-Written for someone who changed my life. Thank you for building me up again.
The breeze felt right.
The ten-minute walk from school served as this contemplative period in my uneventful, stagnant life. Thoughts would swim through the cerebral juices of my mind, often entertaining me with vivid and outlandish scenarios of what life could be. My feet shuffled across the concrete, as if they were programmed with definite precision towards my nearing destination. The building loomed nearer, casting its shadow over half the block it dwelled in. Though everything remained eerily unchanged, I know that the web of my life has been dismantled. Life could not and won’t be the same after today.
One more thought entered my mind as I took the steps of the complex into my room. “I think too much.”
The notions of being a gentleman often hypnotized me in justifying my actions as one. I am a gentleman, a nice guy. Not a jerk. The thing is, I grew up with a steadfast commitment to treating everyone better than they deserve. Most of the time, this happens at my expense. But it was not a problem for me. The very thought of a person doing the same for me is enough.
Take that idea in. It may be useful. You know, being kind to other people.
I hate the room that confines me daily. I don’t want to be left alone with the countless images trapped in the crevices of my mind.
I had nothing to do, lying on the unruly blankets that devoured my bed. I believe I am a boy with immense amounts of potential, trapped in what I considered as a world composed of the negative conflagration of my innovative dreams. I needed to claw out of it. I yearned for escape every second I was awake. I dreamt of it every second I was asleep.
That escape, though not at all frivolous and pleasant, is found in this one person. Or so I thought. This girl, petite in frame, encompassed all the desires I possessed. She was free, happy, and perfect. I, on the other hand, was trapped in a world that I couldn’t bear. Sadness comes after. Perfection is out of the question.
I held her hand once. The memory still plagues my mind, every second, every detail singed into every curved cavity of my brain. I remember that her hands weren’t as soft as I had imagined before. Her hands possess the marks of the countless trials she endured everyday but emitted every ounce of warmth her heart could give.
I remember how frail her wrists were, how I could just grip tighter and snap them in two but won’t. I remember how immense and unbelievable my moment with her was, smiling with the fact that perfection could be found in an imperfect world. Leaning on the hood of her car with our hands intertwined, I wished that my life just looped through that precise duration of time. The memory lasts, though the person does not.
Time went on and on, leaving me thinking of what we could have been if I had made different choices, lived different lives. But it didn’t matter. I knew I lost my chance. To break away from this life, I had to grow from it, stem from the mistakes I had committed. Change. I knew that I had to go forward. Time can’t stop for anyone. Even for her.
I couldn’t feel better if I wanted to. The weight of the world seemed too heavy for me to carry. Well, the weight of mine was. It was caked with nominal worries, insubstantial crises, and incorporeal possibilities of unsatisfactory outcomes. I’m tired. You can see it on my face; each line representing a harsh reality of failure and each flaw a reminder of unsuccessful attempts and empty promises.
Life could be better. I know it can. If I moved, if I acted on it, life could be better.
The immense pressure crushes my chest. It hurts. The time has gone. I am left behind. I don’t understand everything, but if I were given the chance, I’d do anything. I’d do anything just to clear the darkness in my head, the hauntings that linger ever since that moment of loss.
I want to claw them out, to grab hold of them and fling them into the darkness that encompassed me.
Through the countless times I tried to forget, I have come to realize one thing. It is impossible. My memories have become torturous and permanent. They will always be there. And I rather have them than forget.
I rather keep the memory of her smile etched in my head. How she would start by forming that trademark curve then just stop in the middle of it all. It was as if she didn’t realize that she was smiling, as if she didn’t realize that she was taking my breath away.
I rather hold on to the image of her face inches away from mine, staring into the eyes that stared back into hers. She could see right through me. I let her do so. I remember how immaculate her voice was, how it turned every word into melodies as we spoke of sweet nothings and plausible futures.
I remember how much I wanted to keep her in my arms and freeze time, reliving that moment of perfection over and over again.
I remember how I foolishly asked her if I could kiss her while we were under the covers of the bed that realized my dream, how she smiled as she stared at me as she leaned in and made my heart stop for seconds, how her kiss drained out all my self-worth and filled me with fountains of ecstasy and relief. Relief that she felt the same way that I did.
I rather keep replaying each conversation we had, with each word exploding with vivid visions of what we lived through, of what we shared about ourselves that made us feel safe for a little bit longer.
I rather hold on to the feeling of substance, the feeling of purpose whenever I thought about her.
I remember how her hair feels like, with her leaning on me at the back of the car as we went back to the place we spent all our time in. I remember how all my problems seemed to disappear just as long as I have her by my side.
And I remember how her silence destroyed me, how it devoured every ounce of my sanity and left me defenseless against the fears and insecurities that swam in me. And still, I knew I love her.
I want to hold on to the memories that formed my life with her. Though it was but a moment in time, I felt love again. I am grateful, and that feeling will never leave me.
I rather keep the memory of how we planned on spending more time together, of how we thought that we’d be more than we are now, of how much our promises meant to each other.
I rather hold on to that hope that one day, we’d remember everything that I’ve written here, how we’ll laugh at how dramatic our relationship was, how childish and small are problems were and how perfect it is that we’re back together again.
Zero: An afterword.
For what it’s worth, I keep coming back to these paragraphs that constricted my freedom. Months after I finished the countdown, I return to engrave this final thought.
The light of a star remains to be seen for years, though the actual star may have ceased to exist. The light of our star is my memory of you. I won’t forget as long as I live.