In high school, I had a crush on this guy one year my senior. We also went to the same university, although he was taking a different course, and still, I had a crush on him. He was in a relationship all throughout I was in college with this awesome girl (we met and talked once for an event and she was kind or maybe it was nearing the election so she was nice) so I was rooting for them too. My crush was nothing serious, it was pretty low-key actually. He was tall, dark, handsome, and lean. He was smart, socially aware, and an activist. We’ve never interacted, in high school nor in college.
After graduation, my crush on him finally ended. I don’t know why but maybe it was because I became friends with one of his best friends. My friend, of course, had stories with him in it and I guess I ended up kind of getting to know him. He wasn’t bad, I wasn’t turned off or anything, but maybe his allure to me was the mystery. That I didn’t actually know him.
Then I ended up drinking with him one time and there I truly realized that there was nothing anymore. My best friend and I didn’t even fangirl anymore, when that was one of our past times back then. When he joined my dragon boat team, I ended up training with him maybe thrice (he wasn’t active at all) and drinking with him a few times. A certain circle of mine, mostly dragon boat teammates, frequented this place so it was there that we kind of talked before, but nothing deep or serious. I wasn’t interested in him anymore so I didn’t expend energy on talking to him or sought him out. Ha, funny how that can actually happen, knowing myself and how hard for me to move on and shit. That night he was mocking how I was only four beers in and I told him it’s not fair to hold me against his eight bottles when he started hours ahead of me. It was then that he told me that the longest time he wooed a girl was one and a half months and that he found it too long and tedious and so he stopped. He’s not an asshole, in fact he’s nice, but like I said, he has so much appeal that I was not surprised that he didn’t really need to woo/court girls. He was the kind of guy girls throw themselves at. I would have done that if I still wanted him and if I was courageous enough for that but alas, I’m shy and scared and clueless (in practice but not in theory because romance novels taught me well?).
So last week, I ended up drinking at this place with friends (who were forty-plus years old and acted as my dads and/or life coaches) and he was there. I was with my old friends and we were playing music, mostly 80s with a bit of 70s and 90s, where I was the one who chose the music. But it wasn’t my phone nor my speakers. There was even a moment when this guy (a stranger) approached my friend to borrow a lighter and ended up talking to me and telling me that my playlist was great. Because I suck at receiving compliments, I just told him that it was not my playlist but I was just the one choosing the songs. But this is not the point of the story but I wanted to share the story of the compliment because it made my day.
Anyway, M (let’s just call him that from now on) was with his frat brothers (I think) in the vicinity AKA the next table since he’s in the same frat as one of my friends. He nods his approval at me when he likes the song I’m playing and bemoans when I change songs he likes (never my fault, I also love those songs but they’re not in theme with the previous happy, upbeat songs). Another friend dropped by and proceeded to give me a box of red velvet crinkles as a late birthday gift and then his eyes have gotten large because he wants some so I offered and he kept on eating and even asked if he can give some to his brothers. Sure, I said.
All throughout the night, he went to different tables to different people. He’s a regular there and he knows the regulars too. I go there enough for the ladies at the counter serving to know my name (which I learned that night as well and I was so shocked because I prided myself in not being there all the time for them to know me but now I can’t say that because I have been profiled) and for them to tease me to give them some red velvet crinkles. I placate myself by thinking that at least I now have a place where I can have a tab. Hahahuhu.
Back to the story. It was getting late and the place has closed but we were still drinking and one of my friends even bought more beers outside for us. We talked a bit like how he was seventeen beers in (fuck that guy, how can he even be awake) but we were mostly singing and requesting songs. I was getting sleepy and I just sat there with my head at the top of the backrest of the chair, looking at the sky. I don’t know why I didn’t just go home (I do know, it’s because I have serious FOMO and hate going first or not finishing a party) but that was me. He was by my left side and at this point it was so hot that I have long since removed my jacket and was just wearing a spaghetti strap top. I tried to cover up by draping my jacket on me but he has already seen me remove it beforehand and teased me about it (or maybe tease is not the correct term but I find it hard to accept compliments so I always categorize them as teasing).
He asked me where I’m going home and I told him I’m staying near SM North (the closest landmark to my apartment). I was so sleepy I wasn’t even looking at him while we’re talking, I was either staring into the nightsky or had my eyes closed. Then he told me: Just go home to our place. (Sa’min ka na lang umuwi.)
I WAS SO SHOCKED I had to look at him after he said it. I mean, sure, maybe he was just being nice and concerned that I can’t go home at my state and that I might fall asleep in the taxi ride home. My friend pointed out that he could have just gotten me home himself if he was concerned but I don’t think he can even manage that. Seventeen beers! And I don’t make it a habit to make people get me home. I am an independent woman, goddamit, I can go home. Anyway, at the time, I told him that isn’t his house not that near too and my apartment isn’t that far so it’s fine. But my mind was reeling. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? I mean, of course I wasn’t actually going to go home with him but WHAT IF I DID? WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED? He didn’t say anything more and we just continued singing then it was time to go home (my friend’s speaker died). My “dads” got me a cab and I got home.
The next day at work, I relayed the story to my BFF. She was so shocked as well and even slow-clapped for me. I mean, with no intention or effort on my part, that happened. Girls cried over him and not being able to go home with him and here I was, someone who said no. HAHAHA She even surmised that I wasn’t being asked to come home with him to his frat house but to his actual apartment/home/we’re not sure. The night before, I thought he was asking me to go to his frat house. I guess it’s an even bigger deal in the light of the day. I only told my BFF, and Charlie, and another guy friend about this. And while I kept on telling them that maybe it meant nothing, we thought it was weird that he’d offer his house when we’re not close. So the offer being an innocent one was less likely.
I guess I haven’t learned enough from romance novels. Is that how innocent-sounding come-ons are these days? Am I naive for giving him the benefit of the doubt? Or maybe it was my low self-esteem that couldn’t process how M could have maybe done that?!?!
Still, it felt like a victory, especially to high school Dianne. The me then never even thought he’ll learn my name or know me AND NOW LOOK AT THAT. And the Dianne of the present also wins because I never thought that I would ever be in a position to say no to him. HAHAHA Life lets you win and it feels glorious.