Settle or Search?

November 9, 2004 at 7:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Her Royal Highness pays for my cup of Mochaccino and we take a seat, al fresco, on the pathwalk, outside the Shangri-La near the MRT station.

She sits across me, her back turned against the flow of people rushing home from the harried pace of Friday. The air is thick with the passing banter of strangers, and I lean closer to hear better what she is saying.

“Do I get back with him?”

For the nth time tonight I tell her not to. We’d met up earlier with Len for a movie called “Three”, a horror flick of three films from three different Asian countries. But we decided to stay put after Len left and grab a cup of coffee instead. We needed to catch up on the things that have happened to both of us over the past month since we last saw each other.

Apparently she’d broken up, gotten back together, then broke up again with her boyfriend of some umteen months. I, on the other hand, had the same story to tell — another “almost” who drew the line on me then bugged me for a date then ignored me again.

If friends can truly see us in a way that we can’t, then Her Royal Highness had only the most brutal words I was too afraid to use. “Maybe it’s just the thrill of knowing someone is going after him,” she said, explaining the botched movie date I was fuming about.

She, on the other hand, laments how she wants to give her relationship another try, if only for the fact that Keech had been so good to her. Keech says in his blog how much she loves him, and how he’s willing to take Her Royal Highness back in. “I can’t wait for her to ‘lie’ to me again, and tell me she loves me” she said were his words.

“If he knows you’re feeling that way, that you just want to stay because of a misguided sense of gratitude, then you shouldn’t go back,” I tell her. “It’s not fair to either one of you.”

Her Royal Highness looks at her situation like she’s trapped between two choices: the boring, yet reliable goody-two-shoes willing to worship her; or the asshole who will treat her like shit but she can’t stay away from. She’s had her share of assholes, so Keech was a welcome respite evnthough she feels being with him has become so predictable that there’s no challenge in it.

In the booming gimik enclave of Libis on the other side of town, meanwhile, She With the Deep Dimples was on a date with her on-again, off-again suitor Rico.

“Do you like him?” she asks by SMS, and I tell her what had been my opinion from the very beginning when Rico started hanging out with us. “He balances you out, he seems to complement you in areas where you’re weak. He’s a better bet than Richard.”

On Saturday, She With the Deep Dimples and I meet up at Fabricare in Katipunan. We discuss Rico again while she folds her laundry and I am gushing over Jason Moss’s artwork on the Saturday Inquirer.

“I’m very much in love with him. He’s even introduced me to his dad already,” she confides. In the past she was always complaining (and rightly so, I think) how she doesn’t feel special with Rico. “I fetch him from work so we can go have dinner and he makes me wait for him while he played computer games! And he drives my car back to his office and makes me go home alone!” she said before, fuming mad.

But now she says she loves him, and I am not surprised. For the past year they’ve been dating, I could feel Rico wanted to take their relationship farther, but maybe just didn’t know how, or when. In the meantime, there was Richard, even though by saying that I have probably signed my death warrant.

Her Royal Highness has a choice between staying in a relationship because she has to, or cut loose and rejoin the “meet market”. She With the Deep Dimples has a choice between a guy who seems serious but stumped by his own indecision, and a guy who excites her, but looks like a player. so in all, I could sum up their predicament as a choice between settling or searching. Her Royal Highness can settle for Keech, secure in knowing he’ll always be there, or risk solitude hoping she’ll find another who will be just as solid yet inspire her. She With the Deep Dimples has a choice between Rico – stable, dependable and predictable, or Richard, unavailable, funny, a tease, but knows how to tickle her fancy.

Which makes me think: are relationships really all just a matter between settling down and endlessly searching?

It’s a scary thought. If one does not want to settle, does that mean one is doomed to wander around forever waiting for the one to ignite those sparks and make it last?

Settle or search?

But maybe it’s in the way the question itself is phrased. Why does love have to be an either-or proposition? why ca’t we just accept people as they come and learn to make something out of it, even if that doesn’t fit the narrow-minded preconceptions of know-it-alls like me who do not know the first thing about relationships?

So maybe She With the Deep Dimples isn’t settling as much as she has come tot he end of her search. And maybe Her Royal Highness isn’t searching as much as she is settling with what she really wants our of her lovelife.

Ah, relationships. So much shit has been written about their complexity when we should just heed the words of Jewel: what’s simple is true. If we love someone, it doesn’t matter if we feel like we’re searching or settling. Like I’ve been told before, ‘love doesn’t need a reason other than itself’.

So why even bother?

(in any case both friends of mine are still single, a few weeks after I wrote this)

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