Written freeform on September 16, 2017 at 11:30 in the evening. I was tipsy thanks to a lot of wine, packed full to bursting with risotto, salad, and pizza, and more than a little emotional when James Arthur’s Say You Won’t Let Go came on the radio.
Six years ago, on a rainy August evening, I went to a concert with a boy I had no feelings for.
Don’t get me wrong. I liked him. We were friends; best friends, even. We’d both just come from bad relationships and felt a little out of place in a barkada of either happy couples or contentedly single people. No one else was sawi, as we in the Philippines say, so it was only natural that we gravitated to each other, and even more natural that we decided to go to the 2011 Thomasian Welcome Walk together, since none of our other friends were free.
To be honest, nothing in particular changed that very night. We got rained on, shared an umbrella, sang our hearts out to Pare Ko – and particularly enjoyed screaming out the line, “Diba, tangina, nagmukha akong tanga.” We stopped by the Jollibee along Asturias Street for dinner, and then he walked me home. I bid him a good night and told him to text me when he got back to his apartment, then went upstairs to my dorm room, took a shower, and settled in to study for the night.
That was it. No fireworks. No special moment where I realized that I was in love with him. No heart tattooing a swift rhythm on the inside of my ribcage.
But as the days passed, I found myself thinking more and more of that night. I thought of how the wet ground gleamed under the streetlights. I thought of the brief warmth in our hands from the cigarettes we shared. I thought of how cold and wet I was, and how I didn’t feel any of it. I thought of us laughing and singing and taking photographs, and how I never thought it was anything more than a moment shared between two friends.
I began to think, maybe, he was thinking of the same things. I began to wonder if it meant anything, the fact that he’d started to walk me home everyday. He was finding excuses to touch me, my arm, my hair, the small of my back. He would sit next to me when our barkada had lunch or went out drinking. He bought me ice cream after a bad recitation. He consoled me when the boy who’d broken my heart greeted me on my birthday, then bought me the OPI nail polish I’d wanted (not a small purchase for a then-broke college student, mind you).
Six years ago, on a windy September night, almost half an hour to midnight, a boy I was beginning to love came to my dorm room and asked me to be his girlfriend.
I said yes, and I’ve never looked back.
Today, I know now, that it was that night that changed everything. And I’ll always be thankful for how the universe conspired to make that night happen. I’ll always be thankful that none of our friends could make it, that my roommates were too busy, that your high school friends got lost. I’ll always be thankful that we decided to go together. I’ll always be thankful for the music, and the rain, and the umbrella we shared.
Happy sixth anniversary to the boy I loved, who grew up to be the man I still love.
He surprised me with flowers after my 4pm class in UP, then took to my favourite restaurant!