In vain. I waited. Futilely, I wished. To no avail, I looked.
My mind goes go astray from my breakfast. My mind flies far away from our room. I live with a memory I can’t even remember. My friend told me I was going insane while she is having a manic state of laughing. I confessed about my disability to remember the only thing that kept me alive for the last three days.
“Alam mo yung parang lagi siyang nasa isip mo pero hindi ko maalala itsura niya? [Do you know that he is always on your mind yet you can’t remember his face?]” I said, pulling my hair as if it will open up my hippocampus and unleash my memory.
“Grabe ka talaga[You’re so mean]!” (Uncontrollable, evil, intense laughing that makes you yearn to strangle someone)
“Eh sabi ko naman sayo diba, hindi ako nakakatanda ng mukha ng tao sa isang pagkikita lang. [I said to you already: I can’t remember faces of people just on our first meeting.]”
She is making it seem like I am impossible. Yes, for someone in our university to have very poor memory is almost a sin, but I think mine is a special case. I don’t know if I can’t or I simply don’t want to remember. It is as if I had cast a shielding charm on myself, but there can be reasons for this behavior: (1) if ever I am conscious of his presence, I don’t know how to behave while staying in the same place as he does. (2)I don’t know if my friend will like him, even though it should not matter. (3) I don’t want to give him paparazzi in the form of a lunatic friend. (4) I can’t stand to think of the possibility that he forgot me first.
I have not yet experienced having my computer with a strong enough virus. I have not seen the “Fatal error!” message flash in my screen. Back then, I wondered how the computer might feel if it suddenly goes blank and everything is in chaos inside it. In extreme cases, it even emits smoke. Poor gadget, it is hard when you have so many operations going in your mind and suddenly a hateful virus will crash your system. The system will go black, the files will be lost, and time would be wasted.
Now, I don’t wonder anymore. I sympathize.
I tried to find new reason to postpone the brainstorming. I know that if I try hard enough, I remember. He’s not bad looking. He really looks smart, unlike me who always look like a lost kid. He has short hair and I also know how tall he was, my eyes were just level with his shoulders. He said he is the tallest one in his family. I need to look up to him to see his eyes that are under black-rimmed glasses. I remember those serious brown eyes that can melt stuff when they are focused on it. I tried their power, got burnt by them, here still steaming. He is skinny, but he said he’s just normal. I don’t think so, he’s not normal, he is perfect. I remember his hands, when it made contact with mine.
And there is where my mind haywire and I will only see annoying little flowers or cute little hearts in my blank CPU. There, there. My mind crashed again.
Ever since I told her about my Friday night, my friend and I started a game. Well, I never enjoyed it and I never asked to play it. She said that it is for me, so I can finally find that someone. Tss, if I know better, she only itches to know who it was so she can tease me nonstop. When we eat breakfast, she searches for guys with glasses and constantly interrupts my meal by saying, “Siya ba yan? [ Is that him?]” at least 30 times in just 20 minutes. That is one nagging question for every 40 seconds. She even suggested using the paging system of the dorm, so 510 students would hear my subliminal but too obvious confession. The most unforgivable thing is that she always suggests the so-not-my-type or the gay guys and even the most unlikely beings like security guards, jeepney drivers and fish ball vendors. I shouted dire death threats at her or tried to put them in action, but she did not know that it was because she made me nervous about finding out who the mysterious someone is.
I am growing lonelier day after day, knowing that I just have very few days to confirm if he is real as my heartbeat tells me or, if I just conjured him out of the fragments of my imagination. I was losing what little hope I had left, and I was afraid that even the memories will turn out to be pure lies. Am I enough of a masochist to do that to myself? If he’s not true, let me stay in my reality void. I’m more at ease in here, where he is with somewhere.
Round and round I went, soul searching.
Some people say that it is not the centripetal force of the sun and the presence of gravitational pull that makes Earth revolve. Is it true that some other things makes the world go round? Then why, when I finally found it, did my world just halt and I stand rooted in this lonely spot? I was alright before he disturbed my slumber, though I must admit that it was such a sweet displeasure to alleviate the spell. My life has become an oxymoron ever since I met him. I’m happily sad, I’m thinking about what I can’t remember and I am content on being disappointed. Life is really bitter-sweet. Will I still be okay if this turn out for worse or if I get involved more or if this finally ends? Will I return to my sheets and hide again after being so happy, after starting to feel again?
The cloud greeted me, it was a clear but I felt like the sun will never serve me again. It was Wednesday morning; I finally made up my decision. They woke me up to eat breakfast at 6:36 am and I was infuriated, though I am the one to request that last night. I was blank, I don’t want to wait a little longer, and I wish time would run a little slower just this once. But my fairy tale has to end, and it has to end now.
“Ano ba yan alas sais tapos wala naman akong pasok. Bakit ginising niyo pa ako? [How annoying! It’s six in the morning and I have no class for today. Why did you still wake me up?]” I said having my tantrum but they are not listening, they might run late if they slow down because of my mood.
“Teka, nandito ba siya? [Wait a minute, is he here?]”, she said for the nth time.
That did it, I snapped. That triggered the last sand of time to drop slowly, ever so slowly, and I realized it was up. I uttered monotonous lame words but all they spell is the death of the autumn, the last struggle of a life inside me farewell.
“Wala nga! ‘Wag ka na maghanap. Hindi na ako interesado. Di na siya darating! Hayaan mo na…[He’s not here. Don’t look around anymore. I am no longer interested. He will not come. Let that pass once…]”
Something caught my eye. I turned around, a full three hundred sixty degree out of shock, snapping out of my turmoil. My heart in my sleeves beating at maximum speed, stuttering, I whispered:
“Ha? Alin? Nasaan?[Ha? What are you referring to? Where?]”
The sun shone again, my hibernation was cancelled, totally.
“HINDI KO SASABIHIN!! HAHAHA!! [ I will not tell you!! Hahaha!!]”
The morning seemed to brighten up at such shocking intensity that it made me want to cry. The birds are singing in the trees, the grass still has remnants of dew like tiny clear pearls on them, students in the cafeteria are singing “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” for me, even the food tasted surprisingly scrumptious. Good grace, those angel brought me here.
He is in a white shirt, which is the same as when we first met. He is seated six tables to my left and I can clearly see his side profile that I remember most. I memorized his face; this may be my last chance.
Before I knew, the moment of glory was over. I guess it is done and my fear number four came true. Even I can’t remember my name sometimes. I forget where I place my ID, my room keys, my wallet. Come to think of it, how can someone remmber me, a nondescript someone? I just lost myself in a daydream and that should be expected but why does it still hurt?
That afternoon, I dreamt of him.
I can’t concentrate all night long, but I have to review for my Psych101 long exam. A party is going on downstairs, my roommate is watching a koreanovela in our room, I am exhausted and feeling sleepy because of the faculty follies show and I have to review 150 pages of technical terms. I decided I won’t sleep that tonight. I want to ace this one; I need to come back to reality. He was a nice break; but I guess I don’t deserve to have a fairy tale ending.
I fell asleep at 2 am. Damn, that didn’t go as planned. I woke up 6:30 am and looked for them but they are still asleep. I decided to eat breakfast alone. In my too large shirt and pajama, I went down feeling ugly and uncoordinated.
I looked for the one calling my name this early in the morning. I lost myself in a daydream. I did not, but my heart knew.
A smile etched in my face, I faced him and there he was, truly beside me.
– M. B. Agulto (2010)