The first time I saw him, I knew right away he was not my type. With his big beer belly he looked fat. His dark complexion was immediately noticeable, as was his receding hairline. And I did not like the way he dressed up. Baduy, I thought to myself.
I came to know him as a friend of my “ex” friend in high school. I found out later that he was my ex-friend’s ex-boyfriend too. Interesting? Maybe you’re expecting a telenovela? Yeah, right, maybe. Probably so.
I know writing this could cost me my reputation, or cause me a lot of embarrassment. But who cares? I’m in love (ewww)… I know I’m beginning to sound so cheesy and stupid. But then again, aren’t people in love stupid sometimes?
You know how, sometimes, things happen when you least expect it. I was single, contented and living a simple life. I would stroll in the mall alone. I would shop around alone. Eat alone. I used to mind my own business. Alone. I was pretty okay with that. I had enough to worry about my life, and going into a relationship with someone was not part of my plan. But that was before.
Until that fateful day… Surprise! My phone beeped. One message received. I thought it was probably just my mom checking out if I was doing fine. But it was not her. The number was not in my phone directory and I did not recognize whose it was. The message just said, “Hi!”
Aysus! Nangita na sad tingali ni’g textmate. Walay lingaw na tao (Probably, this is again someone looking for a textmate. Another bored soul), I told myself. So I just ignored his message.
My phone beeped again. It was another message coming from the same unknown number. “Pwede makig-ilaila?” (May I know you? Can we be friends?)
I don’t usually entertain stupid messages like this, but it so happened I was also bored that time. I shot back a curt, snobbish reply, “Hu u?” as if I was not interested to get to talk to someone else.
Yes, that’s how it started. With a simple hello.
I asked him how he got my number. He said a friend of mine gave it to him. He mentioned the name which I recognized, so I did not ignore him thinking that my friend would not give my number to just anybody. I had great expectations about him. He told me he was an English major graduate and used to be a seminarian.
We started as friends. He called me quite frequently. We talked a lot about just anything. I was charmed by his sense of humor and his practical, smart approach to the things we talked about.
I had planned to go home to spend some time with my family and that would be a couple of months after we had become friends. He asked me to bring him danggit for pasalubong. I felt a bit excited because that would mean meeting him for real for the first time. He had warned me before that he was not that good-looking. I said that’s okay, we were friends anyway. Although at the back of my mind, I was kind of hoping he was indeed good-looking.
To cut the long story short, we finally met. Our rendezvous was inside the church where I was baptized. I don’t know if mentioning this has any relevance to the meat of my story.
I arrived first. He came in a few minutes later. We took the opposite ends of the same pew. But the first thing he did was to kneel before the Holy Cross to pray.
Hmmm… is it a heartfelt act or is he just trying to impress me? The question just popped up in my mind. (He, he… conceited, cynical me.) But I must admit that when I first saw him, I thought he was not as bad as I had expected, though he was not anywhere near my definition of a good-looking guy either. Normal lang.
I knew it was not love at first sight. But still when he walked towards me, I felt numb. I did not know what to say. Finally, I mustered the courage to greet him. Then we started talking like real friends. He carried my backpack. We ate. We talked some more. We watched our first movie (“Underworld II”) together. I enjoyed his company, but I did not feel butterflies in my stomach or hear some imaginary fireworks. I was a bit dismayed.
After that meeting, we continued communicating with each other although I thought that would be our first and last time together. It was just a friendly date. I even felt kind of foolish for expecting to experience some sort of love-at-first-sight moment in that first meeting.
Then he started courting me. I thought he was not serious about it. I played along with his “game.” He had confessed that the friend who gave him my number was his ex-girlfriend. While I appreciated his honesty, I felt cheated by him for telling me about it only later. I told my friend about it to make sure that I was not into some kind of trouble. She said it was fine although she told me some not-so-pleasant things about him.
What my friend told me made me decide to not take him seriously at all. I would rather stick with my friend and take her word for it, than trust someone I barely knew.
But for some reason (I forgot what exactly happened), my friend started sending me unpleasant messages. I thought she was jealous. I’m a girl too, so I could understand if she felt that way. I tried telling them both that if they still liked each other, why not fix their relationship and start all over again. I did not want to get into such a complicated situation anyway.
But then my friend said something to me that made me so upset about her. That was when I decided to say yes to my “frog prince.” As much as possible, I had not wanted to mess up my relationship with my friend, but if she wanted to wage a war over some guy, I could arrange that for her.
See? It’s embarrassing. We fought over some guy. Or kind of fought over some guy.
But I have no regrets. That guy turned out to be my best friend. And my boyfriend. For real this time. It’s good that my ex-friend did not see him the way I see him now.
Our relationship may have not started the way I would have wanted it to be, but it has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I no longer see that fat, dark, bald baduy in him. All I can see is the responsible, caring, understanding, loyal, cheerful, smart and loving person that has made me fall for him over and over again. It has been an amazing makeover – from a frog to a handsome prince.
It has been three years now since it became officially us. Still, it is too early to say it is going to be us forever. But I’m hoping that we will be.
Prechell G. Casing, 27, is a a call center agent.
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