About 10 months had passed since my depressing heartbreak when I came to the point where I felt I was ready to start dating again. In an attempt to be bodacious and convince myself I really was, I somehow ended up having a bet with Vince. The dare was for me to have at least one date in a month's time. The stake? Nothing really. We figured we could always come up of something anyway when the time comes our bet ends.
So, there we were, Vince and I, exchanging our views regarding this date bet while walking our way to Eaton Centre after work one chilly December day. We got our Christmas gift cards from work, so we decided to hit the mall and see where to spend the treat. Amidst our conversation, I began to chicken out and thought aloud, "Maybe I'm not really ready yet..." He went on to encourage me and said it was just about the right time for me to move on and he would support me with whatever decision I make, yada yada. I cannot really remember now for sure how our what started to be a casual talk turned into some sort of a very random bluff. One thing I recall is that I brought up the fact that I am one of the boys (mostly hanging out with him and Neil ) and how this may play a role in catching the attention of a suitable species of the opposite sex. Having said that, Vince got the impression that him being close to me posed as a hindrance and that he should keep his distance from me. It never occurred to me though that he would act on it so quickly and instantly, that I was caught off-guard and unexpecting. Next thing I knew, he was saying goodbye to me just so I can be by myself right at that very moment in Eaton Centre! Bodacious as I was or at least pretending to be, I said goodbye to him as well, turned my back from him, and started heading down to the subway.
It was not a quick walk from the mall's exit to the subway's northbound platform and I did not hurry either. My mind was in a bit of a blur at that time. I took small steps in a slow pace taking my time to compose myself and contemplated on what had happened. It donned on me that Vince shooed me away from him (or was it me who shooed him away?) Regardless, I was hurt and saddened when I felt that he was very much okay with keeping his distance from me and letting go of me. I was disappointed when I felt he was willing to lose our friendship and give me away to somebody else. I was hurt but then I know I should not be because 1) We are just friends; 2) I started it all. It became apparent that I was testing waters, and despite the realization, I would not give in and admit it. The bottomline is that we are friends and that I ought to keep my contingency plans within this grounds.
I got to the subway, swiped my Metropass, and waited at the DWA (Designated Waiting Area). I thought to myself, if Vince did not really mean to let me go, he would not have allowed me to have gone that far. I would also say it was a good five minutes since the time we said goodbye in the mall till I reached the DWA. It should not have taken him that long to catch after me if he really wanted to. At that time, I started patching emotional Band-Aids to myself in consolation. I felt truly sad and hurt, and I wanted to go home and just hide in my proverbial comfort zone. I wished for the train to come as soon as possible, just so I could make myself believe that Vince did run after me but he missed me because the train arrived sooner than him. A couple of minutes more, it began to get crowded and yet not a sight or sound of a train (as well as Vince). The analogy was making me more sad with every second that I had to stand in the platform and wait there.
The wait felt like forever. Lost in thought and with eyes fixed on the floor, I was surprised to feel an arm slowly slipped into mine. I looked up and saw Vince. I asked him gently, "Oh, bakit nandito ka?," to which he replied softly, "I'm sorry." You probably would have guessed the next scene. The train finally arrived. It was a perfect script for a romantic movie.
We boarded the train arm to arm. Needless to say, it was an awkward moment, which again for me felt like forever. Vince requested that I get off at Davisville and go to Sunnybrook with him where he parked the van and from there he would give me a ride home. Easy as always, I agreed. That meant another awkward bus ride which I was sure would feel like forever again.
We did not leave Sunnybrook's parking lot right away. It was very cold then and we were both freezing. We made ourselves warm inside the van with the heater turned up. It was another awkward moment which felt like forever. Vince buried his face down my neck and hugged me and muttered under his breath, "I'm sorry. I was such a jerk." I hugged him back. It did not feel awkward for me anymore and I even wished we could stay cuddled like that forever.
When we were about to leave, Vince turned the radio on in time for the Delilah Show. It was playing a song that we both heard for the first time then:
"Every long lost dream led me to where you are,
Others who broke my heart, they were like Northern stars,
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms.
This much I know is true,
That God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you."
If you are wondering about the bet, for the record, I won it. Six days before Christmas day, I found myself a date. It may have been an unofficial date but technically it was. The rendezvous was very sweet and lovely; one that I will cherish forever. I never asked Vince for my winnings, but something tells me that I already got my prize :)
Lest I forget, I should be thankful for the train that was not there for it undoubtedly played a huge part in my love story.
I love you Vince.