Not being so young anymore, we were both not very big on birthdays, or any other occasions for that matter. Do you remember that one and only time we spent Christmas together? It was so laid back, a simple lunch out then we walked home from the mall and had an easy afternoon. Dinner was with family, then a quiet night again.
What I appreciated the most, my dear ex fiancé, is how you tried to find time for me. I know how busy you are with your children and your work. I could not care less if we slept on a mattress on the floor or if we celebrated our 1st year anniversary in a hawker (remember how you forgot to make reservations so we had to wait for 2 minutes to get seated?) or if we met in Bangkok instead of Brisbane for my 35th birthday. Did I tell you that was my very first anniversary date? You could have spent a grand for dinner and it would not have been any more special.
So many fun memories, here are 10 of my favorites, I will never forget.
1. Our first dinner together and you ordered too much, beef, chicken, pork, fish, vegetables! It was funny because if you were trying to impress me, it actually backfired! I gave you the liberty to order (because I’m not really very particular when it comes to food and you are quite familiar with Japanese) since I was kind of high back then. Not to sound very cheesy, but I was so busy (and overwhelmed) falling in love with you. I’m glad that was the only time we wasted food.
2. We have not met in person yet and you wanted me to come with you to Bali to move in to a villa together. I distinctly remember telling you it was too early to tell if I wanted to spend my 34th birthday with a stranger, no matter how devilishly handsome he is. I am glad I did agree, that was one of the two most special birthdays I have ever had. I asked you not to get me a present, (again it was your time that I appreciated the most) but you did fat get me a kindle anyway (you placed it under my pillow, to boot). Thank you for taking the day off and only working for two hours that day (you are such a workaholic). We had some breakfast at a quaint little place with the view of the mountains and you took me to see the rice terraces (I should have tried the swings) and on our way back we had ice cream. I do not remember what we had for lunch but for dinner you took me to a nice little Italian restaurant (with candlelight) and made the waiters and waitresses sing me happy birthday! What is remarkable about that trip was how my shoes stayed in the same spot (and to think I took a nap on that couch one evening when we had a fight) where I left them after we arrived until I had to wear them again on our way to the airport for my flight home.
3. I will never forget how you welcomed Sophia in the airport in Bangkok on your knees with arms wide open. It did not even bother me much that you greeted her first before your girlfriend. That was only the second time you met her (and our fourth), after a quick dinner the month before. But you two have been talking a lot on the phone already. When I saw the hotel you chose with the play place in the dining area and the chicken room, I was so touched by how considerate you were! She will never forget the chicken room with the cute little bed up the stairs. I knew then that you would be good not only to me but my daughter. I learned how very thoughtful (and patient) you were on that trip.
4. Before we met for the second time (I was already your girlfriend then) you showed me links of apartments in Singapore. It was not until 10 months later that we actually moved in together in Rainforest, but that was when I knew that you were not just fooling around with me. I was so sure the next time we will go looking at properties together, it would be for a house we will make a home out of, where we could put my and Sophia’s photo on the lounge chairs in a frame on the wall. Oh, well. In two years, you will be semi-retired. I hope you find a house where you can settle down, preferably near a beach maybe.
5. The second time we met, we took a road trip to Malaysia. I asked you to play Stephen Speaks’ “Passenger Seat” and even if you did not sing it (since you do not know it) it felt so good. We were still basically strangers, but it was so comfortable and easy with you. I remember thinking back then how life would be so full of adventures with you. Hey, thank you for going shopping with me! I hate doing it (we both do), so I am glad you let me take you down with me. You were ever so patient while waiting for me to pick just the right sunglasses. My favorite part of that trip was the first night when you told me about the history of Malaysia on our way to dinner and enjoying each other’s company on the walk back.
6. I have often complained to you how I seemed to be your last priority, after your kids and work, and you said I was being unfair. You showed me I was also important to you when you squeezed in two days out of your busy schedule, before you went to Europe, to meet me and Sophia in Taiwan. You even drove for me and my friends after only having four hours of sleep and you had to wait for half an hour for everyone to get ready.
7. Last October 2019, I was a little disappointed when you could not meet me in Brisbane for my 35th birthday because of work. You were needed in Bangkok, so I went there instead. You more than made up for it by taking the day off (and again, only had 2 or 3 hours of calls) and we went to the mall so I can pick up a ring. The first weekend we were together, 13 months before then, you were already talking about the next 50 years of our lives together. Over the course of our relationship you did make me feel like I could hope and dream again, you made me feel like I was the most beautiful and kindest and loving woman in the world (at least in your eyes) and you made me believe that true love does exist. Thank you for teaching me how to love. You just laughed when I asked, but the real reason why we met in Bangkok instead was because diamonds are cheaper there than in Brisbane, right? For a man who is not big on celebrating birthdays etc, you did make mine very special indeed.
8. I was terrified of commitment when we met, and you have been very patient with me. I do appreciate your reassuring me when I felt insecure, your tolerance when I lashed out at you for not giving me more attention and time than you were capable of, your understanding of where I was coming from and who I was. You have shown me many good things and you have treated me (and my daughter) well. I always kept telling you one of the many reasons I loved you was because you are such a good father. Some day, I will show Sophia your photos again and we will be able to talk about you without hurting at all.
9. I will never forget the countless walks we took and talks about anything and everything that comes to mind. I will never forget the way you smiled at me when you see me after a day’s work or after several weeks we have been apart. I will never forget the many times we watched a show together after dinner and we almost always never finish. I will never forget how just being in the front seat of the upper deck of a bus made us so giddy. I will never forget your promise to take me to Italy and Iceland, and get me a jacuzzi when I turn 100, and you will buy me clothes when we meet again. I will never forget our plans to watch the sun rise and set everyday, to hold hands while we take a walk by the beach, to sit in rocking chairs side by side while reading, to hold each other until death parts us. I will never forget the happiest year and a half of my life with you.
10. I will never forget the big part you played in shaping the woman I am today. I have changed so much from when we first met. You have made me want to be a better person. Even now when we are no longer together, you still inspire me. Thank you.
Funny how we do not want to make a fuss for our birthdays and all, yet we made the other’s special still. Maybe spending your 50th with me and Sophia was not a big deal for you, but I felt so honored that you decided to take 3 days off work (again, with only 2-3 hours of calls etc) so we can celebrate in Palawan.
Earlier, I told Sophia it’s Tito D’s birthday today, and I asked her how he feels about you. She just said if you are sad then she would be sad too and if you are happy then she would be happy too. Maybe someday when you two meet again, she will be as tall as (or taller than) me. Then you can tell her she was as tall as your belly button the first time you met.
I wish you good health and a long and happy life with all the people you love. I am grateful for all the good memories I have. Know that you are never alone.
Happy birthday! Sophia and I made ice cream and our fingers are having a party. 🥳
#ToABetterSarah #RaisingSophia #WhatTheWorldNeedsNow
21 August 2019, Puerto Princesa, Palawan.