It was the summer of twenty-fifteen.
I had to take extra classes
to fill in the gaps of my naivety.
Basic education needs, I mean.
When I started freshmen year,
I was lacking five months of hell.
My high school starter pack
wasn’t fully wielded.
Those five months were secondhand days,
those became hand-me-downs–
I’ll never come back to it anyways.
This was when I realised
I had to throw away the bliss of my childhood
to take a swift dive into the realms of
catching teenage hormones
and all those juvenile shenanigans.
You see, when I was disbanded from my home soil,
I was the new girl, the shy-type,
but never “the girl next door”.
That cliché never suited me.
I’ve moved in many apartments,
I rarely saw my neighbours.
This time, I finally live in a proper house
like a suburban mom’s dream.
Still, my new neighbours were
a bunch of lanky grasses and greens.
of all the places we could have bumped in,
my fairytale started in my Filipino class.
I was the only one there,
I was the class’ only student, present.
This wasn’t destiny, really.
I just really sucked at that language.
So, I had my nose pointing each word
coming from a romantic paperback
I got from the airport’s bookstore.
I was ignoring time
and when the teacher will arrive.
The writing had me so engrossed,
I couldn’t hear the footsteps
of him entering in.
“You’re an introvert,” he said.
And so the rest begins there.
He was scrawny, chocolate-skinned
and his hair goes in a hurricane direction,
as I had noticed.
He wears clothes
that can piss off a weatherman.
He wears his eccentricity like a crown,
he talks too much, reads too much,
knows too much–
and I somehow like him.
Every time my head were to hid behind
he would come to the class and grab me away
by letting out a subtle whistle
(I wish to hear it every day)
Then, we would talk. Well, he talked,
you could call him a pseudo-intellectual
or straight out pretentious.
He’s like a Wikipedia page,
constantly refining and re-editing.
I thought he’s everything I need
until I found out
that I can’t decide whether or not
I should trust him.
His sources had me confused
Somehow, I still like him.
He wrote me two letters,
four pages in total.
The first one, he mimicked
Beethoven’s love letter.
The second, he blabbers about
Tchaikovsky’s sweet melodies.
In return, I wrote a hundred of poems,
(that I never shared with him),
I called him “the Person,”
cause his name was too sacred for me.
I could be the patron saint
of helpless teenage girls,
because this is what I think
love is supposed to be.
being naive always does
these little things to me.
He had a bag full of flaws,
but he wrote beautifully,
he likes politics and the flaws,
but he wrote beautifully.
He’s never good at keeping promises,
but he wrote beautifully.
Thick-skinned, sugar-coated, outspoken,
He had always been my favourite book.
More of a short story, I’d say.
I know him long enough
to see him everywhere,
I could catch his aroma anywhere
from the school’s premises.
I could catch a glimpse of him
even from meters away.
I know the way he walks,
his gestures and his ungraceful charms
he was my favourite advertisement,
but I usually skipped them.
he was my favourite kind of vandalism
until it got out of hand.
he was my favourite art
until you discover that there are
places that needed to be fixed.
(but you can’t)
There can be a time where his silence
seems like he never existed
in the first place.
That was the worst kind of torture
for the summer of twenty-sixteen,
for a hopeless girl like me.
He came back eventually
and we played pretend that it never happened.
We talked over at text messaging
and I was all giddy.
A few days later, I erupted out a “Fuck you.”
And I had to call out his name.
But what the fuck, I still like him.
I just had to ignore him.
It was then our school’s Christmas play
came to a quick end.
I lacked five months of him,
thought I’ll never come back to it anyway.
I was alone on the steps, this time,
reading a book on my phone.
Then he came,
that same subtle whisper
flow through my ears
and all of his faults became strangers.
Our petty fights turned into fluffs.
All the things I knew,
they became myths.
and these missing bits
continue to pile up my naivety.
That was enough to convince me
that it was love.
(Surely, it never is)
I remember someone told me
that he would always take a bow
and blurt out the word, “Adieu.”
Whenever he finished reciting.
“It was weird but amusing,” they say.
I said that once to him as a tease
but I never fully mean it.
Our love was never divine.
I was seen as a fragile china;
the world could have smashed me up by now.
He had been haughty and masked,
the world could have killed him by now.
To me, he was the comma,
I wish he could go on and on.
To him, I could be the period.
I always come to an abrupt stop
and the quiet would fill us.
I’m familiar with his hopes and dreams,
I bet he knew mine too.
The seam came clean
but the patches were overdue.
Our love goes like this:
I still kept his books.
He handed me James Joyce,
I never returned it for a year or so.
He wanted Joyce back,
so in return, he let me decide
on two books I could borrow.
I grabbed both, left
and we never brought that up ever again.
“You two just never seem to understand
each others’ feelings,” my friend once said.
The truth is,
we knew them all along.
But what’s the point of building
on a fundamental flaw?
It was near the summer of twenty-eighteen,
we had a year of on-and-off colloquies.
No more inquiries, no whistles.
Suddenly, he became that first person
that I bumped into
during my first summer class.
Except, he stayed that way.
Only those subtle glances
at one another
reminded me of our folded past
of mishaps, misunderstandings
and all the mushy things.
I hope you do too.
At that graduation ceremony,
you took your one last bow
together with your batch,
and I mumbled, “Adieu.”
it was a whole journey