That Sunday Night
It’s been three days since we’ve met and talked again, four years since I grew fonder of you, five years since we first met.
For six hours that night, we both poured our hearts out because we owed each other time that we never had.
Two hours before, you could hardly imagine how many times I tried on different clothes because I badly wanted to look good for you but not wanting to look desperate. Tensed and baffled, I ended up wearing a casual royal blue blouse, a pair of black jeggings, and a pair of dirty brown doll shoes. “You look so naive,” I whispered to that lady in the mirror.
But the clock was ticking. I barely had an hour to travel my way to you. You replied, “No worries, take your time,” when I sent an excuse of running some errands but actually I was still putting on brown eyebrow liner, rose pink blush-on, and mandarin-matte lipstick.
“Will be there in twenty minutes,” I messaged when anticipation thrilled me with hopes of signs of romance.
Fear suddenly beckoned. “Guard me,” my heart spoke.
I tried. But it was slowly betraying me, bit by bit.
And then there you were, hooked on your laptop at the corner of the Cafe I wished to dine with you. There you were, looking like a perfect gentleman, fulfilled and complete.
And there I was, staring dreamily, grasping heavily for air to breathe, and digging deeply for courage from within.
I poked your laptop to catch your attention. You rose from your seat and gave me a hug that I have dearly longed.
Firstly, you noticed how I looked slimmer than from four years ago. And admit it, my mandarin-matte coated lips attracted you as you properly aligned your pair of eyeglasses to clear your vision of me.
We sat across from each other and our eyes locked as strange delight tickled my bones and my thoughts wondered whether you felt the same. Unexpectedly, tiny pieces of awkwardness visited us in between. But your wit managed to drive me sane.
Of sheer anticipation, random queries and answers brought us back to where it all started. From five to four years ago, we looked back at how things in our lives were and have been and how far have we thrown our own starfishes. Suddenly, you complained, “Let’s go somewhere else.” You wanted to dine in a more serene place where solitude could bring us back to memories, share advices, and lead us to our future endeavors.
I went inside your car as you unfolded a home you built in it. Not because you loved to travel but because you are demanded to. You’ve been keeping your used clothes and mocked about them being unwashed for days already. But it made me smile. “So you have such flaws too,” I thought to myself as I forced not to chortle flirtatiously.
We arrived in the loudest hub in the city and you allowed me to choose the place for us to spend for a Sunday night. Since you have been travelling, you have explored my city more than I had. So you knew almost every resto in the hub. But I chose the one you have probably overlooked.
We entered the cozy, Italian-inspired restaurant that only had few people dining for the night. We walked up the stairs and you chose the table in the corner of the room near the windows. And so I figured out, we have the same taste.
The place was not that quiet but it gave us solitude. The background music led us to our seats quite romantically, or just so I thought. It was a love song piercing through my heart and trying to explain how I felt at the moment. Our eyes met as the song surrounded the walls of the room with only the two of us. Such stares tingled a beat in my heart. And so I hurriedly let go.
The night went on with our stories that slowly flipped pages of our lives and revealed the deepest parts of who we are. And time flew slowly like we owned the night.
You shared how you ran away from home after graduation to escape everyone’s scrutinizing eyes, while I shared how I struggled from everybody’s expectations months before marching down the university aisle. You were disappointed for not achieving more than what you aimed for despite soaring the highest among the rest, while I was contented with all the efforts I exerted as long as I marched with flying colours.
We were both fighting for our own freedom—freedom from what everybody thinks about us and expects from us, and freedom to exercise our own decisions.
You dream of earning more of what you have and building your own empire to sustain yourself and your future family while I dream of helping the deprived, marginalized, and vulnerable regardless of how much I earn.
You said you admired me so much for the work that I do, that I am so noble. You said I have long inspired you for always serving the best interest of the most vulnerable members of our society—the children. I have inspired you to continue the fire of serving selflessly.
Then I told you how you have inspired me as well. Your passion to excel and live a legacy to the people you serve became one of my goals.
Admit it, we have long been inspiring each other since the day we first met.
You opened up about the love of your life.
Somehow, everything went blank.
Hurt slowly crawled.
But that did not hinder me from pretending I was totally fine, that I was not horribly surprised. That honestly, I did not want to hear anything about it. Oh, I pretended so well.
I continued to listen.
You poured your heart out on how much grief you are suffering right now since your break-up three months ago. You lost yourself when you lost her. For more than a year of being together, just now you faltered on how much she had loved you. Or did she?
You complained about how she demanded a lot from you—gifts, time and your presence. You complained about how women think and behave and blamed us for being so obscure. For you, she was so difficult to understand.
And you wondered, “Have I been happy?”
And you sought for my advice.
Lately, she kept coming back showing signs of a second chance. But you knew she already has someone else. Still, you thought of giving each other another chance for love but pain always foregoes.
And stupidly I told you, “Why don’t you give yourself a deadline—a length of time wherein you try to give each other a chance of loving again. But when you realize it’s not working at all anymore and you keep on hurting, then let go.”
A cliché piece of advice that I give to heartbroken people who blindly long for chances on love.
You listened while I ached.
But I acted so well, that it utterly and certainly hid the pain of consoling you for your grief.
This grief, then, suddenly opened your eyes on how you have been wasting your life thinking about patching up what’s already been badly torn. You knew, by then, what to do.
You now plan to reconstruct yourself and move forward. You plan to find yourself again. You knew what to do.
You just needed someone to talk to, to listen to your grief, to catch you when you stumble and help you rise again.
And perhaps, you found me.
There were questions that bothered me, “Am I capable of helping you rise again?”, “Do you want me to help you move forward?”, “Do you need me?”. I badly wanted to ask you these but who am I to you?
Nonetheless, you found me. You found someone like me.
But I found myself addressing the questions to no one but myself. And the answers confused me.
In my heart, let me be the one to catch you everytime you stumble and fall. But in my mind, will you be there to catch me when I stumble and fall?
In my heart, I will be right behind you when you move forward. But in my mind, will you be there for me when moving forward becomes a journey?
In my heart, I will always be a call away when you need me. But in my mind, will you be a call away when I need you?
When I find you, will you show up?
When I choose you, will you respond?
When I love you, will you love me back?
And suddenly, you asked me about what qualities of a guy attract me most. That woke me up. I thought hardly. I used to have a roster of answers to that easy question. But this time was different.
My heart and mind shouted your name. Yes, someone like you. No, you. Fear stuck in my throat. I could hardly voice it out.
“I don’t know,” I finally replied.
I drowned myself in fear that moment. Because at that time, fear saved me.
A call from home interrupted us thirty minutes before midnight. You and I both had to go.
You offered a ride but I refused. I fear that something might happen to you along the way after sending me home. And so, I cautioned. I fear that I keep on hurting myself realizing that through the years, things have greatly changed and part of it was you—that perhaps you were not the one I grew fond of from four years ago anymore.