Last Sunday, I listened to an eighteen-year-old boy tell me how he was falling for a guy he just met. In the past year, he’s had seven relationships, all of which ended when the other guys have had their way with him. He was broken-hearted after each one, particularly after realizing that those men he entrusted his heart to were really only after sex. And yet there he was once again, all giddy while he was telling me about how sweet and smart and kind this new guy was. He did not care that they met only a few days before. All that mattered was that his heart was once again skipping beats whenever he heard that guy say his name. And I couldn’t help but notice how his eyes glimmered with hope that this guy might finally be the one he’s been waiting for.
I would normally just dismiss that boy’s feelings as just another impending heartache. He’s just a kid after all, naive and easily fooled by the empty promise of a happy ending. I, on the other hand, have several years’ worth of stories that can pop those stupid floating hearts. Life had repeatedly hammered into my head that love is not about butterflies and fireworks, but rather a contract that needs to be pinned onto the wall and reviewed every day that I wake up.
But there was something about the way that boy told his story that captivated me. The way his eyes sparkled, the way he couldn’t help smiling whenever he said his guy’s name, and the way his voice was laced with hope were just too beautiful for me to turn my eyes from.
“He makes me happy. That’s the only thing that should matter, right?” the boy asked me at one point.
“Do you think that’s enough?” I asked, throwing the question back.
“I think so. Yeah, for me it is. I know that I don’t really know much about him but it just feels right. I should be scared. I should be cautious. But the more I think about it, the more I feel that it’s okay. Falling for him is not such a scary thing after all.”
“I see. So you’re sure that there’s nothing to be worried about,” I said.
“Yeah. It’s never been in my nature to hold back when it comes to these things. I give it everything I have. That’s the only way I can do it,” he said in that determined voice.
That was when it became clear to me: that boy is exactly how I used to be. What he said basically summed up how I’ve been handling my relationships up until last year. I jumped at every opportunity to fall in love and start the walk down the road to ever after.
But I eventually stopped being that boy. I kept stumbling onto dead ends until finally I just gave up. Quota na ako, as I once put it. I gave up on the idea of a magical love story and accepted that everything is fleeting. No one else was up for a lifetime of love, it seemed. People who looked for relationships were in fact only after a constant backup fuck-buddy or a safety net from a life of solitude when they grow old. Or you’ll find one of those few people who’re also looking for a happily-ever-after, but then you find out that everything else about you two is a mismatch. The only way to be happy, it seemed, was to settle.
That’s why the boy’s story was so enchanting. The way he believed that he had finally found the one, it was like finding a part of me that I’ve lost. It was the part that had scarred my heart beyond recognition, that changed me to who I am now, but it was also the part that once made me believe in pure, innocent love. I know I’ve already dismissed that part as nothing more than a phase, a gateway to reality, but somehow, I still keep hoping that this unbelieving and calloused version of me is the phase, and that the Nishiboy who once believed in true love will turn out to be the reality.
But I’m afraid the boy will have to wait a little longer for his true love, because the guy he has fallen for this time is just like the ones before him. He will have to deal with heartbreak yet again, another scar that will never heal. I can only hope that he doesn’t give up on love just yet and that he doesn’t turn out to be someone like me, who treats love and relationship as a contract to be renewed, already too scared to entrust his heart to promises of forever.