Events in this issue take place immediately after the events in A Prelude to Heartbreak, two
Manila, May 26th, 2017
“Good morning,” Kulas said, waking me up with a kiss.
“What time is it?” I asked, still groggy from my deep sleep, which was already interrupted by him for a 3 A.M. make-out/oral session.
“It’s six,” he said, “I should go, and you should get ready. You’re going to miss your flight.”
“Is it too late for breakfast?” I asked.
“Not really, but you should have it with Astrid,” he told me. Already dressed, he kissed me goodbye and left my bedroom before I could say okay.
Kulas was in a hurry to leave because he wasn’t supposed to sleep over in the first place. His mom had been calling him non-stop since last night because there was an earthquake while we were having dinner. He slept over on the excuse that there might be major aftershocks on his commute home, so it was best for him to accept a friend’s offer to let him stay the night for the sake of his safety. He also knew that I was flying to Davao that day on Astrid’s invitation. She moved there last January, today was the day for me to finally visit.
Events in this issue take place immediately after the events in A Prelude to Heartbreak, one
Pinto Art Museum, fourth week of May 2017
Finally getting out of that dreaded commuter van, I unstuck my balls from my thighs, which had been glued together for the last 40 minutes. I was looking at Kulas with a sour face, as if to tell him, “look what you made me do.” There was still a tricycle ride up to the museum, but at the very least, with just me, Kulas, and the driver, it wouldn’t be as crowded. It started raining when we made our way to the entrance, and neither of us had an umbrella. Great.
Remembering what Diego and Audrey told me, I was suddenly pressed with guilt. Kulas wasn’t in control of what I was whining about, and neither was I. He wasn’t complaining about how I smelled. If he thought I did, he was polite enough not to tell me about it. Besides, the Pinto Art Museum looked magical, its magic enhanced only by the drizzle. No wonder Kulas wanted to take me there. Regardless of how special the museum was to him, it was an amazing place. Its seclusion and its quiet, somber, demeanor was a welcome change from our dates in the busy city. The art wasn’t corny. There weren’t too many people, too, which meant I could be sweet with my boyfriend.
Batangas, third week of May 2017
Kulas and I immediately made up the morning after our first fight. Over the course of that same weekend, he called me to comfort me when I told him that I was crying. I was crying because I watched the livestream of the new fireworks show at Disney World, and it made me emotional. It was so shallow, yet he didn’t make fun of me for it. The phone call ended with me smiling and saying yes to his invitation to go to the Pinto Art Museum the upcoming Thursday.
Batangas, third week of May 2017
For the first time, in a long time (For the first time is probably enough), I was dating someone I didn’t have to play games with. It was so easy to be his boyfriend. I felt secure being with him. I wasn’t scared to tell him goodbye because I was assured that we would see each other again. I hate comparing our relationship with my relationship with Walt, but what Kulas and I were doing felt infinitely better—it felt right, like the both of us were really into it. Here was a boy who finally treated me like his boyfriend, not just some guy he could call when he’s feeling horny and leave behind when he’s satisfied. For once, my emotional fulfillment mattered to someone, and he made sure that that would be satisfied, and then some.
Then the realities of the world came crashing down.
Manila, second week of May 2017
If this were a TV show, consider this the season three premiere, and in this part would be a montage of me and Kulas doing boyfriend things, including but not limited to the following cutscenes: Kulas and I sharing an umbrella on a rainy day in the city, Kulas and I feeding each other stale hash browns at Tim Horton’s, Kulas and I sipping each other’s iced coffees that came with the stale hash browns at Tim Horton’s, Kulas and I holding hands under my jacket in an Uber on the way back to my place from Tim Horton’s, Kulas and I cuddling in bed while watching a movie, Kulas and I making out behind the ruins of Fort Santiago in Intramuros, and Kulas and I sharing bing su at the Korean place down my street.1 Everything felt good, and let me tell you know, that this issue will not end in heartbreak, not for me at least.
Manila, May 6th, 2017
“Sweetie, I’m running late to my date with Kulas,” I told Astrid over the phone while in the Uber on my way to UST.
“Let him wait for you,” said Astrid. “Isn’t he aware by now that he’s dating the Queen?”
“I’m sure he is. I remind him every day,” I answer. “Besides, I don’t want to be late. He’s always on time… unlike some guys I know1.”
As soon as I got off the phone with Astrid, who, for the millionth time, reminded me to have fun because I deserved this date after last year’s mess, the Uber driver told me that we’d be taking a shortcut that he knew to help me get to my date on time. The universe was on my side that night.
Manila, August 16th, 2017
Texting Diego with How would you feel about me dating other guys? was how I initiated breaking up with him. Him saying that he would be fine with it, happy for me, even was how we officially broke up. Acknowledging the improbability of us being anything more than friends over iMessage, we set a few ground rules just in case one of us decides to recklessly move to the country where the other lives to work on our relationship. The same rules were also put into place because undoubtedly, nothing could outrank what we did together as the best first date ever, and we had to respect that fact.
The rules were as follows: first of all, I wasn’t allowed to watch Star Wars with any of the guys I’m dating… actually, with any other guy. Diego was obsessed with it as much as I was obsessed with Disney, which was why he, in return, can’t watch Frozen without me.1 Finally, we weren’t allowed to take anyone out on a date in SoHo; if we couldn’t avoid it, we should never bring them to Lombardi’s. Lombardi’s was holy ground. That was where everything about us began.