He was a college basketball superstar. Such a dreamboat. He didn’t know me then, but I used to watch his games and pine for him. Although we were batchmates, we were never introduced. My young self was “loving” him from afar.
Being Mr. Popular, I knew he wouldn’t really notice me. Not when a lot of other girls are fawning over him. I was but one of his fans.
We were (finally) introduced several months after we graduated. I was already working then and I guess the ‘corporate’ look made him notice me more. I was no longer an immature ‘nameless fan.’ I became someone interesting enough to date.
He was a sweet guy. His college basketball superstar status made people believe that he was unreachable, difficult to talk to… yet he really wasn’t. He was pretty down to earth. But given his appeal, I knew that a lot of other girls are dying to date him — much like I was back in college. And so I also knew that whatever we had wouldn’t last.
I was so young then. I wasn’t looking for a serious relationship. I knew that if my heart was to be broken, it might as well be by someone I insanely liked.
At that moment in time I knew he liked me back.
Little things made me feel special… Like that time when he came over to my place unannounced at ten pm, after a basketball game (he was already playing in an amateur league). When I asked why, the only reason he could think of was that — he wanted to see me, and that he just kept driving ’til he got to my house… And then there was a time when we were waiting for a movie to begin, and he started singing “It Might be You” to my ear… After dropping me off after a date, he would call me the moment he gets home and we would still talk on the phone until the wee hours of the morning… Sometimes we talked a lot about different things, at times we just stared at each other.
Seeing him always gave me the butterflies in the stomach sensation.
On our last date, I distinctly remember his parting words. As I was going down the car, he reached for my hand and said, “I will call you.”
Several days passed, and I didn’t hear from him. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months… still no word, no nothing. No explanation. He just disappeared. I knew it was over.
I was heartbroken, yes, but I pretty much expected that to happen so it didn’t hurt that long.
Several months later, I went to one of his ball games and he saw me. We got to talk somewhat and we planned on seeing each other again the following day. Maybe to iron things out, maybe to just plain hang out.
I was staying at a friend’s house that night, and he said he will pick me up in the morning before he goes to training. He said he was looking forward to spending the morning with me.
Something happened the following morning. I had to leave really early, and since cellphones were still unheard of at that time, contacting him proved to be so difficult. Plus, I didn’t know that the previous night, when he asked for my friend’s home number, I managed to give him a wrong one.
We were finally able to talk again that afternoon when he got home from training. He told me that he was looking for me the whole morning until he realized that I just led him on. He said I did it on purpose to get back at him.
I can still remember the hurt and disappointment in his voice. Mr. Player got played. By me.
I never saw nor heard from him since. Funny because I woke up this morning remembering that it’s his birthday today.
Although at that time, part of me was glad that it ended that way (he broke my heart, after all), it’s not something that I am particularly proud of. And sometimes there are people whom you would rather remember for the good moments that you shared together. Memories that you know you will always preserve somewhere in the deep recesses of your mind.
Now, 18 years later, I do not dwell on the sour ending that we had. Obviously we were not meant to end up together.
But I do remember the butterflies. And it’s enough to make me smile.
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