Too much love!
SOMETIMES, not always, I go through a story in my mind with a psychologist friend before I write it and submit said story to the editors. Our talk will go like this (my friend is forever in italics; she is curvy, curly and crunchily opinionated, meaning the friend hands out opinions between crunches of Romana peanuts, her favorite dessert, snack, sometimes meal):
Too much love? I would rather read about too many loves. Too much love is tragic; too many loves is funny.
Too much love, I think. I will change the title if it will have to come to that.
The friend sighed and proceeded to listen to the story as the peanuts cracked and crunched noisily between her teeth.
This couple met while studying in one of the state colleges in one of the Ilocos provinces. Before they graduated, they were a fixed item. They planned to marry as soon as they both land stable jobs and can set aside savings for the great day. And as all graduates did yesterday and today, the couple ventured into the city. The guy scored a job immediately as his course was exceptional and rare; he was fair, good-looking although on the short side, and had a great voice. The girl found it harder and longer to get a job. Competitions abound. She was also not so sure of herself though she was cute and lovable with her pixie-face. She was of the same height as the boyfriend.
They tried to find time to spend weekends with each other, between his job and her trying to find one. They lived in separate boarding houses, he near his job, she nearer downtown to spare the fare. Her co-boarders knew of him and their plans, and they were a-jitter when it was time for his visit. Then the boarders went out the house for weekends with their families and left the couple alone for two days.
Each time they met, he reassured her of his love and concern. “Although,” he added, “it would take longer for us to fulfill our plans for a family. My salary is just enough for my living expenses and the rest goes to you.”
She would shed tears. She was happy; she was sad.
Then the guy began to miss a weekend. He arrived next weekend. But then again, he missed the next weekend. Then he appeared the weekend after. When he did the same for the third time, the girl began to fret. She wrung her hands between tears, and slumped on the floor for hours.
Speculations spread like wildfire among the boarders. They advised her to visit him at his work Monday after the third weekend he failed to make it.
She donned a shawl to cover her face and most of her small figure. Surely he would get mad if he saw her spying on him. “But, I am spying, am I not? He said trust me, you are the mother I envisioned for my kids. But he did not text or call he cannot make it. He must be sick or something!” The something loomed huge and frightening.
She went to his company. She stayed at the store just across the street, but she can see the employees and guests coming in and out. Morning snack time, the guy came out, holding hands with a girl taller than he. She was mestiza and shapely. And beautiful.
Lunch and afternoon snack, her boyfriend and the tall girl again held hands to the company canteen. And she did not see them go home after work. ”Sometimes, we stay up to midnight to work overtime,” she remembered him saying.
For the following days, she did not go out. She would peer at herself in the mirror: “Look at me, ugly and jobless. What would he want with me, when he got her?
She felt she was no match for the mestiza she saw. He was looking up her face, and adoring her from his height.
Before the weekend, she called him if he were going to visit her. He said he was. He was sorry they all got busy the past days and weekend.
That Friday as soon as the other boarders left, she took a thorough bath and wore her best nightdress. She wove a rope around the foot of her bed. She sat down with the foot of the iron bed at her back. She tied the rope around her neck, then she pushed her body forward. It takes sheer determination and desperation to commit suicide this way, when you can just stand up and walk away if and ever you changed your mind. In fact, halfway to the point of death, she did just that. Strands of rope and sweaty foot and hand marks may point to the fact that she braked before she went ahead killing herself. At the last moment, she sprung forward and broke her neck.
The guy was the first to see. He came with pasalubong and food for the weekend.
There was no suicide note, just five words she scribbled on her book of expenses to account to him for his money she spent looking for work: “That we may be free.”
Ta sika met, that’s too many loves, for him. One too many. Though I concede she had too much love for him. Very unhealthy. She should have left some for herself. Now, let us talk about your next one. Have you ever got visited by the ghosts in your stories?