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*SOB* Chronicles II

by Meg R <>

Wednesday 7:45 PM:
After I hung up I walked to a nearby booth to inspect the merchandise on display (I dunno, call it a belated sense of urgency on my part to look like anything but a girl waiting for her ka-eb). I counted a full ten seconds, then for the nth time that night marched to our meeting place. I ran smack into IC, outstretched hand and all. I got a good look at him for the first time and I was -- stunned? Stupefied? Flabbergasted? Heck, I dunno; I must have conjured up a thousand mental images with which to associate his voice, and not one of them anywhere near the vicinity of being accurate. Anyway, remembering my manners, I shook his hand, and we proceeded with the order of business -- dinner.

Suffice it to say, we parted ways (several hours after first sight) that night with a promise to see each other again the following week.

May 6, 1999:
Macy and I were waiting for IC and his friend at Gerry's. During the entire 45-minute waiting period (what can I say? the guy's consistently tardy) I (thought I) successfully foiled Macy's attempts at "what-if-there's-something-deeper-between-the-two-of-you" by very firmly telling her that I'm in control of the situation -- friendship's all that could ever be between IC and me, and that's that. He won't find me a willing audience to his more-than-friendship overtures, I said. And to prove my point, I claimed I didn't even remember what he looked like anymore. No sooner had I said it when I finally spotted him (I wasn't kidding, much less trying to be coy, when I told Macy I didn't remember how he looked like; but for the life of me I could not explain how I knew it was him. - Cosmic forces at work, maybe? Nah.)

After dinner we went to Newsbar café - Freestyle was playing that night. Funny, but before that Newsbar episode I've never even heard of the band, but now their songs "Before I Let You Go" and "So Slow" will forever be a part of me - boohoo.

May 10, 1999:
Monday morning I was surprised to receive three e-mails from IC, each one of them glorifying my non-pareil beauty and irresistible charms (uh, ok, this part's already fiction, hehehe). Seriously, there was no mistaking the telltale signs of I-want-more-than-friendship-from-you. But still I chose to play it cool; I wrote him an e-mail that practically burst with "let's just be friends" theme - "I'm your friend for keeps", "I thank God a million times over for a friend like you" and other Hallmark-ish friends stuff. But he refused to be sidetracked. On the phone he told me he'd come over at the office to pick me up. "Susunduin kita," he said, his voice brooking no argument from me. I told him it was absolutely unnecessary, he insisted, and again, very firmly, I told him no. That time, I won the battle of wills. But as I hung up the phone, all I could remember was the charged silence that ensued following his acquiescence, telling me more than words could say that he was hurt by my refusal - I never felt worse in my life. And so my firm resolve lasted only for a full half-hour - I called him, told him I've changed my mind, and that if the offer's still open I'd appreciate the gesture, thank you very much.

May 11-18, 1999:
The days that followed saw us virtually inseparable - on the phone, in the 'Net, come lunchtime, come dinnertime, going home. But he never said a word about what was going on between us, what was to become of us. And I'd much rather die first than to be the one to initiate such talks. Unfortunately, my mom had other ideas - our constant togetherness was beginning to get to her tender sensibilities. "What would other people think?" She asked, clearly affronted. I had no choice but to discuss the matter with IC - I told him that if he had plans beyond friendship, he'll have to do it their way - no trips to the movie houses, home by 9 PM, etc, etc, etc. He religiously followed every rule - this despite his earlier claim that he's seen the world and believes none of the conservative crap. And so it happened that I started to fall for him - though I had a hard time admitting it to myself. You see, I thought falling in love meant trumpets and fireworks, sleepless nights and silly grins, and yes, green-eyed monsters to boot. I thought I had none of those, but try as I might, I couldn't very easily dismiss the warm tingly feeling that overtook me every time I was with IC.

May 19, 1999:
Fall of Bataan: The Next Generation (backgrounder: my parents celebrate Fall of Bataan on May 18 - not that my dad got his history all wrong. He just fondly commemorates the day my mother gave her "matamis na oo" as Fall of Bataan Day (What can I say? Sentimentality runs deep in our family). The moment I said the three magic words to IC, the trumpets, the fireworks, the floodgates of emotion -- they all seemed to have broken loose (uh-oh, can you now feel the bile rising up your throats? Tsk tsk tsk -- sorry, more mushy stuff to come).

June 18, 1999:
I tearfully e-mailed IC a cool-off letter of sorts - never mind that the following day was to have been our first month-sary. I just couldn't take it anymore -- my coming in a miserable last to his work, family, and friends, that is. Mind you, I was not even gunning for first place in his life -- I never begrudged him his life outside of mine, but he was so taking me for granted that I wasn't even sure he feels anything for me at all. All I ever asked for was some reassurance that he loved me enough to think of me every once in a while. But no, I suffered silently as he took the town every night with his friends, sometimes not even bothering with a phone call. Only when it's convenient for him would he choose to spend time with me. And after his once-a-week perfunctory date with me, he would again "disappear" for days, and I'd be back to ranting and raving and hair pulling.

I tried to match his nonchalance, but I only felt so pathetic I abandoned the notion altogether. One thing I never did, though, was to air my angsts about our relationship. Because as I told friends a thousand times before, I didn't want him doing things because he felt duty-bound, or worried, that he might displease me or set me off. Whatever he did for me and with me, I wanted it to be because he wanted to do it or felt the urge to do so. And so I kept all the hurt bottled up inside me. But after several of IC's "I'm going out with friends tonight" I decided enough was enough.

June 21, 1999:
I thought I was holding up pretty well with the cool-off stuff, but an e-mail from IC calmly accepting my proffered cool-off had me backsliding to the pits of unimaginable hurt and pain. I was in so much pain, all that mattered was I wanted him back, and that I've got to have him back. And so I wrote him another e-mail, this time pouring my heart out: "Pent-up hurt and confusion drove me to ask for a cool-off period, when in truth that was the last thing I wanted, or needed. I still love you, but it's entirely up to you - that is, if you still love me enough to try to make this relationship work." (to be concluded)

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