Zia's Story: CHAPTER ONE
Updated: Apr 29
I do not know if you are single and have never been married but I am sure you have read, watched, and listened to wedding stories wherein they describe this phase as filled with over flowing joy. From the moment your man knelt in front of you to the planning and to the declaration that you are finally ‘husband and wife’.
Of all the women, isa ako sa nagsuot ng wedding gown at naglakad sa aisle papunta sa altar. I had this big white wedding which was filled with overflowing laughter because of the silliness of our guests na ang main goal talaga ay isalaysay kung ano ‘yung mga nakakahiyang pinaggagagawa namin noon ng husband ko, before and after we met.
Of course, the love Leah. Ika nga nila love is in the air. I definitely love the person I married.
But I’m here, writing to be honest, this big white wedding which I’m describing to be the best day of my life was nearly ruined. This story will not solely focus on me and the reason why I decided to share my story is to tell how a certain ‘love story’ of two strangers had changed me and saved me from doing the greatest mistake I would have made had I not been to a certain island.
People most of the times say angels appear as babies or children, they might be right. But for me, my angel was a silver-haired woman whom I met in 2015 and she was 78 that time.
Ako nga pala si Zia. So if you are confused right now especially those who are to get married, maybe this strangers’ love story will help.
I was officially introduced to my husband, Louis in 2009. I say officially because before that year, nakikita ko na siya lagi sa isang coffee shop kung saan din ako dumadaan every morning to buy coffee before I head to work.
We never talked, lagi ko lang talaga siyang nakikita noon and judging from his look he is as stressed and work occupied as I am and maybe that was the reason why he needed a strong coffee.
Anyway, in 2009, I was officially introduced to Louis sa isang island. We were there kasi team building/outing namin sa office at sakto nga kasi nandoon din sina Louis dahil year-end party naman nila sa company na pinagta-trabahuan niya.
I was single that time for about 3 years already after my devastating break-up with my ex whom I was with since college; and my friends, I didn’t understand why, were desperate to find me a man when in fact, I just turned 26 that time.
Maybe they were just afraid that I would grow old alone and marry my job instead. Well to tell you honestly, this idea of staying single was okay with me. I was fine with the idea of just simply working and growing old alone rather than having a man, who will just break my heart and leave me hanging in the air.
Louis and I happened to have a common friend na siyang workmate ko. Itong common friend na ito, Simon ang pangalan talagang siya ‘yung clown sa grupo at kung may naisip talaga yan, talagang ipu-put niya into action.
At sa lahat ng mga bagay na pwede niyang isipin, ito ay ang i-set up kami ni Louis into a blind date. And to make this idea, which I found was ridiculous before I got to know Louis, kinuntiyaba talaga ni Simon ‘yung mga workmates namin maging ang workmates din ni Louis.
Ganun siya ka-effort maging cupid at match maker that time at talagang parang ninja ang galawan nila, alam mo ‘yung magkakasama kayo pero wala kang nahalata.
And the night came, that was the night before we left the island to head back to the city where we work. So ‘yun nga, nakahiga lang ako sa cottage namin while reading a novel when all of a sudden, ‘yung mga babaeng workmates ko, they demanded or let’s say forced me to get dressed.
Hindi kasi ako agad nag-move when they told me na magbihis because why would I lalong lalo na’t ayaw nilang sabihin kung bakit. But you know what they did? Talagang pinagtulungan nila ako para lang bumangon at saka sila na ang nagkalkal pa sa bag ko.
They chose this white dress na off shoulder, the only dress appropriate for the evening kasi hindi naman ako nagdala talaga ng maraming damit.
So with a simple white off shoulder dress, with my hair down and light make-up, the girls brought me to the beach kung saan meron ng naghihintay na table for two tapos ay talagang may mga palamp pa.
And I was already certain what’s about to happen because standing near the table was a guy dressed in a peach polo shirt and white shorts. And Leah, I knew this man, I already saw him many times.
Hindi lamang ako ang nabigla Leah bagkus ay ‘yung lalaki rin. ‘Yung buhok ko nun, dahil nga sa medyo mahangin ay kinailangan kong i-tuck sa tenga ko dahil pumupunta sila sa mukha ko.
Hindi ko alam kung anong gagawin ko nun, should I just approach him or take a step back and leave because it is ridiculous. However, the guy, who I’m very sure was feeling the same sentiment as mine, rubbed his nape then all of a sudden he broke into a chuckle.
And I didn’t know Leah kung bakit sa ginawa niyang ‘yon ay ako ang sumunod na natawa. It was like a magnet. And after our little laugh, it was like the awkwardness which surrounded us just a minute ago vanished and the next thing, ngumiti siya and made a move with his head, inviting me to come over the table.
Don’t ask me why but at some point, we just agreed to enjoy the free food which was prepared specially for us. So ayun, I sat on the chair which the guy pulled for me before he took his turn to sit on the opposite chair.
Siguro part of the enjoyment that was prepared for us was to get to know each other and talk. Kasi can you imagine Leah, ‘yung simple lang na kakain kayo tapos hindi magsasalita? I’d rather tolerate Simon’s endless ramblings than have a very quiet dinner with a stranger.
He first started by introducing his name and he’s Louis Leah at nagta-trabaho sa isang Engineering firm. And after our introduction, it was followed with a comfortable conversation and I cannot even count how many times I laughed that night.
That blind date was followed by more pero ‘yung mga sumunod, certainly hindi na blind date ang tawag. Yes, after that night, we started hanging out together. Hindi naman siya dinner dates, kundi dinner lang o kaya naman simple lang na magfo-food hunting kami lalong lalo na kung may cravings ako which is madalas.
Every night after work, if we have time, he would come see me at home kaya lang noon ay hindi ko pa siya talaga pinapapasok sa bahay, sa labas lang niya ako hinihintay. As much as I want to invite him inside the house ay ayoko muna siyang ma-subject for interrogation especially at wala pa namang kami.
We would drive somewhere o di naman kaya we would take a walk and just talk about anything.
As I have mentioned, I have been single for 3 years already pero within these years, there were men who expressed their intention to date me, kaya lang ewan ko ba because I never saw any one who is worth spending my time with.
After my break up with my boyfriend for 6 years, I just developed this attitude na ‘wag magsayang ng oras given that I have a lot to do at work and so if I decided to spend time with someone again, I had to make sure it is worth it.
Sa mga nanligaw kasi sa akin, may mga mas bata na siyang puro having fun lang ang alam, meron naman ‘yung kasing age ko pero mahangin naman, meron din naman ‘yung akala mo okay, ‘yun pala meron ng girlfriend or fiancée. The others, sadyang wala ka lang talagang ma-feel na connection.
But after three years, here comes a guy, who happened to be worth spending time with and so just like that, I allowed myself to feel whatever is there to feel … Oo na, I allowed myself na muling kiligin.
With Louis, I was back to being giddy like a school girl. Alam mo ‘yung ang init init ng ulo mo at talagang kumukulo na ‘yung dugo mo because of something na ayaw ka na munang kausapin ng mga workmates mo dahil sa takot na mapagbalingan mo. Alam mo ‘yung basta nanggagalaiti ka, but then, with a single text message and silly joke, miraculously parang makakalimutan mong galit ka pala in the first place.
Na experience mo ‘yung ganun Leah? ‘Yun bang talagang gustong gusto mo ng itaob ‘yung table mo pero isang text lang niya, ‘yung galit mo talaga na biglang kakalma. Ang weird but that’s how I felt with Louis.
Tapos meron pa ‘yung in the middle of work, tapos bigla siyang nagtext at para kang timang na matatawa o mapapangiti. ‘Yung talagang kahit ang focus mo sa ginagawa mo pero mapapasandal ka na lang sa chair mo at tatawa bago siya replyan.
At 26, para kang nasa high school o college kung saan kung kilig, kilig talaga.
We were like this for like more than a year, just simply enjoying the company of each other, not until Simon’s birthday came and that night, I’ve never been so ready na sagutin siya… basta I just felt this very strong feeling na it’s about time.
Nung birthday ni Simon, doon kami sa bar nag-celebrate dahil nga sa pagiging party animal niya. Oo, party animal kasi talagang kahit overworked yan, kaya niyang pumarty hanggang umaga. Kaya nung birthday niya nag-bar kami kahit pa man pareho kami ni Louis na talagang hindi ganon ka into the idea na pumarty.
We were 9 that time and majority of that night, Louis and I simply sat next to each other as we watch our friends get wasted most especially the birthday boy or slash girl.
Hindi rin kasi kami palainom pareho ni Louis, naka-juice lang ako that time habang siya naman ay isang bote lamang ng beer. Tatawa tawa na lang kami hanggang sa maubusan na kami ng hininga katatawa when Simon did his thing kapag nalalasing.
Honestly, isang bagay lang naman ang hinihintay namin ni Louis that time, ‘yun ay kung ano ang gagawin ni Simon kapag talagang nalasing na siya. And when he finally reached his alcohol tolerance ay ayun na nga ang bakla, nasa table na at sumasayaw. Halos hindi na kami makahinga nun sa tawa.
After that moment, Louis and I decided to go outside muna, mga ala una na nun kaya naman wala talagang tao sa kalsada. Naglakad kami meters away from the bar hanggang sa we decided to sit sa gilid ng kalsada.
We talked for a while hanggang sa the perfect moment came kung saan eto na ‘yung right timing. That time kasi nakatitig lang ako sa kanya while he was talking at nang mapansin niyang hindi na ako nagsasalita which is a rare incident, he stopped talking and stared back at me.
And that strong emotion just rushed to my heart and the butterflies were all over my stomach, I told him na sinasagot ko na siya. Sa pagkabigla hindi siya agad naka-react but when I hugged him, dun na, he hugged me back at talagang nag-Thank you pa siya sa Maylikha ng paulit ulit pagkatapos ko siyang sagutin.
The next morning, while at work, my phone rang and the moment I accepted the call, I was welcomed by Simon’s screaming, that time kasi dahil sa hang over ay hindi siya nakapasok sa work. Ganito siya ka-OA at talagang nagsisisigaw sa kabilang linya na tila ba wala talagang iniindang hang over, he was even praising himself for being the best cupid.
Tumatawa lang ako nun but then a realization hits me, oo nga pala Leah, kami na pala ni Louis and just the thought made my smile reached my ears na talagang nakalimutan ko na ang OA kong kaibigan sa kabilang linya.