I picked up the phone, and all I heard was the sound of the radio on the other line.
“Don’t give up on us baby, we’re still worth one more try …”
Dang. Who’s this freak on the other side of the phone? It’s too early for pranks. It’s just 6AM on a freakin’ Sunday! Who is awake by this time? And I really had a lousy night trying to fix my PC. I’m pissed, and this person’s in big trouble. I could look up his number and report him to the police for ‘interference of a peaceful and much-needed sleep’.
“Hello, Krystal? Sorry nagising yata kita. Si Jerome ito.”
I felt like I was doused with ice cold water. How could I forget the voice? After all these years, it still sounded so sweet. It still has that effect on me. Suddenly, my heart is beating faster.
Jerome. How could I not remember? I didn’t just used to know him. I used to love him.
“Gusto ko lang marinig ang boses mo. Marinig lang kita, ang tawa mo, sumasaya na ako uli.”
I can hear him. He is crying on the other end. Somehow, my heart bleeds for him too. I know what he feels. Because I have been in the same situation – when he left me.
We were once an ‘us’. We were the envy of our peers back in highschool. He was THE heartthrob, and I can say I’m not that bad looking either. We had things going for us. I can still remember how in love I was. I can still remember walking in clouds, and believing my own little fairy tales in my own little world. I believed in all his promises – of forevers, and happy endings and love like no other.
I loved him so much I could have offered him the world. I was ready to sacrifice anything for him. True, I know he’s a playboy, but I accepted that fact and was even ready to become a martyr if I had to. I loved him so much that nothing else mattered.
But as all sob stories go, he left me. And when he left me, he gave me no reasons. He just said it’s over. And for a while there, my life was too. A part of me died, without even knowing why.
“Oo nga, ngayon ko lang nare-realize lahat ng ginawa ko. Ang dami kong pagkukulang sa iyo. Totoo nga yung sabi nila, kung kailan wala na sa iyo ang tao, saka mo lang mare realize ang worth nya.”
I was a wreck when he left me. It took me years to let the wounds heal. Everyday, I would stay late at school – just watching him in the CAT training they have every afternoon. I’d watch him flirt with other girls. I’d watch in one corner, crying my heart out. I didn’t care if other people thought I was too pathetic. I didn’t care the sight of him being sweet with another girl killed me over again. The sight of him was my only life.
“Iba ka. Oo maraming babae, pero iisa ka lang. Wala na akong makikitang tulad mo. Iba kang magmahal. Naalala ko pa kung paano mo ako inaasikaso noon. Naaalala ko kung paano mo ako ipinaglaban sa parents mo.”
He left me when my parents knew of our relationship. He was afraid of my parents. And he didn’t want to take responsibility. While I fought for him, he was there, exchanging sweet nothings with another.
Highschool passed. When I got into college, the pain was still there. I remember walking back to my dorm every afternoon, secretly hoping that he somehow looked up where I stayed. And went there. And knelt down and said he’s sorry he’s been a jerk. And make it up with me. Then that would make me the happiest girl in the world.
But that never came. It remained a dream I secretly wished in my heart. Years passed since he said goodbye, and still no Jerome.
And now he calls, after all those years. Pleading for me to go back home to the Philippines. To meet him again.
“Ok, theoretical question. Suppose I go home, and we meet again. Then what?”
“Pag nagkita tayo uli, at binigyan mo ako ng pagkakataon, di na kita pakakawalan. Alam ko marami akong naging pagkukulang. Babawiin ko lahat yun. Hinding hindi ka na iiyak sa piling ko.”
How I’ve longed to hear those words from him! I just know those words would have sent me to heaven and back. How I have longed to hear from him that he wants me. That he needs me. That he loves me. But why did he have to wait this long to tell me all these?
“ … … Kung hindi rin lang ikaw, huwag na. Ikaw lang ang hihintayin ko. Ito ang tandaan mo. Kahit anong mangyari, mahal na mahal kita……”
“Sige, pahinga ka na uli. Pasensya ka na nagising kita.”
The phone rang again.
“Krystal? Tumatawag ako kanina pero nobody was picking up the phone.”
That’s my boyfriend. The person who has shown me what love really is. The person who has stuck with me all the way through. Who never got tired of me. Who has never made me cry. Who helped me pick up the pieces of my life, and lifted me up when I needed it most.
“Sorry. There was some freaky guy who called at 6AM, talked and talked … pero wrong number pala. Sheesh.”
I think the conversation with Jerome’s best left here… with me. With every other memory of him stashed away somewhere, in a far corner of my heart.
Krystal believes in second chances, but she believes too, that some things are just not meant to be.