Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 1



Emerald

Prince Thomas Siñel


'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
- Alfred Lord Tennyson
(In Memoriam, 1850)

 

As I open the glass door out of the building, I sigh.

Holding my handbag with both hands in front of my knees, I smile.

I’m thankful to Papa God that I will be having a me-time amid exhaustion that my job sent me. Sunlight’s already eaten by night’s darkness in the skies above. It’s now 7 PM. It’s a usual, personal journey: to go to the place—the place that keeps a lot of memories with my high school and college friends, especially with a guy. This time, I’m ready to go back there and free those moments. I take the long wide stairs before the spacious pavement and open my internet for Grab Taxi. I’m out of the building finally.

I work here in Rizal and this is also my hometown, and the place I am talking about is in Manila. While waiting for the Grab Taxi, the scenery catches me. I’m grateful for the opportunity of having to see people walking and talking, having that great time with their friends, co-workers, and those lovers who, I guess, found their place for their lovely time at the wide pavement. I smile because this reminds me that I have to enjoy the time and the feeling. I have to be joyful for a new chapter that’s gonna be turned in an hour in this book of life. When I opened the taxi, it was only then that my need for cold air suddenly made its way to my consciousness. Pretty cold taxi, it makes my subconscious smile.

“Ms. Lacey?”, the driver suddenly asked with his welcoming eyes.

“Yes.”, I confirmed.

After an hour of travel, a series of bright lights—not just from street lights but also from different establishments and even houses—are piercing through the window glass of the taxi. It electrified the consciousness that I’m already in Manila. I sigh, my computation of the travel was still right! We move to pass through the streets and its people—still alive and energetic, of course.

Indeed, this is one of the beauties of Manila; the lively ambiance. The Manila boys and girls on the streets, at bars, karaoke bars, and in a street party or rave party. Even the working prostitutes in dark, happy places of Manila. Those men and women who usually stand in the corner of a particular place or the rendezvous—‘para makipag-‘eyeball’’ (to meet each other), go for dates or motels. Indeed, Manila is the Philippine version of USA’s New York, ‘the city that never sleeps’ with all those nocturnal, grandiose events.

These people, the way they make fun of the time also contribute to this extraordinary feeling. Of course, I should know, Manila was considered the place for fun in my high school and college days in Rizal. The ambiance and the sceneries’ feeling that they give from beyond the window glass made me realize that I am going to love the night.

I’m lazy to check if I’m on my destination, not having to see any familiar establishments nor any landmark. I just suddenly feel something soft and comfortable when finally seeing the signage, Peace by Piece.

Its welcoming lights, its comforting smell that reaches the outside, its lovely people inside—make a whole new world for me. I really love this coffee shop’s hot chocolate macchiato, topped with chocolate powder and foamed milk. I climb the mini stairs and the cold air and the carpet welcome me inside.

“Ma’am Lacey!” this is Kuya Arnold, the security guard who already knew me.

“O, Kuya!” I smile at him.

I sigh. I just can’t hide the feeling of having to be here though almost every week I visit this. There are bookshelves that stand in every corner, on every side, and against the walls of the coffee shop. They are noticeable that this beautiful place looks like a library that sells coffees and drinks. They’re full of books! At my back, I unintentionally hear talking. These few people’s presence pushes me inside as the cold air of the shop coats my body. The people walk straight to a triple of sofas at the left corner, not far from the entrance. They’re cute having each of their hair colors. While walking slowly, seeing the people inside, it’s very usual in Peace by Piece seeing people with eyeglasses, books, and their laptops or the traditional, the pen and paper—coming from their passion for reading literary books and creative writing. Even back in the days, these were the usual sceneries.

My friends and I discovered Peace by Piece when we were in fourth-year high school (a year before the K-12 curriculum) in Rizal. It was one of the rising coffee shops in Manila. The counter for ordering coffee and drinks stands at the right corner. That time, there was only a single bookshelf which was displayed on the left corner in front of the counter. It was just starting to be filled with books. The coffee shop was new and it was open for book donations and trades as it’s still now. When there’s no schoolwork to do during break or after school, we’d go there even if it’s far from Rizal. It’s a true haven for creative people having to read and produce creative words. The coffee shop was known for this fact, for being a shop for creative productivity. Like the fictional stories I create, these pieces created by writers (professional or not) and literary books set them to a world of peacefulness, aside from this, a world of beautiful creations, expressions, and liberalness.

It’s a great, big coffee shop. I walk passing through a series of big, tall, and long sets of sofa with people typing, talking softly and giggling with each other, writing with paper and pen, writing a piece on their laptop, and reading their books. They would sometimes raise their cup to drink their strong espressos. I just want to sleep, really. I continue walking, heading to the farthest part of the shop.

In this big and wide Peace by Piece, my friends and I have found our place. I reach it. It’s here; a long sofa and a small, round table in front. I stare at them for a moment and gleefully smile. Ever since we made our ways to college and often go here alone, the coffee shop became more personal to me, beyond friendly memories and memories… with him. The memories are about to unfold, here. Here, in a high seat green sofa beside the circle’s sofa and also with a small, round table in front. This time, I give my soul and bag to the sofa. It’s here that I felt life again. I rest my nape, staring at the light that focuses near on me and which I deemed to be a soft, source-of-sleepiness light. This gave me a chance to reminisce about the people I love—and I know—who love me, too.

 

It was in fourth-year high school (section 3) when I met these beautiful people and the great relationship had stretched until now that we’re in college. The circle consists of four girls, Carla (we call her Cars), Kelsey (Sey), Allyson (Al), and Lacey (they call me Leys), and two boys, Marcus (Marc) and Javiero (Sol). I feel an extraordinary feeling being with these people. Until now, it still feels home whenever we ‘connect’ with each other even just through phone calls and far from each other. It just feels like we’re sisters and brothers. Almost all treasurable moments we’ve had happened in Peace by Piece. I also admit that I’m sort of an introvert (not really but maybe an ambivert of a little) so I was really lucky and happy as I still am now that I found a haven in this circle.

First, I met Cars and Al. In the first weeks of the school year, it was Cars and Al who’d go farther than Rizal. Their kindness, intelligence, and physical beauty brought the best of them during high school days and those things that match them made their connection great. Their kindness also delivered me beside them despite me being an introvert. I asked if I could join them during the vacant period and be with them through academic groupings (such as having a group or even when teaming up with other classmates). After such moments, we’d go to Cars’s house or Al’s. The visits proved to me that these great girls and their families got financial graces from Papa God. All those times since being with them were happy times that now became great times.

Sey entered. Sey as the most talkative but was ‘born’ intelligent (she said that it came from her mother) became the comedienne of the class as she’s still now. She usually spends her time alone during the vacant period. A ‘strong and independent girl’ we used to call her (and still now) other than the comedienne title. This is because, in third-year, she survived her toughest journey in teenage years; losing her parents who both died in a car accident. She was transferred under her aunt’s guidance and chose to work to financially support herself for her studies and eventually for her college degree. After having a chance to be with the three of us because of a random grouping, we asked her if she could join us. So, she won’t be alone during the vacant period and also for us to be with her since Cars and Al were a bit concerned about her being alone in school. This is despite her being a ‘strong and independent’ girl. She gratefully agreed and admitted that if she would choose to have a circle, that would be us. I smile at this nostalgic moment with these girls—and only then having to recognize again the busy customers and the staffs around the shop.

Marc and Sol followed. They got the throne of being the best guys of our class despite personality differences. Marc having that ‘bad boy look’ and owning it not just with physical features but strong and masculine features of his personality as well. I hated him—before him turning out to be my great friend, well, he happened to be that great friend! I smiled. Well, as his great friend (to be honest and friendly), his academic capability (as I refer to a student’s capability in school) is not that good. He joined our feminine squad without uncertainties and he was also friendly with others. Sol with a first name of Javiero Sol appeared on my mind just as he would walk past my seat and would sit right at my back in all most all our subjects in high school.

I stopped for a while.

 

The memories made me realize that I’m finally ready. ‘Cause I went back here.

 

I’m ready to reminisce the good old times with them and him here and beyond. Before all those memories with him inside and beyond Peace by Piece come in flashback, I want my macchiato now.

I stood and trustfully left my bag on the sofa. These are good people, I know anyway. People, from what I’ve observed earlier, have not been lessened. I bought the macchiato naming it my name and smiled again. After feeling a series of coldness from the Grab and here in Peace by Piece, the embracing warmth of the cup brought my soul back to the middle ground. I went back to my sofa having to enjoy the macchiato. I started drinking it and Sol appeared again in a flash.

 

Sol is a half-Filipino and half-Pakistani who was born and raised in Pakistan. He is proficient both in Tagalog and English as he was raised with the two languages. He told us on the first day of school, the ‘introduce yourself’ portion, that his mom is a Filipina (an overseas worker in Pakistan) while his dad is a Pakistani. His dad ghosted them when he was 5 years old and after promising that he would come back with more money for fatherly support to Sol. While he was introducing himself, I looked at him in overall, hairy enough to call him a half-Pakistani. Slim for a 17-year-old guy. The overall looks would be described as a pure Pakistani figure. Amazing. I noticed his pointed nose, green eyes, fairly tall height, and not-so-brown skin. His Pakistani blood prevailed showing in front of the whole class. I just noticed, going beyond the information coming from his mouth, he looks intelligent. From the way he spoke and even the way his gestures went, I saw an academic-oriented guy. My attention went back to what he told us.

Sol was slightly weird and a quiet person during the first weeks. This is not the case on his academic disposition as he would always be noticed reciting in class with a great sense. I remember when he introduced himself to the class, he graduated as one of the top achievers in his whole elementary school. During my happy days with Cars and Al, we would always see him at the canteen and library after class. He was eating alone and doing our schoolworks immediately, this, after learning from Ally who once asked him what he was doing or did our teacher require additional load. He answered that he only must finish all schoolworks so he won’t have to mind them at a later time or something like at home, as far as I remember. That was the first time I knew a piece of the class’s Javiero Sol Bustamante Brahmani. During the first weeks, I didn’t recognize him talking to our classmates. When my eyes would accidentally meet his physical presence, I would always notice that silent, peaceful aura of him. While during these times, I see myself sitting on my chair and thinking a lot of things, academic-related or not—or just about anything or anyone in the classroom. If these thinkings bore me, I would open a book I brought, read a novel or literature or creative writing textbook. These only happen when I, Cars, and Al don’t have time to talk about anything or we just don’t talk at the time. When I’d observe things and my classmates, my eyes would roll on them in the classroom. At my back, my eyes would sometimes catch Sol looking at me. He would quickly dodge my eyes by looking at anything or anyone or—I don’t know! With this, I found him weirder and a bit shocking and scary, to be honest. It’s not that I was judging his mind or his looks, huh—he’s good at both.

Oh!

My heart skips a beat.

 

I was just not comfortable being seen especially by a guy I barely knew. Up until now, the disturbing feeling bothers me. No guy ever looked at me the way Sol did. If there was, the exact mixed emotions of fear and shock (and a realized kilig later on) are not the same. It was then that I realized my hot macchiato. I’ve been holding the cup for minutes, I drink and place it on the table.

All I know was that he’s good at drawing something on his sketch pad, I don’t know if he does the thing up until now. Most often, I would see him at my back drawing wonderful human figures. There, I see Sol as a great artist.

I can recall the moment our teacher got the class team up into six people. We girls immediately looked at each other and got a chance to call Marc who was smiling at us. It was, I think, the third or fourth week of September. I turned my head to Sol who was again looking at me, but it was different from the ones I would sometimes catch. For a split second, I feared him. His occasional glances brought me a very bit trauma. My introverted self was embarrassed and scared. Since then, we would automatically invite Marc, and—afterward—Sol, to be with us when groupings like that happen since our classmates would be ‘automatically’ completed in number. It was three months of knowing Sol academically. He would always ace our quizzes and other graded individual activities such as our assignments, reports, and projects. This does not seem to attract us when groupings happen since the whole class was competitive and intelligent enough. I don’t know about them, but Sol is different for me. He amazed me and when grouped with him, I feel like he doesn’t academically deserve us (or me at the very least). We girls would talk about this and would feel small.

Sol’s glances at me stopped. I was subconsciously thankful and didn’t mind it again.

Later on, in November, Sol’s socio-personal character changed a bit as far as our circle’s concerned. He’s kinder than I thought and gentler than what my first impression told me. His quietness wavered a little. He would open up something about him or about academics and things we don’t know—with humor, intelligence, and greatness. These things (academic-related or not) and with a series of having Sol as a great student and friend, made me like him. And I felt guilty that I like my friend. It’s a crawling uncomfy feeling whenever the circle bonds or works on an academic work. Sometimes, I would dodge his emerald eyes whenever eye contact is inevitable and necessary.

 

It was January the next year when Peace by Piece was established in Manila. I saw their advertisement on their Facebook page and invited the circle to visit the place though far from Rizal. I’ve been a bookish and a writer ever since high school and I’ve liked so many FB pages (as priority pages are seen in my news feed), followed Twitter and Instagram account all about Literature and Creative Writing field. I’m the only person in the circle who loves to read and write, by the way. I vividly remember when I brought up Peace by Piece with them: “Yes, Peace by Piece! Are we going? On Friday?” was the exact statement of Sol. Again, with those eyes looking at me—like two gemstones seeking a treasure chest. It was an outburst of excitement that he held my arms since he was sitting beside me. For seconds, unconsciously, I was stoic—that manly hand with scattered little hairs was just as gorgeous as he always been. I recovered afterward and said “Yes! We don’t have things to do on Friday, right?” darting from his eyes to my other friends’.

I was falling in love with Sol. That was the bottom line and I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t stop it from making it ‘legit love’. It was all about him; his physical beauty and all that keep him so relevant in this world. That was it. My social interaction and group work with him were pushing this heart to beat faster. And it was, indeed, getting faster.

February is Sol’s birth month. We celebrated that day at Peace by Piece. In just a month, we went there three times and the fourth was because of his special day at his 18th. Still, the meetings continue up until now. I also didn’t open up about this growing emotion with everybody else. I was feeling guilty and for that, it didn’t matter talking about this.

Time is great and inevitable. I never bothered to spill the beans to Sol or even to them. I looked as if I was a great friend of his and perceiving things not beyond the relationship. I looked as if everything about him was not getting special, not getting golden. I looked as if the inner, crawling tension was nothing to me. And when I’d be looking straight into his eyes, I want my eyes to imply—to speak for me—that he was making this heart full of mixed guilt and love. It was all pretenses and I got the title ‘The Great Pretender’ as Freddie Mercury clapped for me. I hold the cup and notice its lightweight. My cup tells me that it’s empty. The formed tension caught me all this time.

 

Later on, I just found us all 6 crying in graduation. And an extension of it here in Peace by Piece. It was farewell but the hugs, kisses, and talkings will always be infinite whether personal or virtual. Cars, Al, Sey, Marc, and Sol made my high school years. They’re the best and I couldn’t thank Papa God more. Cars and Al, as always been, got their thrones at an exclusive university here in Manila and took up programs like Business and Entrepreneurship. They said that they had to help their parents in their growing businesses. Sey, with his financial state, got a scholarship in a university in Rizal and taking up Social Work to understand and maybe help those in need particularly in education and familial issues. Marcus who wished to be an educator (to help not just his mind, but also others) took up Sports Science Education (and who, somewhat narcissistically, finds himself as a bad boy who wished to have ‘the’ muscles as what he told us) also in Rizal. Sol made his way to a university of scholars in Quezon City taking up Journalism—as an aspiring journalist with his ability of having to open the eyes of many in the Philippine painful realities. I took up Culinary Arts in a private university in Manila while promising that my parents’ money won’t end up to nothing as I also promised that I will persevere at my most capability than in high school. Now, I’m a consistent dean’s lister and scholar, hoping for cum laude. It’s a bit amusing that it’s more evident here that we have different interests when it comes to our aspirations—beyond our stories and shared experiences and thoughts, and talking about personal likes, fandoms, and others.

Indeed as we promised to each other, our friendly plans on our meetings and bonds here in Peace by Piece and those beyond won’t end up as drawings. It happily got colored since freshman year. I’m so glad those plans come true until now that we’re juniors in college—time management and academic competence were just our skills. Sadly, some of them can’t really come. Our physical features may be changing and paths may be unfolding within our college years, but the love in the air will forever be unchanged and pure. Cars have gotten more beautiful than before and currently joining beauty pageants. Al’s successfully helping their family business. Sey’s joining different social organizations on education and family. Sol’s busy being a young journalist, attending different lectures and seminars on journalism. I’m working on baking pastries and planning to build a pastry shop. These are our stories in the circle. It’s a joy hearing my friends’ special current events, our shimmering milestones and successes.

I accepted it. I learned to accept the feeling I had for Sol. Well, I can’t control what I feel. I can’t choose who to deeply want and who to not deeply want. Even if I was falling for him, a great friend—I just can’t… and I started to feel pain. I thought that the fate’s work on keeping Sol away (at least physically) from me would lessen or control this feeling—I even assumed that the feeling will be gone. But, I was wrong. It only got worse. The process of being in love (so legit) felt like surreal, but painful. I felt lucky that I’ve known him and that he’s a great friend. But, it’s a joy stalking him on his social media accounts (FB, Twitter, IG). The time I spent doing it was like stealing time with him. That it felt like I’ve always been with him at his university, house, and places he goes to. This proclivity bothered me a little.

I love you, Sol. I really do.

 

Three weeks ago, it was a schoolday in our third-year college now. I invited them (on FB group chat) here in the shop. Marc and Sey didn’t see the message while Cars and Al said that they were so busy. Sol was able to see it, but he didn’t reply.

I was eating by tension.

I’ve waited for minutes for his reply and eventually proceeded to commute. Perhaps, Sol was also very busy (being a scholar!). By the way, we haven’t seen each other in the past two years (since college freshman year). But, stalking him online helps. It helps my heart. When I was waiting for a jeepney on a sunny afternoon, my phone rang.

It was Sol: “Hey, you don’t have any classes anymore? I’ll go with you!” Ugh! That sound. His voice was like that of a Disney prince—I’m speechless on that!

“Okay!” I answered and that’s when a jeepney came over to me.

“Sol, I’ll just wait for you there, ah? Here’s the jeepney, eh” I told him as I made my way in the jeepney.

“Alright, alright...” I heard him say as I composed myself ‘cause the sun was burning my skin. I put down the phone on my belly making me notice that—Sol wasn’t yet hanging up!

Sol, hang up! I don’t wanna do it, you should!

I immediately heard him again: “Alright, see you!” Argh! It was seconds of agony! I hated the chilly feeling, that comforting confirmation of Sol. It also felt like I was coated in embarrassment and my introverted self suffered again. I tried to redeem myself. I was lucky I was the only one in the jeepney. I looked at the driver’s front rear-view mirror and he was looking at the road. I quickly broke a sweat. My neck, nape, armpits, forehead, and the temples immediately cried.

Aside from my mini fan and handkerchief, the cold air of Peace by Piece saved me. It was like heaven on earth, heaven in hell. I headed to my ‘seat’, I think my butt’s already engraved on the sofa and automatically calls me whenever my feet kiss the floor. A sound came from my phone. Sol texted: “Leys, sorry. Will be there more or less 30 min.” I didn’t have any load despite wanting to reply. It would be like “Okay, Sol. I’ll wait for you. Hihintayin kita. Hihintayin ko ang pagkakataon.” I started to feel melancholy again, and worse, the pain. I didn’t know, at the back of my mind I wanted this to tell him. I wanted to free the butterflies that have been roaming around in 2 years now in my stomach. I wanted to be free. Something in me really wanted it.

With another great (literally empty) friend placed on the table, my hot chocolate macchiato, I waited. I waited with a lot of random and creative stories in my head. Perhaps, words of love, realities in sophisticated letters, and fantasies flapping their wings—all around my mind. I saw a thin Nicholas Sparks booklet placed on top of books which stand on the bookshelf and decided to grab it. I started reading his Sparks, his published biography. Awww. Nicholas Sparks really amazes me—

“Leys.” a familiar voice suddenly occurred in front of me. Sol.

“Hey—oh.” I realized that I was sitting on my personal and a single sofa! Oh, such a fool. I grabbed my bag and stood up.

“Let’s sit there, sorry, I’m really used to sitting here. It became my sofa.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah.”

After pointing the near two seats with a small, round table in front—with beating heart in fast-paced—I sat. We met each other’s eyes. I haven’t personally seen those emerald eyes again, but they were in front of me again (greetings!). He put his bag down. As I see on Sol’s social media accounts, he let a thinly-trimmed beard and a thin mustache. The facial hair was gentle as the grass on a green field. His emerald eyes. The nose was—just beautifully pointing. Eyebrows that shelter his gemstones or the window of the soul. His long eyelashes possessed elegance like what feathers have. Lips were carved like a sculpture. And his face was the epitome of man’s beauty.

“Leys!” he cut smiling at me.

“Ah, ah…” and his teeth were as white as pearls.

“What happened?” he curiously asked.

I just stared at you, Sol. I wanted to see them personally.

“Nothing, nothing.” I immediately found myself, not physically showing it.

I was able to get some first talk. The whole talk referred to coffees and other drinks and how they taste, libraries in our university, books that we intellectually share, authors whom we both admire, dreams that we see ever-shining in the skies above us. In the middle of each topic, things would be difficult for me. It was because this is talking with him! It was a struggle to draw power from my fortitude to take control of what was going on inside me. It was uneasy looking at him straight in the eye. It really was! Whew. His emerald eyes really attract me as much as his intellect does.

Dead air came. For Seconds. Sol held his espresso and drank as I stared at him. He then combed his hair using his manly hands—and that was so—argh. Spectacular.

I sighed.

I didn’t want the dead air to end.

 

I had to say it to Sol.

 

I needed to say it.

I love him and I was gonna tell him this time.

“Sol?”

“Yes?” with emerald eyes.

“I just wanna say something to you.” And those eyes were the ones who spoke with a question.

I was trembling inside. My heart was beating very fast.

My sweating started.

Everything—everything around us looked uneasy: the people talking, the cold ambiance of Peace by Piece, and people entering the shop.

“Sol, I’ve been wanting to tell you this… It bothers me for a long time, Sol. I want you to know it.” Staring at him and while letting the beating of my heart very fast as if it wasn’t normal anymore.

As if I was going to pass out.

“Sol, I l—“

His phone rang.

He was staring at me and slowly got his phone from his bag on the floor.

“Wait, sorry… yes?... oh? Okay, okay, I’ll come back.” Sol smiled.

“Oh, Leys. I have to go back to school.” He held his bag and stood up.

“Oh, yeah. It’s been 2 hours, anyway.” I smiled at him after looking at the wall clock.

“My professor called me and my workmate on a report for my major… Hey, just call me later in the evening. I’ll listen. If you have any problem, we’re here for you, alright?”

I nodded.

“Just take care, Leys!” he waved at me and looked into my eyes.

 

Ugh.

When he left, I wanted to cry. Melancholy once again flooded my heart.

I was ready. The strength was enough.

 

Perhaps, fate didn’t want it.

He is my one great love.

And I had to feel this mixed emotions of love and pain over again.

 

For three weeks, I met Sol three times. When everybody else is busy or haven’t seen my message, Sol would go. He said that he wasn’t busy at the time and would love to visit the circle’s haven, drink coffee, read books, and, uh, talk with me (I guess?). It was kind of him—like Superman who’s ready to rescue, erm, others.

He asked about what I was going to tell him and told him that it wasn’t necessary.

I said that I wasn’t just emotionally alright.

He asked me if I was sure about it and I said yes.

The talk would last for an hour or two. We would talk with intellectualness and humor about academics. We would talk about things requiring intellect, and funny things in our lives. We would talk about our likes and dislikes. Despite feeling such uneasiness (though the feeling of being physically with him was getting better), there surely was a pleasure. And I didn’t want an hour or another to end. When going home walking the shop’s aisle, I wanted to hold his hands and make him feel my love just like what Adele wants. But, hindi pwede. Outside, he would wait for my Grab. I admit. It was sweeter than my macchiato.

The third time that we bonded was the last chapter of this story. The darkness conquered the streets with the street lights fighting it. With my self shaking, I asked him if he loves somebody in school. He told me about his crushes there and how they always got him inspired. I asked if he’s in love with somebody since he doesn’t talk about it to us—and we barely know until now about his romantic love state and disposition. I don’t know why we don’t ask him. The shaking then got worse as I was holding my bag tightly.

But, truth be told: I was ready to be hurt.

To bleed—if he would tell me he already loves somebody else.

“No, Leys. I’m just actually waiting for that girl and I promised to myself that I will love her, purely.” emerald eyes illuminating in spite of environment’s darkness--looking at me.

 

He doesn’t love anybody and I love him. The fitting bottom line.

That’s when I got the strength again to tell him this.

 

I sighed.

 

This is it.

“Sol, I’m telling you now that I—“

 

A light touched my eyes and created Sol’s silhouette just in a flash.

It’s the Grab’s headlight.

 

“Uhm—it’s nothing serious, really---“

“It’s okay, the Grab can wait. Tell me now, Leys.”

“It’s fine. I… gotta go. Bye, thank you for the moment, Sol.”

 

That was it, I’m just his great friend, Leys.

I was weak. I really was. And the trembling got worse, the pain.

 

That was it. It was the third and last time I’ve seen him.

I look at the clock and it’s 9 PM. I grab my bag and stand up. I have to change; let this feeling be without having to tell Sol. That’s the change I’m talking about all this time.

It’s somewhat liberating—while having to feel both pleasure and pain.

As I’m walking I saw the main source of this heartbreak. It’s Sol, walking. The romantic appreciation of his physical features caught me again. He’s wearing a polo shirt that seems to speak about his body with young muscles. I remember he told us that he doesn’t aspire for bigger muscles. He wears his I.D. and his backpack. On halfway, I greet him.

“Hey, you’re going?” he asks.

“Yes, it’s already 9. So, you’re gonna have your me-time?”

“Yes” he giggles and the giggling shakes my core. This is crazy.

“I’m going.”

“Yeah.”

 

Letting go?

Currently, I just can’t.

I still love Sol.

And it’s a recurring reason why I feel both this pleasure and pain.

And I feel them as long as I love him. Deeply.

 

I walk straight to the glass door. Outside, before going downstairs, I see Sol walking directly farther. I hope that he’d find his seat, too—as much as hoping that he’d love me, too.



Prince Thomas Siñel: "I am a very passionate 19-year-old Filipino Language and Literature Studies student who aspires to be a creative writer."




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