The best and most beautiful things in the world
cannot be seen, heard, or even touched,
they must be felt with the heart.
— Helen Keller
The best and most beautiful things in the world
cannot be seen, heard, or even touched,
they must be felt with the heart.
— Helen Keller
Kids, your old Aunt Robin knew exactly what she was talking about. Timing sure is a bitch. It’s as if the heavens didn’t have enough to gloat and laugh about from our own daily miseries and decided to add the concept of “perfect timing” as the tip of the iceberg in trying to ruin our decent lives — correction, relationships.
This is the story about how I was once engaged to a wonderful man named Zachery and how horrible our timing was. Zachery proposed during the spring semester of my freshman year in college. Yup, fresh out of high school but fresh into college — what a genius we both were.
It was a time when we were too young and naive to know anything better. Our youthful hearts got in the way of everything and we truly believed that love will solve all our problems. But in all seriousness, we actually planned it out and thought it was a good time. We weren’t that stupid. It just seems those times were ignorant now that I’m wiser and older, or whatever I am now.
I was a freshman starting my pre-med program and he was seven years older and working on his Ph.D towards electrical engineering. We were two nerds in a pod. And frankly, it didn’t bother us much. We’ve already been together for almost two years so school was already much part of our lives. We were just happy to be in the same school together.
We as a couple didn’t do much when it came to the romantic essence of things. We studied, ate, and fell asleep on desks most of the time. He and I were both new to the town and starting fresh, so we didn’t have much friends to hang out either. But it was okay, we pretty much felt married anyways, nagging and all.
After accepting the proposal and planning the wedding we tried to be logical and realistic to the best that we could. We knew each other too well and we both knew that as much as we wanted to be married, the now aspect of things wasn’t a good time. We decided that there really is no use rushing and being the considerate gentleman he was, he knew I needed lots of time to pull off my dream wedding. So, we decided to get married after I graduate from college — he was willing to wait 3+ years for me.
There was never a trace of guilt for having to wait on each other for that long. I wanted to finish school first and at least try and find a decent job and he agreed. He wanted to get most of his program done too before having to worry about marriage life. We managed to be negotiable and understanding as best as we could.
It sounds all good up to here. He was perfect and I was dandy. But time — never holds still for anybody. It wasn’t long, probably half a year, when he started asking funny questions, such as, if I could graduate earlier, what kind of career path I’m looking into, where would I likely want to live, etc. Then he started asking if there was any chance of moving the wedding to an earlier date. I don’t know why, but I started seeing red flags everywhere and I couldn’t explain to myself, why I would in the first place.
I really loved Zachery, I really did. I really wanted to marry him, I truly did. But it scared me to death every time he brought up the topic of bringing up the wedding sooner.
It wasn’t until one day, he went out of town with a couple of friends for some man-time, when he suddenly to call. Naturally, I figured that it was a call about him hitting the road soon or to not wait up. He called to tell me what a great time he was having with the boys and of course, he’d be late but to also check the text he’ll be sending after we hang up. Sure enough, a picture text came and behold, it was a photo of some house. It was extremely beautiful and mesmerizing until I see his text that reads, “I found our dream house. Should we buy?”
I didn’t think he was serious so I brushed it off until he the next day when he asked how I liked the house again. I exclaimed how beautiful it was and asked how’d he find it, but in all seriousness, he asked again if we should buy. I was dead in my tracks. I couldn’t breathe a word to him. I just blankly stared not knowing what to say. I was like a deer in headlights.
He then started raving about how the house is perfect in his ever so excitable voice, and how the city is right in the middle of his parent’s place and my parent’s place so the drive on both sides wouldn’t be too long and unbearable. He then started saying it’s a good time to go ahead and buy it now if we like it so much and then we can move right in without having newlywed troubles of finding a place to go. And he was convincing me that he knew that as soon as he saw the house, he knew that I would love it because it looks exactly like the ones I used to describe on the top of my head on how the porch looks like, or what color it was, or how big the driveway would be.
Zachery really was a great man, and enthusiastic at that. I felt really guilty but it just wasn’t the right time. Rushing everything made me feel as if everything in my future was already predestined because he was taking full control of everything. I didn’t feel happy but more panicky and full of stress and anxiety. I wasn’t relieved that he was being assertive and actually doing something and planning a life for us. It may sound selfish, but this is our life we would be spending together until we die, why weren’t we doing this together? And why on earth is he suddenly rushing when he promised he could wait? What possibly changed?
I tried to persuade him the best that I could that buying the house now isn’t the smart thing to do. We wouldn’t know if that city is where we would be 2-3 years from now after we graduate. We wouldn’t know if we would be able to find good jobs that we like in that city. We just wouldn’t know of anything that could possibly happen that could deter our futures.
Zachery, of course, didn’t buy any of that. He went on full macho-man-mode and started going off, “If we’re going to get married anyway, why not sooner so we have more time together?” or “Are you having doubts about this marriage?” or my ultimate favorite, “Do you not love me anymore?”
In the end, without my consent, he bought the house. I believe that he still owns the house but whether he still resides there is unbeknownst to me since it has already been years since we broke up and ended all forms of contact. But when we did break up, not even two days later, he resigned from his workplace, gave up on his degree program, packed up and moved into that house.
As much I know how much (or maybe not so since I am not him) pain that I inflicted upon him, it hurt me too, how much I had hurt him and literally broke him. As much as I wanted to be honest and tell him how afraid I was on the rush, or how I wasn’t ready as he was about this kind of commitment, maybe we could have found an understanding, I will never know.
Maybe if we had met later in life, it would’ve been better and not end like this. Maybe if we had fallen in love later, much later — after we became good friends, I wouldn’t have lost him forever. Maybe if I was stronger and not so emotionally weak and tested, maybe if I was wiser and older and knew what was right and wrong and be able to say it — he’d still be my life and not an empty hole from my past.
I blame it on timing. I really do. I’ll be dead honest when I say that I’d be lying if there weren’t drops of insecurities and hairs of commitment-phobias, but the timing wasn’t right for the two of us to make those kinds of great decisions at such a young age. I wouldn’t have been able to even drink a toast to wine on my own wedding for crying out loud if I had fallen through and gotten married earlier than planned. But of course, who knows if I’d have ended up happy with three kids on my lap by now as I write on my blog.
Nonetheless, as much as I cared for and loved Zachery with all my heart, having that ounce of doubt and dodging red flags meant something, and I probably still would have made the same decision if I had to relive that moment again. I’ll be honest when I confess that I believe I won’t meet a man like him ever again. He’s indeed very special.
Just wish that timing would have thought so as well.
I think this topic has a soft spot in all of us. I, myself, don’t have a very secure stance when it comes to “can men and women really just be friends.” It’s a touchy subject because I feel, and in all honesty, I haven’t had a male friend who just stayed as a friend from start to finish. I will say that I do have male friends where I haven’t had feelings for them but I can’t guarantee that they felt the same otherwise and also vice versa. I can’t help but feel neutral because I want to say that I truly believe there are people who can be “just friends” but I can’t back it up a 100% just from my accord. I used to be one of those people that would argue and say, “Of course we’re friends! Why can’t we be?” But the older I got, I’ve come to the realization that my thoughts on this have slowly changed. When I was younger (say, middle school and high school, perhaps) I believed strongly that we could be friends. But with college and now after, I don’t think we can indefinitely be just friends because you start looking for potential dates and marriage candidates from your friends since they make the best relationships. No one knows you and understands you better than your friends. And let’s be honest, after college, the dating field decreases at a very fast and insignificant level. College really is a marriage institution and if you’re like me that missed out, it only gets harder from here. Which is probably why the stability of friendships shorten as well since you have no where else to turn to for a decent relationship.
I used to have no problem hanging with the guys and not have any kind of crush or drama happen back when I was younger. Now, I subconsciously start measuring out random qualities that I see from my friends when something catches my eye that I didn’t see before. I think that we can be friends up to a certain point in our lives, and then at some miraculous level where we see something different, we end up falling for each other because of those interesting tidbits that intrigue us to dive deeper into the person. But with friendship also comes risks of messing up the said “friendship,” the timing can always be off because technically, you didn’t start the friendship to have a relationship, and sometimes if you’re lucky it’ll work out and sometimes we’re unlucky and it’s never going to be the same, ever again.
I have (notice it’s not “had”) this great friend that I’ve known since the second grade. For the purpose of confidentiality, let’s call my friend, Harry. Harry and I have been inseparable since our elementary school years and I can literally say that this friend has stuck by me through thick and thin. Harry is not only my best bud but he’s like my brother, my father, and my lover. I grew up having a truck full of bullies in my younger days because I wasn’t very sociable but Harry fended for me and protected me all the way through high school like any older brother. He was like my father when I needed any kind of advice and I had no one to talk to; he always had the time to lend a ear no matter what time of day or night. And he was like my lover when I needed a date to Homecoming or a shoulder to cry on about other . . . ahem, boyfriends. He had the kindest heart, the warmest hugs, and the softest lips. Harry was such the sweetheart and I knew it. I used to tell it to him all the time. And it didn’t once cross our minds to be serious with what’s in front of us, which was that we were both single and both looking just not looking at each other. The main reason, as always, was the timing. It was always too off for the both of us. It was the usual, “he liked me but I didn’t like him and when I liked him, he didn’t like me” scenario point by point. It wasn’t too hard to figure out.
Up until after high school, our little “drama” was just puppy love and nothing too serious so we both never cared much about it. We both knew that we’d always had crushes on each other here and there but nothing to where we would sit down and talk about it. It wasn’t until maybe my freshman or sophomore year in college where Harry had a little help from our good friend, Jose Cuervo, that he called and flatly asked if we had any future together. This really caught me off guard because up until all this time, it was just good fun and games. Even when we dated for about three months back in our senior year of high school, we never took anything so seriously, so why now? I asked him what came over him so suddenly. He replied by stating that we indeed have something special and definitely something we won’t be able to find elsewhere. We have history and a story to tell our grandchildren, about how he fell in love to the shy girl with the ponytail and floral shorts and tie-dyed t-shirts. How he forgot and fell in love again to the thirteen year old girl that was subconscious about her looks and acne-bombed face but still looked radiant because of the smile on her face. How he forgot again and fell in love with the sixteen year old heartbroken girl that worries she’ll never fall in love with the perfect guy again and isn’t afraid to bawl it out to let it all pass. And now, that we’re both older and wiser, and getting ready to embark on a new journey towards adulthood, wouldn’t want to go alone but together because it’ll be the best damned thing that will ever happen to the both of us.
After hearing that, I was terrified. This is the part where most girls would probably say yes and have their happily ever after. But to me, this was the part where I lay confused and awake for nights trying to figure out how he was so sure and how I wasn’t. He was willing to risk our friendship of thirteen or so years to fight for his happiness and wasn’t afraid of what he might lose if I had said no, but I STILL wasn’t sure because I was more terrified of losing him because I’m already halfway to saying no than saying yes. I was at a bypass. I know that a part of me wanted so much for this to happen but the logical part of me was stopping me for being rash. What if it works out? Sure you’ll be happy and would probably have a great relationship and even possible marriage. But what if it stops at relationship before marriage and everything breaks? Not only is the relationship gone but the friendship is gone with it. Why wouldn’t I be terrified? This is the problem of being a girl. We’re too calculating and we foresee too much into the future to make sure we don’t get hurt in the long run.
But the main thing is, I said no. And I have regretted it ever since I said it. The minute I actually said no, it all felt so wrong. Never in my life did I know at that moment I should have said yes, but it was too late. I couldn’t take it back. I already hurt his feelings and things weren’t the same for a good year and half after that. We didn’t speak to each other and we didn’t do anything to contact one another. In the end, he called me back first and we slowly rekindled our friendship. We had too much history to let it all disappear over one night of disagreement. Sure, our friendship wasn’t the same from before but I can happily say it has gotten stronger because of what we went through together. We had overcome and embarked another new chapter in our lives and we still care and love each other to this day.
Since then, Harry has been in a strong and long relationship with a friend from high school. He isn’t quite happy because he’s been wanting to marry since we graduated from high school yet he’s still a bachelor. He currently shares a home with his girlfriend and is waiting for the right time to propose but I personally don’t see it happening because she isn’t interested in marriage. When I hear and see these painful times that Harry has to go through, I sometimes wonder if I would have ended his misery or worse yet, maybe I would have been the very woman that is making him go through these hardships. I still care for and love him very deeply. Sometimes, from time to time, I’ll be honest but the feelings for him come back. But I don’t want to be the “other woman.” I would never do that to another woman. So, I genuinely wish they would get married soon just so I can finally be at peace with that part in my heart because Harry will always be my brother, my father, my boyfriend.
First kisses are always ever so wonderful. Your first kiss ever, your first kiss with your somebody special, your first kiss with someone unexpected… When I think about first kisses I get all soft and woozy with tingling sensations spreading throughout my fingers and eventually my whole body. It’s definitely a happy thought but can be adrenaline pumping for some (like myself, who lack exercise so I get endorphins from daydreaming).
My first kiss ever was definitely unexpected considering it came from my very close, best friend. We’re not exactly cradle to the grave but indeed close to it. People have been calling us twins since we can both remember. We have people expecting us to get married so they can write books about us. It’s a very intriguing and quirky relationship we share that I can’t think of a better place to share it but here.
I remember my friend going back to the age of four years old. We may have been friends even before then but four is definitely where I can remember most through my own memories. I remember how we were constantly together and never apart. Our parents created play dates for us almost every weekend. We played everything from pretending we were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to House. We were never embarrassed to be with one another and we didn’t care if it was just us two or with everyone else whenever we would meet at Sunday School or other play dates.
The quirky thing (and believe me when I say “quirky,” it’s not just one of my favorite vocabulary words) about us is that people would really think we were actual twins in real life. Not only did we share the same last name but we were the same age (my friend being only a month older than myself), exact same height and similar body features (even today twenty years later), similar hobbies and even character (only differentiated by intensity but otherwise exactly identical). Our parents share similar qualities in character and personality as well hence the reason why they are friends and thus we became friends. My friend has a younger sister and a younger brother ten years younger than him whereas I have a younger sister that is ten years younger than myself but with the same name as his sister. None of these were of course, intentional but that’s just how similar we have become to be. The craziest part of our similarities within already crazy similarities is that, I moved away to a different state at the age of five and we grew up in exact likeliness of each other even when we grew up millions of miles apart from each other.
Now, technology back then in the 90’s wasn’t as easy as today. We were in elementary school for goodness sake’s with no form of stable internet connection in our private homes where we could chat or skype one another and telephone rates to call long distance was definitely not any easier. We definitely did not have any form of contact for ten years we were apart until we had our small reunion with our families when we were both in high school, and needless can I say that we were both appalled and shocked to what we discovered.
My friend and I shared similar music tastes, we both learned and performed the exact same instruments (plural!), we both shared the same fears, and we both knew instantaneously that what we have is definitely special and one-of-a-kind that can’t ever be broken. As we were reconnecting over what we missed from each other for over the past decade, I can honestly say that we both knew something has kindled in our hearts. This attraction was too much and too difficult to express to put into mere words. We both struck gold in finding something that we felt missing but didn’t know what…
Moving forward to our first kiss apart from all my silly nostalgic ramblings is that we both shared our first kiss ever with one another. It was indeed more than perfect. Both our parents were out enjoying the night on the town and took all our siblings with them. To this day, I still have yet to find out how our parents were both so trusting or conniving about leaving two teenagers alone in the house for a whole night. It is true that both our fathers want us to wed but starting off at fifteen is a definite risk. I never want to ask for fear of the truth.
Anyhow, being two nerds that we were with interests being nothing but music and reading, we goofed around in the living room and started playing duels on the piano. It was pretty much like Iron Chef America but battling with what we learned on the piano. It was intense and so much fun. This is actually a personal fantasy that I would like to recreate some day. We played for what seemed like hours until we both got so tired and ran out of songs to play that in the end I just started playing the harmony part of Pachelbel’s Canon. I shouldn’t even be surprised anymore by now but my friend started playing the melody and before we knew it – the music was meshing together in harmonious melody, the sunlight was beaming and bringing the whole room into a warm, pink glow; we were laughing with twinkles in our eyes and it was the perfect time like no other. My friend leaned in close and we shared our first kiss. A soft and delicate kiss whilst our fingers had memorized the keys and were still in tune with playing Pachelbel’s Canon. If we ever do get married, that is definitely our Wedding March. I don’t care if others think it cliche considering everyone and their mother always has Canon at their wedding. To us, it actually has great significance.
After our reunion that lasted about a good week and a half, my family and I went back home. My friend and I had a long distance relationship that lasted only about 7 months until it got cut short and we lost contact again. Our young and busy lives took a toll on us but I’m sure that when we see each other again, we’ll still see the twinkle in each other’s eyes of our youth, our first kiss, our first love.