It was a week after I resigned that I started running again.
Well, this time, I had to use the treadmill from the nearest gym because my body clock’s still messed up, and I just couldn’t run on our highway once I woke up at 11 am, unless I’d like to die due to a heat stroke.
What I liked about this gym is that you don’t get intimidated because since this is a newly-opened area, everyone around you has just started – still awaiting for results.
I am not expecting for a result, though. I only have two weeks free until I start working for a new company and live on my own in the city, and I just need to run so I can tire myself on the day and get a good night’s sleep at night. You know, shaking off the graveyard shift blues.
Another thing I like about this gym is their playlist. My trainer runs the music, and majority of what he plays are just almost the same as what kind of music they play on my previous work. You know those upbeat Chainsmokers slash Coldplay kind of songs? Yup, those beats. I mean, it’s a gym. They can’t really play mellow OPM songs here. (Actually, they do sometimes, especially when they’re about to close.)
But today’s different, I guess. They’re playing a series of girl group songs, and I think it’s hyping up every woman in the room. Oh wait, kaya pala. Majority of the people in the room are women.
While I was running, the woman cycling beside me was singing to the song. She was bold. She was loud. I can’t blame her. ‘Cause Shout Out To My Ex is indeed, pretty catchy.
“I hope you don’t mind me singing to it,” she told me as I looked at her. “It makes me sane. I have to let it out.”
“No,” I replied. I slowed down my pace and take deep breaths. “That’s fine. I’d sing to it, too. If I can.”
“Why, you hate your ex, too?”
I shook my head before I sip from my water bottle. The woman beside me is still cycling, and is still looking at me, perhaps looking for a more specific answer.
“I don’t hate my ex,” I finally said. “My ex hates me.”
And oh dear, was she shocked.
“Your ex hates you,” she repeated, maybe just to make sure.
Then there was silence. She continued to cycle as I increased my speed, inclined the ground and forced myself to run once more.
Does he hate me? Maybe. But we were friends, and it was almost three years since we ended the relationship. I was the one who ended it – after I arrived from Beijing, I took him to that burger restaurant of our friend, and then once we finished our meals, I asked him the most irrelevant question one could ask their partner in the middle of the laughs, flashbacks and catching up after being thousands of kilometers of being apart.
“Is it fine if we end this?”
I expected him to clarify that. I was bracing myself for a million questions, but all he did was stare at me. He knew. He definitely knew that it’s all going to end.
I was prepared to tell him why. The reason why I chose to do it face to face so he wouldn’t wonder why – ’cause I’d tell him why. It’s hard to break up through the phone, or online, because you can always go offline and escape everything. But this was needed to be addressed as maturely as possible, and even though I know it’s going to hurt a lot more when it’s personal, it’s better than doing it otherwise.
Did I find someone else in Beijing? No.
Did my Mom tell me to break up with you? Nope.
Am I not attracted to you anymore? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter because I didn’t love you because of attraction.
Then why? Because I believe love is more like an act of will, and at eighteen, I just couldn’t tell myself that I’d be ready to be tied to you. China made me realize a lot of things, and that includes what you and I had to discover with just being with ourselves first.
And above everything else, he didn’t deserve to be a rebound. Nobody deserves to be a rebound, and I’ll forever be sorry for doing that to him. I was young and selfish back then, and he has so much love to give that he kept on forgiving me every time I acted reckless.
The silence was just so unbearable that he decided to just tell me, “I think I should get you home before dark.” We rode a cab to my house so he can drop me off, but he never said good-bye.
Since we were on the same group of friends, we acted as if we had a proper closure. There will be awkward times, but we get by. Deep down, I knew I had to tell him why it has happened, and I knew I owe him these reasons. But he never welcomed me again. Two years went by and I never stopped trying to reach out – not because I want us to get back together, but I wanted him to set me free. And forgive me.
I could’ve spared him of all of this if only I didn’t say yes to him before, but I’m too late and I can’t re-do everything now.
He did talk to me last year on my birthday, he told me he would like to wait for the right time to pursue me and have me back again. “Perhaps after I take the board and pass it?”
But I don’t want to buy a perhaps anymore. There were too many perhaps in my life after him that I didn’t want to hear the dreaded word anymore from anyone. I promised myself the next time I will fall in love genuinely, I won’t be the one to say, Perhaps, I’m in love. No. I want to be sure this time. I want to be sure that the next one’s the last.
And the idea of him and me? I was and am sure it won’t work out anymore.
I was sorry that I couldn’t say yes. I didn’t know how to tell him that I’d like to be with someone that I’d be myself with, without holding back. It was never like that with him at all.
I remember while I was having coffee with my best friend, which is one of our common friends. She did ask me why he went away, and why he stopped talking to me, ’cause he stopped talking to them as well.
“So basically he doesn’t want you to fall in love with someone else while he’s waiting for two years to take his board exam, then after that, that’s the time he’ll pursue you again?”
“Maybe he got angry because it’s hard to swallow the truth. I told him he’s selfish.”
“You’re biased because I’m your best friend, but I love you.”
“And maybe he did got angry because he knew you fell in love already with someone else.”
I shot her an annoyed glance. “I am not in love.”
“Gaga, you are!” she rolled her eyes. “You guys knew each other eight years now. He knows when you’re just attracted to someone, and I’m pretty much sure he knows when you’ve already fallen in love. There’s a difference.”
I sipped my matcha latte in disappointment.
“‘Yung mga chinito at musikerong ‘yan, you just like them.” She’s mocking me. Or not. “You don’t fall in love with them, Fiona. Those are your happy crushes.”
“‘Wag ako, denial queen ka e. Ako pa talaga? Lahat na, don’t me. But I get it. You guys won’t work out anymore, I wish he just talked to you to settle this once and for all.”
She was right. She saw everything that’s in this story. She knew everything. If he refuses to talk to me and forgive me despite my efforts, then it’s time to forgive myself for it.
So I wrote him this letter sealing our end. Even when we were still together, he wasn’t into reading. But since he won’t let me talk about a possible closure, I forced myself to write a letter to him clarifying everything. I told him why it didn’t work out, that I loved him when we were together, but it wasn’t enough to make our ends meet. And when I was writing everything, I knew that there will be two possibilities: it’s either he won’t read it, or if he did read it, he’d hate me, and he’d be very vocal about it.
It’s the latter ones that has happened.
I loved him but I loved writing, but he hated it. He loved me but he loved his career, and I wasn’t into it. They say if you truly love someone, then differences won’t matter and you guys will get through everything. Maybe if you love each other THAT much, then you’d get by. But I guess I loved writing more, and he loved his career more. I know we can’t blame each other for that. And no matter how much showbiz this sounds like, it’s true. “We had too many differences and our priorities were never the same.”
I guess I never really shared this story to everyone. Didn’t mean to hide it, but it’s too long to share to everybody, and the ones that are by my side for the last couple of years have seen this story unfold in front of their very own eyes, so I wasn’t so used to talk about it, because I didn’t have to. Nevertheless, other people would assume that once I sing to Shout Out To My Ex, it will be because of an ex that I truly hate. The thing is, I never hated an ex.
Pretty much, I’m more of like the ex that’s hated.
And if you happen to be the ex that’s hated, accept it. If you hurt the other party, just admit it and apologize, even if they won’t listen anymore. You owe that to yourself. What’s important is that you’re sorry for it. Genuinely. Most of all, forgive yourself. Especially when you already did your part.
Then you carry on. So you can sing to Shout Out To My Ex without any reservations.