Thursday, July 24, 2008

Never A Tomorrow

For us dear, Never a tomorrow.

I fell in love when I was 16 years old. After having endured the Helen and Diana Limjoco in Switzerland 1967.traumas described in previous blog page named "A Child No More", I was ready for some magic.

I was not your average teenager by then. Falling in love changed my life’s path forever. I always held an ideal of what the man I fell in love with would be like. It seemed like everyone I really liked then was spoken for or simply wouldn’t be caught dead with me. I decided I’d rather have boys as friends because I couldn’t stand it when they got all fawn eyed and gooey. I wanted a man who knew his own mind and could teach me things I didn’t know about life.

Diana Limjoco at 17 years old in Manila, Philippines
When I was 16
Being alone with so many secrets I just wanted someone to love me...truly love me.

My love was doomed from the start. I met “Leo”, a pen name, to protect the innocent, in the office of a friend, who happened to be a dentist fixing a bridge for him. A totally unromantic setting to meet the man of your dreams. But no, it mattered little because the room disappeared and I could see only him, and the look in his eyes, the world seemed to have become this vast and expansive universe, with only the two of us in it. We seemed to be looking at someone we had known all our lives, finding each other again after a long absence. It happened in a moment, a mere flash in time, but that moment has lasted my whole life in it’s glorious splendor. It was like a scene from a movie, a love story, and it was happening to me.

Diana Limjoco in London 1967We both spoke the words "It's you!" My friend said, "Oh you both know each other already." Stunned that we both had said the same thing at the same time, we said, "Actually no, we haven't met". We were both still amazed that we had said "It's you!" at the same time.

He immediately took my phone number. The next day he and his driver, picked me up we went to lunch. Nothing mattered except that when we were next to each other or even thought of each other, our heads would swim and we had little control of this feeling. It was like a tidal wave of utmost passion and love, and it would crash down upon us, not even in gentle waves did it come to us. Until now when I think of those days, my heart still quickens and my pulse begins to race, and my breath will come in tiny gasps. The tiny hairs on my nape and arms will rise and every pore aquiver, I still shiver in pleasant ecstatic remembrance. After all these years! It is life’s gift to me.

Unfortunately it became such a tragedy for me and cast shadows over my lifes’ years in my 20’s and 30’s. Perhaps the memories now are a consolation, in that I have learned to forgive him, and forgive myself for my complicity in loving him, as it turned out, a married man. Oh woe the day I found out he was not divorced. But I get a head of myself.

In him I found someone who would listen to my ideas about life, or even answer my questions. He didn’t treat me as though I were a “mere child” but as an equal. The thing I loved about him, aside from his debonair ways, was his MIND. God gave me an inquisitive mind, and as soon as I could think I was pondering the meaning of life and I wanted to know everything about everything.

He was an affluent, self made millionaire/businessman at the age of 31 when I met him. He had also studied chemistry in college and had a brilliant mind for how things worked, in fact, he worked with some other chemists who came up with the very first formula to mold capiz into those lovely articles encased in mother-of-pearl these days. I have one of the very first objects made with this molded capiz, in the form of a praying hands, with an inscription on the back that states that it is “the first of it’s kind”. He was brilliant. He could talk about anything on most subjects. He called me his “little genius” his “diamond in the rough”. He saw the mind God had given me and wanted to help to mold it. He loved opera and could hold his own singing in soprano, versions of “che gelida manina” from the Opera La Boheme.

He loved to sing to me and play the piano, and I would blissfully listen, conjuring up dreams of our charmed future together. He was aside from other things, a VP at a popular Manila Newspaper and he introduced me to photojournalism first hand. I was thrilled. Photography was a love of mine since my dad gave me my first “Brownie” camera when I was about 11 years old. Dad was the first to show me how to use a camera. But I stray. He let me go out with the writers and take photos of their sessions so I could learn get the experience I wanted.

We were always careful and discreet in where we went together. My parents would never have allowed me to even begin seeing a man of this age or go on assignments with writers, altho he was always with me for these. After 3 months of basically hiding this affair from my parents, “Leo” said we should “come clean” because after my classes I had no more reasons to be going out of the house as often as I had. We then both went to my parents and “confessed” our feelings for one another, and he surprised me by asking for my hand in marriage! My parents looked as though someone had punched them in the stomach. But upon my protestations at their disapproval and avowals of love from both of us, they relented to a test period of engagement; that were could proceed with the courtship in the open and with their blessing after that.

Oh joy, of joys. To love him openly, to be with him and my family together as one.We both loved to dance and when we danced our bodies were one, and our rhytyms were in tune, and it was a glorious experience to be led across a dance floor by him. Often people would stop and watch, as though we were Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. He spoiled me mercilessly. I had never wanted for much from my family, and being a sickly only daughter, I was spoiled by them as well. On my first birthday with him, he told me to go outside, we were at the Newspaper office, which I did. I saw a car filled to overflowing with roses. Roses!! Thousands of red roses..when I opened the door they spilled out and the fragrance of them made me dizzy. Taped to the steering wheel was a card and the keys to the car and a note that there was still another present hidden amongst the roses in the car. It was a dainty Rolex Orchid to fit my delicate wrist!!

WOW..EXCITING!! I didn’t even know how to drive!! My parents drove me everywhere I need to go, or we had a driver. How was I going to get this home, and let’s see, my dumb luck, it’s a stick shift too!! Well I faked it....drove that puppy all the way home. How I did it I will never know, but I managed it from remembering the times my mother explained it to me. The gears, the pedals etc. I was beet red from exertion, that when he met up with me he even asked why I was so red!! I think I blamed it on the heat! He was fond of buying me fine jewelry, extraodinary sets in custom. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, matching earrings, tiarra, necklaces, bracelets, rings, he showered upon me. Some of my female relatives collected and wore such baubles, pearls, diamonds, emeralds etc. They always mesmerized me but I had no overwhelming desire to seek them out on my own. To me they were tokens of his affection and the size or quality mattered little to me.

One time I wanted to eat Chinese food, he asked me to bring my passport to lunch, and had his driver pick me up. I was taken to the airport where I met him and off we flew to Hong Kong for Chinese food. How romantic! How could I not love this man with his wonderful surprises?? Hong Kong was just over a couple hours away from Manila by plane.

He made the simplest things seem extraordinary and he marveled at my ability to grasp politics, his ideas on chemistry, philosophy, history. For hours on end we would discuss these things, that is, when we could pry ourselves apart from a torrid embrace or lingering kiss. Eventually of course, Manila being the small town that it was and is, we found out “Leo” was not divorced at all. That he was still living with his wife and 6 children. At first he would make excuses that his wife was fragile, he couldn’t tell her right then, or that there were legal complications. So in love with him was I that I wanted to believe these blatant lies. I wanted to believe he couldn’t have done this to our love, but soon enough it was all too clear that he had lied to me from the very first.

To say that it broke my heart would never describe the total devastation I felt when I realized he had betrayed my trust in him. I felt like a fool, and I even talked to his wife, who also eventually found out, telling her I’m sorry, I didn’t know. It was so awful to face her but it was a catharsis for me, and ll the while a part of me was screaming, “I don’t care if he lied, I love him anyway.” But no, for me it was over.

All the rivers in the world could have been filled with my tears when I told him it was over. He begged me to forgive him, and even showed up with a suitcase one night saying he’d finally done it, he’d left her. But I knew I would never trust him again, and I never wanted his children to say it was me who tore their father from them. I wanted to keep him, but in my heart, I knew it was wrong, and I had to let him go. My mother took me on a trip to Europe to get me away from him. To help me forget him. But when we arrived in Switzerland, he was there to meet us at the airport with a limousine waiting outside, saying, that we had to say goodbye properly, that it would all work out, that he loved me, and would love me forever and to please be patient. I never saw a thing in Switzerland but him...through my endless tears. My poor mother was so overwrought.

We all tried to be civil during this trip, we had dinner, tried to pretend all was well. Leo and my mom talking about possibilities for my new future. It’s all a daze to me. We went on to London, and again he met up with us. I couldn’t escape him. One night he opened up three velvet boxes with sets of matching bracelets, rings, necklaces, tiaras; one rubies and diamonds, the other diamonds and emeralds, and the last diamonds and blue sapphires. He said he had gotten them at a bargain for only $1 million dollars each and that they were for me, as a token of his love and affection. I felt as though he was trying to buy me back and I hurled them across the room and fled weeping. Finally realizing it was a futile trip, we came back home to Manila, just in time for my brothers wedding.

It went from being the fairy tale romance of the year to a future I didn’t know I could face without him. One night I was so distraught I took every pill I could get my hands on, hoping to die. I guess my parents found me and rushed me to the Hospital to have my stomach pumped. I was shrieking for them to leave me alone to let me die. I was cursing the doctor. When the pills didn’t work, I crashed my car into a sea wall, but was once again saved and taken to a hospital to be stitched up. Life had no meaning for me.

Life was a cruel joke on the innocent. God was cruel and uncaring. I was at war with God and the world and most of all myself. I felt so alone, so very alone. I had planned a life of adventure with him, and now to face it alone, I could not. I tried so many ways to do myself in, and none of them worked until I simply gave up and went through the motions of life to try to recapture the love of life I had before him.

My parents sent me away from him to San Francisco to take up classes in fashion design which I thought I would enjoy but didn’t. We were so close that one time it came into my head that he was downtown at the St. Francis Hotel, and on an impulse I called the hotel and he was indeed there with his wife.

We were always running into each other in the oddest places, hotel lobbies in Los Angeles, or at the airports on our ways here and there. And always, the fervent looks, and he would whisper that he still did and would always love me. It was something we both knew, it was something we both knew we could never recapture again in this life. We always loved each other in a special way all his life. He died a year or two ago, and I knew when he died, when his soul left this earth. Though we could never be together, but in the special way of kindred spirits I knew when his indomitable spirit left this earth.

When I remember him now, it is no longer the torrents of passion, but a simpler, kinder love for each others souls and indomitable spirits. To him I want to say, “Thank you for the love and even the pain, that has molded my life into one of great meaning and depth.” And as always my dearest friend, even though you are gone now from this earth, and for us, “never a tomorrow”, I hope you are at peace and happy now where ever you are.(as much as I’d like to put up photos of us, this mans wife is still alive and his children, I would not wish to hurt in any way, should they stumble across this diary)"

This song by Queen reminds me of this love affair to remember:

Words and music by brian may
Theres no time for us
Theres no place for us
What is this thing that builds our dreams yet slips awayFrom us
Who wants to live foreverWho wants to live forever....?
Theres no chance for us
Its all decided for us
This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us

Who wants to live forever
Who wants to live forever?
Who dares to love forever?
When love must die

But touch my tears with your lips
Touch my world with your fingertips
And we can have forever
And we can love forever
Forever is our today
Who wants to live forever
Who wants to live forever?
Forever is our today

Who waits forever anyway?

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Blog of Diana J. Limjoco of the Clan Limjoco