The Love Story that Disappeared

The Pasig River. Where a lot of tragic things happened. Photo from Wikipedia.

The Pasig River. Where a lot of tragic things happened. Photo from Wikipedia.

Before I met Jonas, I get woozy when I would hear the term “falling in love.”

In my (personal) dictionary, “woozy” is defined as “adj. to be nauseated to the point of retching one’s tonsils out of one’s throat” or “noun. a sensation similar to the gag reflex combined with the compulsion to throw oneself into a river.”

That was before I met Jonas. After I met him I had to construct a different dictionary.

Kim used to say, “Alice, you are an old maid waiting to happen.”

To which I would reply, “Kim, I’d rather be an old maid than be Britney Spears.” Or my mother.

Jonas (at first) looked … ordinary.

He arrived at the gate of my apartment wearing a dark shirt, dark jeans, and a wooden image of the Virgin Mary strung on an abaca yarn around his neck.

He asked me where I wanted to go. I asked him, “Didn’t you have a plan at all for tonight?

He smiled. And I was floored. “I thought we were going to be spontaneous.”

So off to Star City we went. It’s a carnival of sorts, beside the Manila Bay.

We did the ferris wheel and the roller coaster. I had to beg off going into the horror house — imaginary zombies also make me woozy.

Jonas, needless to say, was the perfect gentleman. Didn’t even try to hold my hand.

“You would have slapped it if I did,” he told me years later. He was right.

On the way back to my apartment, we saw a bunch of college guys hooting at a very sexy model-like girl with high heels, big boobs and legs that reached up to my armpits.

I looked for my companion’s reaction. He smiled at me. A sad smile, I thought at that time.

“My dad used to say that humans objectify the things they love in an effort to control them. But, if you truly love a person, you do not reduce them to an object.”

I returned the smile and patted him on the shoulder. I would have wanted to hold his hand at this point; but I remembered that I never hold hands on the first date. Not that I’ve had a lot of first dates in my life.

“I think I love your dad,” I joked.

“You do?”  That smile again. Good god, I thought, all this smiling would soon freeze our facial muscles and turn us into Jokers. But Jonas sure had great-looking dimples! “Well he’s dead.”

Faux pas, I thought. “I’m sorry,” I mumbled. Without thinking, I took his right hand  in mine and squeezed it. As a gesture of sympathy, of course.

Then he said: “You know Alice, if I knew that my dad would get you to hold my hand, I would have mentioned him a lot sooner.”

Eight years after he said those words, Jonas disappeared.

My dictionary acquired another word: “heartbroken — adj. a feeling or emotion that makes one want to throw oneself into a river.”

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