the Narag’s love story
To honor my wife, Shella, on our 10th Wedding Anniversary, I am re-posting our love story which was read in our wedding day. I wish to thank all our friends who are part of our family life for the past 10 years and who guided us raising our two beautiful daughters, Ella and Angel. I also honor God for being the center of our relationship. Enjoy reading, and if you are love struck, please do share.
My Love Story
On May 28, 2003, I shall marry the woman of my dreams. I shall bring her to the altar and exchange matrimonial vows with her. I shall walk tall and proud to the aisle to become her husband and father to her many children.
I always thought that we are meant for each other. I always believed that at the end of all the travails and hardships, we shall be at each other’s arms. We are soul mates.
We were separated for more than five years. We parted not because we had fallen out of love but because of the force of circumstances heavily bearing on us. It was a decision we painstakingly took. It was a judgment call whose promise kept us alive.
I was imprisoned for almost seven years. I was charged, together with other accused, of a crime I did not commit. I was confined to an institution whose mere mention made parents worried and fearful. I was in the company of “criminals” and was portrayed as such for quite a long time.
We struggled it out in the beginning. She secretly visited me in my cell despite the strict prohibition from her parents. She defended me to her friends against allegations that it was I who whacked the victim to death. She joined me in prayer to storm the gates of heaven that God make a miracle and set me free. She stood her ground, like a veteran wife sticking it out to her beleaguered husband. She was merely seventeen years old, and I twenty, and we had the burdens of the world. And we were then nurturing just a year old love affair.
She never asked for a time out. It was I who volunteered to set her free. I was then on my second year of incarceration and things were turning out for the worse. I was one of the two who were denied of our petition for bail. It appeared that we will languish in jail a couple of years more. Some of our lawyers lose hope and withdrew from the case. And sustaining a relationship in that pathetic situation was draining us emotionally and psychologically. I would kiss her with bars dividing us – it was a sight that sunk me to the lowest level of my humanity.
I set her free for her to enjoy the splendor of her youth, to explore the adventures of the wild. I let her go because I don’t want her dragged to the sorry mess that I was in. Chivalrous that I was, I said:
“I don’t want you to leave,
For now is the time that I needed you most.
And it would be hypocrisy if I pretend otherwise.
But I won’t force you to stay
I had been with the jail guards for quite sometime
But never did I inherit any of their virtues.
You’re free—as you had always been:
It was a sacrifice I took to show how much I loved her. And though she rejected the proposal for three times, I made her realize it was best for us.
Hard and painful it maybe, we bade goodbye.
We separated believing in the back of our minds that when things turn for the better, when the bars and the walls are all gone, we shall renew our faith. We let go trusting that somewhere down the road, our paths will cross again. We then likened our situation to a captain forced to sail in the turbulent seas. I shall struggle honorably to pass across the oceans, and she shall wait in the shore.
And in those lonely nights in my kubol (small cubicle), her picture was displayed prominently providing me company. When the trial prolonged to three, four, five, six years… with no end in sight, I conversed spiritually and was comforted with her old letters. The thought that someday, somehow, I shall claim her back, kept me, no, imposed upon me, to maintain my dignity—that I shall still be worthy of her.
Thus I managed to keep my sanity. I organized and taught in the Functional Literacy Class Program for she always admired me as an educator. I formed an inmate organization in order to protect our rights and welfare, for she always knew me as a fighter. I became active in the reformation and religious activities for she always advised me to be “a good boy.” And when TV and newspapers made human-interest stories about jails, I allowed myself to be exposed, so that, by chance, she would watch and read that I survived well—and remained the old Raymund that I was.
I maintained my innocence for she always knew that I am innocent.
Indeed, I was innocent. Evidence established in the court proved that I was not a murderer. I was wrongfully accused. On February 28, 2002, after billeting in jail for 6 years, 9 months and 4 days—I was a free man.
My acquittal is a gift God gave me as a reward for steadfastly serving him. And it gave me the moral ascendancy, the biblical right, to demand all what I had lost. I shall acquire my property gone astray. It was jubilee.
I claimed her back.
The moment I saw her for the first time, I know she will succumb into my arms again. I know, that despite the adventures in the wild, that despite her other relations, it was I whom she was waiting for. I feel, that though we may be separated like eternity, the promise we had, never lay dormant in our hearts.
Admittedly, she loves me still.
We renewed the magic that never left us. We rekindled the flame that was never lost. And on the celebration of her 25th birthday, I proposed to her my lifetime commitment.
Need I speak more?
Hasn’t the poetry flourished
and bloomed in my life again?
What tremendous power you have
Commanding me to fly
O’er oceans and mountains?
Hasn’t the truth spoken?
That undeniable love
Can be denied no more?
What continually draws you to me
Leaving yet not leaving
Body, mind, heart and soul in one?
Will you hear me now?
Will you say: flight and fancy
Is a thing of the past and finally over?
That the adventures of the wild
And the joys of the vast
Comes sweetly and naturally to a close?
Will you take my hand?
Will you accept the sanctuary I offer
Pleading and promising of stars?
That serenity and passion, romance bursting
in wild color and abundance overwhelm your life
like the sun shining o’er the fields?
Will you declare your truth?
Will you stand firm in the shore
Shouting and singing the chants of undeniable flame?
For here, your captain, battle-scarred yet proud of the voyage
With the blessings of God
Shall claim you back and take you home.
Without hesitation, she accepted the ring of engagement. I heard angels from heaven sing.
I shall marry the love of my life. I shall bring her to the altar to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit over the seemingly unending odds. I shall ask her hands from her parents to show to all in-laws-challenged out there: we can be worthy of their daughter’s love. I shall march in the aisle with the splendor of beautiful flowers and lovely songs to proclaim, and to egg other detainees and prisoners: there is love waiting for us beyond the walls. I shall take her home with a thanks to all those who kept company to us when we were separated.
I shall be united with her to the rest of my life to declare to all those disgruntled lovers out there—love is letting go.
I shall marry my Shella for she came back. I shall be her dutiful slave forever.
Raymund Espinosa Narag
May 1, 2003