The roof sheets began sounding like drumrolls as numerous yet gentle taps on them announced the unexpected arrival of the rains in the middle of the summer. The cool and moist air chased away the hot and humid air that dominated the past month. The heavens may have tearily longed to see the greenery of the mountain again. The rain clouds provided refuge against the hostility of the summer heat as the precipitation washed away the aridness of the soil and the soul, and imposed the resumption of the replenishment to battle the bleakness brought by the desolation of the situation.
I looked blankly at the window as the rain pounded into it. The light thuds muffling upon the window, unlike the sounds of raindrops over the roof sheets, did not resonate for the ringing mainly came from the conundrum that stumbled upon the train of my thoughts.
My connotation to the rain was not replenishment, but rather bleakness.
The fact that I was all alone for the past 30 days and the fact that I was just haunted by her figure the previous week further aggravated the bleakness that has just resurfaced due to the rain.
The rain reminded me of the tears that I shed the first time that that girl ghosted me at the rainy start of August last year after a quarrel. Back then, the thought that I lost her had me quivering as I was having a panic attack for the first time in ages (Note: The last time was in June 2017. The clues were in a write-up made that month.) At work, I struggled to find some music to help me calm down.
There was this one music that somehow calmed me down: Garden of Word’s ending song, Rain by Motohiro Hata.
That song became the one that I associated the most with her. The song detailed a story of a couple breaking up after a quarrel as the guy chased after her amidst the rain.
“Ikanai de. Ikanai de.” (Don’t go. Don’t go.) The guy in the story pleaded.
And yet as the song revealed and that month of October last year revealed, the girl still left. By the time she decided to leave, I was conducting a field survey across the Province of Cebu with my colleagues in the Academe.
Without a word, she left.
But her departure was without a precursor. Having just came from a 4-year relationship, that girl doubted whether true love existed in the first place. I tried to offer an explanation – an explanation referencing finding true love being committed like in a contract from the anime Kaguya-sama: Love is War that, for sure, she and her friends making fun about. She was already hinting out that I was making the most of our last dates. I was already preparing for the worst that time, with her abandoning me – the last thing that we actually last quarreled about which led to our break-up at the end of August – as the hope that she gave on courting her again growing thin. It was just a question of when.
I never thought that it would be sudden.
My mind was all over the place throughout the field survey. Looking back, I was really thankful to Nathalie and Jihan (and of course Kenneth Musico) who helped me get distracted and calmed me down every time that I was panicking.
I remembered when we have returned to Cebu City at the 4th of October, that after we took dinner, a hard rain poured over Cebu City. I lent my umbrella to the Nath and Jihan and let myself get soaked in the rain. Having vowed to that girl to be her umbrella every time it would rain, I let myself get soaked. If not for the two of them calming me down, I might be doing more self-destructive stuff. As shown in this photo, when we were at Toledo City on the last leg of our field survey, it was evident that I was mentally spent at that time, wishing for the happiness that I realized was lost when we were at Alegria the previous day.
Even though I lost my alegria – which was the Spanish for happiness – that time, I eventually regained it with the help of many people that I realized that I could rely on.
As detailed in previous series of write-ups, named “Travelogue” – on which I decided to discontinue publishing (for I don’t have a reason anymore to publish the rest of the series) – I rode onboard my bicycle all the way to Tarlac from Quezon City to let out all of the growing negative emotions that piled up as an aftermath. When I arrived, I just cried on the lap of my aunts for days.
That was the onset of the string of people who helped me recover.
While in Tarlac, one of my close friends and confidants, Engr. Arvin Sanchez explained to me that ghosting was more of an issue of the “ghoster” than of the “ghosted”. Given of the many unspeakable burden that she was carrying, that might be the case, but another close friend of mine, Karla Coderes, who was my confidant through the years, quickly clarified that although the responsibility of the ghosting lies in the “ghoster,” the “ghosted” might have pushed her to do so. The disaster of me still waiting for that girl was averted by Karla who explained that I would be pressuring that girl into still choosing me if she were to come back and be ready again. Karla’s intercession ultimately sealed my conviction to no longer hope for that girl to come back.
What remained for me that time was for me to deal with the loss. The path to recovery began with that. And it was an undertaking that was accomplished through the help of many people who still thankfully have their faith in me and with some of the hilarious coincidences.
Karla was supposed to treat me to a movie on UP Town Center as I returned to Manila on the 13th of October. However, there was change of plans and we ended up meeting at Gateway Mall, the place where I waited hopelessly for that girl from San Jose del Monte 5 days ago. Karla was indeed a quality friend that I was grateful to have as she pointed out the flaws of mine and that girl.
Another close friend of mine, Pamela Reyes, contrary to the critical mood of Karla, was rather upset to what’s happening even prior to the ghosting part. Seeing me suffer upset Pam more than other to the point that she might hurt that girl if they were to meet and if that girl might attempt to return. Along with her boyfriend, Ronn whom I had fun playing billiards with, Pam frequently hanged out with me as our clique slowly grew, as my close friends began to flock together to collectively show their support.
A junior of mine, Lhines Palmes, also joined up in the fray. With him dutifully lending an ear (and doing some profile checks), I teared up as the anguish that I felt back then finally found their outlet. Having a similar experience, Akira Morita, a close friend of mine, along with his date Szeemaine Tigno, joined us in our meet-ups which regularly took place at sports bars, where I played billiards while they were drinking. We even ended up on Uncensored, a wild college party mainly organized by the org of another close friend of mine, Xander Alvarillo. Of course, being a non-drinker, I was mainly unfazed and remained unrattled by the string of events…
… until Christelle Alava joined us in our hang-outs. Basically, the hang-outs became the meet-ups of the recently broken-hearted as she broke up with her boyfriend that time and Akira suffered a similar fate with his ex-girlfriend. This string of events of solidarity helped us get pulled out from our respective sorry states.
The solidarity that helped me recover not only came from my close friend, but also to my colleagues. My colleague, Asst. Prof. Tim Acosta, who was leading our research project gave me that push to face the moment of truth of whether that girl cared or not. And when the worst had dawned, he gave ample time to recover.
And in that period of recovery, countless support came from my other colleagues. Our admin staff, Jane Almazan, helped me deal with the psychological issues that arose from what happened. Nath and Jihan, as in mentioned earlier, helped me calm down when it happened.
My mentor, Dr. Jaime Hernandez Jr., helped me in his trademark way of tackling the sensitive root by asking whether that girl had introduced me to her friends and family. Having giving him the negative answer, he then surmised that the girl wasn’t serious in the first place.
Even so, I was serious on my end, hence the devastation as I felt that I seemingly lost everything. My mentor and then-workmate, Engr. Liezl Tan, who was the most supportive among my colleague, then snapped me out with the question:
“What have you lost in this first place?”
Realization of retaining everything except that girl put me back on my tracks as Ma’am Tan made me aware of the people who were pinning their hopes on me as they put me on a high regard. Pathetically stooping down to her level would just mock those hopes that I was carrying. So, I moved forward to the present, leading to the present.
As I recall how the outpouring support coming from colleagues helped me regained what I’ve lost inside, the outpouring rain, being collected by the rainfall catchment system, filled up the empty water drums. The collection of the rainfall brought question on why I was kept on recollecting those events that I’ve found it hardest to write about.
Just like the tree rings lose their regularity that indicated the tree’s tribulation and hard times, the manner that I recounted the events became ragged and plainly awful to see. The tree might have moved on and continued to grow once the rains replenished the landscape, but it never forgot the drought and the harsh conditions that preceded it. The retardation of its growth will be forever embedded to its history as undoubtfully, damage has been done. The rains didn’t wash away the sins of the drought. Rather, the rains helped the tree repair itself from the ruins incurred by the bleakness of the drought.
Moving on does not equate into forgetting the past. Moving on is rebuilding oneself from the ruins of that past for the sake of the present and the future.
The rain does not wash away the stains. It does not turn lands immaculate. My eyes, just like history, must keep watch for it, as the stains will serve as reminders, signs, and painful lessons that no revisionism can alter.
Of course, I too had my own stain. I made no effort to conceal it nor gloss over it. What I wrote in the past are there for people to see. How I used to think back then. How I rectified my errors. How I acted horribly in the past. I do not glorify that past nor portray myself as the victim.
What happened in the past constituted what I am in the present. I could not chunk those episodes of the past out as if they never happened because they carried lessons that served as rectifying turning points in my notions of many of the things that I thought I knew about (See: Views on Dating).
I once believed that love is a chase. But my history with Christelle highlighted a pivotal moment when she asked me:
“What do you want to do with that love of yours?”
Indeed, love is a committal thing. And taking note of that, I was fully committed for the next two romantic pursuits that came underway, with the latter being the girl from San Jose del Monte whom I devoted myself to unceremoniously. But remembering those quarrels that we had – with me sending her home alone most of the quarreling times and with me unable to control my desires which attributed to the ghosting that happened – made me vow to never take the person that I loved for granted again if I were to be given a chance.
Each moment in the past carried a memento for me to be kept reminded of those lessons as I looked forward into the future.
Even so, being stranded in this period of solitude made me long for the solidarity that replenished my soul back then.