The alarm goes off after I hit the snooze button for the 3rd time. I tried to peek at my alarm clock, and there it was. The bright red led light stared at me, letting me know how many more minutes I have to prepare for class. It was still too early for me, I predicted. But just as I was about to pull my covers back on top of my head, I was awakened by a loud explosion outside my window. Immediately, I looked out. It seems that the rage of the almighty Zeus is impending once again.
The rain was plummeting, as if attempting to reunite the earth with the ocean. The wind was howling, singing various songs of despair. My type of weather, I thought. I hurriedly dug into the pile of dirty clothes on the foot of my bed. I was never that type of person who keeps everything in place. I dragged myself out of the bed, struggling to be free of my covers who enveloped me in a sea of comfort. I have to get my phone, as soon as possible. Who knows if my professors cancelled the classes for today? That would be a delight. The downpour would make my commute very similar to the Trojan War. I would stagger through the slippery roads or even skip through the puddles in the streets. The roar of the incoming train would lead to my demise as it coincides with the ravenous thunder.
Ah, there it is. It's been under my pillow all along. Although I would not know either since I keep several islands in my bed. I immediately opened my email, and my inbox took me by surprise. I dropped my phone, and it was a good thing it landed safely in my pile of clothes. A tear fell out from my eye as I stared at the ground, waiting for it to swallow me. I could not believe it, he remembered. It was not a broken promise after all.
And there it was, the five love stories he promised he would write for me.
It was my senior year in high school. I was just as free spirited as everyone else. I'm not really the typical teen-aged girl, but I am not as different as one would imagine. I'm pretty normal, just your average wallflower. With a month 'til graduation, my emotions seemed to change together with the seasons. It was very slow, and then it would come all at once. The feeling of restlessness suddenly hinted with anxiety. Or when I was my happiest, a nostalgic scene would come barreling in to my chest like a ten-wheeler truck. The amount of adrenalin is coursing through my bloodstream. I was a free spirited girl, about to end a chapter in her life and start a new beginning. And most of all, I am in love.
I would say fate brought us together. It was last August, at the school's rooftop. No one was really allowed to go in there, but I am a person made entirely out of disobedience. I was there, playing with my guitar with a notebook and pen ready. I was trying to write another song, and that was the only place quiet enough. I was singing my heart out, letting the lyrics flow out directly from my head. Suddenly, I heard the door leading to one of the stairways suddenly close. I immediately hid behind a pillar, recklessly leaving my guitar and notebook in plain sight. Footsteps are getting louder and louder so I didn't have time to retrieve them anymore. A head popped out from the stairs, and I was so relieved that it was not a school administrator. I'm actually in big trouble if they found me here as I was a graduating student. It was just you.
"What are you doing here?” He asked as I came out from my hiding place. I rolled my eyes and heaved a sigh. "This is my comfort zone. I can't write in the midst of all the chatters in the cafeteria. And besides, I have a short cut to my hall that way. "I hurried towards my guitar and placed the cap on my pen.”Well, what about you? What made you come here?” I asked as I try to straighten out my crumpled song sheet. "I came here for a similar reason. I came for the serenity to be able to write the best poem in the universe." And that's when butterflies come in.
I heard a knock on my door, and I can tell it's from the housekeeper. "They canceled your classes. You can go back to bed now." Instead of feeling relieved, I was more troubled. I knew that having no classes would mean I have to read your stories. I could not make an excuse of getting ready, or cramming a paper due later. I have the entire moment for myself, and for your stories. Or should I say my stories.
We lay in the park while staring at the sky. There were no blankets shielding us from the prickly grass. No bottles of alcohol, unlike the couples who are probably making out inside a tent or by the bench in the outskirts of the quadrangle. "This is stupid.” you muttered, "The sky is covered in clouds. It's probably going to rain soon." I just stared at the vast sky, contemplating my relevance to the universe. Contradicting to what you just said, you laid still and remained to warm my hand with yours. And after a few minutes, it did rain. "Hey, can you promise me something?" I sat up, bundling our things and finally using the blanket as our protection from the rain. "Write five stories. For me." You looked at me with a puzzled expression, and I read what you were thinking. You are a poet, and never in your life have you written a short story. Yet there I was, asking for five. Your answer bemused me as you said with utmost confidence, "I promise."
I made a limp downstairs as I fix myself a cup of coffee. I am always teased by everyone I know as someone whose blood is made up of pure caffeine. I'm not going to drink this to keep myself sane, for the shock you gave me was enough to wake my senses. The smell and taste of coffee was very nostalgic for me. It was your scent, and it was your taste. The scent and taste of the moment we parted ways.
It was the first time in my life that I did not hit the snooze button. I was awake, and I had a staring competition with the red led light indicating my impending doom. We graduated a month ago, and you were set on leaving to
to get your scholarship. I got in a good university, but I'm stuck in this
country. I'm volunteered with your family to bring you to the airport. It was
an ungodly hour, but I remained awake. I stood up, removing the dried tears
from the corners of my eyes and I got ready. I waited for your van in my
driveway, as I sat there holding a box. A box that contained all of our
memories- Polaroid, bottle caps, roses, song lyrics, and a lot more. When I saw
a light approaching our curb, I plastered a smile across my face. I could not
bear it if your last memory of me was that I was a wreck.
I pulled out a paper bag that was accumulating dust under my bed. It contained several postcards, posters and some button pins. The typical touristy stuff someone would send a friend who lives far away. I read the transition of your notes in the postcards, ranging from I wish you were here to I hope you are doing well. I brushed my fingers among the smudges in the ink that were evident in the cards you sent me. The feelings are starting to rush back once again, but I repressed it with more gulps of coffee. It was not bitter at all, and so am I.
It was wintertime when I received a message from you. Each email you sent was very different from the former one you sent me. You could sense that the distance was slowly ripping us apart, and I'm starting to accept that. The warmth of your presence was gone, and so are the butterflies. The time difference between us is keeping us further, and perhaps, love was not enough to bind us. Every element of love seemed to weaken our relationship, and the two of us can see it crumble. We decided to just end it while there was still amount of love left, for even God cannot save us. Your last words were, "I would still keep my promise. Never forget."
I'm glad your promise was not broken, but we sure are.