Monday, February 11, 2008

It's Fairster Day!

We were mere playmates back in our childhood days. But we snubbed each other when people started to tease us. Then we became casual friends. And later on, became the best of friends. Now, he loves me with all his heart. And I do, too.
We are best friends, more than just lovers. For four years, we’ve struggled to make our relationship grow. And through all the ups and downs, we believe that we have already built a foundation, strong enough to hold on to each other—OUR FRIENDSHIP.

Young Love Pair

Eighteen years ago, we were only four years old. Our young minds were not yet aware of our future. I didn’t know that we would be boyfriend-girlfriend (or soon-to-be a. . . . hehehe.) All we knew was that we would see each other during summer and Christmas vacation. But I was closer to his ate then. That’s all. At this time, our first picture together was taken.

Then we became grade schoolers. His uncles, aunts, and grandparents, who happened to live just almost in front our home, started to tease us. So the Tonton and Madonna Love Team was launched! The “yihees” made us turn away from each other. But I thought, He’s cute! And without me knowing it before, he also thought, Her puffy and white cheeks are pretty!

Early Teenage Blues
High school came and we rarely glanced at each other. Then, one summer vacation, a neighbor brought the news—JR’s mother was rushed to the hospital, and JR, the ever-loving son, withdrew the money from his savings to pay the bill. I was touched. The more our neighbor talked about how intelligent, smart, and kind JR was, the more I was convinced that I liked him. Again, without me knowing it before, he also started to like me.

From then on, I waited for every vacation. I waited for every holiday. Just to see him. During summer, I went out every afternoon to do some sweeping and gardening. I was lucky if he passed by with his bike. That made each day complete. There were even times when I sat on our wall gate—a perfect place to spot him from his Lola’s yard. What I didn’t know before was that . . . he also looked forward to seeing me every vacation . . . that he rode his bike so he would have a reason to pass by our house, and he always stayed under the langka tree in the front yard just to see me!

JR and I were in third year high school when we got our very first cell phones.He became my virtual pal. I already had an idea that it was him but I didn’t realize it until the day he told me that it’s him. You could not blame me. Is “Tonton” close to “Meynard?” But as far as I could remember, he was the best textmate I ever had. We talked about school—our grades, our teachers, our activities; we talked about NatGeo and Discovery Channel shows—the cheetah, the tallest and biggest in the world, etc; and we shared our thoughts on different things. JR told me about his girlfriend that time. I’m just not that sure if I shared my stories about my former boyfriend who was still courting me then. We shared our dreams with each other—JR wanted to be a civil engineer to make buildings, and told me that he’d build my accounting office someday. He was also the one whom I leaned on to during the scariest nights of my life. At this point, I considered him as my friend. I knew I liked him (And he, too!), but only admiration and friendship were what we could only give each other.

Few months later, a tragedy came. He lost his mom. I could imagine how hard he cried. But I couldn’t do anything but send him and his siblings a letter. He also lost his cell phone during the wake. I thought that was the end of our story. We lost in touch.

Walking Away to Get Closer
After two years, I went to UP and studied college. In 2003, my mom decided to sell our house. We transferred to Las Pinas. Goodbye to all my childhood memories. But hopefully, I’d see Tonton again, I told myself. On the day that we left Laguna, JR’s dad was also on his way home. Then he rode with us in our service. Meaning, their house was just somewhere near LP. I thought again, he’s nearer to me now! But I didn’t have any idea where exactly he was. So I continued my life as if he was just part of my past.

Before the year ended, I was left heartbroken. I was alone. I fought to survive that first hit on me, until January of the following year came. I was browsing the then new Friendster when the name of his sister popped into my mind. I tried to look for his sister’s profile but I was not able to find it. After going through all my old friends’ names, I finally typed in JR’s name. Alas! There was his account, but I hesitated to add him. Does he still know me? Are we still friends? I worried. And many more what ifs ran through me. The next thing I knew, I had clicked on “Add as Friend”.

After two days, he was already on my friends’ list. And another friend—that happened to be JR’s another account, invited me. The funny thing was that he added me first before realizing I already gave an invite to his other account. Soul mates?

From then on, we exchanged emails and messages. He didn’t have a phone so there’s no other choice. Our endless stories filled our e-mail inbox. He shared how the death of his mom turned his life around. He confessed the wrong things that he had done in the past. He asked for my advice. Then I shared how my lost love was affecting me at that time. He also knew how frustrated I was because I was not taking the field that I wanted for my career. But then, how happy I was, my old friend Meynard came back. In one of his first emails, he mentioned that he was grateful, too—because he found a new Ate, after his sister settled down.

The Fairster Moment
It was the time of the week-long event in UP—the Fair. He told me he wanted to go there so we set one night—a Wednesday night. After almost three years, we would finally meet each other again. But the details were not set properly—our meeting place, our dress code, etc. We didn’t know what to expect. I was not sure if I still knew his face. So was he.

My friend and I were calmly sitting on the ground and watching the bands when we noticed a group of guys looking maliciously at us. So my friend grabbed my hand, stood up, and led me to . . . nowhere. Our only goal was to hide from the bad guys. We were roaming around the sound system at the middle of the green field of Sunken Garden when I suddenly stopped as I noticed two guys walking towards our way. The semilong-haired guy saw me, stopped walking, and closely looked at me. So I stared at him too. “Tonton?” “Donna?” It was him! Finally! And the most memorable night for the two of us was marked.

I was just trying to get over with my unsuccessful relationship, so I didn’t consciously think of JR as a potential boyfriend. For JR, we were just casual friends. But after that Fairster moment, he said he couldn’t help but think of me. (awww.)

Moving On
We continued to be very close friends. He said he found the best friend that he was looking for. We communicated every time we were not busy in school. He called me when he had extra coins. He borrowed phone from his board mates just to text me. We talked on YM while he was doing his projects on the net café. We saw each other on concerts and gigs. We spent evenings on Intramuros’ walls when we wanted to talk about serious things. And we shared cups of coffee in my house on early mornings. He had nothing else to offer me but his time, effort, and true friendship. No flowers, no chocolates, no gifts. But he did something great—he helped me get back to my self again.

I could not deny that I was always looking forward to our next meeting or conversation. Unconsciously, I was able to move on. My heart started to open its doors again. So I kept on praying to God for guidance. If what I’m feeling is really for JR, then please cleanse my heart; take away all the hurt and guilt; and prepare it for a new relationship.

Mission Accomplished
September came. It was my 19th birthday. Before, I would always expect big gifts. But when JR gave me a small Toblerone two days earlier, I felt completely happy. Simple joys, they say. His sincere “happy birthday” and sweet smile were already big for me.

Then I called my friends, including JR, for a party on October 2. Many of my high school friends came—especially those who were aware of what’s going on between me and JR. Haha! That moment was embarrassing—they were teasing JR the whole night! I could see how he tried to manage the situation. Fortunately he did.

It was 7am of October 3 when they went home. Hayy. I was blessed enough to have a wonderful celebration a year after my tragic birthday (because it was on my eighteenth birthday when my I experienced that heartbreak). I took a rest the whole day. It was a Sunday, so when afternoon came, we prepared to go to the chapel. But JR called, and told me he’d drop by. He said he wanted to show his newly bought shoes. After an hour, he arrived and proudly showed me the fruit of his hard work. Yes, he deserved a new pair of shoes since he became a scholar (a.k.a. dean’s list) for the past two terms. Together with my sisters, JR and I went to the chapel. Everything was normal until the peace-giving moment came. I was bowing my head to the person in front of me, at my right, at my back, and lastly to him. But guess what he did! He went close to my ear and whispered . . . I love you! My blood suddenly went up to my head. What?! I couldn’t say any other word. It took me minutes to absorb what he said. And then I turned my eyes to the altar, prayed again to God. This is it!

We went back to our house. JR handed me a nine-page letter so I went out to read it alone. There he narrated how it all started, how his love for me grew, and how he finally decided to go for it. For the nth time, I was deeply touched by JR. And I think, of all the letters that I had read, his was the most sincere.

I wanted everything to be settled in a nice way. So I told him to meet me at the Walls the following day. We did. After rushing a problem set for one of my major subjects, I hurriedly went to Intramuros to see him. I was haggard that time, but who cares?! We talked. One by one, I described to him how I felt during the past months.

Finally, he asked me to be his girlfriend. I didn’t know what exactly made me say yes. Maybe it was his smile; or his “bolero-yet-truthful” lines; or his straight-to-the-eye "mahal kita" punch; or maybe, simply the connection between us. And the story of Ming and Chik started to unfold.


From then until now, it’s still US. We fight, we argue, we get angry. But more than the trials we’ve experienced, we have already collected good memories—which are not easy to put to waste.

I would never forget the last time we had a big misunderstanding, (just a few weeks back)—we agreed that we must not forget that we are best friends. “We’re a couple when we want sweet moments. But we’re best friends when we need to talk about our lives, as individuals.”

Happy Fairster Day Ming!

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