Aromantic Valentine’s

by UP Medics and contributions from the UPCM Community

art by Josh Christian Protacio (Class 2023)

We have once again reached that arbitrary point in time which many cultures around the globe choose to celebrate love. In other words, Happy Valentine’s Day! But I know what you’re thinking, ANOTHER post about lovey-dovey mushy-gushy L O V E? AGAIN? Well fear not, dear reader, this year the Medics team decided to compile a list of short stories focusing on all the types of love that isn’t your run-of-the-mill RomCom type meet cutes or your 80-year old grandparents celebrating 50 years of marriage. This 2020, we humbly offer you, an Aromantic Valentine’s day.

by What is love anyway?, Class 2024


i loved you

and your thick hair

the warmth in your eyes

your crooked smile

i loved you

and your witty banter

the abyssal depth of your thoughts

the safe space i found in our little world

i love you

and your sweet, caring heart

your rare, friendly hugs

late night chats about life

after all the fights and tears shed

things will never be the same

i hope you know i still love you

always, every single day

“Ward 11”

by r/o Pedia, Class 2022

The child of a kindergarten teacher, I have always been surrounded by children, patiently helping them go to the bathroom, wash their hands, read a book, build a castle, or something or other. I have also never liked these underdeveloped adults. They’re loud, irritating and they smell. GOOD LORD, THEY SMELL. I have, however, learned to love (some) children, and I have my Ward 11 kids to thank for that. Maybe they aren’t the sweetest, most cooperative children, but they’re strong, brave, and fighting tooth and nail for their lives every day. Whenever I am in the area (and able), I pass by Ward 11 to walk by their beds and see how they’re doing (sana nakauwi na sila). There’s not a single reason not to love those kids. I pray for their health every single day. They’ve made me a better doctor and a better person.

“Sisiw lang”
by NMAT Taker, Class 2023

The night before the NMAT, my grandmother went to me and hugged me. She told me that she had been praying for me since she learned I was going to be taking the test. I thought “oh that’s nice, it’s a very lola thing to say”. So I slept without really thinking about it much.

Fast forward to the next day and in the middle of the Math portion, I suddenly felt anxious. It was like the world was closing in around me and all I can think of was how this exam would dictate how my life would be from that moment on. How my entire family’s future hangs in the balance. Would I make them proud? Would I get the scholarship I needed or would I doom us to decades of penny-pinching just so that I could go to the med school I wanted?

Then I heard a voice in the back of my mind. “Pinagdadasal kita araw-araw”, it said. It was my grandmother’s voice from the night before. In the sea of darkness that was my thoughts, her voice was like a soft calmness that allowed me to focus on one thought: my family loved me. She loved me.

And so I finished my exam and went home. There she was, my lola in her duster smiling and dancing to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon”. I went up to her, kissed her cheek, and hugged her. Her comforting scent enveloped me. “Oh, how was it?”, she asked me. “Sisiw lang, syempre, Mommy”, I replied.

I never realized how powerful words of love could be until then. So to whoever reads this, don’t take words for granted. You don’t know how those kind words could change a person’s life.

“The Mimetic Theory”
by JE can’t think of a pseudonym, Class 2023

Mimetic theory postulates that desire is not autonomous, that is, one desires only what others do. And in a normative society that prods its people along a singular, linear track – formal education, work, financial stability, marriage – it’s easy to feel that these “milestones” are what one inherently desires.

I grew up watching chick flicks with my mom and, like Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway in Bride Wars, I often imagined my own ‘wedding at the Plaza.’ But over time I’ve wondered if marriage, or romance, was something that I actually wanted or was only programmed to want.

Truth be told I still haven’t conclusively answered my question, but what has stemmed from it is the realization that romance is not an absolute requirement. Right now I actually envision remaining single, with a flat entirely my own and maybe a dog to go on walks with – quite a far cry from the family and white picket fence that, by convention, I’d spent years wanting for myself. And honestly?

It’s a pretty exciting prospect.

“Silliest face, tiny paws” by Candy, Class 2023

by Candy, Class 2023

Dogs are something else. They love you truly and without hesitation, even when you’ve been away from home all week and all they get with you are weekends that you still have to spend studying or catching up for lost family time. That amazing feeling of coming home from a long week of med school and being greeted by the silliest face, tiny paws nudging at your legs, and slobbering licks (even though it stinks sometimes) is just too precious for this world. Honestly one of the purest forms of love I’ve ever experienced.

by LDR BFF, Class 2023

I met my best friend in high school, but we actually weren’t really best friends yet then. We ironically grew closer in college, despite having gone to different schools with quite a large distance in between. We held on as we graduated and eventually took our individual gap years. Together, we went through the whole crisis of applying to grad schools, for her, and med schools, for me, and celebrated with each other as we landed our goals.

In a bittersweet turn of events, she eventually decided to move to New York to pursue her post-graduate studies. At first I was scared it would affect our friendship, but I guess we’ve always been pretty good with distance. Hard as it is to not have her in the same time zone, I’m genuinely happy that we’re both pursuing what we love and growing up together, even while apart. Every time she comes home, we pick up right where we left off, and we still get to share our best moments with each other, whether online or IRL. Real, lasting friendships are hard to come by — especially those that are frequently tested by time and intercontinental challenges — but I’m glad to have found my forever soul sister. ❤️

“Red Roses

by Prunus serrulata, Class 2023

In the language of flowers, red roses mean “love”. Every Valentine’s Day, I find a bouquet of them waiting for me when I come home after school. I would entertain the idea that they might have come from some secret admirer, too intimidated to approach. Still, I knew that was all it was– an amusing thought. I had no need for anyone pining after me when those who had sent me my red roses love me far more than anyone else could.

For the twenty-plus years of my life, my parents have been the only dates I ever needed. Every weekend, I would spend time with them, regardless of my schedule. And they would do the same for me. Even when med school has given me such an erratic schedule, they would always be there for me once I’m finally able to spare some time for bonding. No matter what the future holds for me, I’ll never regret giving them the time, attention, and love they deserve.

The planet continues to circle the sun and yet what is constant is that love is found everywhere we look, we just have to choose to see it.

UP Medics would like to thank the UPCM community for submitting these charming stories. We hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day!

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