I’ve always been selfish, I think it’s a defense mechanism of mine. Be selfish and think only of yourself, in that way I can never get hurt. So in the process of keeping myself from the hurt, I hurt other people intentionally or unintentionally. It’s not something I can change about me, I’ve been wired that way because I don’t want to ever feel the pain again. It’s never my intention to hurt others, it’s just better to hurt them than to hurt myself.
As I look at Kim’s eyes, I see the pain that I inflicted on him, it pains me to see him like this but this is what I do and this is what I will always do. “Ian, go back to Brown.” I tell him once more.
He shakes his head, he tightens his hold on my legs. “Please let me come with you.”
I don’t want him in Germany with me. I don’t want him to pause his life for me. I don’t want him to see me die. Because I know in my heart that I will die and I don’t want him there when I die.
It will hurt him when I die and it will hurt more if he’s going to be there.
I can’t tell him that. I can’t tell him the real reasons why I don’t want him there with me because he won’t accept it. So I tell him a lie. “I don’t need you Ian.”
He winces and I close my eyes because I can’t look into his eyes anymore, I see the pain and it just hurts me. “I love you.” I know he does. His love for me will be the death of him. He will always get hurt because of it and I hate it so much.
A part of me doesn’t want him to love me, the other part though wants him to love me. Crazy isn’t it? But loving me hurts him and I don’t want to hurt him because he deserves more.
He deserves a life where there’s no pain. A life without me.
“Let me be there with you. Please let me fight this together with you. You don't have to do this alone please Mary, let's fight together.”
How can I tell him that that’s it, I don’t want to fight? I never want to. How can I tell him that this is a losing battle? Why can’t he see that I’m doing him a great favor of pushing him away from my life?
Why can’t he for once in his life think about himself other than me? As much as I hate myself for doing this to him, I hate him also. I hate him for being selfless when it comes to me.
“Stand up please.” My voice breaks. “Please Ian, stand up.”
He stares at me and maybe he sees the pain in my eyes, he nods and slowly pulls himself up. He stands there in front of me with his eyes gazing at me with so much love that I don’t deserve, probably never will and I look at him with the unmasked pain of mine.
He smiles sadly at me then kisses me on my forehead. “I'm sorry.” He says and I break a sob. He quickly wraps his arms around me comforting me. I hate it. I hate that he’s the one saying sorry when I should be the one apologizing for hurting him.
I hate that he’s comforting me when he’s also hurting because of me.
“I love you so much Mary and I will never leave your side.”
And I know that even without my approval, he’s going to come with us in Germany. I don’t have a choice but to accept it even if not wholeheartedly because a part of me is happy that he’s going to be there at my side.
I stand outside the gate of our house just staring at the small house that we’ve been living for almost a year now. It’s a cold night and staying out instead of coming inside will probably cause me a fever later but I begin to feel a little melancholy tonight.
I just came back from hanging out with my friends, our last hang out since I will not be returning to school this year. It was fun but sad really. We ate and ate, talked and laughed.
I didn’t tell them my fears, I wanted a day to be happy. I wanted a day to be just me. To laugh with no care in the world even just for one day. I didn't want the day to end actually, I know once the day is over the magic would die too.
I will really miss them.
So while I was riding back home, I occupied my time with reminiscing about the past year and then when I reached home, I just couldn’t go in yet.
Our house is a two-storey with two rooms and one bathroom. So very different from my childhood home. This house is the reflection of how low we sunk since last year. We lost a lot of our fortune because of me.
Guilt have been riding shotgun with me ever since I learned that our house was ceased by the bank and that we had to move someplace else. This place is so foreign, no good memories at all.
Every time I need to have a memory to hang on, there’s nothing. I can’t see Louie throwing rocks at my balcony door at night, I can’t see Louie tiptoeing out of my room at dawn. I can’t see Carmina, Ynna and me screaming when we messed up the whole study with the inks. I can’t see my sleepover days with my childhood friends. I can’t see Louie dashing over the garden because the sprinkles went off.
I can’t see a damn thing in this house.
Sometimes, it’s good not to have memories in every corner of the house, I mean my childhood home did have a lot of awful memories. And here in this house, it doesn’t haunt me the way it did back then.
Still, my childhood home is the only place where memories linger.
My phone buzzes from my hand, I read the text message and sigh. Time to go inside now.
As I open the gate, I sneeze. Jeez. Runny nose. I quickly run inside the house and head to my room. I change into my comfortable pajama and settle on my bed with my laptop on my lap.
I log in on Facebook and write a status. I read my newsfeed and comment to some feed. As I am reading my newsfeed, my phone rings and I slide to answer it and take it to my ear.
“Look under your bed.” Cyril tells me.
My brow furrows. “Anong meron sa ilalalim ng kama ko?” I ask while I’m placing my laptop on my bed. I crawl on the edge of the bed and peek under it.
I see a box and I pull it out. I put it down on my bed, it’s wrapped in a pink wrapper with butterflies on it. So cute. I tear the wrapper and open the box. “Cyril.” I breathe when I see what’s inside the box.
I take it out gently afraid that I might drop it. I see another frame inside the box, it’s two? I gently lay the first one down in my bed and take the other out. Wow. They’re both beautiful. So perfect.
I nod then remember that he can’t see me so I tell him. “Thank you.” I stare at the first photo frame. It contains Louie and me when I was seven years old. It was my seventh birthday party and I was dressed as a princess while Louie was my prince.
It’s a candid shot of us, I don’t remember what exactly happened that time but I do recall that my tiara was knocked down by the clown. I was on the verge of tears but smiled when Louie placed my tiara back on my hair.
The second one is also a photo of me and Louie and this time we were in high school. It was my fifteenth birthday and the last birthday I celebrated with Louie. Louie’s hands were wrapped around me and mine was on his chest. He was whispering some joke in my ear and I was laughing.
The thing about the photos is that Cyril made it as black and white and it adds the timeless effect on it. It’s so perfect.
“Louie was your strength all throughout your life and I just want you to remember that.” Cyril says and I let my tear fall, he’s right Louie is, was and always will be my strength.
“Thank you Cy. Mami-miss kita.”
“Ako rin. Sa totoo lang Mary, ayaw kitang umalis pakiramdam ko kasi hindi ka na babalik. Ayaw kong sabihin sayo to kasi ayokong mag freak out ka pero tong nararamdaman ko, naramdaman ko na to eh. And she didn't come back so I fear you’re not coming back to.” Cyril’s voice cracks and I know he’s fighting his tears now, he’s talking about Jasmine, that’s a first.
I know why he fears that I might not come back because frankly I do feel like that too. I feel I’m never going to have a chance to come back even for a goodbye. But I don’t tell him that.
I don’t tell anybody that because maybe in the past year I learned not to be selfish around everyone. I’m still selfish and I’m still hurting other even unintentionally but sometimes when I know that what I might say or do may hurt them then I stop myself.
Self-control and me are having a little tug of war and really it’s hard but I’m dealing with it.
So I tell Cyril what I tell others. “Don’t worry Cy, I’m coming home as soon as I can.” I hear the popping sound that Facebook makes every time someone sends a pm, I look over it and see it’s just Chelsea so I ignore it.
“Then promise me.”
I look up from the ceiling and smile ruefully. That is the one thing I can never do. “Hindi ko mapro-promise sayo yun Cy, hindi ko hawak yung buhay ko. If it’s my time then it’s inevitable no promise can change that. Pero Cy kung hindi man ako makakabalik then maybe mas maganda kung nagpaalalam na tayo sa isa’t isa.” I suggest.
“NO!” he says sharply. “Ayoko Mary.”
I chuckle a bit. “We need to you know? With Jasmine, you never had your goodbye and it’s still eating you alive. I never had the chance to say goodbye to Louie too, I wasn’t ready for that but Cyril you're my best friend and I need you to be ready for that day for me.”
“Para kasing final na pag nagpalaalam tayo sa isa’t isa Mary.”
I know. I feel that way too. Just like today when I was saying goodbye to my college friends, it felt so final for me I didn’t voice that out with them though and I think that was why I was a bit melancholy earlier.
“Let’s not think about it right now. Matagal pa naman eh.”
Because really I don't know what to say anymore. What do I tell him? I can’t tell him that it’s not final because I’m not sure about that way. I can’t not have my goodbye with him because he’s my best friend and I need—no we need—it. We will both need closure especially him if I don’t make it back alive.