At Sixteen

Sixteen Candles (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Sixteen Candles (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

“It is better to have loved and lost…
Than never to have loved at all….”

Sixteen Candles    (Photo Credit:  Wikipedia)
Sixteen Candles (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

These two lines from a woman’s magazine caught my eyes… and triggered memories…

We were playmates way back in the 70’s. Laughing merrily while we played tagged, patintero, tumbang preso or taguan…Life was very simple then. Street games were the normal thing. Learning to ride the bike was great achievement and owning one was like being on top of the world!

Sports leagues were rampant everywhere.  Our teen teams of volleyball and basketball got to play anywhere especially during summer. There was so much fun on games, out-of-town trips and meeting people from everywhere. That was fun one can’t get from computers. Real, live teenage fun.

Crushes were already common then, although less obvious (less PDA!). Cute eyes, nice smile, sweet words. They were enough reasons to have crushes. Doesn’t really matter how many. Only your closest friend get to know about it so you won’t get teased.  Truth comes out though when you play “Truth or consequence” via a spinned empty bottle of Coke (palabra de honor still weighed heavily then).

It felt ticklish to hear friends forced to admission as to who their crushes were and “shocking” to hear one has a boyfriend!

And of course, there was teen love. Love finds you though you don’t seek it.  It just happen.

But Youth can be a sad thing sometimes. We can do foolish things and realize too late what harm we’ve done. Some things just can’t be undone. Lost things can’t be retrieved as easily as when we first got them. When we’re young, we want to show the world we are old enough. And when we’re old, we want to be young once again. The irony of life!

I am now well into my 50th year of existence. But I somehow I keep on regretting the foolishness of my youth. The good thing is… happy memoirs kept me standing during every storm I faced in my life. They were enough to get me going.

Telling and retelling the stories of my youth became joyful bonding time with my kids. My kids and I, we’re peers. We keep communication doors open all the time.  And one of the most important lessons I taught them was to be strong during life’s trials… for there could be many.

My first heavy lesson was with my first relationship. I already had a number of suitors at age 12; often  mistaken as a bit older because of my early physical development. But I was more keen on street games and playing ball. This young Don Quixote touched my hand during a bike ride and that triggered my entrance to girlhood.

First touch (on my hand!). First love letter. First boyfriend (by phone).
I really hugged that first letter and took it under my pillow every night! Blue Moonlight stationery and erroneously typed letter, but still, the first love letter I ever got… Blissful? Huh! Sort of puppy love as people call it… I call it my first mistake.

It went ka-blam! Just two weeks and then I found out during a spinned empty-bottle of Coke game of Truth or Consequence that one of my team-mate friends was also his girl!!! Though I was first didn’t matter anymore!!

Gosh! It stained me for a long time. No formal break up, but that’s it for me! Finished.  However, that marred my self-worth a lot. Which I carried with me for years later.

No relationships after that. I made boys cry, so to speak. I was very cold. ‘Til my playmate Rom cast his attention on me.

I couldn’t help it. Like I was seeing him as a guy for the first time. I only knew him as a little boy with eyeglasses, barring my way during a game of patintero. Who is this sweet guy who’s mesmerizing me with his sweet and gentle ways? Hmmm… Eighteen. It became our special number.

Rom wasn’t my first boyfriend, but he was definitely the only one I was serious with. The previous guys were just teasers…like players in a game. “It “ was over before you got to know each other better.

With Rom, it was so different. He was my playmate in grade school. He became my heart’s mate in Junior high. Very sweet, thoughtful, caring and nice. He used to look at me then like I was Cinderella (when in fact I felt more like The Ugly Duckling though sexier!).  He wrote letters like a diary and kept souvenirs from where he’s been to give to me when he comes to visit.  Cupcakes to take in school, delicious brownies for me and my siblings, anything. Hairbrush to remind me of him everyday he said while I brush my hair.  Every love song of the 70’s on the air became our songs because of him. He used to sing them for me, playing the records again and again.  He was funny and smart, too.  He was never grouchy or irritable.  We never had any quarrel or even a mild LQ. How not to love this guy!

However, I was very careful not to fall deep. Not because I couldn’t trust him nor myself. But because I was awfully scared he will soon be walking past. I wasn’t the cover girl type. And a number of my girl friends had a crush on him for he was gorgeous and one of the cream of the crop.! The slightly dark, tall and handsome teen with a nice smile and good physique…whew! A few more months and he would be surrounded by more girls in college! And I was talking only of the physical! Wait till the girls hear how sweet he can be! I was foreseeing much competition!

And so it was that I embraced pessimism so early in our relationship that I failed to give my best. I even preempted negativism via poems I recorded for him and which he played and replayed many times…


“Please don’t promise me forever….
It would be baseless for you to promise things
You may not be able to fulfill…

See? Such negative thoughts already! Oh my!

To top that… I was told via the grapevine that his family didn’t like me for his girlfriend because I belong to the less privileged families. “Why not the doctor’s daughter?” buzzzz…buzz…buzz…

The bees kept on buzzing and pushed me up the wall.

I broke up with Rom through a letter, without any explanation. Despite his pleas, I turned deaf ears and hid behind our window.  I closed the door.  Period.

He returned many times, but I never faced him again . I was such a coward. I didn’t want to tell him the reason and cause a rift between him and his family. For I felt sure that what I was told was true. I consoled myself with the thought that he will, anyway, choose someone prettier sooner or later. Why not part now?  While I can still bear it.  But shucks…. I cried me a river for years.  (He said he cried an ocean!)

And when it was time for him to migrate to Canada… he came all dressed in white pants and polo! So gorgeous he looked! But again, I forced myself not to run towards him. Instead, I secretly waved goodbye behind our window, without him knowing that I imprinted his image in my memory… where he stayed forever.

I could never turn back the hands of time though I wished many times  Icould.

You see… when you’re sixteen… you ‘re still not wise… nor smart.

Just plain stupid!    (oh, pain, pain, pain…)

About Mommyjoyce

Isang simpleng nanay na adik magbasa, adik magsulat at adik sa anak! Idol ko si Mother Theresa, kaboses ako dati ni Ate Shawie Cuneta (joke); maawain sa mga madudungis, siga sa mga taong nang-aapi, at lifecoach sa mga kabataan at mga magulang na walang ibang makausap, Ang simpleng motto ko in life: Cherish everyday (not just because it could be my last); kundi kasi, bukas iba na naman ang flavor ng buhay! Kaya namnaming maigi!
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