Sunday, December 23, 2012

Between Exes

Yet you still value the things you've lost the most. Because the things you've lost are still perfect in your head. They never rusted. They never broke. They are made of the memories you once had, which only grow rosier and brighter, day by day. They are made of the dreams of how wonderful things could have been and must never suffer the indignity of actually still existing. Of being real. Of having flaws. Of breaking and deteriorating.

Round and round I strode around the dining room, while the host laid down the place mats on the table. She was gorgeous and charming - like the last time we met. Sniffy the Terrier barked under the heirloom table. Still unused to my yearly presence, he sees me more of an intruder than an old friend.

There on the table was a Banana Cake. It crowned a ceramic plate. Golden brown and smooth as a cushion, the host boasted spending an entire afternoon baking the cake. Also on the table was a creamy pasta inside a Tupperware container. Probably a leftover from lunch. Despite the temptations of food and stories, my eyes trailed the sunlit portal leading to the balcony.

Shunned behind iron grills and glass sliding doors, the last rays of the crimson orb bathed the garden plants with natural light. I walked closer. Slower. As memory as old as a lifetime slowly blurred the line between now and before. 

I remember. I stood there in that same balcony, while the much younger host laid food on the table. The overcast heavens still heaved of rain as the passing cloudburst left the ground soaked, and the leaves moist with mountain-kissed teardrops. On the horizon was the sun, retreating behind the clouds, and into the evening. It allowed time a moment to recall. A small frog leaped behind pots of bleeding Caladiums, while stems of Mayanas swayed after being nudged by the playful breeze.

Soon, I heard my name called. It was time for snacks.

Now many years have passed, and the scenery outside had broken my orbit around the dining table. Without even asking permission, I took out the padlock binding the iron grills to the wall. With all my strength, I forced the door open. I even lifted the glass sliding door, whose wheels were derailed. Remembrance blinds the vision. I have to step foot outside. For in the garden - despite nearly forgotten - sums the blissful days I had spent with the host.

My ex-girlfriend.

Each careful step towards the balcony is like turning a page of our story. From the time I accompanied her when her boyfriend didn't show up, to our late night phone calls that lasted until daybreak. In-between were the movie dates, the showing-up-in-class late, with the wicked grin on our faces, the leadership training in Cavite, the confrontation at the beach, the ultimatum and the intervention of the best friend, to the silver bracelet I gave as a Christmas gift. There was the untold slipping to the rainbow side, the Christmas party where I hugged her tight, the break up by SMS and the revelation that I am...

Now leaning against the common side of the fence, we would talk about boys and heart matters like we were never once, a couple.

But I recall.

Looking around the garden, the pots of bloodied Caladium, whose heart-shaped leaves turn sideways against the sun. The Mayanas, once moist and lushful appeared wilting. Dried leaves were everywhere, the steel chairs unmoved. Beyond the balcony and the perimeter fence, the once rolling hills of West Fairview are now blocked by newly-constructed homes.

There's no more sight of farmlands.

We may never embrace the life we had - the ex and I - but with every hug, laughter and visit I do every Christmas - every time there is time - strengthens the bond we now have. The romantic ties maybe long gone, sometimes, even laughed at, but in its place thrives a deeper companionship that blooms, slowly, with age.

Only the things you no longer have will always be perfect.

The Efficiency and Perfection of the Lost


the green breaker said...

Guess that is the best relationship there is, the friendship after a break up. Maybe because not a lot of people reach that level. Plus, it takes maturity to leave every past thing to past.

♔ıǝɹɯɐı♔ said...

Friendship after a break up. Wish I could at least have that.

JM said...

your blog is an art. i sincerely think so.

it's great that you have that kind of relationship. and it is my hope that you'll get to keep the connection for life, i think what you have now with her is beautiful..

Nate said...

@kuya joms: beautiful, nostalgic.. it actually moved me to tears..

@jordancharles: if you're reading this, this is how it's done.. non-fiction ala souljacker.. :)

ZaiZai said...

Hmmm..Merry Christmas Mugen! :)