This is me breaking up with you. I think we both knew this wasn’t going anywhere, but still, you don’t know how much it pains me to write this.
For sure, from the start, you were never my type. You reminded me too much of the other men in my past that I had learned to avoid and distrust – and with good reason.
I’ve had men like you. Larger than life. Big on promises and even bigger on braggadocio. If I were still a teenager, all of it would have excited me. There are still tall tales of you roaring around town on your big bike, with a lopsided smile that bordered on a sly smirk. A pistol always peeking out of our belt. Cursing was all part of the devilish charm.
Deliciously rebellious. Unapologetically naughty. Downright forbidden.
Your presence made churchgoing mothers instinctively make the sign of the cross. Fathers would furrow their eyebrows and narrow their eyes at the mere mention of you. But deep inside, they were intimidated by you. Scared, even.
There were millions who thought you were the one for me. And in spite of myself, I could understand why. You made me believe in the future.
You weren’t the first one to promise a future – far from it. But you were the first one to make me believe it was possible. They all said you had what the others didn’t: heart, sincerity, and commitment. The staying power to keep me happy.
So I gave you a chance. God knows I’ve given others who promised much less so much more of me.
The first few months were agonizing. There was too much blood. Too much pain. Grief beyond comprehension. But I was still willing to give you a chance. I told myself that it was too early to give up. You would change. You had to. It couldn’t go on this way.
Then you buried the dictator in sacred ground. You know how much he had hurt me. You tried to wash your hands of any wrongdoing, but you even sent flowers, for god’s sake! Everyone saw it. You weren’t even sorry about it. You were just sorry you were caught.
The West Philippine Sea would have been our legacy to our children. But you threw it all away for a stack of loans – no, pledges – from my most bitter rival. You placed her interests before mine. All it took was some drumbeating and a flamboyant ceremony in your honor. It has been months but I can still taste the betrayal.
I know there were good times, too. You were sensitive, caring, and most of all – present. For the soldiers, for the migrant workers, for the police. But you were selective in your affection and abusive and sadistic in wielding punishment. I couldn’t understand how you could be so caring to some and yet so callous to others.
I was not asking for perfection. Only a fool believes in that. Perfection is what we say we need when we don’t know what we want. It’s the same thing when we say we need a savior who will make everything right. I knew what I wanted. I knew what I needed. Decency. Transparency. Respect.
My mother was right. Kindness outweighs and outlives all else.
I know what is going to come next. You or your spokesperson will explain. You will make extravagant grand gestures of atonement. You will say all the right things.
Only, you will say them at the wrong time.
No more empty promises. No more lies. No more proclamations that are so hollow they echo in my ears. I am so very tired.
You’re not going to be the last man who will break my heart, I know. But I know enough to choose better next time.