Thursday, July 28, 2011

Those Three Words

There was a time back in high school when I became obsessed with the perfect “I love you” moment. I was a nerd, yes, but I still went through the whole teenage in-love-with-love phase. Love was such an alien concept to me back then and I was curious at what it’s like, not unlike my curiosity for liquor. But unlike liquor, love had no age restrictions, and I got to explore on it freely.

Teen flicks were mostly to blame for my obsession. We used to have movie nights every weekend in our dorm and two-thirds of the movies we rented were about school romance.  We were all giddy as Landon and Jamie developed an undeniable chemistry, we held our breaths with Zach as Laney walked down the stairs in slow motion and we choked back our tears while Kat read her poem for Patrick.

But the part that we really waited for was that moment when guy took girl’s hands, looked her in the eyes and said those three words. Then they shared that sweet kiss while a love song washed every other sound in the background. It was pure magic. No one was willing to admit it but we were all secretly excited for our own perfect moment.

I never actually fell in love in high school. The tension between me and love was never resolved and it carried over to college. It was during the end of my sophomore year when I finally believed that I was truly in love. It was with a girl (yes, you read it right) I met in a choir. Finally, I had someone I can say those three words to.

I got the courage to say it one night. The sky was filled with stars and sweet music was playing in my head. I was ready for my moment. Unfortunately for me, it turned out that my moment hasn’t come yet. She turned me down for someone else, and the supposedly-magical moment ended with me chain-smoking an entire pack of cigarettes while emo-ing in our auditorium’s steps.

But my defeated state didn’t last long. I met another girl a few days after and I decided to take my chances with her. I wooed her in the typical student-style ligaw – walks to classes, lunch and dinner dates, long walks around campus after class – though I never explicitly expressed my intentions.  She eventually fell for it after a few weeks and she started giving me hints, subtly urging me to make my move. But I realized that I was unprepared.

One night, I said those three words to her, just to find out if they will mean anything once I let them out. They didn’t. They felt like just any other random sentence that came out of my mouth. I decided to stop seeing her after that.

Fast forward to a couple of years later, I had already gone through the whole self-acceptance thing and I was already on my second boyfriend. I didn’t really like him that much but back then I was bursting at the seams with pent-up “I love you’s” and he happened to be the first taker.

He told me that he loved me every chance he got, and I replied with an “I love you” from my surplus storage. But it ran out not long after. Those “I love you’s” were never meant for him, after all. I just wanted to get to say them to someone and have that someone to say them back to me. I broke up with him at the first chance I got.

I said those words again a few more times after that to different guys, each one ending in disappointment. By the time I met Philip, I was already wary of saying them. I was so into him, more than I ever was with the ones before him, but I could no longer let go of those words as easily. I had already carelessly said them too many times and didn’t want to make the same mistake again. I held back and waited until I was absolutely sure.

It wasn’t until a month after we became a couple that I finally said it. It was just another one of our nights together. We were in my room, lying on my disheveled bed and surrounded by my grimy pillows.

But it was different.

For the first time, I was absolutely sure of what I was saying. I felt vulnerable, but I also felt safe, and there was nothing else I would rather do. It was every bit as magical as I hoped it would be.

That was it, the perfect moment I had been waiting for. I finally got it. And every “I love you” I uttered on the days after that was just as magical as the first.

But you all know what happened next. The feelings started to wane after a couple of years and our relationship started to crumble, at least on my side. Towards the end, my “I love you’s” became mostly just a reminder for me that I already had a boyfriend and that I was supposed to stick with him. I still meant them every time but they could only be as real as the love they were drawn from.

It’s been over a year since we broke up but until now, I still haven’t said those words again. There were some close calls, when the moment seemed to beg for me to say them, but I always held back because I always doubted myself. I wasn’t sure if I was going to say them for the right reason so I chose to stay silent.

I had a lot of those moments with John. Heck, one of those near-I-love-you moments was even caught in an entry. It took a lot of effort for me to hold back, but I ultimately succeeded. Now that he and I are no longer together, I feel that I made the right choice. I was indeed going to say them for the wrong reasons after all. I felt something for him, something intense, but it wasn’t love yet.

But the closest of those close-calls happened only a couple of nights ago. Someone told me that he loved me, someone I met and had been harboring feelings for even before I met John, someone I had been wishing to hear those three words from for a long time. I wanted to say those words back. I wanted to tell him that I felt the same. But I couldn’t. Not just yet.

At this point, it’s harder than it has ever been for me to say those words. I’m no longer the dreamy teenager that I was and no longer have the excuse of youth’s ignorance. The only thing that still holds true from those days is how special those three words are. I don’t want them to lose their meaning and become something I can just let out whenever I feel like it. They should be told only when one knows without a shard of doubt that he is truly in love.

I’ll get to say those words again someday. When I finally do, the person I’m going to say them to can be sure that those three words mean simply and exactly what they’re supposed to mean.


  1. Nishiboy, you know what they say, don't say it if you don't mean...even if the situation calls for it.

  2. i was reading the whole entry and was kinda puzzled and wonder if saying "i love you" is enough for that person to love you back. Hmm.. magkaiba lang cguro sitwasyon natin but I think I am in the state of not believing in relationships.. hmm sounds bitter but oo..hehehe.. wala lang napadaan lang dito at nabasa ko nga to.. hehe

  3. Grabe na Jap. Ang galing mo na talaga magsulat bah. May umph! Mabigat. Madamdamin. Tagus sa puso. Malaman.

  4. So mahal mo pa si Philip?

  5. you and me, both. those 3 words are almost sacrosanct to me, now.

    i hope you find that guy someday and that he gets to know how lucky he is.

  6. Wow. This is the most beautiful thing I've read in a long time. Whoever ends up with you as their partner is going to be a lucky man. You are incredible and so smart.

  7. the first is always the hardest. hihi

  8. Perhaps you have placed too much "magic" into those three words that you don't realize that they're all not that magical. In fact, for most people those three words aren't magic at all, but a reminder to work at it everyday.

    Real magic doesn't lie in feelings; feelings come and go. Real magic happens in day-to-day miracles that happen despite the feelings not always there.

    Well, that's just me. Feel free to disagree. =)

  9. @guyrony: exactly. it's sad that many of us have forgotten just what those words are supposed to mean.

    @xander: well, "i love you" means "i love you", not "i want you to love me." thanks sa pagdaan. =)

    @hayme: pag sure oi. haha.

    @anonymous: chosera! ano naman kinalaman nun? lol. but to answer your question, he has his place in my heart, pero di ko na siya mahal.

  10. @travis: yeah, i'll find that guy someday. thanks. =)

    @nimmy: siyempre ang demure demure na naman ng comment mo. =P

  11. for me those 3 words are just an old cliche, an overused expression to the point of losing its original meaning or effect. I use it many times from a simple acquaintance to serious one. The language of love for me is an expression of action not by words.

    However people like u must have been affectionate or has the true essence of being malambing. A hopelessly romantic who believes in fairy tales and magic of love. (put my two cents in)

  12. @michael: thanks a lot for that comment. made my day. =) i hope that guy will indeed feel lucky.

    @joel: wow, your comment made me think. but i don't think we're in disagreement.

    about that magic that i kept on talking about, i'm not suggesting that it comes from those fleeting burst of emotions that one feels at early-onset romance. no, i'm not that naive.

    the magic comes from the love behind those words. love, not infatuation, not desire. love that makes you want to be in a relationship and work on it every day. if the love is there, then the magic will inevitably be there.

    ever experienced having that sudden strong urge to tell your boyfriend of two years that you love him, just because you do? that's the kind of magic i'm talking about. that's the kind of magic i want to feel when i tell someone for the first time that i love him.

  13. @raindarwin: ah, well, that's precisely what i don't want to turn into: someone for whom "i love you" has become just another cliche.

  14. Isn't that "strong urge to tell your boyfriend" that you talk about a feeling too? Love as a decision means that even if you don't have that strong urge, you still say "I love you" because you have chosen to love him.

    But perhaps we need to clarify some things first; maybe we differ in the way we have defined and understood certain things.

    For example, when you said, "The feelings started to wane after a couple of years and our relationship started to crumble, at least on my side," was it the waning of feelings which caused the relationship to crumble?

  15. ah, i don't treat love as something i can decide on. that's commitment and loyalty for me. when those are all that's left, i probably won't be able to say "i love you" sincerely. i'll probably say something like "i'm yours".

    yeah, now that i think about it, "i'm yours" is what i say to a partner when i still can't tell him that i love him.

    yes, love for me is a feeling, but one that lingers. it mellows down from its original fireworks-and-butterflies form, it changes, but it stays there. it may not always overwhelm me, but it's always there. that's where i draw my "i love you's" from. and it's what makes me decide to stay in a relationship. if i continue to choose my partner, it's because that lingering feeling is still there.

    so i guess we do disagree after all, not just on "i love you", but on love itself. =)

  16. "I love you" is a cliche expression but it creates a strong impact to a person.

    Those three words are equated to confirmation (read: serious).

  17. How could you bravely write about things most of us wouldn't admit? :)

  18. Lovin this post Nishi.... =)

    I love you's are really difficult to utter... I dont say it unless I mean it.... Or I try not to return the favor when Im not really sure of it...

    Hoping you'll find the best person to say your ILY's.... =)

  19. Ang galing kaibigan. I can't agree with everything pero sapul naman ako sa ibang bahagi.

    When the right time comes, let us know. That person would be very lucky.

  20. if it is a cliche than it is mighty powerful. When i heard them from someone very real, i could not stop crying for a long long time.

  21. Nangyari na din to sa akin dati. Sinasabi ko lang na 'I love you' para masabihan din ako, dahil masarap pakinggan, masarap sa pakiramdam.

    Pero alam kong mali yun. Kaya ngayon sinasabi ko pa rin yan, pero sinusundan ko ng 'Sabihin mo lang yun kang talagang nararamdaman mo. At kung alam mong totoo.'

  22. its best to feel it than say it just for the sake of saying it... heheheheh

  23. @ronnie: naks, seryoso. scary. haha.

    @ryan: nah, i don't think i'm all that brave.

    @vivi: vivi! thanks for tweeting this post. =) and that meetup of ours is long overdue. i-set na yan!

    @berde: yeah, i'll definitely write about it. =)

  24. @hazel: wow, that must have been a very special moment.

    @billie: yeah. those words should only be said when you're sure that you love the person, and with no other purpose than to tell him that you love him.

    @japanese: yeah. exactly.

  25. Ang cheeeeeeesy mo! Parang hindi na bagay. Akala ko iniwan mo na ang mga ganitong ka cheesyhan sabay ng pag iwan mo nung nerd na chubbyng bata sa highschool.. :p

    Akala ko last year tuwing kinukwentuhan mo ako tungkol sa inyo ni Philip, manhid ka na..

    Hindi pala.

  26. haha. natawa ako sa pangalan mo.

    at mukha ba akong namanhid after kay philip? di mo nasabi sa akin yan. =P

  27. saying i love you is sometimes so overrated. is it like a reminder translating to "i don't hate you yet?" LOL

  28. Tama Nishiboy. I-reserba mo muna yanng "i love you" na yan. Meantime, bilang nagmamaganda ka (kayo), ibang three words muna ang paulanin mo. Try "go to hell". Oha. Toroy! :-))