This is a tale of two different people—a native Oriental Negrense who speaks Cebuano and a girl who hails from the other end of the Negros Island, Bacolod.
My friends often call me “for-the-meantime guy” because being committed to someone was never part of my plan, at least, for the meantime. It’s either I was the one not serious, or the girl would leave me for another guy. Then, I met this girl—this girl that changed my love perception. But again, it happened just for the meantime.
I woke up early Friday morning, February 4, 2011, in a room that was somehow n ot new to me. It was huge enough to run around, and there were almost 40 bed spaces, enough to cater a group of journalists coming from the different parts of the country to vye for the National Awards.
A girl opened the door. That was the second time someone came in to wake us up. I gritted my teeth for I still wanted to sleep.
“Good morning. Hi! The lecture will start in a few minutes. The speaker is waiting in the hall na. Breakfast will be served there as well,” she said.
I cannot help but notice her. I stood up and asked her where Hall 3 is but by the looks of it, she did not understand any of my words.
“Ay sorry.” My ego kept on reminding me. Tagalog! Tagalog! Tagalog! “Oo nga pala. Di mo ako maintindihan. Saan ba yu’ng Hall 3?”
She gave the directions and added, “Faster lang kamo ha ‘coz the lecture will start in a while.”
There’s nothing much to tell. Three full days did we listen to lectures about journalism and advocacy writing. It was boring indeed, but worth listening. It was the best journalism seminar I have ever attended. I listened carefully to all the important matters with regards to writing and photojournalism.
On the second night of the 3-day seminar was the Fellowship Night. Everyone was busy preparing with the acquaintance party but I did not do much for myself. I just threw in an Ego white long sleeve, Lee dark pants, and a Rusty Lopez black shoes—an ordinary semi-formal attire.
During the party, all I thought of was food, preoccupying myself with what I was doing. As the night continued to swarm its cryptic hue in the skies, the people moved outside to have a gasp of the place’s ambiance. My co-staffers and I remained, taking as many pictures as we could.
Suddenly, I heard a lovely voice aback. “You set it again, my heart’s in motion. Every word feels like a shooting star. I’m at the edge of my emotions, watching the shadows burning in the dark. And I’m in love. And I’m terrified…” It sounded just like Katherine McPhee, a voice that could soften and fetch a lonely man’s heart with joy.
She was the one singing, the one who woke me up that morning. Who would think that the girl who was wearing eyeglasses and braces could sing as beautiful as that?
After the party, we went for a pre-tour around downtown Bacolod. It was the Bacolodiat, a celebration for the Chinese New Year.
I felt sad upon seeing the rest of my colleagues from The NORSunian enjoying with their new found friends from La Salle, Far Eastern University and La Union. Why did I not have a close friend?
Someone seemed to have figured out my emotion that time for after a while, that someone drew me near and asked me, “First time mo dito sa Bacolod?”
I nodded, getting jitters on my nerves.
“I’m Celine by the way,” she said with a lovely smile in her face. I learned that the girl who ruined my sleep this morning and who sang the song “Terrified” was the Editor-in-Chief of St. La Salle’s The Spectrum. And now, she’s talking to me.
“I’m Ryan,” I said, giving her my best smile. She was low-profiled and humble. Being with her, I did not feel that I was talking to an EIC but to an ordinary girl. However, it was apparent that she had made a lot of contributions to their Media Corps.
At that moment, I did not care anymore whether my co-staffers were lost or they would leave me behind. All I knew was that as long as I was with her, I was safe, literally.
Going back to our quarters was never a part of my plan. I wanted to chat some more with her, walk with her, and know her more. I thought of not going back to Dumaguete anymore. I was crazy for the meantime.
Three o’clock that morning, I found myself hanging out in their office. Feeling cold and too sleepy, I still made use of the remaining time to find reasons to be with her.
“Hey, I’m sorry. I really can’t entertain you properly. I’m still busy,” she said in a cute Hiligaynon accent. I was entertained by that. Looking at her while she’s talking was definitely enchanting. It was cute of her.
“No. It’s okay. I understand,” I said while I released my right hand from playing over her hair. “I have to go.”
Twelve noon the next day, we walked along the reception hall after lunch, heading upstairs to pack my things up.
“Hey,” I said. “I hope I can see you again some other time.”
She smiled and met my gaze. “Yah…Goodbye…Text text lang tayo.”
With a faint heart, I finally said goodbye. I followed her with my eyes while she made her way out, remembering every inch of her.
Right now, we are maintaining a different kind of relationship—more than friendship but less than romantic, something mutual maybe. Long distance relationship might sound ridiculous these days. But one thing is for sure. She may be too far away but she’s so close to my heart. I may not see her every day but I have a feeling that somewhere, somehow, we will meet again.