When you least expect it

By Charmaigne Navaja

My bags are packed and I’m ready for the 12 hours overnight boat ride to Surigao from Cebu. It’s unusual for me to go on an unplanned trip but the idea of seeing my travel best friends and going back to Siargao again after a month excites me.

The island has been the reason why I have slow down on traveling to other places in the country. Not to mention that it will be my 5th visit since I first went there in November 2015. There’s just something about the chill vibe that liberates and make me feel like I belong there, however, the odds are against me.

Shower! That’s all I can think of after the long trip I had. While my friends are on the balcony talking to other piglets, that’s how you get called when you stay in The Smiling Pig hostel, I went up to my bed to get my shower kit and dress to wear for Viento Friday.

I was alone in the room when I heard a hello and looked down, a blonde long-haired guy with nose hoops was looking at me. We introduced each other and I forgot his name as I’m not good at remembering it. However, I do recall him telling me to come down for a drink.

It’s my third stay at the Pig and the usual, everything went crazy. I’m not an avid alcohol drinker and I never go beyond my alcohol tolerance but that night, I got horribly drunk. Totally missed the party, ended up early in bed and my ass being saved by the blonde whom I’ve been calling “besh” the whole night.

The next morning, I woke up beside him with a hangover. However, I tell you, nothing happened. He seems to be a gentleman yet I do remember being kissed by him last night after going wild with the other piglets.

“Are you even a Filipina?” Scott said after eating the rice I cooked in a pot with no lids. He and my friends learned that morning not to ever make a person with a booze flu cook.

After lunch, we went to the beach to get our hangover fixed but the tide is low. I’m too dizzy to fuss about it so I went to the deepest spot I can find and lay down. They went after me and the afternoon passed by in a conversation.

Scott has been globetrotting for almost 10 years and has been down to 54 countries. His Aussie accent diverts me from his crudeness, however, he seems like a nice guy.

“Why don’t you give it a try? Maybe he’s the one,” the words Jes said resonated with me as he noticed that Scott seems to be interested in me but I am confused as I recently had a heartache and the thought of him being a traveler tells me that he’s just another passerby.

Later that night, we went to a music festival in the Boulevard and danced till dawn. Carol got stupidly drunk so we had to send her home. Scott demanded me to stay but friends come first. “I’ll be back,” I promised him. I went back and found him talking to a Korean girl who asked if I am his girlfriend which he claims, however, I know he was merely drunk so I didn’t seriously mind it.

The next day we went to the rock pools to spend the whole afternoon swimming and just when the tide started to rise up, Scott’s foot got stung by a sea urchin so we decided to go home. It was almost 5:00 PM when we got back. My friends stayed while we went together to the secret beach for skinny dipping in the dark.

It’s my first time doing it with a man. I guess I am too comfortable with him that I’m not even bothered with my insecurities. “You swim funny”, he says. His company makes me ecstatic and more alive ever than I was before I met him, and it scares me. I know our days won’t last long and being on the gray area sucks.

He wants me to go with him to Vietnam and I can’t do so. My reality is here and I merely knew him for a couple of days.

The days passed by with us beach bumming, having boodle fights and going skinny dipping with the gang, jungle parties, getting drunk and sleeping in the same bed.  It was totally the best days of our lives and I’m glad we’re going back to Cebu on the same flight after I told him to book a ticket rather than taking the long boat ride.

May 10, our matching colored backpacks are ready and while we waited for the van to the airport, it didn’t feel like I’m leaving paradise. I’m going home with someone I care heaps and he’s spending his last days in the country with me.

“Besh! Come back quick,” Scott messaged after minutes of separating ways as I need to tell my parents about not sleeping in the house. I know I’ll be in trouble and I’m nervous about it. However, before I’m done explaining it, my mom agreed and said, “But you know the consequences. Make sure to leave some for yourself.” My mom is right, I’m not even sure where this is going. All I know is he’s all I ever wished for to have.

I’m antsy to see him and when he opens the door, Scott is smiling like a kid after waiting for hours. I brought him a pasalubong and we went to Mang Inasal for dinner as it’s his favorite. We talked before sleeping and he confessed that before we even met, he already know me through a photo I was tagged by some piglets in Facebook. He even added that he intentionally went inside the room on my first night only to have a conversation. I teased him about it and he laughs like he never regretted doing it.

“Besh, I’m going now,” I said and Scott gets up even if he’s still sleepy so he can walk me through the streets. I badly want to ditch my work but I need to report. At around noon, my shift ended and I rushed home as those eight hours were the longest time I’ve been away from him.

When I arrived, Scott was watching a survival documentary which he’s really fond of. I looked at him and thinks how badly I’ll miss him when he goes away. He brings out the best in me and everything was unbelievably falling into place. I’m scared and it made me question why we’re still creating happy memories when we both know this is not going anywhere. I started crying and opt to just stop everything. I know it’s for the best and before going out of the door, he stopped me.

“I’ll be back besh,” he said. Hearing those words calmed me down. I trust him and I want to believe he will be back. I want to believe that this is more than a summer fling cause he’s worth taking the risk.

“On the count of three, besh! 1, 2, 3, jump!” Scott shouted and we splashed down the waters. I’m acrophobic however I didn’t want to spoil his fun. He simply loves chasing waterfalls and crazy adventure and you can see it in his eyes. How much joy it brings him that he keeps babbling about it being his favorite.

We arrived in the city late at night, totally hungry. I brought him to a street food stall thinking he’d be up for an exotic food but he got mad, calling it a piece of shit. I hate it when Scott shows his crudeness and he knows he went beyond the line. He tried to make up for his action by coaxing me with food. Of course, he won because no matter how mad I am, I don’t want our last night ruined simply because of a silly fight.

“The weather knows you’ll be leaving.” It was sunny when we woke up, not like the past few days where it rained loads. I had been blaming him for the crazy weather and he laughs about it. I can’t believe he’s flying today. I really don’t know how to deal with it but I promised myself I won’t cry.

Scott wants to spend his last few hours in his so called paradise in the city, Timezone. He brags about Tekken but he completely forgot I was a nerd so I beat his ass. We scored heaps at the basketball game, played all around the arcade, and even took a snap in the photo booth. He bought me a Star Trooper keychain with the tickets we won and boy, that made me so happy!

How times flies! He only has a few more hours left so we headed to the airport. I tried my best not to show any blues even when we said our goodbyes. “We’ll video chat, besh, and talk every day”, he promised after kissing me before entering the departure area and those were the words I hold onto while hoping that everything will be fine.

But things changed easily. Three weeks after he left, the sweetness dried out. I feel anxious that it drove me crazy, thinking that I might lose him when I never had him. And it happened.

“I can’t be with you, besh. I’ll be going back to Australia and you’ll be working there.”

I know I was at fault. He’s a traveler and I can’t keep him. It was wrong for me to expect on something that he can never give. But even after what he said, he didn’t stop talking every day and it made me more confused than I ever was. I simply don’t know where I stand in his life and I’m stressed about it. I was right that those happy memories would serve me no good when the time comes and even if I’d like to forget it, I just can’t.

We’ve said enough to hurt each other. I even tried to fix it but sometimes, all we can do is accept the fact that certain things will never go back to how they used to be.

It’s crazy though how the one who has made me the happiest, have made me the saddest at one point. Now, I have to let all the good memories go. I have to let him go. Because that’s who he was, not who he is.

I simply fell in love with the most unexpected person at the most unexpected time.


About the author

Charmaigne Navaja is the writer behind Wandering People and a travel enthusiast who decided not to make traveling her escape plan. She is currently based in Cebu, Philippines and is on the quest to find means of moving around the globe while balancing her responsibilities.

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