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I will never forget the first day of my freshman year.

 

I was walking around Arki, fixing my papers for registeration (which back then seemed forever to complete) and I saw you sitting on the steps with your friend, fixing your papers as well. Call me shallow but you actually caught my eye because of the way you looked – laidback, wearing a cap backwards, a plain shirt, shirt and sneakers. And of course, let’s not forget your incredibly thick eyebrows, haha. I remember how I gave you the nickname “kapal-kilay” whenever I talked about you with my friends because I didn’t knew who you were. I just knew that a week didn’t pass by that I didn’t see you around Arki, and a day didn’t flew by without me waiting for you to show up.

But as the days dragged on, classes got harder. Plates started to pile up, alongside exams and reports due the next day. I met a lot of new friends, joined and org and went to event after event – so many things were happening and my little happy crush became a thing of the past.

The next year, we had to get CWTS as prescribed by the curriculum, but I didn’t know which one to get so I tailed my friends when they chose DMST (Rappeling and Camping). When I got to the Vanguard, I was surprised to see you there but the flutters in my stomach weren’t as lively as before. We had to answer something for the instructor, you were late so you didn’t have time to think of the answers so you copied from mine (I really don’t remember how that happened). Since I was a really shy and awkward person, I urged myself to not pay much attention to you so I chose to talk to my close friends instead. We eventually got acquainted as the months passed but never really grew closer. Then our final requirement for the class was set. We had to go camping for three days in the mountains. It was when our entire group really bonded, including us.

Whenever we trekked, we should always have a partner to guide us. Preferably, a guy should be in front of you if you were a girl so he can assist you when the trail got steep and rough. Coincidentally, you were in front of me and that’s when it all started.

I remember how my stomach churned when you held my hand to give me a boost. We joked around and talked while walking. I grew very fond of you. After the semester ended, I got to see you more often around Arki because you were applying for an org there. Whenever we met, you always teased me about my height (well, until now) or make up a joke about something. I didn’t gave it much thought and just shrugged it off because I thought you were just being nice and friendly. And then you asked me out.

Everything, as they say, is history.

Days turned into weeks, weeks passed by through months, and the months became two years. When I think about my naive freshman and sophomore selves, it didn’t cross my mind that I would meet someone like you, let alone stay in a relationship for this long. I’ve always thought long-term relationships were for adults, for those who seek a partner, for those who wanted a lifetime. But you exceeded everything. You did not only love me but became my best friend. You gave me reasons to trust and depend on you. Even if you were in a different continent at that time, you never failed to make me feel loved, to make me feel that I am not alone.

You encouraged me to be a better version of myself. You taught me how optimism can change your life. You did not impose your ideals on me but you embodied them and showed me what good they brought. You pushed me to take on challenges to develop myself. You let me flourish and grow by myself. Your love never dominated me and made me feel owned. Rather, you made me feel secure. You became home to me.

For those and everything else, thank you. Thank you for accepting my flaws and failures – the good and the bad. Thank you for showing me what a true relationship is. Thank you for letting me love you and always, always making me feel loved. Cheers to more years.

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