“I’ve known him for half my life.” I told the waiter at my favourite restaurant when he asked what we were and how we knew each other.
We met when we were 16, I don’t remember how and when. My memories of him were mostly made up of watching from the sidelines of the football field, wondering how I could be as good as him. I always knew he was special, but not in the way the rest of them were. He was not a pretty boy. In fact, he was lanky and he looked weak, but he was great at what he did. He was great at everything that he did and it has always been what I loved most about him.
Somewhere between the stolen glances from the pitch, we found ourselves swapping numbers. We spent months exchanging text messages and spending time together the way people our age back then would. At 16, I had hoped that he would be that high school sweetheart that I would end up marrying after college. But it ended like most high school flings would and shortly after, we went our separate ways. He went on to spend 7 years in the Bay Area, while I spent years searching for my place in the world.
We reconnected after more than a decade, just when I was about to move back home after two years living in Europe. I remember telling one of my best friends how crazy it would’ve been to have seen the world, met everyone there was to meet only to end up with the person I met in high school. Alluding to one of my of my favourite books, I thought maybe my life’s greatest treasure was back home all along. I found it both interesting and disappointing because I always knew I was going to end up with some tall and handsome Portuguese man. When I finally moved back home to Manila, it didn’t take too long before we met up to catch up on everything.
For six years he was a constant presence in my life. We did things that most couples do but didn’t do things that made couples a couple. We went to dinner at nice restaurants, we would work out together, we watched movies, among other things. And when I didn’t have a car, he was kind enough to pick me up from work and bring me home. He was always a WhatsApp away for a random night cap or a stroll in the village. But, he would be slightly inaccessible for months at time, which I assumed was when he was dating someone.