Thursday, June 14, 2012

phantom


“Why?” the boy asked, his voice betraying the tears he was stifling “Isn’t this good?”

“It is. Or it was,” I answered. “But I know how these things go. You’ll get attached. I’ll get stressed out.”

“Why would you get stressed out?”

“Because I know I’ll never be able to fully reciprocate.” I looked at the boy in front of me. I considered his jet black hair, his dark brown eyes, the way they often said more than his mouth. I wondered how far he’d go for me, or if he had still come if he’d known I was just going to break up with him.

“It’s not reciprocation I’m after,” he says, his frustration bittersweet to the taste. “Can’t you just let me love you? I know deep down in that frigid heart, you understand you need to be loved. Let me do that for you.” He placed his hand firmly on mine. “Please.”

“You say that now but wait till a few months, maybe even a few weeks. These things… they get messy and I just can’t afford to mess around at this point in my life.” I dragged deep into my cigarette and slowly sighed out pregnant clouds of smoke.

“You’ll understand when you’re older,” I continued, pulling my hand from beneath his. He looked up from where he sat, his eyes welling up, seeking mine. I looked at him with a cold expression, the one you use when you stare into traffic in the middle of rush hour. The cars blur away as another boy is ushered out of my life.

“You don’t know that. You don’t know this.” He takes my hand again and brings it closer to his chest. “Don’t you feel this? Doesn’t your heart beat the same way?”

“Maybe it used to,” I said as I swigged the last of my beer. “But it sure doesn’t beat that way anymore.”

---

We went back to his place. One last fuck, he proposed. For old time’s sake? I indulged him. You see a house burning down and you figure you might as well light your cigarette. As we lay in bed, sweat and smoke imposing in the room, I thought of the boy that I held in my arms. Our legs were tangled like vines. His head was resting calmly on my arm. His hands played through my forest, his fingers intertwining with the strands of my hair. If I closed my eyes, I could say it felt like I was home.

And I started to miss him even though he was still there. He was a good kid, big heart, and a decent fuck at that. I knew he could find someone better than me at the snap of a finger. And yet there he was in bed with me wishing he could stay in my life. Why couldn’t I let him in? Why was I pushing him away? Maybe you can only get hurt so many times before you start believing none of it’s worth it. Maybe you can only get your heart broken so many times before it stops beating like it should.

“Why does it hurt so bad?” he asked, warm tears flowing onto my naked chest. I held him closer until I felt his bones crushing under my weight. Until it felt like I could breathe in all that he was.

“If I had a heart, it would be hurting too.” I felt a sort of bluntness in the middle of my chest. Maybe this is what they call a phantom limb.

---

I woke up in the middle of the night and got dressed. I watched the boy as he lay in bed sleeping. He looked so peaceful, so pure and devoid of darkness. I don’t remember if I was ever just like that. He asked if my heart could still beat the same way. Maybe it used to, I answered. Maybe once when I could still feel. As I walked through the city, the buildings cloaked by night, I closed my eyes so I could hear the cars rushing past me. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, they wailed. Another day, another love, whooshing down the drain. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. This is my lullaby. The cars, the city, they keep me from thinking. They swallow the words I cannot spit out.

Maybe it used to, I said to him when what I really wanted to say was Save me.


Postcript. Seven years later, the boy still thinks of him often. The scent of Gudang Garam reminds him of the man he thought he could love forever. But forever is such a long time, he’d soon learn. It’s a promise he’d make to a string of boys who were just as hopeful as he was that summer.

♫: Leona Lewis | Run (2008)
Photo: night

45 comments:

  1. "Maybe you can only get hurt so many times before you start believing none of it’s worth it. Maybe you can only get your heart broken so many times before it stops beating like it should."

    I would often say those lines because somehow it justifies the pain that goes with it.

    isabelle

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    1. Isabelle: Well, we say a lot of things to ourselves to justify the pain. Do you ever wonder if it's all worth it? Like maybe "recuperation" is a lie we tell ourselves because we're afraid to lose again.

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    2. True. But those lies would somehow get you from one day to the next. Until we're ready again to lose ourselves. :)

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    3. Isabelle: This is so Moulin Rouge! I cried like a little girl when Nicole started singing "why live life from dream to dream and dread the day when dreaming ends..." :(

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  2. I always say you'll meet someone who will change your mind or heart. And we all need to be saved at some point.

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    1. James: Ooh, the computer-less guy is here. lolz

      I completely agree with your first statement. I think even the world's biggest player has a match somewhere. As for being saved... eh, i'm not so sure about that. I've always learned to be my own savior. So Adele, right? lolz

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  3. the last sentence.. wow.. another good write, nyl! :)

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    1. Nate: Aww.. thanks man! :) I wasn't so sure about that sentence. I have this bad habit of overwriting my shit. lolz

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  4. Oh, those cold, cold forevers......

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    1. Rick: I'm sure you've had your fair share of promising/promises too. Forever's a crazy word. It's like a bunch of old English dudes decided that they needed a small word to contain a really big concept. haha

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    2. Yeah. Their small word would be "empire." Haha!!

      ( "I essay, ol' chap!" )

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    3. Rick: Ha! Empire it is!

      Forever is both a promise and a lie. No one lives through the end of time. haha

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    4. Speak for yourself, ol' bean! LOL!

      You've got me feeling frightfully British this morning. ( Your evening)

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    5. Rick: Well, when once you've stumbled upon the fountain of youth, holla at me. lolz

      You wanna know something strange? I often read drafts out loud to see if it "flows" right. When I was testing this one out, I was reading it with a British accent. dafuq, right? haha I just went with it. Figured no one was gonna find out anyway. lolz

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    6. HAAAAA.... So I just now read it out loud with a British accent. Yep! Perfect. It reads so Britishly polite.

      You know...... They would be very apologetic, and painfully polite even when about to execute you. " You know, ol' bean, nothing personal here. We've decided that in the best interest of society, and for the continued well being of those with whom you've been in contact, that we really must terminate your life. I dare say you might agree....."

      Bang.

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    7. Rick: The guy I based this on was painfully polite. That could explain things. lolz

      As the great Carly Rae Jepsen once said... Greetings, I have recently been in your acquaintance, and this is absurd, alas I present to thee my contact details, so hail thou perhaps.

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    8. lol at call me maybe reference.. :)) *and i sang it with british accent* --- "Greetings, I have recently been in your acquaintance, and this is absurd, alas I present to thee my contact details, so hail thou perhaps."

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    9. Nate: Ang harot diba? haha I almost fell off my chair when I saw it on 9gag.

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  5. Okay, several things...

    Leona Lewis' Run is way better than Katherine Mcphee's. I wish I never listened to it, because its so depressing.

    What good is there in forever? Why do we keep on wanting it like it is better than fresh air or spring water? Can we just settle for what we have right now and enjoy every moment of it?

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower said, we always get the love that we deserve. And your post just exhibits that love stories, can be perfect, but will never be rightful for someone.

    Pengeng yosi! hahaha!

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    1. LJ: Admittedly, the Leona soundtrack was a super final decision. haha I initially had Aimee Mann's Save Me but then I found an old post where I used that song na. Then I went to Ingrid Michaelson's A Bird Song and it was fine and stuff. Ready to publish na. And then I remembered Snow Patrol's Run. I quickly edited blah blah and then at the last minute, I decided that Leona's emotional rendition was the way to go. haha

      I'm glad you were able to empathize with the character. I was (obviously) the boy so it was such an exercise to find common ground with someone who I felt has antagonized and jeopardized so many of my succeeding relationships. I guess it's like Alanis' Hands Clean where she wrote in the perspective of her ex. It's a fun little exercise, one I hope to do again in the next few posts. lolz

      As for getting the love that we deserve, haaay big sigh. That line still cuts me. Thanks for appreciating this post. Let's yosi soon!

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  6. "Everything seemed to be past; what remained was a fait accompli, without any reference back to what had been. There was no longer any regret that something had dropped away or been taken away. On the contrary: I had everything that I was, and that was everything." CG Jung

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    1. LOF: So is the past its own reward? I often question how things could've been if I had not met him. lolz

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  7. Oh my friend this is beautiful.... Guess theromises of tne past are now here for me...ihope this is it... All the things that i have beens wishing for had come my way. I am keeping my fingers crossed...

    JJRod'z

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    1. JJRod'z: I hope that ito na rin talaga yun for you. :) You've got an extra pair of fingers crossed for you.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Kids nowadays don't know what they're saying. haha!!!

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    2. Gervin: Ito pala yung tweet mo this morning! Sorry, was super sleepy and disoriented, di na ako nakareply.

      Well, lahat naman tayo naging wildly optimistic about love diba? chauce!!!

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    3. Optimistic or disillusioned? Another chaucey chauce!!!!

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    4. Gervin: Pwedeng both? Lolz Magkaka-talo sa verb tenses. Or it's just a strange day for me right now and I shouldn't be responding to comments. lolz

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  9. awwwwww!!!!
    you know what, we better talk about this when we meet! i'm seriously hating myself right now sa pagkakaroon ko ng maraming maraming memory gap! :(
    ititigil ko na nga ang pagpo-porn! hahaha charot! :D
    i love what you wrote, and i love the song na!! you always include great songs on your posts... <3

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    1. Sin: We didn't really get to talk last weekend! haha and thanks for liking the song. Minsan iniisip ko kung may nage-effort iplay yung songs. :p

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  10. Have you read Andre Aciman's Call Me By Your Name? Try to get a copy; beautiful book. :)

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    1. Andy: Ooh, a book recommendation! I'll go check it out. I'm currently stuck reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Hot damn, that's a dirty book. lolz

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  11. Ang cute mo po sa iyong blogger pic... you look like a kind and good-natured child molester. LOL jk. miss you nyl

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    1. Glentot: Akala ko matutuwa na ako at may compliment ka. Tapos nalagyan ng molester?! lolz

      I miss you too, man-whore. Movie night daw in the next few weeks. Victor wants to watch Fallen Angels. :p

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  12. I love the way you did this. And yes, forever is a very long time. I have a joke among my friends, "Why did nobody tell me that when I grew up, traveling and taking many lovers was an option?" We laugh. Of course, I want to believe in forever, but it is a long time that I find impossible to trust.

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    1. Amy: I guess it's normal for us not to trust something that's so simple yet so complicated? It's like ending a story with a coincidence solving the central conflict. It feels like it's cheating. :p

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  13. This is depressing Nyl. And I love it.

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    1. Rei: May I love it talaga?! haha Well, you've always appreciated my sadder posts. :p

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    2. Pain is a wonder drug. It makes me write more. Chos. :D

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    3. Rei: Yay! More more writing! :)

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  14. Citybuoy: I know you don't know me. I just want to drop a line to show my appreciation on your post. I was moved. I don't know if I can relate to it or what. Anyway, can I post it to my fb page? Thank you and more power.

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    1. Renz: Hey! Welcome to my blog! :) Oo naman. It's fine with me. My CC license says just link back, k? :)

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