We had crossed each other's way:
But we made no sign, we said no word,
We had no word to say.
---"The Ballad of Reading Gaol", Oscar Wilde
Excerpts of a chat with JK:
K: It was our anniversary yesterday. I wasn't sad at all the whole day. When I got home, my tita was there. And when she hugged me as she said goodbye, that's when I felt it. Out of the blue, it hit me. It was supposed to be our day.
I was surprised at how I felt. I decided to call him, just one attempt. As my BFF V said, it was a special day and I could try. He didn't pick up.
JK: OMG! Didn't that crush you when he didn't pick up?
K: I was more prepared. I was more disappointed, more sad than hurt. Unlike before, when you're more hurt than sad. Do you ever feel you can switch your emotions on and off?
JK: No. That's something beyond my capacity. I don't have a switch. I'm more like firewood. I keep burning until I'm all consumed. In fact, I'm getting a phoenix tattoo.
K: For me right now, it's like a switch. If I turn it on, I feel sad. If I switch it off, okay ako. Unlike before, walang switch. Puro ON.
JK: As for me, kahit anong switch on ang gawin, I really don't feel anything for my ex na.
K: You've completely exhausted what you can give him.
JK: That would be very accurate description of how I feel right now. I don't regret anything. I'm happy that I've give all that I could give. I don't regret about not having given enough at least, because I know I gave my ALL.
K: That's what I mean when I say you reach a point na alam mong tapos na tapos na. Ako kasi, I know I CAN still give. But I'm hesitating.
JK: It's either your fear or your pride. Your love has turned conditional now, I believe.
K: Yes, it has. It's my fear, not pride. It's the fear of letting the hurt happen again.
JK: Which means that now you're more concerned about yourself than him. I think that's a big step. If you're trying to get away from him.
I was in a state of turmoil. I have been trying to decide if I should continue trying to win M back, or if I should let go. If I listen to my head, it would list the one thousand and one reasons why this relationship will not work. What am I thinking? Do I actually think we would survive a long-distance relationship? That we would be the exception rather than the rule? Besides, isn't he "seriously dating" someone right now? Aren't things messy and complicated enough as it is? Wouldn't it be better if I simply step away and let go?
I wanted a sign. I wanted M to initiate a point of contact with me. I wanted to see if he was still willing to have some form of communication with me. I was waiting for a star to fall.
A few days later, I lost my phone. During my state of panic, I called M using my other phone. he didn't pick up. I sent him text messages. He didn't reply.
The next evening, I was on the phone when my mobile phone rang. The number seemed familiar until I realized it was him. M was calling me. I answered and asked him if he could call me back.
We spoke and we had a great time. He asked me how I was and we exchanged stories. I was surprised how easy it was for both of us to fall back into our old selves. He told me his sister was getting married, that he was now working at the ICU department at his hospital. I asked him how his plan of leaving for the U.S. was coming along, how his mom and dad were doing.
Needless to say, I was shocked. I got my sign. Fate has intervened. But the next question is: so what?
I know what I wanted but I realized I wasn't brave to do it. I texted F, "Honey, are you brave?"
F: What you mean?
K: I know that I still want him. It's just that I'm not brave enough. My self-preservation instincts are kicking in. I don't want to hurt again. But if I ask myself honestly, I know that he is worth it. I know it F. My blood, my heart, my soul knows it.
F: I have always believed I am braver to let go of something rather than brave enough to fight for it. I still miss D. I want to see him again. It has been three months since we last saw each other or talked or even exchanged text messages. There are days when I want to just go and show up at his door, unannounced.
K: Why don't you?
F: Honey! What about my pride? Hindi ba nakakahiya iyon?
K: I think there is no shame in fighting for someone you love. Why don't you just go? You want to see him. Do something crazy for a change. Wear your heart on your sleeve.
F: You really think so? OMG! I can't believe I am even considering it.
That night, F went to see D, unannounced. The next morning, I got this text:
F: None of it happened. No fireworks in the sky or a serenade in the night or a happy ever after. This letting go happened in a quiet, almost gentle way. I was ready for that conversation. I guess I just didn't know it then. So the cat is out of the bag, and the heart is on the sleeve. And it is not meant for me.
But more than understanding what happened is the discovery of the self. That one can step out of all things predictable and rational, get into a cab, and head to the home of the one she loves. And tenderly, oh so tenderly, tell herself it is finished. The curtain has fallen. I love you hun. Thank you for giving me courage.
I imagined F going down the building after work and hailing a cab. How she jumped in and told the driver, "Manong, sa Valero!." She told me how excited she was during the trip from Ortigas to Makati, how she felt so alive. How a grand adventure it had seemed.
D was surprised to see her at 2 in the morning. They talked for exactly 30 minutes. She timed it, that's how precise we are. He told her about the girl he is pursuing, why he wanted her, why they cannot see each other anymore, why she cannot sleepover, and why they cannot have sex.
He hugged her as she was about to go and told her how brave she was. "You're really something special, you know?" D said. She smiled and left.
F: It felt good to see him again. I missed him. I missed how he is.
K: I am so proud of you honey. This is the you that I have always loved, fiery and strong. You used to be unafraid of things, you were always the gaga one even before me. It is good to know you can still summon the courage, when needed. Rest well. It was a battle worth the fight. I love you.
After many days of night pondering over my situation, I have made a choice. I have decided to give it my all. I love M and what we had was one of the most beautiful things that happened to me. I have to try as hard as I can to win him back, and only then can I be convinced we are not meant for each other.
I have no illusions. I know that the chances are against me. I am not doing this, telling myself I KNOW we would get back together. You can never know the future, I've learned. You can only hope. And those little voices of doubts in your head will never completely go away. They'll whisper to you the absurdity of your actions. And they may be right.
But the thing is, you will never know unless you see it through the end. It's like you're driving at 120 miles per hour, and you don't know if there's a wall ahead or not, but you hope there isn't.
Because if there is, then you crash and burn.
"The world is full of mediocre things. Let my love be not one of them."