If Only

This may be the first time I’m forced to love in silence.

I am good at keeping all secrets except my own, so even the juiciest of my confidential matters is always set free. When I like someone… they probably know. Between my earthquake shaky speech in conversation and whirlwind willingness to go the extra mile and a half, it’s made clear that the idiom “captain obvious” was tailor-fit for the heart on my sleeve.

I can’t help it. There is nowhere to put such adoration away; no hiding place where it can stay. My other feelings, admittedly, are not the same way.

My happiness fills a helium balloon, my sadness can find a home anywhere, and my anger lives in a weapons arsenal—wholly responsible for every minefield I have ever had to tiptoe through. But my love is a crowded party that no inside venue is able to accommodate. Cupid’s measly arrows never worked on me, so he had to bring out the heavy artillery. He aimed at me with pinpoint accuracy, but his timing is like that of a broken metronome.

This is a workplace, and the paperboy that’s caught my eye hangs from a wrung higher on the corporate ladder than me. He is my superior, because, well… he is superior. If we both stood in the sky, I would be one of the stars that died several millennia ago. Meanwhile, he would be the sun with an expectancy to shine for the next eight billion years from now.

He is so far out of my league that I sometimes forget that we share the same line of expertise, and even work on the same team. I doubt I’ll ever be able to match him, yet I wonder if there was ever a time when he thought there was something wonderful about me.

Of course, I wish there was. Even just once. My wish for him to notice me helps fuel my desire for brilliancy. He is the brightest beacon of inspiration as I sail across the stormiest seas.

I wish could tell him this stuff, but it’s kind of tough to find the right time to say: “Hey, I once thought the constellation of acne across your face was a bunch of freckles. And though it turns out I was wrong, it’s still the cutest thing I have ever seen. You’ve taught me that love is never cookie cutter, but it doesn’t need to be to still taste sweet. Making you laugh is my greatest feat, and if your every chuckle and guffaw composed a song on Spotify, I would never skip a single beat.”

Saying all that and hoping for reciprocation is more than unrealistic, though. It’s inconsiderate and unreasonable. What’s on the line here is more than my silly broken heart (I’ve lived with one before); my selfishness could hurt more than just me. In this case, a third party. And she may be “third” to me, but she’s first to him.

There is someone else, and there has been since my jetlagged feet first touched Philippine ground to live here permanently. That was six years ago. He didn’t even know me. Nor I, him. Back then I didn’t think such a person could make me turn my head, forget move my pen.

This is the first time I’m forced to love in silence, because it’s the first time it has been wrong for me to love someone so dearly. Quite frankly, even rejection would feel like acceptance as long as he smiled after listening to me. But I will not play suicide bomber and sacrifice myself to an explosion without thinking of who else could be caught in the blast. I am better than that.

But clearly, I’m not better than she.

Perhaps that’s why he and I are not meant to be.