Aliz Villa? I wasn’t initially drawn into her because she exuded that aura of aloofness that usually turns off every other guy. Our interactions were limited to academics. It was on these circumstances that we spent the first three years of acquaintance until that unfortunate day when I was browbeaten in class. Come to think of it, this wasn’t a misfortune at all.
During a class report, I got bombarded with questions. I was feeling downcast until she approached me and offered words of comfort. It was a great surprise but her simple act lifted the heavy feeling in my heart. I actually felt silly when I realized how badly I have misjudged her. Behind that steely facade and blunt personality is a caring and loving lady.
My whole perspective of her changed entirely that day but beyond, I began to feel something so difficult to put into words. But one thing I am sure of, her simple act of valor made me smile inwardly. My heart was began racing. I wanted to know everything about her. To do this, I mustered enough courage to take that first step, ask her phone number.
From the day I had her number, I persistently texted her. She would send me Bible quotes which entirely changed my impressions of her. With every bit of inspiration, I found myself slowly being drawn into her and I am starting to like what I am seeing. With a moment of clarity, I am slowly discerning what that inexplicable feeling I had the first time she approached me is. Love.
But I know all things that are worth having one must fight for. On this conquest of love, I employed various tactics to win her heart. Whenever I withdraw for my mother, I’d buy one piece of rose in the shop fronting the ATM. Hiding the rose in my pocket, I waited for her after lunch to personally hand it to her. My heart would lurch in anticipation as I wait to see the look of happiness gets written on her eyes.
I also placed post-it notes on her book whenever she gets out. To make sure she read it, I place the notes on our current lesson. My heart smiles when I see her smile as she reads my simple note. During lectures, we would also exchange love notes, nonchalant of the world revolving around us. This was our simple form of conversation. It is in the very same manner that she would give me her elusive but sweet yes. Yes, I remember that date, October 16, 2008. No words can describe the euphoria I felt that moment. I felt like I was the luckiest guy in the world.
One thing was a drawback though. I am not as devout as she is. But slowly, I eventually learned to embrace my new found reality, in her and in His embrace. In time, we became prayer partners as He is the center of our relationship. It was through the wave of His hand that we met and I believe in my heart that He is also the reason why we have stayed this long in our relationship.
I see him now at the end of the aisle. I can’t help but paint a big smile on my face as the college guy I love has transformed into a man that I will cherish now and for the rest of my existence. What I feel right now is an elation that could never compare to how I’ve felt before. This is something that I cannot explain, something that words could never explain.
But it was never the fairy tale which everyone perceived. There were numerous times along the way that I really wanted to give up. The toughest times came when we moved to Manila after college for review. The day I waved goodbye to my loved ones in Laoag, it feels like my heart was being ripped apart. But I had to steel myself because I want to fight for my dreams, for my ambitions.
Through His guidance, Malcon and I slowly learned to cope in our new environment. The adjustment was difficult but being there for each other made coping to the fast-paced life in Manila a bit easier for the both of us. I guess we are both blessed to have each other on this period of radical adjustment.
Living in Manila proved to be most taxing, especially in our relationship. We would quarrel on the most petty things. But admire his devotion because he’ll always be the first one to apologize even though I am the one at fault. Every time we get ourselves caught in fights, he would always cajole me by giving me bouquets of flowers. Though I am still seething inside, I am humbled by his simple acts to make up.
I remember one time I locked myself out in my room because I was angry with him. To my great surprise, a hand popped out from my window and when I looked out, I saw him, dangling on the ledge. How foolish of him to climb to the second floor. He might get himself hurt! Out of fear I came out and asked him to come down safely. Good thing he didn’t fall into the concrete. Although he gave me quite a scare, I forgave him and we made up.
It just amuses me how much his charm easily melts the ice in my heart. I had a very clear vision of what I wanted to do once I graduated college. I wanted to take review classes, pass the board examinations then pursue a job. Never did I think of going back to Laoag post-board but through his persistence, I went back home with him before returning to Manila to look for a job.
There are a lot of reasons why I want to be with him, not just this moment but forever. I’m still at a loss at how we ended up being in a relationship this long. Maybe because his persistence and devotion to me will suffice to draw out all the doubts in me.
My heart right now is beating like a drum as she slowly marches down the aisle. She looks so serene, this woman who is about to become my life partner. I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have her.
But it was never always games and luck with her, most especially when we both got employed. Maintaining both a job and a relationship presented an entirely different set of challenges. We were so used to being beside each other for most of the day that it broke our hearts when we had to work in different companies.
I know in my heart that this is a challenge we have to overcome but it still strained us. I remember how I’d get out of the office at 5 PM to fetch her at their office. But most of the time, she had to extend until 9 or 10 PM. I had to wait and see pity reflected in their office’s security guard’s eyes. Unfazed, I pumped myself up. This is nothing but a small compromise to a lifetime promise of love.
Lifetime promise of love you might ask? Definitely. At the start, I had my doubts but as we journeyed in our lives together, it has become clearer and clearer, she won’t just be a temporary part of me. For all intents and purposes, I want to make her a permanent fixture in my life. I want to make her my wife. I want to make her the mother of my children. I want to grow old beside her. Her faithfulness and loyalty are enough for me to declare that she is all the woman that I need.
So I persisted, even through those times that she kept pushing me back. There were rough patches that drove us both to our limits. We wanted to break up. But I never allowed that, I will never allow that. I will fight for her if I have to. I will do dumbest things if I have to. I don’t care how I look to others. I love her and that is all that I need.
That scene where I climbed the second floor of her dormitory just to make up still makes me smile whenever it is brought up. You see, I’d willingly do stupid things to keep her. I don’t want to spend a lifetime of regrets, driving myself beyond sanity with those questions of what-ifs. If you truly love someone, fight for her. Don’t just rely on something as intangible as destiny to bring her to you.
I truly love her. There were a lot of reasons to put an end to our relationship but we never did. I love her so much that I learned to lower my pride for her. Admittedly, I am a very proud person but my fear of losing her is too great that I never let my pride get in the way. A future without her is going to be bleak, I just can’t begin to imagine.
There’s the man I love, just a couple steps in front of me. He looks so dapper and handsome. I am quite nervous, now that I am stepping closer and closer to a future with him. I am sure that the future with him is one full love. I am aware that it won’t always be smooth sailing but I am willing to row the boat with him on the most treacherous of waves.
His tenacity is probably his best redeeming quality. He never for once looked down and out. There were times I wanted to give up but instead of being daunted by the various situations we were in, he kept pushing through. I’ve wanted to call it quits numerous times but he still persisted in persuading me.
But I love him. I know I do albeit our personalities are polar opposites. I guess that working through our differences made us a stronger couple. In spite of this gap in our personalities, we learned to willingly sacrifice personal happiness for each other. Time taught us the importance of selfless love.
It just makes me smile how greatly he has changed over the course of our relationship. Faith is definitely the most significant factor in our relationship. At one time, I remember, I asked him if he is sure I am the one. In assured manner, he said “Yes” without second thought. I asked why is he sure. His answer was short but spoke volumes, “By faith”.
I am close to tears now, not tears of sadness, but tears of joy. All those love letters, all those post its, all those roses have all converged for this memorable moment in our lives. The gift of love I will honor with him for the rest of my life.
Looking back, I now realize that I can still remember what she wore, where she sat and how she looked on the first day of our college, the first day that I ever saw her. I now surmise that we really are meant to be, no matter how absurd that may sound.
This day is no longer a vision of what was but a vision of what will be. As she takes the final steps, immaculate and serene, my heart skips a beat. She is now before me and she is as beautiful as ever, the only woman I will ever love. Holding her hand, we now make this vow before Him, to be ONE.
What a difference eight years can make. I am now caught in a whirlwind of emotions as I hold her hands to make this vow before Him. More than being nervous, I am happier, nope, happiest as I look forward to the life that we will have together. Today, I make a promise to Him that I will be the best man, the best husband and the best father I could ever be to Aliz, to our future children, and to our family.
After all the trials and tribulations, “Yes, I do.”
Through thick and thin, I will be the woman beside him, not behind him. I will be his strength when he is weak. When he stumbles, I will pick him up. When he’s hurt, I will heal those wounds. Because today forth, his pain is my pain, his joy is my joy, his triumph is my triumph and his loss is my loss.
From this moment forward, it will no longer by “I”, but “we” as we become one body, one heart and one soul.
I promise, “Yes, I do.”
I am not the owner of the pictures. Pictures used in the piece were taken from Mark Raquinio’s Facebook page. The featured image and the last two images were from the couple’s prenup photo shoot taken by Snapshots Ilocos.