By Rachel Arandilla
“WHAT did I do wrong?” My girlfriend Anne cried as we sat on a white sand beach in El Nido. Tears streamed down her face and we held hands as we watched the floating structure by the sea being burned down as part of the full moon party’s spectacle.
Over the distance some 500 meters away, we can still hear the people and Hed Kandi blaring on the speakers. We had just come from that beach party, and it was starting to get fun until my girlfriend froze on the dance floor.
Of all parties and of all 7,000 islands in the Philippines, her ex happened to be on the very same one that night.
Quite literally, now we knew what Robyn felt on “Dancing on my own,” and it sucks.
It was only a few minutes of Anne trying to keep her cool, before she finally faced me and said, “I can’t take it anymore’. And so she held my hand and we all walked away from the party to find a spot where we can cry without a judging crowd.
“Well, this certainly beats crying amidst Edsa traffic,” my friend said, sniffing as she helped herself up. I agreed and took a mental note of reminding myself to make fun of her wailing episode tomorrow; then I took one last glance at the full moon that was hanging low in the horizon. We left for our hostel.
In the first place, we had decided to travel to Palawan to mend our broken hearts. All three of us were all in the same field — in the grey area trying to figure out our confusing men. She ended up having “the culminating event” that cleared it all out for her.
It was a funny sight to see three women–career — driven, confident and worldly types with master’s degrees — lovelorn and completely clueless on the matters of the heart.
After dating the United Nations for years, I didn’t expect I would actually like someone close to home. How is it possible to be interested in someone with the same language, culture, social circles as you? I mean, I pretentiously thought, “what’s left to explore?”
Until, of course, I unexpectedly fell for a friend from home. And falling for a friend is like a boiling frog syndrome, where I was the frog calmly lounging in the boiling water and before I realized what was going on, it was already too late to jump out.
This was all new to me. I don’t get my heart broken, period. So I got completely confused why I’m starting to catch feelings that are completely new to me.
I had the naïve idea that if I finally jumped and went all out, it would all be happily ever after. Because that’s how it’s supposed to work, right? You’re supposed to do the grand gesture and get rewarded for it…
And yet, I missed the fact that the so-called “grand gesture” was completely one-sided; only known to me alone, nor did I have the ego to let him know.
And so it was cut as abruptly as it started. I felt a little pushed, a little dazed and confused. And shit, I actually felt “hurt.”
Maybe circumstances can be cruel, maybe timing can be a bitch, or maybe he just wasn’t as nice as I thought. But blaming myself is always in the periphery, it hurt the most because I didn’t know what I did wrong.
Probably, we wanted it so bad we ruin it before it even started.
“Why don’t you write about him?” my other friend finally advised.
I write about transients in my life, but I often don’t write about the more permanent fixtures in my life.
The famous Ray Dalio (also known as the Steve Jobs of investing) once said, “Pain plus reflection equals progress.” I reflect through writing, and the letters I pen are often farewell letters as I immortalize them into lessons.
I reasoned with Anne that I needed the same culminating event too, I needed closure.
“Sometimes, you’re not going to get closure. We are not entitled, nor can we demand that all the time,” she responded.
The truth is, I wanted to hold on and hope for a cliffhanger or a better conclusion. I didn’t want to end it this way.
Maybe the future is a different story, but I can’t do this to myself any longer.
So, I opened my laptop and started typing.
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