There. Now that is already behind us, let’s keep moving!!! “The Torpe Road Traveler” needs to finish the story. Incidentally, that’d be me, of course, for those not in the know. And to answer all possible questions from new readers ( kung meron man nga ) this is a journal of all the women I’ve caroused and the lessons I learned from my foibles. Or in short, mga ka-sablay-an ko sa panliligaw. Well, let’s move on.
I’m still in college, enjoying the carefree lifestyle of a Fine Arts student. Honestly, all of the art that we did, I don’t know if you would classify that as “studying”, because it seemed easy. But I did learn something from those countless hours of sitting on the cold tile floor, sketching a human model in front of us. It was also easy to spot an “inspiration” on my class because there’s a fellow student that seemed like a “crush ng bayan” that I also tried to woo…pero parang iba ang gusto nya. She will be named Bulacan.
Bulacan is small, almost 5’3 in height. She has short hair and wore braces. She has brown complexion and likes normal girl things more than my girl classmates, y’know, being “iba-ang-trip-ko-kaysa-sa-ibang-kurso-sa-college-dahil-art-student-ako”. She’s with a different group from Las Pinas but they stayed in the same dormitory so they got into the best of friends. But more on that later.
I mentioned that Bulacan was a “crush ng bayan” because madami ang nanligaw sa kanya. At isa ako dun sa pumila. I mean, she’s pretty and is very matured in thinking, which are what we as teenagers want, running solely on hormones. Looking back, we want a girl who understands our interests but does not really know it by heart. So that we can educate them to stroke our ego. Hehehe. Ngayon as a working-class male employee, we still want a very, very attractive girl and someone who can support us financially. Admit it, we all want to be slackers and just watch TV or dabble in hobbies. Like beer-brewing.
Anyway, I came last in line in trying to Bulacan. The first guy, whom I dub as “Art dude” tried his best by being with her and her group and also on drawing sessions. But him being skilled on everything art made him a bit weird for Bulacan to fall in love with. The second, “Air Man” is a friend of mine. He really became close with Bulacan and her group. I call him “Air Man” because he’s really full of it. Mayabang. I don’t know how I manage to tolerate him because his pagyayabang was so unkind and unfunny. He would insult the recent famous network games and would prefer to play a basketball game on PS2. He makes fun of music choices, people and even my favorite show at the time, Justice League cartoon as kid’s drawings. But we got along on some aspects like music and women.
Which now brings to me. I was able to somehow make my “moves” on her because of a simple offer: since she spends her school days on a dormitory, she would go home to Bulacan on weekends or during the last day of school to meet her folks when she has the time. And she knew that I go home everyday via the LRT, or Light Railway Transit. So one day she approached me and:
Me: Ah ok, sige.
In a way, she was the one who gave me the opportunity. It was a bit of luck. Now all I got to do is influence her mind to like me. But that didn’t work. But I did try. We would walk from our building to outside the University premises and take the jeepney to LRT, ride the LRT up to Monumento and accompany her on a makeshift FX terminal going to Bulacan. Our last class was in the early evening, so the LRT is packed because of people going home. Speaking of that blasted transportation, back then there were times that the LRT would have the air-conditioning on the fritz, so sobrang init sa loob. Para kang niluluto sa singaw ng mga kasama mo. So I used the power of observation to my advantage. When the LRT is approaching I would check the people inside first to see if they are fanning themselves, wiping their brow and anything that would say na naiinitan sila. It’s very useful. I sometimes wonder why people never use that in their everyday activities. Up to now I still do that, like checking the shadows and such for any sign of danger or anything that would be an advantage for me from other people.
Anyway, during that time I was with Bulacan I was able to talk to her. We talked about our subjects, what happened during the week, her so-called male “friend” from her hometown and the mind of men/women. The latter part was like a debate of sorts, but not like the almost-grueling kind with Las Pinas. In our “debate” I can always defend myself well. She always asks me about why men do this, why men do that, etc. I also ask her the same thing with her gender’s culture. I remember that she was saying that she was so confused about her feelings from her close friend and I replied with a burly voice:
Me: You women don’t know what you want. ( hand pointing to my chest ) We, we men know what we want…
I was really trying my best to keep my composure during that time because I felt that if I was smiling or acted like I was fooling around she would not believe what I was saying. I was able to hold it and somehow won the “debate”. Although there are times I would lose it when we would ride the LRT with the broken air-conditioning and I sweat a lot. I always sense that she perceives me as a very smart and mature, and hope that in the process of being with her when we are traveling together would make her forget that guy and be with me instead. Hey, stranger things have happened.
News traveled fast about our “pagsasama” and we got teased by our friends.“Air Man” kept on singing the then-famous song of singer/actress Nikki Gil’s “Sakayan ng Jeep” and changed it to “Sakayan ng FX” because that’s where we would part. In a way “Air Man n a way “Air Man” has already moved on with Bulacan and supports my pagpo-porma with Bulacan. Las Pinas (see last “Road” post ) also heard the news as well and she was the one who made me forget about her. It happened when we were talking on the phone at night.
Me: Bakit mo naman nasabi yun (at this point I was trying to be cool and try to lie out of it )
Las Pinas: Umamin ka na, alam ko na may gusto ka sa kanya…
Me: ( in my faintest voice ) Siguro…
Las Pinas: ‘Wag mo na ituloy, nakausap ko na sya nung wala kaming magawa sa dorm at nabanggit kita sa kanya na kung paano kung ikaw yung manligaw sa kanya, sabi nya parang kaibigan lang tingin nya sa ‘yo…
When I heard that from her I felt like nabagsakan ako ng mundo. Parang shet, basted nanaman ako. Wala na ba akong pag-asa?? Mga ganun But I also thought na baka niloloko lang ako ni Las Pinas dahil naseselos sya pero kapni-paniwala naman nun. Basta naniniwala naman ako sa kanya. It was that moment that I mentioned in my last “Road” post that I made a leap of faith and proposed that I and Las Pinas be together. After what I have heard I tried my best to still accompany her on our rides but Thesis came up so di na sya nakakauwi sa kanila masyado. So I traveled alone. It’s better that way. Yeah, I was “emo” before “emo” became famous.
Due to our “closeness” and as a way to make her less suspicious that I knew what she thought of me I accepted her invite to her birthday party in her hometown. Few actually went there because of how far the place is. A handful of my friends also came with me and we met up with her in a spot in North Luzon Expressway, or NLEX. She met us on her parent’s van and she was the one who drove it. I was impressed by her driving skills. The party? Not so much. I can’t
Graduation came and she pulled off the weirdest action ever that up to now I still think about it pero di ko pa rin maintindihan. She chose not to have a picture taken wearing a toga and to attend the Graduation practices. Dun talaga ako na-weird-duhan sa kanya. Was it traumatic for her? Is she one of those people who doesn’t give a crap about Graduation? Up to now I still think about that and wonder what she was thinking. Maybe she’s the kind who is closer with her Elementary / High school friends. Ah well.
Years gone by and judging from what I’ve seen from her Friendster and Facebook profiles, she is already married with that guy friend, has a child, working as an Animator and sidelines as a Photographer for wedding events. I believe she set up her own Photo studio with her husband on her hometown. She hardly ever shows up on reunions and small gatherings, so I still believe in my current theory. I wish her well, and thank that brief time when I was traveling, I was happy, and not alone. Yes, there would be times that you didn’t get the girl, but you’re happy with what she gave you even if it’s not what you wanted. She taught me that.