I asked you when you asked me what I wanted. Your eyes changed for the briefest moment: something that felt like surprise mixed with unexplainable humor.
“I don’t think so. Let’s ask.”
You asked the bartender if they had wine and the bartender somewhat scoffed a laugh before regaining composure and saying no, they did not serve wine here. I turned to you and you held my quiet gaze for a few seconds until our lips both uncontrollably started to curve upwards at the edges.
There was a billards table under a dim, yellow light. No-frills black stools at the bar and a couple of diner-like booths at the side. The bartender had unkempt facial hair and wore a chef’s hat just for fun. Of course they didn’t have wine.
“You just had to do that.” I was just played. Ever so subtly too. Things were starting to get a little more interesting.
You shrugged and tried but failed to suppress a smile, “Just trying to prove a point.”
August 2, 2012. My two best friends + Ivan seeing me off.
So I’ve been pretty much numb the whole time prior to D-Day, but everything really came sinking in at the airport. Especially after I hugged my best friend of 13 years, Ron, and I saw the tears in her eyes and I realized this would be the last time I would be seeing her in a long time…
Paulo Coelho wrote many times that time does not really exist. There is only the present moment, “for that is where all signs, parallel worlds, and miracles are to be found.” At one point I’ll need to stop looking back, and I know that’s when everything will start falling into place.
I’m leaving everything behind for you. Please be magic and madness and everything that I’ve ever dreamed of.
See you soon.
my face scrunches up instinctively, hoping to secure the rims of my eyes, trying to confine emotion where it belongs. And every single time, my body fails to defend me. The tears still fall over the contorted mess and I am exposed. But there is a second line of defense: As I feel the tears passing the rims, I either, 1. bury my face in my hands or 2. bow my head down towards my lap. Useless forms of self-preservation, I know, but still.
When you cry three times in four days, you start to notice these things. The civil war that goes on between your body and your heart.
Ideally, if they wish to meet, both must walk along that road until they reach the middle; this becomes the so-called common ground on which they both stand.
So for a long while it was like that. We’d go to the middle of the road, share the same ground, then part ways knowing this would occur again soon. And it did.
The same spot on the road. It became our meeting place. No plans, no nothing. Just habit.
But one day, I walked to the middle of the road and you weren’t there. I saw you on your end of the road. And so I walked along the whole road, just to get to where you were, thinking you must’ve forgotten to meet me halfway. So we were able to share common ground again. Then it was time for me to go and I walked back to my opposite end of the road.
The next day, I walked to our spot on the middle of the road—and you weren’t there. I saw you on your end of the road. And so I walked along the whole road, just to get to where you were, thinking maybe this time you were too busy to meet me halfway. So we were able to share common ground again. Then it was time for me to go and I walked back to my opposite end of the road.
And so this became the pattern of our daily existence. I walked the whole mile just to be able to share common ground with you. At times I would wait in the middle of the road, hoping perhaps you’d remember to come this time. You never would. And so I’d go. To you. Because you were my habit whether I liked it or not, whether I planned it or not. You just were.
But I’m just human. You see, I get tired. And it became tiring walking the whole way to your side. Our road was a two-way street, and it was so unfair that all the effort to share common ground came from me. And you gave so many reasons, justifying why you wouldn’t just meet me halfway. But the thing is, if you really valued our friendship or me at all then you’d take the time to get to where I was. If I mattered then you’d make the effort to reach me no matter what. If you cared at all then you wouldn’t just leave me waiting. But you did and you did without warning.
So one day I just stopped. I stopped going to your side of the road. I even stopped waiting at our usual midway spot on the road. I just stopped. I decided to leave that road all together. I walked away.
But you didn’t walk after me.
I really thought you would. That maybe you’d notice I was gone. That maybe you’d realize something was missing. But you didn’t. I walked away and you didn’t stop me. You used to say that you knew me so well, and maybe you did. But now you know NOTHING about me and that’s not my fault. I don’t even know who you are anymore.
And now you’re asking me to meet you in the middle of the road again. You probably finally REMEMBERED I actually existed, like some pathetic afterthought. You’re trying to schedule a meeting that, in the past, would’ve been plain habitual and spontaneous. You’re asking me to share common ground with you again just like we used to.
You don’t seem to realize that I left our road a long time ago.
—-Stumbled upon this entry while browsing through my old blog. This is me circa October 2007. Amusing to know that I’m basically still the same person. Maturity has surely spiked up (as it should), but overall I’m still me.
A photograph is a shared secret. It makes it possible for two complete strangers to share a moment in time that only they will know.
Edit: The two strangers being the photographer and the subject/model for that matter. Only you and I will know that at 6:40PM on July 3, 2012, you held your cup of coffee like so and sat so unmoving on this stool and pressed your palm on the pages like you were feeling for a heartbeat. And I don’t even know you, but thank you for sharing that with me.