Author Topic: "A Secret Love" by Angel Casillan  (Read 8617 times)


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"A Secret Love" by Angel Casillan
« on: December 28, 2010, 10:26:11 AM »
A Secret Love
By Angel Casillan

When we were young, life was fast and we were often between tears and laughter. The beautiful thing about being young is that when we fall, we have plenty of time to recover. We endure the fall for a while, but because of our youth, healing comes fast. But then pictures or other treasured souvenirs would sometimes resurrect the experiences we have had. I had such an experience that totally engages my mind whenever I think about it. It is about my secret love, a love that was so secret that I have not talked about it until now.

This story is about the secret love I had in college—a young woman who did not know that I was in love with her at that time. She was my friend and how I wish now that she had known that I was more than just her friend. Had she had known that I existed, would she have liked me? I don’t know; only God knows. But today, if she chances upon this, I would like to ask her this question: Does she recognize herself in the story?

Although time and distance could transform us into different persons, the fun and the disappointments we have experienced over the years remain ingrained in our minds, always reminding us of where we had been. This story is about my secret love for a young woman, a story that is hers to keep because I am dedicating it especially to her, a story that, well, she might be able to use as a basis for a movie script of a Filipino love story.

It was the first day of school and I was new in the college. I was leaning on the corridor when a girl in blue walked towards my direction. She was shy, passing by without even lifting her eyes to glance at me. The scent of her perfume was like the song of the Lorelei along the river Rhine, so I followed her to the library. She positioned herself at the end of the room and I sat a distance away so I would not be conspicuous. I studied the contours of her face, later noting in my journal that she had pageboy hair, round eyes, thin lips, a Natalie Wood look.

We attended some subjects together and we became friends, but her shyness made her reclusive; she did not hang out with her classmates. In a science class during the summer that followed, I managed through a little manipulation to become her laboratory partner. I was an easygoing student then, and my ambition was just to make a passing grade—no more, no less. This time, though, I made an extra effort to make an impression on her, to make her know that I was not really dumb. So I made it a point to be always ready with all the assignments, something that was not really normal with me. Indeed, without knowing it, she had eliminated a bad habit of mine.

As the days went by, I gradually fell for her. I knew it was happening because thoughts of her preoccupied most of my idle time. One evening, while I was studying with my radio on, Frank Sinatra went on the air singing “Imagination.” It seemed to me that the melancholic tune and lyrics were describing me and my feelings. I then realized that I was in love with her. Every time I thought of her, my hands would sweat, which I knew was a sign of stress cause by adrenaline flow. And in those times I just loved to go to school and to be always prompt at the laboratory room so I could see her; my longing was like the dewdrops on flowers in the early morning. After school, while hanging out with groups or eating out, it was a wonderful feeling just to be with her. Just to catch a glimpse of her was nourishment to my aching heart. And my desire to impress her contributed in no small measure to my doing very well in the class and to my enjoyment of my professor’s lectures.

One Sunday afternoon, against the advice of the gods, I visited her at her dormitory. To my surprise, she came out to the reception area and greeted me. Wow, was I tongue-tied! I became so uneasy being there with her, so I invited her out. We walked to a nearby coffee shop and ordered buko pie, which was her favorite. We sat at a corner table where I would always steal admiring glances at her pretty sight. We talked for some time, talking about our class and the characters we knew, after which we walked back to her dormitory. We said our goodbyes and I went home. In my mind then, I asked myself, “Does she like me? Does she know that I am falling for her?” I answered myself, “Maybe, yes, maybe she likes me too because I am cute and maybe smart, and that was why she came out to see me.” When I got back home, I then wrote in my journal: “First base.”  I really thought that I had made it to the first base of the game called love.

The Monday after that meeting, I never mentioned to my buddies that I visited her; I felt so bashful, afraid to be exposed as someone who had a secret love. And when we came to our class, she did not act differently and this made me think that she liked me too. As usual, she was friendly to me, so I imagined that she would someday be my bride and I would be able to show her that I was really a talented person. I knew that I had a lot of talents, but the problem was that I simply got no chance at all to show them off. The fact was that I had a photographic mind and could imagine things below the surface and out in space—a talent that unfortunately were not helpful in my studies at the time.

But I enjoyed being in class with her; just to be near her as my laboratory partner was good enough for me. Life was wonderful to me at that time, and my grade got a lot better than my normal passing grades. What a wonderful summer it was! My dream girl was my partner and I did not have any difficulty in class. At night, sometimes my dreams would be filled by her presence; I loved dreaming about her because I could see her without any effort. And the song “Imagination” became my inspirational hymn, one that told my story for that whole summer.

The following school year, we were classmates again and this made my secret love burn into a high flame. I then invited her to come to a class party with me. To my surprise, she accepted my invitation. Maybe she really likes me, I said to myself, but I was not too sure about it. Maybe she considers me simply as a brother, which would be the end of the world for me. How then could I ever profess my love to her? I was very shy and I couldn’t bear the thought of being rejected, so I contented myself with keeping my love for her as secret as possible. I was sure that there was nothing in my image that would attract girls. I was just an ordinary student, with a normal GPA, which, of course, was not an outstanding measure of success in school. And I became obsessed with the idea that if she only knew that I had a lot of hidden talents, maybe she would like me. To my disappointment, however, my talents were utterly useless at that time. Those talents could not help me get outstanding grades because I could not use them in the exams; they were of use to me only outside the classrooms.
One weekend, while she was waiting for her ride home, I asked her if I could go with her.  She said ever so politely that I could not because…not even finishing what she said. It then dawned on me that maybe I was just a good friend to her, no more, no less. Disappointed, I went home and I played the song “Imagination” on my radio-cassette player. As I listened to the lyrics, it became clear to me that it was telling the very story of my secret love, a love that began as a secret and would remain a secret. As the melody and lyrics of the song lingered in the air, I wondered if I would ever find one like her again:

Imagination is silly
You go around willy-nilly
For example I go around wanting you
And yet I can’t imagine that you want me too.

I always wondered at the time if she ever knew how deep my love was for her. In my journal, I wrote the following verse as a closure to my secret love:

“I love her the day I met her
That was when it first began
I never thought that I could love her more
But I found out that I can
Every day she grew more wonderful
And she always will I know
I’ll keep on loving her more and more
Through the years that come and go.”

Looking back, I wonder if she could have loved me if I had professed my love to her after my graduation from college, when I became sure that I really was smarter than when I was still studying.

After graduation, I did not see her until 25 years later. That was when I met her family and she met mine. In my wife I had already found my soul mate, and my secret love became my best friend ever and my best friend forever.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2019, 11:02:49 PM by Joe Carillo »