9 years ago tonight, I went to a bar by myself. Over couple of Estrella Galicia 1906 dark lagers, I contemplated my existence until closing time, which was past 2AM. My mom was texting me a lot, asking where I was and if I was ok. 2AM is not “late” by Manila standards, and mom knew that I regularly stayed out much later than that. But that night was different. It was different because I’d need to wake up early the next day: my wedding day.
That next morning, wedding photographers would come to my home where I was getting dressed, and ask me why I was so relaxed, with no jitters. This night at the bar and the reflection I went through there, they are the reason why.
I always tell friends who are about to get married that it’s ok to back out at the last moment. For me, this is the moment when I thought about just that. On my last night as a bachelor, I figured that it was worth taking a step back, looking at the whole picture and assessing the risk. Reality check: relationships don’t always work out. Marriages fall apart all the time — I’d seen it. A mistake on this level can derail your life for many years.
While I can look back today and see that we’ve done pretty ok so far, I could not have known any of that back then. I looked out from that window-mounted counter into the night, and I saw pitch black nothingness. No inspiring starry night. No busy cityscape. Nothing more than… nothingness.
Hope is often painted in light colors. Sunbursts and flashes of green. But I think it’s best experienced through darkness and the unknown. Where even the smallest specular flash in a raindrop is the only evidence that somewhere, a spark exists. Like the single star to take bearing from.
Nica, you are that one star in a dark night. When nothing can be seen, I see you. I didn’t know where we were going or how things would work out, but faith and trust has seen us through. And here we stand, 9 years later, with three beautiful daughters, and a bond that is continually growing stronger. In all uncertainty, I knew that night that I was certain of you, and that you could always be certain of me. And I found peace.
Happy anniversary. All my love, all my life, yours.