Words Get in the Way

December 5, 2004 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Three years down the drain. The initial flush of excitement gave way to nothing but disappointment. At least that’s how it looks. All this time, Her Royal Highness had been wondering about who Z was, where he came from, how he found his way into her life, and what was so special about 2005 that she had to wait until then before she could see him.

It’s another one of those “relationships ” that began online. Her Royal Highness and Z met online in a chatroom and have been in touch for quite some time now, without ever seeing each other. but that was their “thing”. With computer monitors and mobile phones as go-betweens, they were effective communicators. They kept each other on the phone for obscenely long hours, and have talked about all the big issues of life, literature and movies. They had no difficulty relating in the absence of an interface. But Her Royal Highness, in the back of her mind, had her doubts about Z.

“Is he Peter? beause he really sounds like him,” she says as we have coffee at Figaro in Megamall last November 2. Coincidentally, 2005 would be around the same time that she and her ex-boyfriend, Peter, are supposed to get back together if they have no one when they reach a certain age. So that fact compounded Her Royal Highness’s suspicion that Z=Peter.

I guess that not having seen each other gave way to preconceptions in her mind about Z’s real identity. And I’m sure before he one-way’ed us that day, he also had a picture of her in his mind.

But, as I believe, any relationship that has to endure, they had to see each other face to face somewhere down the road. They meet up a few weeks ago, in total violations of the “205 agreement”, and besides, Z had one-way’ed Her Royal Highness anyway, even if unintentional.

But it was a disaster. Naturally, I insisted on the details. “Give me stuff for my blog,” I tell Her Royal Highness, half-jokingly.

As it turns out, “he’s a totally different person IRL,” she tells me. “To tell you the truth, I had more fun with The Good Boyfriend,” she tells me via text last November 21.

Over Javanilla at SBC a few days later, I had to settle what she meant by “totally different IRL”. Her Royal Highness confides that in the two instances they met up, Z kept mum all the time. “It was like watching a movie by myself,” she says. “And everytime I tried to talk him up, his answers were like ‘yeah’, ‘no’, ‘uhm-hmm’.”

“And that’s it?” I quiz her, my eyes narrowing.

Apparently yes. Z would later send her a loving, lengthy message via SMS and say goodbye to her in the end.

“Why not try working it out?” I suggest, but Her Royal Highness rejects the idea. And I make it clear to her why I’m vouching for a second chance for Z.

“I know where he’s coming from, because I have been there,” I confess. “There was a time when I went out with this guy I really, really liked. We would talk on the phone for hours, and the feeling was mutual,” I tell her. “But when we met up,” I continued, only to stop in mid-sentence and shrug my shoulders.

“You couldn’t say anything?”

“Absolutely nothing. But I liked him!”

And that’s the problem with tehnology. Without an interface we can feel free to say whatever we want. But in real life, speaking out our hearts does not involve only words, but more importantly, actions.

It’s so easy to say ‘I miss you’ through SMS, but what could be more eloquent than a kiss or a tight embrace with a lover after a period of time without seeing each other?

Saying ‘You’re really a nice person, intelligent at guapo pero wala talaga’ over SMS is brutal, but nothing is more painful than silene and averted eyes the following day after sending out such a message.

I’m not about to blame technology for this, for I am very thankful over how the internet, PCs, mobile phones and PDAs allow us to communicate at ever-faster rates nowadays. But I’m a purist. I still believe that love blooms best where our bodies betray the things we say, without the pretensions afforded by technology.

Nothing says something better than a subtle gesture, or a visible action. When one gets caught up with words, its infuriating, when you really have something much deeper and more important to convey.

Technology takes away the beauty of non-verbal communication which makes love such a delicate affair.

I guess online and with technology at his side, Z could say what he really wants to say because it’s convenient and he doesn’t have to look Her Royal Highness in the eye. But where is the beauty in that?

I’ve been guilty of the same crime. I’ve taken refuge in tehnology when I wanted to say how I really felt, when what I should have done was just walk up to the person and exact the answers straight out.

But when you find yourself overwhelmed by emotions, how do you express yourself when words get in the way? One can’t blog his way through a heartache forever.

Talk about the weather. Talk about work. Talk about phones and gadgets and online games. Talk about the burning issues of the day. Talk about assignments and deadlines and overtime pay. But talk about how one really feels? Oh no.

It’s easier to bullshit your way into someone’s pants. But when it comes down to it, a heart says a lot by not saying anything at all. So much meaning is lost when words get in the way. When we try to overdo it and coat our real messages with layers upon layers of essentially irrelevant small talk. It’s okay to talk about the small stuff, but how many of us are really able to talk “big” about love and fears and anxieties and anger, except when our relationships are on the verge of collapse?

The most beautiful relationships are those in which the other person, to borrow Isak Dinesen’s words, makes you “speak like rain”. The meaning of words flowing like rain are best conveyed by cheeks blushing, a timid self-effacing smile, sideway glances, a naughty wink, a longing look, a gentle pat on the back, hands locked in a tender grip, stares that last an hour, a lover’s head resting on your shoulder, arms around each other’s waist, and sometimes, even with tears flowing.

Love is tactile. Even with one-syllable words between two people who obviously love each other, actions truly speak louder than words. Face to face = heart to heart. You can only say how your loved one really feels when you watch them move.

That’s where Z failed, I guess. That’s where I failed in the past. I said things without the benefit of categorical actions. Z talked the talk, but could not walk the walk. So I can’t sway Her Royal Highness away from her decision. Her actions are speaking very clearly.

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2 Comments »

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  1. i’ve been planning to post an entry about this for the longest time, but since i obviously do not have that luxury, i never ever got around to doing it. you, my dear peregrine, have taken the words out of my mouth, and almost verbatim, if i may add. so maybe i should just post an entry which says “the content of this entry may be found on (your blog address).” hehe. 🙂

  2. Aww, that is sooo kind of you to say that. I’m blushing. 🙂 I’ll see you on the 20th, ayt?–>


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