Thursday, August 25, 2005

Wedding Tears

I attended a friend’s wedding last week, a wedding so close to my heart because the bride is special to me. Patty and I have been friends since college. I witnessed how her relationship with Nino bloomed from acquaintance, to friends, to special friends, up to more-than-friends.

I gleamed with pride as I saw her outline behind the stained-glass sliding door. My heart skipped a beat when the doors were slowly opened. Patty looked so radiant, as the sun glistened over her white sequined gown. As she walked along the aisle, I cannot contain myself. I never expected to cry.

Tears of joy. Back in our college days, we shared the same dreams of someday marrying the love of our lives, and having a beautiful wedding. In fact, we made a dummy of our respective dream wedding invitations. The whole line up of entourage was complete, except for the groom’s name. Funny how it may seem, but I remember the days when we used to ask each other if there is anything is wrong with us, why we do not have any boyfriend nor even a suitor for that matter? Watching her in her gown as she walked there in the aisle moved me. This is the realization of her dreams. No, much better when we tried to picture it out before. Part of my tear cried for happiness.

Tears of sadness. From hereon, things will change. Once they build their family, her priorities will change. She won’t be as free as she used to be. She will not be that available for a girl’s night out. I felt I lost a friend. Part of my tear cried for this selfish reason.

Tears of fear. Watching Patty as she wedded Nino, made me realize that I have come to this “stage” already. This is my third wedding for the year, and my third wedding reception emcee as well. (I have even memorized the process of the reception already). A realization struck me. My peers are getting married. It is just so glaring this time, because I spent more of my growing up years with Patty, and the comparison so apparent. Where am I? Am I missing the bus already? Part of my tear cried for fear.

Then again, I shook off my internal demons and looked at her. I am much happier than sad or afraid. I am happy because she has married the love of her life. Nino is a good man, and I know he will take good care of her. She is now living her dreams.

As for me, nothing to worry. I am happy still. Every person has his or her own unique story. Mine is different and it will unfold in due time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A Prologue

Days after we parted goodbye, my mind was haunted with “what ifs?”

What if I joined them in Green Hills?

What if I mustered enough courage to flirt?

What if? What if? What if? … An array of questions paraded before my mind whenever I thought of him and the short bittersweet one-sided puppy-love affair I had with him.

As I tried to answer the questions one by one, I came up with a conclusion that no matter what I do – nothing could ever change the fact that we were never (nor ever will be) meant to be. Going out with them for the last time, will never change the reality that I have to go home to CDO and him to Sydney. Flirt as may, it will never change the truth that he would never be able to reciprocate my attraction for him.

Now as I look back, I can fully hold my head high with no regrets. At least I never made a fool of myself. I kept my pride and my dignity. And at least if ever by some infinitesimal chance, he’d think of me – he will remember me as a “fine young girl who was prim and proper – trying her best to make her mark in the midst of global business excellence”.

After everything, I am grateful for the experience. Memories of those unexpected moments will be immortalized with nostalgic happiness and delight.

I believe our meeting was for a reason. His role was to teach me how to open my heart anew. Not necessarily to him, but for that someone special yet to come. After mourning from a not so lovely past, I took a self-shielding stance against love. But this experience has taught me to take aside my fears and inhibitions. It has reminded me how sweet it is to love.

Yes, I am now opening my heart. I am giving love another chance. I am willing to fall in love again. I may not know when it will happen, not even who my leading man will be. But one thing I’m sure, the best is yet to come.

This is just a prologue of my beautiful love story…

Monday, August 08, 2005

Unexpected Moments

It’s always surprising how small a part of life can be illuminated just by a flicker of unexpected simple moments. More often than not, these priceless “moments” are over before they start. Nevertheless, they leave that special mark… Making the person who instigated them – unforgettable.

I just recently arrived from a three-week “mission” for our company. It was a very exciting assignment, and I deem it to be such a privilege to be chosen as part of the core team. Right from the start, I carried on a lot of expectations – the project, the workload, the end result, my teammates, and myself included. At the onset, I psyched myself to be prepared for a very hectic, pressure-laden and argumentative project. And indeed, like pieces of a puzzle, all my expectations fell into place… except for one thing. In the end, I got more than what I hoped for.

From the very first day, I noticed his hair. He is sleek and posh for a guy. His style and the way he exudes himself qualifies him to join the Fab Five of the Queer Eye.

Then we were broken into sub-teams. We belonged to the same triumvirate - him, me and another senior officemate. When initial discussions came, he would not give me any attention at all. I was as invisible as air to him.

“He must be gay.” I concluded.

I have absolutely no problem with it. But what’s troubling me is his utter disregard for me. Oh, how much I do not like him. I wished to be grouped with the other teams, besides him. But no use perturbing myself, I have no other option but to work on with what I’ve got. Him. Not to mention that he is the leader of the entire group. Need to find a way to blend with him, or at least with the group. Nothing I can do about him anymore, but at least there’s something I can do about myself. Even if it means doubling or tripling all my efforts, I will. Nothing, not even his gay prejudices, will stand against my way.

At the first week, it was tough. I had a lot of proving to do. I am the youngest female member of the group. Substantiating myself and earning his attention was quite a feat. Not to mention that I was a tad feeble on the first days since I was recuperating from tummy trouble (a.k.a. food poisoning).

The end of week one came. Suffice it to say, I am proud of the progress I have done so far. I have upgraded myself from air, now to a cloud - already visible to him, but still not solid enough. At least he already acknowledged my existence.

On the second week, I realized that I should not work according to what I think would please him. I was beginning to feel insecure and unhappy. I decided to change strategy and be myself. Just as I have to accept him for what he is, I should accept myself (my accomplishments included) for what I am. I opened myself to look beyond my own preconceptions. Besides, who knows I might just be battling against an imaginary issue, driven by my own insecurities.

So far, it went well. The aloof atmosphere evolved into something light. Beyond acknowledging my existence, I think he now recognized my opinions. Aside from that, we moved up from being mere strangers now to officemates. Yes, good officemates with no imposed boss-to-subordinate relationship. (Although I highly respected him.)

As we got “closer” (for the lack of a better term) I began to learn few things about him. Shame on me for judging him. Talk about prejudice. I was wrong. He’s not gay. He’s a man as he can be… fashionable, yes, but in a manly kind of way.

I learned a lot of things by spending my time with him. From the way he process information, to how he integrates things, down to how he manages his people (aside from me). He’s intelligent at the same time practical and street-smart. And how he can be so cool amid the pressures. (Some have lost their poise and temper) I felt lucky to be grouped with him.

Despite the progress, I felt that something was still wrong. I felt like he sees me as a junior, a kid, his little sister. He would oftentimes joke around and tease me. I must admit that I liked it whenever he would tease me. The way he would look at me, the way he would smile at me with his mischievous smile, and the way he would call my name. He has this unique way of calling my name – which only he can do.

It felt good. Yes. But I need to prove to him that there is much more in me than being young, and that I can do a lot of things. He may be ten years wiser than me, but I am willing to learn. I am here for business and I’m serious in bringing in whatever I can contribute to the group.

Then our last week came. It was show time. Time to present our headline recommendations coming from the review of our project. Amidst the hectic schedule, a thought suddenly dawned unto me that once this is over – I will miss his shenanigans, his teasing smiles, his tantalizing eyes and his way of calling my name.

Darn! I have unconsciously developed certain affection for him. How could I be such a fool? This is totally unthinkable. He may have some sort of fondness for me, but more on towards as a little sister – and nothing more. I need to restrain the butterflies in my stomach from flying. Clip their wings and woosh - kill them fast. I cannot afford to open my heart and be again vulnerable.

I tried hard to avoid him. But fate had its way of defying my will. The clincher was our victory party. We went to a Videoke bar. It was a wonderfully fun party. What made it more special was how we spent the night seated right next to each other – singing, talking, laughing, and teasing each other. Moments shared together are still vivid on my mind. As much as I hated to admit it, I felt good that night.

On the last day, we planned to go Greenhills for their last minute techie (a.k.a gadgets) shopping. But as I was walking to follow them in the lobby, a certain voice deep inside me held me back. I should not go with them anymore. I cannot tolerate creating more moments with him. To him, I am just a mere kid and nothing more. Should I continue liking him, I’ll end up as the poor little girl he left behind…which I am turning out to be at this point.

When I reached the lobby, I saw them getting into the van. I met one of his counterparts and I told him I am not joining them anymore. So he hugged me and we said our goodbyes. Then, I looked at them behind the glass walls of our building, as I waved my hand.

He was seated at the front seat. He put down the windows to tell me to join them. I looked straight into his eyes. “This will be the last time, I will be able to gaze into his blue eyes.” I thought. I waved my hand to indicate my decline. With my wave, my thoughts raced to say, “Tomorrow I will be going back to CDO, and you to Sydney. This is the end of it.” My heart dropped for a second.

Just as the van was about to leave, he went down. Braving the rain, he went down and ran into the building with his arms wide open. He hugged me and kissed me his goodbye – twice on the cheek. I was speechless.

He said nothing, and turned his back. As he ran back to the van, I muttered to say, “take care”. But my words were drowned by the sound of the rain.

I stood there at the lobby. Faking a smile, waving to them. I just stood there with my hand against the misty glass wall – watching the van leave until I saw it no more.

I looked up to the skies, asking them if they too felt my sadness. I felt a tear running into my cheek, joining the rain as they fell.

This ends my three-week, one-sided, puppy-love story. It was good while it lasted. And the memories left behind will never fail to leave a special mark in my heart.

It’s always surprising how small a part of life can be illuminated just by a flicker of unexpected simple moments. More often than not, these priceless “moments” are over before they start. Nevertheless, they leave that special mark… Making the person who instigated them – unforgettable.