( a FACEBOOK ROMANCE STORY FOR LDRS)
“When you’re feeling so down, think of your most happy thought…”
Most happy thought? Hmmmmm…Leleng went down Memory Lane.
Her thoughts went back to the mid-1970s. She opened a new tab. www.facebook.com. Typed Lorenzo Manza on Search. Enter.
“That’s him!!! I’m sure that’s HIM. OMG!” Leleng immediately sent a short message, pretending uncertainty.
“Could you be the Lorenzo Manza from Road 1, Pag-asa, Quezon City? Coz I had a childhood friend named like you.” There. Sent. Still feeling elated with the discovery, Leleng continued to work on her article, this time with much inspiration. 30 years ago . . . brought warm memories of youth.
Suddenly…up popped a message from Lorenzo! Leleng rushed to open it, fingers turning cold with anticipation… “LELENG, MY FIRST LOVE!!! WHERE ARE YOU?” Leleng almost fell off her chair.
Straight. No zigzags nor detours. That IS LORENZO, all right. The same old Lorenzo Leleng knew. But now overseas. So what? There was no question of distance. Just happy to rekindle friendships.
The old feelings just poured. Destiny took its course. Chat covered 30 years of their separate lives. “He is in the same boat as mine!“ The boat of happily-separateds! Yipee! Leleng didn’t need the shots of brandy anymore to make her sleep. She started to live. Looked forward to a warm future filled with sunshine and laughter. Someone special from the past, someone to grow old with…hopefully, blissfully.
“I love you, Facebook!!!”
* * * * *
Their story goes back to the mid-70s, when teenage friends Lorenzo and Leleng met, became friends but never lovers. Lorenzo had this intense crush for Leleng (which he calls first love and which his gang mates knew about, too) and yet he could not profess his love easily. “Ligaw tingin; torpe”. He would ardently wait for Leleng to pass every Friday at 5 pm after school and on weekends when she goes to the market. He would sit or stand by their gate. His friends would often tease her, which irritated Leleng.
Leleng, on the other hand, notices Lorenzo’s stares and tries to sneak glances his way. He became her secret crush. She would try to call his home just to hear his voice. She never talks, just savors to hear him. She would make herself pretty before going to market and pretend not to notice Lorenzo’s gazes. When Lorenzo finally gathers the courage to make his intentions known to Leleng, it was Leleng’s turn to become cowardly. She turned him down out of shyness and out of discouragement that he was a stand-by teen who had so many teasing friends. He also seemed like the head of his tambay peers who all sported the “street gang” attire. The time of the Jefrox fad. However, she told Lorenzo that she had no plans to have a boyfriend yet and that she intends to finish college first.
Broken hearted, Lorenzo drinks with his friends and cries out his frustration. But that frustration made him think a lot about his status. He decided to stop his carefree life, went back to finish high school, continuing until college vigorously; enrolling even in summer classes. He planned to pursue his love for Leleng after he finishes college; hoping that he would have better chance, thinking that Leleng would have reason to be proud of him when that time comes. He vowed to improve himself and he did. He became a working student; determined to to reach his goal.
A few days before graduation from college, he saw Leleng with a guy who appeared to be a boyfriend. It broke his heart the second time. He never went back to Leleng. He moved house . The pain remained. So did his love.
Years passed. . . fate designed it so that they lived in one area, but they never crossed paths (grocery, marketplace, church). Both led different lives. But, both had failed marriages but became good parents. Their lives are to be intertwined again. After 30 years.
* * * * *
Leleng’s kids noticed the changes and were happy for her. They said Lorenzo should have come earlier into their Mom’s life. Mom glows. Hahaha! Funny incidents followed. Where the parent becomes the kid and vise versa. Mom chats like a teenager just into her adolescent years. Laughter fills Leleng’s life now. The problems remained. But she dealt with them with a lighter spirit and a happy heart. And whereas before she declared NEVER to leave the country she loves, now, because of Lorenzo, she professes it is only temporary. She’ll be back some day. Lorenzo matters more to her now, plus her kids’ future as a bonus. Suddenly, she looked at leaving as an option towards a greener pasture, where heaven waits for her. She searched all ways to find her way to Lorenzo. Lorenzo did the same. The chats continued. Teen love had blossomed into one superb mature love.
One long year passed. No easy way could be found for someone in her 50s and in her complicated status. Lorenzo’s love for his kids should prevail over his leaving his place in Canada. Leleng insists they were too young to be away from their dad. And Lorenzo was getting well ahead in years to change career. Plus, he has grown roots in his new found world of security. He just can’t leave everything behind to be with Leleng. Practicality reasons. On the other hand, Leleng, still embedded in her personal chaos, felt she belonged to a forlorn world of hopelessness. She was filled with overwhelming questions.
“Does the country she loves love her back? Is she meant to leave her advocacy and her kids “whom she calls her treasures” behind, even temporarily? Was fate playing with them? Too many questions. Chats became strained and painful. No more bounce. Lesser sparks. With inspiration fading, who else lives?”
Leleng walks around to look for answers around her. The church was almost empty. The park looks bleak now. Yesterday it looked so alive. Tears fell from Leleng’s eyes. She sat at the park bench, weak and defeated. Her mind made up.
She sent one short message to Lorenzo on Facebook.
“I can never leave… not now, not tom or next year. Goodbye, my Heart. Thank you for that one glorious year of my life.”
She turned her computer off. Went to bed. Staring at the wall above her, blinded by tears that never stopped. Exhaustion ended the thoughts… wet pillows served as witness to a bleeding heart.
Day 3. Leleng forced herself to face another day. She smiled at Katherine’s kiss of good morning, and prompted Lyonel to get ready for school. Special as always, Jefferson hugged her consolingly, miraculously not speaking a word today which was unusual. Jason and Katherine had prepared breakfast by themselves. They all knew what their Mom was going through, yet no one dared to talk about it. Otherwise, the tears will fall again as they did yesterday and the days before that.
Leleng’s pc had been covered with a white linen. Her gaze fell on it for a second, apprehensive that even that piece of technology alone might bring back the tears. She hastily took a sip of the coffee her daughter had prepared for her.
She couldn’t help but smile.
“May I be sick again, for at least another week? I am beginning to like your pampering,” trying her best to bring humor to their morning.
Her teens smiled their approval. Lifting their eyebrows to show their confirmation. No need for words. Fragile feelings need no words.
“I’m going to church this morning. I’ll be back in an hour. See you later, my treasures,” and she kissed them all one by one.
Leleng headed on to find solace in the Lord’s house. She knelt in front of the altar, murmuring words of apology to God whom she felt would reprimand her for her crazy actions of one year. Crazy, yes, but the most wonderful year of her life. Her chat life.
On her way out, one verse by the church door caught her eyes.
“ Delight yourself in the Lord…and he shall give you the desires of your heart.”
Absentmindedly, Leleng started to walk homeward. Home was only a few blocks away. A horn blasted behind her, she was oblivious to the warning, deep in her thoughts. Someone hastily pulled her off the road, they fell down by the pavement.
Shocked and shaken, she turned her face towards her hero….whose hands were still wrapped around her.
“Heart”… her lips brokenly whispered.
Lips touched lips. No needs for words.
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