March 10, 2014
You might be surprised to hear from me in the form of a letter. Just so you know, I rarely write letters. I never even wrote anything for my ex-boyfriend of 3 years. So when you read this, know that everything I say is true. It all comes from the heart.
There are some things that need to be said; and since I never really got the chance to tell you these things face-to-face, and you don’t seem interested in replying to my messages anymore, I thought of writing to you instead. Don’t worry, you don’t even have to respond. I just need you to hear (or read) me out.
I still remember that night I met you in Grindr. It was around 8 months ago, in July of last year. Around that time, I had just stopped dating this guy who I also met in Grindr. His name was J. Like me, he was a fresh graduate of Architecture, but from UST. The romantic in me thought that maybe since we had a surprising number of common friends, the fact that he lived inside Alabang Hills (where Bene is), and we took the same degree in college, it must have been destiny that led us to each other. I really thought that we were headed somewhere.
Lo and behold, it didn’t work out. Two weeks in, I confessed to him that I was already starting to like him, and this kind of threw him off. A week later he told me that he didn’t feel any spark between us. Yes, it hurt a bit, but I appreciated his honesty. He was straightforward with me. Today, we’ve become very good friends. He’s one of those people I talk to when I need to rant about you.
Do you believe that there is a purpose why you encounter every person that comes into your life? I do, and I think you do, too. Remember our conversation a few months ago when our music teacher in high school passed, and you told me about how he had touched your life back then? He made you believe that you are a good singer, and that you should use this gift to inspire other people. That was his purpose in your life. In the same manner, I think J came to my life for good reason. He inspired me to come out to my family with his story of how his mom accepted him when he did, and of how he could bring the guys he dated to family gatherings. I thought that I would like to be able to do that with my own family, too.
Which makes me think - what is your purpose in my life?
We had a good conversation that night in Grindr. You said that I looked familiar. “From Bene, right?” Honestly, I didn’t have any idea of who you were at that time. But when you introduced yourself, and I searched your name on Facebook, I was surprised to learn that we were already friends. And then I remembered that you added me up a few years prior in spite of the fact that we never interacted in real life. Ever. Why did you add me in the first place, anyway?
I felt then that we clicked instantly. You were a funny guy. The fact that you were in med school was a plus, too. I like smart guys. And the novelty of encountering in Grindr the first guy who was also from Bene made a familiar idea cross my mind.
"Is this destiny?"
You seemed interested in me because you gave me your number, and asked me to text you instead because you didn’t use the app a lot. We started exchanging messages, but it wasn’t a regular thing because you said that you were busy with school, and I was also working then.
You told me that you were in love with this guy from college. So I thought that oh, maybe you just wanted us to be friends. Or maybe you were just flirting with me to be able to take your mind off him. Despite of this glaring red flag, I still continued talking to you. A few weeks later you asked me if I wanted to hang out that coming Saturday. I was excited and nervous at the same time. But since I was intrigued by you and your quirky personality, I said yes. We agreed to meet in ATC.
Saturday came. I was waiting for your text to confirm that we were still on. By the afternoon I started to become anxious, so I swallowed my pride, and I texted you first. No reply. The night fell, and I never received any word from you.
I was so pissed. I couldn’t believe that you stood me up! So I promised myself that I would never talk to you again. Sunday afternoon came, and you apologized by leaving a comment on a photo I posted on Instagram. I couldn’t resist so I replied by saying that it was okay, and that we can try again next time. But deep inside what I really wanted to say was, "Fuck you."
I got over it eventually. From then on, our conversations were on and off. You’d text, and I’d reply. Then you would stop texting. A few weeks later, the same cycle would happen again. Over and over. Usually we talked about your frustrations with your guy and med school, and I was like an older brother giving you advice on academics and love:
"Magpa-miss ka rin kasi. Baka nasanay kasi siyang lagi kang nandyan para sa kanya!"
At that time I didn’t care so much about you. I didn’t lose sleep over you not replying to my messages. Not yet. You were just a friend, but there was always that "what-if" lingering at the back of my head.
For some reason, something changed in November. I remember that I was already on the plane, waiting for it to take off to Hong Kong, and we were chatting on Facebook. You wanted me to find a guy for you so you can forget about that whole thing with your other guy. So I asked, “Ano bang type mo?" And I was taken aback when you answered, "Actually type nga kita eh." I just brushed it off back then. I resisted putting any meaning into those words because I knew you were just being your usual flirty self. But I admit now that I got kilig by what you said.
I felt that we started to become closer when I got back from Hong Kong. You would reply to my messages more. You would favorite a lot of my tweets. You started liking more of my photos on Instagram, and also left some odd comments (which some of my friends were already beginning to notice). I did the same for you. We were practically flirting through social media.
A few days before I left for the US, we finally pushed through with our first meet-up. When I was in the coffee shop waiting for you to come I switched chairs and tables many times. I was nervous. I wasn’t good in meeting people for the first time. But in fairness to me, it was also partly to accommodate the people fixing the AC in the cafe, plus there wasn’t any phone signal there, and the fact that my bladder was about to burst, and the toilet was out of order.
And then you came. My first impression of you was that you were pa-min. I liked it because it made you different from the other guys I went out with before. After I relieved myself, I began to relax. I didn’t realize though that we were going to have company. I thought that it was just you and me, on our first date. Nonetheless, I enjoyed my time with you and your friends. I also found it really sweet that you walked with me all the way to Lacson from P. Noval.
The night I left for the US, we were texting again. Out of the blue, you asked me why I was being so nice to you when I should be treating you badly. I got confused so I replied by saying that since you were being nice to me, then there wouldn’t be any reason why I should treat you any differently. “Para hindi ako ma-attach,” you answered. I didn’t know what to say, so I asked if you were being serious. And you downplayed it by saying, “As a friend lang naman. Hahaha.”
At that point, I knew I was hooked on you.
My feelings only grew deeper during the time that I was away. We exchanged messages almost every day. We talked through Viber a couple of times even though it was just us saying, “Hello? Hello! Hindi kita maintindihan! Hello?” to each other most of the time, thanks to your crappy Wi-Fi signal. We began calling each other “Baby” after you got drunk one night. And you sent me that video of you playing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” on the piano as a gift on Christmas Day.
I cannot even begin to describe how difficult it was for me to be halfway around the world from you when I knew deep within myself that I was already beginning to fall. There were moments when I felt like my heart was going to explode because I wanted to be with you so badly. Maybe you find it weird how I can say that I was already falling for you at this point, when the fact is that we only went out once, and that it wasn’t even a real date. I honestly don’t know. There was just something about you. I told you before that I get attached easily, right? You should’ve seen it coming.
When I got back from the States, when I saw your face again after those two long months, I thought that we could finally continue on from where we left off. Do you know how happy I was that Valentine’s Day weekend? It was the first time that another human being made me that happy in such a long time. And I thought that it was going to last.
But it didn’t. What else would come after the highest-of-highs but the lowest-of-lows, right? First, you cancelled out on our supposed weekend date at Nuvali and Tagaytay. Although I completely understood your reason for doing so because it was a family emergency, you didn’t even take the time to update me with your lolo’s condition that whole weekend. It made me worry. You also promised that you were going to make it up to me the next Tuesday, but all I received from you was a text on Monday night saying that you were sorry for not being able to text or call because you were so busy. At that point, I didn’t believe you anymore. I was frustrated because I had heard that line from you many times before. And for me, if you really wanted to talk or spend time with me, you would have found a way. But you didn’t, because I never heard from you the entire Tuesday. Sounds familiar, right?
That was my light bulb moment. I woke up from the dream I was living in, however short-lived it was. I realized that you didn’t really like me the way you led me to believe that you did, or the way I let myself believe that you did. So my instinct for self-preservation kicked in. It told me that, however painful this realization might be, I should already start moving on from you. That’s why I blocked you online.
I did everything to take my mind away from the pain and anger that was consuming me. I went out with my friends on an almost daily basis; I downloaded Grindr and Hornet again, along and Tinder, with the hope of meeting the right one for me this time – someone who will not only sweep me off my feet the way you did, but also someone who will always be there when I needed him, someone who wouldn’t leave me hanging all the time. There were a lot of guys I talked to. I even went out to lunch with one of them. It kind of made me feel good about myself, knowing that there were guys out there who found me attractive and interesting. But soon it became clear to me that I was just using them to cover up the real problem that was haunting me, this thing that I had to deal with sooner or later - confronting you.
Up to this day, I don’t know how you really felt for me. I don’t know if you truly liked me, or if you were just using me as a distraction from what you felt for someone else. All I have in my head right now are assumptions, and gut feels. Again, you don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to. Your silence will be more than enough for an answer. I only have two reasons for writing this letter. The first is to let you know that what I felt for you was a hundred percent real. However, if for you, it was all just a game, then I concede my defeat. I lost because you won me over.
A good friend of mine once told me that she knew me as the type of person who gives his all when he chooses to open his heart up to somebody. You may find this weird, but I was already having all of these scenarios playing in my head – I imagined myself sitting across from you in a coffee shop somewhere in Manila at 11pm, and you’d have your eyes concentrated on your binder of notes and hand-outs, while I read the same novel that I’ve been reading for the last two years. We would just sit there, exchanging glances and smiles every few minutes. By this time, we were already comfortable being silent around each other. When you’re done reviewing, around midnight, I would quiz you for your exam the next day. Thirty minutes later, when you’d already passed this mock exam of mine, you and I would go back to your dorm room together. We would cuddle on the bed while we talked about each other’s day for a short while. And when the both of us get really sleepy, we would whisper the words “Goodnight baby,” to each other, and we would fall asleep with my arms and legs wrapped around your body (or yours around mine, whichever felt better).
I liked that scenario of us. I liked those fleeting moments of having butterflies in my stomach when you were being sweet to me. I liked taking care of you. I liked giving you words of encouragement when you were stressed with school, even though sometimes it made me sound more like a parent than anything else. I was willing to do all of that for you, again and again, and more, if you had just let me in.
But at this point I have decided to give up on those feelings already. You are you, and I am I. I cannot change you even if I wanted to. I cannot force you to keep all of the promises you’ve ever said to me. I also cannot force you to feel the same way for me if you really don’t. I accept that, and I guess it’s time for me to start taking care of myself, too. That brings me to my second reason for writing this letter – so that I may finally be able to let myself go from the hold you have on me. I am now allowing myself to forgive you for the pain that you have caused me. At the same time, I am also asking for your forgiveness if I have ever hurt you in any way.
Earlier in this letter, I wrote that it bothered me to know your purpose for coming into my life. I was pondering on this question for quite some time. The answer finally came to me last Saturday night. I was hanging out with my friends in ATC, and one of them brought a copy of Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav. Curious, I borrowed the book from him. I opened it to a random page, and it led me to a short story entitled Angels. It read:
It happens like this. One day you will meet someone and for some inexplicable reason, you feel more connected to this stranger than anyone else – closer to them than your closest family. Perhaps because this person carries an angel within them – one sent to you for some higher purpose, to teach you an important lesson or to keep you safe during a perilous time. What you must do is trust in them – even if they come hand in hand with pain or suffering – the reason for their presence will become clear in due time.
Though here is a word of warning – you may grow to love this person but remember they are not yours to keep. Their purpose isn’t to save you but to show you how to save yourself. And once that is fulfilled, the halo lifts and the angel leaves their body as the person exits your life. They will be a stranger to you once more.
I may not have all the answers just yet, but I know I will find them in due time. In God’s time.
Thank you for everything. I pray for only the best for you.