If you ask me how we got here, I honestly would not know what to say. Like the sunset, it just crept up on us unsuspectingly. One minute, he and I were taking spontaneous trips to Batangas and watching exotic French movies at midnight, the next we were suffering through the silence of countless breakfasts and forgetting each other's birthdays. Three years can do that to you and on most days, I'm okay with that. There is some value to a stable relationship. But then there are days like today where I wonder whether it was time or was it romance that truly passed us by.
And what kills me is he's a good man, that much I know. I could do so much worse. Wait, let me rephrase that. I have done so much worse. I've been lied to, cheated on, I've been hurt and all for what? The pursuit of a happy ever after? When I met him all those summers ago, I was a wounded bird with a broken wing. I was beginning to believe that happy ever afters only existed in fairy tales and cheesy Sunday movies. When my last lover left, he took so much more than my heart. He stripped me of my pride, my confidence, and my will. This brand new boy took one look at my heart and said I could fix that. I could fix him. And so I let him. It wasn't easy at first but through time and with his gentle heart, I learned to trust again. I learned to love again. He was the kindest man I had ever met and so we took our vows to grow old together. He with his gentle heart and I with my mended wing, we would get our happy ever after.
Nobody tells you what happens after the couple rides off into the horizon and the screen fades to black. Let me tell you. What follows is a whole lot of… nothing.
All that feels like a lifetime ago. These days, we hardly ever talk beyond the how was your days and what do you want for dinners – these questions disguise themselves as everyday pleasantries but I should have seen them for what they truly are. They are footsteps. Each question and its corresponding monotonous answer brought us closer and closer to silence, to complacent, to mundane.
I've become increasingly good at keeping these thoughts at bay. But just when I've let my guard down, they crash into me with the impact of a bursting dam. Today, it finds me on a quiet Saturday morning, as plain as the last sixty-three. He lies sleeping beside me. His snoring stops, signaling he is about to wake. The curtains sway without tire as the aroma of breakfast wafts through from the neighbor's kitchen. I daydream of dried fish, scrambled eggs, and a love that will hold me till morning.
You're up early, he says, mid yawn. What time is it?
6:30? I'm not really sure.
Why are you up so early? It's the weekend. We should be sleeping. He rolls over to my side of the bed to embrace me and I let him because that's what lovers are supposed to do.
I don't know. I couldn't get back to sleep.
Well, let's… he continues incoherently. His silence was soon replaced by quiet little snores. We lay there, two spoons with mountains of space in between. Now how much of that space was on me, I didn't want to know. Because I couldn't afford to think about these things. I couldn't afford to lose my savior. I close my eyes, hoping the same slumber that took him would swallow me whole.
He's a good man, that much I know. I could do so much worse. But now and then, you wonder how growing old together somehow turns into just plain growing old.
♫: Pancho's Lament | Promise Me This (2000)