Jeanne and Ian, Part 1

Prologue: She said “If only I was her mother…”

by Ian 

Those words still reverbate in an ocean of mixed emotions, and how those words forever echo in my mind, heart, and soul. Such a story to get to that point in time, and how bizarre it must seem, or rather, how strange it truly is. But then, again, things do not necessarily have to be so normal to be wonderful, their weirdness can be so very infectious, in their own weird way. To hear those words, that instance in time started (or did it) something, something which changed our lives, probably irreversibly. My life, it had gone pretty smoothly up to that point in time. Sure, I had my share of girlfriends, lovers, dates, etc… but never quite a situation like this, that’s for sure!

How did we ever get to that point? How could something with so innocent, so innocuous a start, turn into this? What a wicked path of time this must be, to escalate to such an amazingly weird, wonderful climax? I can only imagine… or could it be traced to some single past event that transpired between us?

But, what could that have possibly been? You could count on your fingers the instances we spent any degree of time alone, together. Or could you have derived such feelings, and maybe inspiration, from those times we spent time together within a group? A group which consisted of your family and relatives? A group which consisted of my girlfriend, eventually my wife? A group which my daughter was part of? My wife, Anna??? My baby daughter??? How bizarre, indeed.

We could start with the first time we’d met. I was a 25 year-old college graduate student, dating your 23 year-old cousin. How old were you at the time? A mere 15 years old, which makes for a whopping 10 year age difference. Think about it, I’ve lived a full decade more than you have. That can’t possibly be conducive to starting a relationship or love of any serious kind, now can it? Or could it possibly be an extreme case of “opposites attracting”? Hey, I may be on to something… or am I?

I sometimes understand the attraction of wanting something you can’t have, loving someone who can’t, or won’t, love you in return. It’s the thrill of desire, chasing the elusive object, no matter whether you get it or not, it’s the chase that thrills the heart and gets it pumping pretty good. I’ve seen it myself many times, even have been the hunter of the prize a few times. But never the hunted! And, especially not like this!

There were somewhat noticable incidents, such as the high school dance, the trip to Manila, the time you came to my place alone… but it would’ve taken a severe stretch of my imagination to even have the slightest idea of what you were up to… or what was to come… I think it really started to come to light that time at the beach… still, even given that, I still liked you as one of my closest cousins-in-law, a cool friend to talk to and hang out with, and always around when I needed someone to talk to, someone to help me with things. I guess it all was revealed before my eyes, or should I say before my ears, when I heard you say…


…”I loved him, I really loved him, and I still love him”

by Jeanne

I had (or, is it have???) the biggest crush on a guy, the right guy, in the wrong place, so to speak. As in, the wrong place in time. Well, maybe not, that could depend on your perspective. Anyways, he’s 10 years older than me, happily married to one of my cousins, and has the most wonderfully cute baby daughter. Yet, I’m not ashamed to have fallen for him. You’d have to see him, know him, talk to him everyday to understand what it is about this guy that drove me crazy for him. And then, I’m almost certain you wouldn’t blame this high school girl for falling in love with him. If you were a girl thrown into my situation, I could practically guarantee you that something would happen between you two!

I could tell you a bit about me, but, I’m sure it wouldn’t really go anywhere in explaining what, why, and how it happened. I’m a high school senior, getting average to above-average grades, and I’m relatively active in extra-curricular stuff. I have quite a lot of friends in school, maybe three or four which you’d call close-best friends. I have the warm love of my family (a younger sister and brother, and my parents) at home, my relatives like me, and maintain more of a “friends” type of relationship with my cousins, though some more close than others. Love life? I do sometimes get asked out on dates by guys my age, but, I’ve turned them all down. Practically without a second thought each time. They were all a distant second, a lapped runner, to the guy I really love…

You have to understand what the Philippines is like to get an understanding of what, in my opinion, causes me to turn down guys  almost automatically like that. Out here, it seems every guy has some kind of hang-up, something appalling about him, that makes you, as a woman, want to look right past him for someone better. It’s almost like, “That guy’s good looking, but he’s face down on the pavement with a liquor bottle in his hand”, or “He dresses sharply, but he’s a load to kiss with all those cigarettes in his mouth”. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. And just when you think you found a guy who’s deficient in bad attributes, he turns out to be a weenie, if you get what I mean. Perhaps, the “context” was what really tuned in my attention to the guy who was (to me, at least) good looking, a great person, trend setting dresser, athletic, genuinely nice to everyone, and (unfortunately) dating my cousin, Anna.

I think my younger sister, Lynn, knew I had a crush on him before I did. I guess she caught me staring at him once with my dreamy eyes look or something, she just went up to me and said “You have a crush on Ian, don’t you?”. It kinda shocked me to hear her say those words, in front of Ian no less, yet, it didn’t because when I heard those words I then realized that I indeed was having a crush on this apparently perfect guy. Ian definitely heard it, I could tell from how he subtlely reacted. This kind of guy, no doubt, must’ve had many an experience with girls, probably used to girls swooning, staring at, and perhaps even giggling over him. He just kind of gave a small grin to himself, probably thinking to himself that it was just a passing schoolgirl’s crush or something like that. If that was indeed what he was thinking, he would eventually be proven wrong because, that was just the beginning.

I got close to Ian over the following months that he frequented my family’s house and my relatives’ houses (we have family get-togethers a lot here, and everyone liked Ian so much that they wouldn’t have Anna coming over without him!). The first time he went with all of us on a beach trip, I had him teach me how to swim. Now, I’m the best swimmer in the family (if you exclude Ian, of course! He seems to be great at any sport). Along the way, by talking to him, overhearing conversations with/about him, and simply hanging out with him, I also found out a lot of things about him. If he were my “knight in shining armor”, I found a few chinks in his armor, but they were a lot more like designer folds and notches as opposed to flaws.

1) He says he’s an ugly guy, but I don’t think so, otherwise he wouldn’t…

2) … have a problem understanding girlfriends. He doesn’t always know what to do, but he seems (and has proven to me) that he always…

3) … tries to be as great a person to others as he can be, though he admits he doesn’t always come out successful.

4) He doesn’t try to dress fashionably, or trendy, he just puts on what’s comfortable for him. Fortunately (for me!) he just looks nice in a lot of things

Imagine, looking for faults in a person, and that’s the worst you could find in the guy! I think I’ve seen some worse ones than those! So, as you could imagine, learning more and more about this great guy made me fall in love with him. But, being in the situation we were in, it was almost impossible for me to tell him about it, to tell my mom or dad about who my crush was. I couldn’t hold it back from my girl cousins (excluding Anna, of course!), who I talk to a lot, and we all treat each other like we’re best friends, which we really are. Naturally, they were initially shocked by my statement of love for him, but, they pretty much understood why I’d fall for the guy 10 years my senior, who’s dating my cousin. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d think they were kind of envious of me, wanting to go after a guy like Ian.

For a time, seemingly a long time, I kind of fantasized that it was me, not Anna, that was the object of Ian’s love. And, on any given day, he was going to have a problem with Anna, they’d break up, and I’d come out and tell him how much I had fallen in love with him, for who he is, for what he is, and would say how wonderful we would be together if it were us. Together. Ian and I. I always thought of the possibilities, how it would shock everyone else if we ended up together (especially my family and relatives!), and how wonderful it would end up being.

I guess it was all just wishful thinking, but the dreams of me and him kind of died when they announced that they were getting married. When I heard the news, I didn’t know whether to smile, frown, laugh, or cry. It just kind of hit me like a sucker punch, my dream guy is getting married to someone else, he wasn’t going to marry me, and I wasn’t going to be able to do a thing about it. Well, even if I could do something, it’s very doubtful that I would’ve done it at that point in time. Anyways, they announced their wedding about a month before wedding day.

Before the wedding, though, Ian needed to get a certificate of some kind from Manila, and he needed someone to keep him company for the 7 hour bus ride going there, not to mention the 7 hours coming back from there. Anna couldn’t go because she had come down with a nasty cold, and initially my brother Peter was supposed to go, but he ended up having problems of his own to worry about. And, Lynn, not to mention the rest of my cousins, were simply too young and immature to be out that far away from home without their parents. So, guess who ended up being the lucky one to go off on a business trip with Ian???

My first thought was “Boy, do I have such great timing or what”, like, as if I still had a chance even before the wedding announcement? Then, after thinking the situation over, I realized, I’ve been so happy just to be around the guy, to get to talk to him, to smell his cologne, to occasionally touch him (even if by accident, or apparent accident!). Now, I’d have a whole day with him all to myself, his attention solely on his business in Manila, and (somewhat) on me. For one last time I could live out my fantasy of having him to myself, even if for a limited time. Just Ian and I, just the two of us. I could go on and on about how excited and thrilled I was at this relatively unusual situation of being a “couple for a day”. Then the day came, and he went up to me and he said…

© Jerome Baquilar