One That Got Away
Life is full of difficult decisions; we make hundreds of them every day. Some are automatic, which doesn’t really need time for thinking. And occasionally, we are compelled to make vitally important decisions about major life-goals. There are things in life in which we decide based on practicality and we tend to forget to decide with ethics. How do we find a balance in which we can make good choices? And once we somehow manage, against the odds, to decide anything, how can we ever know if we’ve chosen the best of all possible paths? Whose happiness should I consider?
It took me a long time before I understand everything. And now, I am in front of my friends and relatives, standing with pride and overflowing happiness. I fixed my collar and took a deep breath for I am about to do a bond of love. I smiled as the wedding ceremony started. An old piano rendition of The Wedding March resonated the whole chapel as the entourage walked the aisle and separated as they move towards their designated seats. And then I saw little Elisa, dressed in a beautiful little gown as she scattered the flowers to where Daisy, her older sister, the bridesmaid walked. And then, everyone’s attention focused on her, dressed in white and laces, with flowers crowning her radiant hair under the silhouette of the silky veil, the most beautiful lady that day, Isabel.
I remember the time where I first wrote her an anonymous letter, left between the pages on her favorite book. I saw her smiled and the sweetness of her smile radiated towards my heart. And then, I sent her another one and on the third letter, I asked her that if she wanted to reply, all she needed to was to place her letter on the third volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica at the school library. I have managed to retrieve it without her noticing me.
From those letters, I learned a lot from her. We became friends through writing. I became his confidant as what I was to her. We kept on exchanging letters for 5 months until she asked me if I have free time on Valentine’s Day. And then, we agreed to meet at the Oblation Building. She was very happy as
I saw her approaching. She slowly took the steps up the stairs until she reached the polished tiled-floor.
“Are you the one who wrote those letters?” Isabel asked.
“Yes,” Alex replied. “Finally, I got enough courage to see you and know you personally”.
I know I should be happy for the both of them. But there’s something inside me that feels so wrong. I hid my self behind a pillar until Alex invited her out and they left.
Five months ago, Alex, my best friend and I were having a lunch break at the school canteen when a girl passed in front of us, she was excellently wonderful. Her looks delighted Alex’s senses and for the first time I saw a moment when a person falls in love. It was his first time. Full of insecurities and naiveness, Alex asked me help in writing Isabel a letter. I put his emotions into words.
On her first reply, I was so delighted. I was the first one to read it before showing to Alex. I can see happiness on his face as we wrote another letter for her. It was lately then when I felt that I’ve been growing something inside my heart. But I ignored it. We continued exchanging letters with her. As days passed, I realized that those letters that we’ve sent were actually my own feelings. At that time, I decided to follow what is right. I did everything to boost Alex’s personality until the time they finally agreed to meet in person. They won’t need to exchange letters anymore. The only method of how I conveyed my feelings met its end.
I transferred to a different school in order to forget them. I’ve gone to keep my self occupied. Whatever happened to them afterwards, I never intend to know. I promised self to be happy for them. I believed that happiness is not what you give to yourself; it’s what you give to others. I tried being happy without them. I’ve developed a lots of questions and what ifs in my head, but I believe that things generally turned out for the best.
Life has great options, but you don’t always have to pick what seem to be the best. Sometimes, the best and the perfect aren’t always the one that makes us happy.
Years later, my club mates from my previous school invited me their school fair. I accidentally bumped on her. At first, it felt so awkward. We stood there for a minute until she broke the silence.
“Its been a while,” she said. “I’m happy to see you again.”
“Yeah, it has been,” I replied.
“Done with college?” she asked.
“Just recently,” I answered. “H-Hows Alex?”
She didn’t answer me right away. She just smiled there for less than a minute.
“Thank you for your letters…” she uttered.”Alex told me all about it on the day we broke up. He felt so sorry for losing a great friend.”
I never thought that Alex would be that brave for him to admit everything.
“It was his feelings… ” I said. “I just put it into words for it to reach you.”
“It wasn’t his,” she said. “The one that reached me was yours.”
We ended up talking the whole night of the school fair under the stars. I learned about Alex’s accident and how his family took him out of the country. We’ve exchanged stories and experience happened during the time I left the school to patch things up.
“What if, you did fight for what you feel for me before,” she asked. “Do you think we’ll both end up being happy?”
“How can I be happy knowing that there’s someone out there crying in expense of my happiness,” I told her.
“I see…” she uttered.
“You know, if I hadn’t seen that moment when he fell in love for you,” I said. “Maybe we can be happy. But then again, I wouldn’t know if I will mean much to you back then.”
“Why don’t you try asking now?” she said.
“Would I?” I asked.
Five years later, her answer leads us to this event. I looked at her dumbfounded as she passed the church threshold. I saw Alex beside her and we smiled at each other. Elisa scattered petals of different flowers onto the red carpet where Isabel walked. I felt everyone’s happiness inside the church, the happiest person that day was me. I saw her walked gracefully as she held a bouquet of flowers with her two hands.
When she reached the front, she smiled and thanked me. She then gave her hands to Marl, her groom as the walked in front of me. And opposite from the chosen path where Isabel walked, I saw Alex turned around and walked towards the road where he met the accident ten years ago.
What she answered to me back then was ‘Yes’. I would mean to her. I really did love her, but everything was already late.
They’ve exchanged vows in front God, their family and their friends. Their wedding ceremony ended like a good-old romantic flick. And I blessed them and prayed for their budding family life. The happiest person that day was me. It was the first wedding ceremony I took after being a full-pledge priest.
The next day I had a chance to talk to Alex, I learned that he’d lost his memory after the accident. I asked him the reason why he broke up with Isabel.
“Something so wrong felt so right,” Alex said. “And I just have to end it.”
He asked me why I left and transferred school.
“I felt something so right. If I let it continue, eventually it will go wrong.” I said.
He went back to visit me at the church often after that. Friendship is about availability. Love is about decision. Sometimes, God breaks our spirit to save our soul. He breaks our heart to make us whole. And sometimes, He sends us pain for us to become stronger.
I often asked my fellow priests about the greatest decision they made in their whole life. Being a servant of God was their usual answer. When its my turn to answer my own question, aside for being a priest, the greatest decision I made in my entire life was when I gave way and let someone to be happy.
And that decision made her the one that got away.