When Narcisuss Fell In Love

I’m a good looking guy. I knew a lot of women were attracted to me. So I carried on for years charming every single female I came across with. I thought I was doing pretty well with my life. But when I turned thirty I felt a nagging feeling that my life was shallow. I was not really doing anything important like saving the world or curing people. I was looking for a little substance in my life so I decided to quit my job as a visual artist and tried to write for a travel magazine. I would not save the world but at least I could help promote the beauty of the country. I thought that was a noble cause.

I was excited on my first day on the job. I knew the women would fall all over me. I was warmly accepted. Before the day was over several female co workers had stopped by my cubicle to welcome me. My editor, Albert assigned one of the writers to orient me. Her name was Ann. I spent only an hour with her and I hated her already.

She thought treating me like an idiot was a form of flirting. I could not shake her off. I almost did not come to work the next day to avoid her. But I was glad I did. I would never have met Angela. She just came back from an assignment that day. She was one of the photographers who worked for the magazine. I became very interested in her. She was pretty but not drop dead gorgeous. She was even a little chubby. She just said a soft hello to me when we were introduced and went inside her office, right away. She was the only female there who did not flirt with me. I was puzzled by her. My charms did not work on her. Or if it did she never showed it.I would often compliment her on her beautiful photographs but she would just smile at me.

“ I heard we’ll be working together next month, did Albert already told you?” I said walking confidently towards her desk. She raised her head to look at me. She was looking at a contact print on her table.
“ Yes, I hope you like to hike.” She smiled.
“ Hike? Albert did not mention any hiking.” I was embarrassed. I was really a city person and hiking in the wild was not amongst my favorite things to do. I thought we would only go sunbathing and swimming in that assignment.

She shrugged and went back to what she was doing.
“ Ann is coming too.” She said amusedly.
I groaned. That was an unpleasant surprise too.
“ Well, see you then.” I said before I left.

I went to talk to the other girls who adored me. My bruised ego needed some buffing up. “To hell with her” I thought.

Angela was then, living with a short outspoken guy, Carlo. He was also working for the magazine. Until now I could not figure out what she saw in him. He was not at all attractive looking. He made a fool of himself most of the time. He was always explaining his theories about the universe during lunch or coffee break.

“ The universe is a one big donut.” He would blurt out of nowhere. We would stop eating and wondered if we should take him seriously. Some would snicker but some would find that observation clever and they would start to argue. Angela would just laughed. He just mostly bored me to death. I thought he was full of baloney. A poser.

So, at first I only wanted to seduce her. I could not stand the thought that there was one girl who could resist me. She didn’t seem to go for looks.

I planned to seduce her during our trip to Iriga. I wanted to show her that I was not only good looking but intelligent as well. I bought a book about photography and studied it a little. I planned on bringing a camera. I thought I could ask her to teach me a thing or two about taking pictures.

When that day arrived I tried to constantly sit next to Angela on the car, although Ann and her sarcasm would not leave me alone. I pointedly ignored her during the whole trip.

Angela was reading a book and I could not think of a way to start a conversation with her.

“ Don’t you get dizzy reading on a moving vehicle?” I asked her finally.

She did not answer and I thought I was ignored again.

“ A little. But this book is so good I could not put it down.” She answered after a while. The damned the girl finished first the page she was reading before talking to me! As if the book was more interesting than me.

She closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead.“ But you’re right, I shouldn’t. My eyes feel strained already.”

“ I love to read too.” I said

“ Who’s your favorite writer?” She said her eyes still closed.

I paused for a while and scanned my head for an impressive author.
“ J.D. Salinger.” I said.

Ann looked at me. “ He’s a god. He’s only my ultimate hero. I can’t believe you like him too.” Ann was excited but she made it sound like she did not believe me.

I was pissed. I don’t want to include Ann on our conversation.

“ I started reading The Catcher in the Rye when I was in high school but it’s a cynical book. It was too much for me. I was not able to finish it.” She said. Ann stared at her in disbelief.

“ I must have read it ten times already. It really shows you how everything really is. How pathetic and stupid everyone is. How hopeless it is to live in this world. ”

The truth was I never rally read any of that author’s book. So, I did not know what the heck Ann was talking about. I wanted to choke her when she started asking me what I thought about the novel.

“ I read J.D. Salinger was a real hermit, he even makes his own medicine so he would not buy one from the store.”

“So what were you reading anyway?” I asked Angela, ignoring Ann.

“One hundred Years of Solitude.” She said.

“Oh, I read the Love in the Time of Cholera. That was by Gabriel Garcia Marquez also, right?”I asked.

“Yes, but I haven’t read it yet.” She said. I was glad because I did not really read the book either I just heard from a friend about it. I was afraid Ann was going to butt in again.

“ Well that Solitude book was too mystical for me. I like to read more about the realities of life.” Ann muttered.

Who gives a shit? I thought and caught Angela looking at me reading my mind. We both suppressed a smile. She looked out the window and covered her mouth. I could tell she was laughing at Ann and I.

It was not the first time. She would always surprise me when I would catch her looking at me with a half smile on her face as if reading what I was thinking during meetings or when we passed each other in the office. And the thoughts that I were thinking were not pretty thoughts. I was a very cynical guy. And I hate dull females and she seemed to be around all the time when I am having murderous thoughts about one.

“ So you saw that huh?” I would usually say to her when I happen to pass by her on my way to my cubicle. Well, I think you could guess that I was not successful in seducing her during our trip. The situation above was a pattern of how the remaining days went on with the inclusion of some serious hiking and hours under the sun. Ann was also consistent on being irritating and butting her ugly face every time I will start a conversation with Angela. But it’s good to note that there were few occasions when I sort of saw her looking at me. With that half smile on her lips as if reading my thoughts. I started to wonder if I was that transparent although I know for a fact that I always put on a poker face.

Well it was uncanny how well she read me. Just like that time when we were in Tagaytay. I begged her and Carlos to come with me, pretending I have a problem. I have not seen her for months and I was sorely missing her. Right after the meal I raised a glass for a toast and said “Here’s to a broken heart that’s never heal.”

She looked at me with a surprised expression and in that brief moment we both knew what I meant. I did not want her to know what I was feeling. That’s too powerful a weapon to give her. She could hurt me. I rushed to explain about the so and so girl I told them about. The name I could not even recall now.

I lied a lot. I did not hide it. I invented who I was. I changed my stories without being ashamed. They did not seem to mind.She did tell me that she was with a guy like me once and he broke her heart pretty badly. Maybe she promised herself that would never happen to her again.

Although I’m a smart fellow and did I mention good looking? I’ m also very insecure. I’m insecure that I do not have a real talent about anything except lying. I’m insecure that I ‘m not well bred like Paolo. He wore his cono air so casually unlike me who had to practice so hard, to make it look natural on me. And Carlo always came up with some brilliant idea without even thinking too hard. Good, original idea very rarely cross my brain.

And that what annoyed me too. She seemed more amused with Paolo and his silly nonsensical idea. They were always together, laughing all the time. One time, I even caught them flirting with each other. He was a film maker-wannabe. I thought his stories were stupid. No one would ever pay to watch them. I would tell her that. She would just laugh at me.

But I hanged out with Paolo because they loved hanging out with him. They thought he was cool or something. Mostly, he just smoked a lot of pot.

It hurt me when her preference for Paolo was becoming obvious. Like that time when Paolo brought us to Antipolo. We went on top of a hill. We climb and stood on top of huge water tank to get a really good view of the sky. It was a starry night. The four us were silent as we stared up the sky. We were all standing separately from each other. They were fascinated. No one spoke for a long time. Our thoughts we kept to ourselves.

They went on looking except for me. I was not into nature. It was Angela, I was staring at. I was fascinated with her. Her expression changed several times. I found it amusing that such sight could move her so.

Paolo took out a roll of pot from the pouch he carried around his neck all the time. We smoked in silence. We passed the joint around after each drag with out saying a word. I tried to smoke next to her. I wanted to taste the saliva she left on the paper. It was the next thing to a kiss that I ever get from her.

On the way down, Paolo helped her and she placed her hands on his. I was jealous as hell. When I was trying to help her on our way up she ignored me when I reached out my hand. What was wrong with her? Was she afraid that she might felt something if we held hands?

On the way home there was only the three of us left. We left Paolo at Antipolo. Carlo, her boyfriend sat next to me in the front of the car. She sat on the seat behind me. I could see her face on my rearview mirror. Once or twice our eyes would meet and she would smile at me fondly, like I was her brother. That would frustrate me more.

Our windows were open. The wind blew her hair in all direction. She was having a good time watching the road. She was tripping. I wanted to see her lose her composure. I wanted her to act like a normal girl. I wanted to see fear in her eyes. I wanted her to shriek and maybe I’ll be turned off. I drove really fast. But the silly girl loved the speed. I saw wildness in her eyes. I felt she wanted me to go faster and I did. She was enjoying it so much I thought she would jump out any moment and tried to fly.

In the end it was me who was afraid. I tried to be careless but I was not really that uninhabited. “ Let’s be thankful that we are still alive I went crazy back there.” I said nervously.

She laughed. Then, we all laughed. I was not sure if she was laughing at me.

When she announced that she was leaving Carlo and had fallen in love with another man I felt betrayed. I was more devastated than him. If I only knew there was a possibility of that happening I would have told her what I felt. I spent a lot of time drinking with Carlo. We both tried to get over her. I listened to him, whine night after night. I became more miserable. I could not even express my pain. Carlo soon found another girl and married her. Meanwhile, I was the one left trying to forget about Angela and I was in a bad shape. I discovered the numbing effect of drugs on my senses. And I tired whatever I came across, including those for medicinal purposes only. I could only forget her when I swallowed a pill. Although sometimes, I also found the pain pleasurable. It made me care less about the mediocrity of my life.

She had several more boyfriends after that guy and I heard about every single one of them. I even heard that she had sex with Paolo, once. But I’m glad she did not have a serious relationship with him because I would never forgive her if she had.

I never did have the courage to speak frankly about my feelings for her. Not even until she finally she got married.

I went to the church and heard her I do’s to the man she was marrying. She looked very happy and in love. I wondered if she ever thought about me. I was standing by the door of the church and she saw me on their way out.

“ Louis!” she shouted. She excused herself from her husband and ran to where I was standing. She hugged me tightly.

Her husband waited patiently for her. He seemed to know who I was.

“ I missed you so much!” she said when finally, she released me.

I just smiled sadly. She felt good in my arms.

“Where were you hiding all this time? I have been looking for you for years!” she

said looking at me as if she I was a ghost.


She sighed. She looked away.

“ I was worried about you.” She said softly.

“ Why?”

She shrugged.

“ You’re always doing crazy stuff.”

“Yeah, that’s just what I do.” I answered wryly.

She stared at me for a long time.

She took my hand. “ I guess it’s safe for me to say this now. Now, that

I’m married and all.”

My heart suddenly jumped when I saw the expression in her eyes.

“ I was in love with you for a long time.” She said quietly.

“ What?”

“ That’s why I broke up with Carlo. The three of us always together was
a torture.”

Stunned, I remained speechless.

“ I knew the moment I told you, you would lose your interest in me. You made your self believe you love me. You wanted be like Carlo, like Paolo. But you’re just fine the way you are. In the end I loved you more than I loved the two of them.”

I could not speak. She really could read my mind. She had read things about me more than I could allow my self to think about.

She leaned forward to kiss me on the lips.

“Forget me.” She whispered. Her breath was like a benediction,releasing me from my self inflicted torture.

I closed my eyes. When I opened them she was walking towards her new husband. Her husband hugged and lifted her. Before he kissed her, I saw in his eyes the adoration I felt for her.

For the first time I was happy. I was happy for her. I was dreaming for a long time. It was a bitter sweet dream and it was well worth the pain. I knew it was the lure of being eternally sad for loving a woman I could never have, that got me stuck in this phase. I thought it was poetic. But it was just pathetic.


15 thoughts on “When Narcisuss Fell In Love

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