Sunday, June 2, 2013

Neverwhen



Kung ang puso mo ay kapirasong lupa, dito ko nais mahimlay.



Ten years ago on this day, I met her. It was a Saturday and the grassy field, golden under the sun, felt the grace of her hands. My life was never the same since then. In those few occasions that I saw her, I have always felt my solitude reveal itself like a drop of light at midnight. She is capable of breaking the strongest of hearts, this I know now, and yet she remains the only truth I know. This is my clandestine affair with a memory old enough to have its own voice.





When I heard the sound of a page ripped off from my sketchpad, I turned around. She held the paper between my face and the morning light.

“Who is she?”

“Someone I used to know,” I said, looking at her, and then the portrait.

“You mean ex-girlfriend.”

“No. She wasn't, not even for a moment.” If jealousy had a shape, it began to form on her lips.

“What’s her name?”

“Like yours.”

“Oh.”

I stepped out of the house, hoping that the wind might give my heart the calm it deserves. Out in the garden, I remembered wishing to tell the girl in my past that the shadow of her heart is my shelter from the sun.





Sometimes I wonder if I have corrupted my sense of history. Ten years have already gone and yet I feel stuck on that day. Maybe it is because for the first time in my life I found the future I intend to keep. I found it in her.





“Seventh among the thousands who passed the board exams? She must be a god. I’m sorry to say this but, clearly, she’s out of your league,” Paul said, stretching those last four words as if he was forcing them from his teeth and out into the open.

I extended my hand and felt the raindrops on my palm. Cold. Beyond the rusty roof of the waiting shed, I could barely see the sky. “This rain might take a while,” I quipped.

“You’re not listening.”

I wasn't, of course. My mind was somewhere else, some other time, because time zones are too strange for someone who has never really been anywhere except the places she once has been, like this same spot where I find myself now at the mercy of the weather. I am where she was in the past and she is where I will be in the future.

“Japan,” I mumbled.

“What?”

I hailed the approaching passenger jeep and clambered aboard, leaving Paul behind at the waiting shed with the strangers marooned by the heavy rain. Japan.





Almost all of my high school friends are either married or engaged. Some who tied the knot at eighteen, barely more than a year into college, already have a child or two. Some others who waited until twenty-five have their lives figured out, like a master plan that will be built as certain as the eastern sun breaking another long summer night. Two of my friends will exchange their vows this year. For once in my life, marriage was unthinkable, but today I am afraid it is the only possibility I must take.

From time to time, I imagine myself waiting for her at the end of the aisle, she in her gown long enough to drag the world beneath our feet, changing the course of our personal histories and mending what must be healed once and for all, because we have lived enough years of solitude and it is about time for us to call that day the start of forever. She will say I do and I will say I do, too. And we will kiss.

I dreamed of her last night, and she said I will, future tense, like a promise. Sometimes I just want to reach my hand into the future, as if it is a pocket, and take what is hardly mine.





There is one way to let you know who she is to me: compress the rest of the universe in a human body, a divine creation that no god can ever shape, let the weight of every atom there is collapse in a single quantum, and you have your answer. Take her away and I might as well live a life without the sun.

Or simply, I learned to play the guitar, learned the sound of music, so that I might sing her the only song I will ever need to write. But now I have no one whom I could sing all the songs I wrote. She is elsewhere, and so is my music.





She is and has always been the sole reason why I write. She is the thread of truth that holds my fiction together. If by chance she might one day read this and everything that I have written, I can only hope that she would question me. I have at least ten years' worth of answers waiting to climb their way from my heart. But that would be pushing my luck to absurd lengths.





“Give-up.”

“There's no reason why I should,” I said.

“Oh stop fooling yourself. Can't you see? She's not into you. How can you still not see that?”

“Not into anyone, actually. Not yet. Maybe not until she's thirty.”

“The optimist in you. The church should consider making you a saint after you die.” Her eyes began to gather tears. “Why do you have to chase her all the way to Japan? You're crazy.”

She held me and I held her back. “I am. She's driving me mad.”

An hour after, I left the country in search of the home where my heart is.


8 comments:

Phioxee said...

follow your heart ;-)

gord said...

Nanosebleed nanaman ako dito. Pero ang galing mo talagang magsulat. Is this fiction? Parang hindi na kasi.

Well, you should really follow your heart. :)

kae said...

the way you write, im tagging you for a romantic. you write so well. :)

for real? err. wish a man i love would do that for me as well..

choose happiness is what i say. :)

SPLICE said...

@Phioxee

I will because, finally, I must. And this time I am told by this device, this heart, that I ought to free myself by way of accepting the rejection I realize I deserve --- for the best of reasons. I need to confront her, and hear from her the most bittersweet response known to all those who had to survive an unrequited love.

SPLICE said...

@gord

It's fiction on the outside. Inside, it's something else, something stranger than fiction :)

SPLICE said...

@kae

I definitely agree. I will choose happiness, which is why I have to confront the biggest challenge so far --- give in so as to be able to let go. I think you might want to try it, too. :)

Maybe I'm the romantic type, though not entirely the hopeless kind. In all things I do, I'm hopeful myself, though sometimes it doesn't manifest itself the way I intend it to be.

I assume you are a happy person by default. :)

♔ıǝɹɯɐı♔ said...

She would be very lucky to have someone who loves her like you do. You, Romantics, are an endangered species you know.

SPLICE said...

@♔ıǝɹɯɐı♔

Maybe you're right: every romantic is an endangered species. They have failed at Darwinian evolution; it's the price to pay for trying to steady their lives in spite of their heavy hearts.