Friday, March 18, 2005

Reflections on an Old Love

met an old lover for coffee today, after lunch. he texted me to ask if we could meet for old times' sake, before he left for home again.

i knew he was in town since last month; he emailed me his plans and schedule and texted me from time to time to tell me where he was. but i never bothered to initiate anything with him again, knowing too that he has a steady girlfriend now, or so he claims.

what amuses me though is he still keeps telling me about his life and his dreams, where he's been and what his plans are. and i was never really his girlfriend.

we hit it off when we first met two years ago, so much so that by the second date we were intimate. but i've always understood that our basic conflict is that he was too young for me, and that we ultimately wanted different things in our lives.

we met at a time when i had just broken free of my marriage, while he was seriously thinking of settling down. that was one of the first comments he made during our first date, and he looked sad and disappointed about it: "so you're just spreading your wings huh, and starting to enjoy your freedom."

and when we became intimate, i thought we were just having fun, sharing pleasures affectionately as good friends. i only began to realize a little further on that i might have meant something more to him when he started asking me about my plans, and whether they would fit in with his plans too, and how he liked to call himself "my man".

but at that time, making a commitment, much less making a commitment to somebody much younger, was never even in my plans, so it took a long while for me warming up to the idea.
by the time i was considering it, he had moved on to other easier "conquests", i guess.

then, too, one conversation we had struck me about how vastly different our views of marriage were: he was still stuck in that never-married single twentysomething person's idea of marriage as some sort of a social and economic exchange idea ("you take care of us as you have a better career, i'll take care of your kids and our home for you!") while i was (and still am) looking now for a real life partner-- a best friend and independent equal whom i don't have to baby nor to play slave to.

his marriage plans amused me more than they insulted me. he said he was looking for an educated filipina whom he could take with him to the States so she'll work and have a successful career and support him, while he stays home and takes care of the household and the kids and does his travelling and his nightlife socializing as he says he's tired of working his butt off. hahaaa. i credited that to his youth, although i also wondered if that's how cut-and-dried men think when they think of finding somebody to marry.

of course, i said no and pointed out to him as gently as i could that i didn't plan on being somebody else's provider nor surrogate mom, when i already have my hands full taking care of my three kids and my self. and so that ended it.

still our coffee and long chat today brings bittersweet and tender feelings to the surface.

he talks about his girlfriend now and how she fulfills his dreams of finding somebody willing to support him and let him do his thing. he says what makes her a great catch is because she's so conservative she wouldn't even allow him to kiss her, so that's a sure thing that she won't cheat on him. he also says that she's not into nightlife socials so he'll be sure she'll always just be home, where he wants her, even when he's out socializing. he asked me what i thought, isn't that great?

(i know what you must probably be thinking... "pig!" huh? heehee. well, yeah, me too, but i credit that to his youth more than to his being male.)

i frankly told him it might be great for him but not for her. he insists it's great for her too because she agreed to the idea. i told him, yeah, wait till she's 35 or 40 and wakes up to how you have been ripping her off! hahaaa.

he nonchalantly said, well she could leave me when she's 35 or 40, i'll just find somebody younger.

hahaaa.

i mean, that doesn't sound like a man in love to me!

so, the reason for the bittersweet and tender feelings resurfacing.

from the way his gaze lingered on my face as we talked, to how he made any and all excuse to touch my arm, my shoulder, my hair, even brush a finger or two against my face... to how deeply he looked into my eyes as i told him about my life too (i had to look away many times, just to keep the friendly distance) ... i could tell: the love is still there.

but then, haven't i learned not so long ago already? --

many times, love is not enough to make it last.

but still, i can't help wondering... who is luckier-- the "official" girl friend, or me, the unacknowledged love?

sigh. the price a thinking woman has to pay!
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