Remembering how we started

I just binged Good Morning Call, a live-action J Drama chronicling a campus love story. As a result I am feeling nostalgic.

I want to remember what my own campus love story was like. I had an epiphany — not sure if it can be called that though — that our own moments then sure could have made for some highly watchable / relatable shoujo material.

Only that whole era — the part that is scriptable and TV-worthy — is now just a blip in our 11-year relationship. And it will just get smaller in significance in the grander scheme of things? And even now, the memories are all but gone. Already I hardly remember only vague impressions and bullets. Already I forget how the kilig actually went down. I should be more scared, no?

But the origins — how you started — it may take mere hours or days or months, but it is the foundation, it is big, there is a separate unit of measurement to quantify moments in a partnership. It’s not about when it happened and how long it took — but how great it changed you both. And at the start, the changes were massive, earthquakes, uplifting, utterly impossible to forget really.

I suspect that this is what I will come back to later on life. I suspect that, the older we will get, the greater the weight I’ll place on our memories. Sometimes the actual content of the memory is shit, but the way you remember, the why you remember — that makes the memory golden. Memories, after the moment has passed, transform into all-purpose mental objects you can use to feel good, justify your current situation, or assess where you want to head, right? And so following that line of thinking, no memory can be a bad memory. Memory might be more important than reality at some circumstances. Therefore, put a premium on preserving the memory. On being a catch-all of remembrances. i.e. what I am attempting to do.

Now on to the memories.

How we started.
– Friends, debate partners. The novelty of losing and winning in our first national rounds.
– An interest, acts of flirtations even if we were v. reluctant to call it that. Lasted a year, I dated a different guy.

The tipping point.
– He says he realized the gravity of his feelings when I started going out with a different guy.
– That other relationship didn’t last long, and as I exited it, I noticed that Ranie’s actions were starting to become… loaded with meaning.
– I kind of found out ahead, by way of a weird collage he had in his dorm where I found my name hidden amidst some doodles. Why I thought I could find something in those doodles would be there is also kind of weird. I guess subconsciously I always knew anyway.
– We enjoyed each other’s company. Immensely. Also, he kind of had a glow up moment during our junior year – got a haircut, started smelling nice – basically puberty I guess? – so I started seeing him in a different light.
– we went to college in UPLB, where your life was your friends and it was pretty common to spend 12-20 hours with your classmates. Some close friends noticed smth was going on and confronted him, then told me. And then some weeks of weird tension and just knowing and excitement and me, mulling, should I? Honestly I wasn’t that up to it, coming from the previous relationship that wasn’t even a defined relationship.
– But I remember being so comfortable with him. Like, the most comfortable I’d been with a guy. And having more and more pleasing scenarios after the “What If.”
– At some point he just started walking me home every night. And that was our thing. I remember this feeling like a long period, in reality that was probably just a month, tops?
– TEXTING. How could I forget? God, those were the days. Time-bound “unli” promos and multiple keystrokes to hit consonants and form sentences. Text conversations were truly something else. It was an activity you actually made time for, not something you simply did while browsing through Instagram or while on a ride. You texted late at night or during sembreak. You agonized over what to say, sans emojis or gifs or other memes. You saved messages. It was a 160-320 character art form. Passive-agressive parinings during GMs. I hope I saved our texts somewhere. They truly sent me on overdrive. Oh how we texted at the start… That was his ligaw.

Me, falling.
– At some point I realized that I was getting to know a Ranie that was so different, deeper than the Ranie most of our friends knew, and I liked that Ranie.
– Various memories now: Org Finals. Me sleepy on the couch, because I could never stay up like everyone else did. While everyone was partying and videokeing and drinking, he came in and kept me company as I settled in. He patted my head, probably thinking I was asleep. I was awake.
– Prod Party. Again with the keeping me company. I was drunk and I was in the pool. I was angry and realizing that my relationship that wasn’t a relationship was over. He was listening and making sure I didn’t do anything crazy.

Us, falling
– Me, drunk. I showed up at his dorm with a plan, but so chicken to ask the thing that needed to be ask. He showed me out, the gentleman that he was (but I remember being confused? Like how could he resist my feminine wiles honestly? Haha.)
– The texts getting more and more serious (at the time, you  know it was serious when u do good mornings and good nights, exclusively. When u text about things discussed in GMs on your own. When u talk abt kumain ka na ba, other missives of caring.)
– And then. It was a dark and stormy night. Getting ready for bed. The power went out. I forget what we were discussing, but he managed to say, finally, that he cares about me more than he cares about anyone else. And the only reply that made sense in my head was that I felt the same way, because I well and truly did.
– We met in the waiting shed, because I was like, fuck this we’ll talk about this even if a storm is brewing and power is out!
– We went to his dorm. He had an extra bed and I tucked in there. In the dark, we talked it out. The next day we were going out already I think?

Us, at the start
– There was a period wherein we didn’t tell people yet, and we did try to hide it and it was funny. Holding hands under tables, pretending to split paths and then Ranie doubling back to walk me home. But people found out soon enough like duh LOL.
– Our first kiss, which I think I will never forget until the day I day. How it differed from everything I imagined, but how so much better it was.
– Enjoying kissing and hugging as much as we wanted. College guilt and hormones making everything 10x more exciting.
– The ideality of the elbi environment, with dorms you can walk to and stay in, no curfews, weekends, cheap dates, simple hangouts. It was impossible not to fall in love in Elbi I guess.
– The various small ways he surprised me as a boyfriend, like honestly the boy just came in took the job description and owned it.

And that was how it started, and now we’ve been together 10 years and married 5 months, and it’s amazing how we’ve changed and grown and well and truly became a unit. So Krista, no need to feel FOMO. You and Ranie have had your Jdrama-esque moments, in your own way.

This feels good, this remembering. 🙂 Kinda puts things into perspective, which is v. helpful as all my thoughts have been shitty lately. Like OK, we have a history, and that is important. Lately I agonize over whether we’re OK or not. But look — we’ve been through a LOT. And if the past decade is any indication, historically, things just keep getting better and better. We’ll survive. We’ll thrive.

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