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YOUNG BLOOD

I met him in November

05:03 AM March 20, 2018

I met Matthias in November, exactly a week after my momentous, two-week soul-searching trip to Europe. A very uncanny time, a time when I thought maybe I could give dating another try.

Just a little spoiler: It didn’t work out between us. Not that we even tried. From the very beginning he made it clear that he’s not into anything serious. He said he’d only be in Singapore for a couple of months more and he’d be traveling around, so there’s no point starting something. I acted cool about it.

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I knew from the moment we exchanged one-liners that I was going to like him. He’s silly. I like it silly. He always had a witty comeback to my every nonsense. I’ll get along well with this one, I thought. True enough, we remained crazy.

I realized I really like him because I get giggly and nervous when I’m with him. I freeze, lose my composure. Only a few can put me in that state. My hands get sweaty, mouth goes dry, and mind goes blank. I can even recall that one time I stupidly could not open the tap because I was too distracted by his presence.

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I realized I really like him because I get giddy and happy at the mere thought of him. It’s like I was back in my high school days, secretly crushing on someone. He was definitely a happy thought. And he gave me so many butterflies in the stomach.

But I knew from the very beginning that it was fleeting. This, too, shall pass. And it did. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt when he said this won’t go anywhere. I saw that one coming, but still it came as a bitter surprise.

As to why I’m still happy and thankful at the thought of him, I can haphazard an explanation. He made me realize it is still possible for me to find someone with whom I could be happy.

For the longest time I had been a captive of the idea that Francisco (the ex-boyfriend I wanted to marry) was the only person with whom I could connect, that in losing him I lost life’s meaning and every reason to be happy.

But life allowed for Matthias to happen so I could be liberated and start believing that happiness is still possible. That I could still fall in love again. Though it didn’t work out for us, he resurrected my heart. For that I’m grateful.

He flew back to Zurich in January. Before he left, I was having second thoughts on seeing him off. What’s the point when in a few months we’d be back to being strangers, anyway? I thought.

So I made excuses not to meet him. Let’s meet at the rooftop, he said, for a proper goodbye. I melted. We may have had nothing serious, but I’m happy he cared for me enough to even think we deserved a proper goodbye.

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I met Matthias in November. A very uncanny time, a time when I was skeptical about dating (and I still am). But I liked him nevertheless. And yet I am happy. Because not everyone we like is meant for us, but still we can choose to be happy. And yes, he’s a happy memory. And I intend to keep him that way.

I met Matthias again in March, on his layover trip to Singapore. He wanted to meet. And I reluctantly agreed, helpless with the fact that he’d be miles away, and why not get a fresh start? he finally said. And I did. Not just from him. Not just for the fact that he’ll no longer be around. But for all that my life needs me to. A fresh start to love and value myself, mostly. Not because I was being pushed away, but because I deserve it, only because I deserve to be truly happy. With or without anyone.

I met Matthias yesterday, a year after he left for Zurich, and I’m glad I did. We didn’t really become strangers, as I thought we would after he left for Zurich; we remained in touch. And I’m glad we did.

Hot girls are like kites (on kite surfing), he said; if you let them go, you’ll lose them to another. Yet why am I still here with you right now? I asked. Am I not hot enough to be lost in the arms of another? I have never really let go, he said. And I think I’m glad he didn’t.

I met Matthias yesterday, a time I know I am happier than the first time I did. So what has changed over the last year? he asked. So much. I have learned to dance with the wind, I have learned to adapt to the system of life. I have grown up. I have matured. I have learned to detach. I have learned to look at things not based on my emotions but on logic and the rationality of things. Like a flowing river, I have grown more fluid. And I am so much happier.

He joked about me ruining the flight of a kite by overcontrolling it, by rushing to make it fly. He likened it to boys running away too soon because I wanted them too bad too soon. And then I jokingly said: So can you be my boyfriend now? Funny how he looked so startled by that question. I laughed. He was caught by his own joke. In his defense he said: Don’t worry, I’ll hold the kite safe for us.

In meeting Matthias again, I have learned that when somebody really wants you, he’ll come back. He’ll find ways to keep the distance closer. And no matter how long you’ve been apart, it would still feel like it was only yesterday.

So now I’m no longer afraid. I’m no longer sad that after having only three hours to spend with him he is leaving again. I’m no longer scared that I may lose him completely. I may. Or I may not. He may even lose me before I lose him.

But one thing is for sure: I can trust the process. Whatever will be will be. I don’t need to force anything. If it is for me, it will find me and it will come back to me. Like a kite lost in the ocean, it certainly will find its place. Maybe it gets tossed back to its owner, maybe not, but it will certainly drift to its own permanent place.

And I think the same for me. I will find my home and he will find me. Eye to eye, we shall meet. Not one step ahead, not one step behind, but in the same rhythm, in the same tune, with the same heartbeat.

And I know sooner than later, I am meeting him. And I know it could mean goodbye.

* * *

Filipinas Bundoc, 29, is a research assistant at the National University of Singapore.

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