The Bridge Syndrome-A A +A
Talk to Me
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
“NAIBIGAY mo na? Sinabi mo ba galing sa’kin? Anong sabi niya? Dali! Ikuwento mo,” his eyes glow with excitement and his words seem to run over each other as he rushes to meet you in front of the small wooden bridge at the edge of town. “Oo, teka. Wait lang. Sandali,” you calm him down as you try to find a rock large enough to sit on under the shade of a young Sampaloc tree beside the rickety old bridge. “Ngumiti ba siya?”
He does not seem to notice that you have walked several kilometers just to get there. “Ngumiti siya,” you say to him while trying to catch your breath. “Tapos ano?” He jumps to your side like an impatient boy in the wee hours of Christmas morning. “Tapos? Tapos? Ikuwento mo na,” he insists.
What is to become of the bridge that links two lovers?
You met him in a neighborhood brawl with the tambay kids when you were in 3rd grade. He tried to protect you from the bullies who were out to get your lunch money. But just as he was about to defend you, he received the first blow from the gang’s leader. You received the second. And the tambays still ran away with your lunch money and his. Buts since then, you have been inseparable. Growing up with him was a blast. You played patintero under the moonlight. You collected used up candles every All Souls’ Day. You even convinced him to play Chinese garter with you. In junior high, they thought you were an item because you were each other’s dates during the prom. Senior high brought on the challenge when he hit the classroom wall and his hand got stuck in it because your classmates thought he was gay after you admitted that you were just friends.
But college was the most challenging part. After rushing to him when your parents decided to separate, he told you, “Basta ikaw at ako, hindi natin gagawin ang pagkakamali nila.” You fell in love - secretly. It was a mystery to you that after everything that happened in your life, love was just under your nose. You used to tell him everything that happens to you, from first menstruation to boy crush. But this was something that you could not get yourself to confess. And now, he has his eyes on someone else.
Everyone knows about the “bridge syndrome.” At least once in our lives, we have been pawns to this kind of fate. We became links between two lovers – one of them being our own secret love. Perhaps one of the most natural things in the world of love is falling for someone who is physically and emotionally close to us. Perhaps, it was bound to happen. Actually, you had it coming. It is not true that the lover always ends up with the bridge. Most of the time, the bridge walks away hurt and unsure of what steps to take to ease the pain.
“Tapos?” He waits for the next half of the story. “Tapos!” You make a gesture with your hands signifying that it is the end of your story. “Yun lang? Binigay mo tapos ngumiti siya?” He looks disappointed. “Sa susunod, ikaw na ang magdala sa kanya,” you get back on your feet and proceed to cross the old bridge. “Bakit galit ka? Ililibre naman kita e. Ang usapan ay usapan,” he reminds you of the deal you made. You would act as the bridge. He would buy you bottomless Magnum. “Basta, ayoko na,” you decide to buy the Magnum on your own. “Nagseselos ka ba,” you hear him tease you as you turn your back to him. You halt in the middle of the bridge. Tension builds up. Your mind searches for what to say and you come up with a lame, “Ampangit mo kaya. Bakit ako magkakagusto sa’yo?” Really lame.
He slowly walks toward you. As you feel him right behind you, your heartbeat races with questions like will he embrace you? Will he kiss you? Will you runaway? He clears his throat and begins, “Ummm…” The world stands still. He continues, “Sige na bespren. Gusto ko malaman ang reaksyon nya. Sa tingin mo ba, may chance ako sa kanya?” On the bridge connecting your barrio and his, you say yes. He has a chance. Your mind echoes with the thought that you have to let him go because he has a chance to be happy with her.
You have made the first wise decision in your life. If you tell him that you love him now, you will only get in trouble because he is currently blinded by what he feels for her. It is alright. You still have him. And you know deep inside, even if it hurts, you will have him forever. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
It was chance that brought you together in a neighborhood brawl with the tambay kids. Chance will come again to bring you closer. If you felt what you felt because you were so near to each other since that day, he probably felt it too. It is one of the most common natural laws of attraction.
(Talk to me by sharing your stories and sending them to email@example.com.)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 10, 2012.