When Raphael was in secondary school, online chatting became the craze of most teenagers, and Raphael was no exception. Almost everyday after school, Raphael will log in to the Internet Relay Chat and start chatting to friends online as well as make new friends. At first he was just doing it for the fun of it, but after sometime he got hooked on it. Every night after he finishes his homework, he will go online and chat all the way till bedtime. As time goes by, Raphael got to know more girls from other schools online and made friends with them.
When Raphael was in Secondary 4, he got to know a gal called Yvonne online. Yvonne was 2 years his junior, and was studying in another school. They talked online often, and also exchanged phone numbers and email addresses. During that period of time, Raphael was facing problems with his love life and also had to concentrate on the upcoming pre-lim exams and O levels. So whenever he was feeling down or bored, he will call Yvonne and they will talk on the phone till the wee hours of the night. After the O levels were over, Raphaels friend organized a chalet, and Raphael decided to take the chance to meet Yvonne for the first time and took her to the chalet.
When they met at the train station, the both of them were rather shy, and it took sometime before they started talking comfortably to each other. Although Yvonne was not exactly like what Raphael envisioned her to be, nevertheless, she was still the nice and friendly girl he always thought she was. After their meeting, they continued to talk on the phone and share their thoughts and problems with each other. As the days go by, they got to know each other better and better. Until one day, Raphael received an email from Yvonne. In that email, Yvonne confessed to Raphael her feelings for him. However, at that time, Raphael could not totally forget a girl he liked a lot before, so he never thought of finding another girlfriend. Yvonne knew that, and she was willing to wait for the day when Raphael can forget that girl, because she loved him. After Raphael read Yvonnes mail, he was very touched by her, but he was not sure that he can commit to a relationship so soon and he did not want to let her down. He felt something for Yvonne, but was not sure whether it was love or not. That night, he told Yvonne how he felt and asked her to give him time to sort out his feelings. She understood and they left it at there for that moment.
As they spent more time talking on the phone, Raphael felt that Yvonne was very nice to him and she gradually melted his heart. Thus, he made a decision that maybe he should give their relationship a chance to work out. After thinking for a few days, he finally mustered up the courage to ask her.
Hey can I ask you a question? he asked.
Yah? she replied
Do you want to go steady with me? he uttered.
After a few moments of silence, Yvonne answered, Can I know why did you ask me this?
Because you are a very nice girl and we get along very well and I realized that I am starting to like you more he replied.
When Yvonne did not say anything, Raphael continued, can we give this relationship a chance?
After thinking for awhile, Yvonne asked Raphael, Can you promise to treat me well and be faithful to me?
Without hesitation Raphael replied, I have never cheated on any of my girlfriends and I do not intend to start at all, I promise.
With that, Yvonne accepted Raphael and the both of them started a new chapter together.
Alas, good things never last. A few days into their relationship, Yvonne came to Raphaels house to pass him his birthday gift and keep him company. But they werent behaving like lovers at all. Raphael kept reading a storybook on his brothers bed while Yvonne just lied down on Raphaels bed and looked at him. Although Raphael knew he was neglecting Yvonne, he just didnt feel the urge to make her feel more welcomed and loved. Yvonne started to try to get his attention by tossing a bolster at him playfully, and they started a friendly bolster fight. Raphael went over to tickle her in order to get his bolster back, and climbed on top of her. Yvonne tried to snatch it back so they ended up nearly bumping heads. Just then, they just stared at each others eyes. Raphael knew he should take the opportunity to kiss her, but he just could not do it, for some stupid reason that was stopping him. Its only when Raphael was sending Yvonne back to the bus-stop then they started holding hands, but it was Yvonne who held Raphaels hand first.
When Raphael went back home, he thought about what happened that day. He realized that there was something wrong with their relationship. There was something that was stopping them from being as loving as other couples. There was something different between the 2 of them and Raphaels past relationships, something not good. Raphael felt that maybe he didnt love her as much as he thought he did or might have. That night, Yvonne talked to him as usual, as though everything was going on fine. She wasnt mad at him for neglecting her or anything at all. Raphael felt very guilty. He felt that Yvonne is a very nice girl and doesnt deserve to be treated like that. After some consideration, he felt that maybe Yvonne might be better off without him and decided to end the relationship. After 2 weeks of being together, Raphael left a voicemail for Yvonne asking for a break-up.
Yvonne was very sad and started to be very cold towards Raphael. He decided to give her time to cool down before he talked to her again. About 2 weeks after they broke, Raphael called Yvonne to ask her how she was doing, and they started talking on the phone again, this time only as normal friends. As time goes by, Raphael and Yvonne led their separate lives, and started talking less often. After sometime of not contacting each other, Yvonne came to visit Raphael at his workplace one night. They talked the whole night like long-lost friends, asking for updates on each others lives. When Raphael finally got home that night, he suddenly felt a familiar feeling coming back to him. He started to wonder, what if he and Yvonne were still together? What if they patched back together? Will they be more loving then before? However, as Raphael was attached at that moment, he did not want to cheat on his girlfriend, so he put all those thoughts away.
After that night, Raphael and Yvonne occasionally called or messaged each other just to find out how each other were doing. A few weeks later, Raphael and his girlfriend broke up, and Yvonne tried to comfort him. From then on, Raphael realized that since the time Yvonne came to visit him at his workplace, he might have rekindled his feelings for her. However, he wasnt totally sure, and he knew Yvonne already had someone in mind, so he decided not to do anything about it. Raphael and Yvonne continued to keep contact occasionally, but all these while, Raphael chose to keep his feelings to himself.
Finally on one night, Raphael couldnt stand it anymore and blurted out his feelings to Yvonne. Although he regretted it after that, he was still hoping that maybe they might have a second chance together. But to his disappointment, Yvonne told him she was sorry that she could not reciprocate his feelings and that it was already too late, she is already attached to another guy. Upon hearing that, Raphael was shattered. Suddenly, the past all came back to him and he felt that maybe this was his retribution for not treasuring Yvonne when she still loved him. Although he knew that there was no more hope between the 2 of them anymore, he didnt want to give up. He still clinged on to the little bit of hope that maybe with time, love and sincerity, Yvonne might come back to him.
As time passed, Raphael led a life of shattering memories and broken hearts. Almost everything reminded him of Yvonne. He blamed himself for his predicament, for letting such a good girl like Yvonne who loved him whole-heartedly slip off just like that. He felt that maybe he deserved this punishment from God, for not being able to be with the person he loved. He contemplated drowning himself in alcohol and past memories, playing back all the songs that reminded him of her over and over again. Although he really wanted to fight for Yvonne and get her back again, he knew deep down inside that it will never work and he doesnt have the right to do that because he was the one who let her go in the first place.
Many weeks and a couple of rejections down the road, Raphael finally decided to give up hoping for a future with Yvonne. He knew that day will never come and he will only end up spending torturous days thinking about the past and hoping for a girl whom he doesnt mean a thing to anymore. He knew that from the day he let her go, he has already lost his place in her heart, and it now belonged to another person. Although he is still trying very hard to get on with life as normal and move on to other people, he knows that there will always be a part of him that will care and love Yvonne no matter what happens.
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