Tinder Tailor Soldier Spy (Part 3)

31 Mar

Chapter 5: Samar, Seafood, and Salvation

Jayson didn’t reach out for two days. By this time, I had already learned how to be okay with his intermittent texting and disappearing acts every time he was out of town. I had also started to anticipate and expect his ready excuses upon his return.

Jayson would usually tell me where he has been right after he’s been there, but rarely before he goes there. This time though, it seemed like he was missing me just a little bit more because he has sent me a text informing me where he currently was:

Down south in the Visayas.

We had dinner as usual as soon as he got back. After settling down in a corner table of an alfresco restaurant, I initiated the conversation, and chose to talk about his recent trip:

So you were in the Visayas?

Yes. Our company is looking to take a new project there.

Really? It seems your company is aggressively expanding. You’ve got potential clients all over the Philippines.

Something like that, yeah. But it’s not definite yet.

Which province in the Visayas were you at?

Somewhere south. But when I texted you I was in Samar.

I see.

I’m really hungry. Let’s go order now.

Jayson ordered some seafood to devour that night. While in the midst of experiencing the deliciousness that is a platter of shrimps, clam shells, squids and mussels, we got into talking about a Jewish friend of his who wouldn’t eat this kind of dish because they are not considered kosher. Said friend used to convince him about going strictly kosher too but Jayson would always engage him in a debate about it. Jayson thought that going strictly kosher was baloney since according to the bible, God actually declared that it’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of it. I’ve heard my father refer to this verse before when I was still a little girl as he explained to me why Christians eat pork . So yes, I was familiar with what Jayson was trying to say. I just nodded in agreement, intentionally trying not to prolong the conversation about God and the bible, lest I bitch about how sexist I actually thought the bible was.

I talked about how salivating the shrimp was instead.

After our seafood dinner-cum-bible study session, we parted ways. A few hours later, just before I was ready to dive into my bed for my much-coveted slumber, I received a text message from Jayson but instead of just the usual good night and sweet nothings, I found myself reading a long quotation of verses from the bible. After the cited text from the book of Matthew or whoever it was that authored the topic of safely eating this or that, he followed it up with his own annotation.

I’ll be damn honest here – I really liked Jayson… but this revelation about him almost threw me off the wall. I was a little disconcerted by this sudden indoctrination and all. I never took Jayson for a religious man. And I never thought he read the bible regularly, but he actually had a bible app installed on his phone. I didn’t know what to do for a second. Should I reply to his eager text or should I just pretend that I was half-asleep already and my brain wasn’t in the mood anymore to process his five-page electronic essay?

Ahhhh….. But of course! the ever-accommodating side of me prevailed, and I decided to indulge him that night. I asked follow-up questions, I challenged some of his logic, disagreed on some of the things he said, agreed on others, and pretended to be curious myself about the biblical verses he just sent me, all in the hopes of fully convincing him I was the kind of woman he could talk to about anything under the sun. Perhaps I overdid it, perhaps I was too good at faking interest in what he was lecturing me on. Or perhaps he just needed someone – anyone – to hear him out. Whatever the reason was, that specific conversation I had with him marked the beginning of our many late-night virtual bible lessons… and this would eventually extend in our day-to-day face-to-face interactions.

Jayson’s favorite topic to discuss from the bible is salvation. He would repeatedly (and perhaps unknowingly on his part) talk about how God would forgive all the sinners on earth come judgment day for as long as these sinners repent and believe in Him in the end. He would tell me that it didn’t matter how big or small our sins were, all of us could still be saved, and that this fact made him really happy. I don’t recall anymore the exact biblical passages he would send or tell me, but trust me when I say that there was not a scarcity of them in the course of our “dating” life.

Whenever our conversation would start to gear towards the topic of salvation, my law-school-trained-and-debate-hungry mind and mouth would automatically shut up, and this would quickly be replaced by my feeling a little sorry, worried, confused and shaken for him. It felt like I was dealing with an entirely different person – not the funny, witty, sharp and light-hearted Jayson I was used to. It was like his sentiments were coming from somewhere deep down inside, like he was actually holding on to this verse all his life, like it was the only source of hope he had. As he spoke of being saved, his eyes would throw a piercing blank stare so far it might have well reached a mile, yet it would protrude so inwardly too at the very same time that the only conclusion I could make was that it was his soul doing the talking now.

This freaked me out a lot. This also made me wonder what kind of past this man has had. I even quickly entertained the idea that I was probably dating a legit crazy person! It was a good thing (or was it?) that this episode on salvation would only last just a few minutes or so each time: It didn’t brew up enough panic in my head for me to actually probe deeper and further into his history. I guess I was also scared to pry.

In the end, I was just really thankful for the rest of the days that we were normal, secular human beings who ate and kissed and held hands.



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