exquisite

“Don't look back,” she said, “or you’ll think there’s so much left behind that will slow you down on your way.” Her words still ring a cold, dry note in my head, and, years after, I still hear them in quiet, helpless abandon, like an old song, taking me back to an era of sadness, back to distant times, back to that night.

We met again that night, after dark, but unlike the other nights that passed between us, this night was different, thicker than the mist, slower than time, heavier than gloom itself. It was the last night.

“I promise I won’t. Promise you won’t look back either,” I answered her.

She chuckled a little, a sound that struck echoes through the fog and the pine trees around us. She then grinned at me, her grin outlined by the golden light of the lamppost underneath which we stood. “Let’s skip all this, please? Let’s just walk away like two normal adults.”

I grinned too. “We’re far from normal, you said so, remember?" We were more immoral than normal. We don’t do normal things. Normal people don’t have sins like ours.

“So what’s your point?”

“We can’t just walk away from each other like normal people.”

“So you want me to throw a tantrum here?” she said nonchalantly. She playfully kicked stones lying on the ground, sending them off one by one into the fog. She watched each one disappear, then kicked the next one. “Don’t make it harder than it should be. I mean, it just sounds hard, harsh even, but it’s the reality we have right now. I met someone new, so good luck to me. You happen to be leaving, so good luck to you too. Life happens.” She turned to me with a blazing look, like I had no right to contradict what she just said.

“Is that it?”

“That’s all there is to it. And hasn’t it always been your little dream, to travel the world, go places, live a full life?”

“I dreamt it with you.”

“Well, I change my dreams like I change my mind. Like how I’m changing my mind about now, like how this “goodbye night” for closure is not turning out well after all. Please, just grow up.”

But I was too naïve to leave it at that. Didn’t I ask her to meet me that night so we can have an understanding, such that if fate ever brought us together, there is something to bind us? Shouldn’t we be making promises right about now?

“We had so much between us.”

“And they used to have meaning, before. But not any longer. Not in our reality now. You think you’re in love with me? I thought so too, I maybe thought the same thing about you. But I grew out of it. Shouldn’t you, too?”

It’s fascinating how a few months, a few years have changed us. This is not how we were before. We used to love the night, because it brought us together. We used to hate the dawn, because it tore us apart. We used to meet after dark, to talk, to think, to breathe together, to inhale and exhale into each other. We used to write our names on church pews. We used to ride the bus and laugh at people to pass the time. We shared so much between us, more than just our bodies, but everything else beyond the physical. We didn’t have a name for what we had, we didn’t tag ourselves with labels like ‘lovers’ or ‘couple’ or whatever else, but we had something and she and I knew it. Now, just a few years after, we come to this, a complacent goodbye, where everything we had has no bearing at all.

“Why do you find it so easy, to say goodbye? Because of him? Does he compare to me?”

“I don’t want to answer that.” By now she was kicking the dust, drawing odd shapes with her foot, occupying herself with trivial things so as to avoid having to look at me.

“Do you love him?”

“Maybe.”

At this she averted her eyes and looked far. I took time to take in all of her, in my mind. Her long black hair, her eyes, her pink lips, her pale skin. She was just so cruel, so cold yet so beautiful. The golden light of the lamppost distorted all her colors, leaving a sepia tint in my memory, and this old church where we agreed to meet that night served as a grim backdrop, an omen of all the loneliness up ahead, and a symbol of all we’re leaving behind. An empty street, a deserted church, this will certainly play in my memory for years to come, like how she agreed to meet me one last time, like how she arrived at this isolated street before I did, like how she showed no trace of sadness, like how I asked if she loved him, like how she said “Maybe.” These are the things I will remember. Again and again, I choked, on my own tears I have tried, so far, to successfully smother. She loves him, maybe.

Then she looked back to me and said, “I never once said I loved you, did I?”

A quick spasm of pain, in my chest, it’s been brewing for years and it now overflows, but it remained in my chest, showed no trace on my face. Our physical union did not constitute love. Intertwining flesh was still just flesh, and the primal need we used to have, which used to burn us, was, in the end, still just a need.

“No. I guess it never came up.” I tried to smile, a genuine smile that showed no bitterness on my face. She smiled too. She smiled that genuine smile at me, like her first smile at me when we first met.

A long pause. She pursed her pink lips, then stared at a particular stone, her gaze unbroken, cool and careless, like she was unaware that I was watching her every move, every expression.

A swift kick in the ground, a stone flying across the pavement.

Her hands dangling shyly on her sides, then sliding inside her jacket pockets.

She then looked into my eyes.

“Well, I’m saying it now.”

I understood. The things she tells me, the things she says, these things don’t need words. For years, I knew her, I knew how she needed me as much I needed her. I knew I meant something to her, something she doesn’t need to explain, something she doesn’t need to say to me.

“You don’t have to,” I answered quietly, resisting the urge to say “I love you too,” because it will just be words, shallow and ethereal, just sounds that die as soon as I utter them in a cloud of fog, as quick as my last exhale. She once told me that the things we feel but don’t have words for, these things are the building blocks of love. In the form of memory it outlasts time and space, endures goodbyes. And words can cut you, but it’s the unsaid, unseen things that leave scars.

“If you really want to know then yes, you meant a lot to me,” she continued. “That was our time together and it was fun. Now, that time has passed, and so should we.” This time, I was the one looking aronud for little stones to kick into the darkness surrounding us.

“I never imagined there’d be goodbyes between us,” I finally said, while thinking the same thing, turning it over in my mind.

There was an almost interminable pause, a shameful stillness that only illustrated the truth in what I just said. After a few minutes of just looking away, she spoke, in a softer voice.

“To be honest, me too. Just hellos, and goodnights and see yous.”

“And I’ll miss yous.”

“Yeah. I guess I’ll miss you too. But it’s good that we’re doing this now. I mean, there’s much between us that will get damaged in you leaving, or me with someone else, but it’s not too late, it’s just in time. If we held on to this much longer, if we kept doing this, we’ll just be waiting for another chance to say goodbye. We were never meant for things beyond goodbyes,” she said with conviction, with a voice echoing a repressed truth.

“You’re right. Yes, I guess you’re right with that. There’s no other way of putting it.” I tried to sound as strong as I can, as if these things aren’t happening in real tangible time but in some other timeline, more otherwordly, and not as normal as this. I tried to match her conviction, but it sounded like I was just trying to convince myself.

“Am I being too hurtful?”

“Yes. But I don’t have any hard feelings for you, if that’s what you really want to tell me,” I said. “You can say what you want, I know you’re just driving me away.”

“You know as much as I do, I don’t need to drive you away.”

In vain I searched my mind for a reply, but the coldness in her voice told me there wasn’t anything I can say to change that fact. I still had to go and leave her. It was happening, it was unavoidable. The best thing I can do is just make it light for my own sake.

“So you like this new guy?”

“Yeah I guess, I mean, we messed around a bit.” My heart crushed but I smiled.

“Like we used to?”

“Yes. And more.”

Inside my head I kept repeating that these are just things she says to push me away, but her own voice answers I don’t need to drive you away. She was probably telling the truth, just stating facts.

She continued, “He’s just, so much to explain. He makes me laugh a lot. He draws me in his dorky little notebooks. He’s obsessed with me. He calls me every night, won’t hang up unless I hanged up first. He surprises me at home. He takes me home with him. He’s asked me to live with him. I think I will, I don’t know yet. He knows my parents. He…”

I just lost track of all that he is. These are things that I have been. These are things that I could have been. Couldn’t I have called her every night if I knew she was not busy? Couldn’t I have visited her at home if I knew she wouldn’t get annoyed? Why can he do all this? Who is he? How could his few weeks of existence mean more to her than my three years? Am I so insignificant?

“Nice to know he’s so into you,” I lied through my teeth. I found a particularly annoying little rock behind me and kicked it with all my might, the impact sending the rock towards some unknown path in the dark. Nice.

“Yeah. I’m thinking it’s for real this time. I’m tired of playing around. If you weren’t leaving you would have met him.”

“Like fuck I would have.” I looked at her with all the silent rage that I could muster, but she was just staring at my shoes, the ground around it, glistening in the mist and the light under the lamp. She knew I was fuming but felt it was better not to acknowledge it.

“So. Will you write? When you’re away?”

“For sure.”

“Don’t. You know how I hate reading.” She then laughed the fakest laugh I ever heard. “What time do you leave again?”

I pretended to check my watch. “Two hours ago. I can just catch the next bus in like, twenty minutes.”

“Hmm. I think I need to go now. Goodbye then.” Then she turned away to leave.

“No—hey! Not yet.”

She paused. Looked around us, as if in search of some words more searing than pain itself.

“Does this weigh heavy on you?” She asked, annoyance in her voice.

“You have no idea how much,” I breathed into the mist, my exhale condensing into a puff under the lamp’s light.

“That’s because you keep thinking that this is the last goodbye. You keep dwelling on how after this, there are no more hellos. You’re missing me before the goodbye. Stop thinking about such things, make it easier for yourself. Do what I do. Never look back, or you’ll think there’s so much left behind that will slow you down on your way. Just go. Let’s go.”

“I’m, not leaving you.”

“At some point, yes you will.”

“You won’t leave me.”

“At some point, I already have.” At this, she turned her back, took a few steps into the fog. I watched her leave, and then she stopped and turned to me, to say her last words.

“Never look back,” she said. Something in her voice told me that these three words are the last she will ever say to me in this lifetime.

I knew I just had to succumb to the inevitable. To the goodbye I knew was coming no matter how I prolong the wait. One last look then. One last image of her. One last chance to take it all in, one final memory to take with me. She nodded her head as I turned my back, careful not to show the pain in my face. Sharp and quiet, I went on my way, the next lamplight looking so distant on the road ahead. My steps cut through the gloomy grayness, my shadow on the ground lengthening as I walked away from the lamppost. My first steps to a future without her. Her first steps to a future without me, leaving me behind as part of her past.

Inch by inch, every second increasing the space between us. Soon, it will be miles and years that separate us, and we will be reduced to almost nothing, not more than just two people who used to know each other, who existed in a common time. Is that how she will remember me? Is this how I will remember her? Is this the last of her?

There will always be her in me. There will always be traces of her on my skin, I will always smell her in my breath. My fingers will touch someone else’s but they will always memorize the geography of her hand. I will find warmth somewhere else in the world, but I will always feel her coldness. I will see a million other people, but I will always look for her in a crowd.

Never look back, I kept telling myself. I didn’t want to see the empty spot she just left. I didn’t want to see this empty street again.

My tears fell and dried. I reached the end of the street.

And in that one moment of respite, of the final collusion of love and hate, in that exact instant, I risked an eternity of peace and looked back, and the fog has lifted, and showed the old abandoned church, and the lamp shedding its old light onto the mist, onto the pavement. I looked back and saw her, standing still where I left her, not having moved an inch, looking straight at me, hands in her pocket, watching me leave, and it was only then that I really understood, that the unnamed things we feel, the things we want to say but have no words for, these things constitute real love, these things outlast time and space, these things survive goodbyes.



Wala pa akong maipost kaya ito na lang munang ginawa kong fiction half a year ago... matapos akong i-challenge ni Jepoy na sumulat ng something cheesy para maiba naman.

43 comments. Post your comment here.:

Anonymous said...

Panalo ito, kid! Ang galing mo!! Two thumbs up!!!

word verification: dedborga

taribong said...

Panalo ito, kid! Ang galing mo!! Two thumbs up!!!

word verification: dedborga

khantotantra said...

huwow! umiinglish mode.

lupit ng pagkkagawa at muntik na akong maluha.

napaisip ako, may part kaya dito ang malapit sa katotohanan? i mean, siguro may part na nangyari sa iyo to.

roanne said...

Awwwwww....

Ang galing mo glentot! I was expecting something wicked in the end, pero natuwa ako kasi this just shows how versatile you are. Wickedly ingenious!

More!!!

I am Xprosaic said...

Wow! ganda ng pagkakagawa... kaso di maalis sa isip ko na ang characters eh ikaw at si khikhi... sori naman... lol

word verification:byisto (no pun intended...lol)

Dhang said...

WOW as in WOW! Ang galing! 'Yan ba ang nagagawa ng pangchachallenge ni Jepoy? Sana i-challenge ka pa niya ng maraming-maraming beses. Hahaha!

Fiction? Weh? Bakit parang totoo? Hehehe...

Mervin said...

nose bleed ako... English eh...

Chingoy said...

never get tired of writing IDOL... this is exquisite... :)

nabasa ko na ito sa isang site mo, at babasahin ko ulet...

(feel my nosebleed, you wicked!)

Greta said...

habang binabasa ko feeling ko kayo ni kiki to..
ang galing galing..ngayon lang ko nagbasa ng cheesy na talagang naabsorb ko!

powerful ka talaga idol!amen!

Oliver said...

actually, it's sad and beautiful at the same time.
lagot, walang nagsusuka, magiiba na image mo, haha

ʎonqʎʇıɔ said...

Sino ka at anong ginawa mo kay Glentot?

"We used to love the night, because it brought us together. We used to hate the dawn, because it tore us apart."

Hindi siya nakakasuka. This line especially. It brought me back to a dark night three years ago. Fudge, akala ko di na ako naaapektohan masyado sa mga ganitong post pero sinapul mo ako dun, meman.

karen anne said...

hindi ikaw si glentot. lumayas ka sa katawan nya. joke :)

parang may pinaghugutan ah.. but i like it :)

Unni-gl4ze^_^ said...

di pa maabsorb skin na ikaw c glentot~ahihi
panalo to!!!!
ikaw na ang magaling gumawa ng fiction na english~~

“I never imagined there’d be goodbyes between us,”
awtss
i hate goodbyes heartbreaking eh T_T

Rah said...

Binasa ko talaga, kahit mahaba. Enjoyed it. Never looked back :)Suggestion: dapat may sexy time scene :)

an_indecent_mind said...

tangna ka! naapektuhan mo ang araw ko! at may alaalang kumirot sa akin!

walang goodbye na madali lang.. sa kahit anong paraan ang piliin mo, may masasaktan at masasaktan...

tsk! di ko kinaya to... nagsisisi ako at binasa ko to. ahechu!

chikletz said...

i love this story. superb talaga!!!! ang sad pero and cute. hayyyy... bigat sa dibdib. sorta reminded mo of the movie "500 days of summer"

Yj said...

naalala ko to... ito yung pinabasa mo sa akin half a year ago..

binangungot ako noon... kaya hindi ko na binasa ulit... bwahahahahaha

Pao said...

Gah. Breath of fresh air. Galing. One of the best ka talaga! :D

Poldo said...

While reading this I can't help myself to conclude that this a real life story that you had experienced.. In some way I just notice even in your blog layout the shows the pain and hatred you felt before.

Hanep!

Fiction ba talaga o for real!

Vajarl said...

Shet. Nashock ang bangs ko. Napacomment tuloy ako. Haha.

Ayie said...

Naalala ko ito. Nainlove na naman tuloy ako sayo...hahahah!

Jepoy said...

ayokong ipost ang mga gawakong fiction...Over my deadbodeeeeeeeeee!!! Walang connection...

Well well well ang ganda ng structure and I love the honesty of this post. Mhuachupa!

2ngawzki said...

fiction?weh!db own exprience yn?just kidding!panalo to boy...knabog mo na si nicholas sparks!!!!nice work.

MiDniGHt DriVer said...

are ang galing.
idol talga kita sa pagsusulat.

sana matuto nadin ako ng umi-english na level ;-).
love the right up,ganda ng story!

silentassasin said...

Ang haba,..inexpect ko ang punchline sa huli..hehe.seryoso pala. Pero hinde nga gawa mo tlga to??joke :D

Anonymous said...

langya ka glentot! lupit mo magsulat! parang gusto ko na tuloy mag-blog. idolo na kita.

Ako si Yow said...

Parang.. Parang..
Parang Martha Cecilia's Precious Hearts Romances. Haha. Pocket Book ito. Joke lang.
Pero sobrang husay idol. Nakakasad at mejo nakarelate. Haha. Amporma.
Power ka nga! At dahil jan, hindi ko kinaya. Ako na ang unang nagsuka at lumuluha ng dugo. Haha.
Akala ko din may kagaguhan sa dulo. And dami ko nasabi, blog ko to.

Kosa said...

blog ba ni Glentot tong napasok ko?

nakakapanibago...
hehe. Pero ayus na ayus Tsong! pwedeng icareer.

orally said...

Now that's truly Wicked.
Magaling.

Momel said...

And so now, ladies and gentlemen, the shit has definitely hit the fan. Now I understand why your read Zafra.

Cheers, Glentot!

The Gasoline Dude said...

You've just earned my respect after reading this. Kudos!

Pero ayoko ng tema. LOL! I don't like reading about goodbyes. Taena lang.

Bitter much?

Robbie said...

Ang cheesy ha. Parang nasa ibang blog ata ako. haha.

KUMAGCOW said...

Oy musta Glen hehe =)

ahmer said...

Grave nagbago tuloy tingin ko sayo' hahaha

p0kw4ng said...

weeh sinapian ka ano??

eng erte erte leng! keke imu leng etits!

mr.nightcrawler said...

cheesy nga... and mushy. pero ang galing mo parekoy. puwede ka nang magsulat romance novels. hehe. peace :P pero no joke, maganda ang sinulat mo.

Andy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RICO said...

hindi ako nagkamali ng pinili kitang tawaging idol. IDOL!!!!!



bow down bow down..ayuno ayuno..


sulat ka pa pls...

-=K=- said...

Sumakit dibdib ko :( It's full of love and pain and what could have beens. Hay. Is this really fiction?

Well, true or not, this is really the bomb! Me likey!

TDB said...

ficiton daw! hehe, biro lang glen.
nakakamiss pala pag di na comedy but it's nice to read something new. :)

- A n g e l - said...

You wrote this? It's very good! I enjoyed reading it. Weird lang that I keep thinking about that goodbye scene in the park in 500 Days of Summer. Hehe.

Well done!

macz said...

mahal ni kita kuya glen.. :))

sapul eh..

Dino said...

Exceptionally good of its kind. A real ace.

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