It Ends At The Start

If I could write a story about us, I would start at the beginning. And that beginning ends there, just there. Some people call it a cliffhanger, I call it a missed opportunity.

The first time I saw you, you didn’t see me. After all, before you knew my name, I was a ghost to you when you weren’t one to me. But knowing a name isn’t the same as knowing the face, the body, and the mind. Who are you? How are you? What are you?

“Hi,” you took my hand quickly, in our effort to be formal. “Hi,” I whispered back, your voice rumbling at the back of my mind. I fall behind as you strode forward, the sun at your back.  I wasn’t shaken at first, maybe because you didn’t scare me in the way others usually do. You were distant all on your own, but as the seconds turned to minutes, even the coldest person bathed by the sun turns warm. And even if we didn’t see eye to eye the first time, I knew that you were something. Not just something, were.

“How is this city treating you?” I piped up, as I felt that familiar feeling of fright in me. Your eyes flickered in my direction. “It’s all right, but it’s not the dream most people believed it to be.”  I don’t know what led me to believe that you were even a possibility, even if I know you usually have to treat every person as an opportunity to connect. But even some beliefs are proven strong by faith, and I’m glad to know that later on, we would find common ground in some aspects at least. We existed in the same space, but not necessarily together. There was a slight fence between us, and no one reached a hand out until I did. And you took it with openness right away, your stories spilled onto the table and flowed towards me, like your words yearned to come out. But that was your personality, that was who you are. You flowed, you flowed right into me.

But I wish we didn’t stop with the stories, because I had questions on my own that I wanted answered. “What’s your favorite television program?” “Do you read?” “If you were the last man on earth, what brand of beer would you want to keep you company in your solitude?” Even if I didn’t ask, your eyes crinkled with a refreshing innocence that doubled as “been there, done that” and as I watched you color your world for me from the sidelines, I knew that maybe this could be. This could be– I don’t know, a question worth asking? Someone worth?

“So, yeah, nice meeting you.” You said, as you took a stride forward and your arm took me in. I fell into your ten-second embrace as I wrung my arm around your neck. “Good luck with everything.” I rubbed your back a little, like I wanted a wish. A wish for you to stay longer, a wish for you to ask me to stay.

I knew that the story was already written. Journeys end in lovers’ meeting, as Shakespeare said, but we weren’t anything. We just met, and the journey already reached its end.

I wish I knew it was the epilogue right there, so I knew how to say goodbye. But some endings were meant to be put there. And now as I stare into the blackness that is the ceiling of my room, I try to remember your crinkling eyes, your deep, throaty laugh, and the sound of your voice (or admittedly, the way your eyes would briefly flicker towards me), but instead I only remember you in stills and in faces I have associated similarity with. It was as if you were a memory made to be forgotten.

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Dear Mr. Munich,

Aside from the fact that you were clad in one of those cushy, velvet sweaters I liked, you were a prime example of a chance that I overlooked. Smoke billowed from your mouth as you laughed and turned to face me. “Prost,” as we clinked glasses. “Prost.” before you turned away.

What could I have said, seeing as how we were seated inches from each other, and the words could have sealed it. “Hello,” as I could have tapped your shoulder. “Wie heißen Sie? (what is your name?)” was what I should have said. But again, almost is never enough.

Could those words have began a story of how we met? After all, distance does not have to be reached by transport, but only by pushing yourself from where you are. Only in this case, the words could have done enough, so much in fact — that I didn’t have to be afraid, that I could have known you and the rest of it falls into place right after.

But again, there is no hoping in the almost. It is after all, a bit to where it’s right, but only a bit. And a bit may be just a bit more, but again, it’s just a bit and therefore not yet.

What Then?

I suppose the reason why I still can’t let go of you a hundred percent is because I never really saw how it would end.  I mean, I predicted how it ended (and believe me, forecasting is pretty easy when it comes to matters of me), but I always believed that I would be proven wrong.  I never asked for the world from you, nor have you given it to me.  And believe me, if you would come knocking on my door, begging for forgiveness, I would want to slam the door in your face.

But I would like to admit that I’d still want you to, anyway.  I’d have dreams where your car is parked in front of my building, and you’d be there with a sorry face and words of pity — “I was afraid” or “I wanted to keep my distance because you have fallen too hard, quite close to me.” I know it was easy for you to detach yourself from me, I get that, because you have chosen the path of unfeeling, a feeling equated close to death, where you could care less for the hurt you have caused others.  We (I am, after all, a part of this) have become numbers to you, and while there is a secret brilliance to integers, it’s the greatest insult you could have given me (even if I refuse to confess such) and to all the others you have hurt.  Some have come rapping desperately at your door, and others chose to sit idly by and try to be as apathetic as you are.

I am not writing this to beg for your love in return because God knows I wouldn’t want you back in my life, despite my own heart twinge in pain as the words come flowing.  It would only cause a whole cycle of it over again, and this time, I can read between your lies (or truths you couldn’t make truth?).  This is a piece I have to cope with for my own sake, as I try to become uncaring towards you (and I have already done so), because I never knew if the words you said meant anything to you as they had to me.  You already knew how I love the power of words, and yet you maltreated them as if they were air.

Actions may speak louder than words, but it doesn’t mean words can’t speak for themselves too.  Or else, how can we even begin the act of speech without the letters strung together?

You told me never to leave your side, and I didn’t.  But why did you?

dreaming in flight

(This was written a few days ago, but eh.)

About seventeen thousand feet in the air, I dreamt of you.  We were at a party, and we finally had a conversation where I didn’t stutter and shake whenever you were around.  I don’t remember exactly how I loved you, but I remember that I did.  God, did I love you so hard.  And at that time, when I was still peering from my twelve-year old set of eyes, I never saw the reasons why I loved you but only what I saw on the surface.  I was shallow like that, and it is still a characteristic I carry within me even up until today, and you are nine years old an issue already.

As the minutes pass, I forget what we talked about, but I could only remember bits of it.  We were talking about dream jobs, and you told me something that I cannot recall now in reality, as it is (1) three in the goddamn morning, and (2) I am uncomfortably bloated and seated on a seat that’s going to make my butt hurt for ten hours.  It’s amazing how I can even write at this hour, knowing that what I want more than ever is to rest my head on a pillow and roll around in the covers of home.

I wish we found grounds of decency instead of shallowness and petty reason.  I know you’re brilliant in your own right (you’re in pre-med now, or something? I don’t know, but I remember you graduating), and maybe we could have been equals in terms of mindsets, except now I don’t know you beyond that one time I snuck a peek at your Facebook.  Your brother is the more open one, I guess, but he too is a stranger to me.

I guess it had to take a lot of growing up (and a lot of crushes more) to realize this, that I would have wanted to speak with you as an equal, and not as a stuttering simpleton who only found reason to live in the way you smile.  You’re more than just that, and it’s obvious anyway.

But that’s me, always banking on sentimentality and shadows.

Someday, I do owe you that conversation though. Maybe.

Car Ride

As I closed my eyes, I remember me in the passenger’s seat of your car, and you were mockingly telling me to get out because I didn’t know my way home. We were both bathed in sweat after our jog, and as we passed the traffic lights on the avenue, I found myself in the dark again.

I don’t know how you always come back, but you do. I don’t love you, I don’t like you, but I miss you. Or at least, I miss who you once were. It’s difficult to let go, I guess, of your shadow, which is pretty much the only thing I’ve held onto — reluctantly a remnant from when it was you and I. Not together, but it could have been. It’s poison to think we were, because there was no finality, no clause. It was just floating in space, like my head most of the time after you left.

I don’t look for the reasons why you left, but more of the reasons why I held on. It doesn’t make sense for me to hold on any longer, but I still find myself doing so whenever I am reminded of you. Even without your laugh or the smile reflected in your eyes, I can still see you in every insignificant thing, from the cobbled pavement to the color of the shoes I saw from a store window.

As I took off my seatbelt (and snapped a photo with you), I hugged you goodbye, not knowing in a few weeks, I wouldn’t feel you in that way again.

three months later

(“Roses,” taken at one of the gardens in Budapest (Hungary) by the author, edited and processed using VSCOCam)

Here is the part no one told me about.

You only come back during the worst of pains, when the hardest of tears rush down my face and I remember the words that comforted me during those hours.  It was a warmth that was welcoming, as if to say, “tell me what the world has done to you.” You never promised to rid the world of its cruelty, in fact you acknowledged it.  You loathed the people that live in it, but you told me to stay strong, to never change.  “Don’t think negatively, that’s my job,” you told me, and even through the words of a cell phone, I could hear your cheeky tone come through.

I guess the reason why I remembered you again is because I associated you with these terrible pains.  The person whom I thought could never in a million years walk away without even a single word of reason as to why it happened (how did it change in a day? It’s a question i used to worry about, but not anymore) became the one that did so anyway.  And the thing is, I don’t know how it was my fault at all.  I used to blame myself, and until now, I still have the remains of the bumbling idiot who still has you on the brain.  I used to be a hundred percent idiot, but I’m slowly gaining parts of my self back, and soon I’ll be leaving again.

I’m no longer angry, and for sure, I’m no longer salty in the eyes from the tears of not knowing.  I never mourned for you.  I mourned for the loss of what you’ve been, coming from the person who thought you were enough.  You have given me the reason why you couldn’t stay, and I understood.  But if you didn’t care for me, why did it take you so long to leave? What in God’s name made you linger instead, feeding me with empty promises of staying when you were going to take flight anyway? People leave, it’s a universal truth, but at least some of them were decent enough to leave a notice.  I thought you would be one of those people, but apparently, it’s okay for you to vacate.

But it’s okay now.  These are questions I don’t mind unanswered anymore, because you have the freedom to, however painful it may be.  And I only wish you the best, that you could find someone that could give you all the reasons to stay, that she will give you the courage to become who you once were.

Sentimentality, after all, is my job.  And in doing so, I can never love what you’ve been longer than I can take anymore, not because I don’t care for you, but because I could never care for the death of it.

You only come back during the worst of pains, when the hardest of tears rush down my face.  And yet, not a day goes by when I don’t think of you, because despite the pain you have caused me, I can never deny the person you were to me several months ago, hoping that it will surface again and last a while longer for that person who can bring it out again.

And if you were wondering, I’m okay too.