My unexpected love
I kept on dreaming about her these past months. In my dream, she was laughing, flashing that iridescent smile while we were talking. The dreams kept on coming. Now I dream not only of her but also her mom and siblings. Falling for her was easy. But this is where I draw the line.
You see, I am gay.
I knew I was gay since I was a child. I just knew I was different from other boys my age. But it was not until college that I began to accept myself after breaking up with my first girlfriend. It was an awakening without much fanfare.
I did not see it as an issue for the most part of my college life. I was quite independent, taking part-time jobs to augment my allowance from my brother. With this independence, I feel I do not owe anyone an explanation. It never occurred to me to come out to my family. It will not make much of a difference anyway.
I was 21 when I had my first same-sex love from a man I never met but burned telephone lines with until the wee hours of the morning. It was a mixture of feelings. My friends thought it was stupid to fall for someone I never met. I was at a loss for a love I did not know but hoped for, wishing he was thinking of me too. But things turned sour and spiraled out of control. I was devastated. I rebelled and started to look for love in the wrong places. Before I knew it, I was deep in depression. My bout against sadness and isolation took a really long time. I gained my confidence and was back on track after nine years.
And then there she was. My beautiful problem I never anticipated. I never understood why I was attracted to her.
Six years my senior, my Manang Biday can be sweet and feisty at the same time. A woman who has the brains of Hillary Clinton and smile of Alice Dixson but drives like a madman on Edsa. The one who can light up my world and let it crumble in an instant.
Amid the prodding of some well-meaning friends, I never had courage to court her. It is the knowledge of her divinity and my being gay that are constantly gnawing at me, reminding me to keep my distance. I have been controlling my enamoredness, knowing I have a not-so-good reputation. The easiest way out for me is to back off and exclude her from my messed-up life. I cannot afford to hurt her either with my past or present. I cannot allow whispers and rumors that can haunt her should she be mine.
It has been 10 months since she left the company. We slowly drifted apart after I wrote her a letter professing my feelings while admitting I was not man enough for her.
After she left, I found myself in a constant lookout for her car on Edsa, wishing it was her behind the wheel racing against a bus. I am now reduced to checking her Facebook account to look at her smile.
I always hope to bump into her one day and finally have the guts to ask her out. I want her to notice how muscular I have become and how my face has become clearer. Or, perhaps, even have the courage to show her my sleeve tattoo with her name on it and tell her of my plans to have another one, again with her name. Or maybe just ask her if she is happy and let her know I am deeply bothered why she does not wear her smile that often.
In all honesty, I always feel I am not good enough for her.
When I see beautiful couples, I often wish I have the guy’s masculinity or his good looks. I always find myself not measuring up to other men. Wondering if, perhaps, I have this look or that attitude, we might end up together. Often I find myself wanting. My chances with her might in fact be slimmer than the ordinary man’s. My low self-esteem has made me a coward. I am on limbo—torn between cowardice and rejection on one end, and an unforgiven past on the other. Perhaps have I not told her of my feelings, I could still be enjoying her company.
A stolen picture of her from a colleague now hangs on my wall. I never told her I love her. Love is too powerful a word to use—too powerful that it should overshadow cowardice. Perhaps it is wise not to, right now.
I am still mustering all the courage and confidence I can find, hoping everything will turn out good in the end.
Jemos S. de Guzman turned 31 on July 5. He is an HR junior manager of a retail convenience store and lives in Diliman, Quezon City. He loves the color red.
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