March 4, 2016
At the French author section of my shelf, I pulled out Colette’s “Recollections” earlier today. I had forgotten I had a copy and never got around to reading it. I flipped the cover. An “I ❤ U” was etched on the first page.
It was an unexpected remembrance from the past. In a slow motion sequence, I recalled how that happened. He and I were at the mall. I asked that we stop at a used bookstore. He wasn’t a reader but he adored me for being one and had been impressed that I did not even bat an eye at the long line of boutiques, so he obliged. Why I was with someone who hadn’t developed the fascination for reading was a mystery even for me at the time. But he was captivating, not based on the blueprints of my ideals, but in his own way. And for people like that, ideals mysteriously become willing to bend.
In Philippine bookstores, Colette is a rarity. I was surprised to find one and immediately secured the book. At a coffee shop later on, I unwrapped the book excitedly and scanned it and set it aside only when my coffee arrived. He wondered why I was so thrilled about it and picked it up. I told him in jest that maybe Colette wasn’t the best author to get him interested in reading. When he handed it back to me hurriedly, “I ❤ U” was etched on the first page. I think he used a coin. That’s how it got there.
I laughed. From then on, there was not a single day when he would not say “I love you” or send me a message with those very words. I started to believe him. I also believed him when he said I’d make the perfect wife and a good mother. Unfortunately, I still believed him at the time I found out there was another woman and she got pregnant.
That was quite a long time ago, and I forgave him so easily. Perhaps I was also secretly relieved because deep inside I knew he was not my perfect match. I had forgotten about him, and regrettably, the book.
Since then, people came and went, but the one sad truth that remains is that most of the time, the people who say they don’t ever want to let you go, are the ones who do.
Most of the time, the people who say they don’t ever want to let you go, are the ones who do. Oh, Colette. So much for recollections.