The first day I met you, I didn't even really notice you. You seemed a bit presko and I was more smitten by your friend. I always had a thing for smart men and that was him, not you.

I started working at the theater and kept looking forward to the days I would be working with your friend. I added you up on Facebook to hide the fact that I added your friend first. Just so he won’t see through me. So that was the first few days in theater. You kept teasing me with matron, which got on my nerves sometimes. You were just the funny, annoying colleague.

Well, as fate would have it, things took a sudden turn. You messaged me–a friendly one. It was our theater's Halloween party and you were just asking if I was on the bus already since it was late and I replied.

But days after that, you messaged me again urging me for Chinese food and that was the start of it.

We became really close. We talked about our families, our past, our hobbies, our partners even, and just about anything. You asked me if our friendship was normal. For me yes. I have several really close guy friends, but for you it wasn't. Needless to sau, that was your way of saying we are not normal for you.

One day at work, people talked about your imminent wedding, and I felt a sudden pang in my chest. I didn't understand it at that time. I just thought that once you got married, we couldn't be as close as we were at that time.

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It's like losing a friend. But I was just in denial. I was falling deeply in love with you. At that time, my boyfriend and I had only gotten official a few weeks back after having dated for almost two years, but even before you entered the picture I knew we were headed to Splitsville.

There I was falling for you, trying so hard to keep my cool. But it was a lost cause. I know you felt the same way, too. You would not treat me the way you did if you did not. You would not cook food I specially requested, you would not leave me chocolates and notes if it all meant nothing. And I know you wouldn’t want us to have our own pet name if we were just friends. We were treading dangerous waters and we couldn't stop ourselves from doing so.

The day you received the bad news regarding your Tito was the day we let it all out. I was there right beside you when you got the call. All I could do was hold you as you sobbed on the phone. I wanted to comfort you and be there for you all throughout but I knew my place. It was not my role to fulfill those duties. And then we hugged and all the inhibitions we had were gone. That hug was the silent scream of our hidden feelings.

You and your mom went home to the Philippines as soon as you both could. The distance was nothing to us. But the guilt was eating me up. You were there in the Philippines mourning over your Tito during the Christmas holidays and I was in Bath, England with my boyfriend at that time.

In my mind, I thought to give one last chance for me and Richard. I would spend one week in Bath and try to save my relationship. I almost did. Only for the sake of doing what's right. But I couldn't. I have never been one to deny myself my happiness, to live in a lie in the name of being right/good.

The day you were to come back from the Philippines though, I broke it all off between us. Nothing was going on. But we were about to cross a bridge neither of us should. I knew we should end the friendship already. But no, you were persistent. You were adamant not to give up.

There it was. One thing was left to do–to end it off with our respective partners. I did. And you did as well. You said it was not working out anymore and that I was not the reason for your breakup. I was sure you were not the reason for my breakup. It was dead long before you were in the picture.

We tried to start afresh. To start from the beginning. We had really good days. But the past was haunting us. The guilt was there like a glass door you'd just crash into mindlessly. It was always there most especially for you. Everything happened so fast. You were left with an immeasurable dose of confusion.

The Cycles.

I thought that was going to be the start of our story. Yes it was going to be hard in the beginning having left off previous relationships. But I truly believed that it was all going to be okay eventually. My friends could see the delight in my eyes whenever I looked at you. They even affirmed that I have found the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I recall telling Joyce that you were going to be my last and she agreed.

But you had a lot going on in your mind that you never opened up to me. Days before we were to take a short trip to the countryside, you broke my heart and said you were still in love with your ex–that you cannot lie anymore. That you are going back to her.

I cried buckets and buckets of tears that night and the days after. That was three days before you were to go home to the Philippines again. It was hard for me. I cried seeing your profile pictures change to pictures of you two again.

But what was I to do? Who was I to deny someone's happiness? Your happiness? So there I let you go.

Days after we talked again, I forgave you for hurting me because I understood where you were coming from. We were like friends again. I remember telling you that I was going to Bath to have one last talk with Richard about our breakup and you admitted you were jealous! I got furious because you left me and those words were out of line. I tried to avoid you as much as possible while you were away but you were pestering me again with messages. I had the sinking feeling you were coming back to me.

The day you got back in the United Kingdom, you went straight to my house and asked for me again. I was too glad to have you back and I accepted you with open arms. I was delighted, ecstatic to have the love of my life back in my arms.

It did not last long though.

About three weeks after you came to my house to talk. I thought you just wanted to see me before basketball. But there you were, leaving me again! I was in utter disbelief!

I couldn't believe it was happening all over again! Shame on you, you fooled me once. Shame on me, you fooled me twice!

Hearing people talk about your wedding plans was unbearable. Every time I sense people talking about it, I'd go away and hide in the sluice room to cry. I felt like I was continuously being stabbed in the chest. My emotional pain was morphing into physical pain.

I cannot totally comprehend what happened but you came back again! But we still didn't get our fairy-tale because you left a third, a fourth, and now a fifth time! And each and every single time, you kept saying you are sure, that you are staying, that you are choosing and fighting for me, and that you will never give up on me.

Wow. Words. That's all they are.

With a heavy heart I will admit to myself that I got dragged into your whirlpool of confusion five freaking times. I have always been sure of you.


Always. Even though you were not. Even though it was not easy. I believed you were going to be my last.

But every time you saw a flaw in me, you would jump ship!

I guess I was no longer your high school crush. Your fantasy idea of me ended and I became a real girl with issues, insecurities, and a dark past. You could not accept me for who I am and who I am not the same way I could for you.

I have given way too many chances on a futile love. Maybe I was just in love with the idea of finally finding the last man I will love that's why I fought so hard. I don’t know. All I know is that I cannot allow you to keep on hurting me.

This isn't a game we are playing.

You have to stop toying with my emotions like this. Every time I try to stand back up, you reel me in with false hope. It's exhausting, excruciating, and embarrassing.

Yes, I will be happy for you, Lean. Whatever or whoever it may be, I will be happy for you. I am deeply hurting right now, but it is not me to hate you, or anyone for that matter. You have made your choice. It's not me. I guess my role in your life was just to teach you some lessons you'll need when you are finally married. I truly pray you have finally made up your mind and have found peace in yourself.

Reflecting on our demise, we both freed each other. Our 'relationship' was becoming painful and a constant cycle of destruction. Yes, maybe we did love each other so much we fought so hard for it, but we didn’t handle it well enough. Doubts, insecurities, and fear of rejection were becoming our norms. It was no more the high school-ish kilig we used to have. Everything became a struggle. It was not all your fault. You had your confusions. I had my insecurities. Add those two up; we got a "breakup."

I have accpeted our fate. We fought a hard battle. But if it's not God's will, nothing will come out of it. Thinking of it that way makes it easier for me to move forward. I know I can get through this. I am strong enough to forgive you and me as well. I will be courageous enough to keep pressing forward.

So to the man who broke my heart five times, goodbye and all the best.

*Minor edits have been made by the editors

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