I am proud of who you are and what you have achieved–long years of hard work and dedication. But most of all, I am proud of your true heart. For the rare glimpses of it I have been blessed to see and know and feel. Those moments you didn’t doubt, and went to meet me halfway. For braving what you did for a chance to see me On a night my heart was heavy with grief and couldn’t take anything else– You were there and I saw you. You were radiant, and you took the words right out of me. I never expected that but it woke something in me, something long-buried but had always been there. Something I hid, that scared me more than anything. Something not a soul knew until I accepted it. This love–that fills my cup to the brim and more Transcending separation and silence– Your love lights up my soul, and I hope my love lights up yours.
In all my 34 years of living, I have done a few brave things. My friend would argue and tell me that I’ve done a lot of reckless things in my youth, which is different from being brave. Or she would tell me, “Mas matapang ka naman talaga eh.” Or this, my favorite comment at the moment: “Hindi ka naman talaga ‘docile’ eh”. I just laugh at them all because they’re true.
But the bravest thing I have done so far is finally being honest with myself–realizing, accepting, and admitting to myself even though I don’t fully understand all of it and despite being afraid of it sometimes–this pulsating truth that I love you. That I looked for you once, years before, among unfamiliar faces, that those few chance encounters I tried to chalk up to just random and meaningless when I really wanted the opposite, that time stopped for me when I finally saw you again, that I had to will my rabbit’s heart to calm down and just go for it–talk to you and give you that letter. It was many moons ago, but my heart flutters anew at the memory. And probably to top it all of, the bravest thing of all is this–letting you know through what I do best–writing down the whispers of my soul, that I love you, still. ♥
I’ve often wondered about you during those lost years. I remember writing you a letter 10 years ago, thinking I would like to give it to you someday if fate decided to let us meet again. In the letter, I wrote my favorite memories of you. How we got into trouble one time, and how I taught you a sneaky thing or two. Nobody would dare suspect me of mischief back then, but the best ones know I’m a perplexing mix of naughty and nice. The heart of the letter was that I wanted you to know how happy and special you made me feel. And that I would always look back on those rare precious moments with you with a smile, accompanied by this imprinted fluttering in my heart. But also with this ache that tells me if only I knew better.
I now believe my soul knew back then who you are to me. I hope you’ll believe you are worth waiting for, no matter the challenge, no matter the cost.
Of all the powers I can confidently claim that I possess (aside from baking addictive lemon loaves with lemon curd, cooking comforting soups and stews, writing in journals, and finding magic out of the ordinary), I love that I have the power to make you laugh. I could be telling you something trivial or narrating a movie sequence (with matching hand gestures) and you would look at me like I was the most amusing person you’ve ever met, and laugh. Your laugh–making you laugh, is a potent drug on its own. It emboldens me to do things and I can’t pinpoint who is the magician here anymore–you or me–for I have never felt this kind of pull with invisible strings from anyone else but you.
The last time I made you laugh without meaning to, I could feel the blush about to tint my face and give me away. I wanted to hide, and so I did. How could I reconcile that I was grieving at that moment, and at the same time, so incandescently happy to behold you, finally, after so many years? I wanted to tell you so many things, but fear and the pressure to be “proper” kicked their way in. I went home that night thinking I lost you maybe forever as I realized belatedly that what I yearned for was finally in front of me, and I let that moment slip away.
Hindsight is 20/20, they say. I know now that given a chance, I don’t want to pretend or hide behind “propriety” anymore. Stop shuffling and lay all our cards down. Because navigating the intricacies of life and love together with you would be an exciting adventure and a wish fulfilled. Making you happy would be happiness itself.
And, oh! I really just want to make you laugh again.
To be fluid. That’s what you unknowingly taught me. To be fluid as I dance my way through life, and also steadfast in a society that tells us what to do, who to be, who to love.
But I did not arrive at the dance not knowing any steps. The desire to dance has been with me since I was 9, as I marveled at the girl in the mirror–pink ballet slippers and yellow skirt, trying to capture grace in pointed toes and sloping arms, wondering if I’d get the chance to dance someday. I’ve always wanted to dance, I just didn’t know who to dance with.
And over time, I learned that the power to choose who you want to dance with for the rest of your days is no trifling matter.
Maybe my soul already chose you when I was 10, or in previous lifetimes still hazy in my mind’s eye, but over and over again.