on how we will see the world

“Do you remember this?” he asks from across the apartment. I was sealing the last of my boxes, the sound of packing tape scoring this hot afternoon. Outside, I can hear the city sounds carrying on just like any day. The movers were arriving tomorrow. A smarter man would have packed sooner but cramming wasn’t just something I do. I practically live at the eleventh hour.

I look up and see the wooden cigar box we got in Vigan. “Of course, I do.” I chuckle. “Where did you find it?”

“It was collecting dust under a stack of books in the shelf.”

“Poor thing. We forgot all about it.” He sets it down on the desk beside me. Inside were dozens of handwritten notes. On a seemingly ordinary day much like this one, when our hearts were still brand new, he told me we should write to each other.

“What would we write? We talk every day. We’ll see each other every day.” I argued.

“The good stuff. The bad stuff. Anything really. Then one day when we’re really old, let’s sit down and read them.”

Okaaaaaay. You know, we don’t live in one of your short stories. I just hope that me moving in isn’t going to spark some sort of… crisis on your life.”

“Whatever,” he dismissed. “Whoever said romance isn’t dead obviously never met you.” On the back of a 7-11 receipt, he writes his first note: Tomorrow, you are moving in. I cannot wait to spend the first day of the rest of our lives.

“Let’s read them,” he says hurriedly. I glance at him disapprovingly. “C’mon, it’ll be fun. Don’t you want to read all the crazy things we wrote?”

“I’m a little curious.” I admit. “But… wouldn’t it be weird?”

“Why would it be weird?” he asks as he opens the box. “Think of it as an exploration of us – our story as documented in notes, post-its, and tape receipts.”

“Okay,” I grunt as I sat on the floor beside him. “You start.”

His hand snakes into the box, fishing for the first note. The pieces of paper rustle tirelessly in anticipation.

“Okay. First one. It’s from you. January 19, 2013. I’m sorry I broke your hard drive.” There was a doodle of me crying, holding said hard drive in pieces in my hands. It was an accident. I was copying some movies when I stood up and tripped on the wire, sending the poor hard drive flying towards the wall. He hardly said two words to me for a full week.

“You know, my entire life was in that thing. Five years later and I’m still angry.”

I sigh. “Five years later and I’m still sorry.”

“Okay, you do one,” he tells me, the box open and waiting beside him. I pull out a note and I recognize it almost immediately. February 14, 2014. Good dates leave you glowing all night. Dates with you and I’m on fire all week. He wrote it on the back of a Holland Tulips gift tag. A single petrified petal is taped on it, the lone survivor of what was once a glorious bouquet.

“Did I ever tell you that you were the first person to ever give me flowers?” He takes the card from me and smells it.

“For real?”

“Yeah.” He hands the card back to me. “I guess it’s not normal for a guy to get flowers.”

“Well, you aren’t just any guy.”

“Weren’t,” he says, correcting me. I hold the card up for a quick sniff. The scent has long gone but it still lingers in my memory.

“Ang bigat naman,” I say. “Didn’t you say this was going to be fun? I feel like we’re just picking at scabs.”

“Fun kaya!” he said, exaggeratedly. “Here, let me have one. August 24, 2012. Loving you is my life’s greatest adventure.” A pause. “Yuck. How cheesy.”

“Cheesy? I’m sorry we can’t all be wordsmiths like you. And I’m sure you didn’t feel that way when I wrote that. Kilig na kilig ka kaya.”

“Whatever. Here,” he says, handing me the box.

“Okay. March 3, 2014. Ang lakas mo humalik.” It looks like it was written in a hurry.

“Humalik?” he asks, grabbing the note from my hands. “Humilik! My god. You still can’t read my penmanship?”

“Oh, is that what that’s called? I thought you just scribbled random lines.”

“That is obviously an i. How would that be an a? Do you see a dot anywhere?”

“You know you’re not exactly known for crossing your t’s or dotting your i’s.” An emptiness hung heavy over the room. How do you erase what feels like centuries of history? How do you begin to unravel two hearts so tightly bound?

Hours pass as we read note upon note – each one scratching deeper into scars that had long healed. Each note brought up all sorts of memories, both good and bad. It felt like we were two soldiers trading stories after a battle. Like any war, there would be no victors here – only survivors with tales to share.

“Okay. Last one,” I announced.

“Are you sure?” he asked, peering into the cigar box.

“Yup. One final note to cap the night.”

“You know we were supposed to read these when we were older,” he says, switching gears.

“Yeah, well… that’s that I guess.” I dismiss. “We were supposed to keep writing these notes too. Look how that turned out”

“Years worth of dust on this thing. How long has it been forgotten on the shelf?”

“I’d say one, maybe two years. It doesn’t seem like we had much going on beyond 2015.”

“Sayang naman. It was such a pretty box.” He sighs. “And we had so many good memories in it.” It was clear he wasn’t talking about the box anymore.

“It’s not like you’re going to throw it away. Maybe you could use it for something else… like actual cigars? I don’t know. Boxes like this with exquisite craftsmanship, they’re built to last. You just have to find its rightful place.”

“Are you sure about that?” He hesitates. “Are you sure about this? I mean, it’s not too late. I could call the movers. You could unpack. We could try again. You could…”

“Stay?” I interrupt. “And what would that solve?” We were younger when we wrote these notes. Our penmanship may have stayed the same but our hearts did not. He sits in silence and we trade heavy exhales.

“We are no longer the same people who wrote these.” All around us lay notes, post-its, and tape receipts – the ruins of a love that’s all been spent. “But for what it’s worth, we had a pretty good run, didn’t we?”

“Okay. Last note,” he says, snapping back into reality.

“I’ll read it. February 20, 2015. One day we will see the world.

“…but no longer in each other’s eyes.”

It was an ordinary day much like this one when he told me we should write notes to each other. We would read it when we were older, he promised neither of us knowing we were banking on a future that wasn’t coming.

You wouldn’t have known then that that moment was important, much like if you were outside looking in right now, you’d only see two people packing half of all they own in boxes. You wouldn’t see, no you couldn’t see that what you were watching was the final act of a love story that has come to an end.

♫: This Band | Kahit Ayaw Mo Na (2018)

The Post: September 2018
"Exploration"

12 comments

  1. Bakit ang sakit? Nagbabasa lang naman ako?! Ang lungkot.
    Pero ganun yata talaga, if it's time to go, it's time to go. But you did have a good love story that has just come to an end.

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    1. Yccos: Oo, ang bigat talaga. Matagal na to sa drafts ko, di ko lang natapos haha pero may release siya when I wrote it. Nakatulong din na I flipped the POV. Parang mas naintindihan ko bakit nagkaganun.

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  2. Ang sheket. Ang sheket sheket nemen

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    1. Rix: Sorry naman! Nadamay ka pa sa paguunload ko haha

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    2. Kers lang may mga bagay talagang kilangan mo ishare tulad mg assignment nung highschool, ng sagot mo sa exam nung college, nung lunch mo sa kawork mo at gaya nitong pagshe-share ko kahit walang kwenta sinasabi ko. Charot! Haha

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    3. Rix: Haha non-stop hugot ka pala! lolz And ofc not, hindi "walang kwenta" yan :p

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  3. *sigh. This is so heavy in the heart, and yet I loved reading it.

    I'm glad that you are still writing. There's not a lot of us left blogging.

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    1. LiLi: I know right! I used to be able to read a dozen new entries a day. Now, pa-ambon ambon nalang. The ones that have stayed are all great content providers like you so that's that. :)

      Thank you for taking the time reading this and I'm sorry to have added heaviness to your heart. lol Nakadagdag pa ako sa empty nest mo! Sorry naman.

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  4. HOOOOY ANG BITTERSWEET NG POST NA ITO. HUHU

    oh well, this is the reason kung bakit iba pa ring magbasa ng mga personal blog post ng mga taong walang agenda. WOW HUMUGOT BA AKO? hahaha well wala lang, nauso na kasi ang mga influencers. puro brand ang nasa posts nila... nakakamiss pa ring magbasa ng may puso. yung post na magkokonek sa'yo sa isang estranghero na feeling mo kilalang kilala mo na. hehe

    parang post na ito. </3

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    1. kalansaycollector: That's such a nice thing to say! haha I'm proud to be sans agenda since 2004!

      I'm happy to hear that this has connected with you in some way. Parang yung bagong connection ng XYZ Telco! Sobrang linaw ng pakikipag-usap and mas maraming unlimited promos. Kaya sali na sa XYZ Telco!

      Charot lang. Kunyari influencer. haha I'm happy with the roster of people I interact with sa blogging world. We may not be that many pero we're also all doing this out of passion and not profit. :)

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