I saw Mina Esguerra’s My Imaginary Ex a few months ago and I promised myself that I would buy it. I have read M.D. Balangue’s Mr. Write and Claire Betita’s No Boyfriend Since Birth and I have enjoyed both immensely. Unfortunately, every time I had the money to buy Miss Esguerra’s book, I couldn’t find it. And whenever I saw it, I didn’t have any money. It was as if I wasn’t meant to buy her book.
And then, by some stroke of luck, I saw her book again—and I had the money to buy it! The only thing that prevented me from buying it was that the copy had a torn cover. I quickly asked one of the salespeople if they still had another copy of the book. They didn’t. I asked if the book would be discounted because of the torn cover. They told me I’d still have to pay for the regular price of a hundred and fifty pesos.
Now while I had nothing against paying that amount for a book made by a kababayan, I still wanted to pay for a new copy of the book. So, I didn’t buy it. I searched for it in numerous bookstores and still came up with nothing. I promised myself that the next time I saw that book, I’d buy it—even if it was torn.
On February of this year, I saw the book again in the same book store. It was still torn, but I bought it anyway. I did not regret my decision.
Mina Esguerra skillfully writes the story of two unlikely friends, Jasmine and Zachary. It’s boy meets girl in a classic way, but Esguerra manages to change some of the rules, giving it a fresh feeling. Instead of a common interest, it is a lie that binds their friendship. In a desperate attempt to get the girl he liked, Zack asks Jas to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend. Though hesitant at first, Jas eventually agrees.
However, ten years after, everyone still considers that lie the truth.
Here’s what happens when you play pretend. Those are the first words you see on the cover of My Imaginary Ex and it is quite appropriate. Somewhere along the way, the lines blurred and both Jas and Zack forget what is canon and what isn’t. And for a friendship between a man and a woman, blurred lines always make everything more complicated.
I think one of the reasons why I was so adamant in buying the book was I could somehow relate to it. No, I have not been anyone’s imaginary ex-girlfriend, but I knew how it felt like to be thought of as your best friend’s girl. I understood why Jas never thought of Zack as anything but her best friend. He was her best friend and to think of him as something more than that would be crossing a line.
Here’s what happens when you play pretend. After reading the book, I kept looking at those words. At some point in a friendship between a man and a woman, one of them blurs a line and tiptoes to the other side. If it works out, we thank God for the courage He gave us. If it doesn’t, we blame ourselves and regret we even played along. No one can predict the outcome and most of the time, this is what scares us more. Sadly, more of us never try to cross the line—contently watching that person we love become someone else’s. As one song says, I’ll always have the memories. And she’ll always have you.
My Imaginary Ex is a very entertaining read for everyone who has had that friendship with blurred lines and complicated feelings. It reminds us that sometimes a seemingly innocent game of pretend can change everything. Especially when you have two meddlesome exes—and an imaginary one to boot.
As posted in themonestery.