The 14th Letter

It has been almost a year now, N.

I wonder if you still remember. I wonder if it marks any significance to you the memories this first of August brings and how on this very day last year we were together beneath the stars, stealing away the precious hours of the evening until dawn came to chain us once more.

I wonder if you have ever stopped for a while, as you pull your favorite shirt on, or as you gaze through the pages of your philosophy books, or as you lift your fragile pen to write your fragile thoughts, or as you lie wide awake in your bed at night, and remember something we had so long buried in the past. I wonder if such a memory haunts you now the way it haunts me still: a ghost of the unforgetting, like an old weeping voice that reminds us of what we were a year ago and of what we have become now.

It has been almost a year now, N. It’s funny how time pulls its silly games on us, tricking us into believing that this world is ours to conquer. The world is cruel, you once said, and so in the midst of all pain, once upon an August afternoon, we created a neverland for us two. And when you asked me to race against the bittersweet rain and took me by the hand, I felt a faint glow inside me, a sense of weightlessness and flying, and together we roamed through the sleeping town. I have never felt mightier than when I was in your restful arms.

It has been almost a year now, N. A year ago, you looked at me and said nothing. But even your silence speaks so much. Those brown eyes; the spark of which is both expressive and blank at the same time, the secrets those eyes have whispered to my yearning heart; the way it reflects my being. I used to see myself clearly through your eyes. But now, when we happen to bump into each other in the hallway, we could only do as much as glance, exchange a few barren words and go on our separate ways.

It’s tragic how different today is when I look back to the memories of the first of August we shared last year. The weather is quite similar though, except that today, the wind blows harder enough to carry away the sadness of your forgetting me.

It rains a violent rain now. The kind that smashes one in the face and makes one shiver in the cold. It makes me want to go back to the glorious rainfall we had last year, a magical sprinkle of the shower rain in the blackness of the evening. I still remember how we laughed our hearts out of intoxication and the childish way we danced in the midst of the pouring rain, drenched but satisfied.

I yearn for the rain. Last summer when the scorching sun grinned at the earth, I wished for the rain to fall. There was in me a deep longing for the feel, the sound, the taste of the gentle raindrops. Throughout the burning days of April I carried with me an invincible desire for the cool awakening of the rain and for the melodious sound of its pitter-patter. And in my mind, I saw a picture of you. Your eyes, your smile, your voice—that gentle look upon your face when you told me that what we had that night was an adventure.

It has always been an adventure with you, N. The way you let me into this fairy tale, the way you made me play the damsel in distress. You, coming unexpected and unannounced, is magic. The kind of magic which makes the rain fall in the midst of a long blazing summer. You drenched my heart in your spirit and bathed me with your love, even if such love lasts only until the break of dawn. You showered me with care, with hope, with security, once upon a rainy day of August. You stripped my heart with pretense, pierced the veil which masks my soul, burned the lies in my deceitful tongue and allowed me to live. I have never felt the need to hide when I am with you.

But it has been almost a year now, N. One empty year dead with oblivion: dried up from the inside and dying for the memories we’ve once had. A vast desert of unwanted past, a wasteland of one wasted year, where the only living oasis is you.

Will it ever rain on us again? Or will it ever break into your mind the memory of how we danced in its symphony and how I sat there next to you with a smile as wide as the cloudy skies and realized that I was where I have always wanted to be. And when it cease to rain once more, when the rolling clouds part to pave the way for the blinding sun again, come back to August and do remember me.

It has been almost a year now, N. I could say that I have been miserable since then. But I have been better. I am happier now. I feel more alive, more free. And being with someone else makes me feel like a new person. For the first time in a year I felt the assurance of not needing and wanting you anymore. I know that this is what you’ve always wanted for me too: to be able to carry on with my life without you.

I am happier with him, N. I know it’s different from what we’ve had but it’s more real, more tangible. We seldom go to the movies and have dinner dates. We don’t buy such kind of foolishness. But we do take long walks beneath the moon to see the dancing colors of the bright city lights. We circle around the streets of Manila by foot. We are such great pedestrians we deserve Olympic medals for traversing Mindanao Avenue to Espana Boulevard.

I have changed, N. I’m different. I find pleasure now in simple things like the city lights and the moon. I don’t hide from the sun anymore. I am not afraid. I am not the spoiled, stupid girl you used to know. I have learned not to trade my heart for cheesy pick-up lines and expensive movie tickets.

It’s funny how people spend their whole lives searching for happiness and love as if such things are meant to be found. They seek endlessly all the nook and cranny of the  planet, hoping to find the happiness they’ve longed for their whole lives. Some even die for love, some live without seeing its promise. But they fail to look within their hearts. I could only close my eyes and imagine what they’re missing.

Sometimes when I look at him I see you. But I realize that what I see belongs only to a distant past. I don’t long for the memories anymore than I did when I thought that we were for each other. I don’t look for what’s not there anymore. He taught me to be a creator of my own self and I have created a world where you do not exist anymore.

I haven’t danced with him in the rain. I haven’t yet, although life has provided me with plenty of chances before. I wasn’t scared. It’s just that I need some time to realize that the rain doesn’t belong to only you and me. I will dance with him. I know it for certain. We will dance to the sound of its solemn beat and drown in its cleansing water until the waves wash away our sanity. And when we exhaust ourselves from the endless circles, I will be glad to find him with me by my side. I will be fine even if you’re not here. I know in my heart that I am not alone.

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