I met you at one of the funnest times of my life. I was traveling on my own, and so were you. But it was my first time, so I was pretty caught up looking for a friendly face. Then I saw you smile at me when we were lining up to board the bus to the beach.
It was great having you to talk to every now and then over the course of my trip. You weren’t an absolute stranger—we went to the same university but you were a batch above me. We didn’t have common friends; we were only connected by the professors we knew.
Naturally, it was so easy to open up to you.
There was hardly anything to lose after all. The whole thing felt pretty surreal to me, because it seemed like something from a rom-com.
You were a joy to be with. Drinking beer by the shore, crashing a party together, playing Never Have I Ever with a bunch of people—I had such a blast doing them all. And it seemed you did, too. We laughed a lot. When we were sober, we shared stories about our childhood, our most difficult moments, and our greatest achievements. I appreciate that you also gave me some alone time. I did sign up to travel solo. I also really like that we got to know one another and respected each other's privacy.
You didn’t ask creepy questions. You didn’t pry. You made me feel comfortable, and it was beautiful to be able to be myself with someone other than my partner.
Yes, I had a significant other when we met. I didn’t tell you that. I don’t know why I didn’t. I guess I thought if I had told you, you wouldn’t hang out with me anymore. I know that sounds silly. But there you go. On my end, I also didn’t know if you had anyone back home. Not that it would have made a difference. I would have been friendly with you regardless, and I was.
I thought about you during my alone time in my trip.
Sometimes I wished for your company. I’ve imagined you walking with me, sharing a meal with me. I thought about how my life would be like if we hooked up, and if we got together for good. I’ve recalled the time you taught me how to use your dSLR, and wondered what would happen if I also got into photography. You were too charming. I couldn’t help myself.
I’m writing this because I want to thank you for teaching me the biggest lesson about love—I don’t think you know what you’ve done for me.
You taught me that attraction is inevitable. A lot of the time, we can’t help liking what and who we like. Being drawn to things is part of being human. But love, because it’s a choice, goes beyond attraction.
I chose my partner back home, not you, even if the days we spent hanging out were magical. I chose him because I love him.
The days he and I spend doing nothing are magical too—not in the way like I’m living in a film (as in the case with you), but in the way that everything feels all right with the world and I am settled.
You made me experience that love is different from lust or infatuation. And that even if people can operate on lust and separate that from love, ultimately loving someone—truly loving someone—entails doing your best not to do something that will hurt him.
I’m thankful you made me treasure my partner so much more for who he is. I’m thankful that through you, I was able to fight for my partner, and in the process know for sure whom I love.
I hope it’s the same for you.