I met Manny (tunay niyang pangalan, wala nga lang apelyido to protect his person, hehe) in one of my first jobs -- in The Manila Times. I was a supplement writer, he was the resident artist. He was one of those lanky boy-next-door types with that brooding kind of personality -- parang parating me problema. I never thought I'd become friends with him because he also seemed to be the office's resident crush ng bayan, but somehow a friendship was forged, especially when we found out that we were classmates in Humanities 2 in UP Diliman. Yun nga lang, he dropped out of the class and I persisted.
At that time, Manny and I were in respective relationships. However, both our relationships were undergoing rough times. Somehow we sort of found solace in each other's depression, and things started...happening.
On Valentine's Day, I left the office ahead of Manny. As I reached our office's main door, the security guard stationed there was grinning at me from ear to ear. He then handed me a package and said, "Ma'am, andaming namamatay sa inggit sa 'yo ngayon!" He then urged me to open the package. Upon taking off the wraps, I found a box of Dunkin' Donuts heart-shaped doughnuts with the words "I love you" written on them. I looked for the card that indicated where the package came from but found none. Then as if on cue, Manny sneaked up on me from behind and whispered, "Happy Valentine's Day. Nagustuhan mo?" in my ear! Geez, I think my hair grew to unbelievable lengths at that very moment...
Manny was one of the most memorable men in my life, even if I couldn't call him a real "boyfriend." (Remember: we had respective relationships.) He was the most baduy and the most unorthodox of them all. I considered that doughnut proposal baduy -- but cute-baduy. He was also unorthodox because -- well, imagine him reading love poems from the Book of Solomon to me over the phone on a Good Friday. He was an artist in every sense of the word.
Unfortunately, Manny and I eventually had to cease our relationship in favor of the ones we already had -- but we remained friends up to this very day. I remember one time when he called me up at home. I was very much pregnant with my daughter already. He then asked me this question to which I did not have any answer: "Paano kaya kung ako pala ang father ng dinadala mo ngayon?" Suddenly I was reminded of how much a good kisser he was...
Manny's presently in Singapore, working in a newspaper there. He's still very single, but he has a child from a former relationship and a girlfriend. I'm here in Cebu working in a publishing firm, and I have a daughter from a poor excuse of a husband. He's on my Friendster account, and I guess he's doing fine. I'm not sure if I can say the same for me.
There's someone else I remember this Valentine's Day, but maybe it's better that I keep memories of this person to myself lang muna. All I know is that this person is living proof that a roll or two in the hay (read: sex) is not a prerequisite to having a meaningful relationship. Hooray for men like him!
An officemate of mine asked me earlier how my ex-husband proposed marriage to me. Good Lord: I honestly forgot! I guess that was an indicator of how superficial our relationship and eventual marriage was.
Then there was this guy -- another one of my former colleagues in the media profession -- who tried his luck wooing me. (No names na lang: baka lumaki pang ulo ng lalaking yun.) He smoked hard, drank hard, wore leather jackets even in summer, prided himself in his cars and guns...he was the perfect example of machismo at its worst. He never seemed to take my ideas seriously, only that I'd make a great trophy. He's still quite a prominent figure in the media profession at present, but I definitely don't want to have anything to do with assholes like him.
Junjun was a guy I used to date way back then. He came from a well-to-do Chinese family in Tacloban. I met him in a birthday party of my cousin. You see, my cousin and his little sister were classmates. He was there as a family friend, and I was there as a visiting relative from Manila. Sparks sorta flew between us, and the next time I visited my relatives in Leyte we sought each other out.
Considering that Junjun was quite a hefty guy with a Chinese heritage (the Chinese in Leyte are quite a formidable kind), I was kinda afraid of going with him on a date all alone. Thus, whenever he took me out for a date, I had my friends with me.
At first, I was kinda kilig that this guy from a prominent Chinese family preferred me over others. However, things started to go awry when...let's just say that the winds started picking up. In Tagalog, humangin siya.
Junjun would sometimes call me long-distance from this place or that, unconsciously flaunting his family's riches. One time, he called me from his family's "hekta-hektaryang lupa" in Capoocan, Leyte using his cellular phone. (Duh! I wasn't even sure if there was any signal in Capoocan!) At another time, he said to me: "Pag ako ang pinakasalan mo, wala ka nang ibang gagawin kundi humiga sa pera." Whaaat?! After acquiring my BroadComm degree from UP and getting a job as a journalist (at that time), that was all I was going to be? No way, Jose!
Junjun's married now and (I think) is residing in Dumaguete with his wife and kids. I guess he's already found someone to place on his bed of money, hehehe...