I was once asked by my supervisor how I would react if my last ex-girlfriend suddenly came to see me in person, admitted her shortcomings and asked me for her forgiveness and a last crack at our relationship. It is a scenario I have played repeatedly in my mind, with conflicting thoughts of my usual forgiving streak and my exacting vengeance on her with my version of Nastiness 101 revealing itself in daily monologue.

Amazing indeed how one person can turn your life upside down, in the words of Fra Lippo Lippi.

Not even the rainy day could dampen our smiles at Magat Dam, at least when things seemed to go well.

I met her as a fellow freshman back in Angeles City in 2001, also pursuing the course of AB Mass Communications at Angeles University. We weren’t close at first, as we hung out with our own circle of friends at the time. However, we became close during a prayer reflection we had, as we ended up pouring our hearts out to each other about the chaotic family lives we had awaiting us at home. And that was the way it was for over a year.

I was just a few months into my relationship with my first girlfriend, when I noticed I had fallen for my close friend. This was further confirmed by an episode where she, along with my friend and his own girlfriend, went swimming one weekend afternoon and I could not help but stare at her almost unflinchingly. I tried to reconcile this with the help of my friends, who advised me that I eventually had to make up my mind on who I really loved. And so, just a few days shy of my 21st birthday, I broke up with my girlfriend of just five months. This was the birth of my “heartbreak kid” alter ego.

But I was doggedly determined to pursue her and so, I engaged in an awkward and rather clumsy courtship phase. She agreed after weeks of pained effort, albeit with a small amount of somewhat understandable reluctance. I then saw myself as the happiest person on the face of the earth.

It seemed like an almost euphoric bliss for almost six weeks, until Len decided to break up with me over the phone. Not satisfied with this, I met up with her at a local fast food restaurant and she indeed confirmed that she had put an end to our brief relationship. This left me in tears, and was it not for meeting up with my friends later that day; I would have probably gone insane.

Much activity followed with the freelance artistic group I co-founded with my friends known as Uyat Artista, which helped divert my attention from my still-broken heart. Later on, I would end up on romantic terms with one of our fellow members, with whom I had one of my most carnal relationships to date. I broke this off after just two months, after realizing the relationship stood on little more than lust and we were both on the rebound from bad romances of our own.

The successes of our performing group soon followed, with sold out runs of The Little Mermaid and Beauty & the Beast confirming my hidden knack for scriptwriting. Despite my own personal pains and those of our performing group, I trudged on as best as I could and kept myself busy with our wild production schedules.

On the eve of Valentine’s Day 2004, I was in earnest conversation with another fellow member who had seemed to take a liking to me. She had been looking glum the last few days of production, and I asked her what was wrong. She admitted she had been lonely hearted for the last year due to a decision to move from her native province of Bulacan, and this had weighed heavy on her. I was not ready, however, for her confessing that she was in love with me. It took me less than a minute to agree to this, and so, my third girlfriend and I finally became a couple. I felt I had grown past my second ex and was ready to enjoy the relationship I was in.

But on Good Friday (just a few months later), I would get a call from (of all people) my second ex (yes, it was her). She asked for my forgiveness and asked me if I could give her a second chance as her girlfriend. Being in a relationship already, I balked at the question but then informed her I would need a few days to think it over. And during this time, neither Len nor my then-current girlfriend was aware of each other.

After a week, I finally consented and gave her that second chance. For the first (and only) time ever, it resulted in me having two girlfriends at the same time. In such a perplexing situation, I approached a trusted friend and he had advised me to choose one of them or risk losing both if it was left to stand. And so, I broke up with my then-current girlfriend and reunited with Len once more. My hopes for the relationship grew immensely when she came over from her home province of Ifugao to spend a weekend with me, while I was on my OJT (on-the-job training) in Manila.

However, she would break up with me once more from long distance after nearly six months together, even showing me a picture of her being affectionate with her new “boyfriend” posted on her Friendster account. She was back in her home province at the time, so I was unable to see her personally about this. This was a devastating blow for me, and I was visibly pained for several months afterwards. I avoided all contact with her, refusing to acknowledge calls or text messages from her for over a year.

Just months later, I would meet a girl on Friendster who regularly traveled between Manila and Baguio. She and I eventually got in touch through SMS, and we soon grew close to each other, even meeting up with her on one of her trips to Manila. The following day, we became a couple. This lasted for five months, until she broke up with me over her insane jealousy with my female friends.

I would arrive in Manila in late 2005 to begin working shortly, and had a brief romantic rekindling with my ex from Bulacan through SMS and phone calls. This would fizzle out only after a month, due to unexplained reasons on her end. Despite this, my work kept me busy and sane as it diverted my focus from my personal pain to keeping house with my sisters, not to mention being a full-time uncle to my young niece and nephew.

Eventually, I forgave her by contacting her on her phone, more than a year after she had broken my heart so painfully. This would, however, resurrect the embers of my deepest feelings for her, and I would end up visiting her personally in her hometown to try to win her back.

More than a year would pass before she would finally answer my question. She was seeking work in Manila to help her family, and after what was an interview she flunked to get into our company, she finally consented to being my girlfriend once more. The relationship endured many ups and downs, including her eventual departure for Hong Kong in November 2007 to work as a domestic helper.

For nearly a year after that, communication remained steady and the relationship with her looked on track. But when I had difficulty contacting her in late 2008, I contacted her fellow maid who informed she had gotten a new number because she had recently lost her old number. Despite this, getting in touch with her was no easy matter, and she failed to contact me in turn on more than one occasion.

My birthday came and gone, and there was no word from her. However, just a week later, she would call me asking me to go online. I was able to chat with her later that day, and she had asked me to create a letter for some sort of endorsement, after which she left in a huff.

The holidays came and went, and further difficulties in contacting her (either she never answered the phone, or she would quickly say she had to go) made for a difficult season. She had never attempted to contact me up until this time, and I had resigned myself to just wait until she would try somehow, someday.

The final nail in the coffin came last April 2009, when she suddenly went online on Yahoo! Messenger while I was online as well. I sent a message to her, to which she did not reply until she finally logged off. And I was left in terrible pain.

To this day, having known her for the past eight or so years has brought a positive and negative impact to my love life and even my life in general. On one hand, the end of our relationship allowed me to explore my single state, which has given me a newfound freedom that I never really looked at until then. But on the other, it dashed what I considered was my last best hope for my own happy ending.

Considering that she reacted minimally at best after I showed her the massive wound I sustained after a mugging, this may have been the sign that I was bound to lose this challenge with her, like the earlier times.

And so, here I stand, figuring what I would do if I saw her again. Frankly, it was a good thing she managed to extend her stay in Hong Kong for another year, as her contract was to expire last November. Looking back now, it is quite likely best I never find out what I would do if she indeed came knocking at my door to bother me once again.

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