i never thought it would come to this. but i guess, all must come to pass.
i apologize once again for this long post. i just need to let go of some things before i can truly move on. i wrote this way back in the days when life was complicated and it was quite a struggle to find my voice when questioned about life and love.
SMILE FOR ME
I have reason to smile... again.
A good friend of mine invited me to the christening of her latest bundle of joy, Mikaela. I would have gladly said yes, but I felt a bit hesitant. Somehow I knew my "Oo ba." would sound hollow even to my own ears. So I just sent Jing a text message that said "Sure, y not?" so she won't hear the tinge of trepidation that accompanied my response. It isn't that I do not want to be there. It's just that I do not want to see someone who I knew would be there.
It was a moment of mixed emotions for me. After all, it's been more than 3 years since I last saw my ex-boyfriend. I had no idea what he looks like now.. not that it matters anyhow. But one thing was for certain, he will be there with his wife. Yep, he recently married. And for the life of me, I still didn't know how to deal with that situation.
I can still recall that fateful night not too long ago when I learned that there was another woman in his life. The truth was spilled out by no less than a brod who, w/o a care in the world, announced to everyone at the table that it was only a matter of time before he (my ex-boyfriend) will formalize his relationship with a certain lady friend. Apparently he was not aware that A and I were going out again. Shocked, I saw him casting furtive glances in my direction. And so, there I was at the corner of the table with my tears on a free fall. Feeling that I couldn't bear it any longer, I excused myself to go to the washroom.
The two-timing bastard! Oh but, I was never one for a confrontation. And hard as I try, I could not keep my mind on a focus that night. It was the wife of that brod who took me home, saying "Don't worry, Abby. For all you know you're better off without him. Kita naman sa mga kilos niya na hindi pa siya ready mag-commit. Mukhang ayaw pa niya iwanan ang pagkabinata. You, on the other hand, have to move on."
He did not even bother explaining. He avoided me. I waited for him to talk to me, call me or drop by my office to talk about what happened, but he never did. Not even a single text message was exchanged between us. I never saw him again after that. And I was left on my own, thinking: So this is how it would be?
The days tumbled over one another in as bleak as they could be. And I clothed myself with self-pity. I could not believe that the person who I loved and who I treasured so much would just treat me that way. I have often thought about him in between those lonely years and more. I’ve often wondered about what could have been. Yet I knew the world will continue turning and there is the matter of the what is to attend to. Not wanting his memories to haunt my every waking moment, I busied myself with work, work and more work. Then I began to realize I have to start living again. So I decided to pursue my MS degree in Applied Nutrition … of course at part-time pace. I started going out with friends again and became active in my Singles for Christ community.
Jing has always invited me over for special occasions but always I’ve declined. I knew my ex will be there because he is after all the best friend of Jing’s husband. In fact, we used to be a foursome way back in College. Oh the fun we had back then. I hold with me memories to last me a lifetime. What with the late night gimiks, escapades, thesis sampling sessions, the lot… We forged bonds of friendship that grew stronger with each passing year. We saw each other through tough times. We’ve laughed together, shared dreams with each other, hurdled ordeals together. But as with everything, it was time to move on to higher levels of struggle. We continued on life’s path taking different routes. Jing and Marvz married and now have 3 wonderful kids. By some twist of fate, I get my regular dose of news about my ex and his romping. I felt real bad whenever I hear of get-togethers being held without me. Oh how I wanted to still be part of that circle. In the many years that I have known them, I’ve always believed I would grow old with my friends. I still want to see them through life’s crests and troughs and witness how we can best each storm in our lives. But now, another has taken my place. So I…. I stayed away. It was better that way. No friendship will be tested, no bond will be swayed.
The day of the christening came. Another good friend called me to say she’d pick me up somewhere and I could hitch a ride with her. The day turned out bright and sunny. After meeting up, we proceeded to Marvz and Jing’s house. A couple of batchmates in high school arrived and together, we went to the church. I got a feeling of ‘déjà vu’ walking up the steps to the church and all throughout the ceremony as I vividly remember Jing’s first-born’s christening, that of my god-daughter Malynn. Afterwards, we then went to the lunch venue at a nearby resort. Boy, did I tease Jing about it being a ‘bongga’ celebration.
More guests turned up at the resort—more family and more friends. Was I glad I’ve got a few faces that I could associate with names. Well, the day was proceeding quite smoothly, when suddenly, my friend gave me a nudge at the knee. We were sitting at the table nearest the gate and she was directly facing the entrance.
“Abby, dumating na si A at ang wife niya”. Surprised, I couldn’t turn around hastily as it would be very obvious. Then we heard Jing calling out that lunch was ready. Guests started queing up to the buffet table. We waited until most of the guests have been seated and got up for our turn. Then we saw A standing up to get some more food for both him and his wife. He chatted with my friend and I stayed behind. Then I turned and talked with Rico who was lining up behind me.
After the meal and a few laughs at the table with friends, Jing decided to have a couple of munches herself. I went back with her to get more food and also got myself a glass of drink. On our way back, I heard my name being called out by my batchmates at the other table. So I excused myself from Jing to catch up with my old buddies.
As I approached them, Waldo called out to ask, “O Abby kumusta na kayo ng boyfriend mo?” Then he hurriedly whispered, “Iyong guy doon sa kabila ang dating boyfriend ni Abby. Iyong katabi ng buntis.” All eyes turned to the other table. And heads started nodding.. Ahh. I feigned a smile. Boy, was I in hot territory. “Walanghiya ka Waldo! Walanghiya ka talaga!!!” I whispered through clenched teeth. We were hissing like old times. After a few glasses of beer and some more pulutan and chikahan, out came the videoke. Bless the soul who invented videoke. What ever would a party be like without it?!
The boys transferred and were now all hunched up together in the surrounding tables. My friend was going and I would be left behind. Before leaving though, she mumbled about something or somebody not being introduced. And before I knew it, Jing was introducing me to A’s wife. Whew!!! In between my batchmate Mike’s belting out his own rendition of a Sinatra or something… and the goodbyes of Cath and her daughter Kyla, I was beginning to feel the heady effect of the beer. I calmly managed a “Hello.” Then with a smile and a nod, I invited myself to sit at the table where Bing was seated and Jing was munching away. For a brief moment I found myself staring at the lady before me, imagining myself in her place.
And silently I cried .. without tears, without pain, without remorse. All those years of anguish and sleepless nights and shattered dreams came hurtling back. Faces, places and memories fleeted past. And just as suddenly as it came, my mind came to a standstill. Wonder of wonders, I stayed calm. I have always imagined I would look pathetic when this would happen- that I might be bawling or wailing hopelessly. I have always doubted how I will be holding up in the face of such eventuality. But there I was, exchanging a few pleasantries with the person who have what I have always thought I wanted. I realized it was not what I want. And I am happy that I am not fettered with a chain that would bind me to something or someone that I have long given up on. Surely, I deserve more.
Then, before I knew it, guests were starting to leave. Chatting with Ana, wife of my batchmate Zed, I felt a light tap on my shoulder. Turning to the source, I was surprised to see Bing saying they are leaving as she still has an appointment with her doctor. By the way, she is 8 months pregnant and due to give birth on Christmas day. What a blessing indeed! I briefly nodded and smiled, adding “ Sige. Ingat.”
Then I thought: Hey, that’s it? Lord, I didn’t feel any pain. I have steeled myself for whatever possible pain might bury me alive. But none came. As with the passing of the season, I realized I am turning over a new leaf. I am closing a chapter of my life and starting a new one. Leaving behind sad memories, and offering a silent prayer that there will be better days ahead. Only God could have given me the grace to sustain me after so much pain. Amazingly, I felt God smile at me that day. “,)
I basked in the quiet comfort of His love, oddly reassured that my lifetime, like that of others, will be one of pain as well as joy, of tears as well as laughter, of solitude as well as companionship, of giving as well as taking, and a promise of so much more. I glory in His love. With hope and gratitude, I lift everything up to Him who never abandoned me through all the trials I had to face. What else can I offer Him from whom came all that I have, but my heart, my soul and a lifetime of faithfulness.