A Love That Was

   I was so moved by this SMS from my friend Jahnays, that I couldn’t seem to get enough of. Kaya heto ginawan ko ng istorya. Warning to readers : MEDYO MAY KAHABAAN. PLEASE BEAR WITH ME.
 

“Ang tunay na pag-ibig madalang lang biyahe niyan
Kaya ‘pag dumaan sa’yo, parahin mo, sumakay ka
kasi baka di na bumalik ‘yon
Siguro nga babalik pa, pero pa’no kung may sakay ng iba
Sasabit ka na lang ba?” 
 

Nasa loob ako ng isang bookstore sa Makati. Malamang kasi napagkatuwaan na naman ako ng mga kaibigan kong indiyanin sa usapan namin, meron kasi kaming get-together every Saturday afternoon sa Greenbelt. Kaya naisip ko, kesa naman magalit ako at magka-wrinkles, magbabasa na lang ako. Inisa-inisa ko lahat ng shelves para maghanap ng mababasa, hanggang nakita ko ang isang librong may title na “A Love That Was”. Naintriga ako, kaya kinuha ko kasi parang sobrang nakaka-relate ako. Ganito din kasi ang nararamdaman ko ngayon — malungkot at nanghihinayang. Dahil gaya ng bida sa libro, I once had found love, only pinabayaan kong mawala. Ayoko na sanang maalala pa ‘yon, kaya lang hindi ko mapigil. Parang ulan na bumuhos ang nakaraan, against my will.
        Mataas ang sikat ng araw noon at limang minuto na lang ay male-late na ako sa trabaho. First day pa naman ng training, at frist job ko ‘yon. Tumingin ulit ako sa relo ko bago pumasok sa building para siguruhing makakahabol pa ako bago mag-alas nuebe. 8:55, ‘yon ang nakita ko kaya pagkatapos na maipalit ang school ID ko para sa training pass, nagkukumahog akong tumakbo papunta sa elevator. At nananadya ata ang pagkakataon, lahat ng elevators ay nakaakyat na maliban sa elevator na nasa gawing dulo. Then I saw a tall guy entered the elevator, I rushed some more as I saw the doors slowly closing in. Tumakbo na ako habang nagsisigaw ng “Up, Going Up” pero patuloy sa pagsara ang mga pinto. Then the moment I reached the elevator, I slid my right hand for the doors to reopen and I hopped in.  
       Oops, sorry. Hindi kita narinig”, the guy was holding the Open button as he smiled at me.
        I rolled my eyes as I looked back at him. “Whatever!” I snorted. Then I heard him laughing at my back and I hated him that instant.”May nakakatawa ba?” To my surprise, he guffawed and that infuriated the hell out of me, good thing there were just the two of us. I turned to face him and he stopped laughing and looked straight into my eyes. He did stop laughing but his eyes, they were dancing in amusement. “I’m asking you kung may nakakatawa ba!”
        He nodded “Nakakatuwa ka.”, and gave a weak, lopsided grin. 
        Pinag-iinit talaga ng lalaking ito ang ulo ko. “Ikaw naman, jerk!”
        “Ikaw naman cute” he smiled sweetly and I regret it. I was mezmerized, I was hooked to look him in the eye. He was cute. No, he probably was more than that. To describe him as cute would be an understatement. Magre-rate siya ng 8 sa score na 1-10.My heart pounded wildly but I checked myself and found myself facing the wall. What as I supposed to say, “Ang cute mo rin!” or “I hate you, jerk!”? Medyo napansin ata na napatitig ako sa kaniya, tumaas ang sulok ng labi niya. Umismid ako! I told myself, hmm, mayabang na maangas pa! 
        When I got off the elevator, he also got off. My, my, my, we’re going to the same office?  I should’ve known by his empoyee ID. And before he turned to go inside the office using the employee entrance, he waved his hand and said “So long, Miss Taray!” That was it, the start of my hate campaign versus Mr. Jerk, even if he turned out to be one of my bosses.

I really hated him since then for all the reasons I could come up with. Kapag may sinasabi siya, kapag may ginagawa siya or kahit wala siyang gawin, naiinis ako sa kaniya. Basta pag nandiyan siya sa paligid, kumukulo ang dugo ko. And I also hate the fact that every girl in the office had a crush on him which bloated his oversized ego. I mean, ano ba ang nakita nila kay Mr. Jerk? Ewan. Basta ako, hindi ako ‘yong tipong nabubulag ng kaguwapuhan, mas importante ang substance. Hindi naman kami magtititigan habambuhay. Whenever he’s around, I tried to be as distant as I could. Everytime he would talk to me or would ask me questions, I would feel sick. Right, he made me sick everytime. I simply didn’t wanna have anything to do with him.
        Talaga atang obvious ang hate campaign ko kaya pati mga friends ko, kinausap na ako. Mukhang pati sila ay nadapuan ang epidemya ni Mr. Jerk. Pilit nila akong pinapaamin kung bakit hate na hate ko siya. Bakit nga ba? Ah, basta hate ko siya. Period. I.HATE.HIM. Sabi nga ng isang friend ko, “Why hate him when everyone loves him? Saan ba nanggagaling ang hate na yan? Hmm…nakakaduda! Baka naman type mo din at para hindi obvious, kunwari galit ka? Uuuuyyyyy…” Napaisip tuloy ako kung may gusto nga ako kay Mr. Jerk. Wala. Wala nga ba? Of course… Kahit guwapo siya? Oo naman, hindi ko siya gusto. Kahit mabait? Hindi pa din! Kahit na sabi ng friends mo mukhang interesado siya sa’yo dahil nagtatanong ng lahat ng info tungkol sa’yo? Kahit na! Kahit na? Kahit ano pa, basta hate ko siya. Pahabol pa nila “You know the saying about love and hate. You show the person that you hate him and yet love him secretly?”
        NO WAY!!!! No friggin’ way!!!
        Ngi katiting na interes wala akong nararamdamn para sa kaniya…wala dahil pinapatay ako ang kahit na katiting na notion na puwede akong ma-inlove sa kaniya? Hello? Ang mga lalaking ‘gaya niya hindi marunong magmahal. Sila ‘yong mga lalaking magpapaibig ng babae tapos iiwan na lang ‘pag may nakitang bagong prospect. Nakakatakot mahalin ang mga ganitong tipo ng lalaki dahil dalawang bagay lang naman ang mangyayari — mmamahalin ka ng totoo o sasaktan lang. Si Mr. Jerk, siguradong sasaktan lang ako niyan. Maaaring interesado nga siya dahil hindi ako affected nang charm niya. Pero ang mahalin ako ng totoo? Malabo. That idea was totally absurd.
        Isa pa, merong mas interesanteng bagay ang mas gusto kong pagtuunan ng pansin noon, ang aking secret admirer. Everyday, lagi na lang akong may nakikitang white rose at note sa window ng locker ko. At first, akala ko ginu-goodtime lang ako ng mga friends ko. I must admit, nakuha talaga ni Secret Admirer ang full attention ko and I like it a whole lot dahil may ibang napag-uusapang ang mga friends ko maliban kay Mr. Jerk. Naintriga talaga ko sa identity niya. Ang sabi nila white roses symbolize purity and sincerity. Hindi naman unique ang mga banat niya pero unique naman ang style niya. Case in point are his notes:
        1st day : You’re an angel.
        2nd day : who fell from the sky
        3rd day : to capture my heart
        4th day : I love you
        5th day : I love you more today
        6th day : I love more today than yesterday
        7th day : Perhaps, I’ll love you more tomorrow
and so on…Para kasing puzzle di ba? You have to collect ’em all para mabuo ‘yong message. I find it corny pero cute talaga.
        One day, my close friend and I were talking sa pantry. Everyone already went home and kami na lang ata ang natitira. Nakatalikod ako sa pinto. My friend asked me a question, “Sino kaya ‘yong secret admirer mo? Nakakatuwa ka naman, meron ka ng Sir Yeoji (Mr. Jerk), meron ka pang secret admirer.” Sabi ko naman, “Ewan ko…” Then she asked me, “Paano kaya kung si Sir Yeoji at ‘yong secret admirer mo, iisa?” I answered, “Hindi puwedeng mangyari ‘yon. You know naman I hate him.” Then I indignantly said “I so, so hate him. At habambuhay kong magiging hatest person ang taong ‘yon.” Nanlaki ang mga mata ng friend ko habang ngumunguso sa bandang pintuan. At nakatayo si Mr. Jerk, holding a bouquet of white roses. He was standing there devoid of arrogance and confidence na madalas kong makita sa kaniya. He handed me the flowers and said “When I first saw you, you looked so much like an angel and you captured my heart at that instant. You see, I fell in love with you that day, and that feeling seemed to grow each day. I feel sorry that you hate me. I guess nothing I do would ever change that. Simula ngayon, hindi na kita guguluhin and I will leave your locker and your life — in peace.” He said that in a voice na halos maiiyak na.
        Hindi ako nakagalaw kaagad. I went speechless for the longest time in my life. Hindi talaga ako naka-react. Mas naunang natauhan ang kaibigan ko,”Wait, did he say locker? Monique, sinabi ba niyang locker? Oh my, si Sir Yoeji ang secret admirer mo?”
        Simula no’ng araw na ‘yon, hindi ko na siya nakikitang nakangiti, lagi siyang seryoso. Most of the time, mainit ang ulo. Kahit gusto ko siyang lapitan, natatakot ako. Nagi-guilty? No! What I was feeling was beyond guilt. It was something else…And I later realized, I didn’t actually hate him. Tama ang mga kaibigan ko! I didn’t hate him, I never did. Lahat ng ipinapakita ko, facade lang talaga. Denial tactics dahil hindi ko matanggap na while binabakuran ko ng hatred ang puso ko, nano-nourish pala ‘yong love at the very core. Dahil masyado akong busy sa pag-guard sa puso ko, hindi ko pinansin ang mumunting mga signs na nagmamahal na ako. And yes, mahal ko pala talaga si Mr. Jerk. Pero kahit inamin ko sa sarili ko ‘yon, hindi ko kayang aminin ‘yon sa kaniya. Pride? Siguro… I would die kung malalaman niya ‘yon…
        Few months passed by and I heard Mr. Jerk resigning. He would be going to New Zealand dahil doon na naka-base ang family niya, he only stayed because he wanted to live on his own dito sa Pilipinas. Gusto ko siyang lapitan, gusto ko siyang kausapin. Sasabihin ko lahat lahat ng nararamdaman ko. Mahal ko siya at willing akong ipaglaban ‘yon. I was never given the oppotunity to do so dahil masyado siyang naging busy. Biglaan din ang pag-file niya ng terminal leaves. I tried texting him, hindi naman siya nagre-reply. I tried calling him, pero laging “The subsriber cannot be reached” ang naririnig ko at hindi ang boses niya. Gusto ko nang sumuko then finally one day, one of his friends told me na kinabukasan na ang flight niya, 7PM. I decided to see him for the last time at aaminin ko lahat lahat bago siya umalis. Hindi ako pinayagang mag-halfday, mag-early out na lang daw ako. Malayo ang Paranaque sa Ortigas and exactly 5PM, pinayagan akong umalis. I rode a cab, sabi ko sa driver,”Manong, kelangan nating lumipad papuntang airport”. Pero ma-traffic at akala ko hindi ko na siya maabutan. Nakita ko siyang naglalakad dahil tinatawag na ang flight niya. May kausap siya sa cellphone, lumapit ako. Marami siyang dalang baggages. Naghintay akong matapos siya sa phone at humarap siya sa akin. Feeling ko ‘nong mga panahong ‘yon, ibang tao ang kaharap ko. Masyadong seryoso, masyadong pormal, “Yes? Kung may sasabihin ka, sabihin mo na.” Was that irritation I heard in his voice? Galit ba siya? I blinked my eyes, naiiyak ako. Gusto kong magsalita pero wala akong nasabi. Then I heard him say “Goodbye”, then gave a quick kiss on my right cheek. I tried to move pero hindi ako makagalaw, nakita ko siyang lumakad palayo…Palayo nang palayo.
        That was five years ago pero hanggang ngayon ‘pag naiisip ko si Yoeji, naiiyak pa din ako. Sinisisi ko pa din ang sarili kong katangahan. Tumayo na ako at isinauli ang libro. Naglakad ako palabas ng bookstore at pumasok sa isang coffee shop. Um-order ako ng paborito kong frapuccino at umupo sa bandang loob ng coffe shop. Dapat ko na siyang kalimutan at mag-move on sa buhay ko. Pero paano?
        “Monique” napa-incredulous ng tawag na ‘yon. Familiar ang boses na ‘yon.

                                                                                            ——————

 HAHAHA…mabitin kayong lahat…tinatamad pa kong tapusin….

3 thoughts on “A Love That Was

  1. Isay says:

    Kainis,mahaba nga!!!!

    Potcha! Parang kilala ko kung kaninong love story to, ah

  2. chuvaness says:

    ang haba!

    mag writer ka ng Valentine Romance! Dali! Palitan mo si helen meriz o kaya si maya jose

    wahahha

  3. ruthie says:

    Wagi! Maganda, maganda!
    tapusin mo na…try to write a novel and send it over!

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