“I won’t accept your apology.” Ticktock. “Really, there’s nothing to be sorry about.” He froze. Slowly lifting his face, he looked at me. I mimicked his kneeling posture. Our eyes met, his bewildered expression versus my unwavering gaze. “You and I, we’ve been leaders in our company. If there’s something we’re very much used to, it’s making the cold, hard decisions.” Silence. “At that time, I couldn’t do it. There is more she could achieve, I thought to myself. But I wore my passion, cloaking my selfishness well.” Bile rose in my throat. My eyes started to sting. “I have failed her and would fail her more if you haven’t stepped…”
“You could’ve..,” he started.
I raised my hand, and he allowed me to continue. “When I look at her and the group, at what they’ve accomplished, the awards, the praise, I couldn’t help but question myself, if I pushed on, would she have this? Can I give her this?” I swallowed, then laughter rose from me. It sounded bitter. “Let’s face it. Chances are… she won’t. You, you saved us. Amber loves to call it “lost love” but I’ve always disagreed. It, it just wasn’t the right time.” Another round of silence. My knees started to hurt. “Do you still have feelings for her?”
“What the ..?” I stood up, affronted. “You’re ruining the mood by asking stupid questions!” He looked ashen. I grinned at him. “Ah…” he rubbed his temples and stood up. “Rumors about your temper seems to be true.”
“Some rumors are true,” I retorted.
HE. His hands. He’s all over me. A huge mass pulling me back. Putting his weight. Pressing. So I remain rooted to where I was seconds ago — wet ground. I didn’t resist. I couldn’t. I could hear voices. Cheering. I’m saved.
But why can’t I help but feel annoyed?
A hurricane, flying objects, those pots with their yellow flowers, my aunt waited for a year to see them bloom, now they’re outside, part of the growing debris, flying, sucked by a monstrous wind, left, right, I could feel its strength, its pull… I’m coming closer. My last chance to turn back is on my hands, wet, firm grip on a bent railing. Loosening.
I’m letting go.
“WHY DON’T I SEE STARS?”
I turned my eyes to the heavens.
Then a voiceless answer comes to me “if
you see the stars, will it change how you feel?”
“then don’t look for the stars!
don’t look for the comets.. don’t look for anything
unless you’re ready to see them.”
This internal convo did occur. Haha.
a reflection looks back at me. I didn’t dare look at it in the eye. a cat settles itself beneath a parked jeepney. it’s dark and I don’t have to remember. no, not yet. 2:54 March 14
shadows move. casting themselves in the blueish wall. I am falling. face-down. the mattress sinks, refusing me any relief. I didn’t lie. at least, I still believed. 2:57 March 14
don’t smirk at me. stop giggling behind my back. why must you do it? Oh. it’s not (about) me? … yeah. right. 2:59 March 14
the room stinks of light. it’s all too much, overhead, reflected against an artificial white table. labor, labor. f*ck you, I can’t spell love anymore. this space is function; no love. this space is digits, quotas, quality, blah blah. I don’t create, I produce. if I don’t emit, I lose. against you. against me. how did I get here? how did I become one AND against the enemy?! … 3:06 March 14
I’m sorry, Jan.
3:08 March 14
This is how I fade. I don’t greet you when it’s your birthday, Christmas, New Year. I suppress the smile, the impulse to ‘Like’ any of your posts. I don’t. I don’t. I just don’t. Then I fade, naturally. That when you speak or hear my name, you’d struggle to find a picture of me in your mind. I become this short human, black hair, thin arms, no face. I’m long gone… before you even learn to let me go.
4:45 P.M. March 8.
2:05 AM. Friday dawn. I slumped on the concrete, facing the trees that look back at me. Taunting. I didn’t drink anything weird, okay? But I could hear the silent message from the trees. “Isn’t this what you want — for things to be as they are,” the trees said, un-moving. I look back at them, speechless.
~image by Phoebe Strafford