The Hopeless Romantic

In my age, I have probably seen a hundred romantic movies. I have watched way too many romantic series for a person to handle in a month. Some people call me ‘hopeless romantic’, well maybe they’re right. I always daydream and imagine myself in the heroine’s place then I thought, “It must’ve been great if I have a story like hers.” In every movie and drama that I watch, my ideal man seems to change every time. If in one story the leading character is a boy-next-door type or even an arrogant but sweet type of man, then my ideal man will be just that. I live like this. I live in stories’ plots and fairy tales. I daydream for a love story of my own. There are times when I stop and wonder, “Why haven’t mine started yet? Is there really someone special coming to sweep me off my feet?” Watching these love stories drove me frustrated and made me live in a fairytale bubble. Some people say that fairytale endings are only for movies and dramas; that they ought to be that way. They say that these fairytale-like stories are only for motion pictures directed and script-written, not for what’s real.

I believe that these stories are giving many people hope that one day someone meant only for them will come. Someone who will not say “I love you” but instead, “I love only you”; that one person who will not think of any other person but you.

Now I wonder, when will my own love story start? Has it already started and I just don’t realize it yet? Am I even going to have one? Is there going to be that someone that will sweep me off my feet and even take my breath away? – Maybe these things don’t happen, really. Does love exist and come on its own or do we have to act and do something for love to happen? Do people live their one lifetime to only find and search for love? It is ironic how love can make people feel alive in a minute then make them feel like dying the next. Is love really supposed to be this difficult? Do we all have to be this messed up just to feel that one feeling from another person, that feeling of being loved?

Maybe in the end, this will all be worth it but then again, how would I know? I never even had one.

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Best Friends

[An old work I did for CREWRIT]

They were two people both oblivious to the idea of love. They were both too young to be aware. It all started when they were on their fourth year high school. Jill was smart, determined and sensitive while Vince was rough, hard-headed but sweet.

v

            It was my first day as a senior in high school. I was seating side by side with Vince on the first day of class, we became seatmates for the school year. I was very uncomfortable; I never expected that it will be our permanent seats. I didn’t like the idea of sitting beside him for the rest of the year. I knew, since elementary, that Vince means trouble. Vince is someone very talkative and messy with his things. I was planning to be on the top of our class, I wanted to impress my parents by doing so. As determined as I was, I promised myself that I will never let Vince distract me from my plans.

As the class proceeded, there didn’t come a time where I won’t hear Vince say, “Jill, do you get it? Can you explain it to me?” As patient as I was, I would always try to explain the topics briefly to Vince but to no avail, after I explain it to Vince, it is I who would get lost on the lecture. For most of the time, I would get distracted when I hear Vince talking with my other classmates. These things went on and on as days passed. I knew right then that it was not working. I knew that I’ll never be on the top of our class because of Vince. I felt that I was struggling to pull up my grades.

As frustrated as I was, one event changed everything. Then it started. While I was on my way home, I felt my cell phone vibrate on the pocket of my school uniform. I opened the message and it said, “Hi Jill! This is Vince. Are you mad? I noticed that you’ve been cold to me lately.” I was surprised. I couldn’t move for a second. There was a lot going through my mind. First, I wasn’t expecting Vince to be this sensitive. Second, “how the hell did Vince get my number?!”.

So I replied back, “How were you able to get my number?”

“That’s a secret! Anyway, are you mad?”

“More like irritated. Why do you even care?”

“We’ll be seatmates for the rest of the year. We should at least get along.”

“You’re being really too friendly Vince. This is not like you! I bet you need something from me.”

“You really think of me that way?”

“YES.”

Five minutes had gone by but there was no reply from Vince. I hated him but what I hated the most was that I was counting the minutes waiting, anticipating Vince’s reply. I even held my cell phone in my hand while walking back home, just in case I miss it when it vibrates. I could not believe what I was doing. My long walk back home didn’t help because all that I was thinking about was Vince. I started to question myself, “Why am I waiting for his reply? Of course he’s not going to reply because he’s just too arrogant!”.

I was already home. I was done with my assignments and done with dinner. It was 9 o’clock in the evening on my wall clock. I was in a hurry to take a bath and to brush my teeth. I was tired but not sleepy. I kept rolling back and forth on my bed. I just couldn’t sleep. While I was staring on the clock, I felt my cell phone vibrate. I deniably felt excited. I rushed to get my phone, hoping that it was Vince. Indeed it was.

“This is Vince, I’m sorry. Good night.”

I was in denial. I knew that I was happy to receive the message from him but my pride just can’t admit it. Then I replied,

“I know it’s you Vince. It’s okay. Good night.”

I was not expecting any response from Vince. I thought that Vince was already asleep. But then he did.

“I thought you didn’t save my number, sorry again?”

“You keep on saying that. That word is starting to lose its meaning! Haha”

“Alright! Good night Jill.”

“Good night.”

I was happy, really happy and I could not believe myself. I realized that Vince was actually a good person, far from what I thought he is. I then knew that we can actually be good friends. Odd as it may seem, I was able to sleep soundly through the night.

Morning came. I was excited to go to school and excited to see my new friend. I composed myself thinking that Vince should be the one to approach me first. When I walked across the room, I heard Vince call my name.

“Jill!” Vince said.

“Hi Vince!”

“You look extra happy today! Haha Quick! Come here. Sit beside me, like always!”

“I do? Well maybe because I’m too happy to see you today.” I sarcastically answered.

“Whoah! Your enthusiasm’s hitting me hard!”

Vince and I went on teasing each other. Sarcastic jokes were thrown back and forth. We both enjoyed the whole day and we knew that there was no way we can deny it. These became our routine during school days. During weekends, we would exchange messages each day from the moment we wake up until we fall asleep. There was nothing to talk about but random things. We were closer than most friends should be. We were best friends.

Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. The rough and hard-headed Vince that I knew before was gone. Vince became a gentleman. He became understanding, patient and compassionate. He drastically changed but these changes were the things which made me more attracted to him.

I was growing too dependent on Vince. I was losing my focus on my studies. My grades were slowly going down. I lost my rank on the top students of our class. I was devastated. I was pressured to study harder to be able to go back on the top of our class. I really wanted to make my parents proud. Through all these, Vince supported me. He helped me go through the lectures and the lessons.  While studying after our class, Vince suddenly stopped and said,

“Jill, we’re best friends right?”

“That’s a silly question Vince.”

“No, seriously. We are, right?”

“Yes of course! Why do you ask?”

“I have a hypothetical question for you. I repeat, hypothetical. Ok? This has nothing to do with me. Ok Jill?”

“Yes! Yes! The anticipation’s killing me. Do you know that? So start! Haha”

“What if a friend–”

“A friend named Vince? Hahaha”

“Hypothetical! Stop kidding around! I’m serious!”

“Alright! If you’re so serious about it then go start again.”

“What if a friend of yours confesses his love for you? Will you get mad?”

I was caught off track. My heart started beating faster and faster. I was trying to answer back but I was stuttering. I relaxed myself and was still trying to get my composure when Vince said, “Is there something wrong? You don’t have to answer it if you don’t want to.”

“Uhh–”

“Oh hey! I should go now. It’s late. Bye!”

While arranging my things, I still couldn’t believe what just happened. I knew there was something. I felt that Vince may also feel the same way for me. I felt butterflies on my stomach. It was something I had never felt before but I needed to make sure that our feelings were mutual before I lay everything on the line. On my way home, I sent a text message to Vince saying, “Vince, sorry I wasn’t able to answer back quickly. What was that about? Was it just a random question?” I waited for hours but there was no reply. I sent Vince another message, “Vince, why are you not replying?”

Then he replied, “It was just random.”

I was taken aback. I felt my whole body froze. I couldn’t move my eyes away from the screen of my cell phone. My eyes kept on reading the message again and again. I was heartbroken. I shouldn’t have expected too much. I knew then that Vince will always be my friend, just a best friend.

v

            It was their first day as seniors in high school. Without any eagerness, Vince dragged his feet towards the classroom. It was the first day of classes and for him, the end of freedom just started. Vince was about to approach the door when he saw someone inside the class. It was Jill. She was sitting in front of the class with a vacant chair beside her. Vince got excited when he realized that they were classmates for the school year. In a blink of an eye, Vince’s frown turned upside down. It has been two years since he started liking Jill. She was not his type but there was something in Jill that made him smile. When he stepped inside their classroom, he was ecstatic to walk towards the vacant chair beside Jill. It was the closest that he ever got, too close that it made him a little nervous.

At last, the class started. Introductions and instructions were made clear for the class but the one reminder that Vince will never forget was when their adviser announced that the seats they were sitting on will be their permanent seats. It will be the permanent seating arrangement for the school year. Those words echoed inside Vince’s head like music.

As they proceeded with their classes, Vince thought of something. An idea that would hopefully make Jill notice him. It was not the smartest idea but Vince took the risk.  He pretended to be stupid and not understand a thing about the lectures. He pretended that he did not understand a thing when in fact he really did. With the right timing, he would ask Jill about the lectures during class. It was simple. His plan only composed of these words, “Jill, do you get it? Can you explain it to me?” Vince thought he was successful. He thought that his plan is working, that finally, Jill knows he exist but the truth was that his plan was not even close to being successful. Jill started to avoid him. He noticed that after a few days of executing his plan, Jill started to act busy.

It disturbed him for days. As desperate as Vince was, he formulated another plan in his head. His plan was to ask their class adviser, Mrs. Abrigo, for Jill’s number.

“Good afternoon Mrs. Abrigo!”

“Good afternoon! Can I help you with something?”

“Can I ask for Jill’s number?”

“Why do you need her number?”

“Well, I’m having a little difficulty with one of our lessons. I was hoping I can send her a message so that she can teach me.”

“Why don’t you ask personally ask her for her number? You’re seatmates right?”

“I forgot. She already went home.”

“Alright then, here’s her number.”

Their class adviser handed him the class directory. For the first time, his plan was successful. He finally had Jill’s number. Vince immediately grabbed his cell phone secretly from his pocket and sent Jill a message. “Hi Jill! This is Vince. Are you mad? I noticed that you’ve been cold to me lately.” Vince was not really expecting a reply from Jill. He just wanted to let her know that he cares but after a few minutes, his cell phone vibrated. It was Jill.

“How were you able to get my number?”

“That’s a secret! Anyway, are you mad?”

“More like irritated. Why do you even care?”

“We’ll be seatmates for the rest of the year. We should at least get along.”

“You’re being really too friendly Vince. This is not like you! I bet you need something from me.”

“You really think of me that way?”

“YES.”

Vince was surprised. He could not believe that Jill sees him that way just like how the rest of his classmates see him. He got depressed. It hit him hard. Reading Jill’s reply in all caps, he was speechless. There was nothing to reply. Vince went home frustrated.

He was finally home but still bothered with thoughts. Vince was never like this. He was never bothered or even frustrated of what people may think of him. It was then clear to him that Jill was really different. He realized that Jill was his kryptonite.

It has been hours since Jill’s last message. It was already late but Vince was simply restless. Staring at the wall clock while hearing the loud clicks of every second that passed, Vince finally thought of sending Jill a message.

“This is Vince, I’m sorry. Good night.”

Vince was not really expecting a reply from Jill but the unexpected happened. Jill replied and it was a fast one saying,

“I know it’s you Vince. It’s okay. Good night.”

“I thought you didn’t save my number. Sorry again?”

“You keep on saying that. That word is starting to lose its meaning! Haha”

“Alright! Good night Jill.”

“Good night.”

Vince was happy to know that he made Jill laugh even if it was just typed on a message. He treasured it. It was enough for him to know that Jill was not mad at him anymore. It was just a simple thing, but for Vince it was the reason he needed to sleep soundly through the night.

Morning came. Vince was excited to go to school. He went an hour too early. It was the first time that he ever went to school early and even excited. Vince went straight to the restroom. He fixed his hair for several times that it almost seemed forever. He even sprayed perfume on his body in every spot possible. “This is the start!” Vince whispered while looking at his reflection on the mirror.

Vince waited patiently for Jill to come. The anticipation almost killed him. Finally, Jill arrived. With his nerves running wild, he shouted, “Jill!”

“Hi Vince!” Jill answered back.

“You look extra happy today! Haha Quick! Come here. Sit beside me, like always!”

“I do? Well maybe because I’m too happy to see you today.” Jill sarcastically answered.

“Whoah! Your enthusiasm’s hitting me hard!”

Jill and Vince spent the day teasing each other. Gradually, it became a routine for them. They just can’t survive a day without each other’s sarcasm. Odd as it may seem, their sarcasm entertained them which paved the way for their friendship. In an instant, they became best friends.

Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. Vince was falling harder for Jill. He thought that being friends with Jill was all that he wanted. He thought that it was enough to make him happy but it wasn’t. Vince wanted more than a friendship. He wants to be with Jill, officially. Vince changed himself for Jill. He became understanding, patient and compassionate. He wanted to be Jill’s ideal type, so he turned himself into a gentleman.

One school day, Vince noticed that Jill was spaced out. She was staring blankly at a paper posted on the board. It was a list of the top students in their class. Jill’s name was not in the list. Vince felt guilty. It was hard for him to see Jill so disappointed. He knew it was only him to blame. He then decided to help Jill pull up her grades. Vince supported Jill with her studies. He helped her study after class hours at the library.

Vince knew it was not the right timing but he didn’t have any choice. He was hoping to ask Jill for her permission to court her but instead, he asked a hypothetical question.

“Jill, we’re best friends right?”

“That’s a silly question Vince.”

“No, seriously. We are, right?”

“Yes of course! Why do you ask?”

“I have a hypothetical question for you. I repeat, hypothetical. Ok? This has nothing to do with me. Ok Jill?”

“Yes! Yes! The anticipation’s killing me. Do you know that? So start! Haha”

“What if a friend–”

“A friend named Vince? Hahaha”

“Hypothetical! Stop kidding around! I’m serious!”

“Alright! If you’re so serious about it then go start again.”

“What if a friend of yours confesses his love for you? Will you get mad?”

Vince saw Jill’s surprise face. He didn’t know how to react. His nerves were running wild. He was starting to feel nervous. With every ticking second, Vince’s confidence started fading. It was another plan destined to fail. With the little confidence remaining, he then asked Jill, “Is there something wrong? You don’t have to answer it if you don’t want to.”

“Uhh–”

“Oh hey! I should go now. It’s late. Bye!”

Vince stood up and walked fast outside the library. He was pretending to be in a hurry. “I shouldn’t have asked her that! Stupid!” he whispered. Jill’s surprise face came flashing back on his mind. “Maybe all she wants is for us to be just friends. To be friends with her is better than to be nothing at all.” he frantically whispered. He was heartbroken. Jill was his ideal girl but a best friend was all that she can be to him.

He was on his way home when he received a message from Jill saying, “Vince, sorry I wasn’t able to answer back quickly. What was that about? Was it just a random question?” With so many thoughts running through his mind, he could not think of what to answer back. So he thought it would be better to leave it unanswered. After a few hours, Vince received another message from Jill.

“Vince, why are you not replying?”

Vince could not think of anything to say but he knew that Jill was waiting for an answer. This was something he cannot avoid. He knew that this will make everything awkward between them so to make it a little less awkward, he replied, “It was just random.”


A Diary Long Forgotten

This is an old work I did for my Creative Writing class

Staring blankly at the mountains, I let out my arms as the winds gently embrace me, welcoming me; the calming smell of the breeze that captures the very essence of me. Sitting on a well hand-crafted chair, I tried to lean forward as I enjoyed the cold wind encompass my being. This is probably the most peaceful that I have ever been. I can stare at the mountains as long as I want to. I have never seen them this beautiful. Enjoying every second, I don’t even notice how time passes by so fast. It’s almost twilight. The day is slowly coming to an end, the same as with my life as I know it.

My name is Lucila. I am a retired company executive in an international brand. I’ve been living for 70 long years. I have everything that money can buy. I worked hard for what I have now. I have a mansion, the expensive cars and a beautiful farm in the province. I gave up everything to have everything. I have experienced every single thing that is there to experience in life except for one. I was never married. I never experienced how it is like to have a family; to have a child to call my own and a husband to show my love to. I also never had a gentleman to stand by me when I was decades younger than my age today. Odd as it may seem, I would like to experience how it is to argue with someone I love. I would like to feel the feeling of jealousy, the feeling of anger each time we fight. I’ve been living for 70 years and all I can hear are people complaining about love but it is that one thing that I’d give everything to experience. But it’s too late now.

Love, I never experienced love. I never knew what love truly means. I can hear people talk about it; even describe it, but I was too limited to fully understand the feeling, love. When I was young, I can remember myself staring at the couples strolling around the town plaza. Hugging, kissing, smiling and laughing. They looked so sweet. Each couple staring at each other’s eyes like there’s no tomorrow. They made it seem like a whole day is not enough to express how much they love each other. These were the sights I envied.

However, there is no more room for my regrets. I have grown old. My hair is grey. Loose wrinkled skin covers my whole body. It is indeed too late now. This is the consequence of what I chose. I chose to love my career instead. I gave my whole life to my work. I used to travel a lot for business meetings hence; I was able to know many gentlemen whom I’ve made friends with. Still, I didn’t bother to know them better because work came first before intimate relationships.

I’ve made myself numb for years. Numb from the feelings that I knew I had for him. His name is Manuel. He was a stock holder in the company that I was working for. He was rich yet humble. He had everything but was willing to lose everything for me. We became close friends, closer than what friends should be. He seemed almost perfect but I was more focused on my work. Then that one night changed everything.

I have a very vague memory but that night is never forgotten. It was May 18, 1971. I knew that night was unusual. Manuel prepared a dinner for the two of us in his house. The setting was very intimate. There was a bouquet of roses sitting on the table with a romantic song playing on the cassette player. Everything was perfect, I almost gave in to my assumptions but I knew I shouldn’t. I asked him what the aura was all about but he just told me to wait until after desert. I was confused. Manuel doesn’t talk a lot, he’s actually a man of few words but that night during dinner, he talked about his feelings for me from the appetizer until the main course and as for me, I just kept quiet. I can tell from his gaze that he was sincere, that everything he’s telling me that night came from his heart. There were many things going through my head at that time. I have the same feelings for him but I just wasn’t ready to give up everything for him. I knew to myself that having an intimate relationship with him could jeopardize my career. I just wasn’t ready to take that risk. I was so deep in my thoughts that I didn’t notice that it was already desert. I didn’t know what to do. The next thing that I remembered myself doing was running out of his house and driving myself back home. After that night, I started to avoid him. The telephone kept on ringing and ringing and ringing then it stopped. After that last ring, I never heard from him again. I knew it was over. I almost had him. I almost had love. I live every day thinking what could’ve been. I live each day thinking of a thousand what ifs. I can only imagine what could happen if I didn’t run away from him.

It is already late. Clock’s ticking every second. As I look up to gaze at the beautiful stars at the night sky, a falling star met my stare. It is the most beautiful sight tonight.

The sun is up. I can feel the heat of the sun on my face, the wind blowing a beautiful bliss on my skin. As I slowly stand, I can hear no bones cracking; every joint on my body feeling no more rheumatoid arthritis and I am not even breathing heavily! I feel perfect! This is the best that I have ever felt in 20 years! But this is so unusual. I unusually feel perfectly fine. As I look down, I see something is different with my body. Then, I look around. My heart almost fell! I am back in my old house! This is the house that I used to live in when I was just starting my career. It is exactly it.  Nothing changed. Suddenly, every nerve in my body is slowly climbing up in my head. I am beginning to feel nervous, anxious.

As I try to get across the dining area, my peripheral was stunned by a young reflection of myself on the mirror. My knee starts shaking.  I am in awe. It seems like the clock stopped. I can’t move an inch. I can’t dare look at the mirror but then ~~~ “waaaaah!” my scream surrounds the whole house. I can’t believe it! I look so young. No more wrinkles. No more grey hair. Many thoughts came to mind. My head’s a whirlwind right now. This is so confusing. “How did this happen?!! I am decades younger!” I drag myself towards the coffee table to look for a newspaper. From afar, I can tell that the year is 1971. I can’t believe my eyes so I stride closer and closer to the calendar. It is indeed year 1971 month of May and the date is 18. Every memory about that night slowly came back. I thought I am going to lose my consciousness.

“Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.”

I slowly am collecting myself. Hours from now, I’ll be having the most memorable dinner I’ll ever have. I’ll be seeing ~~ *ring* *ring* *ring*. The phone is ringing. My heart starts thumping double time. I know that the person from the other line is Manuel. He’s going to remind me about our dinner.

“Hello?” he said.

My heart stopped. Just by hearing his voice, it makes me stutter. I can’t think straight. I got lost in oblivion.

“Hello Lucila! I called to remind you of our dinner tonight here at my house.”

“Oh yes. I know you’re going to ~~ I mean yes, of course dinner!”

“So do you still want to drive yourself here like you’ve been insisting? Or do you want me to come and get you?”

“Uh, Okay. You can come and get me. I’ll wait for you tonight!”

“Great! I’ll be there at 7 o’clock in the evening. Bye!”

“Bye!”

Manuel is coming tonight. I told him to come and get me tonight apart from what I did a long time ago wherein I drove myself to go to his place. It is settled then. This is my chance to change my life. This is my chance to not be alone, a chance to finally answer all the ‘what ifs’ and all the ‘what could’ve been’. This is the perfect opportunity to change the very decision that made me frustrated, the perfect opportunity to experience love from the person I love the most. I feel like my heart’s bursting with emotions, the very emotions that I feel for Manuel, the only man that I ever loved. I am now ready to take the risk and show him how much I love him. This is my chance to change my life and make it Manuel’s.

Seconds passed, minutes passed then hours passed. Manuel is coming any moment now. I am wearing the best dress that I have in my closet. My face is perfectly blushed. I have never been this nervous about Manuel. In my mind, I am practicing the things that I’ll be telling him, trying to put all my emotions in one speech. I can’t understand it but I am stuttering as I verbally practice my speech. I have never been like this. I can feel my palm sweat like never before.

*knock* *knock*

“Lucila!”

“I’m coming!”

I can feel the cold steel door knob as I twist it open. This is the first time that I’ll see Manuel since that night.

“Manuel! I missed you!”

I can see the confusion in his eyes but I couldn’t help myself but hug him tight. I miss how his body was so perfectly aligned with mine each time we hug. I miss how he smells and how he strings down his hand on my hair when we hug. I miss everything about him.

“I missed you too Lucila.”

I looked at him and stare, his soft fair porcelain skin, black shiny hair, tantalizing brown eyes and red cherry lips smiles at me. It’s a moment that I hope would last. I can live just by staring at him.

“Lucila, our dinner’s getting cold. We better go.”

“Of course! Sorry for staring too long.”

“You don’t have to apologize for that, you know that.”

This is a quiet ride to his house. As we go pass every street lights on the road, I just stared at him. I can’t believe that I didn’t see this side of Manuel before. I can’t believe that I was so focused on my career that I didn’t have the time to stop and appreciate Manuel’s efforts.

“We’re here.” Manuel said.

The setting is the same as before, a bouquet of roses sitting on the table and a romantic song playing on the cassette player. The only thing that is different is me and my feelings towards Manuel. Apart from before, we are enjoying every meal with a tasteful conversation. We are talking about every topic that comes to mind.

The appetizers passed. The main course passed. Here comes the desert.

“Lucila, we’ve been friends for a long time now. I know that you are not numb not to feel what I am trying to make you feel. I know that you love your career and you’re doing everything to be at the top but I like you. I like to love you, Lucila! Please give me a chance to be the man who will stand by you every day.”

I can see the overflowing sincerity in his eyes; hearing those words coming from Manuel sounds like a beautiful music kissing my ears and enlightening my heart.

“I know that I’ve been putting all my attention on my career. I know that you’re taking the risk to tell me these things tonight. Manuel, I also feel the same way for you. I am ready to lose everything to make you my everything. I don’t want to live a day away from you anymore. I love you too Manuel!”

This is the happiest that I have ever felt. Tears streaming down my cheeks, telling me that I am making the right decision. Now I know how it feels to love and be loved. Nothing is more important than this. I may have everything but no other happiness can compare to the happiness that love can bring.

The sun is up.  My eyes are startled by the ray of light passing through the windows. I had a good sleep. As I tried to move my foot, an electrocuting pain hit my joints. Every joint in my body is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The pain is killing me. I want to shout but my heavy breathing prohibits me. I am back to my old self.

“It was a dream. It was just a dream.” I cried to myself.

I am alone again. Manuel is just a faded memory that I am trying to bring back. We were never meant to be together. Why do I have to ~~

“Grandma!!” an echoing child’s voice said as it faintly reached my ears.

“Grandma? Whose grandchild is that? What is he doing in my house?” I said to myself. To my surprise, the door rapidly opened.

“Oh there you are Grandma! I’ve been searching for you! C’mon, let’s go outside. You haven’t eaten your breakfast yet!”

“I’m not your Grandma, I don’t know you. What are you doing here?”

“Yes you are!! C’mon now Grandma! Everyone’s waiting for you for breakfast! Hurry! I am hungry hungry! We’ll wait for you downstairs ok Grandma?!”

I tried to pinch myself thinking that I am just dreaming but I’m not. “I have a Grandson?” I don’t even remember myself adopting a son. I slowly moved my body assisting every joint that I have in every motion avoiding a massive pain.

I then reached for the digital alarm clock on my bedside table to look for the date today. The year is 2010 month of July and the date is 27. I am speechless. There are no words to define all these things that are happening to me now.

“Grandma! I am hungry hungry!” the boy shouted as it reached my room.

As I walk towards the door, I can’t help but wonder what’s happening. I feel like I am in a whirlwind right now. One thing after the other, everything is moving in fast pace except for me. Stepping carefully on the stairs on my way down, I have never seen the dining area this full. Every seat is occupied.

“Grandma! You’re here! At last, I can eat now!”

“No. Not yet kiddo! Wait for your Grandma to sit and then you say grace.”

“Okay Grandpa.”

The man he called Grandpa, he awfully looks familiar. His eyes, his lips and his stance, he’s a lot like my Manuel. The wrinkles may have covered his porcelain skin but aside from my eyes, my heart says that he is Manuel, my Manuel.

“Lucila! Come hurry, sit beside me. The food is getting cold.” he said.

As I sit, I can’t help but ask him, “Who are you?”

“Why my dear? Do you suddenly have Alzheimer’s disease?”

“No, just please bear with me. Please answer my question.”

“I’m Manuel, we’ve been married for 35 years now. And they are our children with their spouses and they are our grandchildren. Don’t you remember? This is me, Manuel.”

Tears fall down from my cheeks when I heard those words. I am married to the man I love. I am not going to be alone anymore. I have a family now. I am so far from what I used to be. No wealth can be compared to this.

“Dear, why are you crying? It’s breakfast. The kids are staring.”

“Nothing, I’m just happy Manuel.”

Manuel smiled at me. Behind those grey hair and wrinkled skin, is the man that I love with all my life. I used to think that giving up everything to have everything is better but then I realized that what is more important is Manuel, because if I have Manuel, I have everything.