The Trials, Victories & Adventures of Los PaulOS

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. ~ 1 John 4:18

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Retro-Gia : First Love

"Retro-Gia" ~ Coined it myself.. From "Retrospective" and "Nostalgia"

Retrospective is defined as "Looking back on, contemplating, or directed to the past"

Nostalgia is defined as "A bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past."
I was deliberating between Retro-Gia and Restrolgia. ;)

Anyway the inspiration to write this blog entry.. was thanks to Coolcat who goes under another pseudoname i.e. Dr Love. So here goes....

I remember my first love....
*Wondering if she'll ever read this and how it might tickle her*

Mel & I met under very "Divine" circumstances. He're the story...

It was nearing the monsoon season of 1989, October to be precise. I had just finished my SRP (Sijil Rendah Pelajaran) or equivalent to LCE (Lower Cambridge Examination) and it was a wonderful time to be alive. Our seniors were busy studying for their respective exams whilst we lower secondary monkeys, played football, chatted with the gals, played chess and various other sports of the day. We were on the advent of our lives as senior secondary school students. Surely it was an exciting time.

I being a Catholic then, was due to undertake one of compulsory Sacraments of my Catholic life; Confirmation. Throughout 1989, my church mates of the same age went through Confirmation classes where we learnt about the Holy Spirit, but I honestly don't remember a thing from those classes. I remember fooling around a lot in Cathecism.

The time came, when we were to go for a 1 day retreat for all Confirmants (confirmation candidates). Since my parish was a small parish (only 5 of us ; Anita, Julian, Francis, Evelyn and me), we were told to join the Alor Star parish which the next big town 40km away in the next state.

So off we went to Alor Star, my first time meeting other youths from another church. We met the Alor Star youths, I don't remember a lot of them from that day. There were many pretty young things there but 1 gal stood out, or more like stood in. She sat quietly by herself, unlike the other charismatic, outspoken, boisterous youths whom I encountered. I dared not speak to her, being the shy guy that I was. But she sat there in the crowded room, I noticed her small figure, her small eyes, her short curly/wavy hair, and those ever so big glasses that made her eyes look even smaller.

I didn't say much to her, only towards the end. We introduced ourselves and just said "See you at confirmation" (in Alor Star a month later). So we went back to our respective towns and I didn't think much of her..

All of us met at St Michael's Church Alor Star, on Nov 12, 1989. We attended our Confirmation and I was elated to find out that Mel had signed up to attend the same Charismatic Youth Rally in Klian Pau, Taiping. It was indeed my first exposure to the power and moving of the Holy Spirit at this Rally entitled "Jesus, Our Lord & Liberator" It was the start of my spiritual awakening among other "awakenings"... ;)

We did spend a wonderful time together with all friends during camp. We talked into the wee hours of the mornings over countless cups of Milo . At the end of camp we said our "goodbyes " and before we left she came and gave me a hug. It was indeed the first time I was ever hugged by someone from the opposite gender aside from family. You can imagine what a little country bumpkin like me felt like. It was a first.

Anyways, from then on I used to call her almost every Friday evening after Mass. I purposely told my mom and dad that I'd cycle to church and back and not follow them in the car so that I could make a "stopover" at the local telephone booth just to call her. Each conversation used to last about 10-30 minutes. For someone like me it was tough, as I had a limited allowance for meals in school. This went on for 2 years.

In those 2 years during visits to my uncles place in Alor Star, I'd tell everyone, "I am going jogging!". But I had an ulterior motive, I ran to her house which was about a mile away. Sat there and talked to her. She'd sit on her piano chair whilst I'd sit on the rattan chair and we'd talk away. I don't remember what we used to talk to, but mostly about school, her friends, my friends, our growth in faith. We were great encouragers to each other.
Each time it was time to go back to my uncle's place, I'd sprint all the way home so that I'd "appear" to have run for a long time. I didn't want to risk being found out, as I feared my dad's "No Girlfriends when you're still studying" policy/mandate.

It was in 1991 when we had just finished our SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) or A Levels or GCE (General Cambridge Examination), that I realised that I actually loved her. I didn't know what it was like to be in love (sure there was "puppy love" before), but Mel, inspired me. She pricked my thoughts, we could always be so honest and transparent about our lives to one another. She made it easy to tell someone all the struggles I was going through as the youngest child in the family. She could also always tell me her struggles. etc etc. I never did ask her if she did look forward to my phone calls.

She hardly called because I told her not to call me at my house. I knew I'd be embarassed and I was also fearful that I'd be found out. She did call me once or twice but not often enough to arouse my parent's suspicions. I was good at this game of hide-and-seek. Needless to say I was already falling in love with her. While waiting for our SPM results, nearing Christmas time, I wrote her a letter telling her how I felt and how I'd hope we'd be more than just friends.

Her reply came on the afternoon of December 18th 1991. I opened the letter with much trepidition, not knowing what her answer would be. And till today I remember how my heart skipped so many beats as I read the contents in the hall of my house. It was hard to hide the emotions as my dad lay down in the hall of the house reading his newspaper. I treasure what she wrote and as I now read the letter, I thank God for the way she told me why she couldn't and be committed to a relationship. She said it so clearly and gently that this is a letter I will always cherish. From this incident she taught me that it is possible to still be the best of friends even though relationships don't start out or work out.

I remember that for the following year, I carried that letter around with me almost everywhere I went, to remind me the precious friendship we had. And when I was homesick, I'd read about how much she treasured our friendship. I still called her once a month when I was far from home as I had left Perlis to study in KL, while she stayed on in Alor Star.

I just took out the letter today, and read it, I couldn't help but just smile and remember how young we were, yet how wise she was to guard my heart from this "rejection" incident. She didn't call it a rejection, but she said she was just not ready.

It's not that I do not love her to this very day, I still do, but in a way I don't know how to describe. What Mel and I have till today is very special. A very special friendship. She even invited me to stay with her before her wedding. I could not make it as it was all the way in UK.

She's been married over a year now to Andrew and I groggily remember the day she called me to tell me she was getting engaged. She had called me at 4am in the morning. I was so groggy, but i managed to listen to her. It struck me later that I was losing my "backup". We had jokingly "pledged" to marry each other at age 40 if we were still single by then.

It's hard when you're not really there for your best friend and soulmate through their tough times and to only find that out at a later time that they've struggled in the months past alone. She and I don't contact each other very much, because we've grown lazy to write letters and even email. But I am sure we'll always be able to pick up where we left off when we meet again.

I live today, with "No Regrets", because I know God had placed her in that stage and episode of my life to colour its' pages with love, memories and many smiles. I never did cry over her, because all our memories were always happy ones.

She remains till today, not as "the one that got away" but as "the one who helped me see and understand love first hand". We journeyed together with God right from the start and will always have Jesus by our side. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Mel if you're reading this.. you know what I mean when I say this.. "I love you and I will always treasure you" .. I can't wait for the day when it'll be my turn to call you early in the morning to tell you that I'm engaged. :)


  • At January 13, 2005 7:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Paul... that was just so beautiful. What you shared with Mel was indeed special - a friendship that lasts till the present day. Not many people can say that about their first love.

    I guess what happened between me and my first love was similar in the sense that he confessed his feelings to me after months of chatting with me and getting to know me. And I 'rejected' him with a nice letter, too.

    What was different was that during and after two years since the fateful letter was that God made a way for us to be together. Heh, maybe I should write a blog entry on this... it's the sweetest and best highlight in my life.

    I liked how you ended this blog entry - with a note of hope and joy. I pray that one such morning, you will make that very call to Mel. It would be wonderful, rejoicing with your first love :)

  • At January 14, 2005 2:02 PM, Blogger PaulOS said…

    Thanks.. I look forward to that day. btw.. who's this?

  • At January 14, 2005 5:39 PM, Blogger tattY teddY said…

    I like the "I am going jogging!" part. Haha.. It's funny how when we were young, we would do all sorts of things to "attract" someone. ;)

  • At January 14, 2005 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ooops, forgot to sign off that first comment as moi! but that made ya replied, eh? hee!


  • At November 10, 2008 9:43 AM, Blogger PaulOS said…

    so many years later.. in fact.. it was this particular year 2005 when I wrote this blog that I met my wife Emily.. :)

    I don't remember if I called Mel to tell her I got engaged. But I think I emailed her..

    rats.. I just remembered.. I didn't send her a wedding invite. :P


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