In my version, we first met at one of the tambayans when there were still tambayans behind the Faculty Center when there was still the Faculty Center. You were wearing blue.
In your version, we had met before. We were seated next to each other weeks ago, yet, I still don’t remember that ever happening.
Does it sound silly that how we met still bothers me? It’s just that I’m puzzled about how dare I not to love you at first sight.
Because you were the most handsome guy I’d ever seen. Yet, weirdly, it wasn’t love at first sight. Or second. Or third. Or hundredth. It was waking up semesters later pondering over Ate Bevie’s comment on how I smiled while we were texting. It was realizing for the first time I may not remember how we met but everything else, I do, like, how pretty you were as Rosaline. The different ways we cooked adobo. Your funny random “talents.” How you loved spaghetti. Our shared obsession with Korean drama. How it took weeks before you stopped bugging me about my creepy attraction to arm veins. That I irritated you when I almost died of happiness when Nico talked to me. You called me malandi, remember? That once I abandoned everything to accompany you when you tried out for the exchange program. That you fixed the straps of my bra. How the world looked impossibly magnified through your lenses. That once you gave me a thumbs down. The insensitivity that made you realize I was angry at you after two weeks. That once I cried and you hugged me. You said I was makahiya and you were inihaw na bangus. That you teased me so hard I cried all the way to KNL. That noon you bought The Pelican Brief. How you invented ponkanita. Why the marriage of orange and carrot has a special place in my palate. That you said Miss Nueva Ecija was prettier than Miss South Korea. (I know. WTH, right?) That one September dusk you led me by the arm as we crossed U Ave and you admitted you liked her and I wept under the streetlight. The Simbang Gabi I failed to complete for law school. That exact March afternoon we ignored each other at the Faculty Center. And how do I ever forget the night I was on the Ikot and broke down to the tune of Shamrock’s Alipin?
I had been unfortunate to find perfection before having found any other man. It has been over ten years; still, I look for you – the tall, dark, handsome, lean, practically blind, intelligent, insensitive, ambitious, mad curse – in all of them.
And so this has to start with you – my first first love. You who set the standards to heavenly highs that I lost any chance of a human love.
I guess I’d never stop loving you.
And you. And you. Any of you. Actually, all of you. *wink*