Welcome back to the third part of the “Road”. First off, I’d like to thank all the people who read and enjoyed the last two posts regarding about my past heartbreaks and letdowns. I’ve had a lot I should’ve changed this instead to “The Loser Road.” But when you think about it, almost all of us had a fair share of failures where it changed you entirely or it made you stronger. I mean, because of it, you made a smash-hit song ( like the case with Jimmy Bondoc or Ogie Alcasid ) or painted masterpieces ( like with Vincent Van Gogh ) or made an influential comic ( like with Gerry Alanguilan ). But enough with the history. But hey, you got to thank me forgiving a little bit of trivia. Who knows when the answers to the questions in a game show you’ve joined are those that I’ve mentioned? But moving forward, this is about a girl that got away; the girl that probably will be mine but I got stupid. My first (and probably last) textmate, to whom we will call Qatar.It was the year 2000. I was a third year high school student who loves Anime and drawing comics. The comedy part of GMA-7’s Bubble Gang “Ang Dating Doon” was pretty famous that they have a theme song and a catchphrase (remember “ALIEN?” “ALIEN.”) I also remember that there still wasn’t channel Animax yet so most of the Anime shows I watched are on AXN and GMA-7. AXN even has an annual Anime 12-hour Marathon that I always keep a close watch on. Today they make Marathons every other week or so (like the case with Star World on America’s Next Top Model or ETC on GLEE.). On my reasonable allowance I was also able to buy some stuff. One of the stuff I buy on a monthly basis back then was an Anime magazine named Questor: The Ultimate Anime Magazine. It was based on an old magazine back in the 70’s that the editorial team has revived. They have sections on everything Anime. Looking back, the magazine was okay. If you have internet access you could’ve gotten all the info that they’ve featured there. The comic was also crappy. The articles were full of those irritating emoticons. But it was that magazine that I met Qatar.
It was Volume 2 Number 7, which had a cover of Toguro smashing Eugene on the ground of Ghost Fighter fame that I skimmed through the letters section and saw a parting shot of the managing editor of the Letters section saying “ Nice to know you found new friends [a nickname]. By the way, others have followed your lead. [two email addresses] would like to hear from you guys via email. =^_^=” As soon as I read that part, I got myself thinking, “Hmmm… bakit hindi? Wala naman mawawala sa ‘kin… try ko na rin. “ I was rather new to the internet, but I knew the dangers of it. I knew the spam emails and the people who wanted to befriend you but have different motives. Being aware of those I decided to just go with it and picked one email from the two that seemed “safe” and appealing. I typed my name, age and something regarding about her request on the magazine and sent it to Qatar. A few days later she shot back a reply. I was thrilled. The messages continued for some time with emails containing things about our interests and where we study, etc. I also quickly knew that she is a year older than me but that was never a hindrance. There’s even an email where she showed her talent on making poems.
Fast forward a few years and New Zealand and Valenzuela City came. I was at first do not have plans on making the moves on Qatar since exchanging emails can be rather slow. I sent her a message asking for her celfone number. Sure enough, she sent her number and I saved it on my phone. The “getting-to-know” part got a lot easy because replying was quicker. You don’t have to refresh the page on your computer to know that you got new mail. I was also thrilled with one of her texts before that I had new hope on college:
Me: Ay, Qatar, saan ka ba nag-aaral?
Qatar: Sa [a famous University], Nursing kinukuha ko…
Me: Ay ganun ba? Dun din ako mag-aaral eh. Hahahaha…
Qatar: Talaga? Buti naman kung ganun…
When I read that text message I was pretty lucky to know her as she is also studying at the same University and meeting her for a quick chat or a pseudo-date would be easier. Yeah, I was one of those people who want to be several steps ahead of a certain position. So then I made a “ bet” on her. In other words, “binangko” ko sya. I said, “ pwede si [Qatar]. Kahit di ko pa nakikita sya sa personal close na rin kami. Pwede ko syang ligawan.” It was also during that time that I was with Valenzuela City. I was having feelings for her, and at the same time I was falling for Qatar. I know it sounds childish and foul, but I was really new to this courting thing, and besides, di ko pa naman sila jowa so okey lang din mamili kahit paano. But faith can be playful at times as deciding who to “court” got simple as to what happened to Valenzuela City (check Part 2 for more details.) Honestly, I was ready to court Valenzuela City and (perhaps) leave Qatar altogether if she didn’t do that stupid stunt. Anyway, I graduated from High School and at one time I almost thought I would finally meet up with Qatar at an Anime Convention (one of the first in the country, I might add) that she backed out. She said she was busy with something so we can’t meet. I was disappointed but I still enjoyed the sights that day.
It was right through that instance that I asked what she looked like. It’s a very funny story, read on:
Me: Qatar, tanong ko lang, sinong kamukha mo?
Qatar: Uhhmm.. sabi ng mga kaibigan ko na kamukha ko raw yung batang version ni Claire Dela Fuente. Eh ikaw ?
Me : Well, sabi nila kamukha ko si Mike Shinoda ng Linkin Park…
I know that it’s pretty far-fetched, but if you look hard enough, I do look like the famous singer of the Nu-Rock band. Back then, we both have same nature with styling our hair, minus the goatee and I was 50-70 pounds lighter. It was a pretty hard gamble, but it paid off in a way. So wag nang kumontra, sapakin ko kayo eh..Thanks also to our constant texting (one time I was even texting her while I was eating lunch at home) that we developed a term of endearment for each other. That was also my first, so it was pretty memorable. She called me Keiichi, since I have told her that I love the Anime Ah! My Goddess and that was the name of the lead male character in the series. I was thinking of something to call her, I just looked up a Japanese word and called her Kunoichi. She then replied:
Qatar: Ano yung Kunoichi?
Me: Japanese word yun for female ninja. (FYI, Shinobi is the word for a male ninja).
Qatar: Yun na lang tawagan mo sa akin, since katunog nya Keiichi. Hehe.
Me: Sige ba. Hehe…
I also had an opportunity on talking to her on the phone when she gave me her landlinenumber. I called her at night and since we had a wireless phone, I often talked to her at places in our house that is quiet. I finally heard her voice and she sounded sweet. One funny instance that I did was while I was talking to her, I felt the urge to pee. Sensing that I don’t want to lose the “feel” of the conversation, I talked to her even while I was peeing on our toilet. I made sure that my trail of urine would not hit the toilet water so she would not get turned off and suspect that I was relieving myself. Not sure if she did notice it, but she didn’t brought it up during the entire conversation so it was fine, although I’m sure the echo in the background because of the bathroom tiles could be a dead giveaway.
Anyway, luck finally caught up with me as I was able to meet up with her. I was going to be interviewed at the University as it is one of the requirements for enrolling there. I asked if she would like to meet up, “EB” or “eyeball” as she has said and she agreed. I also asked for my sister’s companionship on my trip to the University since I’m still rather new at commuting. Can’t really remember what the questions are, and I didn’t care much since I was really looking forward to meeting with Qatar. She asked me to text her when I’m already finished and she gave out a description of what she’s wearing so I could notice her immediately. We were supposed to meet at a car park near the building that I got interviewed and said she was wearing a red shirt.
I noticed her right away. She was of average height, pretty slim, straight hair of shoulder length (but she tied it in a ponytail fashion on that day) and has a dark complexion. I approached her and we “dated” on a nearby mall. I say “dated” because my sister also accompanied us there. I know it’s a big no-no for “EBs” but she wasn’t much of a nuisance, plus I wasn’t ready on those kinds of dates where I was “ridin’ solo” so I appreciated her being there. Qatar was very nice to me and she was the one who usually brings up a subject for us to talk about. We watched “ICE AGE” and I could’ve made those “moviehouse moves”, like the “mag-iinat-na-kunwari-inaantok-tapos-biglang-akbay-sa-kanya” or “tipong-nalalamigan-ka-ba?-sabay-hawak-sa-hita-nya-with-matching-himas-pa-para-kunwari-pinapainitan-sya”. Yeah, style ng mga bulok, but I never did those since I’m Torpe and I’m with my sister. Too bad we didn’t take a Neoprint picture during that time to preserve the meories.
We were able to meet up again between the texting and one phone call on my first week as a college student, or freshman as often called, during those orientations-slash-festivals to make us freshman comfortable and be aware of the sights and attractions of the University. I remember that I want to meet Qatar again and she agreed. I almost backed out since I was sweating like crazy and I don’t want her to see me in that condition. Still, I took the opportunity and we met at a place in the University that I was not yet familiar with so I asked someone for directions. When I walked there a woman stood up and smiled. It’s a good thing she recognized with my uniform since she looked a little different while wearing her Nurse uniform. She looks beautiful. I mean, I’m a sucker for women in uniform so I was dazed when I saw her again. We talked about college life and her duty on the hospital. I gave her a keychain as a little gift that I bought 2 months ago. Can’t remember what it is, but I think it’s a Spongebob Squarepants mini-figure since she loves the show. She liked it and said that it goes well with her apron on her uniform. Flattery can get you anywhere since I was touched by what she said. A fellow classmate also saw us during that time and I thought to myself I have bragging rights now that someone saw me with a girl. It’s like a fresh new start for building my “cred” at school. Yeah, that's how I measured it back then.
We met up again a few weeks ago and I was with my barkada, and she was with her barkada as well. We met at a nearby Jollibee store and talked about stuff, like how their mammoth books costs and their medical equipment. One really, really funny incident that happened during that time was with my best friend. I wasn’t really yet aware of those “kikindat-sa-yo-sabay-sesenyas-na-aalis- na-para-smooth-exit-para-di-nakakahiya-sa-kinakausap-mo” moments, so I was surprised when he texted me saying he has to leave and we have to make an excuse or alibi for him to leave the place. Instead I said:
Me: Pare, ikaw itong nag-text ah..
My Friend: Ah, eh, oo nga… sige aalis na ko. Me pupuntahan pa ko. Sige!!!
It was really funny. I was so naïve back then. I remember my friend saying to me after a few days: “Putang-ina, ang tanga-tanga mo. Bobo!!!!” Even a few years has passed we were still bringing that incident up and I can’t help but laugh about it.
We were able to meet up a couple of times during the first few weeks of college, like the time I accompanied her to buy a ping-pong paddle for her P.E., when she was preparing for her duty so I had to wait at the lobby in her dorm and when she had a hard time making a request to update her name plate since she has two Middle initials.I mentioned all of our meet-ups because that’s all the time I had with her. Qatar became immersed in her studies and I was also adjusting to college life as well. Whenever I would text her she wouldn’t reply or she would say “busy ako sa studies eh. Sorry…” I just shrugged her off and I became busy with girl-watching and playing network games like Counter-Strike with my barkada. It was 3 years later that I met her again unexpectedly at our annual University year-end festival. She was the one who first noticed me and it took a second or two for me to recognize her since it was really out of the blue. We talked a little and she introduced me to her boyfriend at that time. (cue audience track AAAAAWWWWWW…)
Qatar became one of the few girls that I courted that I’ve added tomy Friendster and Facebook profile so I was able to know her status even if I still don’t see her personally. From what I’ve seen on her pictures, (yeah, I’m a stalker, Pake mo???) she graduated a few years ago and has worked as a nurse at the operating room (not sure if that is one of the higher positions in being a nurse, but that is pretty impressive, to say the least.) in a famous hospital. She broke up with her boyfriend that I met before and is currently engaged (cue again : AWWWWWW) with her present boyfriend and she is working in Qatar. Hopefully the recent escalations that are happening in the Middle-Eastern countries won’t affect that place. Honestly, I wish her well on her future and it was nice that I’ve met her, even for a short period of time.
So kids, the moral of the story? Be persistent. Eyes on the prize, and all that stuff. If she’s worth something, fight for it.