Sensibilities

An attempt to make sense of things in a random universe, one Friday at a time.

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Leaving my footsteps for you to find and follow, my love.

02 December 2011

Great expectations

When I was seventeen, I received my very first marriage proposal from a guy who was about three years older than I was, and who, I believe, worshipped the ground I walked on. We were sitting together at the bleachers of the Ateneo de Naga gymnasium, watching an inter-department basketball game, so the marriage proposal felt a bit jarring.

Of course I didn’t know how to handle it, being seventeen and sitting right in the middle of a roaring crowd of college students. I think I asked him, “Do you know how old I am?” He said, “Seventeen.” And then the rest has become just a very faint memory.


But I do remember that even after that moment, we stayed friends, and he must have stayed in love with me for a little bit more until his eventual maturity allowed that love to naturally peter out. I, too, went and moved on, to focus on my own academic duties, scrambling to finish my Bachelor’s Degree in three years, and making new friends along the way. At some point he handed me a cassette tape of Dan Siegel, and asked me to listen to one of the songs in it, which I loved, and listened to several times, until I returned the tape to him.


We both moved on to other people after that, of course. That’s what one does when one is a teenager. I don’t know who he turned to after me, but I myself turned to someone who I ended up marrying and then subsequently annulling from, and then came a series of serious and semi-serious relationships with other men. I thought I was progressing with each relationship; I thought I was choosing better and better men each time. And maybe I was. But even though some of them lasted years, and even though most of them were happy relationships that were quite easy to deal with -- and some weren’t -- they all ended up being terminated at some point or another, and there were many times in which I doubted myself and the choices I made with them. How come none of them ever truly worked out? How come the search never seemed to end? How come none of them felt I was worth marrying? Where is that man who would walk to the ends of the earth for me? Where is that man who would be willing to disrupt his entire world in the blink of an eye just to accommodate me, instead of just fitting me into some small spaces he could find here and there? Does he even exist? Should I stop looking? Should I lower my standards? I never really found the answers for those.


Now, finding myself free once more (after a four-year relationship to which I really gave all that I had, with someone who I believe also gave me more than what he bargained for), I remember this guy, from almost two decades before, the very first one who ever wanted me enough to propose marriage to me, the very first one who wanted to accommodate me into his life, the very first one who actually believed I was worth sacrificing his youth for. I remember the cassette tape, but not the title of the song, although I could still hear it in my mind. The sound was happy, celebratory, expectant. Recently -- since we are friends on Facebook -- I asked him what the name of the song was, and he remembered the sound of it, just like that. And then after a few hours, he found the title of the song, and I listened to it once more, and then I am seventeen again, and the world is once more big and bright and full of color.


At the end of yet another failed relationship, what else is left except to believe that something more beautiful lies waiting for me in the horizon? And that’s a question to which I know the answer, at least. If someone who didn’t know much about me could believe that I was worth taking the plunge with when I was seventeen, then there would still be someone would still believe I am worth it at 36, because even after everything that had happened in between, I am still the same person at my very core. And if that guy who proposed to me when I was seventeen could eventually find love and happiness with someone else, then so can I. The man for me may still be out there, or he may not. But no matter what the outcome might be, I’ll be fine. I still believe I deserve love, and I still expect to get it someday.

Image credits: [1, 2, 3]

2 Comments:

OpenID Louella said...

Lovely post, Maryanne. This is a treasure of an essay that not only the jaded would very much appreciate, but those who are in love too. Everyone deserves love, and when it's there, even more of it. :-)

9:15 PM  
Blogger Maryanne Moll said...

Thanks, Con. :)

9:43 PM  

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