This is for you, you know who you are…
It started out with this, “Hey, are you still awake?”
The reply came sometime in the late afternoon of the next day, “Hi Niki, sorry for the late reply. I donated blood yesterday kaya medyo lutang me since last night… What’s up? Please text back.”
To which I responded, “I just want to know if you’re okay. When you left the seminary, it was never clear to me why. I couldn’t ask you the first few times since we have been in contact again.”
The response was rather complicated.
We had agreed to meet the Friday next, to finally see each other. All this time, we seem to have been just reading each other’s blogs and sending each other these ubiquitous obligatory greetings during Christmas for the last five years. Has it been that long since we saw each other last? One thing’s for sure, we just drifted apart. The sun had set and the shadows have fallen on each day of those last five years. Days too many to count, faces and places changing, yet what is true and lasting did certainly endure.
But Friday next seemed too far away, and I took a stab in the dark. “Tomorrow,” I said. “If you can make it, I’m just at home. I can make you some lunch.” I really did not hold-out much hope for that one for that tomorrow was Friday the 13th.
13 still is my lucky number. It’s the number of my house after all…
And there you were in front my gate today, wearing a smile on your face, yet it was not the smile I used to know. As I held you once again, ever so tightly, I realized that we are not as we once were; and that the pain of the years I have held seem to drift with the unusually cool breeze that blew on today, disregarding the summer that had begun.
It was nice to hear your voice again. I had not told you that a few years ago, I woke up one morning trying to remember what your voice sounds like; it seemed insignificant to tell that afternoon. It was nice to see the wonder in your eyes when I was mixing up the wasabi paste with the mayonnaise. It was nice to see you laugh at the fuss I made getting the food ready. I really had thought none of it, fussing over the details of that meal.
What mattered was there you were again, sitting across me, trying to squeeze in as much of the five years we’ve missed while certain sentiments had to be said. It’s funny how the usual drama haunts us again.
You’ve always been the good boy, with a fixed set of life goals and a certain set of rules to live by. I have always admired that about you. But I felt as if that has held you back from truly living for yourself, from doing things the way you wanted, and from enjoying your life. You were surprised how I came up with this conclusion even way before you got to the complications of your -dare we call it- ‘quarter-life’ crisis? Yet I was also surprised to find out how you’ve been moving around the country trying to find yourself these past few months. It was quite amusing when you regaled opting to be a farming laborer; you would have looked so out of place there.
We had decided to watch a movie to let the time pass. ‘Taiyou No Uta’’ had been playing for a few minutes when you asked we should watch ‘The Love of Siam’ instead. “Really now, you know that movie?” I asked with such curious surprise. “I’ve heard about it,” you said. Because I don’t remember mentioning it to you at all. Of all the movies you would have chosen from, I thought to myself, you had to pick the one movie that has taught me to let you go.
Just like old times, there we were picking-on and musing over things we found interesting about the movie. I could read your laughter when Mew sang the lyrics, “You can’t write a love song when you’re not in love.” Funny how a few days ago, I was holding a copy of the script of a movie I had written for you.
“Is it possible that we can love someone, and never be afraid of losing them?” the movie asks.
I think it is… I believe it is.
And as much as reunions bring back waves of emotions within a person, I guard my thoughts. My first duty towards you is as your friend. I’ll take as much of your friendship as it comes for there is a part of me that knows you could go away again one day with nary a word, like you did once. Training to be a flight steward does not really assure anyone that you’re going to stick around. There’s a Japanese expression that if translated goes, “It can’t be helped.”
Indeed, it can’t be helped. You have asked me twice that day if I thought you really were that callous and insensitive in the past. I already knew you were, it just couldn’t be helped. That’s the tragedy with some good actors is that they go up on stage and they can bring your heart to places where it never knew existed, yet in real life, they can be so clueless. Knowing you as I do, every now and then, you’re capable of a deeper love. So, you’re not what you think you are…
The time came for you to make your way back to the metropolis, after seeing you off on the bus going to the metro, I went back home. I saw the garden hose and I thought I had to be a bit domestic and give the plants a little watering. “Water is good,” I thought to myself, “It washes away many things…” Then a neighbor’s jeep passes by playing that song by the Indigo Girls that goes, “So we’re okay, we’re fine. Baby I’m here to stop your crying. Chase all the ghosts from your head…”
What are the chances that the song I have associated with you would be blasting off some speaker at that exact time? Now isn’t that something?
So here I am, picking up that last shard of my broken heart… settling… not afraid of losing you another time. It’s not such a bad thing.
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