other was that she would be crept out. (Click here to know what really happened in reality). One thing was for certain, it would be my token for a love confession. I was decisive again.
Yet, that internal conflict was still what made me reluctant even more, even though I was already determined to give the drawing to her. Even since she came to my life, words began to associate themselves with their respective antonyms. I was happy that she brought me back to life again, yet sad that the distance between us never seemed to shorten. I was optimistic into looking forward to our conversations, yet pessimistic on the thought that these conversations would end someday. I was determined to pursue her, yet so reluctant for I might lose her in return. I was expecting to be in content on being disappointed again. Love brings me joy but brings my heart to the wringer.
Come to think of it. How come that a person that seemed to be forever distant came so close to me? My heart was beating so fast to know that it was her who was more eager to spend more time with each other. My heart beat again when she initiated a conversation out of nowhere. My heart burst in joy when she asked me to spend the whole afternoon on the media services room at the UP Main Library with just the two of us. Euphoria was served when she was the one looking forward to our trip to the National Museum which was a date in my perspective. Moments where it was just the two of us gave the feeling that we were indeed the only two people in the world.
Then, what I have feared had come true. People who get too beautiful, like the stars in the sky, were meant to disappear someday. We began talking less. It was right after my indirect confession with that poem engraved on the back of her drawing. Maybe that put her on a tight situation. Maybe she just wanted to have a senpai who would help her adjust to the environment and culture of UP. It was maybe her intent all along on approaching me. I misinterpreted again.
Yet, I still kept receiving mixed signals. That “We Should Date”. Those ambiguous phrase. And finally this drawing:
All of these noises put me into confusion. I knew how hard it is to make a sketch of somebody. What kind of feelings was she conveying to the sketch? She said that she was being a hopeless romantic when she drew it. Why it should look like me? What was her intent? Is it just to return the gesture? Or was it something else? How many times do I have to give up? How many times do I have to raise my hopes again? How many times do I have to be disappointed over and over? How long do I have to contemplate? She was not providing me an answer as she kept ignoring my messages. Did she really draw me, after drawing me out of my slumber over and over again?