Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Decade After (I)


The Marrying Kind

"Hey, so how was last night?" Vackie asked me.

"Honey… I kissed someone. And it was electrifying. That one kiss… changed me."

24 hours earlier

Neil was in town for a vacation and we were dining in one of my favorite restaurants in the city. A thunderstorm had suddenly appeared, heralding the last days of summer and Manila was drenched. The place was empty except for us.

"So… how long has it been?" Neil asked me.

I was looking at him, noticing the changes in him. The years have taken its toll on both of us.

"Three years and five wrinkles ago," I said, and we both laughed.

"That long huh," he said.

I remember that day clearly. It was winter in San Francisco and since we were both in the city, we agreed to meet by the giant Christmas tree in Union Square. It was my first time to travel to the U.S. and I was giddy with the thrill of seeing a place for the first time, but I was excited to see Neil more than anything else.

It was cold and the winds in San Francisco are gusty. I was running around the park, looking for him, but there were too many holiday shoppers and families out that night and I couldn't find him. I called him.

"Where are you?" I said.

"I'm here waiting for you, beside the tree," he said.

"Where? I can't see you."

I looked around, my eyes peering intently, and suddenly the crowds parted. And there he was… smiling at me. He looked even better than I remembered.

But that was then. At that time, he was married to David in Canada. I was with Manuel then, and those were some of the happiest times in both our lives. I remember how our faces glowed in the dusk.

This was a photo of their honeymoon in Cuba. They looked so happy.

The years have passed. Neil and David eventually divorced. Manuel and I broke up. We are older now, and sometimes I wonder how much of that boy I first met remains in him.

We were both 19, in the throes of youth, when I fell madly in love with him. He spoke my language and understood my stories. He and I would read each other our favorites books and poems for hours. But alas, he had a boyfriend, and we quietly decided it was best that we remain friends.

Neil and I had gone through many changes in our lives. I left for Europe after college, and we would write each other letters when I was away. He was here when I came back. A few years later, it was his turn. He left for Canada. He did not come back.

We have had numerous lovers and we would tell each other about the current men in our lives. But deep down I always thought Neil and I would end up together one day. Perhaps, when we were both ready. I fondly call him my Mr. Big.

"So are you with someone right now?" Neil asked me during the dinner.

"Ahhhh Neil. I fear I am always the date, never the groom," I replied, smiling at him. "You?"

"There's this guy I'm going out with," he answered..

"I'm glad you have someone," I said. "Tell me about him. How are you?"

Neil proceeded to tell stories of his life in Toronto, the work that he does, the house he is designing for his parents, his travels in South America, the men he dated. When he asked me about the men I dated, I told him about Chris the concubine, Denver the boy from Denmark, and Dwayne who I met in the street. Our eyes were animated and we laughed so much, never mind the rain pounding the windows of the winery.

"Grabe, I've missed you," Neil said. "It has been awhile."

"I know. But sometimes, you know, I feel like it's as if we never said goodbye," I told him. "It's like the years and months and days just melt away."

"So you and I are okay like this, right?" he suddenly asked me. "As friends?"

The question caught me by surprise. What did he mean? "It's just that you're so far away," I answered tentatively.

"But how will you know? How will you ever know?" he said.

How indeed, I wondered.

We were both a little tipsy and that night we kissed for the first time in 11 years. Baby, you're a firework, the words rang in my head.  That kiss contained all the yearning and desire I have felt for him all these years. It was magical.

And it was then that it hit me. I am in love with him.

I have searched far and wide and I have fallen in love and out of love many times, but life does indeed come full circle. Neil is the man I want to be with, I realized. It has always been him. That no matter the changes in us, despite the ocean that separates us, we are still inexplicably drawn to each other.

That kiss forced me to confront who Neil really is to me, no more hiding behind half-truths and veiled words like we always have before.

This was the first poem we both loved.

by Ronald Baytan

This is our fate.
You are a waterfall,
and I, a stream;
You will forever flow through me,
but I shall never contain you,
and you will never wash me away.

Who knew how prophetic those words would turn out to be.
Neil is going back to Toronto this Saturday. He left Manila today for an island getaway. I realized I don't have a lot of time left. Do I dare tell him how I feel? Or do I wait again?
Suddenly, I realized I want to be brave. I don't want to wait another decade. So tomorrow, I am skipping work to catch a plane to go to an island to tell a boy that I love him.

My thoughts right now are muddled. I am worried, scared of how he will react. What if he doesn't feel the same way? How can I compare to the beautiful and sophisticated men he meets in Canada? His ex-husband David is a dashing, handsome Eastern European I feel so ordinary. Plain.

And even if he does feel something for me, so what? We live so far away from each other. I can't ask him to move here and I don't want to give up my life and move there.

So I fear, we will be as what we have always been. Somewhere in between, skirting the shadow and the light. Never really together, never quite apart.

No matter, at least, he would know who he really is to me. After all these years.


Kiks said...

resignation? this was not you moments ago... or is this just a moment so fleeting...

rudeboy said...

So tomorrow, I am skipping work to catch a plane to go to an island to tell a boy that I love him.

Bjork has a song that talks about something like this in her debut album entitled, well, Debut.

He's away
This ain't right
I'm alone
I'm taking an aeroplane
Across the world
To follow my heart.

I always thought this was romantic. And well, Kane...who'd have thunk? ;)

p.boy said...


let the next 48 hours be the time you deserve after a decade of hits and misses...

malay mo...

and what's wrong with an encore of Katy Perry's Firework di ba?

joelmcvie said...

I say, tell him. You and he deserve to know that.

Having said that, have you ever heard of this wonderful thing called the cellphone? YM? Skype?!


itsMePeriod said...

kane, you deserve to be happy.

he deserves to know the answer to his question

with that said,

i believe

wala nang dahilan para hindi mo sabihin sa kaniya.

kung worst case scenario man at hindi magwork out

at least you can always look back and say

'i did what i had to do...'

and continue to live life to the fullest...

...with no regrets

eon said...

sincere. heartfelt. eloquent.

i hold my breath for what happens next.

Drein said...

Kane, for what its worth, i say, go for it!!

narnian said...

WOW. :)

your story somehow reminded me of the solitude of prime numbers.

i'm anxious to find out how things will turn out. Bon courage!


Guyrony said...

Attachment and detachment have always been quite complex to begin with, from something to nothing to building to rebuilding.

Your eyes sparkled that night. I was a witness.

But until when K? Until when shall you wait for your eyes to sparkle for him again?

gillboard said...

the romantic in me tells me to go and do it.

all the best kane.

sobrang nakangiti ako after reading this now. :D

red the mod said...

I wrote something on this topic before, and just posted it recently. It's entitled "hypothetics."

I'd like to imagine the decision to be a delicate one. But I realize nothing is delicate when it comes to matters of the heart. It has to be abrupt, absolute and consuming. Passionate, as it is meant to be. The moment you handle it with the frailty of age it becomes clouded by logic, and deluded by consequences.

orally said...


10 years of waiting is well- someone's kid finishing his elementary and high school education.

all the best

Désolé Boy said...

Go for it Kane!
Don't be like me singing Barbara Streisand's "My Man"

Anonymous said...

Oh Kane! Good luck and may the stars shine on your trip!

- bookie -

nOx said...

i've never smiled this wide while reading a post since bunwich's post, "para kay siopao" :)

we wish you luck, kane. we're waiting for your next post :)

Pipo said...

I like the Kane that I read.

john stanley said...

beautiful, beautiful story, kane.

and it deserves a happier ending. go!

Jpy Dee said...

He and I would read each other our favorites books and poems for hours.

very Eat. Pray. Love :P

Go Kane!! tell him what u really feel. maghintay ng 10 more years? GOW!!! :)

Spiral Prince said...


You go tell him, Kane. You deserve to be happy. Love deserves a chance. :)


Mr. Brightside said...

Iba talaga ang love, it rationalizes the irrational, gives courage to those who is in lack of it and makes us do the extraordinary.

Hope all goes well with you and Neil.

the geek said...

a leap of faith...

who knows...

♥N said...

Oh, Kane, this is so romantic, and you are so brave to go after what is in your heart.

I wish I were so brave.

Get him.

Aris said...

oh kane! this is so touching. and so romantic. i feel like crying and yet i am smiling. yung katulad ng nararamdaman ko kapag uma-attend ng wedding. :)

Sean said...

kane, this is so romantic! and i don't know how to describe the varied emotions elicited by your last two paragraphs. I am holding my breath...

paolo said...

great entry man, loved it.

R.A. Laborera said...

aww wish you for more happiness & love K, you deserve it :D

*cross-fingers for the start of a happy relationship :)

Peter said...

Just say it Kane. Bon courage. Leave the rest to him. Wish you the best.

Arlo DeGuzman said...

This is sweet :-) Either way, you'll emerge victorious because you are kind to your heart. :-)

Anonymous said...

"Never really together, never quite apart."

This hit me to my core. hehe

Jethro Cuenca said...

Never really together never quite apart... is a reality... now you share an ideology and experience noone else, apart from me, amongst everyone I know knows...

Anonymous said...

dear K,

Don't ever utter that word again "plain"...As for your question do you tell him? Well, just recently I realized that you don't have to carry your burden alone---you share it :-D so go ahead! Tell him and let him worry about what that would mean LOLZ.


The Lost Boy Lloyd said...

We were lucky to have witnessed part of this story. And nice to meet you in Boracay. Until the next! :)

Niel Steve said...

OH! Shit. i have mixed feelings: scared and excitement! Haaaay.

Ana said...

So sad :( and so beautiful! But you know, it is the unattainable that we always seem to never forget, romanticize, and always forgive. Everything changes once things get real. Maybe it's better you have this--it's perfect. Are you ready to find out first hand how real it could get? Flaws, broken hearts, and all?

my-so-called-Quest said...

with what i'm going through now i thought i'd be bitter with love stories. but no, the hopeless romantic in me shines. and i'm really happy for you. true, don't let this moment passes you by.

we hope you'll update us kane.

x's- i smiled when you said he's your mr.big.

nyldgreat said...

fireworks are beautiful to look at but dangerous to handle.... so handle with care

good luck

Jennifer Louise said...

This is beautiful.

Good luck!! xo

citybuoy said...

sorry ang delayed ko na. started reading the second part pero i decided to touch base here muna. ang exciting! can't wait to see what happens next.

he's cute and that poem, aguy!

Gregg D'Bully said...

Saw this post via Daredevilry's posts. I must say this is endearing. I can relate to every line. If I were in the throes of emotions in the aftermath of a failed relationship while reading this, I could have been crying profusely.

Nice one.