Hi, I’m James. Long post ahead.
I came from a very tôxic Filipino household. Hindi puwedeng walang sigawan o basagan ng mga gamit sa bahay sa bawat araw. It felt like it was my parents daily routine – mag âway, magmûrahan, at magsigâwan.
Despite that, I grew up afraid of being shout at. Ang ironic nga, eh araw-araw na sigâwan sa bahay tapos matatakot akong masigâwan? It just doesn’t make sense sometimes. Lalaki ako, yes, pero takot talagang masigawan o mapagtaasan ng boses. It serves like a trîgger to me, I can’t hândle it.
Dahil doon, hindi ako masiyadong naimik sa school. Nakikihalubilo naman but I always limit myself. I limit people’s access to me. Not until I transferred sa isang public school. This was in senior high school, by the way.
There’s this girl named after Joyce. One year younger than me but we’re classmates, accelerated siya ng isang taon. Malaki iyong school but I think you can’t go there without crossing paths with her. Maingay siya, malakas ang boses at maraming kaibigan. Definitely not my type. Kilala rin sa school. She’s dâmn smart, laging representative sa mga contests at pambato. She’s a journalist, mahilig din sa debates at marami pang academic activities.
Hindi ko siya tipo, but she has always been a mystery to me. Sobrang chill lang sa buhay but she always managed to top our batch. Parang sisiw lang lagi lahat for her. Unang kita mo sa kaniya hindi mo iisiping nag-aaral at hindi mo siya makikitang hindi nagsasalita, laging tumatawa at nagdadaldal.
One time, we were partners sa isang school project. By pair kasi. I didn’t want it, I was very annoyed that time. Ayaw ko sa kaniya, ayaw ko sa mga maiingay. Not to mention that she cûsses often, palamûra. At ayaw ko sa mga nagmumûra, not that she need to change herself. Preference ko lang talaga.
Dahil hindi madali iyong project, she told me to go to their house at doon namin ituloy. Wala naman akong choice. Umoo na lang ako, alangang sabihin kong sa amin kami? Ímpîyern0ng nag-anyong bahay ang sa amin. When I went there, we started the project agad, she was so focused. Ang artistic din, sa time na yon I was really saying in my head that she’s a prodigy.
She’s pretty, that’s a fact. Matalino, halos mga lalaki ang kaibigan. Nag-iinom rin ata, hindi ko alam. Dinadaldal niya ako noong patapos na kami sa project. Tango lang ang sinasagot ko sa kaniya. I don’t like her but I admit she’s very hospitable, sobrang thoughtful din. She told me to text her if I went home safe, I was caught off guard back then.
“Hoy, ikaw na best in tango ka, text mo ko kapag nakauwi ka ng safe, ha? Baka mapano ka, magkakasala pa ako, ang dami ko na ngang kasalanan,” she’s laughing when she said these.
“Sige na, umalis ka na sa pamamahay ko. Hindi na kita kailangan,” oh di ba? Ang rûde talaga. But those were in a joking tone tho.
Nagulat ako because when Monday came, she was acting like were close. Sa asta niya, parang magkaibigan kami. Naiilang ako na ewan. Umiiwas na lang ako sa kaniya kapag nandiyan siya.
But the universe is really dâmned sometimes, we unfortunately became a little closer. Dumating sa point na parang kino-consider ko na siyang kaibigan and it’s funny because I never had one. Tuwing uwian, matic na na magsasama sila ng mga bulakbol niyang kaibigan. They’re very loud and even when we became closer—I never get used to her cûssing. Kapag nagmumûra siya, napapayuko ako. Hindi ko alam kung bakit.
Habang tumatagal, napagtatanto ko na parang may gusto na ako sa kaniya. Pero hindi ko matanggap, ayaw kong pansinin, ayaw kong tanggapin. Biglang hindi na kasi ako komportable na nakikitang may mas close siyang kaibigan kaysa sa akin. I started envying her friends. That they have that kind of relationship with her. Must be nice, huh? But I really can’t like her, I shouldn’t. When she cûsses, she kinda trîggers me.
Nagkagusto na nga, sa babaeng maangas at maingay pa. Funny how I hate people who’s loud and bold then ending up liking someone who’s exactly like that. Iniwasan ko siya. Kapag nalaman niyang mababaw ako at sensitive, baka ma-off lang siya. She’s too much for me and I was too less, too afraid and too undeserving for her. And I know she’ll never like someone like me. Hindi niya ako tipo.
Napansin niya yon and she confronted me one afternoon. I didn’t know that liking someone can make you weak, I didn’t know that I like her so much—I get so weak when she’s around or up close. Umamin ako. Umamin na gusto ko siya. She was dumbfounded that time and I am, too. Unang beses na nakita ko siyang nawalan ng salita. My Joyce was speechless.
At the same afternoon, umamin din siya na gusto niya ako. I was awestruck but I didn’t believe her. That can’t be. Still, I walked her home. I had the courage to do so. Nagkuwentuhan kami habang kumakain ng street foods, naglalakad pauwi. Hindi ko alam na puwede pa lang masaktan kapag masaya ka. Sa sobrang saya, masakit. Mas naging close na kami but we never talked about the confession anymore.
One night, we accidently saw each other sa park. She went to me running the very moment she saw me alone. Nag-pizza kami at naupo sa swing pagkatapos. Walang umiimik, pero hindi awkward. Pero siyempre hindi niya natiis, para siyang bunganga na tinubuan ng tao, eh. Kidding aside, she asked how am I. Isang tanong niya lang kung kumusta ako, naiiyak na ako. Your boy is whipped, pasensiya na po.
That night, I feel like it was okay to be vulnerable. It felt liberating to tell her about my life and so I did. She was silent, nakikinig lang. She heard a lot about my parents. Haha. I told her how sh*tty it is to stay in our house. And on how scared I am to get shout at, scared to be cussed and I saw her blink a lot of times. Probably feeling guilty even when she don’t need to.I thank her for listening. Niyakap niya ako and she said,
“Thank you for telling.”
I CRIED. I CRIED. I CRIED. Your man felt seen and valid. Parang after a very long time, nakauwi ka na sa tahanan mo. She hugged me for a long time and I have never felt so safe. And I assure you, it’s never the idea of having someone. Hindi yung ideya na may nandiyan para sa akin ang gusto ko, she’s the one I want. Siya mismo, hindi ang kahit ano.
After that night, her change of behavior towards me was so evident. She talks to me gently, hindi nagtataas ng boses at hindi nagmumûra. Always flashing a smile for me. But one time, I caught her talking loudly with her friends. Hindi niya alam na nandoon ako. Same as before, she was madaldal and all, I then heard her cûssed, pero para siyang nagulat sa sarili and she looked around. Parang kinakabahan na may nakarinig sa kaniya tapos noong nakita niya ako, nagulat siya lalo and she gave me a nervous smile. I just genuinely smiled at her. It’s fine, my solace. There’s nothing to worry about.
I appreciate how she goes gently to me so much. A bádâss to others, a softie for me. Oh Lord, ano pong nagawa kong mabuti at meron akong siya? Kung may “If he wanted to, he would.”, meron din pong “If she wanted to, she would.”
My Joyce is loud, unpretentious, bold and at the same time, kind.
She would help people who are in need without thinking twice. My Joyce had the prettiest heart and smile. She’s a bádâss but at the same time, she speaks up for the poor, marginalized and unfortunate people. She have a very soft spot for them. My Joyce had the sweetest voice and wholesome personality. She’d buy every kid an ice cream if she can. My Joyce would always make sure I’m safe and sound.
My Joyce would always call me handsome, “Hi, my handsome!” My Joyce would always consider how I feel. My Joyce would kiss me in my forehead and hug me out of the blue. My Joyce never failed to make me feel loved. She have a cool social life, and I don’t but she never made me feel outcasted. My Joyce has grown to a very fine and principled woman and I’m too blessed by the heavens to witness that. My Joyce is the greatest person on earth and she undoubtedly deserve the universe.
I would dîé for her if I needed to and at the same time, I’ll be so glad to live my life for her. To spend my life dedicating it to her. I love her more than life itself. She recently graduated as Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and I have never been so proud.
Everything I told in the beginning was us in HS, that was six years ago if I’m not mistaken. And we’re officially together for five years already and I’m still courting her to this day. She was my greatest blessing and I’m gonna marry her in no time. Madaldal pa rin po siya, and I love it so much now.
I hope you find yourself a Joyce. They’re a gem.
Mahal, I know you read confessions here. And I hope you’d know that this is you I’m talking about. Dûmb conversations, we lose track of time. Have I told you lately I’m grateful you’re mine? I love you, Joyce! Mahal na mahal ka ng bawat piyesang bumubuo sa akin.