I saw him in class today: his signature shirt, his faded jeans, his worn-out sneakers, his perfectly bright smile. I saw him in class today and pretended that I saw nothing.
Juggling a good book in my left hand and a cup of coffee in my right, I passed along the empty hallways which scream of solitude in the wake of that fateful morning. Streaks of sunlight peeked through the clouds to shower the place with its blinding gleam. Splashes of vivid colors poured across the horizon to awaken the sleeping world, a signal to start a brand new day.
But nothing was new to me. Not the sight of the rising sun nor the whisper of the morning breeze; not the sound of the footsteps from the hallway nor the silence of the still empty classrooms. Those things, I presumed, were all part of a recurring past, a past haunted with tales of heartache and pain.
Entwined with both frightened anticipation and forceful denial, I gathered every courage inside my fragile heart and took the heavy steps toward the room, and found him standing, waiting there.
He flashed a smile as bright as the eastern sun above us and called me by name. The sight of his smile, the sound of his voice, the careful assertion of my name under those damn lips, the deliberate attempt to break my heart again. It all worked out perfectly and I had none of a second to escape.
To turn around the excruciating pain that clutched the insides of my heart, I posed a fake smile and twisted my heart in a whooping 360 degrees, just to tuck away whatever pain there is left, just to flee from the torment of the memories we once shared.
I shrugged my shoulders and instead seek a desperate exit in the presence of an alibi, made an excuse that I have no time to talk and pulled myself out of what could have been a conversation. It was relieving, but nonetheless heart-breaking, to just simply walk away from him when I know that there are plenty of conversations waiting for the both of us. I took refuge at the back of the room, as far away from him as possible. But inside me I was drawn, captivated, pulled by his enigma.
I stole glances of him from the corner of my teary eyes. His face showed nothing of pain and misery. His heart, a clear canvass of apathy. People always tell us that words inflict a lot of pain. But sometimes, it is indifference that hurts more. I think about all the moments that I’ve spent with him, all the clues I’ve left on trail, all the chances I’ve left open, all the could-have-beens and must-have-beens of the time we shared together and I wondered why, just why, he never knew or never even noticed.
I have buried the memories six feet under the stars and never bothered to put a sign on it all because I don’t want any remembrance of it. All these time, I thought I have forgotten these memories, these emotions. But when I saw him earlier this morning, his signature shirt, his faded jeans, his worn-out sneakers, his perfectly bright smile and all that makes up the boy that I have deeply loved, it’s like all my attempts of forgetting seem, all at once, futile. For it is him, still him who I wish to spend my nights with, conversations over coffee cups, dinner dates, and movie marathons.
I have searched in all nooks and crannies in order to find a “replacement” for him (the word replacement may not be a very good word for this but it is the closest I can find). Someone whom I can shower all my affection with, someone I can love. I came close, almost too close, to finding one. But at the end of the day, my heart still calls out his name, my heart still beats for him. Because the painful truth is he is the only guy in college that ever really captured my heart.
I came unprepared for such a painful blow. I guess, I always was. Even before that morning came, I was in the arms of someone else and together, we embraced the farewell of the full moon and the onset of dawn. If I have only known what would’ve happened, I never would’ve left his side because with him, I am safe and sound. I could run away with him, if only he will let me, and forever forget the memory of the boy that I have deeply loved. I could spend all my nights with him and would never feel alone again. I could throw away every second, every minute, and every hour for another round of pointless conversations under the starless skies of January, together with coffee cups to burn our tongues and our souls with passion too profound for words to tell.
I could be with him, stay with him until every drop of pain sinks into the bottom of oblivion, and eventually forget every memory of that beautiful boy. His arms, his gentle touch, his open embrace. I think that would make a good home for my calloused heart.
But the promise of consistency, of love and of forever is still uncertain because he only said that I matter, but he never really said love. Never, like all the other guys I have known and have loved in my whole life.
When all is said and done and I look back to the remnants of what has happened, I find the present gradually transforming into a cage and I, fearing to flight, wait solely for the return of a love that has flown away, until one day, I will finally come to my senses and realize that all time is wasted and all hope is lost, an awakening for my stupid slumber and a path to pave the way for a painful realization that words do fail and love is dead.