Jeanne and Ian, Part 2

…”You ready to go on a trip you might never forget?!?! Ha ha ha!” 

How amazingly true that statement would end up being, though, of course, I had no idea at the time. Just thought it was him kidding again. I said “Sure, big guy”. He gave me his big smile, the kind that just makes a woman melt with warmth, and laughed a little, and he said “Okay, really, let’s go, I think we’d better get things over with quickly”. I smiled back and said “Whatever”. So, we boarded the bus and off we went.

Going there, it was kind of uneventful. He told me he’d probably sleep through the whole trip, and he wasn’t kidding. He sort of fell right asleep as soon as the bus got going! And since we got on the bus at about 1:00 AM, I wasn’t quite in the mood nor the physical shape to just stare at Ian sleeping. At least, not the whole time! I joined Ian in his dreams around 30 minutes after he fell asleep, and I remembered thinking about how this guy can joke around and laugh, and fall asleep withing five minutes or so! Is he something, or what?

Well, he didn’t quite live up to his billing. He woke up when the bus had a stopover at a rest stop about 3 hours after we got on the bus. I happened to wake up a few minutes before he did, so I was more than ready to rib him about not sleeping the whole way. He smirked sleepily and said “Well, at least I tried! Shouldn’t I get credit for trying?”, and said he needed to go to the restroom. I had to go too, so we went together. While walking to the restrooms, it kind of hit me that whoever sees us together would probably think we’re a couple. Although Ian’s a solid 10 years older than I am, he looks a bit young for his age, and I look somewhat matured for mine. So, I don’t really know if he took notice that I was kind of strutting and flaunting my “boyfriend for the day” in front of the other ladies and gentlemen, but I know I was!

When we got back aboard the bus and it started on the remainder of the trip to Manila, he kind of just fell asleep again, as if, in his unspoken way, saying “If I can’t sleep the whole time, I’ll at least show you I tried”. This time I couldn’t fall asleep, most likely because I was still pumped up from (discreetly!) showing off to strangers the fact that I was with Ian. So, on that bus full of (mostly) sleeping passengers in the small hours of morning, here I was, just smiling to myself about the guy I was with, staring at him sleeping, and thinking, what could possibly be ahead for me, or him, or us… I did nod off to sleep, albeit about 1 hour or so from ETA in Manila… how sweet it was though, to wake up and see the guy I love right there in my face, saying…

“Wake up sleepyhead, it’s time to go!”

We got off the bus in Manila at about 8:00 AM, more or less, and we got on a taxi headed for some government building. We got off the cab after maybe 10 minutes of riding and walked into some kind of government office building. We got to some kind of counter with a woman in it, and Ian pointed to a bench and said “I’ll just have to do some talking here, you can just sit on the bench if you want to”. I was still a bit drowsy from the long trip and my coincidental lack of normal sleep, so I kind of just dragged myself to the bench and sat.

I watched Ian talk to the woman about something, I don’t know, couldn’t hear from the distance between bench and counter. Apparently he was having some difficulty in getting what he intended to get there because he kept frowning and subsequently raising his voice. Government offices in the Philippines tend to give you a hard time unless a)you threaten to sue because you’re a lawyer or you’re rich enough to hire an army of them, or b)you bribe them. Everyone knows this, and I had to believe he did too.

Eventually, after a few minutes of frowning and pleading to the woman, apparently to no avail, he turned to me (to my shock) and motioned for me to go over to the counter. “What in the world would he need me for” was what I was thinking to myself. Perhaps he needed me to make a phone call to home or get something from outside for him. I kind of liked just sitting down there and watching him do all the talking, like it made me feel more rested. You know how it is when you’re feeling tired and you just sit and watch others toil, it somewhat makes you feel more rested than normal. So I reluctantly dragged myself over to the counter.

When I got there, he told the lady “Look ma’am, me and my fiancee’ traveled for 7 hours by bus to get my certificate. I want you to look her in the eye right now and tell her we have to go back home and return with some document”. What he did next I’ll never, ever forget (and didn’t fail to tell my friends and cousins about!): he took me into his arms, hugged me tight, and whispered to me “It’s okay, just put your head on my chest and look at her”.

I did as he said, and, tell you what, it worked like a charm. She gave us a stare, grimaced ever so slightly, brought out a sheet of paper (seemingly the one Ian was after), and threw it at us and stormed away from her post. At that instant, Ian laughed out loud and said “Yes, I did it!”. I replied, “You certainly did, that was some work!” He then said “Make that, us!”. He almost looked like (and I was hoping!) he was going to kiss me square in the mouth, with all that joy on his face directed towards me, but he instead hugged me tight again. God, I love the feeling of being in his arms!

This somewhat “romantic” episode for me showed another aspect of Ian I never saw before: in situations where certain things are expected to be done, he always looked for the different, alternate solution. And he certainly wasn’t afraid to use it, no matter what. I made a mental note of that as I asked him…

© Jerome Baquilar