You might think that this was when I met hubby. Guess again. We didn't meet until after a year when I first set foot in his Alma Mater. I did meet a couple of cadets though, which led us to have friends in PMA. April 2006, we went there again. Our cadet friends toured us. During the last part of the tour, my friend M and I saw this dashing young man. M asked who this man was and the cadet attending to her told her that this man is his Squad leader. This piece of information would be vital later on, specifically July 2006. I was at the height of my depression then as I was already tired of dating and tired of meeting the wrong ones (a**holes to be specific). I texted R, a cadet who is a good friend of mine and told him about my dilemma. His solution was to give me the "right one". Then the picture of that dashing young man last April 2006 flashed in my mind. I asked R right away if he knew who this squad leader was. Lo and behold! It was HIS squadleader. But he was confused which one because he has 2 squadleaders. I told him, "yung gwapo". To which he replied, "parehas na gwapo yun, hindi ako mapapahiya syo".
Only one of them has a friendster account and upon looking at the primary picture, I knew this was not the one I was referring to. So I told R he is not the one, probably the other guy. This other squadleader who doesn't have a friendster account happens to be J, my J. When I went to Baguio again in August 2006 to celebrate my birthday with friends, R introduced me to him. It didn't take a second glance for me to realize that he was NOT the squadleader I was referring to. Owell, I said. It's ok. I wasn't interested with cadets (who will eventually turn to soldiers) anyway.
One week after that said trip, I received a text from J. R still gave him my number. I was the lamest texter ever. I guess he sensed my disinterest as he eventually stopped texting. Not until another week has passed since his last text when I received another message from him. After a few exchanges of kamustahans and whereabouts, he asked me if I wanted to go to a formal dinner with him in PMA (it's called "hop" in their lingo). M, who has some knowledge of what goes on inside the academy, told me that this hop is special and it's meant for the cadets to sweep ladies off their feet. Really now. That's interesting. However, going to Baguio alone and spending a formal dinner with someone I barely know doesn't feel right to me. Besides, I might be bored to death if we will eventually find out that we don't have rapport whatsoever. So I didn't say yes.
But I didn't say no either. By some stroke of coincidence, they were bound for Manila the next week because of a field trip. A friend suggested to take this opportunity to know the guy at the very least before declining. Since I was already curious about this hop, I thought I'd take this chance. Maybe we'll have some sort of chemistry to make me say yes. We met in Gateway (both of us were accompanied by friends) and it was another affirmation for me that there are no sparks between us. He's shy and would only talk if asked. "How can I talk to this guy the whole night if I was to go to Baguio?". I cried when I got home. At this point, I was really dead tired of dating. I was even asking God, "How many more of these dates will I have to endure before You lead me to the one?". Little did I know that He already led me to him.
Because of the non-spark of our first date, I was about to say no. But some divine force made me say otherwise. Another friend was asked by his mistah (classmate) to go to the same dinner. Now, my initial dilemma of going there alone has been solved and if J wouldn't talk to me the whole night, at least my friend is with me.
September 2006, B (my friend) and I went to Baguio for this hop. We were both excited then as we get to redeem ourselves from the horrible dresses we wore during high school prom. And of course, we get to see Baguio again! I had very little expectations about that night. I was even checking out other cadets. Haha. The J I met in Manila was now a bit different. Maybe because this was his comfort zone. He's still shy but not as silent as when we first met. I did have fun. And our friendship blossomed from hereon.
The days and weeks following the hop night were full of sms exchanges until the wee hours of the morning. There were calls and video calls every now and then. We'd meet when he's on break and I would sometimes find myself making a lot of excuses to go to Baguio with my friends. My friends were telling me that I'm already falling for this guy. To which I will refute easily saying he's not my type.. at all. "Ayoko sa sundalo", "I'm not good with long distance relationship" were my frequent answers to their probing questions. If I don't receive a text from him in a day, I would easily rationalize my longingness for it as "classical conditioning". That since he texts me often, I am now programmed to expect a text from him always. And this longingness will easily disappear if I don't have expectations. That's how guarded I was with my heart then. I rationalize everything. Bawal gumamit ng puso.
But on one particular December break which we spent in Puerto Galera, J managed to melt this guarded heart.
We had a lot of challenges back when he was a cadet and even bigger challenges when he became an officer. As I was about to give up then, I told the Lord to remove him from my life if this is bound to nowhere. God's answer to me was a proposal from J. To which I, of course, said yes. And then after a week, we learned that we were pregnant and decided to fast forward our 2009 initial wedding plans.