My original plan was that if I can’t get a girlfriend on or before my 25th birthday, I’d start looking at whores. That was a serious plan.
Of course, sleeping with somebody was not the point of the bet I made with myself. Its purpose was to put more pressure on myself to go out there, get out of my comfort zone, and start a real relationship with a girl of flesh and blood and not fairy dust. No one wants their first time to be in the arms of a street skank, however good she is in bed. Sure, such a thing would give you a ton of experience on the first night, but that would also brand you a loser forever. Not that I wasn’t already. Only a loser would make that sort of bet, but I’ve been open about being a loser for a long time anyway, so what the hell.
On August 14, my 25th birthday comes, and I don’t have to drive along Quezon Ave. for whores.
As it turned out, destiny gave me a hand. I met a girl who could potentially like me, and I worked hard and did everything to keep her from slipping away. This is fast-forwarding events, but the girl eventually loved me and I loved her, and we developed into two persons who love each other as can be possible in this oftentimes impossible world.
That girl is Chemae for anyone who’s reading this ongoing story for the first time. She’s in Ilocos today because it’s Good Friday, and everyone has to go back to their families like good ol’ goody-goody sons and daughters. They’re also planning their immigration to Canada, which for now seems to be really happening on August 14, 2010 because of scheduling necessities.
Yes, August 14 is also my 25th birthday.
The Cruel Countdown Begins
If you think I’m handling this very well, that’s because it hasn’t yet sunk in. I’ve been seeing Chemae’s big brown eyes and curly hair for more than a year. Almost every single day during that span of time, we’ve spent talking to each other over coffee, over KFC hot chicken breasts, over bottles of San Mig Light and Red Horse, over the clouds and under the spell of the moment; we’ve spent it going to places I’ve never dreamed of visiting; we’ve walked impossibly long stretches of streets — the cleanest and the most rotten; we’ve spent it throwing insults and accusations at our faces, then making up with the cheesiest of schemes (usually involving meeting her at a coffee shop and pretending for the first few minutes that we didn’t fight over anything). In short, my dear reader, I am so used to Chemae being here that I still can’t imagine up to now that she can be gone, possibly forever.
And so to help me keep track of reality and accustom myself to the fact that she’s leaving for good, I’ve started this daily countdown to D-Day, August 14, Vancouver Day — my 25th birthday.
Of course, her parents know nothing of the significance of August 14, like they probably know nothing about how deeply we’ve fallen for each other. Had they known, they’d probably try to stuff me in a case and smuggle me to Canada since they’d be pretty sure I’m the single key to their daughter’s happiness, my happiness, our happiness. It was completely a play of destiny that their flight is scheduled on the day I turn 25.
The funny thing is, August 14, 2010 may be the day I mature or remain stuck as a child forever. Deep down inside, I’ve never really considered myself as an adult. I am so scared of the world that I don’t take any big risks in terms of careers, relationships, family, vacation destinations, and other big and small decisions. I still have this mentality that as long as the Internet supplies me with a fresh dose of pirated Naruto episode every Friday, I can live comfortably without paying heed to matters of success, security, and the future. That’s how naive I am. I am naive because I choose to. But I think all of that’s going to change on my 25th birthday, the day Chemae leaves me, for just a couple of years if I’m lucky — forever if not. It’s the day I have to start the arduous and dangerous journey to chase after her or let the tides of time carry me to nowhere. It’s the day I either grow up or get back to planning trips to whore houses.
Our former team leader in our writing team, Ms. Anne, told me once as I was helping her wash dishes that “You should know what to do by the time you’re 25.” She was speaking of careers, how you should choose one and stick to it when you’re 25 years old. Well, I know what I’m supposed to do, but it has nothing to do with my career. It’s just about getting Chemae back into my life.
I’m eating champorado. 133 Days to go.