She was not exactly what I was looking for.
One afternoon in August, I decided to get on the bee app to look for people to talk to. Usually, I delete the app right after getting the validation I need. However, I came across this 21-year-old-girl (who turned out to be 18) who made me hang around the app a day longer.
I recall vividly what she wore in the first photo she posted on her profile: a beige bucket hat, gray plaid coat, and round specs with a black face mask covering half her face. Cute. That was the initial reaction I had in mind. As I scrolled down, the sudden idea that she resembled one of my friends’ crushes popped into my mind.
Mindlessly, I swiped right.
Later that day, I received the notification that I matched with a new stranger. It was her. The same girl I had swiped right for, because my friend said she looked cute. Needless to say, I did not need any cute pick-up line to make the first move, because my friend already gave me the idea for a conversation starter.
It didn’t take long for both of us to move to another messaging app. The popular ones would be Telegram, Instagram, or Messenger. However, we moved to TikTok. I don’t quite remember now how we ended up messaging each other there, but it worked.
I had a list of no-gos for the people I would consider to be in a romantic relationship with. Younger, noisier, and someone I just met on the internet. Bingo, she checked all the boxes!
But still, I stayed. She and I confided in each other over failed romantic interests. It was a friendly connection. I had things pre-established in mind. I often struggled when it came to feelings, and since she was a no-go, I paid little mind to the connection we shared and only cared to enjoy my conversations with her.
I suppose I enjoyed them a little too much.
One day, I started to take mental notes of the smallest details she would talk about. That one time she ran for student council and got booed in a classroom. Why she didn’t look forward to Christmas day, unlike so many others. The fascination she had for typewriters. How she liked taking photographs of the moon.
She was barely off my mind. One day, I found myself seated in one corner of my room, penning down a song that I didn’t realize was meant for her. In my mind, I wanted to talk to the moon, but I ended up talking to the moon about her.
She was everything I was not looking for. I knew I had to tell her, but I also knew that I had to expect nothing in return. Eventually, we graduated from the TikTok app and moved to Instagram, video-called on Discord, and shared stickers on Telegram. When I realized my feelings were getting deeper, I knew I had to run. So I did.
The thing about running away from people on the internet is that it’s easier to do since the connection seems shallower than the ones we establish from the usual meet-up somewhere by accident. This tactic of mine, however, never worked on her. I’d go, and she’d always have her way of making me come back.
Although I confess, my affection was not returned as expected. She only wanted friendship, and I didn’t insist because I knew where I should stand. She told me the feelings would eventually go, but she was wrong. The more time I spent talking to her, the bigger the space she took up inside me.
She was in the pictures of the tomorrows I had in mind, in the 3 a.m. conversations I knew I could never share with anyone else. She was the person I always told the moon about. Everything on that no-go list started to not matter anymore, while she always did.
I shared many good moments with her. Moments that I wished lasted longer than they did. Moments that I knew I would keep for the longest time. Moments that I also knew had to end.
I kept pictures and videos of her in my gallery that I often visited whenever I missed her. From the day we stopped talking, there wasn’t a minute that she did not cross my mind. Usually, I would go back to the bee app, but after her, no one else appealed to me the same way. I always had just one person in my mind. It was her.
She came into my life and filled up every checkbox of the no-go list I had. She was not what I was looking for in the beginning, but she became the person I would search for in every person I would meet in the end.
It was her. Always.
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Cin Elo is a 20-year-old journalism student at the University of Santo Tomas. She is a member of the LGBT community.
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