A Different Tune

For two weeks now, I have been in constant communication with a friend. He is a policeman on training at Zamboanga. I first met him the summer of last year when I went there to take a Specialized Exam. My father sent him ahead to my sisters' boarding house to prepare the place for my stay. That time, he was still a striker of my dad - meaning that he was on the process of applying and while waiting for all those results, he stays with my father and becomes like his secretary/errand boy. He waited for me and when I arrived at the place, he just handed me the keys and left. (In the end though I went with my office mates and stayed at the hotel.)

I met him again last November when I went to Zamboanga to attend my youngest sister's 18th birthday and at the same time, spend my remaining 2 days Forced Leave.  This time, I was with my whole family and we stayed at Mercedes the entire period. We became acquaintances then but weren't that much on speaking terms yet. He meanwhile was already on his last remaining days as a striker, having passed all the exams and just waiting for December 1st to officially start his career as a policeman.

When my mother, brother and I, along with two other policemen went home that Sunday, mom told us that 'he' asked her about me. 'He' was also teased by the other strikers but he only commented that he would save up for me. When I heard that, I did not react. Too many of them have fallen in that trap already. But it did catch my attention since I deem it a little funny and bold of him to say that in front of my mother.

Last Monday, April 11, 2011, he visited me in the office. I did not recognize him at first but after about a second or two, comprehension dawned on me. Since it was still very early in the morning and I still do not have any clients waiting, we chatted for quite some time. Apparently, it was their first break after they took oath last December and he only arrived last night and will be going back the following morning. I asked him what training he is undergoing now and also took notice that he is not that sun burnt nor very thin as I expected him to be. According to him, he already gained the little weight and color he lost as they are now doing classroom lectures and having finished (for a while) with the very physical aspect.

He paid his contributions upstairs at our tellering section and I thought he'd be gone already but he came back and just said goodbye. I was laughing when he finally left.

That lunch break when I went home, there was a Greenwich pizza waiting for me. My siblings were very surprised when I knew who it came from. Although it wasn't mentioned in our conversation that he would buy something for us, somehow I knew that the gift was from him. And weird though it may sound but I did not think it odd that he would do such a thing. He was just being grateful to us for the help my father extended to him during his time as a striker. But of course, the family teased me and at the back of my mind, I couldn't stop this notion from slowly creeping into my consciousness.

That afternoon, my mother with my two sisters fetched me in the office in order to visit Jen, an SFC sister, in the hospital, who just gave birth. (My parents by the way were one of their principal sponsors). Jen's husband Jojo, is his classmate in the training and both of them became strikers of my dad. Jojo was there and so he talked about him and also mentioned that he asked for my number. I as well got his number.

When we came home at around 6:30pm, Liling told us that he came by and gave us a lechon manok. Now there was a fuss over it because the Greenwich pizza wasn't really worth the suspicion, but the lechon manok is quite different. Why would he give a second time?

So my mother texted him to come over and have dinner with us. He came but stayed only for awhile. There was now a certain awkwardness in the air and mang bluntly asked him (though quietly but strong enough for me to hear) if he came for me or for her. Of course he became conscious and I, as expected, got tongue tied.

The following day, just when my time at the office was finally ending, he texted. He was pleasant and courteous and it would seem very cheeky and haughty of me if I spurn him away right then and there. Besides, I didn't want to do that because he already caught my attention and I kinda like his daring attitude. So, thus begun our texting history.

That same night, my father called my mother and told her that 'he' came by at Mercedes around 4pm and gave him a live chicken and they for some time, drank beer together. Of course my father at this point didn't know yet what he has been doing for us. So my mother fill him in on the latest developments and also asked him jokingly what his thoughts are regarding the whole situation. I was kinda relieved when he told her that its ok with him. He knew him well and he has work already so there's really nothing wrong. And all the while when he and I were texting, he never once mentioned to me that he went to Mercedes. It was I who thanked him for doing all those things.

You see, my family's opinion regarding the men I entertain really matter to me. And of all the men who attempted, he is the boldest and most determined. He text me in the morning and at night before their formation and bedtime even if cellphones are not really allowed in the camp. Sometimes we only text for awhile because he is studying or I have a meeting. And I was quite flattered when one time I asked him where he was and he said he was outside the barracks since the Smart signal is very hard to find inside the camp. And there was a drizzle then in Zamboanga because my father told us so. So, I consented to using Globe so that he wont have to go outside and also to avoid any punishments he might receive.

I guess what set him above the others is his tenacity, boldness and the way he gained the friendship of my family - my father specially. Last Sunday, he, Jojo, and 6 other policemen who had been strikers, went to Mercedes and visited my dad. They brought him food and they all ate lunch together.

He isn't that intelligent. In fact, he has a lot of wrong grammars. He also doesn't have a proper religion. When he is at their hometown, he  goes to church at the Assembly of God, but when he is here in Pagadian, he attends mass at Cathedral. His family is also separated; being the 10th child among 13 children and the father having died when he was still 10yrs. old, he was forced to leave his mother, stay with his aunt and work his way in order to go to school. He grew up in the farm and is already used to hard labor.

So there is really nothing very phenomenal about him - except that he caught my attention and is now the reason for my singing a different melody. And in all fairness, I like the way it sounds.

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