Sunday, May 9, 2010

mississippi



I was just about to fall asleep when my phone started ringing. It was an unknown number. I was going to ignore it but then my curiosity became too heavy to hold. On the last ring, I finally picked up.

The line was quiet at first but then I could hear someone breathing in the background. I was about to end the call when I heard a voice I thought I had learned to forget.

“Did I wake you?” he asked. His voice still made me weak even after all these years.

“No. I was still up anyway.” I lied. “What’s up?” I wanted to sound calm and casual but deep inside, I was shaking.

“Can you meet me? I need someone to talk to.” I couldn’t answer right away. This was the man whose absence hurt me so deeply, I didn’t think I would make it. Without him, I learned to walk, breathe and live again. My life’s been quiet for a while now. Why did he have to come back?

“I understand. Alam ko naman na nasaktan kita noon eh. I just really need to see you. I can pick you up if you want me to.”

Honestly, I was afraid he would rob me of my peace again. It was something I moved mountains to get back. After what felt like a lifetime but in reality was just ten seconds, I lied about an early meeting in the morning. I knew he knew I was lying. He was always good at spotting that. I suppose he understood why I wasn’t jumping out of bed at his invitation as he didn’t push the topic any further.

When the call ended, I felt the room blur away. Damn how he still had so much power over me, after I thought I was finally strong again. After I thought I was over everything that happened between us.

He was my one great love. When no one else understood me, he was busy writing my instruction manual. I felt like nothing could shake us. I was wrong. I didn’t believe it was possible to wake up one day and not be in love anymore but it happened to us, or rather to him and I was forced to live the rest of my life without the one man I had leaned on for so long.

The next night, he called from another unknown number. This time, he said he was in the area and offered to drop by for a quick talk. He seemed adamant to see me in the way he spoke. I was just about to give in when my logical side prevailed.

“I don’t want to see you.” I said as I put the phone down.

On the third night, he contacted me from yet another unknown number. This time, it was a text message. Car broke down. Few blocks from ur place. Jumpstart? I ignored it and five minutes later, he called.

“Please,” he begged. “I just really need to see you. Just give me five minutes. Five minutes of your time. I promise I won’t try anything funny.” Truth is, I had been weakened by his persistence. The offer was very tempting. If it was just a booty call, I really had nothing to lose. This man knows my entire body. He knows where to touch me. Whenever we did it, I felt like a dummy and he, my very willing puppet master. I was just about to say yes when he broke the silence.

“I’m sorry I even asked,” he said, with goodbye in his tone. “‘Tang ina naman, minsan ang kitid talaga ng utak mo. I won’t bother you again.” The line clicked, the call ended and my tears fell like curtains closing on the final act.

On the fourth night, on what would’ve been our sixth anniversary had he not left, he called again. He sounded drunk, high or possibly both.

“I’m sorry about everything. I know you never want to see me again but I just need to tell you something. Something important.” He was sobbing and soon, it became pretty hard to understand him. “I’m in my car now. Please, just meet me outside your house. Please.”

He was driving. I could hear buses and other city sounds whenever he paused. I feared for his life. He shouldn’t have been driving in such a drunken state.

“Sure.” I said meekly, my voice too weak for its own good.

Ten minutes later, he was knocking on my door. When I opened it, he pushed me against the wall and kissed me ferociously. His lips tasted like brandy and saline. Damn it, he still knew how to touch me. He traveled from my lips to my neck until he reached my chest. He clumsily unbuttoned my shirt, all the while kissing me all over. I could feel him getting hard as he pushed me harder against the wall. Like a whirlwind of things unsaid, of feelings pushed under the rug, we made our way to the bedroom. In our wake, we left vases and plates smashed to pieces on the ground.

We fucked with a passion I didn’t know we could have. I was sore in seven different places but it was all worth it. As we retired to sleep, I crept up to his side of the bed.

“I have loved you for years, here in the dark where no one can call it wrong. Thank you for finding me again.” I whispered in his ear.

He turned around and looked me in the eye. His expression was vacant but I could tell his thoughts had become pregnant.

“I wish I could still tell you I feel the same way but I can’t.” Each word he said crushed me into pieces too small for the human eye to see. Tears started welling up and before the first one could fall, I turned around and wept in silence.

In the morning, the space beside me was empty. I checked my phone. It had fourteen new messages. Must’ve been a hell of a night. I scrolled down until I saw his name.

Thank you for everything. Four very simple words. I shouldn’t be surprised. He’s always had a way with economizing emotions, distilling them so that I only got the simplest form. In my head, I was drafting a reply. Should I be equally nonchalant or should I be honest? Would either one bring him back?

Just then, the front door opened and I realized I let my mind run wild again. “Good morning,” he said, reeking of cigarettes and with sleep in his eyes. I felt stupid for all the things I thought about just moments ago. I walked over to him and kissed him softly.

“Do you want coffee?” I asked.

“Yes, please.” he said as he went back to the bedroom. I hurried to the kitchen and pulled the good china out of the cupboard. My hands shook as I boiled some water and readied the sugar and milk. I couldn’t wait to see him again, couldn’t bear another second without him right there. I clumsily stirred instant coffee into the cup and set everything on a tray. My feet paced quickly back to the bedroom, drops of coffee and water marking my sudden path.

The room was as cold as ice despite the warm sunshine illuminating every inch of space. The bed was made and he was gone. Somehow, I knew I would never see him again. The phone rang but I let the machine get it. My mind was busy preserving details of our last night together.

“It’s X,” the woman on the phone began. “I’m afraid I have some bad news.”

One by one, the objects in the room faded away. Dizzy, I sat quietly on the bed. I could still smell his perfume on my sheets. Maybe if I blocked out the sound of the machine, the woman’s words would be untrue. Surely, he was here. He was in my bed last night and in the living room this morning. In my mind, I could still hear what he said to me before we went to sleep.

“I wish I could still tell you I feel the same way but I can’t.”

It was only then that I fully understood what he meant to say. I stared blankly at the two cups sitting quietly on the tray. One had coffee that seemed too dark, the center still swirling to an unknown beat. The other just had water, like an unfinished story with nobody left to write it. From inside the kitchen, the radio began to play.

Though I’m baptized by your touch, I am no worse at most. I’m in love with your ghost.

Co-conspirator: victor
Photo Credit: rockstarxqtr2


Indigo Girls
Ghost (Demo Version)
Rarities

57 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. apart from the ending... may pinaghuhugutan ba to?

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  3. @Victor: Me and my not so subtle attempts at metaphors and profoundness. Lol

    I believe the Workshop was a success!

    @LOF: What do you mean "both"? Sorry, I'm a little confused.

    @Engel: Most things naman eh. Otherwise, how could we ever write them properly?

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  4. Beautifully written. Fiction I hope. Takot ako sa ghosts.

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  5. Thanks! :D Yup, it is. I had a woman in mind for the main character when I was writing it so... haha

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  6. i should say that i was very moved by the piece, so perhaps i asked this without something better to comment with: why not both a ghost and a reality?

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  7. Hmm.. I thought about that. When I first wrote it (before the Victor and I had the 1st ecer YM Literary Workshop), I think it was more in tune with reality. She actually spoke with the friend, she found out he'd been dead four days na pala, she never saw him nung morning, etc. But it felt so overt so I re-wrote it. Or rather Victor did. haha

    I think the guy was really there. He was real enough to leave an actual impression on the main character. But there are some things we can't control. In this case, when he concluded his unfinished business, he had to go.

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  8. beeeautiful!!! i was so carried away. :)

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  9. I join Aris in his commendation. Thank you for keeping us enthralled.

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  10. @LOF: :p

    @MJ, Aris and Peter: Thank you so much for appreciating it. I wish I could say it was all me but Victor had a lot to do with the direction and the ending. :D

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  11. o-hi-o! haven't seen you here in a while! :D

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  12. you write really well! galing...

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  13. this is creepy lovely...

    wonderfully written :)

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  14. wow. a nice post, nakakadala. :)

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  15. Ah! I thought it was fiction!

    Beautifully-written, Nyl.

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  16. @Buhayprinsesa: Thanks for the compliment. Welcome to my blog. :D

    @Lee: Creepy? Hmmm... didn't see it that way. funny how different people always have different interpretations.

    @EW: It's a line from the song that plays at the end of the story. I fell in love with the metaphor of how the Mississippi River starts real small in Minnesota.

    @Andy: Thanks! :D

    @Rudeboy: hahaha No one's really died on me yet. Thanks for reading. :D

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  17. the Mississippi river starts really small in the sky over Minnesota =P

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  18. abusing metaphors again aren't we?

    love love love this entry...

    may disturbing part lang na di ako maka get over....

    I was sore in seven different places but it was all worth it. --- nyahahahahahaha you know how my mind works....

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  20. Looks like envy is becoming the leitmotif of my comments. I am envious that you and Victor got to go to the Literary Workshop. It would've been nice to hone my own skills.

    The emotionality of the dialogue is so succinct. And realistic. Although I must concede, the plot is something not entirely novel, but the way it was presented was surprisingly fresh.

    Like a new wound.

    Maybe because I identified with certain scenes that it felt too real, too accessible, for a twist to distract from. Good work, Nyl.

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  21. @LOF: I wouldn't really know. haha All I have is this song. One day, (or at least before I die) I'll check it out for myself.

    @YJ: Thanks! And don't worry. Di naman malikot utak mo. That was really what I meant. lol

    @Ewik: Thanks for reading!

    @Red: Oh, it wasn't a real workshop. I just mostly bounced some ideas off him through email and YM. He was very particular about this scene where the main character started walking over the broken plates and vases. I really liked it but he was adamant I remove it. Now that I see the bigger picture, I can't help but agree with him. haha

    I was worried about freshness, too. Halfway through the story, I realized it's something we've all sean/read/heard about before. I guess all I could do was make sure I had my own take to it.

    Thanks for reading, Red!

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  22. like the main character in this story, i have a hard time differentiating layers, experiencing only the immediate, objective nature of my psyche =)

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  23. but isn't that the way it's meant to be? We should only experience the topmost layer and leave the rest to our subconcious. idk, that's just how i've always seen it. that's why i envy people like you who are so in tune with the other stuff. lol

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  24. coffee will never be the same. hahaha

    bravo, nyl.

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  25. thanks moi. :D i wish i could take all the credit but a lot of this had to do with victor's honest guidance.

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  26. hardly! i wish i could write like you do

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  27. awww thanks LOF! see you soon! :D

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  28. Wow! thats a great post. Luv evetythin' bout it hehe : )

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  29. Thanks, Daniel! and welcome to my blog. :D

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  30. Ang ganda! Akala ko true story. Haha

    Ang weird lang kase parang nangyari yung ibang parts sakin a few days ago. lulz. :D

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  31. Thanks!

    Furreal? Which part? I'd like to hear about it. :D

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  32. I'm honored that this story was loosely based on the recent events in my life. LOL

    When I was reading this story, I totally zoned out. I was close to tears...

    "Honestly, I was afraid he would rob me of my peace again. It was something I moved mountains to get back"

    That's why I've been stalling. I don't think I can handle myself if I meet up with my ex. I don't want to awaken a dormant volcano.

    "I didn’t believe it was possible to wake up one day and not be in love anymore but it happened to us, or rather to him and I was forced to live the rest of my life without the one man I had leaned on for so long"

    X marks the spot. But shit happens and we all know that by now.

    "I have loved you for years, here in the dark where no one can call it wrong. Thank you for finding me again.”

    Icing on the cake. I loooooove this story nelly!

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  33. SHET SHET SHET!!! PINAIYAK MO NA NAMAN AKO!

    GHOST NG INDIGO GIRLS! ULTIMATE PAMBASAG PUSO SONG KO YAN!

    well, that and i cant make you love me, bonnie raitt version.

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  34. @Apol: Naks, alam mo naman you inspire me! lol

    @Iya: Sobra no? Have you heard this version? Yung sa Rarities album? It's waaaaaaaay better than the original!

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  35. I love this part: "When no one else understood me, he was busy writing my instruction manual." :)

    Talking about instruction manuals, I recently bought a new mobile phone and the instruction manual is almost half an inch thick. Torture.

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  36. Half an inch? haha That sounds terrible. But then again, it must have a lot of features.

    How thick would your instruction manual be?

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  37. Just one page. It would read: "Handle with care." You know me, fragile, haha

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  38. May ganon? I think mine would be a little longer. It may or may not have complicated diagrams and sketches. haha

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  39. Oh shucks, Nyl.. You should've seen my face as I was reading it! I went from simply reading with my cheek resting on my fist to being open-mouthed as I neared the end of this piece. You should write a book! :)) I always enjoy reading your blog :)

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  40. Aww Tricia! That's so sweet! Means a lot especially coming from you. Thanks! :D

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  41. at first i was like she's moving? and then i realized what you meant so thanks!

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  42. this post killed me. murderer. lol. ;)

    Oh yes, "simply remarkable".

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  43. oh hello! welcome to my blog. :D sorry about killing you. it wasn't my intention. lol

    thanks for reading. :D i'll visit your blog din.

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  44. mmmm. at least you use HE now :-p

    lovely work bitches.

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  45. it's fiction, bitch. haha and we missed u last night. :D

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  46. I read this over a month ago, I think, and I was moved. It's very evocative and now,I strongly feel that I should leave a mark here. hahaha. Consider this a 'kaloy(s.p.) was here' comment. :3

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  47. And here I was thinking you were a new face. Kaaliw naman! Thanks Kaloy!

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