I was so scared when M and I began dating in 2008, but I continued going out with him, anyway. I didn’t even care that I was about to leave for college in a month. I was hopeful that we could pull off a long-distance relationship. Besides, he assured me that he’d remain loyal and wouldn’t flirt with other girls. He promised me this as he held my hand. We were hanging out at a McDonald’s branch along P. Oliveros Street in Antipolo City. Of course, I believed him. I was young and trusting, and he seemed sincere. A few months later, however, my mother caught him holding another girl’s hand just a few steps away from the same McDonald’s branch. Eventually, I found out that they’d been together for many months.
Aboard an ordinary bus to Philcoa one February afternoon in 2010, G told me he loved me. As the vehicle crawled along Quezon Avenue, he held my hand as my head leaned against his shoulder. He sang to me, too. It felt like a scene in a movie. In April, we said goodbye. He was bound for Zamboanga, his hometown, where he’d spend his summer break. He promised me he’d communicate regularly, but that didn’t happen. In June, we saw each other again at the campus. Suddenly, he told me, “I simply won’t commit to you, so if you’re assuming, don’t.” The following month, I heard he had a new girlfriend. There were from the same program and apparently, they’d been flirting for a long time.
J didn’t make any promises to me when he held my hand as we walked down Magsaysay Avenue at UP Diliman one afternoon in November 2010. But something about it felt so assuring. We’d been texting nonstop since the first day of classes just a few days prior. So maybe, it means something, I assumed. Later that day, he surprised me with a revelation: He was actually in a relationship with someone else.
During countless walks along Taft Avenue between 2013 and 2014, E assured me that he’d take care of me and that he would do his best not to hurt me. I wasn’t really expecting much from him, considering the fact that when we decided to be in a relationship, all we could say was, “Let’s see where this goes.” But his assurances sounded so good, and I’d like to believe I had actually found the one. What I didn’t know, though, was that in the years to come, I’d feel more attacked and more alone than I ever would.
D and I started dating in February 2018. He was different from the guys I’d dated in the past, but I was hopeful. Plus, he seemed so sincere and so sure. He liked talking to me about his plans, usually while we were having coffee in our go-to cafe along Maginhawa Street. His plans always included me, and I thought it was sweet. And so assuring. In April, I found out that he’d been cheating on me. He never stopped talking to other girls, after all. Well, maybe he’d been making plans with them, too.
For me, a thoroughfare isn’t simply a path that connects point A to point B. Sometimes, it can also connect me to a particular set of memories. Some, in fact, I’ve already linked to certain tales of betrayals that when I think of them, I cannot help but also be reminded of how they contributed to my snowballing trust issues. Yet I also try to fight these thoughts and unlink these thoroughfares with heartbreaks. “Hate the people, not the streets and avenues,” I tell myself over and over. It is not their fault people erred in the narratives entangled with theirs.