One rainy Friday
MANILA, Philippines -- It was a rainy Friday, when I first met him. The glass windows of our office were rattling as strong winds blew and the rain sloshed angrily on the glass. He walked into the room where we were chatting impatiently while waiting for their group to arrive.
He was a ray of sunshine on that stormy day. He was smiling his cheery smile, his dimpled cheeks so enticingly romantic that I couldn't take my eyes off him. He had an aura of intelligence so very rare among the men I usually deal with. And when he approached to introduce himself to us, I knew I had already fallen for him.
When he repeated my name, he looked deep into my eyes and seemed to probe the very depths of my being. I could almost feel him exploring the corners of my mind and I shivered with the sudden awareness.
We shook hands. His were warm and dry while mine were cold and clammy. I couldn't bring myself to look again into his eyes because I was so sure he'd see how I felt. My eyes have always been expressive and I couldn't take the chance of him catching a glimpse of the turmoil inside me.
The next day, I broke up with Leo, my boyfriend of two years. I was so sure of how I felt for the other guy. My feelings for Leo paled in comparison to what I felt for him.
The breakup was not a pleasant one. Leo didn't take it calmly, which was what I expected since we already had many plans for our future together. But I was sure of my decision. I knew what I wanted and I knew who I wanted to be with. And it was not Leo.
After that, things started to develop into something more between the other guy and me. He would often look up from his table at the office and stare unknowingly at me. I would catch him watching me walk from one end of the office to another. I would feel his eyes watch my lips move whenever I spoke on the phone near his table.
Whenever he spoke to me, he would insert personal questions entirely unrelated to our topic of conversation. He wanted to know what my plans were. He wanted to know my dreams no matter how small they seemed. He wanted to know what made me happy and what made me sad. He made it his business to know my future plans and my heart's desires for reasons that were not fully clear to me then. I did not ask why he was so interested; I was sure I knew the answer.
My days were filled with stolen glimpses of him, too. I watched him speak to applicants for jobs in our company. I listened to his questions and explanations and marveled every time at the intelligence behind them. I watched him soothe the feelings of those who did not pass the rigid interviews and I wished so many times that it was me he was comforting.
My nights were no better than my days. I would think of him endlessly and could hardly sleep. I would cry hot tears of longing and in the morning, I would pretend as if nothing happened.
I knew that he knew how I felt. Our glances were unmistakable. It was hell waiting for him to come to me first and confess his feelings. It was torture having him near when I couldn't express fully what I felt inside. But it made me feel alive. It made me realize that I was still human, capable of loving deeply and of being hurt immensely.
It was also on a rainy Friday when everything came apart for me. That day, his wife and son came to our office to fetch him.
I almost fainted in surprise and dismay when I realized that he already had his little family. I didn't know. My feelings for him left no space for the thought that he might not be free to love another. In the little imaginary world I had created for us, there was no one else but him and me.
I let go completely after that, painfully turning down his tempting offer of an extra-marital affair. It's not that I didn't want him, it was more because I cared for him too much to let him ruin his family life. I couldn't hold on anymore, anyway. There was so much he didn't say, so much he had left unknown. The thread that bound him and me was so thin and flimsy. As e.e. cummings once wrote, "Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands."
Adelette H. de la Paz, 28, is a recruitment coordinator at a private firm.
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