Love Potion #9

I’ve always told my friends, “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t marry me.”

Apparently, Theron never read the warning label on my bottle coz he drank the marriage Kool-aid like a desperate guy grabbing the last drink in the fridge. Poor thing, he is still convinced that he won the lottery by marrying me, but, sshh, no need to tell him the truth okay. Once the lumay or love potion wears off, he might be in for a rude awakening. In the meantime, if he thinks he bagged Ms Universe,  let him. I won’t be the one to burst his bubble.

Most women fantasize about waking up in the morning to find someone staring dreamily at them, telling them how beautiful they are. When that finally happened to me, I found myself unable to enjoy the moment. After all. I’ve been waking up to this face every single day for the past half century or so, and believe you me, it is NOT  Instagrammable, not at six in the morning anyway, so someone telling you you’re beautiful early in the morning is a hard sell.

“Ah, bola sad na da. (Ah, that’s just flattery.) How can you call me beautiful when I just woke up, my hair is kalkag (disheveled) and I have no make-up at all?”

“My dear, that’s how you can tell if a woman is really beautiful, when you see them in the morning with no make-up on, and their beauty shines through.”

I peered at my face in the mirror, but the only thing shining through was my oily skin. I wanted to argue, but really, you’re gonna get into an argument with your husband because he insists you’re beautiful? Well, if he wants to say I’m beautiful, let him. Obviously, the guy has impeccable taste, unimpaired  vision and high truth quotient. Can’t fault him for that!

One day, beautiful me woke up to an equally beautiful morning. I  was informed that there were some people who were waiting outside for me. What! Visitors so early in the morning!

Normally,  this would have triggered all sorts of internal alarms, and have me scrambling to fix my hair, put on a little makeup and go through all the rigamarole women feel they have to go through to look presentable. But no, my husband had been filling up my head with all this “you’re beautiful even early in the morning” mumbo-jumbo, and I foolishly believed him, so I glided out of my room feeling like a graceful, dainty butterfly. So there I was, bare-faced and clearly looking like I just rolled out of bed, entertaining my visitors like a queen at court.

When my guests left, I glided back to my room, still feeling dainty and beautiful,  until I glanced at my face in the mirror. Whoa! That creature staring back at me was not a thing of beauty. Not at all. Not by any stretch of imagination. Somebody had been lying to me.

“Wahhh,” I wailed.

My husband rushed inside, fearing the worst. “What’s wrong?”

“You. Your fault…” I chided him. “You told me I was beautiful and I believed you, so I went out earlier with THIS face. Then, I looked in the mirror and I found out: YOU LIED.”

Theron was so amused by my theatrics. “Ka cute gyud nimo uy!” (You are so cute!)

Lord have mercy. This guy thinks everything I do is cute. “Na, mao na ni ron.  Kung wa ta nasingkwenta, mao na inoon naay na cute-an nato.” Loosely translated, it means, “How ironic! If I didn’t turn 50, that’s when somebody found me cute.”

“You were cute then and you are still cute now. In fact, my biggest regret in life is not pursuing you  back when we were in high school. Had I known you liked me too, I would have picked you up from school, taken you straight home and never let you go.”

“Wohoho,” I replied. “If you had done that, we would have had a daughter named Iska.”

“Why Iska?” he asked.

“Iska, short for Iskandalo or Scandal. Imagine you were going to take me home and never let me go. At thirteen years old. They would have called you ‘Lester.”

“Why Lester?”

“Short for Molester.”

Poor guy. He has acquired so many on-the-spur nicknames like these. It’s not easy being at the receiving end of my wit. But he enjoys it. I think. Also, he never wins against me. Not at games. Not at bets. Not at anything.

So that’s why I like to tease him. Case in point:

One afternoon, I told him, “Let’s go to Home Goods. I’m sure they have some nice dinnerware sets there.”

Him: We can go but I’m sure they don’t have any.

Me: Why not? They are called Home Goods. I’m sure they have some.

Him: I’m pretty sure they don’t.

Me, never one to let a challenge slide : Hmm, if you’re so sure, wanna bet?

Him: Oh no, no, no, no. I’m not a gambling man. Besides, I’ll never bet against you. You always win.

Me: Well, if you insist on something, that means you are so sure of it that you are willing to back it up all the way to the Supreme Court, right?

Him: No way. I am not going up against you. I never win.

Me: Suit yourself. No guts, no glory.

When we went inside Home Goods, I burst out laughting. They did not have any dinnerware sets! He would have won the bet. It would have been a first for him.

Me: Ha ha. If you had taken the bet, you would have won big time.

Him: Oh yeah? What would I have won?

I whispered it into his ear.

Him: Oh, oh. Ok, ask me again and I’ll bet this time.

Me: Ha ha. You don’t tell the game show host that you changed your mind after finding out the prize. That’s not how the game works, Buster. Not in Kwarta o Kahon (Money or Box.)

Of course, always one to rub in my little victories, I teased him all day long. “Somebody could have been the Grand Prize winner, but no, he chose to be a loser.” Heartless.

I always come up with these impromptu games, most of which I win. If I feel like I’m going to lose, I change the rules, so I still end up winning anyway. As they say, rule-maker, rule-breaker. He just laughs and says, “Si-awa gyud nimo oy!” (You are so mischievous!”)

At least he takes it in stride. You know that wouldn’t have ended well if I were in his place: I’m a sore loser. Add that to the list of reasons I wouldn’t wanna marry me!

Another reason I wouldn’t marry me is because I have a broken jukebox inside my head. That’s right. A broken jukebox that doesn’t need coins to play. A mere word, glance or actually, just about anything can push that button , and … “Please, Mister, please, don’t play B17. It was our song, it was his song, but it’s o-over…” See what I mean?

My songs are from the jukebox era, and they run like a loop in my head, so I sing them over and over again. Off-key, mind you. And for some reason, I never finish them. I just sing the first stanza then the refrain, then start over again. Broken record, or sirang plaka, as they say in Tagalog.

It’s not like it’s intentional. I try to stop myself, I really do. That’s why I put on a show of sanity most of the time. Don’t think for a moment though, that behind that calm facade, that there isn’t a tiny devil doing somersaults in my head to the tune of an ’80s song.

To top it all, I have began trying to play guitar. Again. I tried my hand at guitar more than a decade ago and quit, much to the extreme jubilation of family and neighbors, I’m sure. But now, I’m BACKKK, more relentless and clueless as ever, but just as bad, and I don’t mean that in a good way. So I pluck away at my six strings while my hubby is probably wishing for a set of ear plugs. Poor guy, he just declares “I love it. I love it,” but I just look at him and think, “If I were him, I definitely wouldn’t wanna marry me!”

Sometimes, when I think of all the reasons I wouldn’t wanna marry me, I just tease him and say, “My lumay (or love potion) must have been so potent for you to be crazy about me.”

To which he usually replies, “If this is all from the lumay, bring it on. Give me all you got. I want more and more coz I’ve never been happier in my life.”

One would think our path to marital bliss was always smooth. Far from it. We had so many issues at the start that we almost gave up. We knew that we needed to be absolutely sure about each other before taking the plunge, so we had decided to give ourselves a break. We didn’t speak to each other for at least a couple of weeks. It was a tough time. I thought it was the end of us.

He was a devotee of Saint Rita,  the Saint for Impossible Causes. He had started a nine-day novena which culminated on his birthday. During the last day of the novena, he prayed this way.

“Dear Saint Rita, you know I love Emma very much, but she wants me to stay away from her.  If we were not meant to be, then so be it. I will accept it and leave her alone forever. But if we were meant to be, if she is the woman for me, dear Saint Rita, then I beg of you, please, please give me a sign. Amen.”

Then his phone rang. Right after he asked for a sign. It was me, thinking to just quickly greet him on his birthday and hang up, but life had other plans.

Theron said that when that phone rang, he had no doubt that was the sign from above that he was praying for. Right there and then, he knew that we were meant to be, and he made the promise and the commitment to love me forever.

One day, I was teasing him again, “My lumay is so powerful it bewitched you and made you fall in love with me!”

This time his response was, “Sure, but my lumay is more powerful than yours because I have Saint Rita on my side, and my prayers to her made you fall in love with me!”

Voodoo, black magic, love potions or just good old-fashioned prayers… Chalk it up to whatever you want, but I’m glad this guy decided to marry me despite all the reasons not to. Just in case, though, I always make sure I never run out of my secret: love potion #9. Now you know.

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