On pop music and unrequited love | Inquirer Opinion

On pop music and unrequited love

/ 06:39 PM June 10, 2015

Illustration by Elizalde Pusung

Illustration by Elizalde Pusung

The best stories in pop music, I believe, stem from unrequited love. Winehouse going back to black. Robyn dancing on her own while watching the man she loves dance with another. Bareilles giving up the streets she and her former lover walked on. And Ware who, although assured that small steps won’t lead to his heart, still is headstrong in keeping the dancefloor warm. These songs make you fall in love with the idea of falling in love. It’s messed up but it is still very inherently human to feel that way.

It is frightening how polarizing unrequited love can be. When self-pity is just a few steps before murdering you, Elpis comes saving the day and then stitches you back again. It’s not the best feeling in the world, but again, it is still inherently human. In the end, unrequited love is from hope. She never left Pandora. That can be a curse or a blessing or both. Ultimately, a tragedy. And did we not fall in love, time and time again, with tales of tragedy?

Him not knowing of what I feel does not result to feeling like the world is going to implode. Although, crossing paths with him in school and knowing a nod is all I can afford is a gnawing pain deep inside.


Right about now, I should tell you that he may have a girlfriend and a photo of their hands held together is probably his desktop background. And no, I did not fall for a straight guy, well not technically. He had a boyfriend prior to the girl. So he is at least bi. And almost totally gay.

My friends say I should have moved in when I had the chance. But how do you teach a bush to grow into a tree overnight? How do you measure up, not to his exes, but to him? He’s a management student, same year level, not the same circle of friends. He has grades the taxpayers will surely appreciate. He can dance. Can sing. Can stand studying management principles. Can do a lot of things, apparently. And we never really talked, just conversations on mundane things during isolated cases of contact. We are not even friends on Facebook.

Self-pity is a sly punisher. It chains you without feeling the coldness of the metal rings. I could never conjure up enough courage to ask him personally. The few moments that I think I do, I see Murphy’s law set into motion. And I get wrenched back by gravity and reality.

There is this longing for him to know. And to counter that is realizing the uselessness of such act. A confession of love, even along with its grandness, does not make up for the fact that I am caught in the trappings of self-doubt.


Right about now, in a skewed sense, it makes me think that I am the bigger lover. Yearning, longing for someone out of reach. Bottling up emotions, until he comes for it.

Before you tell me maybe you just have a crush you misinterpreted, I know there is a fine line that separates attraction from love. Attraction is of the turbulence of the waves. Easy to get lost in. Love is the slow, drifting currents. Sweeping and quiet.


To be attracted to someone is almost always momentary and physical. His looks. His voice. The way he moves on a dancefloor. But falling in love, at least for me, is ancient and familiar. The way he runs his fingers through his hair is reminiscent of tall grass bending to the wind along with the sun receding into the horizon. Or his eyes reminds you of a galaxy throbbing, expanding.

I know I am more than attracted to him, but not enough so as to be certain that it is love. However, for all intents and purposes, I want to fall in love. And, at 20, I still theorize about it.

I believe that there exists a love that is arranged, that it is obvious to those who are lucky enough to see it. A love blatant in its honesty, overwhelming in its warmth. One that goes on forever, reincarnated with each lifetime there is. Old as the stars, wide as the universe.

In the process of untangling myself from all the drama, there are things I learned of love.

One, both should meet halfway. Some sort of collision happened for the universe to be born. If one needs to make the first move, then do so. That although one will always be the bigger lover, at least both love big enough. Just be sure one does not do all the work and leave nothing for himself. For in the event it all goes down, he should have something to return to, and build again from there, as per advise of Kay and Kaye that “love arrives exactly when love is supposed to, love leaves exactly when love must.”

Two, Aphrodite loves drama. Therefore, no love will ever be easy. Soldier on. A movie told me that love always is hard, every kind of love. That it wouldn’t be so special if it were easy.

And last but not the least, according to Robyn, “love hurts when you do it right.”

Gabriel Santiago Ariza is a graduating student trying to dog-paddle his way to graduation by June 25.


What he wanted to say

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TAGS: Greek mythology, love, Murphy’s law, Music, unrequited love

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