i unearthed something i wrote at the beginning of this year; i had first published this under extreme friends-lock in my livejournal last june. lately, fiction and i have been very good friends, and it does look like i’ve written more this year than last. which is, actually, a development of the *yay* variety — well, mostly. somehow, that also meant i found more reasons to write this year, and you know how i am.
well, well, anyway. oddly enough, this just came with the label, “005?. i’m racking my brain as to what that really meant at the time of writing – i’ve been making it a point to let a considerable amount of time pass (in this case, almost a year) between time of writing and coming out with it, as a sort of detachment practice – but right now, i’m drawing blanks as to what 005 actually means. hehe.
(She had asked me meekly if I wanted to keep anything, and ‘No’ was the easiest thing to say with a heart as broken as mine.)
The sofa was hers so she took it with her when she left; it left a bright blue spot on the carpet, an area full of dust mites. I had swept it with a wet towel to my nose, a few days after.
There used to be a bean bag in the middle of the living room; we used to lounge around there, watching DVDs, playing Grand Theft Auto or waiting for the rain to stop. I owned the room and only that. The rest came with her when she came into my life – the bulky furniture, the soft pillows, everything – even the shower curtains, which she replaced every month.
My place just started as mere corridors that found their way to each other – nothing but empty, interconnecting halls, walls with nothing on them, doors that led to rooms that looked the same. That was my life, plain and bare.
And then, she came in.
She was, first and foremost, a photographer. That first time she came into my house, she saw a museum waiting to be filled. I was the curator and sole audience, and in her head she had made up her mind – this was where her exhibit would stand.
So she put her black-and-white stills in simple brown-edged glass frames, hung them where we could see – walls near our bedroom door, along the staircase, above the dinner table, on a kitchen wall. She took photographs of things I never would have looked twice at myself – as if to remind me constantly: this was how we started, when I took a step back, looked a second time and found you.
This was a long time ago – when my house was still bare and I had nothing to put in. A long time ago, when slowly but surely she settled in quite comfortably, making my life hers, and her life ours. We shared everything from plates to mugs to blankets and sheets.
Suddenly, I was living - in a house that only used to be mine - a life that somebody else owned altogether. At first, I wasn’t bothered, because it felt good to be somebody else’s girl; it is only now that I realize just how much I had given away and how little I had kept for myself.
As expected, the last ones to go were the photographs on the walls – mostly of us together in several places I’d decided to carefully avoid altogether from now on – a few stalls in Cubao and Pasig, a certain island off Iloilo, our old schools, the train running along the main highway, certain coffee shops in Quezon City.
She had asked me meekly if I wanted to keep anything, and ‘No’ was the easiest thing to say with a heart as broken as mine.
“Of course not,” I said, arms folded around myself in a tight self-hug. “All I’d think about are the photographs you’d have with him.”
I tried not to shake as I said it; I think I fared quite well.
I decided to move out not very long after she left. The emptiness of the house she deserted was so familiar – the glare was blinding, it hurt. I remember walking barefoot at night, warm carpet underneath my soles, and I could hear my footsteps echo. The house was so big, it suffocated me.
I moved out, moved in. Same bare walls, blank corridors that just happen to stand side by side. Wherever I went, the places all look the same – I’ve gone to at least 14 cities and they all looked the same without her.
My walls stayed immaculate, I almost felt them somewhat expand – their emptiness blinking like sirens in a pitch black night chase.
I continued moving out and moving in, two boxes of old notebooks and my computer at the backseat of my beat-up Corolla.
I found a smaller place in Quezon City; I should have settled for smaller places a long time ago, right after she left me, even. Old habits die hard.
I moved in and watched in amazement at how I filled it in all on my own. A table to house all my notebooks and another to carry my computer. I had a mattress for a bed, tucked near one of the walls.
This place was mine and it left no more space to want anything else.#