Someone somewhere wrote: “1 year, 12 months, 365 days. A year ago right now I stood on top of a rooftop with him and he kissed me for the first time. I was such a different person then, so innocent, so untouched, so unaware of how he would change me in the year to come…”
Well… everybody has this “a year ago” in some point of their lives including me. Only it wasn’t exactly a year ago, more like centuries ago. And we were not standing on a rooftop (for sure I stood on rooftops doing exactly the same thing although not for years later and with other people) but in an excavation hole which soon to be my underground bedroom under the terrace and the year was 1997 and unwittingly he will set the standard and pattern for my next boyfriends to come.
Tall dark quite handsome and very, very young, he was twenty to be exact. He kissed me and the world spin. It was like standing on the top of the highest hill, everything revolving around us, rotating faster and faster till everything becomes blurred. The feeling was like being suspended in the air floating, not much aware of what was going on around, feathery light and lightheaded; It was a wonderful experience. When the kiss ended and my feet slowly touched the ground, I could do nothing but foolishly smile.
We were good together. He opened my eyes to another kind of loving.
Before him, I thought love was abusive distant cold criticizing enduring suffering shameful and old. But he showed me that it could be different too, tender and caring, deliciously sweet, excitingly adventurous, warm protective and funny. I remember putting my hand in his and it feels like coming home. For the first time since time immemorial, the feeling of wanting to die disappeared. I was alive.
But of course all the good things must come to an end, I did the parting; I don’t even remember why except of course for the obvious reason. It was not working for me. Too much people involved. I hate to conform.
I remember it was around 23:00 hour he was putting up the mosquito net for me and I told him I wanted out. He asked me if I was only angry with him or I totally didn’t want him anymore, I said it was the latter rather than the former. He looked at me long and hard kissed me on the cheek and closed the door behind him. My whole world crumbled. I could see bricks and mortar collapsing above/around him literally. I wanted to open my mouth and call him back but I couldn’t! I just sat there still stupidly mute letting him walk out of my life.
I didn’t know that pain could be like that. It crawled literally on every surface of my skin inch by inch burning everything it touched. I lost 10kg in just a week, could not touch food, dropping anything I was holding the moment someone mentioned his name. I saw him everywhere! I thought the boy who was selling rice in the market was him. When I heard the dogs barking I automatically assumed he was back, and I would sit there waiting for his signature knock on the door; one big knock followed by trailing small ones. But he never came.
My sister once remarked that there was no life in my otherwise very expressive eyes, they were dead and I was slowly disappearing into nothingness.
I saw him only once after we broke up. He was with his new girlfriend, I was with my basketball team. I know I didn’t make a fool of myself that much I can remember; the rest is blurred. I wanted to pull out from the team out of plain misery. Boy I/it was a mess! Lee our spotter was out of his mind. He shouted something like:
“You are giving up on us because of just one person? He’s not even worth it! We thought he’s just a toy to you! You can replace him anytime! Take a pick. We’re 13, just pick one and get over it!”
But of course I didn’t and my relationship with them deteriorates bit by bit till there was nothing left. Funny but for all the pain and sufferings I have gone through, I never shed one single tear. He lived just around the corner from us but not for one moment I considered knocking on their door to talk to him. I cannot understand why I just didn’t think about it. And the pain? It was over in exactly one month. It disappeared as suddenly as it came. No trace no residue no nothing. So much so that when he visited me after 3 months… for the love of God I could not even recognize his voice.
I was downstairs in my room when my nephew came to me and said: “Can you guess who’s upstairs in the terrace? – I shook my head – listen to his voice…”
But no matter how hard I try I could not remember!
My brother once told me when I was at the height of my pain that I didn’t really miss the guy. Not him as a person. What I was missing were the things that he was doing for me. My brother said he was sure that if there is someone at that moment who will do exactly what this guy used to do for me, guarantee I will not even think of him one single moment. What I need is a replacement, he added.
Which reminds me of what my best friend told me a long time ago, that he cannot understand why I was having boyfriends because all I needed was someone to jam with, not to have love affair since I didn’t listen or value them anyway the way one supposed to value someone they are supposed to be in love with and having a romantic relationship. I must admit that perhaps there was some truth in there.
We talked but didn’t pick up where we left off. No reason anymore. I moved on already. We could have though. That much was apparent but I chose not to. I was busy with something/someone else already and going places. But he remains the painful-est experience up to date. Maybe because the first cut is the deepest, isn’t it what they say?
For all the books I have written… I wrote nothing about him until now. I must have scribbled something in the beginning but I guess I lost it sometime somewhere. His name is Rey…