Sunday, 7 a.m., an April day in 2014
To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the heavens (Ecclesiastes 3:1). This is our verse. And the past two and a half years were our season and time and purpose.
Do you remember the first day we met? Believe me, when you first walked through that door in your blazing red I-love-Jesus shirt, I told myself I should not come close. You did. My mistake was I didn’t push you away. It was a mistake I don’t regret. I knew right away that you were going to be my destruction. Yes, that’s the word. Destruction. Deep in the memory of my cells I recognized you and how you’re going to break me down.
I was a different person back then. You might have noticed the change. There were reasons for the walls. My family was on the verge of falling apart. My friends couldn’t be there because we were physically far from each other. My job was frustrating. I literally lost my dreams… my will. My wits. I was quickly going down the disillusionment hole. And the only person who cared was too weak to hold us both up.
And so I built the walls. I set myself apart. I was cold and indifferent. And then when I was alone all I did was cry. The rest of the world would have something that made them happy. Do you know hell? You were wrong that afternoon we talked about it. There is no fire in hell. It is void and cold and pitch-dark. There are no souls screaming in agony. There’s only you there. Sometimes you’d wonder if you’re even a soul or just purposeless, meaningless dust. Or if you even really exist. I should know because I’ve been there for most of my life.
Until you came. It’s not that you really did anything: you weren’t even there that much. There was just something. Your presence? The awareness that you existed? Knowing that you loved me? Or at least wanted me. Love is too strong a word for what we had. Nevertheless you gave me light. Maybe it was just a tiny slit where your light shone through and the walls came crashing down.
Deep in the memory of my cells I recognized you and how you’re going to break me. And so when you destroyed me I wasn’t afraid. I didn’t even want to fight back. I just sat there and let you give me hope.
I remember what happened. It was last year’s April. I was on the bed. I was reading the bible because of you. You told me to. I wanted to know why you love it that much. Mind you up to now I still don’t understand. So I was reading it, and then trying to connect to you, asking you in my head how you can believe in this. Suddenly there was this warmth coming from within me. It was not from my head. It was too physical to be a figment of my imagination. I stopped reading but it didn’t stop from expanding in all directions. There was this sort of golden light that enveloped me, enveloped my every cell and nerve and bone. It was painful. It was overwhelming. It was all-encompassing. And then I exploded. I cried. My first orgasm. And it happened with a purple-covered bible. How can any man top that?
I understood then. There is nothing wrong with me. Everything I do, everything I choose will always be right. I was hell and heaven and god. And I understood why they say you need Jesus before you can meet god.
You might think it’s blasphemy but you’re my hot-headed, egoistic and painfully inconsiderate Jesus. That’s how I’ll remember you. If there’s something I regret it will only be not having anything concrete to remember you by.
We’ll never see each other again. I’ll be fine – not that I think you’re even worried. I know that everywhere I go I will always hear something about you. Every time there will always be something to remind me of the past two and a half years and the person who had made it all worthwhile. What’s important is that I’ve loved you with all I had. Someday I might meet someone else and get married but I’d still love you in a way.
Alis grave nil. For all it’s worth, thanks for being mine.
Wednesday, 7:39 a.m., an April day in 2015
I found this letter tucked in the pages of the graduation gift which you didn’t accept. Now, I am going to give the notebook to our new principal as a welcome present. The letter, in cream linen paper, is going to the recycling box in ten minutes. I could send it to your school but I’ve changed. Much has changed. Our time seems so long ago although just three hundred and sixty something days have passed.
Just so you know, I stopped regretting not having something tangible to remember you by two weeks since we last saw each other. It just happened. It also seems that the world doesn’t revolve you – I haven’t heard anything about you from anyone… not that I inquired. I still shake my water and don’t drink an hour after eating like you told me to, but that’s general knowledge now, right? And although I still won’t watch anything that has Tom Cruise in it, it probably only partly is because of you since I’ve never liked Tom Cruise in the first place. And even though the tall, lean, quiet guy with the eyeglasses is still my type, that’s not really because of you: that has always been my type. I also am not getting married anymore, but I’ve never really wanted to get married.
But you were not all that bad, L. There is much about you I am thankful for. You might have destroyed me but the destruction was necessary. You’ve broken down the walls. You’ve made me vulnerable so the light can shine through. As much as I hated you for thinking I am a lost sheep and you can save my soul, I was lost and you did save me, in your hot-headed, egoistic, painfully inconsiderate way. And now, although it is blasphemy, you are still one Jesus.
But you’re not the only one now. I have three more. There is Father J, the funny, cool Jesus I envision every time I read the gospels. There is Father P, the soft-spoken, calm, calming, seeing-him-happy-makes-me-happy, seeing-him-suffer-makes-me-suffer Jesus I pictured as a young girl. And then there is that Jesus.
Last night, I confessed to the priest. I told him about you and he said he can’t tell me anything anymore: I have moved on. I have learned my lesson. I am forgiven. I am loved. And I am going to be finally happy.
So, thank you. Maybe what I had for you wasn’t love after all. But with finding back my faith, to you I am deeply indebted.
Monday, 1:38 p.m., a November day in 2015
Oo naman, kilala kita. Sa maniwala ka at sa hindi, masaya ako to have this opportunity to hear from you. Hindi ako magde-defend ng sarili ko; I have no right. Ako yung 1/2 ng may kasalanan sa lahat ng ito. At alam ko rin na hindi ka makikipag-away. Sa mga kwento niya, sa mga nakita ko sayo nung times na magkaklase tayo, alam ko na hindi ikaw yung ganoong tipo.
Unang araw pa lang ng pagkikita namin, alam ko na na may girlfriend siya kaya wala akong excuse sa mga pangyayari. Alam ko din, dahil pinag-usapan namin, na hindi siya masaya sa mga ginagawa namin. Just so you know, I’m not proud of what happened. Hindi sa sinasabi ko na it was a dark place: no, sa totoo lang pinasaya niya ako. At that time I was in hell: I had lost my dreams, I felt hopeless, I felt like killing myself. I believe L needed to come into my life. He gave color to my world. He became my reason for wanting to live – alam mo yun? Yung excitement na mag-Sabado ulit para makita ko ulit siya. For the first time in forever, I was looking forward for something. He was the story I wanted – puno ng excitement, ng adrenaline rush, ng halu-halong emotions. I was feeling things. And he was perfect; he was everything I could ever want in a man. Mali man, pero he was my savior in a lot of ways. Habang iniisip ko kung anong sasabihin sayo, naiisip ko din na ano kaya ako ngayon kung hindi siya dumating? Buhay pa ba ako? Would I have learned how to be compassionate? Would I have learned how to appreciate life? Would I have dreams? Siguro. Siguro hindi. Despite everything, despite the fact na sa maling paraan, siya ang naglapit sa akin kay God – I was not a believer until I needed God’s forgiveness for what happened, para bumalik yung happiness ko, yung peace of mind ko. It’s just so unfortunate that in the process of finding myself, you had to be hurt. I’m sorry.
Alam ko, pinatawad na ako ni God: I’ve returned to the Church. Pero knowing now that you forgive us, na wala na akong kailangang katakutan sa past namin, I’m really, really thankful. Thank you. And I’m sorry. I’ve always known it was wrong but I was selfish. At kung ano man yung past namin, tapos na yun. And now, with this, I can finally close our book. Thank you. Thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for your understanding. And I’m sorry that you had to get hurt. I wish you happiness.