Slowly, the knob turned followed by the click of the lock. On the fifth of November, a familiar voice shouted, “happy monthsary”, but in front of me was nothing but a wall. When I took a peek at who was on the other side, the first thing I saw was your red leather shoelace, and my reality dawned: my phone never rang and the fifth was never ours to celebrate.
It all started when we swapped messages while I was on a weekend trip with my friends. Nothing was ever completely realized until we went on a date a week later to validate what we felt for each other. After two days, we became a couple. It was the tenth of August.
Fast forward to a month after a slew of cloud nine’s: you affirmed your love to me with the admission of falling for someone else. It happened on your birthday, but the surprise was on me. Anything unexpected catches your attention and just like a boy given a present on Christmas day, I believed great things would still unfold. Truly great it was because immeasurable pain after another plagued the relationship.
You said you chose me because you loved me, but lust was a cunning sin, and it blinded the concept of our love. I refused anger by restraint but along with it sprang envy because you began spending weekends with him. I bartered kindness because I wanted to exhibit loyalty far beyond understanding, but love became a sloth. I diligently worked to fix it by taking you to places but it was never enough because constant communication with him turned you into a glutton, with distance making your heart crave for him more and more. Temperance was hard to teach because you would greedily take chances to imagine a better life with him while exchanging glances at parties. I countered it by giving you generous time to leave your lover, but you came back with ire telling me promises you could no longer keep.
When I was young, I was taught something good came out of being patient. I never hurt you, and I tried my very best to keep all things easy, but in the end, you took pride in your selfishness and chose what made you happy at that moment. It slowly humbled my raging courage to fight for us until it was nothing. There was a chance to make things right, but our love has lost its promise.
You said you loved me and that I did not deserve not to be chosen, but why did you let me go? You said you wanted to go back and make things right, but why did you stop when we were making progress? You said you wished your other friends and family met me, but how did my goodness keep that from happening? You said all my influences were noble, including teaching you to talk to God, but why did you stop praying for us? You said I will always be special to you, but why am I always not the only one?
There were times when you would miss me and we get back together, but the good in our relationship was no longer enough to sustain what we once thought was love. It became a task for me to never complain because I want to trust that we can still work, but the longer you stayed with him, the harder it was for you to snap back into our reality. I can remember you always chose the best time to break up with me: our third month together, before my birthday, after the New Year, and before Valentine’s Day. Sometimes, it even became a biweekly activity!
You said that this is what we need, and I responded that it was yours and not mine. I asked if I had given you closure. You replied with a yes, and uttered words that you love me onto my ears that no longer knew how to listen and the weight of it fell on my thumb which ended the conversation. My reality dawned exactly on the day we turned five months: that my phone would no longer ring because you are calling, and that the fifth was never really destined for us to celebrate.
Looking back, I still do not regret always choosing you whenever we tried to resolve our problems. I agreed to the relationship knowing I would give my all and so when we had finally ended it, I was a mess. For someone who had tried so hard to love you, I forgot what I deserved in return by accepting all the pain brought by our relationship as you reveled in my pain. For now, I count on forgiveness and grace to help me release all of it, and that may it toughen me in this reality one day without you at a time.
I hope one day when God grants us to meet eye to eye again, we run out of reasons to feel sorry, and that running away from all this was worth it.
Sergei Reyes lived in GenSan and Davao for 21 years before exploring adulthood in Metro Manila. He goes home from time to time.