Hero or fool
by James “ Kojak ” Hughs

When I was nineteen I sat in a movie theater. They were showing the movie “Some Like It Hot” starring Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. While all around me people were laughing, I sat in the dark with pain in my heart and tears in my eyes. I was crying because Tony and Marilyn were sharing a beautiful love and I had no one. I never had anyone to love or that really loved me.

All my life I searched for that “special one”. I guess I am an incurable romantic. I always felt there was someone out there meant just for me. I was surrounded by people yet I have always been alone; I have always been sort of empty inside.

I watched with envy as my friends fell in love, got married and raised a family. I searched but never found the “magic”. There were hundreds of women but none of them were “the one”. In fact, what brought me to the Philippines was another failure relationship. I came to Dumaguete City prepared to live the rest of my life alone. I would never be a part of a family or share the love of a family.

For the first year, I never even dated anyone. I lived alone, dined alone and slept alone. There were lots of beautiful women but none that caught my attention, until Cora. There was something “special” about her. I do not know exactly what it was. She was attractive but there were others more attractive so it was not just her beauty. She was not well educated but she had an inquisitive mind; the sign of intellectual potential. She was loyal and compassionate; she had empathy for others in pain. I was drawn to her but there was a major problem for me. I was an old man and she was just a young girl. I felt “May- December” relationships were wrong. Many times they are based on economics not love and I wanted love.

In a quandry, I hit upon a possible solution. I decided to “hire” her to help me lose weight and learn about the Visayan culture. My plan was for her to get to know me and fall in love with me. After she fell in love the difference in our age would not be important; “Love conquers all”. What followed was three years of pain and frustration, not to mention three boyfriends. Our “romance” would make a good MMK drama with lots of tears.

Even my writing for this newspaper was in part because I wanted her to “know” my heart. I wont fill these pages with the gory details but it was not an easy courtship. Finally she agreed to marry me and for a time I felt I had finally found the other half of my heart. I finally found the magic. When Cora’s mother told her that if I went broke they would feed me, I never felt more love in my life. For the first time in my life I had a family.

I do not know when things went wrong, but I think I know why; but by the time I figured it out it was too late. Cora was not listening. I would like to think we had the magic at one time but I will never know for sure. Cora’s not a bad person and neither am I, but we are both damaged goods; products of a rough life. I could adjust but Cora could not. The frustration of trying to keep the magic was turning us into strangers; ugly strangers. Some say I spoiled her, maybe they are right. Money became more important than trust and our relationship. Maybe it always was more important. We see what we WANT to see and I wanted to see love. All I know is I love her and probably always will but I can not live with her nor can I live in Dumaguete without her. Love does NOT conquer all.

My good friend Ely has asked me to continue to write my column. I do not think I can do that. It hurts too much. Dumaguete City and the Philippines will always hold a special place in my heart.

Someone called me a “hero” the other day; I am NOT a hero. Just a fool in love.

They say you are immortal if someone remembers your name. It would be nice if someone would smile once in awhile and remember that fool “Kojak”.

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