The last day I was nineteen I was in Malabon, desperately trying win over a girl before I turned twenty. By that time I’ve never had a truly serious relationship, and typical of the young and immature, I felt that if I didn’t have a girlfriend when I stopped being a teenager the world will end for me. I couldn’t see that far ahead into the future. The twenties were grown-up territory and when I stepped into it, I knew I would no longer be as young and carefree. I remember that day like it was almost yesterday. I was with this girl when rumors started to spread about the world ending in the year 2000 and I thought well, that’s years in the future. I’m sure by then I would be married and have kids and if the world would end, I’ll worry about it then.
Strangely, I cannot recall any specific thing I did, or any specific place I was when I turned thirty. I remember I did have a girlfriend, or rather a girl friend. During those days I remember a date we had to watch Titanic. I liked this girl and I was rather excited that we were going to watch a movie together. I got so engrossed in the movie, and so lost in the story being told that by the end of it I was in tears… and I completely forgot that I had a date with me.
Tonight I just got done watching an episode of Star Trek. It was a story about an immortal man holding the Enterprise hostage while Captain Kirk fell madly in love with a stunningly beautiful android. I’m very much happily married, grateful that the world didn’t end eight years ago. The girl from Malabon is herself happily married today. She and her husband have a child and we’re still friends, keeping in touch via email once in a while.
My date on the Titanic movie is also happily married with a child of her own, and living in Italy. I’d like to think we’re still friends, but we didn’t exactly part on the best of terms and it’s been many years since we’ve been in touch.
Visiting a friend of mine sometime in 1996, she was rather horrified that I had grown my hair and that I’ve taken up comics as a career. She looked at me and said rather carefully, “Long hair? At your age?”
At my age? It’s very strange to me that people have very funny ideas about the meaning of maturity. I had a job, I supported my parents, made a good living for myself, and I took care of all my responsibilities. I had nothing to be ashamed of. I still don’t. Curiously, today I still feel very much like a young man. Though not really physically, but in many ways I still think like one. In certain ways, I’ve never really grown up, and I’m really glad. I hope I never do.