Thursday, April 16, 2015

...more to lose...

…we used to cry about the day when one of us might fall,
weak and blindly, into another's arms.
demands are gained from jealousies, would flow like water drowning us
but leaving us with just another lover's false alarm…

Stacey struggled hard, squinting her eyes, trying to decipher what word it was that she is finding difficult to read. It was her own handwriting, from decades ago when she was still young and naïve. The diary entry was dated August 24, and was a record of the events of that particular day, so descriptive that Stacey can actually feel how she had giggled while writing that down.  It was the day she and Rico became a couple.

Stacey paused for a breath, and flashbacks of how Rico looked seemed to blurly come into her memory. She was barely out of college then, and he was a prince to her young eyes. She remembered how her heart skipped a beat when Rico first said hi to her, and introduced himself. Details of that introduction now escape her, but she was certain it was the moment when her knees almost failed her. She skimmed a few pages back, and she was retold of the moments prior to this particular day.

Rico came to live with his relatives in her street, a newcomer to her village, and yet, he easily became friends with most of Stacey’s friends. One hello led to another, and after several more hello’s, Stacey found herself going out with Rico on dates that she actually was avoiding. Rico had his ways of swooning her, and the words she used to describe them in her diary were something Stacey was finding incredible now. They exchanged letters, some of which Stacey remembered keeping in a shoe box under her bed. She’ll hunt for them tomorrow, she thought to herself, and try to read some if she can.

Then came August 24, a Saturday. A friend was celebrating her birthday with a dance party, typical of the times then. Stacey of course was there. And so was Rico. He had asked her for a dance. Stacey was quite disappointed with herself for not mentioning in the diary what music it was they danced to, but in hindsight, she was glad she now has no chance of reminiscing.

Stacey felt intrigued with what was written in that diary, but the pangs of reality was there to bite her. She reads:

               Rico asked me, “ Stace, ngayon ko gustong itanong syo, mahal mo na ba ako?”
               I answered with a pause, “ewan ko.”
               R: “e di ibig sabihin pala hindi totoo yung mga sinusulat mo?”
               S: “totoo yun! Isusulat ko ba yun kung hindi totoo?”
             Long, long talk (fast forward) I asked her about Janet, and he said “wala ako diyan!”
               And finally he asked me, “Stace, meron na ba tayo?”
               S: “ikaw, gusto mo ba?”
               R: “ikaw, nag-aalinlangan ka ba kay Janet?”
               S: “hindi. Natatakot lang ako pag nalaman ng parents ko.”
               R: “e ‘di itago natin. O ano, walang makakaalam nyan. Payag ka ba?”
               After a long, long, long pause, I finally said “yes!”

Streams of memories started gushing down her closed eyes, as if on cue some movie was played for her to remember everything that came after that fateful day. She didn’t need any more of the entries after that day in her diary to help her remember. The pangs of reality was there to do that for her. Stacey was nonetheless surprised to note that that was the second to the last entry.

…and now it's over, both of us free… but I feel colder…

She was naïve; that was all she could muster to comfort herself. She did nothing wrong, She was young and naïve. Stacey closed the diary, while she allowed those memories to come to her. She was feeling heavy in her chest. Maybe it was anger, maybe it was regret, or maybe it was a strong feeling of hatred for Rico, she may never know.

She loved Rico blindly. There, she was now ready to admit it. And more.

…a thousand tortured lives have fallen, wounded dying cut down by the
questions that we've sharpened just to save our losing days
we thought we'd nothing more to lose we'd tear our hearts with jagged truths
and everything we'd hung to for so long just slipped away…

Theirs was a whirlwind romance. Stacey could count with her fingers and toes everything she did for him. Rico did not need much to make her do what he wanted because Stacey would give in willingly. She remembers now that he had a way of swooning her, as if she was hypnotized. Yes, that’s it, she reasoned with herself. I was duped! Stacey was feeling more of the hate that she tried to suppress for so long. She had no one to talk to about Rico, not when her friends were nowhere when all this was happening, and certainly not her family. They would have had a more terrible reaction than they did if they ever learned.

She gave Rico everything. That was how deep she fell in love with him. He was her first. They had planned their lives so perfectly together. She was ready to marry him and start their happy family as soon as they had settled down.  And as naïve as she was, she thought that all that love she gave was equally reciprocated.

…and now it's over, both of us free… but I feel colder…

Then came the big bomb. One day, sometime when all of their plans seemed to be falling in place, their lives were suddenly torn apart. Stacey saw in her mind how she picked up the ringing phone, and heard, in her mind, Margaret’s voice. She was Rico’s wife.

…i was tired of thinking that our love can shine your thoughts
of our arrangements, were really not like mine
i thought it over, and it was plain to see the love you said you once needed
could just not come from me…

Every recollection of the events after that memory became a blur to Stacey. These were all that she tried so hard to forget. But that giddy feeling reading that very old diary entry started all this downhill feeling she is experiencing right now. She hates him; that is for sure. But not anymore. Stacey calmed herself, by looking at the calendar, which showed the year. It had been over fifteen years since. She is no longer the young girl she was when she fell so desperately in love with Rico. Although this was something she could not bear to tell anyone, she finally decided she would bear it no more. She is finally free of him, and his memory.

Stacey flipped the next pages of the diary. There was one last entry. It was just his name written against the now yellowing paper. She closed the book, took the shoe box from under her bed, stood up and walked outside. She took a lighter, and set all those documents on fire. She whispered softly, I’m free now.

Stacey heard her husband James call out from inside the house, “Hon, what are you doing outside? Come on in, it’s cold out there!” She paused, gave a relieved smile to the darkness in front of her, and replied, “I was just finishing this cigarette. I’ll be right in.”

…and now it's over, both of us free… but I feel colder…

And now we're moving to new beginnings
But as we move we looked once behind
To see what we might find out
Lost loves and old thoughts of our nights of winnings
That lunge, tear and grasp
At lost wanting minds