In January, I asked for an adventure — I said I didn’t care what form it came in, just an adventure. And I got what I asked for, many times over.
Sometimes I think maybe I should have been a little more specific, or just a little more careful about what I wished for, but looking back, I really don’t think I would change anything about my year so far. I didn’t come out entirely unscathed from parts of it, but that’s the nature of adventure, isn’t it? You don’t know what’s out there. You chance it. You risk. And thinking about it now (I always say that hindsight is 20/20), I prefer that I risked, and that I allowed this risk to change me and help me grow, rather than letting myself remain safe but stagnant like I always, always have.
I’m glad that I let myself be scared and uncertain. I’m glad I pushed past my fear of heights (more figurative than literal; I have yet to conquer the literal fear) and took all those leaps, and that they were made from such great heights. Sure, sometimes I fell. Sometimes I fell hard. It’s not really something you can avoid. But there has always been something at the bottom to cushion every fall, and so maybe I am bruised, but bruises heal, and I am not broken.
But more often than not, I flew. And the flight is always well worth the risk of the fall.
A Love Story in Four Acts
Originally published in the September 19, 2014 issue of The Philippine STAR’s YStyle.
It is unexpected. These things always are. You rush through the train station, digging through your purse for your ticket, and it is your shoulders that meet first, in the gentlest of collisions. Then your eyes follow, and he looks at you with a gaze that goes from apologetic to ardent in seconds, and you know it down to your bones — you’re going to fall in love with this man. You’re not in love yet, of course. How can you be? In this moment, you may know the precise blue of his eyes — cerulean like the sea on the sunniest of days, depths infinite and begging to be explored, promising adventure and danger in equal measure — but you don’t even know his name. You bat your lashes, look away, bashful, your blush a promise.
You’re not in love yet. But you will be.
“I’m sorry,” you say. “I’m not,” he replies, a teasing grin on his lips, a tone to his voice almost unbearably pleasing to your ears. He gives you his name, asks for yours, and then asks you to dinner tonight. It’s all a little faster than you’re used to, and you hesitate for a moment — you know nothing about him, nothing — but you say yes anyway, and his answering smile is brighter than the sun, and you know this is a choice you may someday regret but also one that you will never regret.
Your lips are a slash of vivid scarlet when you find him waiting at your door, your eyes painted with precision, your hair a laborious work of art. “You look beautiful,” he says as he tips his hat to you in greeting, and you pull your fur tighter around yourself as the warmth in your body wars with the chill of the fall.
The words flow easily and endlessly between you at dinner, and you think to yourself that you’ve never known before now what it’s like to have time pass so quickly and stand so still all at once. To want so badly to know everything there is to know. To want so badly. Exquisite. Excruciating.
He walks you home when your evening comes to a close, bids you a good night. He does not kiss you, although you’re sure — you’re sure — that he wants to. He calls out to you as you’re stepping through your door. “I had the best time with you tonight. May I see you again?”
You said yes, of course.
And he does kiss you the next time (finally), and the time after that, and the time after that, and at first, it is like waking from a long slumber, like breathing, like air. And the passion builds like an inferno, and you give more of yourself than you’ve ever given anyone before. You’ve never known this kind of smoldering heat. You’ve never known anyone like him — intelligent, driven, charming, handsome. So you pretend that it doesn’t bother you that you never really see him by the light of day. You pretend that it doesn’t matter that you’ve never met any of his friends. You are in his arms, and they are strong, and he is warm, and his kisses are sweet. It is enough.
But soon, in spite of yourself, you come to realize that it isn’t. You try to fight the feeling. You argue, you rationalize, you make excuses for his behavior. You tell yourself it doesn’t matter, that you’ll take whatever he gives. Until you can’t. And one day, you finally find the courage to ask why, and he starts to grow cold.
In another world, maybe. In another time. Maybe there, you are together. But here, you are not. You cannot be. You learn the hard way that he was never yours. You owned his nights for the blink of an eye. Another owns his days, all the rest of them, and he tells you this with guilt, and sadness, and regret. And you want to kick yourself for being so foolish and so naïve, for clinging so breathlessly to a silly girl’s daydreams, for trusting him so completely, and most of all, for still thinking him so utterly beautiful and perfect. Even now, even as he betrays you, even as he breaks your heart, even as he says goodbye, here, where you first met, where you first knew you would fall in love.
Photographs by Shaira Luna
Styling by Carla Villanueva
Makeup by Ria Aquino of MAC Cosmetics
Hair by Lio Javier
Modeled by Yuliya Prilepova and Lucas David of Elite