Ireland and My First Love

Ireland and My First Love by Cristina Roa. Written for SubSelfie.com.

Through pictures of Castle Donovan and the box buildings of Dublin, I fell in love with Ireland. Sometimes the skies would send torrents of ice; sometimes the sun would beam rainbows across the green lands filled with clover leaves.

Through his grey cold eyes, I fell in love with Rupert. Sometimes he would not speak and would not care about anything else but his thoughts; sometimes, he would hug me from the back and I could smell the faint scent of his hair.

I could never understand why I really love Ireland when I haven’t even been there. I’m from the Philippines and the story of why I’m curious about this country is tragic even. My relative worked in Dublin but died of frostbite when her landlady cut off her electricity bill. Still, the mystique of Ireland captivated me, much in the same way as Rupert’s hair that flowed in soft auburn curls. Like the Emerald Isle, he was isolated and quiet. I met him around August 2013. I was turning fourteen, and he, 22.

Aviva Stadium in Dublin, the capital of Ireland.
Aviva Stadium in Dublin, the capital of Ireland.
Baggot Street in Upper Dublin.
Baggot Street in Upper Dublin.

I did not know about his age too soon. But when I did, it was too late; I fell for him. When, where, how, I don’t know. But I guess I know why. We would speak for hours and he’ll never look bored. His eyes sparkled; I saw that even though he would shyly look away. I’ve never felt like this before. So I prayed ‘Please, no’.

But that prayer was never heard.

By September, he gave me blue roses, my favorite, along with a mushy card. I found his handwriting funny. With every laugh, my heart softened. Sometimes I would see letters or sweets inside my bag and it helped me get through difficult days. If Druids back in Ireland believed they could have magical protection by possessing a four-leaf clover in hand, I guess all I needed was Rupert.

Age is just a number and maybe for mature people, it doesn’t really matter at all. But at my tender age, the gap between us seems to be a big deal to some of my classmates who bullied me for it. The exaggerated ones even called me a slut. It was too much for me to handle. By October, I spoke to Rupert about ending whatever we had, looked him straight in the eye and actually made him cry.

Days, weeks, and a couple of months passed, I was terribly missing him. It felt like booking a flight to visit my favorite landmarks in Drogheda, only to find out that I have lost the ticket and I can’t really go.

Boyne Bridge in Drogheda, Ireland. This town has its annual pantomime every January or February as well as a Samba festival every Summer.
Boyne Bridge in Drogheda, Ireland. This town has its annual pantomime every January or February as well as a Samba festival every Summer.

But just when I was fairly sure I sent him away for good, he tried winning me back by December. He told me he loved the way I understood him even before he has finished explaining. He can hear me talk everyday about the most mundane things such as The Script, Harry Potter, Mitch Albom and the 1967 Chevy Impala. He said I was wise beyond my years. As for me, there are not many reasons. I’m just certain we share a thing of beauty.

He needed someone. His parents died when he was 17 and his sisters went on their separate lives. I tried my best to be there as often as possible, shredding his stress form work. It was quite a happy and headstrong team and we’d help each other through thick and thin. I think of it as similar to St. Patrick’s Day when the Irish would go to church and then drink whiskey straight from the jar. We got by for a long time.

But our time together became as complicated as pronouncing Muckanaghederdauhaulia in Ireland’s County Galway. I was fifteen, turning sixteen, juggling journalism duties for our school paper The Commonwealth Times and academic requirements.  Rupert was fine with it at first because he understood that writing is a physical outlet of my soul. But around the same time, he had to move to Malabon to take on a busier work. It’s not as far as actually flying to Ireland but it was enough distance to prevent us from seeing each other regularly.

Muckanaghederdauhaulia in County Galway, Ireland. Many believe it is the longest name of a place in Ireland. It means "ridge, shaped like a pig's back, between two expanses of briny water." Photo by O'Dea.
Muckanaghederdauhaulia in County Galway, Ireland. Many believe it is the longest name of a place in Ireland. It means “ridge, shaped like a pig’s back, between two expanses of briny water.” Photo by O’Dea.

At first, we called each other whenever we could, saw each other whenever there’s time (the longest time we haven’t seen each other was about three months) and texted when we couldn’t go out. It was good; it helped. I got by, no matter how many times it made me cry. I loved him so much — even though I saw his inbox full of conversations with someone named Jess and his gallery filled with pictures of other girls but so few of mine.

Eventually I found out that Rupert was managing mischief with the efficiency of a leprechaun. But there was no hidden golden pot at the end of his rainbow — just a hidden affair with Jess. I immediately broke up with him through text messages, telling him I’m too done with this. His last reply was “Okay.”

But just when I was fairly sure I sent him away for good , he tried winning me back by December again. It was supposed to be our first anniversary and he tried to see me personally to get me back. I wanted to. I wanted to let him kiss my forehead and to hug him. But I also wanted to stop him from hurting me further. I didn’t see him. Every night, I cried myself to sleep. I kept telling myself I don’t need him even though I know I’m lying.

But sooner or later, I’ll get used to it. I’ll wake up and wonder why I even cared. A traditional Irish remedy for an alcoholic hangover is for a person to be buried in moist river sand up to his or her neck. Maybe I don’t even have to try that to forget him. Maybe it was even a stretch to compare Ireland with my first love, Rupert. Did you know that Ireland never had any snakes because of its geography?

St. Patrick's Cathedral.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

[Entry 125, The SubSelfie Blog]

About the Author:

Cristina Roa.

Cristina Roa is 16 years old and is about to enter the 11th grade at Commonwealth High School in Quezon City. She is a fan of unicorns, dragons, The Script, My Chemical Romance and toasters.

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