I used to think one day I’d tell the story of us – how we used to dance until the melancholic song and the shimmering lights faded. I do remember how we came to that place. It is a huge place where billions of people gather around to find the right partner to dance with. It is a place where the body sways with every beat, and feet move with every count. It is where eyes glisten with the flicker of the lights, and hands entwined with every sparkle of crystal chandeliers. You cannot hear the ticking of the clock because time wouldn’t matter. Everyone got invitations. The desired end is to find the right one who can jive with your every move, with the kind of dance you chose. I’ve been there for so many times, I cannot even count the moment I tripped and fell, but so what? I don’t really care. Until I found you, and from then on, I knew that going to that place was never a wrong decision.
I walked into the huge crowd, ‘til my eyes met yours. And as soon as I knew, I found myself walking towards you.
I never thought it was a coincidence meeting you. It was destined. I remember the day when I first saw you. It was a windy afternoon, a perfect timing to blend with my boring day on my grandfather’s house in Cavite. I was new in the place and just had a vacation after the tedious days I had at school. I thought that the place would be a perfect getaway from everything that reminds me of assignments, projects, exams, lectures and recitations. Well, yes, I freed myself from the tiring work, but the longer I stay in the house the more I find it to be dull. And so to escape boredom, I decided to go outside. I peek first and saw children roaming, running and playing. I wonder how they got that kind of energy after all the gentle sway of the cool wind that suggests people to stay in their house and sleep. And so I thought that maybe there’s something different that the wind brought to little kids. I stepped outside, got a chair, and sat. Nothing changes, until I saw you catching a glimpse of me from your house’s window. I looked at you, and as soon as you found out, you immediately looked away. And it planted a simple smile on my face. Yeah, it’s true. The cool, windy afternoon changed my mood, and my life as a whole.
And now, here we are, facing each other. The very first thing I notice is your eyes. Your staring eyes that soon became mine.
It was a rainy day of May – so ironic as to what I usually expected for the month. We were in a coffee shop. I noticed people talking – a group of girls laughing that one of them hit another maybe because of the immeasurable joy she felt with what they are talking, a guy having a conversation with a girl that eventually made the girl smile, another guy and girl busy typing something on their phones, a girl sipping through her coffee while looking at her watch. Everyone was busy looking for a reason to smile, some were waiting for their own happiness and others have already found happiness through the company they’re with. I looked at you, you seem nervous. You never said a thing. And so I broke the silence. I said “yes”. After hearing that, your eyes widen, and I was shocked when you hit the table, and shouted. “Yes!”
At first we feel uneasy to move. But we break the silence. You start moving, and I respond accordingly. The sweet, quixotic music begins to play. The lights find their way to shine upon us.
I remember experiencing the dilemma that most female teenagers encounter: the dilemma of how to tell people around you that you already have a boyfriend. I already have the feeling that it wouldn’t be easy to say to my family. I have been raised in a protective and conservative nature, but I know lying would not make things right. So I gather my strength, take a deep breath, call my mother who is working abroad that time and asked, “Ma, okay lang ba kung magka boyfriend na ako?” Surprisingly, she never got angry with what she heard. What’s even more surprising is that she allowed me, but reminded me to never focus too much with it, I am too young, I must finish my studies first – yes, the usual motherly advice a girl will hear from her mother. From that moment, my relatives knew about you. You also told your family about us, and they got no problem with that too. And so we became officially together.
They say that hips do a lot of work for a dance. And so we learn to sway along with the seductive rhythm of the music.
I remember the times we talk about our family. I am the only daughter from a broken family. You are the youngest among your five siblings. You always wonder how I manage to continue without the physical presence of my parents. I always answer, “kung magrerebelde ako, wala akong mapapala, hindi pa rin naman sila magbabalikan.” I told you I was the only hope of my mother. She is always looking forward for a brighter future ahead of me, and that someday I will help our family. You also said the same thing. You are the last hope of your oldest sister. I recall your mother saying that you really wanted to finish college and after that find a job. We knew it is heart-breaking for the ones who wish the best for us if we fail them. And with that, we always say to strive hard and just keep going.
We continue moving. It is a slow-quick-quick motion. So slow it sends a tingling signal to my nerve, so quick it makes my body shivers, as quick as it left us panting after every step.
Slow. What I can only recall is the way you wrap your arms around me on a rainy evening. The warmth I always long everytime the cool wind and teardrops of rain from the roof teases me. I’d rather have your arms enveloped on my body than a thick, lame jacket I am wearing. I’d rather have your body close than a blanket covering mine. Quick. A comforting feeling seeing someone smiling when you wake up. A soothing feeling when someone runs his fingers through your hair. A gratifying moment hearing someone saying “Good morning, beautiful.” Quick. How sweet it is to be able to know that there is someone who sees imperfection and yet considers her flawless.
As a leading partner, you have to maintain confidence throughout the dance, but there will always be a time where you will commit a wrong move. And as a following partner, I have to respond appropriately to correct your mistakes and get you back on track.
I hate you for making me hate you. I hate you for being late for the very first time. I hate you for being snob when you get things the wrong way. I hate you for being too jealous. I hate you everytime you say “bahala ka.” I hate you for not listening when I try to explain. I hate you for being mad on non sense things. I hate it when you do not know how to swallow your pride. I hate it when we fight over the phone. I hate it when you ignore me. I hate you for making me cry over the night. I hate it when you say sorry. I hate you for making me calm. I hate you for every hurt you caused me. But what I hate the most is staying with you. I hate it when I think your love is the only place I can only return to.
I made a wrong move. I thought it is natural to commit mistakes. I thought you will correct my fault. But you don’t. You let me tumble down. How could you? I fell, the music stop; the lights stop moving and provide a spot on me.
The only moment I recall is admitting my mistakes. I should’ve asked permission that night to go to a friend’s party and have fun. I shouldn’t have talked with my guy friend about how I am proud of having you as my boyfriend. You never believed me because the picture gave you a wrong message. You won’t listen. You never listened anyway. I tried to say sorry even if I have nothing to be sorry for. It’s my first time admitting something I did not really do just for the sake of calming you down. But it did not work; it will never work for you. How could you? How could you be so heartless?
I think falling down is enough to feel the hurt, but then I realize that what hurts most is seeing someone leaving. And I do everything to stop you from leaving. But you won’t; you won’t stay. The melancholic music starts playing. The lights start moving very slow as if looking for the guy I danced with.
It was a cold evening. I stay at the terrace of my room. I attempt to make things right for us again. I called you. I do not know if I am crazy and stupid for doing that move. The only thing I knew is I wanted you back. It hurts when I knew you care less of me. It hurts when your voice makes me feel like you don’t have the intention to fix things. I tried to cover the pain. But eyes won’t lie. It let out a teardrop. One at a time, and so they go flowing. I tried to cover the sound of sadness by my hands, but the strong wind blew and stopped them. I loss control and every tear is breath taking. But you never feel the same. I asked you if you love me but you said “Hindi ko alam. Hindi ko na alam.” Yes, you never feel the same.
Slowly, I attempt to stand up. But my legs are weak. And the moment I fall on the floor once more, someone offered his hand for help. It is the same hands that used to fill the spaces between mine. It is you, you come back for me.
We talked in a room. You let me explain. I don’t know if you’re listening, but I don’t care, I want to make myself clear. Again, I experienced another first. It is the first time I expressed myself truly for someone. I was not too expressive to people, there are many times when silence shows my sadness, and tears reveal how I am hurt. But you changed me. We were alone in the same room where we used to share memories. I ended up my explanation. The only thing I remember with what you said is, “…siguro pinakilala ako sa’yo ng tadhana para bigyan ka ng lesson. Pero kung tayo, tayo talaga.” And again, my sadness is replaced by silence. But I never thought silence could kill until I heard those words from you. And the hurt is substituted by tears. But I never thought tears could also kill until I saw you walked away.
You help me get up. I thought you are ready to continue and make a move. I am about to follow, but your movement is so strange. As soon as I found out, you let go of my hand, and take a step back. You leave again. Why? Why is that so?
From that moment, I realized, maybe you are right. I met you by destiny. Yes, maybe destiny used you to give me a lesson. It is painful to let go of the person you love the most. But it hurts more if that person is also the one who is giving you the reason to give up.
It is a joyous feeling to love someone.
It is fun to dance with someone.
But if the pain weighs more than love, would you still say that loving makes you happy?
But if you tripped and fell many times than gracefully swaying with the music, would you still say that dancing is fun?
I recall myself seeing you after the break up. I came back to the same place where we first met. I came to attend our friend’s birthday party. They still tease us and ask the reason why our relationship did not work. It’s just funny because laughing is the only thing we can answer to their question. I never know the exact reason why, if you know can you tell me now? The night deepens when you start talking with me. You ask few questions. The more you keep on talking with me the more they try to tease us. You sat beside me. I don’t know how to react. I never reacted. Maybe because I like talking with you too. I again saw the same eyes of yours. The same eyes that used to be mine. The same eyes that used to capture me.
I get up and held myself high; I stand up and take a deep breath. I planted a simple smile on my face. I walk across the place. And see you. You walk towards me, smiling. And the first thing I notice is the same eyes of yours.
Before something happens, I let go of the illusion. I smiled at you. I remember what you said the last time you left me, “kung tayo, tayo talaga.”
I smiled at you. You start offering your hand to me again, asking for another dance. But I realize something. My shoes are already worn out. And my feet are aching. I cannot bear to take another dance again.
So before I feel the same thing again, I bid good bye to you, and to our friends. I stand up, and look at you. The only thing I knew is I am doing the right thing. I start walking away.
So before I feel the urge to dance again, I bid good bye to you, and walk out. From then on, I never go back to that place. I thought the melancholic song and the shimmering lights faded, but they don’t. I can still hear the music, that same melancholic music; I can still see the lights, the same shimmering lights from afar, as if inviting me to dance again. But I want to stop first, so the next time we see each other, I’ll be ready.
Ready to see the same eyes that captured me, hold the same hands that filled mine, feel the arms that used to comfort me, hear the same voice that greets me in the morning, and see the same person who saw me as an imperfection yet consider me flawless.