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I must have read my mother's journal a hundred times but her past continues to haunt me. I've never read about a love as strong as the love she had shared with my father....
March 12, 1970
Have you ever watched the sun set? When its gleaming glory glides over the horizon it is a breathless sight indeed, a rare beauty only a sensitive artist can capture in canvass-an artist like Gian.
It was sunset when I met him. I've long given up searching but I found him and have no plans to let him go. Did I come too late or too soon? Fate can play a cruel joke sometimes. I can't have him-not in this lifetime.
May 13, 1970
How can you stay away from him when you've known him all your life? Only his passion for the arts can melt my freezing heart, and only my understanding can bridge the gap that's been seperating us. A new kind of life flashes before me: his life, his world-a world of violence, a life in hiding. But the more I get to know the real Gian Carlo Coronel the more I begin to share his grief, his pain, his fight. We were childhood sweethearts, but when the world became too small for us we became just friends. We have different creeds and aspirations now. We just can't agree on some things.
June 4, 1970
Five hours. I spent five hours with Gian. a big treat, to think that after May 13 we were never the same again. Of course our shoulders would brush accidentally sometimes, and he would unconsciously put his arms around me or squeeze my hand. Once in awhile we would lunch together or take snacks after work. Until our feelings got the better of us.
It's there. We both feel it but afraid to let it show. We share so much yet are afraid to get too close or we may never part again.
Gian's a born fighter-a rebel with all kinds of causes. He would risk everything if he knows he'd win. I know him the way no one has ever known him before. He's an activist with a human touch. Only he can bring out the real beauty with just a stroke of his charcoal pencil. His art bears no color but it has life. It is reality, and his gentle touch makes it makes real all the more.
He has given me something no one has ever given me, and I will treasure it for the rest of my life. No one will know-Not even Gian.
June 19, 1970
How can you fall for someone like him? I have no right to love a man who belongs to someone else. But then his heart was mine first. He lives with here only because she was there at the rught time, when he needed a commitment. I know he loves me the same way I love him but a piece of paper puts a wall between us. All I can do is wish that this time were over soon, that I can be with him in the next lifetime.
June 21, 1970
I know all the names he goes by, the places he has assumed home. He lives dangerously, his life always at stake. Looking back I supported him through all the challenging times-times I'd almost lot him with a stray bullet or a blow from a truncheon. I'd been there for him even though at times I didn't understand-I disagreed. He must have assumed all the names in the book, lived in all parts of this island. Until I'd finally stopped asking who he was and where he lived.
We had become so desperate in that time of our lives. We could have loved so greatly, but only our hearts could unite. Eventually he stopped telling me things, and he abandoned his art. He said it reminded him of our times together. Now I'm faced with a stranger with a familiar face. We had finally stopped waiting for our true moment. But I know in our hearts will always remember and never forget.
July 11, 1991
It was fate's cruel hand that brought us together after so many years of trying to forget-after letting the heart beat its last. His gift had been the one who helped me survived all these years. I thought I had died when they took him away for the very last time. I've had a beautiful life after we drifted apart-after Gian. It was as though he never left. We moved in different worlds yet we spoke the same language-a language only the heart can understand. We fought for different causes, we believed in different creeds, but we were one. We loved somehow. But then its more that, Somehow we held on for reasons apart from love. It went beyond love. No one had known Gian the way I had known him. No one had loved Gian the way I had love him.
And then I saw him again.
Theirs was a love that transcended time and place. It never fails to bring tears to my eyes when I recall her story about their last meeting...
'I had come all the way from Manila to interview the most 'hunted' man in the country-Ka Jake. My editor had sent their ace reporter-me-on the scene high on top of the mountains, up where the sun reigns. I had known the moment I got the invitation -with a sketch of the sunset-that something would happen. I should have taken the cue from the sketch, still I had the surprise of my life when Ka Jake turned out to be Gian.
'You got a cigarette? I came a hundred miles after you without a cigarette' I said, after some akward moments. My knees almost buckled down beneath me when I saw him. He still look the same: his face as gentle as ever.
He reached for a pack and gave me a stick. 'Sorry if I caught you unprepared. I knew all along that you were coming. I requested it, he smiled.
'Were you waiting for me?' I asked shyly.
'All my life.'
'Why are you here, Gian,' I asked sadly.
He smiled for a moment and cocked his head toward me: 'It's been a long time since anyone called me by that name. I had forgotten I was ever Gian Carlo Coronel.'
'Yes, Jake,' I said, 'It's been awhile.'
He moved closer toward me, 'I had loved you with that name, remember?' he asked.
I nodded, and a tear fell.
He came to me and held me. 'I'm sorry Lauren, I didn't mean it to be this way. If I could change he world I'd want it to be us all over again, this time for real, with the world as our witness.' He kissed the top of my head and held me closer, filling the void that has been there since he left. 'I love you so much,' he whispered, I can feel the love and pain with every word he uttered, he never said that to me before, now that he said it, I knew he meant it.
I was quiet for a moment. 'What is it?' he asked.
'I don't know,' I replied, as we watched the sun set over the horizon.
'Tell me.' he pleaded.
'I love you Gian Carlo, whoever you are,' I said, with all the love I can muster.
'She shouldn't be here,' Lisa, Gian's wife said.
'Nobody should be here.' Gian replied coldly.
'What is it, Carlo?' she asked, her voice trembling, her face contorted with grief.
He let out a sigh: "I've given you almost half of my life, Lisa. I'm asking the rest for my own.'
'Why?' she cried.
'To be with the one I truly love-to be with Lauren.'
'Have I not loved you enough, Carlo?' Lisa asked, tears streaked down her face.
He touched her shoulder : 'Enough, Lisa, but I'll never be completely happy until I'm with her.'
'Go now,' she said.
Gian stood there a moment, hesitating.
'I said go, or you'll never leave this place.'
He took a step and turned back and held her briefly. 'Goodbye, Lisa. I'll never forget you.' he said and ran away.
Stacatto shots rang through the mountains. 'Gian!' I cried, standing up from the boulder where he left me to talk to his wife.
'Run Lauren!' he shouted. 'I'll meet you soon.'
And then he fell. It was the end of Ka Jake. The soldiers gathered the rebel troops and were about to drag Gian's body away.
'No! Stay away from him! Don't touch him!' I cried as I cradled his lifeless body, trying to fill it with warmth. 'Oh, Gian, don't leave me again. Please don't die.' I claimed his lips which is rightfully mine, trying to bring life to his cold ones. This is my moment and they snatched it away from me. I rained his face with my kisses and tears but he didn't move.
July 11, 1992
I just saw the sun glides down the horizon. I swear I saw Gian's face smiling over me. It won't be long now. I know I'll be with him in our special world.
Philippine News : July 12, 1992
Ace Reporter Writes 30
Top-caliber reporter Lauren Sandoval died yesterday evening of natural causes. She was survived by her son, Jared Vincent Sandoval.
Sandoval gained recognition for her series on the rebel leader, Gian Carlo Coronel, alias Ka Jake.
Shortly after Coronel's death, Sandoval resigned from her post. Sources say they have known each other for a long time and were in fact lovers.
I closed my mother's journal and glanced again at the newspaper. I wish I had known him. I wish I had met him. I know he was a great man. My mother wasn't even bitter when he left us, and of course he didn't know he had a son. Well, the world will now know that they hae loved greatly and eternally-a love even the gods would envy....