There’s one thing that everyone needs to know in life.. that one time, at some serious point — you need to confront at least one unfinished business among many.
Last week in between a series of agony and unbearable pain, I found myself sitting in some coffee shop, waiting for an ex. This ex lives outside of the country now and has been away for a long period of time. Why we both ended up in that place and how I came to know of his presence for the past few weeks is a different story. I’m not going to bore you with that part, I promise.
I was browsing through the pages of my tattered book, Anne Frank’s Diary of A Young Girl (which for some weird reason, I decided to brought that day) when the X arrived. To tell you honestly, I was surprised that he was able to recognize me. Vagillion years had passed since our last meeting and I tell you, its not a pleasant one. Our ending was never happy , he went back to Australia and got married while I cope up with the gravity of sadness, pulling myself together towards SOBRIETY.
“Hello,” that’s the first thing he said. I smiled. He ordered the same thing on the menu and I realized that after all these years, it never occur to the owner to change the same crap of servings they offer to their regulars.
After the same lousy desserts were served, I found myself staring at him right in front of the table. Ah, how time flies. And then it finally fell in.. I am happy to see him again.
X: How are things with you. (it sounded more of a statement than a question, then I wondered if I’m boring him)
M: Fine. ‘Em I boring you?
X: (chuckles) How can you bore me? I like talking to you. You of all people… you are the only one capable of stimulating my mind.
M: Oh, I’m sorry but I’m not going to sleep with you. I appreciate the compliment tho. I didn’t see it coming. (laughs)
His laughter fainted. I was lighting my second stick of cigarette.
X: You know I’m so thankful we didn’t end up together or I’ll be left alone in misery because you died of fucken lung cancer.
M: Yeah me too. I’m so glad I didn’t marry my mother.
He enjoys this usual cup of sarcasm. This is what we usually do early mornings when we were still together. He’s a lot older than me, maybe 4 or 6 years, I didn’t really give a thought in that. It makes me sad.
Silence. I caught him staring at my cigarette stick and the long fingers holding it, then eyes back to me.
M: What? Say it.. go on. Don’t hold it back.
X: (chuckles, you know I really hope that he’ll stop doing that because I can’t help myself staring back at his killer brown eyes and perfect nose that compliments his god damned lips) You know during the last few weeks, I watched this movie with my wife and I can’t get you off my mind. You reminded me so much of that character.
M: Did you tell your wife? ( I was supposed to tell him how rude it is to be with someone and think of someone else.)
X: No. I like to keep my thoughts private. Makes me feel human. Does Alex knows you’re meeting me?
M: Are we having sex? (I snapped back)
X: No. It was pretty clear the first time.
M: Good. Then maybe I’ll tell him or maybe not. If he ask, I won’t lie. If at some point, our conversation lead me here then I’ll tell him. No biggie.
X: Ok. Why so feisty. (again it sounded more like a statement, not a question) I’m just asking. Well anyway, the movie reminded me so much of us.
M: Ok. Schindler’s list?
X: Stop it. Vicky Cristina Barcelona. You seen that? (finally a question)
M: Heard it. Its an OSCAR entry, why will I not know that.
X: Ah yes, artsy girl. Pardon my dumbness. Did you get to watch it? I mean knowing you… you like stuff like this.
M: So you’re watching academy award film entries because you know I’ll watch it?
X: Its not always about you, you know. My wife happens to like some of the things you do.
M: Did you tell her?
X: Are you going to sleep with me? (he snapped back sarcastically imitating my voice.)
M: Aha… so I’m the benchmark now, huh? Common admit it. You adore me. Your wife is a spitting image of me.( I heard it from a friend when we came across some Friendster photos of the X and the wife.)
Silence. He watched me lit another cigarette.
X: Do you think seeing me is a mistake?
M: No. (Its an honest answer) Do you?
M: Good. Now its settled. So humor me with this movie. Whose miserable character is it?
M: Wow. She’s hot. Really?
X: Dream on.
M: (chuckles) So I guess, the twisted hot womanizer reminds you of yourself then.
X: Yes. (laughs) You said you didn’t watch the movie. How did you know? (another question)
M: (as a matter of factly tone) Well you know, I have a DSL connection and I’m capable of browsing the net plus I can read — thus the knowledge. So why Penelope? (me, curious)
X: Because well first of all, she can paint. Do you still paint?
M: When I’m mad. ( answered automatically)
X: Exactly. And she has so many fucked up theories in life and love and all that shit. Its so you. She’s fucken neurotic. God, its so you. (he was laughing softly, shrugging his head)
M: And she’s hot. So I guess I am right? ( I smiled,wanting him to say YES)
X: I never really find her hot. I never really liked her… until I watched the movie.
M: So what did your wife thinks of it. ( I was trying to dodge a notion in my head that might just give me away if I encourage the last lines he said)
X: Well she thinks its fucked up. I think it made a lot of sense tho. It reminded me so much of the things that we used to say, things we used to argue.. its so funny. Things that upset both you and I. It reminded me so much of you, seriously. The way you define things.. you’re so good in that.
M: Stop patronizing me. I didn’t really think that we learned anything from our relationship because first of all– it was never a relationship. We were never exclusive. You’d like to call it ATTACHMENT. I reek of messy emotional attachment, don’t I? You said it once when we were having coffee– here, same spot. You know here’s the thing that I never understand.. all the times that we’ve spent, you always complain of wanting to be loved but when I started loving you — you got scared and run away. See, I’m not the one that’s truly fucked up. You are.
X: (chuckles) You loved me? Are you serious?
M: Why not? Inspite of your perfect face and your unbelievable mood swings, I still put up with you — didn’t I? And we both know your foot smells… so there.
X: I did love you, just so you know– for what its worth. But it didn’t get to me until I started seeing other girls. You’re just so different. (smiles — see this is what I like about this guy, he’s so damned straight forward, no bullshit and all)
M: Gee, thanks.
X: You still remember when you first define love to me.. right here at this spot? The first time I get to kiss you.
M: No, not really. I remembered the kiss but I don’t really remember what I said.. must be some of those hippie stuff that I feed you once in a while.
X: (laughs) No.. I remembered it. And I remember it well. You said that LOVE is like going to a museum. You see things that awe you, that take your breath away, things that you wanted but someone else bought it and was taken away right in the middle of your eyes, but there’s just one piece among the others that speaks to your soul, hasten every beat of your heart and the mind humbly presented itself because by looking at it– you experience joy and sadness- and then you realize then and there- it’s not just a piece of art – it’s magic.. the way it completes you.
M: Ulooooooooool… hindi ako yun. That’s so stupid.
X: It was you, tanga. God, I lived with it only to find out that you didn’t remember.
M: I might be fucken high then.
X: (paused) Ah, shit, yeah. You puked inside my car.
M: (laughing out loud) Yeaaaaaaah… sorry. Now I remember that, I think.
X: Common, how many girls threw up inside my car? Nada. Zilch. Just you.
M: Well thank you for the trip down memory lane. Now let’s move on. (shrugging my head because what he said is just plain ridiculous.)
X: How did you know that Alex is the one? You claimed a lot of times that you are not happy anymore. So why stay?
M: You know happiness can be drenched in a long relationship, that’ s a natural cycle in every long relationship– everyone that’s been there knows what I’m talking about. I never believe in right or wrong, I refused to believe in Mr. Right — I’d like to keep things simple. There are just things that you do and you don’t do, right and wrong is pretty much objective and relative — same thing with love, I guess. But you know that you are with the right person because as each day ends, no matter how different you are with your partner — there’s this feeling that inspite of things left unsettled — your heart is at peace… no matter what. People don’t change, what changes is the way they look at things — when I said that I was unhappy, I was probably in search of a thousand questions to which I can’t seem to find the answers but I realized that it was just so unfair to depend my happiness to a person whose happiness is totally independent of me. Its just not a way to live. There are just things that I can’t outsmart because there are things in this world that are bigger than Alex and me.
X: (took a deep breath) I’m going back to Sydney tomorrow morning. I’m so happy to see you again.
M: Likewise. Why did you decide to see me anyways?
X: Because when I’m with you… my heart is at peace.
I didn’t say anything afterwards, I lit another cig and smiled at him across the table.
M: Not in this lifetime, maybe? ( I smiled again.)
X: (he looked back at me, took my cigarette in his hand and kissed me in my forehead.) You take care, love. In another lifetime, yes.
I watched him left the cafe, took a very deep breath and felt a sudden wind of closure that enveloped me as I sit there in the middle of a hot summer afternoon.