One True Pairing.
That’s what people call us when I talk about you and our love story. Every time I share to my friends how we started being ‘together’ and all of the insanely romantic things that you have done for me, it never failed to make them feel hopeful that they would find someone like you. We labelled ourselves as each other’s soul mate. We were both doing great in our careers. You loved my family and I loved yours too.
Everything was perfect.
They really thought we are meant for each other.
Well, that’s what I thought too.
One fateful day, someone knocked on my door and to my surprise it was you. You handed me flowers and gave me a kiss. Although I was happy that you came over my place, inside me, I felt that something was off. I asked what the matter was. Then you said, “We need to talk”.
You said you fell out of love and that you’ve found someone new. For a second, I thought I didn’t hear things right. I asked you to repeat what you have said. You then stated them with the very same words you’ve used. I told you to come out of it if you were just pulling a prank on me. You said you weren’t. You told me you were serious. I said that you were just probably confused but you assured me that you were not and that you’ve thought every single thing about it.
I asked about the years that we’ve been together if what purpose they will be for but then you uttered nothing. I guaranteed you that we will make it through just like how we have always resolved things then but you told me that this wasn’t like before.
Your words endlessly echoed in my mind. My heart was about to explode. Sudden feeling of pain rushed all over my body. As I felt it seeping through me, a lump in my throat was swelling, aching. My eyes were slowly being filled up with tears. The sting of your words left me gasping for air.
“If you are this serious, look at me in the eyes and tell me you don’t love me anymore.”
“I don’t love you anymore. It’s over, we are over.”
“I don’t believe you! I love you. I always have so I will hold on no matter what.”
“No, don’t do that. Please, just let me go.”
“We’ve been together for nine years. Are you just going to throw everything away we’ve had because of someone?”
“Yes. I’m sorry.”
Everything went blurred after that.
We promised to be honest with each other but I never thought that would come out easy from you. It was hard, letting that very thought in my mind. I’ve been asking myself if I have done anything wrong to you, if there were instances that I’ve made you mad, or if what I’ve done for you wasn’t enough. I kept thinking about it but I was left unanswered. Was I too numb not to notice the signs that you weren’t into me anymore? What went wrong? What made you leave me for someone else? What did I do to you to hurt me like this? Because you know what? The pain was so great I can barely feel anything at all. I felt empty inside as if a black hole has just consumed every single existing piece of me. I didn’t know what to do. I cannot think. I was angry, depressed, tired and it was too much to feel all at the same time. I cannot process everything in. I was at the verge of my sanity. I was dying inside.
For days I curled up on bed – crying. I couldn’t bring myself up to go to work or to even leave my room, at the very least. I never have the guts to act as if nothing happened or as if I was just okay wherein fact I feel the exact opposite way. I don’t like pretending or trying to put up a face, you know that. I own my feelings and I have always been honest with what I feel. Even though my Mom constantly checked on me then, she didn’t bother to ask about what had happened. She just knew. I could tell it from the way she strokes my hair as I fall asleep on her lap.
Her hands were soothing. They brought me momentary comfort. From time to time, she would come in my room to patiently feed me. I was so weak I couldn’t stand. I felt like a helpless little baby, too dependent for everything. It was all harder for my Dad to take everything in. He couldn’t even look straight at me then. He probably couldn’t take seeing his only little girl hurt badly. One night, he entered my room. Without muttering anything, he gave me the tightest hug that I have ever received from him. I couldn’t keep my tears from falling. I saw him trying to hold his in but eventually he ended up sobbing too. I then cried my heart out even more.
My friends on the other hand would say, “He’s just a man. You will find someone else too in no time.” But to me, you weren’t just a man, you were my only man. You were my everything, as I was to you. All my life I believed that I wouldn’t be looking for someone else for you were with me. You were with me before someone else came in the picture.
You see, I have always imagined living my entire life with you. We’ve seen each other grow until later on we’ve planned our future together. We’ve been together for 9 years. I thought those were enough years for me to tell that we are really for each other. I thought we have stood the test of time. I thought you were the one. I really thought you were. Everyone has expected that I’ll be walking down the aisle with you as my groom. I thought so too. But I guess life is really full of surprises and no one can really tell what would happen next. No matter how much you’ve planned things in life, there will always be something that would happen unexpectedly. All along I have been preparing my future with you, only to know that we wouldn’t be thinking alike in the end.
But then I’ve realized that I just cannot give up on you like that. There was hope that sprung inside me that says I can win you back. I thought that maybe if we have another serious talk, we can still patch things up. I’ve set everything aside, mustered all my courage, and even swallowed my pride just for you to come back to me. People said I was being too desperate. Some said I was losing my sanity. Maybe they were right but I didn’t care. I didn’t care. All I’ve been thinking about was you and you alone. At that point, I wanted you back in my life so bad that I was willing to give up anything. I can’t just let you go that easy. So I’ve tried going to your work place but they said you have resigned. I’ve contacted your friends but they didn’t have any clue on where you were. For my last resort, I went to your parent’s house to ask about you. It was only then I’ve found out that you went abroad and you didn’t inform them on when you’ll be coming back.
I didn’t get to see you again ever since that day you left my place.
For months, I’ve tried to remain hopeful. I’ve been using all means to contact you with the info your Mom gave me. But I’ve heard nothing from you, not a single reply, call or email. Understandable, you were just probably too busy then. A year has passed and still nothing. I’ve been convincing myself every single day that I wasn’t waiting in vain and that something might still happen after all my efforts to reach you. I believed that my love for you can sustain me in this waiting. I thought that if I would just picture that in my mind and relive everything that we’ve had, I can keep up. After all, I’ve been saving up for my plane ticket to see you, to talk to you again and to hopefully patch things up.
The trip going to New York was the longest one in my life. I had never been that nervous. My mind was filled with thoughts of you:
How are you?
Are you getting enough sleep?
Are you happy with your work?
What fuels your passion right now?
What made you smile today?
What did you have for lunch?
My hands were freezing cold. I’d sighed quite a lot to ease my mind to the point that the person sitting right next to me asked if I was just okay. I was okay. Well, I would like to believe I was okay. After all, I was about to meet you then. I wanted to see you so bad. I had so many things to say I don’t even know where to start.
With your address written in my handy-dandy notebook, I asked the cab driver to take me to your place. When he told me that we were near, I asked him to drop me off a block away from your pad. As I was walking, I felt my mouth suddenly drying and my heart was pounding very fast. Few steps more and I would have reached your door, I would have seen you, hugged you, and kissed you. Thinking that time has healed whatever crack we’ve had last time, I wanted things to be back just like before. But even before I can do those things, I saw someone coming out of your door. I saw that a woman with long locks and a beautiful face just sealed her lips to yours.
I quickly turned my back hoping that you didn’t get to see any trace of me at all.
I then took the next flight back to Philippines.
How can I be so surprised? I’ve been holding on to someone who has let go of me first early on and I was just afraid to admit such fact. If that was cowardly, then call me a coward. If that was stupid of me to go all the way to New York, then call me stupid. I won’t mind. I just wanted to make sure that I’ve done everything I can. I wanted to say to myself that I’ve fought hard for you. But even after all of that, it wasn’t enough. It was an obvious defeat. And it hurts so bad I was crippling in pain.
Maybe, that was just it. Probably, it was time to let you go.
And as I was about to give up on you, every memory of ours came rushing in – your smile, the laughter, the walks, the surprises, the little things – all of which are in my heart and are vividly etched in my mind. I’ve realized that I just can’t simply forget you and the joy of being with you in my life. That’s why this pain stings. But what hurts the most is the very reason that I had given myself to you – my time, my thoughts, and my efforts – and no matter how much I would want them back, I cannot. I can never take those back from you even if I burn all the love letters, photos, and petals that I have collected from the bouquet of flowers you have given me throughout these years. Never. Those shared moments of ours that used to give me elating feelings then are now haunting me with unbearable pain. The very fact that you have become a part of me, and I, becoming attached to you, is what made me feel alive before but is now slowly piercing me to death.
I couldn’t take the dragging pain any longer so I fell down on my knees and prayed to God. I closed my eyes and tears were just streaming down as I prayed for the strength to overcome such pain. I was so broken and I have never felt so devastated. I prayed that as I come to Him with my shattered heart, He would make me whole again. I asked Him to be with me in the process of healing, to find hope and to be at peace. I didn’t know what to do next with my life so I let my heart scream out to Him hoping that He would feel my ache from everything I’ve been going through. I put my trust on God that He’ll be in control, and that in this process of letting you go, I was not alone.
Since I’ve tied my forever with you, and now you’re gone, it was like a change of everything in my life. And these are changes that terrify me, I, who has always been in the safe zone with you. But I had no choice. I have to keep moving forward.
Moving on with life after ‘you’ was more of a battle within me more than anything else. It was in my room that I have first admitted to myself that I like you, and this is also the place where I’ll put an end to that liking, and even in loving you. But every time I enter my room, and I was all alone, I can’t help but think about you. The more I tell myself that I must not think about you, the more I do. I kept telling myself that everything’s gonna be okay. It was okay to remember you. It was normal. And then there I was, crying a few minutes later on. I felt so weak for being too emotional. I felt stupid for always remembering even the silliest of things that we’ve shared. But I don’t have anyone else to talk to about this for they’re probably fed up with all my emotional whining and of hearing the same things over and over again from me. Although they’ve been supportive, I wanted to spare my family and friends with this matter. I wanted to deal with my own issues. So I said prayers to God instead, and I did them through writing in my diary – some pages of which have blotted inks, soaked paper and rugged hand writing. It felt good. Slowly, I was able to let everything out. I’ve also consciously avoided our default places and so-called comfort foods. Instead, I opened up some of our shelved cookbooks and prepared meals for my family. They seem to enjoy such feast every time I was in charge of the kitchen. Each morning, I would go in front of the mirror and announce
as if I have an audience with me 3 things:
Today, it’s going to be different.
Today, I’m going to be happy.
Today, I’m going to win.
But every time I would have a break down, I would grab my sneakers, go out in the village and run as fast as I can. I ran until I pant, and I urged myself to run a little more, until that little more made my muscles sore. I would then become too tired I wouldn’t have time to cry. Although every single day was a struggle, I didn’t want to escape the pain. Rather, I wanted to withstand the pain thinking that every day of after ‘you’ is an opportunity to conquer. I then turned my pain – the immense pain you’ve caused me – into strength.
Until somewhere in between, I no longer run because I was having a break down. Now I do run for myself, for my family and for my friends. I no longer have the time to sulk over you and your newfound love for cooking, writing and running have made my life so much fulfilling than before.
Later on, when I think of you, there was no longer any pain. But this, I had to make sure myself. So I went to all of the memorable places we’ve been to. Good, I didn’t have any break down. I also opened the balikbayan box in my room which contained everything that reminded me of you. I gave everything in it a scan. I had to confirm with my heart if there’s still ‘you’ in it. Well, I remember you, yes. But that’s just it. No feelings attached to the memory. I said to myself that this time I was ready. I took that box in our garden, lit up a match and set it on fire. Watching it burning, it made me shed some tears. But I was sure that those tears weren’t because of you, but rather because I’ve conquered myself. I have learned to choose myself over you. Deep down I was happy. And I’ve waited this long, so long, for my heart to heal. It wasn’t easy at all, but finally, I was over you. Proud that this time I’ve won, I then went to the nearest salon. I suddenly remembered how you loved my long black hair so I had a pixie cut and dyed it brown. Now, when people ask me if your name does ring a bell, I say that you’re just somebody that I used to know – know so well I thought we would end up together but didn’t.
And now whenever I look back to what I’ve done for you, I just simply smile. I can’t believe that I’ve went that far for you. I must have loved you very much then. My love for you may have brought the fool out of me but that was also the time that I have felt the strongest, a feeling that I can withstand everything, as if a force guides me that I can do anything. Because that’s what love does right? It moves people to do things beyond what they can ever imagine.
It was pretty insane, you leaving me. Nevertheless, I would also like to say thank you because in losing you, I have felt God’s abundant grace in my life. Now, I have the courage to talk about what I have been through because in my heart, healing took place. I have been receiving such overwhelming love and support from my family and trusted friends. They are helping me to get back again and to move forward with my life. I have never felt this loved by them. I feel very special. I feel blessed.
As much as I want to despise you, I just couldn’t, even after what you have done to me. You are the man that I have truly loved with all of my heart. If that honest love wasn’t enough, then I guess that’s just how it is for the two of us.
I didn’t know exactly what happened to us. But maybe, I would also like to keep it that way. Now, I think it is just enough for me to know that somewhere in this world, sometime in the past, during those 9 years that we’ve been together, during those moments that we called ours, we were happy. We were happy.
So from here on, I’m wishing you well.