We’d planned to meet after my review class on a Friday. As I got into the car, he told me his family has a gathering at Busay Mountain View and asked if I wanted to stop by. I said yes. Nothing out of the ordinary; he’s always asking me to drop by anywhere on short notice. It was supposed to be just dinner then he drives me home, our usual itinerary when I have school.
We got to Mountain View and he said the others were still on the way. I suggested we eat first as it was past 9PM, I was starving. What a way to a girl’s heart! Good thing they had a restaurant – amazing view, unexpectedly good food. During the meal he disappeared about three times, apparently to go to the men’s room (who pees thrice in the span of a meal?!). But well, I’m never the suspicious type so I let him be.
After we ate, his family was supposedly still on their way and he said we should wait in the car as it was getting chilly. He was acting really strange when he said he had something to give me. It was… (no, not a ring) a scrapbook.
Let me segue into the past a tad bit here.
We were only a few months into the relationship at that time (eight years ago), I gave him a scrapbook. It’s as personal as can be because I didn’t just buy a ready-made scrapbook. I made one from scratch: cut pages from plain paper, decorated it and bound it myself (kudos to taking up elective industrial arts classes in high school). Then I put pictures in it with little notes.
The first picture was of a sunrise in the mountains of Pinamungahan, South of Cebu; taken during a batch outing in our third year of high school, 2005. My caption read:
Do you remember this? We dragged mattresses out onto the grass so we could sleep under the stars while everyone else slept indoors. We woke up the next day in time for the sunrise. The first thing we said, in unison, was to take a picture of it. This is that picture I took with my phone (you know, those first generation camera phones that took pixelated pictures we so loved to upload on friendster). We were still friends then but I included this picture because, unlike most people, you’re the only one who’s said you prefer sunrises over sunsets – like I do.
Then followed more pictures of us… looking every bit the weird and awkward teenagers we were. The notes were as cheeesy and chuuups as they can get. The horror. It was made by my sooo-not-cool seventeen-year-old self, sue her.
I intentionally left the scrapbook with a lot of empty pages and gave it to him. My final note said that hopefully those pages would be filled up with more memories…
So then, we fast-track back into the present.
We’re in the car and he’s saying: do you remember this? Then he pulled out THAT same old scrapbook that I’d half forgotten. It looked exactly as it used to; but the empty pages he did fill up. He crammed it with pictures of us: anniversaries, trips, valentine’s (which we thought we never really celebrate), nature adventures, sunrises and sunsets in remote places, at our favorite tambayan at the mall, at our suki manokan across USC, eeww selfies during our university days. Eight. Years. Worth. Of. Memories.
You gave me this scrapbook on our first year. Now we’re on our eighth and we’ve filled up the whole book.
Before I could flip to the last page, he asked that we step out of the car. By then, I was mighty suspicious of his intentions. I got out. Picture this: we were on top of a mountain looking down at a spectacular view of the city lights under a starry mid summer night sky. My heartbeat was so loud it practically echoed in the mountains (so i exaggerate but you get the picture). I turned to the last page and there was… (nope, still not the ring) a picture.
The last picture was of a sunrise at the beaches in Sta. Fe, North of Cebu, taken (with a much better camera) during a trip just that summer, 2014. His caption read:
Until now, we’re still always waiting for the sunrise together.
End of Book I. Proceed to Book II?
Beside it was a pouch with the ring. And then… the fireworks started.
PS, this was completely candid – at least on my part. I didn’t know there was a camera crew until after the fireworks.
PPS, he told my family of his plans a week prior so they had to keep it secret.
PPPS, it was a lie. His family did not have any gathering that night. :p