‘As I find pieces of myself I worry that it’s costing you pieces of my heart’

Love letter straight from the sand

By A. Mabini

I remembered the moment I tricked her into holding my hand. It was one of the oldest tricks in the book. I examined it with mine, and without warning locked my fingers with hers and said, “Perfect.”

That was 11 years ago when we were both in high school. We had no idea it would last this long. Despite promises of good will and love, at the end of the day we were both just in high school; we had no real-life problems. But we pushed through, and now after 11 years of hard work, heartache and sufficient love we find ourselves once again in a difficult situation.

Like many of my peers, I find myself in a pickle: having to choose between chasing a dream or settling for the conventional life back in New York. I chose the former and went home to the Philippines.

I told Jaja that I’m going back to the islands to “find myself.” Reluctantly, she let me go but promised to hang on as much as she couple. I went ahead, knowing that the next couple of months would be lonely but would be good for my soul and, hopefully, my mind.

I jumped from island to island, from landmark to landmark. Within each beautiful sunset and every serene sunrise, I felt the life of my soul but always with pangs of loneliness. The beauty of this world to my heart is not complete without her next to me.

I spoke to her a couple of nights ago. She was sad and lonely; so was I. Then she told me that she was happy that I found myself, but sad that I lost us.
We’ve put up with each other’s crap for so long, but I think the realization that finding myself did not require her to be around hurt her the most. She is without a doubt a reason of my life, but I felt like this was a trip I needed to take by myself.

The thing about a Pilipina is that she knows what commitment and dedication literally mean. For her, it’s not just a punchline on a love story, nor is it just a word you say when you’re high on life. Commitment is countless hours on the phone with the person you love but have left you for the unknown thousand of miles away.

Dedication is using empty dreams of holding my hand as her main motivation to hold on to my heart despite the distance.

But even marathon runners run out of breath. She’s tired. I could tell from her weary voice, and from her tired eyes when we FaceTime. I know it’s only a matter of time until she says, “Fuck it, I’m tired of this and I’m done.”

Commitment should never equate to stupidity nor dedication to recklessness. But I hope, almost as hopelessly as the poorest man in the Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo that her heart will find Samson’s strength and hold on.

I use to write love letters to her. It was my favorite way of confessing my love to her. This time around I want to let the whole world in on our little love story, but babe this is still just for you.

Dear Jo Ella,

I am sorry that I haven’t written to you in a while. Yesterday you reminded me what I promised you years ago, that I will love you forever and that I will remind you everyday in different ways. A love letter used to be my favorite way to express to you how much I love you but through time, it’s faded. I hope your love for me will never fade, and mine for you will never ever fade. So here’s a desperate attempt to revive our intimacy and it’s for the whole world to see that I am a hopeless fool for you, my love.

I looked at a Boracay sunset a couple of days ago and I thought of you. I felt a great deal of loneliness because you weren’t with me but I found comfort that the warmth of the sun was on its way to you. I hoped to God that when the morning sun awoke you, you will somehow mistake the warmth, as me next to you, softly kissing your closed eyes to awake you.

When I soaked in the beauty of a Chocolate Hills morning, I thought of you again. Then I realize that when I’m looking at your beautiful face, I think of nothing else.
Every city that I meet, I imagine you next to me talking my ears off, as I look for a decent hotel we can drop off our bags and head out to explore the city. But then reality hits, and although I smile at the pictures I take alone, I miss you and wish I was taking a picture of you instead. My love, I love you. I love your love, especially when you express it with your arms wrapped around me so tightly.

I regret that I am away from you. I am sorry that I’m not there to wake you. Know that somewhere on the other side of the world I often close my eyes just so I can see your face that’s been tattooed long ago inside the lids of my eyes. Sometimes I stare in the blank when I feel a soft island breeze and I imagine how your hand felt the first time I tricked you into holding my hand. Do you remember how smooth I was? I remember how shy you were, but little did I know you had the most things to say in the history of life, ever. But it’s fine as long as life remains just you and I.

I started this trip looking for myself in the islands deeply rooted in our hearts. As I find pieces of myself in every city I meet, I worry that it’s costing you pieces of my heart. I love you, my love, and I am confident that despite this difficulty, you and I will remain.

Bunny, always and forever,


A. Mabini was born in Davao City and raised in the Bronx. He’s back in the Philippines hoping to “find myself.” For more of his writing, visit his blog Burning Dog.

One Comment

  1. M. Matthews wrote:

    Indeed, wonderful love story worth reading over and over again. I hope the writer will find himself one day!

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