Monday, October 21, 2013

Coming home at last: A love story

Once upon a time, there was a young girl who met a young boy and they fell in love. How they met was not particularly romantic, and it definitely wasn’t love at first sight, but what they had was so real. Their love was fueled with so much passion and fire that quick as their story was, they left behind a trail of memories burned into people whose lives they have shared. It ended as quickly as it started, but everyone remembered how good they had it.

Anger, spite and pride engulfed the love that they once shared, until it was nothing but a mere memory. A very wispy memory numbed by the pain they caused each other. Years have passed, relationships were formed… There were long moments when they forgot about each other. Moments lived purely in the present oblivious to the happy reminiscences of times long-gone.

But something was always missing, yet they were too proud and too hurt to realize what needed to be done. Call it fate, call it destiny, call it what you want –but one day, the cosmos aligned for them to meet again. It was the hand of god, the doing of somebody bigger than all of us, which brought the two of them back together. This time, they were older, wiser and this time, they knew how it felt to live life without the other.
That girl was me... and the boy was Paulo. 

This is my story.

We met at a party thrown by a not so very close friend –I knew the girl, Paulo knew the boyfriend. As soon as I arrived, I was immediately “matched” with Paulo. I don’t know why... maybe because I looked like the kind of girl who would go for the dirty little rocker types. He wasn’t really my type then. Too skinny, too brooding... I usually went for the handbag type guys... you know those hunky types you use as accessories and as a trophy to show off to family and friends. I didn’t really care if they had a brain; I usually fell in love with their gorgeous physique and chiseled features –sense of humor and wit optional.

That night I caught myself going into the room where he was, several times, just to get a glimpse of him. We didn’t really get to know each other that night but the next day, I couldn’t get him out of my mind. I was really intrigued with him to be honest. It was infatuation lvl 9000. There was something about him. I don’t know what it was.

I didn’t have his number and he didn’t have a Myspace account but luckiliy, one of his friends gave me his number. I’ve actually never made the first move on a guy before, but for Paulo’s case, I made an exception.

I can’t remember what I first said to him to start the conversation. He said it was something like “hey sexy” but we really can’t remember exactly. I don’t know how we got to talking about music, bands, movies and then more serious topics like ideas, beliefs, life, etc. but we did.

After that first text, I was texting with him like a maniac. We talked about anything and everything almost the whole day. Nothing mushy, nothing flirty at all and I marveled at how intelligent he was. He was a fountain of knowledge –my internal dictionary and encyclopedia was challenged. But he wasn’t just book smart... He was street smart, witty, insightful and funny. I actually never met a guy like him before –I can honestly declare that I found him to be my intellectual equal.

He was the first person I thought of when I woke up, the last person on my mind before I slept. This was around April 2008. Whenever I made plans to go out, Paulo would always be on top of my “to invite” list –I didn’t mean to and I didn’t even notice it, but I was courting him big time. I really liked him. His brain was something I coveted and the brooding sexiness was just an added bonus. However, Paulo proved to be a challenge and confusion –I was never sure if he was just shy or if he simply wasn’t interested in me at all. Every time I asked him out he couldn’t just say yes right away, he’d always find a way to draw things out before I could get him to come with. He became a game I was determined to win. But I lost my own game.

After hanging out a few times, he started to show signs that he liked me too. He started inviting me to his gigs and all that. I didn’t know when or how exactly it happened –But I fell in love.

Right about the same time I decided to let go and jump right into the pool of crazy in love juju, not caring if I break my neck when I land, I realized he liked me too.

There were no formal declarations, we just started seeing each other regularly –regular meaning every waking hour, we were together. It’s like we were a couple but no words were spoken to make it official.

It was July 11, 2008 –After Redhorse Muziklaban Auditions at Freedom Bar Anonas when I manned up and asked Paulo what we were exactly. He told me we were boyfriend-girlfriend and so it was made official, we were a couple. We weren’t like normal couples who did all the mushy stuff like monthsaries but its just nice to remember that day.

We were super in love. We got along like bread and butter. Our interests were almost identical. Whatever he introduced to me I genuinely liked, and vice versa. We talked, we played, and we laughed. We were over our heads in love. We just didn’t know it then. All we knew was that we always had to be together. Not being with each other even for a few hours felt so wrong.

Everything turned sour when I graduated college and he was still studying at the Conservatory of Music. I worked the night shift and we barely had time for each other. He was jealous of everybody, he wanted to control me and his jealousy and lack of trust drove me insane. For my part, I always picked a fight every time I missed him –at that time I didn’t realize it was how I felt. I just remember always finding something or someone to fight over so I could get his attention. When we fought, we hurled words at each we didn’t mean. But I would always end up chasing after him, cry outside their house (in the rain!) like a pathetic excuse of a human being begging him to talk to me. He was too proud and simple quarrels were stretched to days.

Then I got tired, as I was wont to be. I came to a point that instead of assuring him, my black little heart found ways to spite him. I was in no mood to nurture his insecurities anymore and our fights got worst, still I always ended up chasing him, begging him to make it okay. I loved him, I really, really did. This went on for months. I drank almost every day. I always came home drunk then I would cry myself to sleep. Every day, I came to the office eyes swollen from crying. I lost weight. I lost my sense of self. My friends and family were telling me to let it go. Move on, this wasn’t right anymore.

We were on a roller coaster ride of love-hate and our relationship was doomed for destruction. One day, after almost 5 months of relationship drama (we went out for a year), my patience could no longer take it and the love that I once felt for Paulo –it could no longer be felt. At that time, I thought that I actually fell out of love. Years later, I realized that the love was still there, it was simply overpowered with anger. I hated him for making me feel so worthless. I hated him for making me look like a fool. I hated him. I wished for nothing else but to see his corpse and smile. When I broke up with Paulo, the tables were turned and perhaps he realized then how much I meant to him because he started chasing after me. But for me it was too little too late. Leaving him was not enough; I wanted to hurt him bad.

It just so happened that there was this guy in the office who liked me. He really wasn’t my type at all. He was the jock-y type and I never did feel any chemistry with him. But everybody was rooting for us, so when he said he knew Paulo (they were childhood friends and neighbors), a jackpot bell sounded in my head. How awesome would it be to go out with this guy and spite the hell out of Paulo? Today, I couldn’t believe I would sink to as low as using an innocent person as a pawn –I was the new Queen I’ll take the King. However, this guy was super nice. Despite the fact that I felt no chemistry with him, despite the fact that I admittedly manipulated him into liking me even more than he already did, at one point I think I actually felt a little love for him. He was really such a nice person. He was like a puppy. He was so different from Paulo.
If during that time, Paulo was making any moves to get back together, I didn’t see it. I was too blinded by hate.

Throughout the course of my short relationship with rebound guy, he bored me to no end and I always felt that something was missing. I found myself bullying him all the time I wanted to control him and I made him feel like he would never be good enough. I didn’t do it consciously of course, but I caught myself doing it many times, still I did not stop. I had too much hate and anger in me. It was safe to say that he had me at my worst and for that I am deeply sorry. He was an innocent casualty.

After rebound guy came another guy. He was as gay as they come, but he had a kid (so i think that made him straight) and he seemed pretty responsible so I thought, what the hell? Again, this guy was so different from Paulo. I was surprised at how fast I fell in love with him. We did not have anything in common and I was constantly met with quizzical looks as if to say “are you sure?” every time I introduced him to my family and friends. Despite not having anything in common, I made a conscious decision that I wanted him to last more than a year. The thought of marrying him was tolerable. He seemed stable career wise, he was family oriented, he had a life plan and he looked like he would not give me any drama.

If I was a monster to the rebound guy, I was an angel to this guy. It was like I wasn’t myself at all. I submitted to him. I catered to him. It’s like I wanted to erase the wrong things I did to rebound guy. I wanted to change.

To everyone, we looked like the perfect couple despite our personalities that were as different as night and day. Everyone expected us to be forever, even me. Everything seemed final and in place when we finally took his child to live with us. I fell in love with his little girl just when our differences were starting to take its toll and I was falling out of love. Not only did he bore me to no end but I hated who I have become. Still I held on to him. I kept thinking that something could be done, I could be fun for both of us. We could earn more money and go to more places and maybe then we would be happy.

While to everyone else, we were a picture perfect family –deep inside, I was broken. Despite my unhappiness, I held on, I wanted to prove something. I wanted to show people that I could make this work. I wanted to prove to myself that I was not a fickle pickle.

The second year of our relationship I fell into a deep state of depression, probably as bad as the time I tried to kill myself when I was 17. I couldn’t leave him. I tried but I can’t. I felt so sorry for him because I knew how much I meant to him and to his child. I asked him for my freedom but he won’t give it, he gave me something else. He gave me a long leash. I started going out with my friends and for the last year of our relationship I felt I was single, except that I had to come home every day, take care of the child and sleep in the same bed with him. All my romantic philosophies were gone and my beliefs changed so drastically. I was happy, but it was an empty kind of happy. I was happy but he was not part of that happiness.

This year, I started thinking about Paulo. Wondering what he was up to and all that. I added him on Facebook and sometimes we would comment on each other’s stuff but that was about it. One time I messaged him about making me a playlist (he was my human ‘Genius’) for running. That time I didn’t feel like I wanted him, it just felt like after almost 4 years, I no longer hated him and I wanted him back in my life. Not in a romantic way. After all, of all the boyfriends I have had, Paulo was a friend to me. We were like two peas in a pod and we shared so much in common.

It was August 25 when I first saw Paulo again. It was sort of an accident that we saw him –although it was at my insistence that we drove to their neighborhood but I didn’t really expect him to be there. In truth, I always passed by their neighborhood hoping to see him, but I never did.

I have not seen him in about 4 years; I was not at all ready to feel what I felt then when I first saw him. Again it wasn’t love at first sight, but the happiness I felt when I saw his smile for the first time in years and his excited reaction to seeing me made my heart swell to about 10x its size. But of course I played it cool. The following week, we were scheduled to cross paths again and I was not at all expecting the intensity of the excitement I felt. I pushed it away. I ignored it. I did not want to even entertain it. This was not some regular boy toy that I could flirt with today and forget tomorrow. This was Paulo.

August 28 I asked him if his band could play for our office function. We got to talking on Facebook and then he gave me his number, but it was just all about that, the band and the event.

September 1 I saw him again. We were with a group of people and we didn’t really talk, I couldn’t even look at him for fear he’d see me looking. It felt awkward especially with everybody teasing us. It was odd how I reacted to his presence. If I was over him why could I not open my mouth to speak? After I left the place, he texted me to apologize to how everybody was teasing us and then it happened. We were back to texting like maniacs about nothing and everything. Nothing mushy, nothing romantic – It felt like we were really just platonic friends. And then we started hanging out every day, after work. We would sit somewhere and just talk and talk and talk. We never ran out of stuff to talk about –just like how we were before. And then I felt it, that overwhelming happiness when I realized how much I missed actually talking to someone, how I missed talking to Paulo. Exchanging thoughts and ideas, not just me doing all the talking feeling like a clown all the while being judged for my seemingly unconventional ways.

The more we hung out, the tension grew and it wasn’t long till it would snap from the pressure. And the inevitable happened –we fell in love, again. We talked about our pasts, how we were kids who did not realize how good we had it. And then he apologized to me – a real apology, not one masked with pride and justification. And we broke down –I waited for him to acknowledge how much he hurt me and I apologized for spiting him with my rebound guy. We apologized for all the pain we caused each other. We laughed at our petty fights: about the length of my skirt, his temper, my temper, his jealousy, etc.

This time it felt greater. This time we both knew how it felt to lose each other. It was like we were made to separate for 4 years in order for us to mature just to be crossed with each at the perfect time.

But it wasn’t a perfect time. I had a boyfriend, I took care of his kid, and we had investments. But the love I felt for Paulo was too great. Not everyone gets to experience this. We had to try it. We had to make it work or else forever regret not giving it a second try when everything felt just so perfect between us.

With Paulo I was 100% myself. I did not feel the need to earn so much money so we can go places to look for happiness. I did not feel the need to meet other guys and sigh at what I was missing. With Paulo, we could be standing in the streets, and I felt perfectly at peace with the world. Happy, contented… at home.

We could just talk for hours on end and not get bored with each other. We could sit in silence without feeling awkward. It was the kind of in love that poets wrote about, that musicians sang about. It was the kind of love everyone dreamed about –it was the kind of love that people wrote books and movies about. Everyone coveted this kind of love, but not everyone had the courage to go out and gamble their hearts for it. But I did.

The thought of leaving the current relationship plagued me for a moment, mostly because I was scared of disappointing people and I was scared of what other people will say. For sure I will look like the biggest tramp. But then I realized that I would never get this chance again, and for sure as hell I will not lose Paulo again. I talked to my friends and family, to the people who matter, and told them everything. They understood and that gave me the courage to take the plunge.  

I chose my happiness. I chose Paulo. I tried to love people so very different from him --but in the end, we will always find a way home.

So here we are now, I know I have hurt people with the decision that I made. But hopefully in time, they will get better. I am so blessed. I am so happy. I am so over my head in love... not at the idea of love… but with my Siopau. Words cannot begin to explain the love I feel for him. I never knew I had this much to give to begin with. i cannot guarantee if this is forever, but I want it to be. I seriously want to spend the rest of my life with this guy. This time, I am not saying that "HE COULD BE THE ONE"; what I am saying is that I want him to be.