How It All Started?
The year was 2000. It was a year of promise despite the Y2k doomsday scenarios that were swirling around. I was just enjoying my new found career in a paging company.
My officemate suddenly became extra excited over something. We later on learned that a new guy was starting out in the workplace with us.
Then, one afternoon, this new guy passed by my glass cubicle and gave me this very sticky look which wasn’t exactly icky. It would have been the case with another guy maybe. Surprisingly, from this lanky and a bit thin lad, it wasn’t. It amused me no end to find out some feelings surfacing from within me...feelings that I haven’t felt in a long time especially I was still mending a broken heart over a 4 year old relationship that ended in a jolt one Valentine Day in the doomed Ima’s restaurant in Ortigas.
And thus, I was keeping a keen eye when this new guy would show his disturbing presence again. It took a while. What I had to contend with was a document on the outbox with his name on the senders space to our branch in Dansalan.
I mused on his name. It sounded BIG. Hmmm...big things to come? Shrugged it off as weird.
On Valentines day, I got a call from my friend in the Technical Department. Randy said, somebody wanted to get to know me. I had to quell feelings of satisfied excitement in me. He gave the phone to HIM. He sounded initially as very boyish. He asked what I was doing after office. I said, I had a date. I didn’t say, I was going to see my mom who was sick. Mom was battling Stage 4 Nasopharynx cancer. I even got her some roses. It was also a double weapon. A show item so people would think I was the recipient of some passionate affection. Hahahaa.
But, I said, If you want we can go out next week. I am not so sure anymore now, if we set the date at that first call or he had subsequent calls to my local number. I just remember how flustered I was before the date. I wanted to call it off...but my good friend Chuckie...kept me company and urged me to go on with it. And so I did. It was February 19. Hmmm, tomorrow would be the 13th year anniversary of our first date.
And so, we had pasta and ice tea without the ice at Pizza Hut megamall. We strolled from Robinson’s Galleria, ADB, El Pueblo to Megamall.
In the course of our conversation, I realized ( was I so dense? ) that he was so much younger than I was. I said to myself, no way Jose! This is not my cup of tea.
And what he said, a little later almost made me drop from my chair.
He said, “ I am not looking for a girlfriend...”
Inside me I heaved a sigh of relief, then ambivalence crept in. I thought, is he trying to insult me now that he has found out I was 5 years his senior. Hmmmm.
Then, he continued “...I am looking for a wife.!”
I said to myself..this young man knows what he wants....and he did, it was sitting in front of him.
With some convincing talk about his grandmother being older than his grandfather, I said to myself, maybe this is workable after all.
Maybe he is worth the getting know part.
By April fools day, I was giddy already with his presence. I found him so intoxicating and heady. And, gave him the surprise of his life . I made up this drama. I behaved sad and morose. I told him, I had bad news for him. I was drumming up his exit papers from my life with some talk about the end of the line is here and time to take a hike is now. Then I gave him a note, saying I have a small note of thanks. I can never forget how he looked. I thought he was gonna cry. Imagine!!
Then I said, read my note of thanks...but in it, I said: I think I am falling for you!
He almost hugged me with delight.
I had to stop him coz we still were not in that stage of our relationship yet.
It was the day that marked our steadiness of seeing each other.
By May, it was clear that we were so into each other. We liked being with each other so much.
In fact, there was a lighting bolt moment with us.
Really! Truly! Madly! Deeply! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQnAxOQxQIU
Something I have never experienced before. I had boyfriends before him. Holding hands was nothing new. But, the first time he held my hands, my goodness...an electric impulse shot through my body touching me in such a powerful force that left me dumb struck of what had just transpired.
I cannot reveal, out of shyness, till now, we have 2 beautiful babies together, the path the lighting strike moment took and reached.
It was so ecstatic.
Penetratingly deep into my core.
One day, I could not sleep. We talked. I said, what we have is something very strong. The connection. The affection. I said, fumbingly...I think I know what I like, I have a fair idea of what you like as well, I said, I think, it is time for us to seek what God likes for us in this coming days.
Usually, I seek prayer in moments like this. So I proposed, long before Donita and Piolo starred in Nine Mornings, that we meet each other for 9 consecutive mornings in the Our Lady of Fatima church and we shall see.
Again, I was surprised by his reaction. I thought he would say, ok, let’s think about it.
But, he said, let us start right away. Tomorrow he said.
And so we did.
Surprisingly, he was always on time.
I asked him not to pick me up. I said, we shall see each other there.
Our 8th day was a Sunday. I guess, I stayed up late watching tv. And so, it was a mad rush to get dressed. I just pulled over something available without much thought about it.
I was late. But, I saw him right away. I joined him in the pew. Lots of people, but a space was made available for me beside him.
A series of surprises happened.
One of the Mother Butler ladies approached me while mass was going on, asking me if I can be part of the offertory group. I said yes. I asked myself later on, why me. I am wearing pants. They usually pick ladies in Sunday dresses for this things.
Then a very weird incident happened..I was given the chalice containing the hosts. Again, this was not usually done. I thought I was gonna be given the candles or the flowers. I felt, I did not again fit the proper dress code. I was in a white long sleeved polo and jeans. Hmmm...
Then when it was time to march,.it became a surreal moment, everything was hushed quiet, movements were slow and muted...then I realized is this how it feels to be walking down the aisle in white..it felt like heaven. It felt like clouds.
During Our Father, Ruel held my hands and did not let go of it till the end of the mass..then I wrote with my fingers on his hand,Y-E-S.
Again, he almost hugged me with happiness.
I had to duck to avoid it.
The following day, I thought we would not finish the 9th day. But Ruel was still up to it. I mean, I jumpstarted it with my YES already, didn’t I?
He still wanted to see it through and so we did.
I was still quietly savouring the thought that I was once again taken. We were now an ITEM. He was officially my boyfriend as of May 28,2000.
My friends in Singles for Christ were so happy for me when I broke the news to them during our sports event later that Sunday. But somehow, I became a bit unsure. Then I bumped into a sis who singled me out a few months back about her relationship struggles with her boyfriend who was younger than her. I had to muster my best judgement so I could give her a good advise...but deep inside me, I said, I will never be caught in the same shoes as her.
I wasn’t just in the same shoes. I had my foot in my mouth.
And, self doubt clouded my day.
And so, after mass that early Monday morning, Ruel, invited me for breakfast at McDonalds barangka. It was still closed. So, we had to go to Chowking Maysilo.
He went to the counter to order while I bee lined for the newspaper rack.
The Philippine Star magazine was available. Good I thought. I looked for my favourite writer, Harold Sala.
I eagerly started reading the scripture verse that usually started his article. Jeremiah 29:11.
Yes, this is the one.
I was searching and searching for this verse one day with no success.
Now, it was showing me it’s wisdom face to face.
Then, I was happy.
I started reading his article. He talked about missionary workers that found themselves in love with one another in a distant land. A place that they did not expect to find love.
Then, I said, wait. What is the title of this article? This is interesting.
In big bold letters...CAN YOU TRUST GOD IN FINDING A MATE?
The scripture verse font was maybe 9 while the title was maybe 16!
Was God confirming the path I was taking with Ruel?
I felt like He was.
I showed Ruel the article and he just smiled.
I asked the waiters if I could have the page of the mag. It is still with me...infact, I just got to hold it yesterday in my de cluttering activities.
It made me shed a few tears of love and cravings. I wanted to hug my pillow again. I wanted to feel his arms around me again. I felt I could not wait till the next time we see each other. I felt I wanted to burst.
Over a month after that ,during a very bad storm...he braved coming back to the metro with some kind of urgency. I thought he had a highly perishable pasalubong for me that he had to bring to me despite the foul weather. Out of concern for his safety, I urged him to just bring it to me the following day. But he had to have his way.
Upon entering the house after his shift ended at past 10pm, I was trying to see what he had in his hands. Nothing. Of course, I did not like to show I was so eager to receive his something.
We sat quietly beside each other.
Then he said, holding my hands, close your eyes. I hesitated thinking he was gonna steal a kiss from me. Not that I did not like, but I felt, it was to early in the relationship and too late in the night.
So, I shut my eyes with some anxiety.
Then, slowly, I felt, he held my ring finger, and slipped something into it. I opened my eyes right away.
I saw something very simple and yet very beautiful. Curving gold lines with a diamond stone in the middle.
I asked him..what does this mean.
You know what already.
I said...are you sure...coz, I am not sure.
He said, he was.
Then I shooed him away right after that since I felt panicky.
The following day, as I was on my way home to show the ring to mom...I was again frozen to my tracks when I realized what day it was the day before.
So what? What was the significance.
You see, when I was in my mid twenties, people would always bug me with questions of when I would settle down and be married. It came to the point of exasperation and just to make these people stop, I said, you will know come July 7. It always made it their turn to be dumb struck when they saw my confidence. What year they would ask? I’d say, you will know when the day comes.
Why did I chose that date...it is my favourite number. The 7th day of the 7th month. I am the number 7th in the family and so...I love the number.
7 years after my prophetic words...the love of my life proposed and I had no choice but to trust God every step of the way.
And, it had been such a rich and wonderful experience. Oh, there were/are a lot of bumps along the way, but God, in His goodness, gives us the grace to hold on, weather the storm..and I would not have it any other way. I’d still say yes cause corny as it may sound and how Savage Garden would croon,” I knew I love you before I met you.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjnmICxvoVY
Sweetie, Happy 13th year anniversary of our first date come tomorrow, Feb.19.
Belated Happy 11th year wedding anniversary last Jan.30.
You will be myone and only Hot UP Oblation and funny Valentine!