Sunday, August 28, 2011

Opposite Direction

I looked at the glass wall beside me and I saw across the street a boy, slouched along the pavement, trying to sell some cheap bracelets. His face was illuminated by the lamp post solitary standing not far from where he sat. Not long after, I noticed that the boy, apparently, was missing both feet.
“Mark!” called the person sitting opposite me.

“Are you alright?” asked the man who just caught my attention.

“Yes, sorry.” I replied, finally facing him.

He still had that smile. It was the same smile that melted my heart a year ago when we first met in a company event.

I flashed a weak smile at him as he continued talking. I was too caught by the boy outside that my mind drifted away, not being able to comprehend the rest of what Don, the man whom I used to love, said.

Apparently, he was talking about the next event that he’ll be attending. And he wanted me to come. I just stared at him, trying to scan his face. I wanted to remember every line, every mark on his face.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” He held my hand under the table trying to make sure I’m okay.

I wasn’t able to respond immediately so he squeezed my hand.

“I’m sorry Don, maybe I just feel tired…” I said.

He decided to just take me home so I could rest. I guess it’s better that way. I wanted to be alone. Far from anyone else… Far from Don.

As we were about to leave the restaurant, I caught a glimpse of the whole place and all the memories came rushing in.

It was the same restaurant were Don and I first met. It was also the same old place where he brought me for our first date. And it was the same place where I saw him… Saw him dating another guy…

As Don led me to his car, we passed by the boy I was looking at a while ago. He looked up at me and offered me his ware.

“Kuya, sige na, bili ka na. Maganda yan, bigay mo sa kasama mo. Sigurado ako magugustuhan niya yan.” He said as he gave a short glance towards Don.

I don’t know what has gotten into me. I know Don won’t appreciate these simple things, and with what he did, he doesn’t even deserve anything from me. Not this bracelet. Not even my heart. But still, I bought the last piece.

The boy thanked me a lot because finally he can go home. I stood there looking at the boy as he tried his best to put all his stuff on his small skateboard-like means of mobility.

“Hey Mark!” I heard Don calling me as I watched the boy slid his way along the pavement. I walked towards Don and into the car.

I sat silently beside him. As I stare at the window, looking at the starless sky, I remembered the boy. I remembered the way he smiled at me. The sincerity in his eyes. Now, I know that he’ll finally be able to bring something to his family. He’ll finally head home happy.

And now as we drove away, I held in my hand the bracelet I bought from the boy. I wished I could’ve been that boy. Regardless of his disability, I know he’s happy and contented. I know he doesn’t carry anything in his chest and I envy him for that.

Don, took my hand and held it, but I never looked at him. The guy who’s touching my hand is not anymore the same Don I knew a year ago. He thought I never knew, but I did. And the warmth of his hand was never the same. We are currently playing a role in this play he had staged. And I know in the end, I’ll be the victim of this well-played game.

I wish I was strong enough to admit that I’ve been cheated. I wish I am tough enough to face Don. Like the boy who had faced a thousand challenges being a cripple. But we’re very much alike in a lot of ways, like now, we are both about to go home. But as for me, I know I need to face my fears. I need to let it all out.

When Don again squeezed my hand, only then did the tears start to come.