Hello, Stranger.

J.

It is still clear to me, everything that happened 3 months ago. February 20. Bonifacio Global City.

Strange. Ego deserted me and I muddle about for sober words to explain this sudden, awakened fondness. I go about my hectic day distracted, trying to locate a proper drawer in which to confine this incomprehensible stirring. Your harmless smile was a constant ghost – unshakable, omniscient like blinking billboards growing in every vacant space. It lingers: merciless, relentless, confronting me in every turn, humiliating me into realization of my feared vulnerability.

Nothing quite prepared me for your unscheduled arrival. I was in my prime that day: competent, self-assured—cocky even—dispensing shallow anecdotes, second-hand philosophies and creative treatises to pass the time as we all wait for the scheduled creative session to commence. I was bantering animatedly with your colleagues feeling rather good about myself: Life is worth living again—a positive career detour, novel challenges and I am in a time and place where I am in my element, the very familiar neighborhood of my creative enthusiasms.

I should be untroubled of the fact that you seem conventional on the surface: calm, steady gaze, fairly beautiful in a nonthreatening way, a self-possessed smile that is equal parts shy and searching.

You eroded me on the spot.

My defenses would hastily, alarmingly remind me that there are far more overwhelmingly beautiful subjects around worthy of my obsessive pursuits. I deal with them on a regular basis, them being demigoddesses blessed with polished features, physical proportions and excessive charisma enough to weaken the uninitiated. They orbit my professional life as faces we employ to trigger desire in others. And I thought that I have set my feet firmly at a point in my life when I can capably boast to have seen a fair share of superior good looks enough to be immune and unflustered; that I am now accomplished in the art of not being easily awed; that I would know how to navigate my way in a crowd of loveliness unscathed; that you will be a commonplace comparison to the grand buffet of beauties out there.

I never realized the gross miscalculations of it all until you held my gaze and that blameless smile raced across your bright, disarming face.

I was this close to being gone.

So I might as well profess this disconcerting feeling and come out clean of this disorientation. I might as well commit these thoughts into writing in the great hope that seeing them take shape into characters, words and paragraphs the feeling would come off too ridiculous and restore my conviction; that this is mere delinquency, a passing weakness not unlike beholding and being smitten by a glossy spread in a magazine. That this stirring is naive, silly and eventually be regarded inconsequential, a future source of shudders, self-mockings and embarrassments. Yet it’s not as easy as it seems. There are no manuals and tonics that can be easily had for these anxieties. That being human is sometimes an agonizing and sudden roundabout route into defencelessness.

However—and contrary to all these self-abortive denials—allow me to come to terms with a great difficulty:

You have set my armor worthless and I gazed back at you that day quietly shaken, my thoughts racing.
I was wordless. But I swore to God that I am going to see you again.


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