on the lies we told

It was a gag gift. By no means was it accurate. In fact the box tells you in clear, fine print that this lie detector was not meant to be used in criminal investigations nor should its findings be entered into evidence in criminal proceedings. But it was a fun little toy you saw in a YouTube video. You bought one because you thought it would be good for a laugh. You gave it to me because you said I was the one person you knew who most desperately needed to laugh. One fateful night, between bottles of cheap red you decided we should try it out.

“If you have nothing to hide, this should be easy,” you say, between forced chuckles. “So you put your hand here then we lock it in place. I have to ask you a question and if you lie, well… you know the next part.”

There was a lump in my throat. There was too much truth and not enough courage for me to say what I needed to say.

“C’mon, big boy. What are you so afraid of?”

“Um… electrocution?” I stall.

“Well, if you tell the truth you wouldn’t have to be afraid.”

And that’s what I was afraid of. I have stifled my truth too long to be outed by a plastic plaything made in China.

I hesitate a bit more and when it was clear you weren’t budging, I offer a sweaty palm. You place it on the machine, strap it in place, and ask your first question.

“Do you love me?” I look up, caught unaware by such a direct question. The cat must have had my tongue. “Uh… I…” I struggle for words as small bursts of electricity flowed through my hand.

Yes. Oh, God. Yes. I should have said it then. Why can’t I say it now?

It’s easy to remember these moments, like scenes in a trailer for a movie you like. It’s better to focus on the laughter filled wine nights that turn into early morning breakfasts. I could choose to focus on these moments – how you expertly minced garlic for the fried rice, the way the sunlight filtered through the curtains, the smile on your face as our kitchen filled with the loving scent of comfort food. I’d pause, hit rewind, and keep replaying this scene over and over for the rest of my life if I could.

It’s easy to skip through the messy parts – the fights that went on all night, the complicated histories muddying up the present, the cold shoulders that I used to be able to lean on. In the end, there were too many things wrong with us that no amount of love could rewrite our fates. The same hand that once wiped away my tears were now balled up into fists. The hands we once threw at each other eventually raised in surrender. They say every sweet beginning has a bitter end. How naïve of me to think we would be the exception.

You come in, the day’s weariness still hung over your shoulders and you see I had packed my stuff. There wasn’t much – a few clothes, a dusty house plant, and some CDs. A sigh. Was it of relief or exasperation? Doesn’t matter. You knew what it meant and despite my best efforts to leave quietly, I miscalculated the time it would take for you to get home. So I stood there frozen in your kitchen holding my breath.

You squint and see me. I am still immobile. You rush towards the bedroom. Maybe you don’t want to see me leave. I can respect that. I wouldn’t want to see you go either. But just as I finish that rationalization in my head, you emerge with a dusty box in your hands.

“You forgot this.” It was the lie detector. I didn’t know you still had that. “Once more? For old time’s sake?”

I purse my lips and give it some thought.

“C’mon, big boy. What are you so afraid of?” That first night’s memories wash over me like cold water. I want to be that version of me again. I want you to be that you again. But those people, however familiar, aren’t us anymore. They were a lifetime away.

“Pussy. Fine, I’ll start,” you say as you strap yourself in. “Ask me anything.”

I set the bag down and sit on the couch. The machine motor’s gentle hum scored the evening. Outside, I could hear the city’s sounds muffled through the window.

“So, how do you feel about me leaving?”

“Uh-uh. Closed ended.” You wince.

“Okay. Did you know I was leaving?”

“No.” A buzz. “Ow. Yes. I knew. I just didn’t know when.”

“Did you… or were you going to, um maybe stop me?”

“Yes.” A buzz. “Ow. Damn it.” You unstrap yourself. “I don’t remember these things being so powerful.” You sigh. “I guess I wanted to. But…”

You wanted to, but, and an ellipsis. Entire worlds can hide between these three dots.

You tuck your hair behind your ears, partly to get them out of the way but also to fill the silence. I had nothing else to give so for the last time, I offer you a sweaty palm. Instead of putting it on the lie detector, you put my hand on yours. Our fingers find their way around each other, interlocked as we’d done countless times. You strap my hand in using imaginary Velcro and mimic the sound with your mouth. Ksshh. Too tight. Chukk. Ksshhh.

“Will you be back?” I look up, caught unaware by such a direct question. Years later, you still knew how to jolt me with your candor.

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? Or you don’t want to know?”

I shrug. I genuinely didn’t know the answer.

“You said you weren’t ready for… this.” You shake your head as though you were trying to shake a bad memory. “Do you think there’s a part of you that ever will?”

“I —” I answer, interrupted.

“Don’t know?” Your grip tightens in your anger then relaxes as you exhale. “You don’t seem to know anything.”

“I don’t know. I…” I stutter. It takes me a minute to find the right words. “I don’t know much but I know this. This… it wasn’t all wrong. But we were probably just caught in the wrong moments in our lives. But I know there’s love here. So maybe…” I hesitate. “Someday?”

Someday. I like the sound of that.” You smile. It’s been a while since I last saw you smiling.

You let go of my hand. We are past the point of truths and lies. You are staring at your feet, your toes curled in anticipation.

“Will you… maybe… I don’t know.” You search for words as they elude you.

“Will I?”

“I know that tomorrow’s out of the question. But do you think you could maybe save someday for me?”

I look at you, your eyes still low and heavy. I didn’t want to make promises I couldn’t keep.

“Okay…”

“Okay?”

“Okay.”

And I meant it. I kiss you one last time on the cheek as I get ready to leave. Tomorrow, there will be hell to pay and hearts to mend. But that’s not until the morning. Tonight, we say goodbye and hope that someday comes soon.

♫: Lourdes | Save Someday (2019)
MANIGONG BAGONG TAON! I haven’t really made my mind up with this story yet so maybe there’ll be edits in January but I just couldn’t let 2019 end without a single entry in this space. This year was challenging in every single way imaginable and I’m glad we all made it out alive. Thank you for reading this week’s month’s year’s story and I wish you and your families a Happy New Year!

13 comments

  1. I just bought a set of this piece of plaything in Amazon! Hayst. Happy New Year and thank you for your stories, they almost seem-like real-life stories to me. Lagi akong naiiyak after reading... HAHA

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    1. Yccos: Happy new year! haha nakaka-tuwa na may nagbabasa pa pala. Thank you for dropping by. Sana masaya yung laruan!

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  2. Oh my God!!! This is nostalgia realness. Been an avid reader ever since I came across your blog many, many years ago. ��

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    1. Anonymous: Happy new year! Sorry gulo gulong buhay ang 2019 but babawi ako next year. 😆

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  3. Sobrang ganda po ������������

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    Replies
    1. Maridor: Haha may nagbabasa pa pala! Salamat! ❤️

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    2. Palagi parin po nagbabasa! Ever since 2015 po ����

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    3. Maridor: Babawi ako sa 2020 haha sobrang gulo gulong buhay lang sa 2019

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Replies
    1. Vanilla Days: Salamat! Medyo inagiw lang dito last year haha Welcome to my
      blog!

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  6. “I know that tomorrow’s out of the question. But do you think you could maybe save someday for me?”

    Tengene. Sobrang tengene.

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  7. Hello. Binasa ko ito habang nakikinig ng Crying Season ng Up Dharma Down. :(

    Is this the end or beginning? I can sense your goodbye. :(

    Thank you sa sulat mo na ito. Nakakagana sa panahon ng pandemia.

    Ingat ka lagi at stay healthy.

    Makakasulat ka na ngayon ulit sana. Sigurado, madami kang feels dahil sa nangyayari. Hahaha

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