Life Experiences, longreads

An open letter to the man who showed me what love is

My love, do you remember our first Valentines Day together? It was Wednesday, my love. You called me after finishing your work at 11 pm and asked me if I can wait for you. I thought you were kidding because it was a four hour travel and you still have work the next day. But you said, “no, I am already on my way to the bus station”. You reached our house at 3 am. You gave me chocolates and we talked and laughed for an hour and then we fell asleep. At 7 am, your alarm sounded and you got ready to travel for four hours again to reach your office. I know you’re tired and with little sleep but as you were leaving, you gave me a radiant smile and you kissed me on the cheek. And I fell deeper in love with you right then.

My love, do you remember when after one and a half hour trek, we reached the top of Marlboro Mountains? We are surrounded by our guide and vanmates but you didn’t care, you shouted at the top of your voice, “I love you so much baby”. I wasn’t able to shout back how much I love you too because I was giddy with happiness.

My love, do you remember the time we went swimming with my family? How you carried my three nieces and two nephews on your back simultaneously, going back and forth into the water. I told you, “enough, rest for a while, I know you are tired”, but you only smiled at me and continued to indulge them.

My love, do you remember the time you invited me to your house for the first time to meet your family? I went there and your mother told me, “come, we will eat, my son told me these are your favorite foods and he asked me to prepare it”. And I know I have to do my best to make your mother like me, and I know I succeeded my love.

My love, do you remember the time we were playing cards against my sister and my brother? We weren’t very good at it my love. And I was teasing you, you were teasing me back, my siblings were teasing us and we were losing and our pride is in pulp but we didn’t care because we were laughing too much.

My love, do you remember the night we talked about our future? We are full of hope and dreams. We were going to relocate to another country where we will both study and work at the same time. You said it will be hard work, but you will bear the brunt so I won’t have to. You said whatever comes our way, we can endure because we are together.

My love, do you remember the time we talked about the names of our future children? I shuffled the letters of your name and told you I will name our daughter with that. You said no, that we should name them after me and you hoped that they will resemble me and how you can’t wait to hold them in your arms.

My love, do you remember the time we were in the car going to the airport? It was time for me to leave the country for work. The radio was playing and the lyrics of the song was like this, “promise me, you’ll wait for me cause I’ll be saving all my love for you”. I couldn’t help it and I cried. You wiped my tears and told me, “yes, we will be apart for one year but after that, you will come home and we will be together for good.” You really knew how to make me feel better.

That is why I couldn’t believe it my love, when six months after you made me that promise, you told me you were leaving me for another girl. My love, you didn’t even gave me a hint that your love for me was wavering. Until that moment you told me you were leaving, I am certain of your love for me.

My love, even though you ended our story like this, I am not angry. I am hurting, yes. But I am not angry. How could I when you treated me so well? When you loved me so well. I will choose to remember that my love.

But my love, I am writing this now as my way of saying goodbye to you. I am reliving our story and then I am closing the book. Because as much as I want to remember how much you loved me, I also need to remember how you broke my heart. And from then my love, I am praying for my healing to start.

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Life Experiences, longreads

If it stays, it’s love. If it ends, its a love story. -Nichomacus

This is the story of my first love.

I have been working as an overseas Filipino worker in the Middle East for four years. On my second year here, I met a guy online through a common friend. He’s in the Philippines and I’m in Saudi Arabia. I never saw myself as a girl who would be attached with a guy I haven’t seen personally but with him, I did. Our first conversation was comfortable, we chatted and videocalled and we never stopped communicating after that first day.

During our getting to know each other stage, he told me that he had a 9 year and 11 months relationship and for 1 year and 3 months he’s been moving on from that relationship. They broke up when the girl left for another country. When he told me that, I was scared. That was a one hell of a history and I don’t know if I want to compete with that. He said that I have nothing to be scared of and that their relationship lasted that long because he have a respect in relationships and now that we are starting our own, I can expect that he will value what we have.

I had two boyfriends before but I can honestly say that I haven’t really been truly in love. Guarded kasi ako. Everytime I felt that I am starting to fall in love with someone, I always held back. But not with him. Maybe because of his history and what he said to me about his loyalty to his relationship. I look at him and I said to myself here’s a guy I believe I can trust and really love. We didn’t officially start a relationship but we are a constant part of each other’s everyday lives.

For ten months, we communicated online. Finally, it was time for my vacation. We met for the first time when he fetched me in the airport. He rented a van and took me home. Some will say it’s pretty extreme for a first meeting but there was no awkward moments. I already know him and he knows me. During the four hour drive, he held my hand and we talked, we smiled and we laughed. I couldn’t ask for more perfect first meeting.

Those two months I spent with him in the Philippines was a blast. He met my family and I met his. We learned each other’s quirks, habits and attitude in depth. And yes we have flaws but we accepted it. I love him but he showed me that he loves me more and I couldn’t be happier. We made plans that this year will be my last year in Middle East. After going exit, we will test our fortunes in Australia as he have relatives there we can stay with. We will study and work at the same time and we agreed that it will be hard work but whatever it is we will face, we can endure as we are together.

I came back in Middle East. We started our routine again, chat and videocall. It was hard because I already know how his presence felt so I am missing him more than before, but I took comfort in knowing that after a year, we will stay together for good.

With only four months left in my contract, I told the hospital I am working in that this would be my last year with them and I also started my application in AHPRA(Australia’s equivalent of PRC) As for him, he resigned on his job and just waiting for his visa as he will go first in AU and I will follow him as soon as my contract ends. We are both excited, and he’s always telling me, “just few more months and we will be together baby”.

And then one day, our common friend told me that his ex-girlfriend, the ex I told you about in the beginning, was home in the Philippines. I mentioned it to him and he said that he did not know. He smiled at me teasingly asking if I am affected. I answered no. And it was the truth. And that was the end of our conversation about her. I didn’t give it a second thought, I am that confident about his love for me.

Two weeks after that, he sent me a message “good morning sa pinakamamahal kong baby ko” and he went on telling me that he will be busy that day because he will attend an event in his office. I replied okay, take care and enjoy. After that, he did not went online for hours. I thought to myself, wow, he really enjoyed himself.

But as the night crept on, I started to worry. It’s not like him to went offline for that much time because he knows that I will get worried. Eventually, I fell asleep. When I woke up, still no message. I don’t know what to think but decided to wait. At about 7:30 am in Saudi Arabia and 12:30 pm in Philippines, he sent me a message. He told me that he intentionally did not went online the day before because he was thinking and he will tell me all about it when he reached home. I answered, okay but I’m scared already. I don’t know what happened between yesterday and that moment to make him act like that. After two hours, he sent a message again, saying that he was sorry and he felt guilty and confused because since the month before he’s chatting with his ex-girlfriend and he already knew that she was coming home. He said that the day before he talked to his psychologist friend who told him that if he cannot give me his 100% then he would only end up hurting me and he didn’t want to do that.

I was shocked. I wanted to yell at him, to make him remember that just yesterday, I am the love of your life when he sent me a good morning message but now you are confused? How about our promise, our commitment to each other, how can you not honor that? You are going to just hurt me like this?

But I can tell from his words that he’s already decided. And I know nothing I say can change his mind. So I said, just be safe and happy.

That night, despite of the pain I am feeling, I tried to understand him, to put myself in his shoes. And I know that he really did love me, I felt it and he couldn’t have fake that for the one and a half years we are together. I comforted myself in thinking that maybe they are each other’s true love. And if that is what they are to each other then who I am to fight that?

You ended our story,  but even if our ending is like this, I wouldn’t regret anything because you are the reason I learned how to truly love someone, falling all the way in and without reservations. For that, I will always be grateful. And so the next time I fall in love, when I found my true love as you found yours, I know better.