Friday, January 23, 2015

on remembering the firsts



I find myself thinking about the early days frequently. Mostly, the scenes come back to me in flashes – that tiny macchiato I ordered for you by mistake, the swollen bits of lamb swimming in garlic and soy sauce, the beads of sweat that glistened on your forehead as I beat you in pool hockey, that first stolen kiss in the crisp, November air – they string together like tiny beads of light. And I remember thinking about them on the bus back to Manila. My fingers run through these memories the way a kid brushes over an old scar. You are sleeping right next to me, your shoulders hunched up in the cold. I adjust the AC, put my jacket over you, and try to catch up on too many long, looming sleepless nights.

NEVER thought something so sweet could become so sour but we sure knew how to hurt each other. Those moments flash back too – that night I told you I was giving up, that time you took our picture off the wall, the hurtful bullshit we said and did to each other – they scratch my skin as they zoom past. And I’m sorry I gave up. I’m sorry I tried to run away from you. When you’re in a shithole, all you can think about is climbing out and pushing through. You never stop to think that maybe you’re not alone in all of it. I wish I had seen you right there with me, grasping through the darkness because neither of us knew it could get so bad. But you never thought about leaving me. I’m sorry I did. I’m sorry I thought that I could stop loving you. That I will stop loving you. Or that maybe, I had found a way. Maybe I

STOPPED. I didn’t. That was a lie. Through the awkward silences, the passive aggressive shit we’d do to each other, through the stolen embraces while you slept and the nasty things I said but didn’t mean, a part of me held on to you. When you stopped talking to me, it felt like I lost more than a lover. I felt like I lost myself. You’ve become such a big part of who I am that at times, I wonder where you end and I begin. I knew I would never be the same. I was hollow most of the day. I walked around with empty eyes and a heavy heart. The only time I felt whole again was when I saw you. And though you looked back at me like you were about to scream bloody murder, I knew I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I knew I’d rather be in an empty house with you than anywhere in the world by myself.

LOVING you again was easy. It was like putting an old sweater on. Maybe we needed a trip to remind us why we fell in love in the first place. Or maybe we would’ve found our way back eventually anyway. Either way, once the debris had settled and we’d both run out of horrible things to say, I felt your warm, familiar fabric as it embraced my longing skin. That first night you held me even though I knew you were livid with me, I heard your breaths draw deep and sharp. It was like you you were trying really hard to push me away. But you gave up. You couldn’t. Just like me, you understood that on some cosmic level, we would always end up with each other. Thank you for truly seeing me. I still remember those first tentative kisses, the way your fingers felt like tiny little firecrackers, that night you held me again and I cried so hard I had to hang the pillows dry the next day. It felt like I was at the end of a long journey and in your arms, I had somehow found myself back home.

YOU were, you are, you will always be my life’s greatest adventure. As we made our way back to the city, the sleepy bus lights forging through the darkness, I think about the many firsts we’ve had – first date, first cup of coffee, first kiss, first time we made love. Then I add a couple of new ones – our first big fight, our first breakup, the first time we got back together, the first time that didn’t work out, the first time it actually did, the first time it felt like we’d finally figured things out – these all go into the box of memories we’ll open when we’re old and gray. I know I don’t say it much and I sure as hell don’t know how to show it half the time but it’s all there in the firsts. I didn’t need to fall back in love with you because

♫: Taylor Swift | Out of the Woods (2014)

HELLO 2015! So I was late for my own challenge. Sorry about that. Obviously, life got in the way. I spent the New Year's figuring out what I wanted to do with my life and rebuilding bridges I haphazardly burned down in my last crisis. I promise to take better care of this space this year (and lose weight, quit smoking, be a better person, yadda yadda yadda) I hope you all had a great New Year's!

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