Lost in Time

causes

pain fire

burns,

knives

cut but

we re

incapable of remembering the pain itself. That s why I sit on the bed next to Carrie and felt her forehead. She was still burning up. "You're cute when you're worried," she muttered. "Your eyebrows get all scrunched together." Just rest now, don t talk. Just sleep, so can feel better. Carrie buried her head my shoulder, and I told her, Just close your eyes. And that was when it happened. Carrie wrapped her arms around me, pressed her head harder against my shoulder and closed her eyes. I looked at her, and touched her face. She opened her eyes, raised her head towards mine, and before we knew what we were doing, we were kissing. They say you have memory of pain, and this proves it. They say we only remember the fact that something after trauma of childbirth, women are ready to have baby again a year later. That s why I guess, we fall in love again. That s why in this place, at this moment, I was kissing the woman I once loved, a new woman whom I might fall in love again. I had forgotten all the pain of the past. I only knew that her lips were soft, that her body was warm, and her lips were searching mine. I didn t want this moment to stop.

Loving a Professor: From the beginning to the end

Shemaiah C. Navejas

I Don·t Expect This

I'm Kyle. I m a graduating student in one of the prestigious university in the country. And i think I m

For the first time in my life, i felt whole, fantastic and contented. I'm a smart kid. Always know what s the right thing to do and right decisions to choose. For me, life is always a routine. I never care nor imagine what's happening around me. Don't misunderstand me as somekind of a goth, but i just like to be alone in my own comfort zone. It makes me feel safe. It makes me feel whole in some way or another that made me realize that I m good enough for myself. They say that falling in love or loving someone takes a lot of patience and understanding. I really don't know what this means in the first place. It s because I ve never been in love in my entire life.

falling in love with my professor. Don't misunderstand what I ve said. I'm not someone who s into old maids or freakingly old ladies. She's my substitute teacher in one of my subjects. She'd just graduated few years ago and topped her board exam. I mean, she's just as normal as my other young professors are but something about her that strucked me the very moment that i saw her. There's something in her eyes, smile, and gestures that i can't resist looking at her. I look like stupid whenever she's around. I look like an idiot and a fool. For my entire life, i existed as to i what i wanted to be. Free from any emotions that may affect my decisions, my aspirations and my dreams. Never believing in love

or any ridiculous human emotions that affects anyone. Until now. Until that I ve learned to know that I ve fallen for her unconsciously.

command coming from my will. Then, at that moment, i felt a string, no, a million of strings started to connect me to her. And this what happens next.

One rainy day, i met her in my classroom. She's got this aura of a goddess. She's just someone that you can call as typical normal girl that walks straight to the classroom with a smiling face, with every male students ogling at her. First, i really don t notice her at all; I m busy checking my research papers for my other subjects. And well I m not really interested in listening to that subject because i have a deadline to meet. However, a voice inside my head is teasing me to take a peak on what going on the class. That's when i first saw her, and everything starts to move in a slow motion. Little by little, i felt that my brain doesn't function normally as it should be. My body doesn't obey any

II. New Teacher

However, if we are outside these four walls, you are free to call me by my name", she said.

"Good afternoon class, i am ms.yap, and I will be your substitute teacher in this subject until Mrs. Molina comes back from her vacation", she said. "Wow! That would be cool. Btw, ma'am I m just curious. How old are you? I mean our ages are really close isn't it? You don t look like in late 20's or early "Ma'am, can I ask you something? said mike. Btw, Mike is one of my best buds. And he can be the most annoying person in the world but he can also give you the best advice that you could ask for. Anna is one of my close friends, and she had a crush on me that she admitted when we were in our second year in college. "Yes, Mr. Lewis, you can", said Ms. Yap. Your right, Ms. Chin. I m just four years ahead of you", "What s your first name Ma'am? said mike. said Ma'am Yap. "And I think you should stop now interrogating me". "It s Carrie, but i don t think you could call me by my first name here in class because I m still your professor. She laughed after saying that. 30's", Anna said.

Then, the class laughed with her. And I found myself staring at her, still mesmerized. And then i joined my classmates laugh, even though I m laughing in my own personal joke.

something, a smile crossed her face. I was too chicken to do anything but look away.

After few months, I ve overcome my shyness towards her. I become more open about my thoughts, and i am

After that day, she became our friend. She became one of us; I mean she's in our peer group now. We wondered if it s okay that she's with us, because for freaking shit, she's a professor for crying out loud. I said that she should be a role model. After i said that, she laughed and my friends joined her. I was so embarrassed by that that i don t talk the entire duration of our meeting. She always in on what we re doing. I was still shy whenever she's around. She even joked me that I m so stiff and I ll die early because i rarely smile. Then, one time she caught me staring at her and

back on my track. We (Carrie & me, we'll she allow me to call her by her name even we we're in the campus as long as there's no teachers around the area) became close little by little. The time came that i was able to gather all my courage, and i planned to say to her what i feel about her and ask her permission to court her.

III. Unexpected Confessions

Well most of my friends help me out to put up this grandeur.

I was really nervous. I don t know how I would say to her what I felt. I don t know how or in what way I will be able to tell my overwhelming emotions. I know that most of the time I know what to do and what plan I will make, but this time I feel like I m lost, I m an idiot, and I don t know what to do. I got nothing left in my head so I asked for Mike's advice. Don t ask me why for all the people I knew, he's the one I asked what to do. He is an idiot and always clumsy. But he knows what to do. He knows the plans, and that plan will turn out to be good. The plan was to invite her out for dinner with us, but of course that would just me and her. Then, i will give her flowers, tell her what i feel, and ask her permission to court her. "Hi Kyle! You re early. Where are the others? she asked. Well she did come one time. She's stunning in her evening dress. This was one of my friend s ideas, mostly the girls that we should be in formal attire because the said that it'll be romantic. However, for me i don't really understand what they mean about it. She's walking straight to me where i was, but still her eyes don t meet mine. She's searching for us, then her eyes found mine, and she smiled. And i think my knees trembled when she approach me. Most of the people who were there rested their eyes in our table for a minute. And i think the clock stops ticking at that moment.

"Uhhmm. I don t know. When i came here, there were no signs of them till now. I don't think that they'll be coming", I said.

very much alike. Like two different persons with same personality. We just talked and talked. Then i know in myself that i needed now to divulge my feelings to her.

"Really? What happened to them? I thought that we were all here. she said.

"Car... i started. "Hmmm... what is it? she asked. "I lo-love you", i stammered.

Let s not spoil our night because they are not around. I think we should eat now because I m pretty starving, and I know that you're hungry even though you don t say it.", i said and laughed.

There, i nailed those words, and i mean it from the bottom of my heart. "wh-wh-what are you saying. wha-what... w-why... i don t know what to say.", she managed to said.

"Haha. You're right. I am hungry. Then, let's eat", she said.

"Please let me finish first before you react to this. Please just let me say the words that I ve been keeping in my heart. Please let me say this to you. I know that

We had a good conversation while we're eating dinner. We laughed at each other s jokes. It s like that we are

you're shocked on what you're hearing right now. But what I ve said is true. I love you. I have loved you since

the moment that i saw you. From that day that you've entered the room and caught my attention. I have loved you hopelessly. And I m hoping that one day i may able to tell this to you. That i may able to have the courage to tell these words. I am new to this kind of emotion. I don't know how to do these things right. But one thing is for sure, i am happy and i don t regret falling in love with you. i said.

"Kyle, i don't know how to react on what you've just said to me a while ago. But i think we both need time to think those things all over again. And i think it would be best if we ignore each other", she said. After saying those words, she stood up and walked away.

And there i was, still in shock. Staring at her as she walked away. I felt numb. I don t know what to do. I felt that the weight of the world is on my shoulders. I felt

Minutes past, none of us moved. She was just right there. Still in shock. She can't believe what I ve said to her. And here I am, waiting for her to say something. I'm confused, scared and hopeful at the same time. I don t know what's going on her mind. I wish I can read her thoughts right now. I wish I know what she felt. It's freaking me out. Then, she got hold of herself back.

cold. I can t explain what i feel now. I felt a stabbing pain in my heart. I wanted to scream but no voice comes out. I wanted to cry but there's no tears falling. I wanted to tell her not to go away but i just can't. I wanted to kill myself for what happened. I blamed myself for this pain.

IV. Torture

I really love her, man. I don t know if i can still go on. I tried to forget her, but i just can t do it. I loved her so

A month passed. She just ignored me whenever i come inside the room. She just continues her lectures, and ignores me. But i know inside my heart that she's trying so hard to do this to make me forget my feelings about her. But it just can t fade away. After the night that i told my feelings to Carrie, my friends was about to ask me how did it go when they saw my expression and decided to drop the subject. I only confided to Mike what happened that night, I told him what i felt about it.

much that it hurts so bad", I cried.

It s gonna be fine. Don t worry about it. If you can t forget her, so be it. I know that you've tried so hard. And I think Carrie will see through it", Mike said.

"Thanks dude. I know i can count on you", I croaked. So stop crying dude. You look like a gay. Haha... chill!", Mike said.

He's just trying to make me laugh even though I m in a Its gonna be alright, buddy. Things will work out. Don t push yourself too hard.", Mike said. midst of my personal struggle. But i know in myself that i need to face her, sooner or later. I found myself staring at our last photos together with our friends. We were so happy before. I just can't believe that i just ruined it

because of this stupid love that I ve had for her. I lie down in my bed, reminiscing the past. Thinking about her until i fall asleep.

V. The Great Happening

I was walking in our school ground just like any other day. Still having Carrie on my thoughts, I didn't notice the person that i accidentally bumped with. I was about to apologize for my behavior after I picked up all her things to give it back to her, when i realized that it was Carrie. Our eyes met, i felt my heart racing. We stared at each other for a long time. Then, she turns away and about to walked away but I grabbed her hand and hugged her tight. I hugged her so tight that i would not let her go. I didn't notice that tears rolled down my face. And I could also hear her sobbing. Struggling herself to free from my hug. Then, i faced her one more time.

Carrie, why do you keep avoiding and ignoring me. Why are you making me miserable? Why are you doing this to me? I love you. I care for you. And I do really, really love you. Please don t do this to me", I cried. She was crying when I said that I loved her, again and again. I know at that moment that she felt the same way about me. I saw it in her eyes that she loves me all along, and I was stupid that I didn't notice it before. I'm thinking why she would ignore her feelings for me, when she knew that I love her.

"Kyle, don't make this hard for me. Just forget what you've felt for me. We can't be together. I'm old for you. People will make fun of you, and you'll be hurt eventually. I can't risk that for you.", she cried.

"I don't care what other people will say. I know only one thing, and that is I love you. I tried to forget you but I just can't. I know deep inside my heart that i can't let you go. So please just let me love you. Let me take care of you. Don't hold back your feelings. Just for once, obey what your heart tells you.", I said.

I know that you love me. I can see it through your eyes. Why do you keep ignoring me? Why do are you stopping your feelings for me? Please tell me.", I croaked. "You're just being impulsive right now. You don't know what you're saying. I can't risk that. I know that you truly love me but I'm afraid to let myself be with you. What would they think about me or you.", she said.

"I'm not being impulsive. You knew that in your heart. And I know what I'm saying. Don't be afraid to let yourself try to show what you feel. I don't care what they'll think about me, and I won't let them say something about you that will degrade you. I promise that to you", I said.

smile that would light up a dark gray sky. The smile that I have been waiting to see. The smile that's been lost for a while. And now I knew I she has given me chance to prove my love and myself to her.

"Carrie, again I love you and I'm asking you're permission to let me court you. Can you give that to

We just stood there for a while. I can't take my eyes off of her. She s still stunning even her eyes were puffy and red. I know that she's thinking about what I've said. And I know that eventually she will accept my love. I have to wait for her. I just stood there, not minding the eyes staring at us as they passed by. All I cared at this time is Carrie. Then, she looked at me, the kind of look that I've been waiting all these time. The look in her face that I would trade anything that I have just to see her like that. She's there in front of me, smiling, and a radiant

me? Would you let me?", I asked.

"Yes, Kyle. I'll let you court me.", she said. Then, she smiled.

"Whoa! Is this true? Yes! I'm very happy. I promise that you'll never regret this.", I said.

Then, I swooped her up, and began running around, yelling. And we both laughed.

VI. Macau Proposal

her father will think. So I give her that matter to decide. We were happy whenever we're together. Of course my

I began to court Carrie after that day. I was so happy that she let me. And I was also grateful that she allowed herself to be happy. My courtship has restrictions. I'm not allowed to tell her that I loved her while we're still at school, of course that's because she's still a professor and I'm a student in that University. They are strict about teacher-student relationships. They never

friends knew about these and they are happy for me. We enjoyed each other s company for a while, and I decided that I should take it slowly. I am now graduating. I felt that now my bonds to the rule that prevent us to be together are destroyed. As I begin with my speech as Summa Cum Laude for BS in Business Administration, I looked at the crowd. On top of the world. I was only looking for only one face at the crowd. And when she smiled at me, I knew that I've just got my greatest graduation gift. However, my education is still not finished yet. My family urged me to proceed to Law, I only agreed when they say that they will let me choose the school that I prefer. So I chose a new school with good credentials in

allowed that to happen. So now, I'm only allowed to do my courtship when we're not inside the campus. However, this doesn't stop me from giving her flowers only being delivered by the flower shop. We were almost together every day. We ate our dinner together almost every day, but not during weekends because she had it with her family. However, I still didn't get the chance to meet her family because she's afraid of what

Law. And now I am free to court her while she's in the campus.

After a week, I invited her to have a vacation in Macau. I told her that she needs a break from her work. I know that professors can have a vacation break. So, she agreed to go with me. We planned to stay there for

After four months...

three days because we will have another trip to Hongkong.

"Mike, how do you ask a girl to be your girl?", I asked. In our second stay in Macau, I rented a whole Italian "Uhhmm...Just asks her dude, like in wedding proposals. Bring her in an island, prepare a romantic dinner with flowers, chocolates, a bear because girl's love that. Then, you know what to do after that. Just ask her.", Mike answered. restaurant because she like's Italian cuisine, and my friends (namely Anna & Thalia) said that it's romantic. So, I asked the chef to prepare Carrie's favorites, preparing the place, decorating it with white and yellow roses since it's her favorite. Then, I bought the biggest teddy bear that I could find in Macau, and her favorite "Thanks dude. You're a life saver", I said. chocolates. Now, everything is settled.

"Shall we eat now? We should finish this because I've I asked her to come to Villa Margarita for our dinner at exactly 6:00pm. I am already there, 30 minutes early to do some last minute preparations. Then, the time comes. I've never been immuned to her beauty. She's really stunning in her elegant black dress. I couldn t help myself, I'm still mesmerized. Then, she realized that i had planned this while entering the restaurant. By the way, she's always the observant lady. She smiled when she saw me staring at her. And when she reached my table, she hugged and kissed me on my check. We had a good conversation in our dinner. We laughed at each other's jokes. She keeps on teasing me on how I made an effort to make this dinner date something mysterious. I only smiled, and thinking that if only she "Hi! You're always on time", I said. knew. As we finished eating our dinner, I ask her to walk around the villa and she agreed. We kept on talking and "Of course! I'm a teacher after all, I m used in being one time", she said. And then she laughed. talking, well she'd done most of that. She tells me all the things that are happening in my previous university, our friends jobs and everything. Haha! Are you sure? Okay, let's eat now", I replied. "Oh! Really? I think I know what you're going to tell me, but I think I should hear it from you.", she said. got something to tell you. I said and smiled.

While she was talking there, I'm sweating like a nine year-old boy who wants to admit that he'd done something wrong. I'm nervous on how I will ask her. I just remember what Mike said that just ask her, it s just as simple as drinking. Really, I'm going to strangle Mike for a great advice that he said. Then suddenly she stopped talking, she noticed me not speaking for a short while so she asked me if I'm alright.

"I was thinking . . ." My throat felt really dry.

"Anyone in particular?" Carrie asked, her voice soft.

I looked over and saw that she was trying not to smile.

"You're laughing at me," I complained.

"I am not!" "Kyle, are you okay? You look like you're going to be sick", she said. Her voiced sounded worried. "You are so not making this easy."

"Yeah, I'm okay. It's just that I've something to ask you", I managed to say. Man, I'm so nervous.

Then she laughed for real, and she put her hands around my neck.

"Oh! What is it?"

"I am never, ever going to make things easy for you. Get used to it."

I looked down at her and smiled and kept thinking how "Okay, so here it is." I took a deep breath. "I love you, Carrie. Loving you is the most wonderful thing that happened to me. Will you be my girlfriend?" this woman made me so happy. She buried her face on my chest because she kept blushing. And I was grinning.

She smiled. And said the words that I wanted to hear from her.

"Yes, Kyle. And I love you too."

Then she kissed me. When she kissed me, I had the feeling my brain was melting right through my body. I could've stayed that way forever, except cheering behind us erupted. The staff of the Villa heard my proposal and they are now cheering.

VII. Family Meeting

get together with our friends once in a while, and they kept teasing us. We just ignore them.

We went back to the country few days later. She complained about going back to the university so I suggest that she could take a break for a day or two just to relax. Meanwhile, I went back to my university checking if I missed a lot during my weekend "vacation" that we've had. I knew that I've not missed anything because most of our professors haven't gone to the classes since it s still the second week of the school year. I have more time with her. Since our school is within the U-Belt, I could popped-up in her campus. We take our lunch almost together. We almost together now every Saturdays, we watched movies together, we we're having fun and enjoyed in each other's arms. We we're happy and contented with our relationships. We "She just grown on me", she mouthed. Two years passed surprisingly fast. We celebrated our anniversaries in Macau. We think that the place is memorable. I've also introduced her to my family and they really get along well with each other, especially my younger sister, Silena. They are inseparable whenever Carrie was in our house. She always tagged along with her. I'm irritated sometimes because we can't have our privacy whenever she's around. Carrie just smiled at me, noticing that I'm irritated with my sister.

"I know. Isn't it enough that she always tagged along with us whenever we have our dates? I mean that's really not good."

Now, I think that I need now to ask her why she still hasn t introduced me to her family. As far that I know, she's also from a well-off Chinese family just like us. Well, that's all I know about her family. I didn't have a chance to meet them. Whenever, I ask her about her

"Just be patient with your sister. She's still a little girl".

family, she just said that I will meet them but it s not the right time. I mean when will be the right time?

"You said so. But I'm still annoyed."

We've been together for almost two years now; still I haven't seen even her siblings. We are having one of

I know and I can see it in your eyes. C'mon let me give you a treat. It'll make you forget for a while that you're annoyed."

our dates when I ask her again about her family.

"Hon, how's your family?"

"Really? I can't wait. Let's go"

"Uhhmm... They're okay. Why are you asking all of the sudden?"

"Just wondering about them. Hon, we've been long enough right? I mean we're two years together now. Can you introduce me to your family now? I want to meet them. I want to make our relationship formal that you're family knows me and they know that I'm your boyfriend and you're safe with me."

She agreed to introduce me to her parents. She said that we will go to their house on Sunday. We will eat our lunch there, and then introduced me to them. Well if you asked me a week ago if I'm nervous about meeting her family, I can say that I don't mind. But as the date approaches, man it really made me nervous. I don't know how or what will I do. She told me that her

"Do you really want to meet them now? Are you ready? I warn you, they're all perfectionist. My father is a conservative type, he might not agree with you"

dad might not approve our relationship. The day comes; I don't know what to wear to impress her family. I asked my brother what to wear, he advice me to go for a smart polo and khaki slacks. These will

I think I can handle that. Why would he not agree with me? Don't worry about it. It will work out."

make me look mature as well as formal. I come to her house at exactly eleven o' clock in the morning, as she instructed me. She said that her father hates someone

"I hope so"

that comes late. When I arrived, she meets me at their gate. She is breath-taking as ever in her elegant summer dress. She kissed me on my cheek and beckoned me to

go inside their house. Well, their house is the same as ours. Eastern and western style combined, with a pool in the middle of the house. Now I know why she feels at home in my house. She said that her father is not yet around due to some unavoidable problems in their company. I think that make her comfortable all this time. Well, I get the chance to know her mother and siblings. She has three other siblings, two boys, and a girl. She's the second oldest child. And what the heck, her brother, the one after her is older than me for two years. I felt awkward and I know he feels awkward to. Meanwhile, the youngest is still in high school. Her mother is very welcoming. Carrie has her features.

Carrie when she's still little; make me look at some of her baby pictures. I got along well with her family well. The time seems to move fast, it's almost dawn; still her father didn't come home. I bid my farewell. Mrs. Yap wanted me to stay for dinner but I've said that my family is also expecting me at dinner. She just made me promised to come back at their house once in a while. Carrie walked with me to my car. I know she's happy and relieved. However, she's still worried about her father. I just tell her that I'm happy to meet her family, and time will come that I'll meet her father. I said my goodbye, and kissed her. Then, I drove my car on the way to my home.

She s still beautiful even though she's in her fifties. She still has her slim body. She welcomes me warmly; I felt that she trusted me with her daughter. I know that she liked me. I sighed in relief. She told me stories about

VIII. Fighting for

business suit, and drove to the restaurant that Carrie told me.

I was busy in my thesis for my major subjects, practicing law, and having my internship in Law Firms. I got a little time now for Carrie, still she understands my schedule. We still make sure that we have time for each other. We just meet four times a week because of my hectic schedule. And I'm really missing her. I hope that I can graduate soon so that we can have more time together. A year passed. I only have one year left in my Law School. This explains all my busy scheds, etc. Still a year passed that I don't get the chance to meet her father. Surprisingly, she called me and told me that her father wants me to meet him. Now, I felt suddenly nervous about that. I have a bad feeling about this. I just didn't know why. The day came and I dressed myself in

I arrived there earlier than the time, and then I walked to the area that has been reserved for us. I waited for almost ten minutes, and then I saw him. He is a typical Chinese old man with an indescribable authoritative aura. He can make you feel intimidated in an instant. Then, he told me to sit down. He then ordered the food. He told me that this meeting would be just brief. He asked me questions about myself.

"How old are you?", he asked.

"I am 22 years old, Sir."

"Are you working now?"

"No sir. I'm still studying."

He said those words with full of declaration. Chills went down my spine. I was in shocked. My girlfriend's father

"No? Still studying?"

doesn't like me for her daughter. He looked at me and make sure that I was listening. Then, he continued

"Yes sir. I'm still in my third year in Law School."

speaking.

"Tell me about yourself."

"You're too young for her. I have already arranged her marriage. End you're relationship with her. Our meeting

I m Kyle James Lee, sir. I graduated as Summa Cum Laude in my Business Administration course in De LaSalle University. I got my MB in NYU. Now, I'm studying Law in Ateneo."

is over."

After saying those words, he got up and walked away. I was dumbfounded. I can't believe that is happening to me, to us. I called Carrie but she won't pick up. I called

That s very impressive young man but I don't like you for my daughter."

Stephen, her brother, and I found out that their father had told Carrie to end her relationship with me or I'll suffer. I began to get mad at her father. He has no right to control Carrie's feeling. I went at her house to talk to

Carrie but her father stopped me, and told me to go away or else he will phone police to pick me up. I would not go but Mrs. Yap asked me to. Then, she secretly told me to meet her in one of the restaurants in Greenbelt because she has something to give me.

IX. Giving up Carrie

Next day. I go at the restaurant that she told me. She was already there waiting for me, holding something. I don't know what it is. Then when I reached her table, she told me to sit down. She has a friendly smile on her family.

"Hi Kyle. You might wonder why I told you to come here."

"Yes ma'am."

"Don't call me ma'am. Nothing changes between us. I'm still your tita. And I approve your relationship with my daughter. I know that you really love her, and she loves

you also deeply. So please listen to me if you really love and make things easier for her."

"I'm okay. How about you?" Her voice is cracked. I know that she's been crying.

"Yes tita. What is it?"

"I'm confused. I don't know what to do. Are you sure that this is what you really wanted?"

Then, she told me her plan. She told me that I should stop seeing Carrie. She said that Carrie wants this too. She also said that I need to finish my studies first and become a lawyer. This is to make myself be known in the society so that we will not be criticized. She told me that she will make sure that the arranged marriage will not be pursued. Then, she told me that she will grant me one last call to Carrie. To settle things and to say goodbye for the meantime. I love you to Kyle. Please be safe for me. Goodbye." "Hello Carrie, it s me. Are you alright?" "I'm hoping that you're right. Then, this is it. This is really goodbye. If I graduated and become successful, I'll find you. And if you're still single, I'll marry you. I love you Carrie." "Yes. This is the right decision. If we can make this through and I know that we we're really meant to be."

The call ended. I gave the phone back to Carrie's mom. She then hugged me when she saw that I was fighting back the tears in my eyes. She told me to go on with my life. If Carrie and I are really meant to be, then we are destined to be with each other even though time or distance stands between us. And our right time will be finding its way to us. Then, she left.

PART II

X. The Bachelor

Harvard alumnus. He's just a few years earlier than I am. He's like Mike; I think I've myself an American

I decided to spent my last year abroad. I become a transferee student in one of the IVY League Colleges in the U.S. It was Harvard. The study is really tough; however they really give you an excellent training. Before I graduated, I've had my internship in one of the most popular law firms in U.S. Then, I graduated there with flying colors. Then, I took the State Bar Exam in New York, and I've passed it. My parents have been proud of me. I decided to work there for two years. I've become successful; I've made my name in Manhattan. My life is great. I have good credentials; I have been in an International firm. I've earned the respects of the Upper East Siders. I've been made as an associate partner in my firm. Bryan Wills, my associate partner have been my bestfriend in U.S, like me he is also a

version of my college friend. And I've also found someone new. Her name is Jasmine. She's also a lawyer in the firm that I worked with. She's Filipino-American, and her family migrated in U.S when she's still young. She makes me happy; she filled-in my longing for love. We became friends, and then I asked her to be my girlfriend. We've been together now for almost a year. She already introduced me to her family, and when my parents come to New York, I introduced her to them. She also knew about my past, and told me that She will help me to forget. But I know in my heart and in my mind that I will love Carrie forever, until my last dying breath. I know that I'm being unfair to Jasmine but I think that's how mysterious love is, you just forget someone whom you loved. However, I did my best to

be the best man to Jasmine, to make her happy as much as I can. I'll do my best. If not because of her I can't survive the loneliness that I've had been through. The night that I ask her to be my girl... We were having one of our evening dates in Bon Appetite, her favorite French restaurant. I brought her a bouquet of tulips because it s her favorite.

I took a deep breath and said. "Will you be my girl?" I waited for her response but it seems that she's still in shock. Then when she comes back to her senses, she just smiled and said. "Yes". Then we kissed.

One night, I've got a call from my mother she told me that I need to go home because my father suffers a heart attack. She told me that no one will take over the

"Hey James, what's with that serious face. It doesn't suit you", she said laughing.

company since my father still has to rest. My brother is a doctor, he have no background in business. I know that I've got to come home. After two years of working

"Jas, stop messing around. I want to be serious at this moment. I'm going to ask you something and I need you to answer me seriously, this is important"

in New York, I will leave this place that I've learned to love. I passed my resignation letter to my partner. I told him that I need to go home, and I've had a great time working in the firm. He understands me, and he wished

"Okay, what is it?"

me luck. He also said that I'll be welcome if I'll be going back. Saying goodbye to Jasmine is the hardest part,

she kept crying. She told me that she'd going to miss me. But hey, don't misunderstand, we are not breaking up. She specifically told me that we don't have to break up. She told me that our long distance relationship will work out. Because I also loved her, it s hard to let her go. And we promised that we will be trying our best to work it out. Then, I had my farewell party at a club near Fifth Avenue. We had a great time. And as I stared in the window, I saw the lively life that I've had here in two years, and now I will bid my farewell to it. I'm coming home.

XI. Coming Home

After three cramped and claustrophobic meals, two blurry movies (one romantic comedy and one suspense thriller movie), two magazines, a book and a newspaper, and five lousy hour of sleep, I arrived in Manila. Bone-tired and glad only to be out of airline chair, I passed through immigration and baggage claim. It's been three years; I thought to myself, it's already been three years since the last time that I've been here. Manila really does change. As I get passed out the terminal, I saw a small crowd gathered there. I see my brother, David and her wife, Rachel; my father who is in wheelchair now and my lovely mother; and lastly my annoying sister, Silena. God, she grown so much over these years. She's now running towards me with her arms waving in the air.

"You're older brother and sister is telling truth, Kyle. "Kyle! Brother, I miss you. Wow! You've grown really tall. What's your height right now? You are really famous. You are in TV and even the president wants to meet you in person. Haha...just kidding Kyle. But really you are really famous, you know. They said that you are the most trusted lawyer in Manhattan. And you're the newest member of the New York's Upper East Side.", Silena said. "Mom, really? I should pay my former professors a visit then. Dad, are you okay now. How s the company going?" You have become famous, here in the country. Your cases have been viewed by the top lawyers here. Even you're professors in Ateneo called and congratulates you.", my mom said.

"That's right bro. My fellow doctors have been talking about you. They said that you are brilliant. Most of the nurses in my hospital I think have a crush on you.", David said.

"I m okay, don t worry about me.

Our Company is

growing bigger. You are going to be the heir of our business empire, son. Btw, you're going to be the General-Manager of the Company.", my dad said.

"Oh c'mon! Stop kidding guys."

"Don't worry about it dad. I'll tend it later. Let's go home."

As we drive to our home, I've seen some familiar infrastructures that still standing and some new buildings. My brother said that there have been a lot of new buildings in Manila. The pollution becomes worse as before. That's why my family build a Villa in Tagaytay to get some fresh air and have a refreshing vacation. I've slept for the rest of the day because of jetlag. I've felt that my body is aching really bad that I instantly fell asleep. The next day, I found my entire family eating breakfast. It was Sunday morning, my brother and his family were in our house for our family lunch together. My nephew, Matthew has grown. We got along with each other. Then, after lunch my father oriented me about some of the company's newest works, proposals, etc. He said that he already told his secretary to provide me a tour once I get there. We have our best family

reunion for the last three years. We were having our conversations smoothly.

"Kyle how's jasmine? my mom asked.

"She's fine. She told me to send her regards to all of you. She might come here if she had time."

"Oh! Tell her thanks."

"I'll tell her that mom."

After this day, I'm going to be back with my hectic schedule but not as a lawyer but as the generalmanager of our company. I can't sleep maybe because of my adjusting biological clock. However, something caught my eyes. A picture of a lady beside my drawer.

When I looked at it, I felt a stabbing pain in my chest, it is Carrie's photo. Memories keep flooding back. I was thinking about it until I sleep.

XII. Remarkable Place

First day in the company. I am warmly welcome by our staffs and employees. I have my grand tour in our different buildings. Man, I never knew that our business really expanded up to this far. I really salute my dad for this. We have now a big and large group of companies. We have airlines, shopping malls, automation or cars, hospital,

restaurants, hotels, law firms, networks, and some investments in other companies. All of our staffs are hard-workers, they are polite and most of all loved their work very much. I begin the latest project of our company with the help of the creative team. It is almost lunch; I decided to call my sister to have lunch with me. Gee, I do really miss her because I asked her for lunch. She was now in her graduating high school year in De

LaSalle University. I picked her up, she told me to wait for her in the university's ground field. I felt I'm reminiscing the past wherein, Carrie and I are walking across with our hands hold tight with each other. Those memories just made me feel sad. Then, I saw my sister walking towards me. I also walk towards her.

"Sure. Just lead the way."

It was an elegant restaurant btw. It has the same features as Villa Margarita in Macau, the restaurant where I asked Carrie to be my girlfriend. I really liked the place. We ordered their specialty. I really enjoyed the place. And my sister knew the girl who owned the restaurant. I think she just graduated college. When I

"Kyle, sorry for being late. I've still have to finish my work before I went her. Btw, where we are eating?"

talked to her, I felt something. She's really familiar to me. I just couldn t remember where I met her. She told me that she and her sister own this restaurant. She told

"Uhhmm... Where do you want?"

me that her sister liked Italian cuisine, and since she's a chef, she helped her sister put up this place. It is only

"In Villa Christina, it's an Italian restaurant just a couple of blocks away from here. They really cooked delicious pasta. Is it okay, Kyle?"

opened for about a year ago. The time is really running fast. I need to go back to the office. I have many things to do. So, I bid my goodbye to my sister since she's still talking to Trixie (it's the chef's

name). Then, I went back to the car and drive back to the company.

XIII. Painkiller

Few months passed, I learned how to operate the company smoothly. I've got a call from Jasmine telling me that she will be coming in the Philippines next week. I've already prepared her suit room in the hotel.

On the day of Jas' arrival...

I waited at the airport terminal for Jas' plane to arrive. After 30 minutes, Jasmine's plane arrives. I saw her. She didn't look like she had just taken a series of long flights. Her face was bright. She was dressed in a designer's elegant, white dress. She was having her quick steps towards me. When she approached me. She threw me her big, warm hug. Then, she kissed me.

"Hi there handsome. How are you? God, I miss you so much", she said.

change her clothes; we are going to have dinner with my family. This is the first time that my entire family meet Jasmine.

"I'm Okay. How about you? How's the firm? Anything new?

Mom and Dad talked to her. As well as David and Rachel. Meanwhile, Silena is kind of weird. She said that she's just not in the mood, so I apologize for Silena's

"I'm fine. The firm's okay. Bryan's taking good care of it. But he's still hoping that you'll be back."

behavior. After the night, I drove her back to the hotel.

She told me that she wants to visit some places. Then I "I've missed Manhattan but everything here is more important than that. I miss you too Jas." told her about the Italian restaurant that Silena and I went. She wants to go there so I promised to go there with her. But I don't know that something's about to "I know. That's why I come here. C'mon let's eat I'm starving." happen. Something that will be unavoidable. Something that roots in my past that has been left unfinished, undiscussed, and unforgettable. Well, we spent the entire half day touring her around. Then, she went back to the hotel to take a shower and

XIV. Unexpected Meeting

Having Jasmine around makes me forget all my problems. She's my painkiller, my solution, and my diversion. She always supports me in whatever

PART III

decisions that I will make. She's my friend and also my girlfriend, but what I feel about her is not the same as what I've felt with Carrie before. The feeling that I just have with her right now is more like a new growing emotion, a young love that is delicate and you really have to tend and take good care. I know that in my heart that I'm being unfair to her. I know that she deeply love me but I just can't replace her love the way she has for me. Sometimes, love is tricky. You don't know what will happen next. You can't predict that it always has a happy ending. As some old saying says, a great and true

love sometimes ends with a tragedy. I know that it's true because what I had with Carrie before and even now is somewhat I called true love. It's an innocent love that I have fought it in order to let it stay with me. But I guess not all people who fell in love got the ending that they've wanted. I know that I promised Carrie that if we meet again, I will marry her. However, right now in my present situation, I can't make it. I've learned to love Jasmine as time goes by. That love eventually grows however it s still young that it can't last. Since its Saturday and I've got no office, I've already done most of my work, I brought Jasmine to the Villa Cristina, the Italian restaurant that she wanted to visit. As we drove there, I felt something heavy in my chest. I don't know what this kind of feeling that I ve had is. It's just that something could happen. And I didn't know that it will complicate things and made a huge change in

my life. We arrive in Villa Cristina almost lunchtime. The place was full, a mixture of students, peer group and families were there to have their lunch. Since, the chef and Silena are friends, she give us seats. A table for two near a small cabin just like the table I had in Macau with Carrie. The memories of the past keep coming back in my mind. We ordered our food after a short while. She just orders pasta because I knew that she didn't like Italian food. She just comes here out of her curiosity. After we finish our meal, Jasmine went to the restroom. My eyes roamed around the room, I notice that a photograph of a young couple is hanged near the counter. As I looked at it, the colors are already fading however it's still beautiful. Then, I stood up and approach the counter. As I walked towards it, I felt nervous. I feel sometime

that makes me sad and longing for something that I haven t had. Something that I really wanted to have. I was about to ask the staff if they knew the couple in the picture when the manager's door opened, and someone come out. I don't mind it. I am having serious conversation with the staff if maybe they could call the owner to let me buy the photograph. When, suddenly a voice behind me said something.

her. I can't keep my mind off that photo. It is vaguely familiar to me.

When, I turned to face the manager. I am shocked to see who it is. I felt that my heart is going to explode. My eyes begin to water. The woman in front of me right now, the manager of this restaurant, and my first and true love and the woman whom I continuously loved until now is the same person. It is Carrie.

"I'm sorry sir but the photo's not for sale", the voice said.

Realization now comes to me. That's why this place is the same as Villa Margarita in Macau. That's why Trixie is so familiar to me. That's why I felt nostalgic while I'm

It was a soft, calm and relaxing voice. I knew that it could only belong to a lady. However, I felt that the voice seems so familiar. And I felt sudden tug in my heart. I really want that photo so I plan to bargain with

in this place. It's because she owned this.

When our eyes met, I see that she is also shocked. Pain, loneliness, longing, resentment, joy are painted in her face. She looks like she wants to hugged me, or say have

something to say. I also felt the same thing. I also wanted to hug her tight, to say that I've missed her so much. To ask her if she's alright. To be with her.

"Sir, I'm really sorry but the photo is not for sale. It's my precious and valued treasure. It has sentimental value that's why I can't sell it to you or anyone else", Carrie said.

I am about to ask her when someone tapped me in my back. I turned around to know who it was. It was Jasmine. She wondered where I went when she comes back and found out that I wasn't there. I look at Jasmine and then to Carrie. I wanted to die right now. I'm stucked in an unavoidable situation. I don't know what to do. Jasmine's my girlfriend, she come halfway around the world to be with me. Now, I'm facing my exgirlfriend, Carrie whom I loved all my life. My first love. I really don't know what to do. I'm confused. Suddenly, Carrie broke the silence.

"I understand"

"James, she is right. You can't just force her to let you buy the photo. As what she had said it is important to her.", said Carrie.

"Yes, I know that."

"Btw, Miss...?"

"It's Carrie Yap; I'm the manager and the owner of this restaurant."

"Carrie, I'm sorry for my boyfriend's behavior. He isn't that impulsive. He might have really like the photo. Btw, I'm Jasmine Chase, and this is my boyfriend, James Lee.", Jasmine said.

"Yes. You can come here anytime."

"Thanks Carrie. I think we'll go also. Bye."

"Bye", I said looking straight into her eyes. At this "It's okay. He really might be really interested in that photo. Btw, I have to attend some clients. Nice meeting you Jasmine. Hope you liked our food." "Bye.", Carrie said. Then, turned away. moment, I really wanted to hug her badly.

"Yeah. I do. I like your putanessca. James seems to like all Italian food."

"Glad to hear that."

"It's the truth. I think I'm gonna like it here. I'll come back. We can talk about this place. I want to know how this started."

XV. Shocked

having our first anniversary as a couple. I'm very happy to marry her.", my dad said.

I was now driving home, I've already drive Jasmine to the hotel. I'm confused now. I don't know what I will do. I know that I love Jasmine, but when I saw Carrie again, I a sudden tug in my chest. My heart began pumping hard. I don't know how to explain this. It's like my feelings for her are never gone nor lost. It's like it is here all along, hiding and waiting for the right time. "What is it?" When I arrive in our house, I went straight to our study room to think. I thought no one's there but I saw my dad looking at his and mom's weeding pictures. I go to him and ask him what he is doing with all those pictures. "I'm just looking at my face and your mom's face when we were young. Look at these pictures; we were just "Uhhmm...I just felt in my heart that she is the one whom I wanted to be with the rest of my life. The one whom I want to be the mother of my children. The one "Dad, how did you know that mom's the one?" "Dad." Then something comes into my mind. Something that I haven't even asked to myself. And the answer to that question will help me.

who still makes my heart race. Makes me feel happy at all time. One look at her and I forget all my worries."

saw her again, and my feelings about her. I've told him the strange feelings that I've felt when I saw Carrie again. My father seems to understand what I've felt. He

"Dad, have you been in a situation wherein you're not sure about who do you love?"

just continued to listen to me.

"So, what are you going to do, son?" "No. Kyle, is something wrong? What happened?" "What am I going to do? There's only one thing to do." "Dad, I think I made a big mistake. A mistake that will break my heart or break someone else heart." "What's that?"

"Why what really happened?"

"I'm going to choose."

I told my dad everything that I've been thinking. Everything that I feel. Everything that's on my mind. I told him what I've felt about Jasmine, my reaction when I saw Carrie again, the weird feeling that I've felt when I

XVI. Asking for Advice

decided to meet my old friend mike. We decided to go to a bar in Libis.

I'm in my room, lying on the bed staring at the ceiling. Thinking about what decision will come in my mind. I know that in whatever decision that I will make there will be a person who will get hurt. I just need to make a right decision that I won't regret in my whole life. My memory flies back on Carrie. The memory when I saw her again in the restaurant. She becomes mature and dressed in smart dress. She changed since the last time we saw each other. I know that I've also changed. I've become a well-known lawyer in New York. My life changed since then. Still one thing never changes. My feelings. She's still the woman that I've fallen in love with. She may have changed a lot but my heart still recognizes her. I "Yeah. But I'm back in the country now. My dad needs to rest, so I took over the company." "I'm fine. I'm working in my new agency for three years now. How about you? From what I've heard you've become a big shot lawyer in the States." "So does you. How are you by the way?" "Whoa dude, it's that really you. Jeez, you changed a lot, man." "Hey buddy!", I said.

"Heard about that heart attack. It's all in TV; CEO of LEE Co. suffered a heart attack, etc. How's tito now?"

"Man, that's really a big problem. I don't know. Maybe what you have to do is follow what your heart tells you."

"He's fine. I think he needs total rest." "I know this is really hard. I m so confused." "Btw, Kyle have you met Carrie?" "It will be alright, man. Trust in yourself." "Yes, I have. Mike, and that s my problem."

"What is it?"

"I have a girlfriend now but when I saw Carrie again, I felt that I love her more than Jasmine. What should I do?"

XVII. Unfair
"So how are you holdin' up?" I'm in my office. My brother is dropping by. We were having our conversations about it. My family knows about my problem. My mother and sister give me privacy in that matter. But I know that they are worried about me. They knew the real reason why I left for States three years ago. The reason that driven me to keep myself busy and to try to live on. My brother is the one of the few people whom I've told what I've been having these days. He gives me advice that's a big help for me. "If you need help you know that we're here, right. We'll support you in whatever decisions that you'll make." "I haven't yet. I just need some time. I have to think about this thoroughly." "Have you made your decision?" "Fine, I guess."

"Kyle, can I come in", my brother said, knocking on the door.

"Thanks a lot bro."

"Yeah come in."

"We're a family Kyle, you know that. Alright, I have to go home. Rachel's cooking my fave food. See you this weekend."

XVIII. Pouring Rain

After having a conversation with my brother, I decided to go home early. Jasmine called me to come to the

"Go ahead. Drive safely."

hotel but I refused. Is said that I'm not feeling well, and I need rest. She seems to be worried but I told her that

"Yeah, you go home too."

I'll be fine. I feel guilty that I lied to her. I know that I'm being selfish and unfair to her, but I need to find myself. She's really patient and understanding to me, and I don't think I deserve all of it. She loved me as much as she can but I can't love her fully. I drive my car absent minded, I just drive and drive. Then when I stopped the car, I'm surprised to see that I'm in Carrie's restaurant.

The restaurant seems closed but the door is open so I went straight inside the restaurant. She might heard that someone come in.

"Why? I think there's no need for that."

"I need to explain."

"I'm sorry but we're closed. You can---." She stopped when she saw me.

"Why bother Kyle? I'm not your girlfriend."

"I just need to explain to you all of it." "Hi." That's all I managed to say. "Don't bother. I understand." Her voice is trembling. "Why are you here Kyle?" Her voice seemed cold but I felt sadness in it. "I need to do this. I want you to know everything." I She turned away and walked to the garden. I walked after her and grabbed her hand. touched her face, but she turned away. And it started to rain, still none of us moved. She's fighting back her tears.

"I need to talk to you."

"Don't do this Kyle. You have a girlfriend now. Jasmine is nice. She's right for you. I understand you. And it's my

entire fault why we ended like this." Tears finally started to roll down her cheek.

"Don t say that" After she said those words, she collapsed and falls on the ground.

"Carrie, don't say that please. It's my fault. I should have fight for you even though you told me not to. I should have tried. I should have not given you up."

"Stop now Kyle. It's already the past. It won't come back now."

"I tried but I just can't."

"Oh God. Don't say that Kyle."

"It's the truth. I'm still in love with you."

XIX. Unplanned Situation

"You're in my place. You collapsed because you have a fever. Eat this porridge first then take this medicine. You

Carrie collapsed in the rain. I ran towards her. She's burning with fever. I knew that she might have a fever already that's why she closed the restaurant too early. I don't know where she's staying now. So I brought her to my pad. On the way, I buy some medicines for her and food. I called my brother to ask him on what should do to a person with fever. He told me all the thing I wanted to know, then he asked me if Jasmine is sick, I just avoided it and told him that I'll hung up. I took care of Carrie. She wakes up after 5hours.

need this. Then, take a rest."

"Why are you doing this Kyle?"

"Like what I've said earlier. I love you. I just don't know why but I'm still in love with you."

She didn't reply. She just eats her porridge and takes her medicine quietly, then went back to bed.

I sit on the bed next to Carrie and felt her forehead. She was still burning up.

"Where am I?" "You're cute when you're worried," she muttered. "Your eyebrows get all scrunched together."

ready to have baby again a year later. That s why I Just rest now, don t talk. Just sleep, so you can feel better. guess, we fall in love again. That s why in this place, at this moment, I was kissing the woman I once loved, a new woman whom I might fall in love again. I had Carrie buried her head my shoulder, and I told her, Just close your eyes. forgotten all the pain of the past. I only knew that her lips were soft, that her body was warm, and her lips were searching mine. I didn t want this moment to stop. And that was when it happened. Carrie wrapped her arms around me, pressed her head harder against my shoulder and closed her eyes. I looked at her, and touched her face. She opened her eyes, raised her head towards mine, and before we knew what we were doing, we were kissing. They say you have memory of pain, and this proves it. They say we only remember the fact that something causes pain fire burns, knives cut but we re incapable of remembering the pain itself. That s why after trauma of childbirth, women are "Don't say anything. she said with tears in her eyes. "Last night was wonderful." We spent the rest of the night as Mr. & Mrs. Lee. I wake up in the morning with her by my side. I saw her studying my face. She's crying. I was about to say something. But she stopped me.

She then get up from the bed and dressed quickly. I get out from the bed too. I reached out and touched her arm, just above the elbow. "Don't", she said, closing her eyes. "I can't think."

took my hand and placed it together with hers. "What just happened?"

"The thing that supposed to happened."

"Who wants to think?"

"What about Jasmine? I don't think that is right we have to stop this."

"I need to think. she said opening her eyes. "This..." she said, searching for words, "this wasn't supposed to happen! This was the last thing that supposed to happen!" "I don't want to hurt her. She has been my friend since we've met. Just forget me. It's just this way it is" "You don't sound unhappy," I told her, touching her face. "Carrie, please." "I'll tell her everything."

She kissed the palm of my hand. "No," she said. "Not unhappy at all. But we need to think this through." She

"No, Kyle. We have to stop this."

XX. Hardest Part

I'm surprise by her words. I couldn't tell her back the words that she has said.

For the rest of the day, Carrie and I are together. I know that I've choose Carrie over Jasmine. It's what my heart tells me to. This will be hard for Jasmine but she's tough I know that she'll understand. I called her. She seems to notice the tone of my voice. I'm in Cafe Simeon at exactly 2p.m. waiting for Jasmine. Feeling guilty about what I m going to say to her. I'm nervous about this. After a few minutes, I saw her. "Hi" She is walking straight to my table. She looked sad, as though she already knew what I m going to say to her. "Kyle, are you alright?" Hi hon." I got up and she kissed me. I feel something "Yes. Can you meet me in Cafe Simeon here in Makati? I have something to tell you." about that kiss. A strangle feeling of longingness and loneliness. "Okay, I'll see you there." I managed to say.

"Oh! Yes, I go there. she said. "And Btw Kyle, I love you."

"Hi. Are you hungry?"

"No. I just had my lunch a while ago." "Yes, I want to know the truth." "So you're not hungry." "There's a lot of going on right now." "Really James, what are you going to tell me? Can you please tell me now?" Tears now starting to fall down. "Is this about Carrie? You're ex-girlfriend whom you can't forget. The reason why you can't fully love me, "Jasmine, I--I'm sorry." I stammered. I don't expect this. She knew already. It's breaking my heart to see her cry. She's the woman who mends my broken heart when I was broken but now I am breaking hers. I felt awful with myself. She's been so good to me. And this is how I repay her. "Yes James, I knew that your ex-girlfriend and the owner of the restaurant who named Carrie are the same person. I saw your shocked and painful expression "James, will you tell me all of it. I can handle this." when you saw her that night. I know right there that you're still in love with her." "Jas, are you sure?" "Jasmine.., I--I... You... right?"

"But I love you."

"I know you, James," she said. "We've been together for a year; I do know you well enough. You don't have to

"Yes, I know that too but the love that you have for her is deeper than what you've had for me. It hurts like hell but I know that someday; little by little I can accept this. I love you. I just want to be happy even though this means letting you go and hurting myself."

tell me anything."

"What happened betwen the both of us is wonderful. I'm glad it happpened. It will be a part of my life."

A pause came betweeen us as Jasmine prepared herself "Jas, I don't know what to say. There's a lot of going on right now." "What we have now is a young love," she said. "It s not "If you're worried about me," Jasmine began, preparing to say words she had been planning in her head to say, "don't be, I'm a big girl." "No," I agreed. "It can be though, for longer than you "You don't even know what I'm going to do", I said. know." a complete love yet." It was a statement, not a question. to say something difficult.

"Well, that's over," she said. "And you and I are both different people now"

both know who's sitting there. She's been there all along."

"I like the person you've become," I said, matter-of-fact.

I knew she was right. A part of me is glad that she knows it. We were both quiet for a while. Jasmine had

Jasmine didn't expect that and she was little flustered, looking at the table and back at me a number of times. I'll never stop liking who you are. I'll miss to just be with you. We connect, you know?"

finished what she had to say. Now is my turn to tell her everything that I wanted to say. "Jasmine, I have so many things that I wanted to tell you but I just don't know how to put it into words. Let me start by saying I love you. I do love you. I know in my

Jasmine became serious then, saying, "I like to think that this could turn into a real love someday, but right now it's not, and here we are: I have to give you up. "There's only room in your heart for one," Jasmine went on. "That's just who you are. It s not possible for you to love two people at the same time. You ve got a big heart, kiddo, but there's only one chair inside, and we

hard that I did. It s just that it was strong enough to go on. I would be a hypocrite if I say that I've stop loving Carrie. I love her continuously. I never stopped loving her but it just keep on going on subconsciously. My mind tells me to forget her, and focused on my love for you entirely but my heart doesn t follow my mind at all it seems like that it has a mind of its own. I tried to

forget about her, but I just can't. I know that I can't ignore what I felt for her"

"I promise, Jas. Take care of yourself. Thank you. I want to say this to you. I loved you, and thanks for letting me go."

"I know that. That's why I'm letting you go now." As a stood up, I went beside her and hugged her tight. I "Thank you, Jas. I'm awful to you. You've mend my broken heart still I can't replace your love. Hope you can find someone new. Someone who will treat you like a princess. Someone who will not make you cry. Someone who could love you fully. It's just bad that I can't do it." kissed her for the last time. Life being unfair. It gave me Jasmine only to mend my heart and hurt her. She deserves someone better than me. I m going to remember this woman. And she would be my biggest what if. Then, I walked out, and went straight to my car. "I hope so. I want you to be happy. Go now. Be happy. I want you to live your life with no regrets. Don't you dare to give up. Just promise me that."

XXI. Across the Universe

through the door, stepped into the car and drive straight to the University. I parked my car then went to

After my conversation with Jasmine, I went straight to Carrie. I don't know what to expect from this. But I'm sure with one thing, I'm going to the woman i loved, and keep loving until now. The woman who taught me how to love, broke my heart, and gave me a lesson in life that's why I am who I am now. I called her but she didn't pick up. I guess it's because she wants to cut me out of her life. But I'm not going to let that happen.

find Carrie. First I went to the faculty room, there are many professors in the office but there's no sign of her. I was about to go out the room when someone grabbed my arm. It was my professor back in my college years here, Mr. Santillan. He had been one of my favorite professors here. He's an intelligent man, and a good counselor. Among the faculty members here, he's the only one who knew that Carrie and I had a relationship. He understand us, he gives us advices.

I went to her restaurant but she's not there. Her staff told me that she might be in the University. Her sister, Trixie saw me and told that her sister never quitted her job as a professor in DLSU even though their father told her to. She told me that Carrie said that it s the only place that she valued most. After I've heard it, I run "Yes, Prof.Santillan." "Mr. Lee is that you?"

"You've grown into a fine young man. Being one of the famous lawyers in the US, you've made us proud Atty. Lee." I really wanted to thank that old Professor for giving me the most important information that I need now. I knew where she is. As I passed the buildings that have been "Thank you, Sir." witnessed to our love, I begin to reminisce the past. I remember how I struggle to confess my love to her. This "Looking for someone?" is the place where it all started. The place that witnessed our love for each other. The place that has "Yes. You do always knew me professor" been significant to our lives. I went to the place where she said that she'd given me her permission to court "OF course young man. People who are in love are easy to read. I believe that one you're looking for is in the place wherein both of you cherish." her. The place where we can feel that we were together. I saw her. She's standing in the middle of the field. She seemed to be in deep thoughts since she didn't notice me coming. I'm staring at her like the first "Thank you, Prof. Santillan. I go now." time. She's still stunning as before. When she turned to my direction. I smiled. She smiled back at me. "Good luck."

"Hi", I said. "Ah...Do you want to hear what I wanted to say?" "Hey, what brought you here?", she said. "I think I waited for it for a long time" "You, I felt that I need to see you." "Then here it is my queen." I took a deep breath. And "Really? Btw, Jasmine called and told me some things." yelled. I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH, CARRIE YAP. WILL YOU BE MY GIRLFRIEND AGAIN? THIS TIME I PROMISE THAT "Oh...What does she told you?" WE WILL BE TOGETHER. I PROMISE THAT I WILL FIGHT FOR YOU, I WILL NOT GIVE UP ON US. I WILL NOT BACK "She told me to give our love another chance. To give us another shot in our love. She also told me to take good care of you." All the people in the field are now staring at us. I don't mind them. All that's in my mind now is the answer that "What did you tell her?" will Carrie give to my breathless question. There's a smile that's playing in her lips. "I said it depends on you." A mysterious expression across her face. DOWN. WILL YOU GIVE ME THAT CHANCE AGAIN?"

XXII. Saying Goodbye
All that I remember is how Carrie said yes to my breathless expression. And how it made me happy. Everything was right from one moment to the next. We were together again. She run towards me, almost knocking me over when I caught her in a hug. Her face was beside mine in an instant. I could smell her hair and her sweet breath. She was laughing. We were happy these past few days. I've never felt this kind of feeling for a long time. The feeling of contentment. I'm always happy whenever we're with each other. We're inseparable these days. My family knows now about us. They are happy for me. I meet Jasmine before she left for US. We agreed to meet in a restaurant in the "We wasted three years of our life.", she said. hotel.

"You're right, but I don't care about it now", I said.

"Hi there."

"I don't care either. I've waited long enough for you. I just couldn't wait another day." And that's when I kissed her.

"Hi Jas, ready for the flight?"

Yup, just a little bit of packing. I'm bringing this huge bag of delicacies home. My mom keeps on bugging me about those."

"Yeah, I'll do that. Don't worry about it. Jas, I want to say thank you for all of this. I hope that you'll have someone in your life that will be good for you."

"Do you need a hand on those?"

"You're welcome but I don't think that I'll be ready for love after these. I think I need to lie down."

"No, I'm fine, thanks. Btw, how are you and Carrie? She called me earlier and wished me luck. I hope you're not giving her problems." "I will. You too. Live a happy life here. Don't you dare to "No, of course not. We're fine, she's in the University now, and she still has a class." "I will not I promise." "James, I wish you all the happiness in your life. Be happy always. Take good care of Carrie. I know that She loves you also. Be good to each other." After that, I hugged her and bid her my farewell. It might be take some time before I could see her again. give her up again." "Still I wish you luck. Be safe always."

I'm happy that she understands. I'll thank her deeply because if not for her, Carrie and I will not be together.

XXIII. Standing Up

Jasmine left a day after our last conversation. Carrie and I drive her to the airport. When he flight schedule called her, she hugged us both and tells.

"Be good. Hope to see you again."

After that, I know that my next problem would be her father. Her father always intimated me. But now I had much more confidence than before. I know that I can face him and fight him. Carrie told me that she will fight for me also. We decided to tell our relationship to her father. She called him to meet us in one of the restaurants near his office.

We waited for few minutes, then I spotted him. He's walking straight to our table. When he reached us, he sat down, called the water and ordered coffee. He looked at me but it didn't linger. "Where? I should have recognized you if that are the case." "Carrie, is this your boyfriend?" "I am Kyle James Lee, the person whom you threatened "Yes dad. This is Atty. Lee" years ago to stop seeing your daughter, sir." "It's because we've already met, Sir."

"Atty. Lee, the ATTY. LEE in US. The most high paid lawyer in US and the general manager of the LEE Group of Companies?"

Realization is seen through his face. There is anger and humiliation. His face now is turning red.

"What nerve do you have to talk to me like this?" "Yes, Sir. That's me." "Sir, I've come here to prove myself to you and tell you "Oh... nice meeting you. Btw, why do you familiar to me young man?" that I'm now worth for your daughter. I will never give her up. I will fight for her. You can't stop us now."

"You---!!!" He's face now is red. Shaking with anger, and pointing his finger to me.

People nowadays have liberated minds. They look into the deeper side."

"I will never allow it to happen. I will never give my daughter to you."

"Carrie, I just can't afford to see you hurt."

"Dad, I won't be hurt. Kyle will take care of me." "Dad, why are you doing this to me? I've been a good daughter to you but why can't you let me be happy. Kyle's the one who could make me happy." "Sir, I promise that I won't let anything to happen to her. I wouldn't hurt her. Please approve our relationship. I'm mature enough to commit to her." "Carrie, what do you think you're doing? The people will look down on you. My god, you're older than him. People will laugh at you." "Young man, do you really think that I don't approve your relationship before because you're not stable. It's not. I don't approve it because I'm worried for my "Dad, I know that you cared for me but this is too much. I m 29 now I can decide for myself. daughter. You are younger than her, and everyone will criticize her. And the worst is she had been your teacher. Many will make fun of her. I don't want that to

happen. I love my daughter. And I would protect her from anything as much as I can."

"I'll go now. I have some things to attend to."

"Nice meeting you again, Sir. Thank you for trusting me "Sir, I will make sure that no one will ever criticize her. I will use my authority for it. I swear in front of you not just me but as the heir of my family, as a mature man and as the man who love your daughter, that I will do anything to protect her. Please give us your blessing." "I love you too baby. Lee, come to our house later. I have some things to discuss with you." "Dad, please. I've never ask you for anything in my life, just this. Please let us be together." "Yes, Sir." "Dad, thank you very much. I love you." your daughter."

"Do whatever you want. I'll give you my blessing. Just do what you've promised to me young man."

Chairman Yap stood up and turns to leave. I am now relieved that the old man approved our relationship. This is what Carrie and I have been waiting for. All I have

"Of course, Sir. Thank you."

to do now is to fulfil my promise to her dad that I'll

protect her. I looked at Carrie, she look back at me too. I see the glimmering look in her eyes. She looked into my eyes with so much joy and hope.

XXIV. Meeting the Family

After the meeting with her father, Carrie decided to go home so I drove to their house. I'm having flashbacks of

"I love you. she said.

memories. I remember driving to their house the first time I was invited. I remember our last meeting and my

"I love you too. I replied.

conversation with her father. When we reach her home she gets out of the car, I followed her up to the gate then we hugged each other tightly. We just stayed as it is for a long time. Then, she smiled at me. I know that's she's happy now and relieved. We have been waiting this to happen.

"I'm so happy now. I'm glad that my father now approved our relationship. Thank you for fighting for me, and for our relationship. I'm glad that never give up on us."

"Bye, see you later." Then, she kissed me, and went "I'm also happy. You're also brave, standing against your father and fighting for me. Thank you for that. Thank you for trusting me." I drove back to my office. The traffic is so heavy. I had to use another way just to get their fast. My work in the "I should have done that long time ago. We could have been together for ages. I'm sorry." table will be doubled since I haven't finished some of it. It s already 3:30pm when I get there. I found myself smiling, my staff seems to think that something s wrong "True but the experiences that we ve had when we re apart make us stronger now. You have nothing to apologize for." "Sir, are you alright? my secretary asked. so they asked me if I'm alright. inside their gate.

"Kyle, don't forget that you'll have dinner here tonight. It's time that you'll meet my family again."

"Yeah, why's that? Something's strange?"

"Well not really, Sir. But you're smiling all the time now. "Of course, I won't forget about it." Are you sure you'll alright?"

"Yes, don't worry about me. I'm fine. Is this all the things that I need to look at?" "Thanks for the information, Ms. Gomez."

"Yes, Sir. The creative department said that they will pass their concept tomorrow for presentation."

I go home at 5pm to get ready for the dinner date with Carrie's parents. Now I'm getting nervous. It's not because of her father but it's because of the fact that

"Okay. Thanks. Tell them that will present it tomorrow at 2pm. I need the copy of it before hand."

I'm meeting her entire family. I know that they know me before but I'm just nervous on how they would react that we're together again.

"I'll tell them that sir." When I got home, I take a hot shower and picked up "Thanks. Btw Ms. Gomez, uhhmm...do you know where I can buy a bouquet of roses near our building?" casual attire for this evening. After I get dressed, I drove to their house. On the way, I bought her a bouquet of yellow roses, and I also bought two sets of bouquet for "Oh. I know two flower shops that are near here, Sir. One is three blocks away from the building; and the other one is just two blocks away from here." her mother and sister. I got there half an hour earlier of the expected time. She meets me at the front door. She smiled when she saw me. And muttered something

about the flowers. She must have seen that I ve brought her three bouquets. So, I explain that the other two is for her mother and sister. Her whole family are now there. Her father is now dressed in his comfortable clothes and her mother warmly welcome me, she still recognizes me; his older brother, Will and his family are there; Stephen; and Trixie are all in their living room. Mr. Yap's expression's still indescribable. I still don t know if we can be comfortable with each other and I hope that it will be. Tita hugs me when she sees me. She told me that she was proud of what I've accomplish in my life. She started to interrogate me about how my life in US was. She told me everything that Carrie did for the past three years. How she come up with a restaurant, if she had been in a relationship after we broke up, etc. I knew that Carrie's embarrassed now. Her cheeks are red and she keeps on blushing and

blushing. While Stephen and Trixie are snickering. They must have remembered what Carrie must have done.

We had our dinner after 30 mins. Stephen and Will caught me into a conversation. Those two have the same personality. They're both smart and hilarious. They kept on asking me how I become one of the trusted lawyers of the Manhattan elites, so I told them the story. Tita and Trixie always kept on teasing me on how I've change a lot. They began comparing me from before and now. They said that I've now become a fully handsome young man that Carrie should be careful because someone might take me. Carrie then responds to them by saying that I would never set my eyes on those girls because I love her completely. I just smiled on their conversation. Now I

know that I belong to this family. After dinner, Mr. Yap talked to me.

someone that's older than her. That s why I arranged her marriage with one of my colleagues' sons. However, she refused it. I know now why. She truly loves you. And

"Lee, can we talk? he said.

I accept her decisions."

"Yes, Sir. Of course."

"Thanks you, Sir. I admit at first, I'm really angry at you. Who are you? Who do you think you are? Why are you

"Drop that formality now. Just call me Tito. I'm fine with it. And I just call you James."

meddling in our relationship? I'm so naive back then. But now I realize it all. How and what you feel, and etc. You're just an overprotected father to his children."

"Okay." "Thanks. I hope all of you will understand what I felt." "James, I know that I've been harsh on you three years ago but I'm just protecting my daughter. I don't want someone or anyone will criticize her. She's so fragile. I don't want my daughter to be hurt, that's why I don't approve your relationship. I just want her to have "That's all that I want to hear from you." "Don't worry, Sir. I will never let anything happen to Carrie. She's safe with me."

"Okay. Bye. Go home safely."

After that I talked to Carrie's father, I felt that the burdens in my shoulders lessen. His approval on our relationship means that we are now free. That means a lot. I spend almost my evening in Carrie's house. Her mother asked me to stay fir the night but I refused because I have a project report to review. I bid my farewell to the entire family. Carrie walked me to my car.

"Bye. See you tomorrow."

Then, I drove to my condo. I got to my pad half hour later. I can sleep now without worries. Tomorrow will be a stress-free day and the entire succeeding days.

"Thank goodness, it's over now. We don't have to worry about my father now." "Yeah. I'm very much relieved. Hon, let's have lunch tomorrow. I'll pick you up at 11:30am in the University, okay?"

XXV. Empire State

sometime goes to my office to ask some advice regarding some different problems. These interactions

Carrie and I have been together for almost four months. And for those four months, it's been like we've never been apart for three years. Our love grows and blooms every day. We went to Macau two weeks after we've had our dinner with her family. Of course, our trip now is known to her family and with her father's permission. We went to Villa Margarita where I asked her to be my girlfriend five years ago. The place changed a bit over the time but still our memories stays in this plays. We spent our one week vacation, then after that we went back to the country. I've been busy after that because of many projects to be made in different companies that my family have. And sometimes, her father will call me to help him out in some of their company's trouble. Her brother, Stephen

with her family make me to be close to them. I'm required I mean I'm now invited in their house every other day to have dinner together with them and absolutely I have no complains about that.

For that four months that we've spent something came to my mind. Something that I want to do but I just don't know how. I've got some advises from my friend here and abroad. From that, I've got an idea. Since now that my father is recovered, I asked him if he can help me and he said, "Yes".

"Dad, can you deal with our companies? I've just something to do in New York. Is it okay?"

"Uhhmm...I think so. Don't worry about it. I can handle it. How long will be you gone?"

I'm dragged by my New Yorker friends to their corner. I've met again my Upper East Sider friends; Charles Bass, Nathaniel Archibald, Blaire Vander Woodsen,

"I just don't know. I think it s about a week."

Malachi Martin, Elliot Lee, Sirena Wardolf and my best bud, Bryan Wills. We catch up and talked about the

"No problem."

things that happened to us after I went to Philippines.

"Thanks dad."

"James, what s up man? How are you? Nate asked.

After my conversation with my dad, I called up in my house in New York. I have it cleaned and prepared for our stay there and for my party. My friends there are also excited to see me. And Jasmine will be there and ache s the one who facilitates the party. My friends in the law firm, my former clients and the Upper East Siders.

"Never been better. I've been great all this time. How about you?"

"Same as usual. Scandalous. I've been avoiding the press for a while. Chuck here caught the attention of all the media for now because of his newest project here."

"That's right, you owe me one." Chuck said.

"Hey lee, is that girl, the one?" Blaire asked. She is looking at Carrie.

"So, how will you propose?" Nate asked.

"Yeah dude. How will you? Do you have anything in "Yeah. She's the one. Why you ask?" your mind now?" Mal asked.

"I know why. It's obvious honey. You re in love. Your eyes spark whenever you looked at her." Sirena explained.

"Honestly, I have but I just don't know how to do it."

"What's our purpose? Lee just tell us what you needed and we'll help you accomplish it." Blaire said

"And you're somehow connected to each other. Like there's a thin thread that connects you both. That whenever one moves, the other also does." Elliot added. We drink and drink until we've knocked out. I miss this kind get together with my friend here, but I'm also "Well I guess, love really did these to me. I'm a new person but the same man. Haha." I said to them. happy with what I have now in my life. True that giving up New York is one of the toughest decisions that I've "Thank you guys."

made in my life but I know that I choose the right choice. Going back to the Philippines, help me find my one love. And for that, I will be contented and happy for what I have. And I knew that in this trip I'm about to change my life.

nodded seriously, and said, " Ms. Vander Woodsen is right, Sir."

"Are you sure?" I asked her.

"I m sure", she replied. "I'm almost buying these every The next day, I ask for my friend's help in buying something. They told me that the best place to go is the Tiffany s. I know the place because I've gone there for some time with Jasmine but I never looked at any of it. Sirena and Blaire help me find the best one for Carrie. "Is it a good one?" I asked nervously. "It's a winner," Sirena said. The other one is bigger, but Blaire looked through the Jeweler's glass at the diamond ring on the velvet. She didn t say anything for a few moments, and then she looked up and said, "It's very clear and brilliant." Behind the counter, the jeweler Then the jeweler said, "What size would you like us to resize the ring to?" this one is more beautiful. It's so bright. She'll love it!" Sirena preened proudly, all the while watching me closely as if fascinated by the carnival of emotions playing on my face. now and then. I've seen every diamond in New York.

"Size five", I said.

XXVI. Grand Gesture.

"Wow, that's tiny." Blaire said. Carrie did have the most slender hands on earth. With a smile, I quoted the poet E. E Cummings, replacing the original "you" with "her": "I do not know what it is about her that closes and opens; only something in me understands the voice of her eyes is deeper than all roses. Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands."

It's our fourth day her in New York, our second to the last night stay. I've been planning all the things that I ll need with the help of my friends. I have to orchestrate of the things in order to make these entire perfect. IN this day, Carrie will be with Jasmine, since she will be buying something for her family. Because of this, I have enough time to put the act up. It was now 5pm in the afternoon; I called Carrie to meet me in Time Square which is in Fifth Avenue. It is where my first act will

"This only means one thing." Silena said, "No return, no exchange."

happen.

"Hon, meet me in Time Square." "Okay, Jasmine's no longer with me because she needs to be in her office."

"Oh, really. Just meet me there."

from our mistakes. We conquer our fear. In this time and in this place, in front of all the people in New York, I

That is part of the plan. Jasmine needed to leave Carrie. When Carrie reached Time Square, it s already six in the evening. It s getting dark but the lights of the city make it brighter. She called me but I didn't answer. Then suddenly, all the city lights went out. The people's attention diverted to the screen which is the only one whose running. There, in the screen flashed something. A video. A video of me. Since I was a public icon in Manhattan, all attention is on the video. It shows...

will tell something to you.

"I love you very much. You are the woman who taught me to love, the only one who wake this kind of emotion in me, and the one whom I love from the start till the end; my first and last true love. I will always love you till the end of time. We've been a lot all these years, but nothing changes for my love for you. You're still you. Even though I tried to forget you, I just can't. Your face still lingers in my memory. My mind tells me to stop loving you but my heart keeps on screaming for you. I

"Carrie, I know that you can see and hear me now. Please listen to what I m about to say. We've been together for a long time. We've worked so hard for this relationship to grow. We've sacrificed a lot. We learned

love you and I want to be with you, my love." "I just want to say something for you in person. If you want to hear this, just ride in the limo in front of you and it will bring you where I am. I Love You."

XXVII. The Proposal
My friends help me plan all of these. They help me to put this up, and they have been following Carrie wherever she goes so that the plan will turn to be in exact time and manner. They saw her then. Upon hearing those words, tears rolled down in Carrie's eyes. She's laughing at the same time crying. I don't know what she's thinking in that time but I hope that she will accept what I will offer to her. After the video is shown, the lights went back and the crowd cheers and jitters for her. Thank Goodness, she decided to go wherever I tell her. She's in the limo on the way to Empire State building. The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark Art Deco skyscraper in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has an indoor and outdoor observation deck on the 86th floor. From it you could see all of Manhattan. Floodlights were added to illuminate the top of the building at night, in colors chosen to match seasonal and other events. I'm now in the top floor of the Empire State building. I'm waiting for her. I know that she's now in the limo on the way her. I'm getting fidgety and nervous. I know that we've plan this thoroughly but what if something went wrong. What if she turns it down. I'm scared but at the same time hopeful. Hoping that a magic will come.

The guy walked her towards the elevator and pressed She arrived in the Empire State Building after a few minutes. She went inside. Inside the lobby, a big bodyguard type guy was waiting for her. Normally there was a long line that snaked backwards and forwards because the high speed elevators can hold a limited number of people to ride. Right now, there was no line and the place is closed. I really don't know how we pulled it out off. After buying the ring that morning. I had gone with Chuck to "Are you Ms. Yap?" the bodyguard asked her. the Empire State building, and talked to the administrator. Since Chuck is Charles Bass, one of the "Yes, how do you know?" CArrie asked. Upper East Siders and freakingly, dirty rich guy, he made all the arrangements. Someday, I'm going repay "Because you re the prettiest girl in Manhattan", he replied. Carrie blushed. chuck for that. I somehow make sure that everything from minute details of The Plan will come true. I asked for everybody's help and what surprised me is that they all agreed. They said that not every day that the famous the button. The elevator's door opened right away, she stepped in. He pressed the top button and stepped out before the elevator doors closed. I knew that Carrie's looking at the view of New York as the elevator accelerates. She will be waiting for my surprise.

"James Lee" will come to the Empire State and asked something to them. And not every day they can witness something special.

extravagant place of paradise. Lights were randomly put. A table for two with a candlelight dinner awaits us with a violinist serenading. Everything is perfect. The girls told me that the place is romantic and the

The elevators opened at the 86th floor, and Carrie arrived at the observation deck. There was no one except me. She can't see me because all the lights were off except for a few that leads to the edge of the deck, towards me. The viewing deck was surrounded entirely by windows. We had an unobstructed view of the city all around us. The city lights were unbelievably light, and around the Time Square, the rest of the city sprawled out in all windows of New York. At the outdoor observation deck, you could stand there and look 86 floors down. Here, bouquets of flowers but mostly its yellow and white roses were strewn about randomly. Then the lights went on, revealing an

ambiance is full of love. I can't really tell because I've never been a romantic guy. I just have to be a guy who will love my girlfriend and hopefully my fiancée. My friends had done their part of The Plan successfully, and now it s my turn.

Carrie saw the place, the flowers, the candlelight dinner, the violinist, the lights and all of it. I am in the middle of the place dressed in tux waiting for her to come with radiant smile in my face. We walked towards each other. She looked at me. "You didn't..." she said hardly believing what she saw.

While Carrie was still recovering from shock of the height, the place, the flowers, the view before her, and me, I reached into my pocket for the ring, and got down on one knee.

it. I had lost everything", I paused and Carrie reached out to hold my hand. I won't ever let that happen again."

"I love you," I said. " I love you since you walked into "I've been so scared and blind." I told her. When she saw me kneeling there with a ring, a hand flew to her mouth and tears came to her eyes. "Will you marry me, Car?" I hadn't prepared a speech. I didn't have the time to make any or memorize anything, but I knew that what I had to tell Carrie, and without thinking the words came out naturally. For a moment she was overwhelmed with emotions, but as soon as the words could come out, she said them the words that I wanted to hear. that classroom, and I never stopped loving you. I don't plan to stop loving you if you'll let me."

"Everything I ever wanted, I already had," I said, "with you. And I had to go halfway around the world and spent so much time just to figure it out that I had blown

"Yes!" Carrie said. "Yes, I'll marry you". And then she was kneeling in front of me kneeling in front of her, and

both of us trembling. I put the ring on her slender finger, and we kissed.

Leaving All Behind

After that night, we went back to my house and I announced to all my friends, colleagues the good news and of course my family and her family. They were happy for us. I know that I had made the right choice and I will never regret it. I love her. She loves me. That's all that matters. We went back to the country after two days. We planned for our wedding.

Call it what you want-that burning feeling in the back of your mind whenever you think of her and all of your thoughts go awry and your heart speeds up, pushing your blood around your body like it's in a big hurry to go absolutely nowhere-call it obsessive, call it pathetic , call it crazy if you want-the burning, the aching, the

sheer longing to see her, the smile, the stern jaw that locks when I laugh at the wrong moments, the

In my life, love has gone in maddening circles, like a rollercoaster doing a loop, or a 24/7 doing a roundtrip halfway around the world then returning home. Maybe what Carrie and I had was what I had been waiting for my entire life for. Everything in me said it was I felt in my gut, and my mind confirmed everything I was feeling. I was in love with her, falling in love with her more and more. A large part of me is happy because of her, but that wasn't the reason why I felt calm and peace. Because the reality was I didn't know anything. I have no idea what the future held of me. Who was I to say? Maybe we would live happily ever after. I didn't know. But I had the greatest hope for us. I had led a rich life. I loved hard, but come out whole, able to over again and give myself again. Because somehow I gotten things right in love and friendship and work--and for all of that I was thankful. I knew I deserved it, but I also

wonderful mouth that kisses me , the beautiful artistic hands that hold my hands when I m at my worst and laugh and listen to what is wrongcall me all of the above, because I love her so much that my very essence of being screams her name twentyfour/seven in the deepest recesses of my mind as a notso-subtle reminder of my absolute devotion and adoration and I now hold my breath just thinking of her wonderful spirit and her beautiful face and that is what I call love. Life isn't like movies. It never turns out the way you think it will. In the movies, you know the plot in a straight line: boy meets girl, boy and girl are torn apart, boy and girl meets again.

knew that I had been very fortunate. My only regret would be for all the possibilities that I would mind. And I had so much to look up for. And for a second, I saw my life flash before my eyes as if it were someone else's, everything from my first memory with Carrie to growing old with her by my side to my last breath. And I don't know ho, but I knew with complete certainty how my live ended. I knew it ended with a happily ever after.