It definitely amazes me, how we handle things in the same manner.
No matter what cards you throw into the pile, never pretend like I can’t read them. I’ve mastered this game. Your face is easy enough to read—I’ve held the same expression for months on end, countless times before. It’s all too familiar. I know what you’re trying. Don’t try to fool me, because out of all the people in this entire university, I know you best.
And that seems to be exactly what you’re too miffed about.
No matter how much you’d want to, you couldn’t exactly manage to shake off my existence from yours.
Don’t worry; I dislike it as much as you do.
Exactly two months ago, from today, that’d be the 1st of July 2011, I had a meeting with the Research and Development Facilities team up in Gokongwei building. We were talking about cafeterias, and copier machines. Significance? It was the first time that Dustin didn’t wait for me to go home. I just found out that he was already walking outside the streets of Taft to have dinner with the boys after I had texted him when my meeting was over. And, that doesn’t seem so much of a big deal, does it? It isn’t. But after everything, when the relationship has just freshly ended, you have that tendency to think over everything, replay every moment, look through your archives of webcam photos together, reread every Plurk, every wall post, every message and every text sent, and look for the key parts of the play when things started to go wrong, when things started to change. I did that about over a month ago. And this was it. This was one of them. Before, every meeting I’d attend, he’d wait for me to finish. If he had to go on ahead, he’d at least tell me to no longer wait or look for him. He left campus without telling; and though how small, insignificant and seemingly trivial this may sound, it’s one of those things that used to be in your routine, when you were all okay and dandy, rainbow unicorns and cotton candy. And then something changes. Of course the boy had a life of his own. So did I. But when you were with someone you loved, would you forget them, even for a second?
What am I getting at?
I’m saying that things unravel rather quickly, rather surreptitiously too. In the most clandestine of manners, time creeps along, sneaks up from behind, and snatches love away from you. It is a natural process, almost inevitable, contested only by the inexplicable powers of the concept of ‘true love’. But no matter how successful this little operation goes, there will always be an inescapable sense of what used to be. Still you haunt me, phantomwise. So wrote Lewis Carroll. And I suppose there is no other way to describe it. There is a ghost of everything, a spirit of the nothingness you have dissolved into.
Tragically enough, even when you’ve tried, time and time again, to shake off this ghost, ignore it, leave it be, or even legitimately move on—even when you no longer miss that person—it will come back to bite you in the ass, just to remind you that this person was once a part of your life, and a rather large part at that.
I no longer miss him. I’ve stopped missing him the moment we broke it off—the moment I stood up, and walked away. I accepted it. I was okay. Half a month before the break up, I had, in fact, been preparing for it. It was inevitable. I saw it coming. We all did. And I understood it well enough. It was nothing I regret.
But even if I don’t, it doesn’t mean that I’ve erased everything from my memory. Even when I try not to think about it, there will always be those moments that relate to nothing else, but some small, seemingly insignificant moment that made me smile, or hurt inside. Those moments were all connected to that person.
It’s funny and yet painfully horrible, how Aira, after two years, admitted that she had still been thinking of the what-ifs. What if she and Dustin were still together? She even thanked me, after we broke up. She thanked me because ‘I went through everything for her.’ And she said that it was only at that time when she had stopped considering that old hope of a future. And all I could think to myself was, even I don’t think about it anymore, and yet, you still do?
I’m particularly certain that there is someone else he’s chasing after now; I already expected that, seeing as he’s never stayed single for more than two weeks. But miraculously enough, it’s been a month and a half since then, and hey. Here he is, a one-man band, making music on his own, because he can’t make beautiful music together with someone just yet. What I’m trying to say is that it is term break. And he hates long vacations, because he easily gets so bored. The only thing that keeps him entertained is either going out with a couple of friends, or having a girl to talk to. Seeing as how every single time I log on to Twitter, and scroll through the updates, his tweets would always be about how his term break sucks, how he’s bored out of his wits, or how he’s going back to bed now.
And all I can remember, whenever I see those tweets, would be summer.
I can almost imagine the state of his bedroom. He would be wearing that same white undershirt and those basketball shorts in blue and red. He’s seated on the monoblock chair, in front of his desktop computer, located at the corner of his room, with the speakers playing some song from Paramore, or perhaps something current and from the hiphop genre. His long fingers type away, as he blinks off the itch in his eyes, due to the fact that he’d often refuse to wear his glasses—or simply enough, he’s too lazy to get them from his bag. He’d lock off his jaw, and click his tongue to the beat of some random tune in his head. A little way behind him, towards the right, would be his bedside table, with his ballers piling up among other things, beside a bottle of perfume and a can of deodorant. To his left, the television inevitably turned on. Underneath the television are shelves of things. Near it, stationed on his floor, would be a pitcher of water, all to himself. His bag is against the wall on the opposite side of the room. Adjacent to it was the door, where his belts where hung up, positioned at the foot of his bed. His bed is unmade, because, he’d argue, he doesn’t leave the room anyway. When after he’d say that he’s bored, he’d stand up from the computer, and take a seat on his bed. He’d slouch back, leaning against the wall, as he watched whatever was on TV. He’d find the remote, and flip through a couple of channels. And once he’s decided that there’s nothing better to do but sleep, he’d turn off the lights, set his alarm, take a nap, and wake up with a headache.
And I’d recall every moment when I’d be there before in the summer, or even after that summer. Every single moment. Does he remember? Does he remember how he got a text, asking if his household had a doorbell, how he went down stairs and opened the gate for me, welcomed me into his household for the first time. Does he remember how sleepless and sick I had been; how I couldn’t eat, or how he heard the way I drink water for the first time? Does he remember how he couldn’t get the microwave to work to heat up lasagna; he eventually did. He had lunch, as I tried to get to know his younger brother. Does he remember how I walked up to his bedroom, how we sat together, and leaned back against the wall, how he tried to kiss me—but his breath tasted like lasagna, so he had to brush his teeth. How I told him that he kissed like a sixteen-year-old—just as he should; he just turned sixteen the day before—and that he was eating my face. Does he remember how surprised I was when he carried me? Does he remember that he promised me 321, 321 hugs, and an infinite reset button for them? Does he remember how indecisive I was, on whether or not we should go someplace, or if I should push through with a tutoring gig back in Taft? Does he remember how he left for a shower, and came back and saw me asleep, tried to wake me up, but failed—the first time he called me Mmina, instead of Ate or Mother or Fuhrer and whatnot. Does he remember the look on my face when he woke me up, as I saw him with that white shirt, with the black, punk-grunge print, those dark denim jeans and those white Adidas shoes, surprised that he’s already been able to finish up. Does he remember how we left that house, as it started to rain, and how we did nothing but feed each other with Oreo cheesecake at Starbucks? Does he remember how we spent ten hours together on that day?
Small memories creep into my head, like an endless film reel, showing me two lost lovers, when they were once too happy together, sharing Spiderman kisses, singing their song as she sat on his lap, or quietly and innocently sleeping together, as she hugged a pillow, on the right side of his bed, and as his face was nested into her hair, as he hugged her from behind. Frames and fragments of what used to be fly by. Faded smiles haunt back from those times when they’d coincidentally send texts for each other at exactly the same time, and how they joked about how strong their signal was.
Now all I could think about was how safe it felt in his bed; his pillows smelled like his hair, and I never hesitated to burry myself in them the very moment I stepped into the room. And by the time I left, it’d have smelled like me. His bedside table was like a trusted friend for any trinkets I had on, earrings and necklaces that I tend to forget and leave behind. Just as soon as I’d have left the house, my first text message to him would be to ask if I had left anything. Just as much as I had a friend there, the nail protruding from the wooden base of his bed was my enemy; it had wounded me before, on my left foot no less. His desktop computer would always keep an extra browser on; Google Chrome kept all his accounts, while Firefox kept all of mine. His shirts were my shirts, and I’d slip into them, first thing when I get there.
But that place isn’t home to me now. And the boy who lives there is no longer someone I know, no longer someone I have to know.
Losing my boyfriend didn’t hurt me. It was losing Dustin—and that is totally different.
He isn’t just a stranger to me now, for strangers give kind smiles and exchange warm greetings. He’s less of a stranger, and more like someone I am partly obliged to avoid. He’s someone who has consciously decided that he no longer wants me in his life, and that he no longer needs to be in mine. It sounds rather impossible to me, though, seeing as we are, in fact, in the same university. I know his friends, and they know me. And we are in the same political party together. And in my mind, there’s a voice—his voice—telling me how much he regretted having dated me, or have me introduced with the people in his life. Because now, as it seems, he can’t get away from who I am. And he hates it whenever I try to talk to him, or force open a conversation about something completely unnecessary. And he just dislikes the fact that I’m still around.
It’s all too familiar, because that’s just exactly how I’ve thought of a number of people in my life. I still remember that time when I shouted at a friend, told her to leave the country, to stop being so clingy, and stop expecting that she’d have a spot in my life. I still remember that exact feeling of being annoyed that I couldn’t seem to get away from someone. I still remember how I try to ignore and shove aside every greeting and every text sent.
It’s funny. I considered you as my son, and you act like me.
We even tweet at the same time, and about the same things on the same minute some times. I just laugh.
Why am I writing this… I just don’t want to end up with the way all those other people did. One of them told me that breaking up with me was the best thing he’s ever done—really now, Edward? And the others are now nothing but distant friends through awkward phone calls and ignored facebook messages. I don’t want to end up hating Dustin. I don’t want him to end up hating me. But that’s just how things seem to be going.
Can’t I have a reset button for this friendship?
It’s apparently broken.
We never fought. This war never started. There was nothing to fight about. Because in truth, Berlin fell, and all is lost.
Everything but smoke and rubble.