Thirteen Reasons Why: Bakit Single Ka Pa Rin? (Reason No. 12)

Happy Valentine’s Day, muna. How was yesterday?


Sa iba, super special ng araw na ito. Sa akin? It’s just an ordinary day.

Pero ngayon, napaisip ako kung sino ba ang taong I have spent Valentine’s Day with. I realized, isang tao lang ang naka-date ko sa Valentine’s, muna nuon, si T.M. lang.

Bakit naman isa lang? Kasi ayoko talagang nakikipagdate pag Araw ng mga Puso. Kasi lahat nakapula at handang handa.

Masyado akong anxious sa pagka-single ko. Siguro ganun talaga pag lahat nalang ng kaibigan at kapitbahay mo, halos kinasal at kinakasal na. Kung ang iba ay problema ang anak, pamilya, ako naman, pinoproblema ko yung real possibility na baka hindi na ako makapag-asawa at baka malungkot ng todo todo ang aking mga magulang at kapatid.

Thirteen Reasons Why: Bakit Single Ka Pa Rin? (Reason No. 12)

People die.

Syempre, pag wala na sila, hindi naman talaga sila para sa iyo. I mean, alangan namang iyon na yun? Finish na agad? Pass your paper, ganyanan? Unfair naman.

Bago pa mamatay recently yung best guy friend ko, I already lost someone in 2016.

Diba lagi kong sinasabi na yung parents ko taga province? Actually, ako rin. Hanggang high school nasa province ako.

This is about T.M.

Uy, hindi ko ito naging boyfriend kahit kelan, baka naman sabihin ng iba, ang kire kire ko, daming boyfriends. On the contrary, masyado nga akong demure to begin with. Late bloomer, I guess. Kaya ayun, lahat might have beens.

Nung Grade 3 kami, humingi si T.M. sakin ng picture ko. Ako naman, mega bigay agad. Besides, I have previously asked my mom to have copies of that photo to spread sa mga friends pang slam book ba. Diba ganun tayo? May dedication pa nga diba? So bakit alam na alam ko ang timeline? My mom kasi is the kind of nanay na nag-jojournal. Lahat ng photos namin, naka print, at may labels. That is why I know, Grade 3 ako nun, TMNT shirt pa nga ang suot ko sa picture.

Fast forward to high school,

Inasar ako ni T.M. about that photo at kung ano man ang sinulat ko sa likod. Sabi nya, he still has it and for some reason, naka frame ito sa kwarto nya pero hindi naman naka display. Pikon na pikon ako kasi it was so embarrassing.

As a classmate, bwiset si T.M. — madalas akong tamaan ng eraser kasi tinatarget sya lagi ng teachers dahil sa daldal, kaso lagi sya tumatabi sakin para bwisitin ako so ako ang parating tinatamaan.

Was he courting me? Kasi diba nung bata tayo ganun? The more ka inaasar, the more ka nya trip. Hindi malinaw eh.

Until nalaman kong hindi. Eventually luminaw rin.

Nalaman kong hindi kasi dinedate na pala nya yung Miss Campus namin. Maganda naman talaga si Ms Campus (F.S.) Parang match made in heaven sila. Si T.M. hindi naman pogi na nakaka starstuck. Pero may appeal sya. Tipong kung Gimik days eh sya si Diet instead of Rico. Pero hindi sya sing pogi ni Diet ha. Malayo hahaha. Tipong si Diether pag nagpaaraw ng sampung taon walang pahinga.

So nakalimutan na ata ako ni friend. Hindi na ako kinukulit. Parang hindi na nga pumapasok always kasi excuse nya yung sports nilang Sepak Takraw. Besides, ang saya na nila eh. Muse and escort. Sagala si F.S. and sya naman lagi ang partner nya. Ganun sa province eh. That’s how the IT crowds were made.

Ako? Wala naman effect din sa akin. Madami akong crushes. Buhay na buhay ako sa crushes back then. I didn’t even think of T.M. that way at that time. Life went on.

Then college happened.

Nag-aral ako sa Manila, sa isang school na hindi naguuniform. Si T.M. naman, sa school na malapit sa airport. Bilang malapit lapit na rin kami sa isa’t isa, kahit paano, gumigimik gimik rin kami. That time, di pa uso yung malapit sa current residence ko. Uso pa nun yung malapit sa school ko. Kakalabas namin, dun siguro kami napalapit sa isa’t isa. From group gimiks, it started becoming just the two of us. We were in our late teens that time. One night, both of us had some drinks, we kissed and one thing is about to lead to another. I had a drink but I wasn’t drunk. I stopped. He was okay that I stopped.

The following week was Valentine’s Day. Inaya nya akong lumabas. After not talking about what happened the week before, we thought we’d charge it to the beer. Ignore nalang namin – But then he came, with flowers. I think yun na ang declaration nya nang pagmamahal nya sakin. He was so serious like he was about to cry. I was nervous. Parang masusuka ako sa kaba. Ganun pala yung feeling na ganun (I told myself). It was my first time to experience that level of kaba.

I know him and I know his type of relations. I wasn’t ready for that. My experience the week before was a testament on how I was not ready for that kind of relationship. Of course I felt it too. Of course. But I was not ready for that kind of ride. And I was too scared to get pregnant. Siguro kasi yun talaga ang panakot sa mga dalaga back then. Remember Jolina? Halikan ka lang mabubuntis na?

Paulit ulit kong pineplay yung Let’s Wait Awhile ni Janet Jackson kasi I can’t rush love talaga. I was contemplating about it. Sasagutin ko ba sya? Hindi ako nakipagkita sa kanya ng matagal and I told him that I need time to think about it.

After that Valentine’s date, we tried talking about waiting for me to be ready to be in a relationship.

But he took it negatively. Nagalit sya sakin because he believes that it was the difference in our economic status kaya hindi ko sya sinagot. He’s not poor and we aren’t mega rich. Siguro ganun talaga sa province. Binebase sa apelyido or sa laki ng bahay ang yaman. They had a notion that we were loaded, but we weren’t. We’re normal. Hindi ko alam kung saan galing yung self-pity nyang yun. Hindi nya talaga maalis yung idea na mahirap sila kaya hindi ko sya sinagot.

Hindi na kami nagkita nang kaming dalawa lang. Then eventually, we stopped hanging out.

In 2016

I haven’t seen him since college. I’d visit his house whenever I am home for holidays to see his parents. Lakad lakad lang yun samin kaya inevitable na hindi makita ang lahat ng tao, but I never saw him all those years. He went abroad daw. Nag-Singapore ata siya.

Someone told me that he got sick, had cancer– but became okay eventually.

But then he got sick again.

When he got hospitalized in Manila for his second surgery, I visited him. He didn’t want me to see him like that. He was bald and thin. Could barely speak. He was trying to talk and he said, “lalo mo akong aayawan” — He was crying, and I was crying too. I told him I never disliked him. Everyone around him was crying because they knew that I was his one that got away. His sisters were blaming him for freezing me out because of self-pity.

But at that time in the hospital, parang he went back to those days na mahal nya ako. He was making promises na pag galing nya, he will find me and marry me. I told him that I will patiently wait for that time. Did we get engaged? Parang eh.

But then he died few days later.

Nakakalungkot. Siguro kaya mas ayaw ko na sa Valentine’s. Ito ang isa sa pinaka mahirap isulat na experience.

I still cry whenever I think of him. It’s a chance wasted.

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