Agee was always better at surprises. Since we got together in 2012, she never failed to catch me when I least expected it. The gifts were more thought out than anything. Carefully planned and executed. Even if it was a simple gift (like toilet paper, or a bag of my favourite chips), she took pains to make a story out of it, and yes, to catch me by surprise.
She’s very practical. Five years into Law School and reading countless books and cases, she finds herself having a collection of markers, hi lighters and post-its. So consistently, albeit conveniently, her surprises involved posting up notes, which makes them so much more memorable.
Our first Christmas.
Our First Anniversary.
When she surprised me on my 30th.
So on December 19, 2013 I decided to give her what I thought was a well planned out surprise.
I had asked my friend Nina De Torres to help me with SKYE lounge because I wanted to propose in the place where we had first “dated”. Me and her friends Farah and She decided to come up with a fake charity party for Yolanda. It was a sunset event called “Shots for a Cause”, which her friend She had supposedly mounted for some office friends. But everyone was in on it. My best friend Ij, my sister Stella, my college Film school friends Jabberwocky, her family etc. I asked them to create a garden full of Post-Its “flowers”, some with memories I had asked them to write, and others left blank for the “memories we were about to make”. We also had Julianne sing Stevie Wonders’ “Ribbon In The Sky”. I wanted it to be overwhelming.
Agee is so practical, you see. She chooses the most affordable, simplest and quickest choice to save time and money. She has such a fixed and rigid schedule, she hardly enjoys proper sleep and proper meals. She beats herself to the ground studying and reading, that she oftentimes forgets that she’s human and breakable. I wanted her catch her by surprise. At least once, I wanted her to be showered with a breathtaking moment. A moment she could close her eyes, take a deep breath and pause. A moment where all she had to take in was Love.
I myself just had an idea, but had no physical time to finish the execution. So our friends and family took the lead. And as much as I was constantly checking in with the set-up, I couldn’t give the surprise away since I was with Agee the whole day.
Little did I know that early that day, when she woke up, she had a strong feeling that she’d be engaged before the day ended.
We parked in the same open parking lot where I gave her my first kiss. We walked over to the lobby of the W bldg only to be “almost” preempted by Tito Raffy’s unmistakably white hair and plaid polo waiting by the elevator. I squeezed her hand and offered to get her slippers in my car in case she wanted to change. That bought us time. I was nervous, but I kept it together. As soon as some time passed, we went to the elevator and to add more nerves, it stopped on EVERY floor before the Deck.
Agee is truly practical. For all I know, she probably already knew what was going on. But she is too good a person to rain on my seemingly elaborate plan. So she let me go through it. None of the grandeur mattered anyway. She didn’t ask for the bells and whistles. She told me that would’ve said ‘yes’ to a plastic ring from Toys-R-Us as long as it came from me.
Since then, I never successfully surprised her. I usually end up sabotaging my own elaborate plans. But on December 2015, I will make a vow to Agee in front of the same friends and family. I will make a vow to this practical and extremely special girl. I vow to keep giving her the best when all she asks for is the good. I vow to keep surprising her, even if she already knows. I vow to keep trying. I vow to keep loving.
Happy Birthday Agee, I truly am the lucky one.
We get by with a little help from our friends!
Special thanks to Ice Idanan, Tani Guiam for the video footage. Kirk De Leon and Atty. Jan Aliling for the photos. Extra special thanks to Rinka Sycip for telling our story and choosing this beautiful song.