Friday, September 20, 2013

Legacies (Second Part)

Nangarap akong ma-treat sa isang restaurant. Yung tipo bang gigimik kami na hati sa gastos at hindi na lang laging ako ang taya. 

Ikalima, April 21, 2008

The Unwritten Dinner Dates

I just turned twenty nine.

And like it has always been, there is the blowing of the cake (while everyone in the house sings "Happy Birthday"); the obligatory blog entry to mark the occasion; and the solemn pilgrimage to the church to give thanks for another lease in life. These are the highlights of the day, and traditions have remained in place since the first time I put up a blog about my birthday.   

For the partner to remember it first (a simple phone call at the strike of midnight), already completes my day. This, JC has never forgotten no matter how busy he was at work. What I didn't expect were the surprises he was brewing. A simple stay at home bonding would do, but with him, he elevated the evenings into fancy dates not one of my other exes had done in the past.

I no longer remember the execution. Only the places we have been - and I would never set foot again. First was at Conti's in Bonifacio High Street, where I had my first bite of Mango Bravo. I remember, he thought of sending the cake at my workplace for reasons I never asked. Realizing the ice cream cake would melt before reaching its destination, he called off the plan and went on to date me instead.

On my 30th birthday, he made dinner reservations for two at the posh Heat restaurant at the Edsa Shang-ri La Hotel. To feel overwhelmed was an understatement. The surprise was beyond comprehension. For never in my grandest illusion would a partner treat me at such an expensive place. 

It was a buffet, I recall, an eat-all-you-can dinner where you can pick not only local cuisine to dump on your plate, but foreign dishes too. I remember the Japanese table where I had to expand my stomach capacity just to gobble as many pieces of Shrimp Tempura as I can. Humbled and deeply moved by his surprise, I thought of keeping the memory to myself. 

Until today.

Dinner dates aside, it made me realize why the Third was worth the wait. It didn't matter that I had to remain single for two years - moving from one failed date to another - because the one who would finally come gifted me the essence of companionship; of tangible stories you can remember every time you return to the places you have been together. And this doesn't only cover the special celebrations. From the movie dates we had, to the work-in-coffee shops he did - where I trailed behind to remind him to finish his tasks - there I found what I have been searching in a relationship. 

Never would discontent cross lines with my consciousness in the almost two years we've been together.

JC showed what he was as a boyfriend and for this reason, I was more than willing to show what a partner I could be. For his 24th birthday, I paid careful attention to his random musings. Saktong napadaan kami sa isa sa mga upscale restaurants sa Greenbelt 5 one time when he mumbled: "I wanted to dine in a fancy restaurant..." Not the exact words, of course, but the runaway thought was enough for me to roll a birthday celebration I have never done before.

A dinner date for two at Zuni's.

I knew the dates and hang-outs would just get even better the more I become accustomed to the tastes of the partner. And JC has fine tastes. Out of my sincerest desire to make him feel special, not only did I search into the sleeping high-breed in me. In many ways, I had to realign my attitude, to catch up and become worthy of being his other half.

Thus, on his 25th birthday, five months after his treat at Heat, I booked the classiest hotel in Tagaytay for our first out of town vacation. 

Never again would I attempt such feats - even when impressing others after our dissolution.