A fairy tale with Prince Charming is perfect. And for one particular moment, I almost believed in it.
Back in my college days, as my closest friends may have known, I was only attracted to one guy. This guy isn’t the Mr. Campus Personality type for like me, he was rather reserved and shy.
After two years of keeping the secret from my friends who the guy was, the secret was out, at least to the three women closest to me in college.
One afternoon in 2012, a friend to whom I have revealed the guy’s identity turn to the other two and pointed at someone in the distance. I lately figured out what they were talking about. I wanted to ran fast to zip her mouth before she could utter the words but it was already very late. One of the friends was giggling with laughter. It turned out that she and him were schoolmates in high school. So after a couple of years, I came to know about his real name, where he resides, blah blah blah. Unfortunately on the other hand, I became the target of constant teasing among my bestfriends. At times, I hated myself for revealing it to someone because I hated being teased, especially when it was done when the guy’s around. And though I know I have this advance talent in keeping myself composed and unaffected just so the guy would not notice what was going on, I am still saddened that the “apparent admiration” I felt might get blown out of proportion. Hence, I never intended it to be such a big deal to my bestfriends.
Then sometime in the summer of 2004 came one fateful moment.
While riding on the jeepney heading home after work for my practicum, came this usual teasing. Again directed to me and to the other single then, Lulu.The other two went out to joke about how wonderful it is to have someone waiting for them, accompanying them to get home while me and Lulu have to endure the dilemma of going home alone. Shortly, it was kind of saying how dumb life is for single ladies at my age. Then out of nowhere, maybe subconsciously came my sudden retort. That I would not have to worry since Mr. College Crush will be there waiting for me at the Citilink— the terminal for jeepneys bound for Naga and other Southern towns of Cebu. At the back of my mind, I was laughing my heads off while uttering those lines. Foremost because it’s a rare possibility that Mr. College Crush would prefer to wait for a jeepney in Citilink as he was used to directly wait for a ride just outside the campus. Another thing that made it funnier is the fact that I do not know if he was in school at that time since it was Saturday. Moreover, granted that he could be in Citilink, it would be a very rare possibility that we’ll see each other knowing how busy the place would be during weekends with hundreds of people storming the place, waiting for their ride back home. In a rate of 10, I’ll say even 2 will be an overrated assessment.
Yet, I was proved wrong.
The moment I reached Citilink alone, tired of the almost three hour ride from work, I nestled myself in the vacant spot at the leftmost end of the bench facing the V-Hire station. Slumped and almost exhausted, I waited staring blankly at the crowd of people going in and out of my sight. Five minutes, no jeepney bound for Naga has arrived. Ten minutes… Then I noticed something. Maybe because of the numerous crowd that passed by my front view, I failed to notice someone has been standing at my side. For how long, that I did not know.
Since I was sitting, what I first saw was his shoes. Advancing my glance upward, I almost fainted when it finally registered to me who it was. “How come he is here?” was all my mouth could mumble in silence.
Taken aback by the unexpected coincidence, I immediately dropped my eyes leaving not a single impression to the guy—not even a smile or a frown. Deep inside, my heart was racing but you will not see any awkward expression on my face or with the way I acted. That was how good I was with pretending and of playing numb— attributes which sometimes I would have wanted to disappear completely.
I must have been staring down at the terminal’s floor for so long for the next time I glanced up I saw Mr. College Crush walking past to the rear end of the terminal. That’s it. I just saw him, near me here at Citilink. Just like what I told my friends… or so it seems. A taste of my own fairy tale, I thought.
Moments later, I saw him emerging from the crowd, walking towards my direction again. Halting, and then standing for some more minutes at the opposite end of the bench where I was sitting. I was silently observing him this time but still was blankly staring at the distance. Maybe 15 minutes has passed before he finally made up his mind.
Next thing I knew he was settled at the front seat of the first V-Hire bound for Naga, parked exactly opposite my seat, barely two meters away. I knew what will happen once I looked up from my position. Trying to force myself to get rid of the fact that he can see me clearly at this spot, I acquiesced to the sickening pressure. So I decided to stand and leave. And while escaping from that hot spot, I realized one thing.
Why did he choose to ride on that V-Hire when it was clearly bound for Naga while he lives a town after mine? Will he be cutting rides? But why then when there are several trips bound for Carcar? If he has taken the latter, he wouldn’t have to worry about making stopovers. Erase, erase! All of it happened coincidentally. It was nothing special, as I tried to convince myself into believing. That incident could have beacon something else but when you defy every possibility that comes along, nothing will ever happen. That is because we still get to decide what we want, what comes and goes.
It was barely an hour of blissful fairy tale with then Prince Charming, Mr. College Crush. And sadly, that fairy tale was not meant to last ever after.