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Loveless, and yet I do think of love. How many men have passed me by on my way to work, on my way home? The handsome security guard manning the platform at Ayala Station. The stranger in shades. The yuppie walking along Salcedo, business attire and all – on the phone, the tapping of his leather shoes’ heel on the sidewalk, his fragrance. The young and dotting father in his polo shirt, khaki shorts, leather wristwatch, and Nike rubber shoes, pushing a fancy pram with his wife behind him. How many times did it not flit in my thoughts the desire to be the wife? Or to lie with these strangers in my head. Evening rendezvous. Fleeting trysts. Anyone with a half-day stubble. Anyone with a figure expressed by his clothes.

I imagine, what it must be, to be theirs. Foolishness, I mutter. And yet, how pleasant. I could imagine my entire future with him. Or when a man presses his body onto mine inside a packed MRT. How easy it is to imagine he was my lover! Stolen glances, chances. Until he alights and is swallowed by the distance. Loveless and thinking of love because I do not know love. How I have desperately held my own to hands together to know the sensation, only for that knowledge to fall short of the actual truth. And when was the last time I held another man’s hands? During the Our Father inside the Church as I dreamed of all the forty-something fathers and their salt-and-pepper mane in the front pews. Maybe an affair, the entanglements of taboo, hoping my un-Christian thoughts, and startling idleness during rituals would guarantee some relief from pain. How many men have passed me and their motions mistaken as affection? Too many to count, I dare say.

Too many to mention.

The trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely.

― Charlotte Brontë

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