Teacher of love | Inquirer Opinion

Teacher of love

/ 05:15 PM April 15, 2015
Illustration by Elizalde Pusung

Illustration by Elizalde Pusung

I did not know you were a teacher too. You may not know it, but each passing day, you educate me about what love is.

You may ask, “why, don’t you know love?” Actually, I do. I think we all do. We all know love when we see love. Think about it though. If I ask you right now, what love is, would you have a ready answer? I can already imagine the (adorable) creases forming on your face as you slowly weigh in on the question. Ha. I thought so.


Here, let me try. I would theorize that love, like light, is dual in nature. It is both simple and complicated. I say simple because love is predetermined by our personal value systems. Oops, sorry. What I mean is that love is what we make of it. If you think love is devotion to a higher cause than yourself, so be it. If love is giving one’s self to others, so be it. If love comes full circle in the union of two, so be it. If love is a communion with an omnipresent and omniscient persona, so be it. If love is companionship with those closest to your heart, so be it.

And that’s what makes love complicated. As love is imbued with human elements of emotion and action, what love actually is is as diverse as the billions of people populating this world. That’s just in the macroscopic scale. When we actually love in our own personal spaces, our understanding of love becomes murky. The consequences of loving another, whether it be human or not, not only leads to the reassessment of one’s life, but also the disruption of its normal course. And the pain, oh the pain. It seems as if natural law dictates that love and pain coalesce with each other at all times.


This brings us to you, my teacher, and me, your student. These are the lessons on love you have bequeathed to me so far.

Love is uncertain

You are probably the first woman who made me conscious of the reality that love is full of uncertainties. When I think about it, I should have been aware of this a long time ago. Of course love is uncertain. If the progression of life itself is not etched in stone, then love is likewise a journey with no discernible end in sight. The act of loving someone is dependent on so many variables that it sometimes defies human comprehension how stories of love unfold as they do.

It is not as if I did not face love’s uncertainties before. I did, several times. When one loves, he or she willingly enters into the realm of the unknown. They don’t know if their efforts are for naught or not. They don’t know if their partners will love them back. They don’t know if the other will be happy or be hurt. They don’t know if they both are made for each other or not. They don’t know if what they have with that someone is destined to be forever or not.

With you though, it’s different.

I have embraced the uncertainty wholeheartedly. Before, I was just staring it in the face. I did not care at all. I rushed headlong thinking anything foggy along my way would eventually be cleared up. Now, however, I see every uncertain turn as an opportunity to love you even better. When faced with the uncertainty I may or may not see you because time is not on our side, I frown not. Instead, I smile, and believe there will be another day. I smile because I am so blessed I have the chance to simply ask you out. I smile because I cannot suppress the thought that you and I will eventually share a great moment together.

I have resigned myself to the uncertainty in such a way I know I have to welcome it if I want to be with you.


Love is a test

One time, my sister remarked that she hates studying for a test, but likes taking one. That got a laugh from me. My sister is that brilliant. She aces tests even if the night before, she practically used her reviewers and books as pillows. Me? I’m not as brilliant as my sister, but I do prepare as hard as I can for every test I have to take. I was never a crammer. I was a firm believer in preparing in advance when faced with the specter of a crucial test.

But, as everyone knows, there are some tests that defy even the most exacting of preparations. No matter how much one studies or simulates what will happen, the actual test is so daunting it can break one’s will, or God forbid, one’s sanity. But that is why a test exists. It seeks to stretch a human’s understanding to its breaking point. If one is strong enough to withstand the stress and expand his or her limitations, the test will be overcome.

I’m finding out now—you are giving me quite the test.

If you’re asking, well, I have not lost my sanity. You may not know or feel it, but I have lost my patience more than once. I’d like to believe I am a very patient person. I’m a dutiful player of waiting games. I thrive in exercises in patience. But when it comes to seeing you or spending time with you, my impatient streak emerges. Suddenly, I want things to happen in an instant. I cannot help but blame you, actually. You’re just like no other that my whole self is in a rush to experience you.

You are testing my maturity too. I sometimes question myself if I’m mature enough to endure the onslaught that is you. There are times I am reverting back to the toddler of past, throwing (quiet) tantrums whenever my heart’s desires are not fulfilled. Occasionally it is the rash high school student that takes over, making decisions without fear or caution, believing he knows what he is doing.

But at the end of the day, you’re a test I’d take anytime. I would not have it any other way.

Love is crazy

You would think I should know this by now. That love is crazy is very much a global phenomenon. Several movies and television shows have been made carrying “love” and “crazy” as titles. Popular culture celebrates the moments where people go loco when they fall in love. History is even replete with personalities suffering from bouts of craziness caused by their passionate love for their sweethearts.

After so many years, I simply forgot. You made me remember.

After the holidays, when people were bemoaning how much weight they gained, the opposite happened to me: I think I lost weight. My eating habits remained the same, yet suddenly my pants were not as tight as before. I do not have a rational explanation why in the first two months of the New Year my sleep cycle is a wreck. (I still sleep, don’t worry.) I also cannot fully explain why this year my emotions are abruptly swinging from one state to another. In a given day, I suddenly go from subdued to cheerful. I suddenly find myself smiling or laughing without reason.

A quick consultation with merriam-webster.com reveals that crazy, as an adjective, is defined as “mad,” “insane,” “erratic,” “being out of the ordinary,” “unusual,” “distracted with desire or excitement,” “absurdly fond,” and “passionately preoccupied.”

That’s me. You have taught me crazy, all right. And I’m reveling in it.

Love is ________

I am a certified logophile (a lover of words). From a young age, I’ve been drawn to words and their etymology. It was probably cultivated by my proclivity to read anything I could get my hands on. It may also be due to the fact I’m held in awe with speakers who utilize words as if they were born to speak. Fortunately, my work demands that I speak and write a lot of words, so being a logophile certainly helps.

It was through words I first conveyed my desire to know you. I chose my words carefully, even consulting with friends before sending to you that fateful text message. I knew I was very capable of turning my inner thoughts into significant words. But when it came to you, I was afraid my vocabulary was inadequate to express my honest intentions. And yet, I tarried on, hoping the words I used would not scare you away. Thankfully, they did not.

Ever since then, you have blasted by vocabulary into smithereens.

I have used the words “beautiful,” “amazing,” “lovely,” “enthralling,” “astounding,” “riveting,” “incredible,” “awestruck” and “magical” to describe you. I’m at a loss for words. I feel I am even running out of words when talking to you. Even when we’re conversing, I’m surprised I’m not uttering gibberish. You so captivate me, my mind cannot seem to pick out the words I should use. I’m so spellbound by you that combining words to form a coherent sentence seems a tall task.

Yes. What I have for you is beyond words.

You are worth it

Lately, I’ve been asking myself two questions. Why you? Why go through all this for you?

Why you? I recently heard this song by Eric Benét, “The Last Time.” A portion of the lyrics of the song goes like this:

“The first time we walked under that starry sky, there was a moment when everything was clear/ I didn’t need to ask or even wonder why, because each question is answered when you’re near/ And I’m wise enough to know when a miracle unfolds …”

There came a moment when I realized I knew. Do you know the feeling of finding the perfect pair of shoes? You try out several pairs. You suddenly settle into this one pair. You walk with it several times. Involuntarily you begin nodding your head, saying quietly to yourself, yes, this is the one. You have taught me that feeling. I cannot help but nod my head when just the thought of you crosses my mind. When I see you, I take a deep breath. Yes. When you’re by my side, whatever the expression of your face, I cannot resist the urge to smile at you. This is the one.

Why undergo all of this for you? I found the answer in two quotes I encountered recently. First, “nothing worth having comes easy.” Second, this F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Why don’t you tell me that ‘if the girl had been worth having she’d have waited for you’? No, sir, the girl really worth having won’t wait for anybody.”

The girl really worth having won’t wait for anybody. Remember the impatient streak I mentioned? My whole self being in a rush? I believe that you don’t deserve to wait. I know you know that. You’re so beautiful it should be a sin to ignore you. No man in his right mind should let the opportunity pass to get close to you. (I’m sure a bevy of admirers is beginning to realize that.) Deep inside my heart I know that I’d be foolish enough to let someone like you go away. I will never forgive myself if I do not give everything to show you how much you mean to me. You deserve no less.

Nothing worth having comes easy. It dawned upon me why my teacher of love just had to be you. You are showing me it would not be an easy path towards your heart. You are challenging me to contend with unseen obstacles before I can finally be with you. You are gauging to what extent is the sincerity of my feelings. You are trying my resolve.

I have to admit, you’re a tough teacher. I’m beginning to realize that it’s a struggle to keep up with you. I’m learning, the hard way, the nuances of love once again.

But you know what? I’ll be here, waiting for your next lesson.

Aldan S. Avila is fiercely loyal to the Avila household, basketball, Batman and the 1987 Constitution. And, yes, he is in love.


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