Friday, March 23, 2012

Dear Handsome Stranger,

Let me begin by telling you that I remember your name perfectly well, though I'd rather not use it because why should I? I knew you for a fleeting dance, and that was it. I have no right to use your name.

Though I have to say, I am thoroughly annoyed by those sentimental love stories that are about people who don't have names. The ones that begin with a "He held her hand," or a "She smiled shyly," or worst of all, those that are written in third person and only address a "you."

Granted, it works sometimes but the thing is, why can't these characters have names? Why can not the beautiful boy or the shy girl be more than just three letter pronouns?

And yet here I am, about to write one of those sentimental things in that nameless, annoying way, though I must insist: this is not a love letter. Not by half. Call it a letter of appreciation, if you will. A thank-you that you will never hear, for the way you made me feel. An ode to things undone and actions unreciprocated.



I wish I could tell you that I really enjoyed our clipped conversation on the dance floor of that club that no longer exists. How you and I managed to speak to exchange names and ages and places of origin astounds me now that I think about it.

We were squished against each other by a hundred other fist-pumping, screaming partygoers, the music was so loud I could feel the sound waves beat against my skin, not to mention my accent must have sounded exotic to you as yours certainly did to me.

But somehow I heard the exasperation in your voice, your accent like melting butter, when I couldn't understand your name at first. Somehow I still understood when you told me where you had come from, who you had come with, and why, and where you were headed next. We even managed to have a good laugh about Joe Le Taxi.

I suppose we got by on proximity. I liked tip-toeing to whisper directly into your ear.

Truth be told, I hadn't even thought of it as a flirtation. I was just excited to meet someone from a country I've always wanted to see. To me, it was just interesting conversation.

I found you cute, to be sure. Your pale skin and brown hair, and deep brown eyes and your sweet, slightly awkward, gentlemanly manner fell comfortably into my type of guy.

But when you left the dance floor, I felt bad not because I missed the opportunity for a hook-up, but because I wish I could have asked you about the Eiffel Tower, or Edith Piaf, or how to properly pronounce raison d'etre.

Then you came back. And when you did, you grabbed my hand and spun me around and danced with me, and the feel of being inside your arms turned our innocent exchange into something rather more intimate. (A touch can change everything, no?)

We didn't dance for very long. And we certainly weren't gyrating in the way our friends around us were. Our dance was more sweet than sexual--your fingers through mine, your arms around me, your gaze holding mine.

Then I suddenly felt awkward, letting some guy I barely know hold me that way. I remember feeling self-conscious and pulling away, under the pretense of needing to go to the ladies' room.

I wish I had been braver--or no, I wasn't afraid exactly--rather, I wish I had been more free.

When I got back, there was another song that you and I no longer danced to, a photo op with your friends and my friends all together. And then my friends said it was time to go.

I said goodbye to you first, with a kiss on each cheek. I assumed it was the French way, so I did the same with your friends. When I had said goodbye to everyone, I stood at the fringe of the dance floor, waiting and watching my friends take last minute photos and bid you and your friends goodbye. It was a rather amusing sight: seeing virtual strangers hugging and kissing and parting like old buddies.

As I watched and waited, one of my friends wove her arm through mine and said something to the effect of "Nakawan mo ng halik" (steal a kiss) and we giggled like school girls.

And then somehow she had gone, or I had gone from her, and you were in front of me again, and your hands were on my waist and your eyes on mine. Half a heartbeat, and I knew where the moment was headed...

I wish I had been wild enough to give you what you asked for, though in my defense, you didn't ask for it out loud. You only leaned in close, and what was I supposed to think? I wish you hadn't been such a gentleman. I wish you seized me right there, the way I should've seized the moment.

As my friends and I were walking out of there, I had half a mind to turn back and find you in the crowd and give you what you asked for, give it grandly and generously--now wouldn't that have been dramatic?

But I didn't, and for a week after that, I ended up wishing I had. I still wish I had.

Because of you and that night, I promised myself to be more daring and more spontaneous, and less guarded and less reserved when the moment calls for it. I think I've been making good on that promise, but I can't really tell until a moment like that comes again.

Might be a moment like that never will come again, in which case, I'll live the rest of my life regretting that I still remember your name perfectly well, but never earned the right to use it.

2 comments:

  1. Fudge. Na-bitin rin ako sa pagbasa Mandy. hahaha! Yes! Next time go for it! And write about it again. :p

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