Saturday, December 29, 2012


He was sitting at the far end of the table. He was wearing a grey shirt and a pair of jeans I must have held in the past - when he stayed home for sleep-overs. I looked at his direction, briefly, and there he was, drinking his beer while his eyes cast downward. 

He was browsing his phone.

I dropped by, unannounced at the party when a friend asked for intervention. He was having troubles wrestling his demons, and he thought my arrival might turn the tide in his favor. When I showed up, all eyes were on me. Some even walked closer, patted me on the back, hugged me tight, as he sat there, still glued to his seat.

"J," I said, as I tried to be casual, like nothing had come between us. For old time's sake, perhaps, or maybe to show everyone that there's no bad blood at all. 

He nodded in response.

Old times. It is for this reason I hastened downing my warm beer, while puffing sticks of Marlboro, like my throat wasn't hurting. I smiled. I tried having small talks with everyone, but at the back of my head, I was counting the minutes before my graceless exit.

"Kamusta ka?" He asked after toasting my bottle to his half-empty glass. 

"Ayos lang." I smiled, while walking slowly backwards. The conversation ended there.

Between the two words I was able to speak, and a hundred thoughts I wished to convey, all I remember now is his kinder, gentler face. The face I used to steal glances when he was across the table, having a meal. Or when I open my eyes in the morning, and find him sleeping beside me. Clipping my lips, I turned around to return to my seat. It's enough charade for one night. My friend is begging for us to leave.

It was never my intention to be a specter, or make everyone feel awkward. And should I have other choices, I would have bailed the tropa without crashing the scene, or cast a long ominous shadow over the unsuspecting revelers. But the friend asked to make the explanation on his behalf, for his sudden disappearance. I obliged.

After all the gestures and display of body language, and after successfully pulling out the tropa and returning him to his right state of mind, I say time and time that it's okay; that I had to come because much was at stake. But when I look back, and ask, what will linger for a long time.

It is the feeling... the fissures of the heart.

Blame my frailty for this confession. But that night vented what I have tried to keep within. For all the distance I claim to have covered, the truth remains. 

I have not moved at all.