MANILA, Philippines — "It's just the beginning, Elle," he told me as I tried to hold back tears on that fateful day of August 29—the day when he's bound to go back to his home country.
I never really thought that I had the capacity to take such a risk. I've always challenged myself to do things I have never done before, but there's also a part of me that's safe, scared and grounded. But he was different. I knew it was the right thing to do.
I still remember that exact moment at the airport when he told me he's going to look outside the walls once he's past security so he could wave goodbye one more time.
We didn't know then that the airport walls were tinted from the inside. He struggled to look for me, but failed. He didn't get to wave goodbye and see me for the last time. Instead, he looked for his phone in his pocket and sent me a message, "Find it hard to say it in person but <3 you too."
I guess, unspoken words are sometimes more powerful than spoken ones.
But I saw him.
In that exact moment, I felt miles away from him again and everything we shared the past weeks all came back to me: when we lie on the grass while laughing and singing along to that Maroon 5 song; when he helped me swim through currents and waves in what could be the world's most beautiful island; when we trekked through stones and rocks; and when we helped a couple of tourists find their lost bags.
And I heard him.
I heard him say "I love you" many times—through his actions and his selfless gestures. I heard him say "I love you" when he booked that plane ticket to see me. I heard him say "I love you" when he laughed at my not-so-funny jokes. I heard him say "I love you" when he hugged me tight after having a nightmare. I heard him say "I love you" every single day that I was with him.
I've proven now that anything worth having is worth waiting for.
No relationship is perfect. Ours isn't. God knows how crazy our arguments and fights can be but I've learned to be more forgiving and he's taught me a lot of things, made me see things I never thought were there. I can only hope he's learning something from me too.
It's hard to see him go every time, especially the first time. There was no guarantee that nothing will get in the way of our plan but he's right, it was just the beginning for us.
"There's no reason to be sad," he told me once. Especially when you know you will see each other again, I would add.
He's right, it was just the beginning for us and if every beginning is like this, I don't mind meeting him in any airport in the world.
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