He saw her cycling to school one day. “She’s our new English teacher,” informed his younger brother. One glance was all it took and his heart was set forever. Never mind that she had no idea he existed. Never mind that she already had a steady boyfriend of three years. Never mind that she seemed way out of his league.
And so began his pursue. He would write her letters. And eventually even mustered up the courage to say hello to her personally, sweaty palms and all. She was friendly but nothing more. He made the gallant move of finding her home and introducing himself to her stern father, stating his sincere interest in his eldest daughter (after all, that was what they did in their day). She entertained his courting moves but she remained unmoved. He was a charming young man but surely not her type.
But he never gave up.
It was a whirlwind romance you might say because five months later, he proposed. There was much objection but no obstacle would prove to be a challenge for a couple in love. Her father agreed on an engagement but she was to return to the Philippines, their homeland, thereafter. A wedding would take place only much later. He would not have it, this young man of 22, for he knew it was a ploy to bring her as far away as possible from him. He would marry her right there and then – and nothing would stop him. “You’re crazy! He’s not suitable for you!” cried her friends. But she knew she had found the man she would spend the rest of her life with. It was beyond comprehension for her friends and family but made all the sense in the world to her.
On May 6th, 1967, my parents tied the knot in a small church in Papar.
My father has always told me that when a man has his heart set on something he really desires, nothing will stop him from achieving it. “I didn’t have a penny to my name and to be honest, I had no idea what kind of future was in store. But none of that mattered because I had the woman I loved right by my side and together, we braved it all,” he said.
And then he would always say to me, “Melissa, marry a man who will stop at nothing to be with you. Love makes no excuses, doesn’t bargain nor does it make you feel worth less than you really are. If a man truly loves you, there is no such thing as an obstacle.”
He and my mother are a testament of that for 41 years.
Happy anniversary, Mum and Dad. In a world where hearts are broken everyday, I only have to listen to the two of you bickering about the remote control and know there's hope for me yet, haha!