Seriously, dude? That’s so lame! I thought as I saw a guy carried his girl’s purse for some “pogi points”. Really, it makes me laugh on the inside—how guys give their best foot forward during their “panliligaw” stage. Not that I’m bitter, but to me, it’s hypocrisy. A BIG lie. Oh well, I really don’t have anything to do with their business, do I? So, I continued scribbling some notes on my filthy notebook while enjoying the peaceful ambiance of the park.
What better way to spend an afternoon in a nice place where people don’t really care if you’re single or not. This park is awesome, and I meant everything in it—the leaves glimmering in the afternoon sunshine, the mild wind that triggers me to contemplate about not-so-important stuff, and the paved walkway with a bit of dirt on it. Had it been a guy, I would dig him so much ‘cos it does know how to tame a woman! The best part is, I’m the only one sitting on this old bench! Yes, it’s all mine. I feel like a queen. Ah, if life could only be summed up with just a day like this, death would become more acceptable to most people. Never did it cross my mind, that a nice me time would be shattered in three, two, one…
“Can I share a seat?” A tall and lanky guy in white shirt and denim pants just asked me a portion of my territory. I wanted to say no, but the great McDonald’s ad reminded me to share a seat so I could actually win a friend. “I wouldn’t mind.” I told him with a fake smile. I’m not androphobic, but when a guy gets near me, I always put my defenses up. In this case, I put my notebook on the bench—not too far from me, and not too near to this guy. More like subtly telling him “back off, dude!”.
“He’s been pursuing that girl for a year now.” The guy suddenly spoke.
“The guy you were eyeing a moment ago. He’s also my cousin.”
“Oh, I see.”
Two thoughts; I shouldn’t have judged that purse guy, and was this guy stalking me? I looked at him for the second time and actually saw that he’s pretty handsome. (I wouldn’t dare detail how he looks, this is not Fifty Shades of whatever, and I’m not really that fond of adjectives!) Okay, not that handsome, but he’s got the appeal that most girls would go gaga for. You know what I’m trying to say, right? He’s like the guy-next-door type.
“I’m sorry about that (laughs), I didn’t mean to creep you out. I was on my way here and saw you stare at Mike when he carried the purse. I’m Gan, by the way.” He said with a smile as he held out his hand.
Wow. Not too fresh, just the right attitude to pull off a good conversation intro. It’s a first time for me, actually.
“I’m Dana. I live just a—“
“—couple of blocks away. I live near your place, so I often see you.” He interrupted as I shook hands with him. I didn’t sense anything suspicious, yet the fact that he knows few things about me is intriguing. “Really? How come I saw you just now?” I asked.
“We moved here a couple of months ago, and I only had time to stroll a bit last week. That’s when I found this park, and I instantly fell in love with it. Had it been a girl—“
“—you’d totally dig it.” I interrupted.
“You’re right.” He answered without even looking at me.
Wow. A guy below my standards would definitely get amazed of how easily I figured that out. This guy’s no ordinary. Beyond that pleasant façade, I see a strong defense that no one can easily break. Goodness, I didn’t even surprise him a bit with that guess.
“You know, your cousin should stop doing those things. Girls want real men, not butlers.” I plainly uttered. To be honest, I really don’t know why I can’t get over that purse issue. It’s like an itch that you can’t help but scratch anyway.
“I hear you. But guys only act the way they think it’s fitting for their girl’s personality. Most guys, actually. In my case, I act based on what’s fitting to the situation.”
“What about this situation? How do you think you’re gonna act without creeping me out?” Oops! Bad response! Sometimes, I wonder if my mouth has its own soul—the thoughts get past my mind that easy!
Gan looked at me and smiled. “You don’t look like you’re easily creeped out. I actually think you’re smart—too smart for boys your age.” He said as he looked away.
“Whoa. Wait, you’re THAT old?” He doesn’t really look that old to me. He’s probably about 5 years my senior. Twenty-seven, maybe? I glanced at his entire physique. Yes, I can easily take note of a person’s physical features at a single glance. It’s a gift—and sometimes, I’m not proud of it. I tend to become too obvious when eyeing someone.
I don’t want to be overly dramatic here, but I like the way the light gives spark on his chinky brown eyes. And the hair, that soft black hair which style is more like Alex Pettyfer’s, but not so much alike. Even the slightest blow of the wind makes every strand dance in unison. Might be the conditioner—or genes—or both. But what really strikes me is his set of ruddy pink cheeks with that fair nose right between them. For a Filipino, one can only be so lucky if he’s born with a Caucasian-like skin tone. Well, I might say, he’s a really lucky guy to have that complexion. Not to mention those lips. No, I don’t want to put down some details about this part—pretty awkward for 22-year old no-boyfriend-since-birth like me. But he has a smile like Coco Martin’s. Recalling his built when he first approached me, I would say he’s not that lanky. Although I would admit, it’s his lankiness that makes him look more attractive. On a lighter and weird note, I really wanted to ask, what conditioner is he using?
“I just turned 30 last week.” He plainly said, eyes darted afar, as he smiled without showing his set of white teeth. There’s something about him that dazzles me. No, wait, it’s probably the way some of those creases show right under his eyes when he smiles.
“I really don’t know what to say to that. I mean, would that be a “happy” birthday for you?” I said with a soft chuckle. A few strands of hair got caught in my mouth, so I quickly pushed them aside. Wow. Just when I’m trying to be super cool here, there goes the wind, sabotaging my little plan. I feel bad for not tying my long hair just before I went here. Maybe because I love how the waves on its end bounce when I stride. “—but you don’t look thirty.” I added.
“Thank you.” He said with a smile and for the first time, he looked straight to my eyes for about a second. Goodness, this guy really has the looks and I can’t even say “you’re welcome”! Cat got my tongue.
Gan looked at the notebook lying on the bench. I’m pretty sure I saw him crack a smile when he noticed the notebook’s odd distance between us. Then his voice broke the silence. “What are you writing? I mean, if you don’t mind my asking.”
Well, thank you for your curiosity mister. I thought it’s gonna end that way. “Oh, this?” I pulled my notebook as there’s no need for “defenses” against this dashing guy. To be honest, I’m not really used to being on the spot and being asked about something what I usually love doing. “Er, nothing. Just…bits and stuff about almost anything—especially what’s around me, like nature.” I said with little to no ease, brows kind of twitched, and lips a bit puckered. My friends tell me I look cute when struggling to look composed—I’m just hoping he would think the same way.
“How I wish more girls could be like you.” Gan said in-between sighs. I might be single, but I definitely can tell if a guy’s just fooling around or not. In this case, I felt the sadness in his words, or more like he’s being sincere. Yeah, that’s the term! His sincerity, more than anything else, caught me—and if he tells me that he’s Superman with that tone, I’d believe him without a doubt!
“Like how?” I asked.
“You know, most girls nowadays can’t keep their hands off their phones, laptops, or other gadgets. Stopping by to appreciate what’s around them is a complete waste of time. I’m not against technology, but whatever happened to writing poems, stories, and cheesy things about life and love?”
Gay-esque choice of words, but definitely not the tone. I flipped some of the old pages of my notebook and took a deep breath. I really don’t know what to say to this guy. He’s so sentimental, which I like, by the way. But I’m just lost for words because he’s just too perfect. I pretended to read some of the notes and took a deep breath before finally uttering the only words I could say. “It’s not that easy, you know. It’s not that easy to bring back what’s eventually disappearing…”
“…like sentiments, or the sentimental value of nature. It’s on a downward spiral. Even if we do something about it, there is no way that you can compete with what technology has to offer—that is convenience.” Thumbing my notebook, I felt like I just answered a question for a Miss Universe crown. The trees seem to have stopped dancing for the wind now. It’s like they totally understood what Gan was trying to point out. For some reasons I can’t explain, I felt his sadness—and this park’s sadness.
Gan stood, walked towards the bushes in front of us, and started picking a few pansies. If those flowers could talk, I’d definitely hear them saying “Pick me! Pick me!” I just love the way this guy connects with nature. His caring eyes show it all. His gait seems like a brush of wind, and his every move is just too gentle—I have to say manly, yet gentle.
“It might be on a downward spiral, but at least I get to show what’s left. Here’s a piece of sentimental value for you.” A handful of pansies broke my chain of thoughts. I didn’t even realize he’s already standing in front of me. I took the flowers and thanked him. He just smiled as he sat beside me. What a cheesy piece of perfection. I tried to look down and let my long hair conceal my blushing cheeks.
“What do you think about this park?” He asked. Is that a trick question or what? “Well, uhm, I think it’s a nice place for everyone—not just for couples.” I plainly said.
“True enough. But did you know that park is a man’s treasure chest?” The what? Wow, this guy’s starting to look creepy now. Too much sentiments and you’re one step away from reading poetry with a bunch of people—in your head. “Sorry Gan, I might have misheard you, or do you mean that in a different sense?” I asked.
“The latter. Most guys see this park as a location where they can take their girls. They talk, they kiss, and sometimes more than that. But what they don’t realize is that, this park has everything they need to make a woman feel very special.”
Is it possible to fall in love with a guy on the first day you meet him? Because if it is, I’d raise my hand as a living testimony!
“Pick flowers for her…” He continued. “Carve her name on the trunk of a tree…Tell her she smells nice when the wind softly blows towards her…Appreciate the way she squints her eyes when the sunlight touches her face…These are but a few things a man can do for his girl.” He brushed off a few of the leaves caught on his pants.
“Easier said than done.” I said with a soft chuckle. I don’t know, but I find it endearing to go against everything he says, even if deep down, I totally agree with him. “It’s not about what guys would do, the question is, what would YOU do?” I added. Finally, smart girl’s coming back!
Gan laughed. He really has a nice set of teeth. “Well, I’d definitely do the same. But first, I have to know her name, then stalk her a few times, then meet her at the park. And then I’d ask her if I can share a seat with her on this old bench.” He said as he looked at me. I could melt at that spot! He’s more serious now, and through his eyes, I couldn’t see an ounce of lie. I started to feel really uncomfortable and can’t even make an eye contact, so I started scribbling some notes on the pages of my notebook again.
“I better get going.” Gan said as he stood. Too soon? I looked up to him with a confused look. “Dana, I’ll see you again.” He said with a sincere smile.
“Oh, Okay.” I said flatly. It might be hard to admit, but I was expecting him to ask for my number or email. But he just walked away without any word. I looked at him with regret as he’s taking his few steps away. Just like the others, I thought.
To my surprise, he stopped, looked back and said “Dana, I didn’t get your number because I already know where you live. Instead of exchanging text messages, would you love to talk here in the park on days you’re not busy?”
“Ok.” is all I could say. I smiled at him as he made his way out of the park. Perfect. He’s just too perfect.
Then I closed my notebook, put it on the bench, with my pen on it. Could be a good story. I looked at the notebook, I looked at Gan’s short existence written in it. Then I sighed. As the wind gently caressed my face, I closed my eyes and thought, that in this park, will a certain Gan ever exist?
Probably…in my dreams.