I remember my Photography professor shared an amusing and a bit mushy anecdote about how he realized, "This is it, I'm not only in love, but I deeply, wholly love this girl..she's the one." For my professor, it was all thanks to onions.
He was chopping onions to cook dinner for his girlfriend, admitting he was trying to impress this girl even though he had never cooked all his life. While chopping religiously, his eyes began to water. It didn't take long for his vision to blur as one tear followed after another. My professor began to sniff. While rubbing his eyes, his girlfriend gently removed his hand and dabbed a handkerchief to wipe his tears. The girl whispered, giggling, "Tahan na." It was then, at that moment, he knew this girl was the one he'd love for the rest of his life.
I never forgot that story. More than amused, I was touched. When you realize you are truly in love, it's always not in a grandiose, obvious way. No candle-lit dinners and parading under the stars. No dancing on a rooftop and a room full of roses. Or an orchestra playing your favorite song while you dine in fancy restaurant. I've always believed in those kinds of moments -- small ones that are unexpected, understated and yet, magical. Trust me, I'm not a hopeless romantic, but a realistic, keep-my-feet-on-the-ground kind of girl.
For me, it happened one night in 2009 during the U.P. Fair. Every year, my boyfriend and I made it a point to attend the fair, even just for one day. That week, I was suffering a recurring back ache due to so much stress at work. But to hell with my back ache, nothing could stop me from going! There's the sunken garden grass to lie on anyway. But two bands into the fair, my back ached so much I could even feel the throb when I'm lying down or leaning on Sam's back. Sam wanted to go to the hospital, but I insisted just a bed rest will do.
That night, I slept over at his house that was near UP. My back ache was far from leaving me alone. It was too painful I had to stifle my cries -- "Hindi ko to kaya." Sam lied down beside me and massaged my back, using cantor oil to relieve the pain. His mouth on my ear, he shushed me, whispering over and over, "I'm just here, baby." He massaged and soothed me for hours until finally, the pain was gone and I fell asleep.
I was blinded and numbed by so much pain that night. But there was that short moment, a fraction of a minute, that I saw myself with him for the rest of my life.
Earlier today, Sam and I went to the mall to watch a movie, shop, and eat. I'm not as conscious as before of how I acted when I'm with him. But mostly, I remember feeling happy. And the details I often forget. Today, Sam said something amusing:
Sam: "Bakit ganito tayo no?"
Alina: "Paanong ganito? Pano ba tayo?"
Sam: "Wala, ang sweet pa rin natin, para tayong bagong magsyota."
I don't know for others who are in a five-year relationship, but Sam actually has a point. A good, happy point. Again, at that moment, I felt the hair at the nape of my neck tingle, and my chest filled with....I don't know, something like air, with a hundred butterfly wings flapping.
It's amazing how we've been together for more than five years, but we're still head over heels.
To the love of my life Sam (you might never read this as you never read my blog (I know how much you dislike blogs), but I just want to put on record...that I love you so much. Never doubt that.