I’m not really a fan. No sir, not me. I love celebrity heartthrobs as much as I would love undergoing appendectomy minus the anaesthesia and with the surgeon using only a spoon and a hairpin for the procedure. Besides, my “loyalty” was with the other network, despite owing nothing from it or loathing anything from the one he’s affiliated with. I’m not really a big fan of television, but somehow, there’s this association I feel with the opposite network.
But still, there are always these situations that would make one win the heart of another by the magic they create, or at least help create.
It is not my objective to be his promoter, but since, like the title says, I am in love with him, I could not resist not writing this, and so I would have to change his name so as to keep the mystery but not the magic.
How could I describe her despair? At 26, she has lost a breast to cancer, and the doctor within me is telling me that there’s really not much hope. She would be leaving soon, and how else could I bring comfort to someone who, while I could empathize with, I could never truly understand the pain?
I would proudly address myself as “Doctor,” but what power does it hold to a disease with poor prognosis? What else is the purpose of being a “healer” if the person you really care for could not be healed? I wanted to believe in miracles – or the possibility of a misdiagnosis (and I was ready to forgive without resorting to a lawsuit) – but somehow, these are just fairy tales that would only lead to further despair.
She tried hard not to cry – not because she’s strong (but she really is), but because doing so would cause her difficulty of breathing, especially after making the life-changing decision to have her breast removed as part of her treatment. I have been comforting her in the best way I could. Of course, I really didn’t know how to. That was the time I was also struggling on my faith and having doubt about my vocation – especially with the thought that I would be losing a very good friend soon.
I would try to offer her anything – any food, any thing, any comfort, any conversation – just to make her feel better, and while she would assure me that she was better, somehow I sense that her mind is in a much deeper thought than the superficiality of my wittiest jokes. She would laugh at them like she would always would, but after doing so she would go back to her thoughts, and in turn, break my heart again and again.
I offered to buy dinner, as she had been complaining how much the hospital food lack taste. I came from duty then, and I didn’t want to be inconvenienced by the nurses in their nearby station to ask for help regarding another insertion (whether IV or Foley) or discharge summary so I took off my blazer and went to the hospital’s food court.
There was a small commotion going on, and, curious, I had to check to see for myself.
There he was.
There were about three or four ladies who were practically swarming him like locusts on a rice paddy. They were all eager to be photographed with him as if doing so would make them the coolest people in the world. They were trying their best not to scream, as after all, this was a decently-run, high-brow hospital, and not a public market for doing so.
I shook my head as I looked at them.
And then it hit me.
My friend and I would often talk about our crushes, and, of course, I would bring up this model who I have been claiming as my “true love,” just to be always on the safe side of things. She, on the other hand, would reply Paolo’s name, also just to be on the safe side. Of course, our conversation would dry up after that, as we would end up changing topics instead of conversing about nonsense things like what was really happening between us. I would, once in a while, mention how ugly Paolo is, to which she would playfully argue with me that I was just insecure. I would arrogantly reply to her that beside me, her “beloved” Paolo would look like a houseboy or a bodyguard. She would tell me that he would, because I would look like a water container or a Rottweiler beside him. I would then feign anger, losing the argument as I would always do, but hearing her laugh at me and feeling her embrace on my arm, I know that I love losing against her.
I straightened my clothes, and I started walking towards him. I felt my heart beat hard against my chest. It felt like I was approaching a long-time crush, finally summoning every fibre of strength to speak.
I extended a hand towards him and greeted him. “Hey, Paolo.” He was civil enough to take it and reply, “Oy, pare.” Quickly lightly gripping it and taking my hand off, I finally spoke my mind, “Can I take a picture of us, if it’s all right?”
He looked at me, as if hesitant about my request, but trying to mask it with the coolness of his charming smile. It was perfectly understandable: that was the point that he was being rumoured as having been seen with another man in a hotel, and being asked by another man for a picture together would seem awkward. It was the point in which I wish I could have melted. Or at least not have made the move in the first place.
It was somehow a good thing a patient’s relative recognized me and greeted me with “doctor.”
“You’re a doctor,” he asked, as if hoping to segue from my request into a shallow conversation.
“Yes,” I replied. I took a deep breath before finally telling him my purpose. “A very good friend of mine is confined in the 8th floor. Well, she’s got a crush on you…”
He smiled, probably having heard the line so many times already but perhaps pretending to be flattered to have heard it anyway. He listened to me intently.
“Well, I said I’m much better looking than you and she disagrees with me. I thought if I could get a photograph of us I could prove it to her.”
He laughed. Of course I knew I was lying, but maybe he admired the spunkiness of my approach and novelty of my purpose.
He asked a companion (I didn’t even notice that he had anyone with him that time), who took a picture of us using my phone’s camera. After that he motioned his companion for something and he was given a glossy picture of himself. He took a pen and wrote in the back of the picture.
He smiled as he gave me the picture as he was finally whisked by his companions away. From the distance, I waved a goodbye to him as he looked at his fans (now including me) and also waved a goodbye.
I looked at the autographed picture and found that he wrote there: “Your boyfriend is much better looking than me.”
When I returned to my friend’s room, I was half-running, half-leaping. I showed her the picture and she laughed at me – the first time I heard her laugh again without restraint, and she told me how much she admired my nerve in making Paolo write something like that. (Of course, I had to convince her that Paolo actually was in the hospital and it was something that I had not made up. My account had to be corroborated by another visitor of hers who saw him as she was coming to the hospital).
I didn’t tell her about the photograph until I had it developed. When she got it, she laughed at me and told me how thick my face really is.
“But you’ve got to admit: I am much better looking than Paolo. He conceded to that.”
“No, he’s still much better looking than you,” she said without taking her eyes from the picture, but she smiled as she finally looked at me. “But, yes, I’ve got to admit: I love you more than I love him.”
And I also got to admit: like her, I have also fallen in love with Paolo.
P.S.: I didn’t write this ;] This is by Dr. Rey Ef Regidor, a doctor friend slash co-writer in our online magazine. Well, I have nothing much to say about Doc Rey–but one thing, and that is he is always mistaken as a priest by kids in the streets. ;]