Wednesday, July 1, 2009

absolutely zero

It’s funny how nights like this trigger the strangest memories. They play in front of my eyes like a movie. I strained my eyes as though the projected image was a little fuzzy.

Suddenly, I’m sitting in a café. A friend from too long ago is with me, drinking a latte. Moisture clings to my cup like sweat, each drop slowly working their way to the bottom.

“Would I make a good girlfriend?” she asked.

“I dunno. Would you?” I absentmindedly answered. I was still fixated on the drops of water and how they conveniently formed a large ring on the table.

“It’s just… something someone told me a long time ago. Sayang daw ako kasi he likes me and I wasn’t reciprocating. At that time, I was completely offended. I had half the mind to walk out. ‘Who does he think he is?’” She paused, probably to catch her breath but upon closer inspection, it was really for emphasis. “Lately I’ve been thinking… what if I misunderstood? Maybe he said that because he sensed something that I couldn’t see back then. But I see it now. Fuck, I see it now.”

“And what, pray tell, do you see?”

“That I have all this love to give. That I’m wasting my best years afraid to commit. That my indecision has become my decision. I’m the romantic equivalent of an atheist.”

“I don’t think that’s what atheism means.”

Po-tay-to po-tah-to. You know what I mean.”

I didn’t know what to say so I struggled to string some words together. “That’s how you described him.”

“Who?”

“Your ex,”
I said, immediately regretting my forced insight. “I’m sure he did his best but in the end, he couldn’t choose either one of you. His indecision ultimately became his decision.”

“The harem,”
she finally said. I was a little relieved that she wasn’t offended by my frankness. If she was, she was putting on a pretty good show. She looked puzzled for a little while, inhaled as though she was about to say something but then decided against it. She exhaled a long sigh- equal parts frustration and submission.

“I’m sorry,” I said and I really was. “I shouldn’t have said anything. It’s not like I’m an expert on the topic. My best relationships have been with coffee, music and chocolate.”

She laughed politely, took a sip of her latte and looked away.

“You’re afraid. That’s understandable. You were hurt. You’re still broken.”

“What happens next?”
she asked.

“I dunno. I wish I knew.”

I never saw much of her after that day. I guess there are some lines that you shouldn't cross- not even with your closest friends. Looking back, I should’ve bitten my tongue. What do I know about love and getting over loss?

I’m not entirely clueless. Most people will tell you that I’m just a little too careful. The slightest hint of friction and I bolt for the door. I’m not apologizing. It’s not like me to apologize. All I’m saying is I don’t like friction. I don’t like taking risks.

Walking home one night, it started to rain. I found shelter in a broken-down hardware store. I usually have an umbrella with me so you could imagine the look I had on my face when I realized it wasn’t it my bag. I didn’t want to catch a cold, not with all the things that I absolutely needed to do. I couldn’t stay there forever. I had tons of things waiting for me at home. I quickly weighed the pros and cons and decided to brave the storm.

I walked slowly as to not attract attention but my steps soon quickened (probably when I realized how cold the friggin’ water was). It was surreal, like my feet were carrying me or something. I was running and running and running and running then suddenly everything was a blur. The bakery, the internet café, even the friendly 7-11 were all reduced to lights that blurred past me. I didn’t even realize I was home until I saw my house go by.

My shoes slished and sloshed as I opened the front door. I was drenched and shivering. As I closed the door, the whole situation dawned on me and I started laughing. Like my running, it started really quietly but then within seconds I was gasping for air, holding onto the wall for support, laughing with all my heart. I remember thinking it’s been eons since I last laughed like that and how strange that my moment of carelessness bought me that moment. The maid, possibly awakened by my laughter took one look at my dripping person and walked away, muttering buang under her breath.

Sometimes it pays to be reckless. Sometimes. Maybe it's high time I stop being so darn cautious. I’m sorry if I’ve been too careful. I promise I’ll be better. I’m sorry for wasting your time.

The mind is a powerful thing. As quickly as the memories rushed in, they disappeared into the night.

The projector fan slows and then dies. I am once again in my room reading. Thank God for cold nights with nothing to do, for good books to curl up with and for chocolate to devour. Goodness me, thank You for chocolate.

Photo Credit: Sunshine Junior

Jason Mraz
Absolutely Zero
Waiting For My Rocket To Come