When You Least Expect It
by Lovely Aquino
It has been said a million times – you fall in love at a time you least expect it. Okay, go ahead now and say “I am not expecting love to come my way today.” Kidding =)
Seriously, mine came at a time when I got fed up with love. Having lived a quarter of a century, I had my share of stories of unrequited love and bad break ups (which one is good anyway). Hence, after another hopeless tussle with cupid, I was ready to remain single for at least a couple of years.
Or so I thought, until fate crawled in.
It was Christmas time and I bet almost every single person on earth can feel the pressure of not having someone to snuggle with on such cold days. Oh, maybe not me. I was working then as an events manager and loving my job all the way.
I got home one day with news that my best friend from grade school class is coming home to Manila from sunny California. And she wanted to host a reunion. It had been fourteen years since our graduation. Silly kids, I thought. Whatever happened to the bunch I studied and played with? I have yet to find out.
Days before Blessy’s arrival (yes, the homecoming queen), the reunion planner, Aleli and I were frantic over the preparations. While it wasn’t that difficult to get the contact numbers of our other classmates, it was a challenge to make them come over. After all, it was just a day after Christmas that we’d meet for a dinner.
People who didn’t respond to Aleli’s messages are then sent to me for a second round of prodding. One guy caught my fancy, though.
“Lovely who?” he replied on SMS.
“Lovely, your classmate in grade school,” I said tersely. The brat in me wanted to add, “It was the girl who finished first in class while you were the boy who never spoke. Now you remember?” I did not dare say that, of course.
“I’ll see if I can come.”
That is probably the worst reply to an invitation. He should have said yes or no as I am not fond of gray areas.
Alright, I said to myself as I typed in “I know where your house is and if you are not coming tonight, I’ll drop by myself.”
He showed up.
Lawrence is one nice boy every teacher would love. He comes to school in neat uniform, combed hair and finished homework. He never fought with kids in and out of class and stays behaved from arrival to dismissal.
But while he is of model behaviour, he is utterly forgettable. In fact, I don’t remember a single moment with him.
The dinner went fun as expected. Lawrence shared twenty words or less. I wasn’t surprised.
The group decided to go out the next night as Blessy wanted to experience clubbing Manila-style. What the heck, I don’t dance. Lawrence was there too without me having to make a threat this time.
Before Blessy’s return to the US, the group prepared a simple party for her. Lawrence and I agreed to split payment for a huge pizza. Unfortunately that day, I went out of cash and had no time to find an ATM machine. While he’s not ecstatic about the idea of me insisting to pay him another day, I thought I’d still do that.
Someone to Watch over Me?
“Look,” Blessy said as she secretly showed a picture on her phone. It was me with Lawrence in the background.
“You look nice together,” she mused.
Oh Blessy. She’s always like that. Since we were kids, we enjoyed making fun of ourselves (and others). Actually, that’s how we came to be best friends.
“Crazy,” I thought. Give it up.
Pizza Payback Time
I wouldn’t have called him if it wasn’t a boring New Year’s Eve I had. Not a bad day to pay debt either. So there, we met at the same pizza house but instead of handing him the dough, we decided to spend the money on one medium-sized New York’s Finest.
Probably it was the first time I really noticed him. He is neither loud nor attention-grabbing but he definitely gets more enticing as a person once you begin to know him. And I didn’t know the guy could talk. At least, more than twenty words.
After the pizza date, we were inseparable.
Alas, he wasn’t as free as I thought. Apparently, he has a girlfriend he’d been seeing for three years and during the week we were together, they weren’t in speaking terms.
Suddenly, I was thrown back to reality. I am a believer, though, in the saying that if he’s still hers, he’s not yours.
Right away, I told Lawrence that I won’t be seeing him again. It was a risk, I know. While other girls would wait patiently until the guy breakups with his girlfriend, I can’t. You see, I had been waiting all my life for something real. And if this ain’t real, no way would I spend another hour on waiting.
The Worst 24 Hours
Pain is only a matter of time, that’s how I remember it. Yes, there were moments I wanted to call him and take back whatever I said. But I did not and I guess it paid off.
Men, when faced with a situation when they have to choose, they will. But give them time to think about something and they will maximize that time. Maybe until your wrinkles appear.
Lawrence called me up just a day after I said bye-bye. I was really surprised. He broke with his girlfriend. Later I learned that the relationship was on the verge of breakup anyway and all it needed was the final kick to say quits.
We met the same day and it was really odd. We were both confused on what we have that time. It took one kiss to seal the deal and many more to keep it going.
Not another Whirlwind Romance
In a matter of two weeks, Lawrence and I met again, dated, said goodbye and got back to call each other “mine”. All in two weeks.
You couldn’t guess what happened on the third week. Can you? Oh, we packed our bags and lived together. We were crazy. It was really crazy.
Some people would call it whirlwind romance. I guess not. To us, it’s more like destiny seized without wasting time and without letting go.
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