when you meet that person. a person. one of your soulmates. let the connection. relationship. be what it is. it may be five minutes. five hours. five days. five months. five years. a lifetime. five lifetimes. let it manifest itself the way it is meant to. it has an organic destiny. this way if it stays or if it leaves. you will be softer. from having been loved this authentically. souls come into. return. open. and sweep through your life for a myriad of reasons. let them be who. and what they are meant.

nayyirah waheed

Since I’ve never been in an official relationship or had a romantic partner of any sort, I take these moments and chances seriously. I ponder the weight of their meanings, reflecting deep into the well of my heart, bright-eyed over my curious loneliness thus far. Why haven’t I met that person yet? Is something wrong with me? Am I dateable? Am I ready to meet someone who will change my life? Will they leave me softer? Or will they leave me prematurely bitter towards the possibility of authentic love?

Last summer, I met someone. We simply connected. Whatever we had lasted for the three days we knew each other. It was one weekend of joy with someone I’ll never forget.

He was full of magic, whimsy, and wholesomeness. A modern Renaissance man, an artistic mastermind with an outwardly gorgeous soul, a jolly, seemingly carefree being who exists and operates beyond labels and boundaries, someone everyone would be proud to know.

We met at an event he was coordinating in Poblacion during Pride Month. As my Uber pulled up to the venue, I looked up to the rooftop where my eyes met his and he flashed an infectious smile. He was the first person I saw and was later the only person I cared to notice. When I entered the building, he came down and introduced himself to me. He had puppy-dog eyes, bursting with warmth, and a mature, confident aura that radiated around him. His sleeveless shirt revealed broad shoulders and strong posture, and as we shook hands, a sensitive touch. I instantly melted and fell for him that very moment.

As the event went on, I met expressive, posh, quirky, nerdy, and beautiful people whom I felt would be great friends. But I kept my eye on him. I wanted to be close to him, to vibe and chat, but I hardly saw him. Then there was an after party at a nearby gay bar for all attendees who wanted to shift into a Friday night party mood. I arrived early with two new friends. We danced as I anxiously waited for my crush to arrive. When he did, I felt so relieved and knew I had to make a move. I went up to him, we exchanged numbers, and I suggested we hang out soon.

To my surprise, he agreed to meet me the next day. We met at a bar in Poblacion, Makati and it felt surreal to be alone with him. Sparks of attraction flickered over us in playful clouds. Lightning struck with an immediate connection that felt natural and free; I basked in every moment like an island boy at rest. We spent the night bouncing from bar to bar all over Poblacion as he told me about the up and coming arts, culture, food, and business scenes that have been exploding throughout the area. We both connected as foreign-born Filipinos with a deep love for home and exploring the depths of our culture. Seeing his passion and drive when talking about his relationship to the Philippines and its evolution made him more attractive than I could imagined. I felt starstruck. How on earth did I find myself sitting in front of the most radiant, vibrant, and genuine man I have ever met?

Our last stop of the night was the rooftop bar at Z Hostel. With the summer breeze in our hair, drinks in our hands, the gaze of the young and the wild on us, and the grand city lights at our toes, I felt like a star in a scene I’ve always dreamt of living. A cinematic snapshot of what it would feel like to be with someone. For one night, I found my person and I found my heaven.

It hurts a little bit to look back and reminisce. To see his face lit up, looking at me, and finding something worthwhile to smile and laugh about, something valuable enough in me to put time aside for. Was any of it real for you? Did you plan for it to be temporary and fleeting? Were we kindred tigers? Or were you just a magician? I prowled for days, wondering about us. Did you?

In the span of three days, I naively thought I knew what I needed to know to make hoping worthwhile. I clung to wild hopes and blurred premises. Rationality became something that I bent to my will. An unloved soul either withers, becomes wicked, or withstands all that it can.

I pray with the words of Nayyirah Waheed for wisdom, honesty, and eternal openness to vulnerability, in hopes of a path of sustainable, reciprocal love. But whatever comes until then, whomever I meet next, please be delicate, please be vulnerable too, please don’t shy from my tears or my fears, please see me for me, beyond the glare of the spotlight, or the flare of a one-night stand, please look beyond my body, however flawed and flawless, beyond my words, however much or little they mean, know that my record is not pristine, that I still dream for love. One that is whole, all-encompassing, peaceful, and patient. I’ll wait as long as it takes.

To my person of last summer, if you are reading this, know that despite the prickle of pineapple leaves, our fruit was sweet. I hope that if ever we meet again, only love and friendship pass between. You were real. I was real. We were real. If I am easy to remember, is that your hint to an ember? No matter where we go, I hope you’ll always know: you captured me once and that was enough. But to do it again, two flames til the end? God only knows.

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