If you’d been following my blog for a while now, you’d probably come across a load of poems I’d written for a person I named “Luna”. So for the time being, let me talk about her, us and the recent big changes in our lives, like a tell-all of sorts. For the purpose of this entry, I will keep her monicker as Luna, or better still, I might as well address her by name, well kinda, Phoebe. I might even alternate between both.
There may not be much in the way of photos, but I’ll see what I can provide you to keep you enthralled, and that way you can have our faces in mind while you read this.
Wait, on to the more interesting bits.
About three and a half years ago, my band and I played at a band competition in Makati. At that time, we were kinda like a fledgling band, having formed up about a couple of years prior but not really having played out that much. Our thinking then was that we needed something to make people notice us in the local J-rock / pop music community, and what better way to do that by joining band competitions and hopefully winning in them. We also liked the premise of the contest, which was to be held in an auditorium with curtains and all. It was going to be a different experience from what had gotten used to up until that point. Along with the bands, there were also solo performers who were looking to do the same thing we wanted to do.
The program went so that the solo performers were allowed to sing first, then the bands will perform afterwards. There was a lot of talent going around that afternoon, and one of the singers caught my attention. I didn’t know who she was, but she was dressed in a kind of shortened and colorful Yukata. I noticed that she had long, flowing black hair and stood out among the other performers due to her easily being the tallest girl there, and for her powerful voice. I didn’t know what she was singing at the time, but she caught my attention big time, and you could say I developed a quite crush on her at that instant. Sadly, as soon as she finished singing and I turned my back for a little bit, she was gone from the stage and disappeared into the darkness of the auditorium.
I didn’t give much thought about it since I didn’t catch her name either. I just knew roughly how she looked, and the sound of her voice. It wasn’t until much later, maybe a few months after, that I was surfing the web when I stumbled upon the said event’s blog, and found her photo and more importantly, her name.
At long last, her face had a name in my head. And it’s a name that struck me good.
She seemed to be performing with bands within our community as well, although at the time, I wasn’t exactly that active nor visible in our community, simply because I thought that my role in our band was more of a hired shredder than an actual member. It’s funny that I saw myself that way, considering the fact that we had all been friends for a long time by then. It didn’t quite help that I’m the kind of guy who sessions for different bands – that’s probably why I developed that mentality. I’d long been playing music under the guise of a hired hand, one who could freely walk away at whim, or be disposed of anytime.
A pessimistic view yes, but it’s one that I had seen happen a lot.
One random day, through the wonders of social media, I found her on Facebook and decided to add her up. No biggie – she was just my crush and I was in a relationship with someone else, so I didn’t think much of it because it was just Facebook anyways. She seemed to be going through a rough time then, but I didn’t care that much because I had lots of things keeping me busy – she wasn’t one of those things.
By this time, our band started getting noticed more by the community, and we were beginning to play out more. Since she was quite actively involved with community affairs, we often bump into each other with the occasional exchange of pleasantries. We didn’t talk much then because she was always surrounded by people, and I was always handy with a bottle of beer and guffawing after shows. Still, we had rare exchanges on Facebook that offered me glimpses of her thoughts and some trivial things. My admiration for her continued to grow, but as much as it did, I simply cannot be with her very much because I was still in a relationship.
She had developed a reputation as a community idol due to her singing, amplified by her energetic performance style and good looks. I am not sure if I developed a reputation for anything apart from my loud personality, and changing guitars in between songs because I do not believe in re-tuning. I still crushed on her quite a bit, and it was during one of our year end shows for a popular anime convention series that we began talking face to face.
Around a year ago or so, she began posting on Facebook about a certain person she hid under the monicker “guitar-san” (roughly translated to Mr. Guitar), whom she seemed to be quite fond of. Her post attracted comments like crazy, and of course I was one of the commenters who had been trying to decipher the guy’s identity. Everyone was throwing down the names of all the guitar players in the community. I was intrigued, and wanted to find out who the person was – except she had dropped clues as to who it was, and I quickly figured out who the person was.
Without a confirmation though, I cannot be absolutely certain. It kinda made me happy that she somehow likes me, but of course I cannot admit to her that I liked her too because of my then relationship. But I kept quizzing and teasing her about it, and somehow she was always replying back. This went on for about a month or so, until our topics shifted from me trying to force an admission from her (trust me folks, I am still trying to get her to make a confession), to other things like our common points of interest – music, the Gundam fandom, English literature and all sorts of other things. My perception of her shifted from just being a pretty face and an idol of sorts, to a friend to whom I can talk with about anything.
I’d only gone out with her twice before we became a couple, once was a botched movie date, and the other was when LiSA came to Manila for her first live concert – which really doesn’t count as “going out” because we went with common friends. It was her who told me about LiSA’s concert as I was going through a sad phase then, and she thought that the news would cheer me up. It did, and stoked me so bad that I plunked grand bucks for a VIP ticket first thing Monday morning after she had told me. She followed suit with her own VIP ticket, ostensibly so she can go watch the show even if she is more of an Eir Aoi fan.
I was beginning to harbor deeper feelings for her – I couldn’t quite pinpoint it, but I wanted to put it as such that it wasn’t love at that point, and I sure as hell wouldn’t be admitting to it. Perhaps I was just really fond of her, and it didn’t help that I was attracted to her thoughts even though she made the corniest jokes anyone can ever hear. My relationship was hitting an all-time low, but I still could not choose Luna because I was still with someone else, and I was zealously trying to keep myself and the relationship afloat.
We talked incessantly over Facebook, but for some reason, I cannot bring myself to tell her fully about my relationship problems. I thought that while I can trust her with many things, I didn’t want her to know about my darkest issues for fear of her “snatching” me away from my then girlfriend. I was not afraid for myself, it was for her sake. Society at large tends to scorn women who “steal” men away, and with people not exactly knowing what was going on with my life, it was not that far off from happening. I was genuinely afraid of that at that point, because I was so stumped emotionally that I just might bite any chance I can have to get myself out. Quite incredibly, we kept corresponding daily, until my then relationship just shattered into a million pieces.
At that point, I didn’t want to tell her about it, let alone talk to anyone about how I was feeling. I was dealing with a lot of things at that point – I was disillusioned with my previous post in the office due to a seeming lack of promotion opportunities, in response to which I answered an ad from another department and I was hurriedly being transferred due to their pressing needs. My relationship of eight years had fallen apart with the realization that I am too damaged emotionally that I can no longer see my ex as anything else than a haunting reminder of our troubled past. I was suffering at work because I cannot get a fix on things, and I was almost always in a daze. At home, I was in a state of deep melancholy.
For a couple of weeks, I would get myself drunk on a daily basis because sleep was doing a good job of evading me. While I do go out out and drink with my office friends occasionally, it was different this time. I drank much more than usual, and don’t sing on the karaoke that much. They didn’t quite know what was wrong with me, except that I was mostly drinking too much and not talking about it. I deactivated my Facebook account, I went ape on Twitter though as my only outlet for my despair, and didn’t contact anyone during that time. My childhood friends must’ve gotten worried about me and my whereabouts that they actually went out to look for me one random night. I totally appreciated that, even if I got into an argument with one of our guys because I was such an idiot for not realizing their concern at the time.
So I was drinking very heavily during this period, and not eating as much as I should. I lost a lot of weight, I was having a hard time focusing on the new tasks and processes that I was supposed to learn since I had applied for leadership position. I would go home each day drunk and dazed, but not completely out of my wits, a testament to the weight of the emotional baggage I was carrying – so much so that alcohol cannot beat it out of me. I go to work hungover, and I repeated that process daily. I was becoming distant from people, especially my family and I didn’t even talk to Phoebe that much either. After a couple of weeks, and becoming disturbed with how horrible I looked when I see myself in the mirror, and my apparent state of un-health, I finally decided to snap out of it.
I realized that I hold the keys to my happiness, and that while I was still emotionally devastated, I can live on with my life. However at that time, I already reached the conclusion that continuing with my ex will only result in further personal and emotional breakdown, and we chose to end it all.
I started fixing myself up again, stopped my daily drinking spree and started catching up on my meals and talking to people again. I began speaking to Phoebe about it all, and told her about all that had gone on. At this point, while she hadn’t explicitly admitted to her feelings, and I sure hell wasn’t going to do so either, we made a sort of promise to stick it out together and see where our company would take us. I really enjoyed being around her during this time, and with me in the clear but still with a lot of baggage in my mind and heart, we started going out exclusively. It took about a month or so of steadily rebuilding what was left of my broken self when I realized that unbeknownst to me, I had started to harbor even deeper feelings for this girl who just stood there with me and said nothing about my situation. She didn’t try cheering me up, she didn’t offer me life advice – she was just there. I really liked that because I’m the kind of person who likes making decisions on my own, often without input from others, especially when it comes to personal things.
Now a lot of people may find it strange, but the reason I liked her not trying to cheer me up was that she knew herself that I needed to come to grips with the break-up on my own terms. She had gone through it herself before, that’s probably how she knew that she cannot snap me out of it by herself.
I wanted to deal with it on my own, and I think I did an ok job with it.
Eventually, I started feeling more upbeat about myself, although my self-confidence and esteem were still in shambles. She didn’t mind – she said all she wanted was my company, and that I’d be out of it soon enough. She made me a pretty bold promise that she will wait as long as it takes for me to be emotionally alright.
Her exact words were :
“…and I want to stay for a very long time. I will wait, no matter how long it takes…”
It was a pretty amazing thing in itself – up until that point, no one had ever made such a promise to me.
Before long, I shaped up and spoke to her about our newfound closeness, and what we wanted for ourselves. By this time, we already knew so much about each other and our thoughts that we can pretty much tell what each one was thinking before we opened our mouths to speak. We seem to have this strange connection to each other, and that is notwithstanding the fact that we do share a mutual attraction. Up until that point in our friendship, we pretty much denied our feelings or whatever we had for each other. We knew within ourselves what was up, but we did not speak a word about it. On a side note, it was our friends who kept pointing out, even long before this time, that we have this chemistry between us that which, for a lack of better words, undeniable, to anyone who sees us. It seems that individually, we chose to remain oblivious to that glaring fact because we didn’t want to screw up what we thought to ourselves was awesome company.
At that point, we decided that we wanted to be together exclusively, without having to hide our relationship from everyone else, and make sure no one is going to encroach on the other. In the beginning, we only got through with the first part – we still kinda hid our relationship from everyone in the community, primarily because a lot of people know that I was still in a post-break up stage, and also because I didn’t want people to think badly of her.
Here’s a thing about Filipinos and dating – society at large here cares a whole bunch about image, and we as a people go to great lengths to keep up that facade. The 3-month rule is a very popular thing to go with, and for those not in the know, it simply means there should be a gap of at least 3 months post break up before getting back on the dating loop. Going with that logic, people will not look favorably upon us.
Honestly, I think that is all a bunch of bull.
Quite frankly, there should be no “timeline” to one’s happiness, and when I emerged from my 2 week slump, I was sure of the choice I made regarding the breakup, and that I finally recognized that I should pursue my happiness on my own terms and not anyone else’s. One thing I don’t do in my life is dwell in regret, and I sure as hell wasn’t gonna be wallowing in sadness forever. I knew I was happy with Phoebe, and I wasted no time in taking the opportunity to go after her. While I wasn’t exactly waiting for this moment to arrive, I wasn’t about to let this pass me either and we checked out ourselves, found out that we were like crazy in love and mutually agreed to become a couple.
She’d always been some sort of a dream girl for me – she doesn’t gawk at me whenever I have my geek moments, I learn quite a bit of stuff from her especially about literature, and recently about various cocktails like daiquiri. She’s not a very social person like I am – she’s mostly quiet and reserved in her comments. She seems cold and uncaring at times, but I found she’s really affectionate to me at least. We share a common love for reading, and we’d bared plans to go traveling in the future, particularly to Japan where we want to watch our favorite music acts. She’s cool with me shopping for guitars and spending time at a local guitar shop to test their wares and she’s sharp enough to know what kind of strings and picks I prefer for my guitar playing. She’s also ok with me going out on late Saturday evenings to see my car community friends. Her idea of dating ranges from just sitting in silence and staring into empty space, to building Gunpla together or checking out a local bookstore.
And for someone who sings very well, she does not mind me and my attempts at singing, and even went to one of my gigs to watch me sing onstage. She even tried giving me tips on how to sing correctly – of course, I still sucked big time with it.
People have told me I snatched quite a find, and I know that for myself. Despite some of her imperfections, I know that it will be very long shot for me to find someone else like her.
From the time that we became a couple, we’d been very open about our feelings and the things we wanted to do, which included plans for the future. Marriage had always been something on our menu that we both wanted to work on together. This was apart from her plans to go back to college for her dream major, my plans to go back to school myself and our plans to go traveling together – be it overseas or local.
Some months into our relationship, I decided to pop the question to her. It was a now or never kind of thing, and I thought I’d strike while the going was good. I’d gotten to meet her parents a few times prior, they’re kind folks who live at their house in the province. And while her older sisters do not have a very good outlook towards me as yet, her parents were pretty much alright with the idea, but they had reservations of course. My parents were surprised with it, but nonetheless sold on to the idea, seeing as how I’m already well past the regular marrying age.
Filipino tradition dictates that I take my parents to their home to meet her parents, in a processes called “pamamanhikan”, to formally ask for her hand in marriage. So about a week or so ago, I commandeered a friend’s Honda Fit (the same one I took on a trip to Batangas last August) and drove out to Zambales via the scenic SCTEX route. I’d have taken my Aska, but she can’t comfortably fit five people, and isn’t exactly in the best of shape, at least mechanically.
With the traditional part of the deal done, it was time to make it Facebook official (lol) and while I didn’t exactly plan on it until we had all the wedding details sorted out, it just kind of happened. I guess she got all excited and posted a photo of the engagement ring, which picqued the interest of all our friends. Since she posted it already, I took the initiative and changed our status from “In A Relationship” to “Engaged”. It’s funny, but I guess it’s more of a Millenial thing than anything else. Our relationship statuses seem to attract a good deal of attention from our friends, and we get a laugh out of it at times. This probably stems from the fact that she has a lot of fan boys but I’m sorry guys, she’s with me now, and sooner than y’all think, we’ll be saying our vows to seal the deal.
A lot of people have been telling me that it’s all happening too quickly. I told them that we do not believe in being together for a very long period of time before popping the question. It’s a fairly common thing in the Philippines for couples to be together for years on end, and then be engaged for another long period of time before finally tying the knot. My take on it is that very early on, I recognized the fact that she’s one that I am so comfortable to be with that I need not put up a facade for her. She takes me exactly as I am, knows me inside out and can tell what’s going through my mind with fairly good accuracy. We share a lot of common interests so things aren’t exactly boring between us, we can geek out together, talk to each other with quotes and sit in silence together but still feel happy together.
In terms of preparation, lots of the things are already underway, and I took to heart the lessons that a friend of mine had told us before. No one is ever really prepared 100% for this kind of thing, and by that I meant as a whole – emotional, financial and social aspects are some I want to take into account. Sure, we’re pretty much emotionally prepared for it. As far as finances go, we’re not exactly padded in that aspect (yet) but I have a fairly decent amount of cash with me – although it can’t foot all the wedding bills as it is now. Looking at the social aspect, I guess the people around us weren’t quite prepared for the bombshell we dropped on their laps. The things we got going in that respect is the fact that we are of age, and by most terms, we’re fairly due for it. But I guess that as long as it’s a mutual decision, things will get worked out on their own. I mean yeah, we weren’t expecting our families to accept our decision this easily, and to have the level of support they have been providing us thus far.
I know for a fact that she’s not a domestic goddess – she can’t cook, she’s not that organized at home and not exactly adept with social affairs and interaction, but I do not exactly need all of that. All I want is a partner in life who’d stick it out with me through my ups and downs, and relish being with me in silence as much as she would in the middle of a loud concert. She’s not exactly a super cheerleader type of girl, but she’s smart and sharp enough to give me advice when I need it. She’s quite reactive in person, but she is quite level headed when I need her to be. She is actually the first one to not frown at me for the things I like – collecting model cars, anime figures and guitars. She also understands the fact that I drive an older vehicle that requires quite a bit of maintenance, and a lot of attention. This doesn’t mean she just lets me splurge on what I want, but she does know when to put her foot down as far as our expenses go. She knows exactly the kind of picks and strings I use, and she can buy me the ones that I know I will need, not just the ones that I will accept blindly for fear of making her feel bad. She understands that I need to spend time by myself honing my guitar chops, and that gigs do not start on time as advertised. And yes, she’s quite a looker in my book – well she always had been, and I know I’d be cool waking up next to her every morning. I also know that I will not die from her dry sense of humor.
I could care less if the world is swallowed up by a cosmic singularity, as long as I have her with me. I don’t think I will find another one quite like her, and sometime in April this year, I will tell her the two words that I will only say once in my entire lifetime.
I am ready to tell her those words – my whole existence will stand behind them.
I want to close this cheesy entry with a quote, actually the last line spoken, from one of my favorite movies, the 2003 re-make of The Italian Job.
“I took John Bridger’s advice. I found somebody I want to spend the rest of my life with and I’m going to hold onto her forever.”