I am trying to immerse myself in the world of my novel, watching scenes as they come together, wearing the short black combat-style boots of my protagonist. So far, I have completed two paragraphs which, to me, are making up, feebly, a faded background behind two other characters interacting in a story entirely different.

This backdrop is fading ever quicker as frontmost emotions get stronger. Writing is becoming inconceivable.

Tides from deep down me are surfacing—re-surfacing, with vigor, amidst the ocean of all the things I need to think about; resisting my desperate attempts at (re)immersion into the much more important story that must tumble out of my head—as soon as humanly possible—for Workshop submission.

I have 4 days to complete this chapter, solve its mystery, and wrap up this first episode of my novel. And yet I cannot forget the almost 365—once the 23rd of April hits—days since a kind professor I knew shook my hand. In doing so, he was saying goodbye to and congratulating me on our last day of that particular class—which, to you, must already sound like quite the simultaneous action.

What he did not know, and will never know unless via some extraordinarily voluminous heart reverberation should communicate my embarrassing emotions to him, is that he performed one more synchronous task. It was so synchronous, in fact, that it took some minutes for me to process my reaction. First, it was a quiet awe, then a giddiness that kept my eyes glued to my empty hand for some moments, a giggle incited by each glance. And, not long after—an intense missing of a man I’d just seen five minutes prior. I knew even back then that I would feel those same pangs of missing, of longing and of formidable daydreaming, in the days—and painful post-graduate months—to come.


Dr. Tea—I’ll call you this as a creative, clandestine, clumsy misnomer—how you still hold my hand, how you still have this silly schoolgirl’s heart in a clench!

I stare at this image of a brunet man from some manga I do not know, feeling like his bespectacled eyes are yours. Your gaze, though, is of a dark brown glimmering sweetness that I sometimes snuck, after classes, over by your office—under some pretext both academic and tedious—to try to catch a glimpse of.

Glimpses I also tried to catch, languidly loafing against my steering wheel in the car, while in my lucky parking space facing that building’s back entrance—

So I could see you.

I caught sight of you leaving for the day only once. The sunset never looked brighter, the dragonflies flitting over the gold-green grass with a similar energy as my heartbeat that afternoon. As for the romance in this scene, likely it’s due to how I flavored the scene with my emotional response to you that had been developing since that day you were telling me how “really great it was to have me in your class.” That autumn flower bloomed into a fictional romance that was entirely contained within that space of me in my car over here, and you walking back to your car, over there—

Doctor, forgive my saying that in that tiny space of time, that molten golden afternoon, I felt I saw more divinity, and better understood its concept, than anytime we ever approached it in your theology classes.

Fast forwarding: In the midst of clearing out old messages on my answering machine today, I heard you address me in a recording you’d left me last year.

I regard it as my first love letter. I christen it ironically, as it’s just a notice about where I can leave a form to sign up for another class by you (that I was determined, soldier-like, to be drafted into, just so I could be under your command and instruction again)—but I dub it as such logically, also, for my heart’s leaping at the sound of it. Is this not the reaction of a girl who receives a love letter? Then, the reaction must verify the cause.

And here is where I start laughing at how I acknowledge irony and logic, fantasy and reality, with total clarity— and at the same time I lovingly intermingle these separate entities. Only by mixing ingredients of a whole do you understand if it is all going to be sweet or bitter.

One year after my blessed duration in your class, where I sat next to you twice a week.

Two mornings out of the week, my chair was right by yours; my immature infatuation still just budding and not yet fully bloomed to my attention—and, already, the loftiness of girlish dreams began to carry me away.

I am thankful for my sense and sensibility I possess, and utilized even back then, that consistently puts me back in my place and reminds me that all these romantic reveries have a be-all-end-all word of response that preserves my dignity as a woman forevermore:


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