The Last Five Years: Sephie's Story4/18/2016 05:43:00 PM
How we met...
Back in high school, my older brother encouraged me to join his school's drama club. Since his school was an all boy's school, they always need girls from other schools to balance out their cast. Plus, I heard many wonderful things about their drama club director (who reminds me so much of Ms. Darbus from HSM). Unfortunately, she was retiring that year, so I decided to give it a chance to join before she did. I figured it was a good way to meet and mingle with boys with me growing up in an all girl's school. I have to admit, it was a completely different experience because I've always been one to be more of an introvert with zero level of confidence outside of my comfort zone (i.e. my circle of friends). Back then, socializing with the opposite sex is a different thing if it's beyond hanging out with relatives, etc. So you can imagine me being completely lost in a room full of boys, not knowing what to do or who to talk to. Thankfully I saw Cedric (a senior then), who was my friend's older brother. He was a year older than me and has been in the drama club for so long now, so I felt comfortable talking and hanging out with him. Funny how I got to know this cute kid who had the same smart humor (something I grew up with) as Cedric. Making conversation wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. And there, my friendship with Kenny started.
Fast forward to rehearsal days...
Our friendship was just like how little kids would be. During our junior year in high school (both our first year in the drama club), he would always pick on me! He'd tap my shoulder and pretend not to know anything about it, leer at me with his height making me feel how short I am (since everyone's basically taller than me anyways, lol), and even share candy with each other (I loved Skittles for so long). He would share a lot of stories with me and I'd share just as much with him. I was still pretty much in denial back then. Yes, I thought he was cute, but not really anything more than friendship yet. The Skittles was a good bait, though, lol.
I didn't know I was getting attached till in our senior year when I kept begging him to be my dance partner in every dance we had (we were doing Grease). I felt the most comfortable with him as my dance partner. Being a gentleman, he would always tell me to make sure our choreographer would approve first before he can make any commitments. But after our choreographer telling us "Fine, you guys are together anyways." did it kinda start dawning on both of us that there was a semi-possibility of us being more than just friends.
Post-drama club days...
After the shows ended and everyone was trying to go back to their normal lives, there wasn't much of a reason to see each other. Yes, we talk to each other on YM (Yahoo Messenger was THE chat app before Facebook, Twitter, Viber, Skype, etc.) But it wasn't enough anymore (plus internet was already a bitch back then). Thankfully, I made a reason to try to stay in contact with some people from the club before our final curtain call. I asked some people to exchange letters with me as a souvenir for our times hanging out during rehearsals. Unfortunately, writing wasn't everyone's thing, so not everyone continued with my letters. Except Kenny, that is. Though the letters now serve as a bridge/souvenir whenever one of us travels abroad. Stories of our adventures (or lazy days) were documented through pen and paper. We would write to each other everything we can't tell other people: stories, experiences, secrets, and random queries. It's kinda like Nicholas Spark's Dear John. Through the endless thoughts written in personal letters to each other, I realized I was seriously getting attached to this boy. I was getting to know him more than I ever knew I would.
There were a few hindrances in our relationship from high school till before we got together. It was a dark time in my life, one that I was more than grateful for Kenny's help that we were able to get through it together. We wanted this to happen. We wanted us to happen more than anything. I guess our connection was far deeper than anything we knew to let it go to waste.
Our universities are from the same "clan" and are literally just within the same area. So it didn't come as a surprise for me that he would make an effort to join me during breaks whenever my friends and I would want to lunch out. Actually, even when we decide to stay in our school cafeteria, Kenny drops by. I was really happy to have him spend time with me because I appreciate the effort he does just so he can see me.
There are a lot of days when I don't mind going to school because I get to see him. Since his house is on the way, there are some days when we get to go to school and go home from school together. And that alone completes my day regardless of how my day went.
Valentine's day 2011...
I'm not normally a huge cheese ball whenever Valentine's day comes. I used to give chocolates to my friends back in high school, and have lunch with my family during the weekend. So I was pleasantly surprised when Kenny asked me if I wanted to have lunch with him during Valentine's day. We lunched at a Japanese resto near our school (since I love Japanese food) and he gave me a really adorable Valentine's card with some of the 90's cartoons we grew up watching on it. Inside it was a drawing he made of Rocko (from Rocko's Modern Life) hugging his dog, Spunky, with a heart nearby them adorably. It was too cute, I couldn't stop grinning! At this point, some of my friends dropped by and had lunch with us since their classes ended later than ours. Pretty soon, he had to go back to school for his afternoon classes. But before he left, we shared our first hug when he asked me if I would be his Valentine. I really couldn't stop smiling as I said yes while hugging him tighter then. From then on, we always part ways with tight warm hugs.
I could remember some of my friends teasing me before class about lunch hinting that Kenny and I just had a date, But I didn't wanna assume so I just shrugged it off as a casual Valentine's lunch back then, even though deep inside I had a feeling that what they were saying was most likely true.
Our First Date...
The night before the 25th of February, we were chatting online thinking if we wanna hangout the next day since it was a holiday. After a few minutes of exchanging ideas on what we would do, the plan was set. It was the first time we ever hung out where it was just the two of us. I remember my brother was asking if it was a date, but I kept telling him "I dunno. I don't wanna assume." Especially since we said "Let's hangout". I kept in mind that I wouldn't jump to conclusions thinking it was a date when I could be so wrong. We watched Adam Sandler's "Just Go With It" and at one point, the girl next to me leaned over to her boyfriend and asked him "What's elope-y?". I shared this tidbit with Kenny and we both had to suppress our giggles so as not to offend the girl next to me. That opened the door for me to rest my head on his shoulder till the movie ended and I had to control the butterflies flying in my tummy.
We hung out at the nearby Dairy Queen sharing a milkshake and ice cream over stories on a hot day. As we were chatting, we established that that day was indeed a date. Our first date. And I couldn't be happier since we finally had another first! He walked me back to my house afterwards as how gentlemen should. We shared another tight hug bye and I could still remember how intoxicatingly addicting his scent was (I found out later on that it was the scent of Drakkar Noir). Shortly after he got home from our date, we continued chatting online till the night drew to a close and we were both still having a "First Date" hangover.
Holding hands and sweet kisses...
As the days passed, we were hanging out more and more. I don't really remember when it happened specifically, but there was one time we were walking back from Jollibee (I think?) to my building before class, and our hands just kept bumping into each other as we walked that I wasn't sure if I was subconsciously sending out signals to him to start holding my hand already. Because a few seconds later, he held my hand and I didn't let go. Even when we reached my building, we didn't wanna let go. I just had to or I would be late. It felt so different yet so comfortingly familiar, but most importantly, I felt safe when that happened. My mind was on overdrive while I stared at my hand the rest of the day!
One afternoon on our way home, hands entwined as we shared about how our day went, we didn't notice that we finally reached Kenny's house. Our byes involved hugs, and as we were about to release our hug, I turned my head the same moment he leaned in to kiss my cheek. And our lips met...
We just shared our first kiss.
Oh. My. God.
Time stopped for a second or two at that moment we just looked at each other with wide eyes and our cheeks burning. Neither of us knew what to say, so we just quietly went on. In the car, my mind was racing, What just happened? Did that seriously just happen? Omg, seriously?? Ohmygodohmygodohmygod... What should we do now?? We were both confused. So confused that I decided to text him if that seriously just happened, or for some reason I just imagined it?? My mind was blasting fireworks like the Fourth of July, my heart was racing like an F1 event, my stomach was doing Cirque du Soleil performances. I had half a mind to just get out of the car and run the rest of the way home (but my driver would most likely think I was crazy). I felt my lips tingle the rest of the night.
The next day, we talked about it, and well, we agreed that it most definitely happened. We sealed it with a kiss to make it official.
We were more than best friends. Everyone knew that fact. He knew it. I knew it. But there wasn't a label to make it official. And it was driving me crazy! I wanted to be sure before anything else happens. I wanted to define whatever it was that we were back then (which was undefined till further notice). But I knew that it had to be mutual. It took two to tango, right? Implying a relationship wasn't the same as firmly and confidently identifying it. I didn't care what anyone else thought. I myself wanted to know what we were.
We talked about it a lot, but up until a certain point, I felt like he wanted to just let it be as it is. Like it'll eventually have a name when it earns it.
One afternoon after coming from school (I think it was grade consultation time after finals), we had lunch at KFC next to his school with our friend Moses. I couldn't let it go, so much so that even after talking to Moses about it (who agreed that it would be better to have a label so everyone would know as well), Kenny and I decided to talk about it outside, leaving Moses to a table with food good for 3 people. (I am so sorry, Moe, for this moment in time, and I love you for being such a great friend). We talked about it as best as we could, but with the rush and hunger, it wasn't resolved completely.
Later that day, we hung out at my house since he wanted to watch 127 days (starring James Franco). Halfway through the movie, I was still dwelling over our earlier conversation and couldn't concentrate on the movie (spoiler: he cuts off his arm). We decided to walk to the park to get some air. We talked about our situation, thinking about everything that happened in 3 months as we sat on a couple swing. We were obviously picking our words to avoid any unnecessary arguments. In the end, I said "If we're not gonna be exclusive, then it just means we can see other people." Knowing that neither of us wanted that, after a few minutes, he took my hand and carefully said, "Will you be my girlfriend?" It took me a moment before it sank in my head, and I ended up kissing him and said yes.
Walking back to my house, I kept saying "Kenny's my boyfriend!" with a smile on my face and our hands swaying. I was beyond elated!
I guess I can say that our honeymoon stage lasted longer than the usual. In the 5 years we've been together, I could say more than half of it was spent enjoying each other's company and making tons of memories together (that I got to document from time to time). We pretty much ticked off a lot of stuff on the list of things couples normally do. Our first "I love you" didn't happen till we missed each other so bad when my family and I vacationed for a week in Thailand. I kinda thought he would say it before I left, but he mentioned in one letter while I was out that he missed me so badly that he had something to tell me when I got back. I had a feeling it was what I thought it was, so I asked him to repeat after me when I said "I love you" in Japanese. He knew nothing about what I was asking him to say. I bugged him to tell me what it was that he mentioned in the letter first, till he said "I love you." and I happily said it back. Regardless what language I say it, I'll always mean it.
Choices and Decisions...
No matter how perfect and happy a relationship looks on the outside, there will always be times when arguments and fights break through. We have down times too like in any relationship. I'm just happy to know that Kenny and I always resolve our differences ASAP before it blows up into anything uncontrollable and regrettable. Regardless of whoever was at fault, he almost always is the first one to swallow his pride and apologize just so we can make up already. I'm forever thankful that I have him to keep me grounded whenever I go overboard. And I'm even more grateful that he still loves me regardless of how I am.
Personally, I don't believe in cool-off periods when you break up and make up. If you break it off, you break it off permanently. If we have a problem, we don't break up and hope that the problem leaves during the period we're not together, then if the coast is clear, we'd get back together. We decide to solve the problem that's presented to us as best as we can. We compromise. Isn't that how a relationship should be anyways? Why waste the time you spent together all because of a fixable problem?
I'm normally a keen observer, so I was completely blindsided when Kenny suddenly felt cold towards the relationship. It was during the last leg of my last 2 terms in college. We already talked about it since we both knew that with the last leg came the barrage of last minute work load that would obviously take most of our time. My graduation exhibit and thesis happened the same time he was going through his OJT, so we felt like it was acceptable that we were both busy at the same time. We made the most out of the minimal time we shared together back in that term. Then I had to complete my OJT during the summer before graduation, and since Kenny wasn't taking any class during the summer, my OJT was basically taking over my schedule (plus additional pre-gradation requirements). At a certain point, I felt the distance in between us, but I was shocked that he caved for a moment. It felt like a rug was pulled from under my feet when he said that maybe we should take a break. With the lack of time we spent together, I realized that it could be possible that we could be growing apart without my knowledge.
I was scared.
I was so scared, I was feeling desperate. I called for help. Thankfully Den-den was more than willing to help out, so Kenny and I talked it over at Den-den's house and we settled everything. I am more than grateful for all the coaching Den-den did to make Kenny snap out of his situation. I was too determined not to let such a great thing go. In my head the only thought that was rushing through was "I did not work THIS HARD to keep such a GREAT THING from breaking over such a PETTY REASON." If Kenny felt that he missed spending time with me and he felt neglected over my school work, then I'd find a way to make everything work out with whatever I can give. I don't want to wake up the next day thinking "I should've fought for it." when I knew I could. I did. We both do. And that's why to this day I know that he's the one I will spend the rest of my life with. That despite our differences, petty arguments, quirks, and annoying habits, we know that our relationship is worth fighting for, and we're finally celebrating our 5th anniversary. Because we love each other so much.
Till forever ends.