Friday, February 14, 2014

Letter 689: Love, Lost and Found

January dots the cornflower blue sky with puffs of salmon pink clouds in the evening. The sky at dusk is a beautiful work of art, one that displays a myriad of hues: soft coral, rosy peach, creamy lilac, golden yellow. I remember this, because it was under this splendidly bewitching twilight hour that you drove off from my porch one last time, not looking back, never seeing the lugubrious expression on my face, and never noticing how my scarf, fluttering gently in the cool breeze of the evening, matched the colours of the sky.

February greets me with a cold shoulder. I tried calling you for the first time in the weeks since you left, and all I got was an operator telling me the number has been disconnected. I hung up and listened to the dull, monotonous hum on the receiver for a long, long time, not wanting to believe that this was actually happening to me, the sort of numbness that people described in books, the feeling of abject devastation portrayed in the movies. 

March had stolen upon me like a shadow, ever so gingerly, leaving no traces of its footprints on the cool tiles of my bathroom floor. Often, in the shower, I'd clutch my heart in a fit of frenzy and count my heartbeats, one, two, three... until I was sure they were over a hundred, then I'd take a slow, deep breath and exhale. Once. Twice. Three times. Until my heartbeats became normal, or until the hot water supply runs out and I'm drowned in the torrent of cold running water. 

April turns out to be a better month for me. I attend birthday parties where I lick strawberry frosting off my fingers, and make regular attendances at the local bar, where I lick salt off a stranger's wrist before I down yet another shot of tequila, and suck on yet another piece of lime that makes my face contort to the point of imploding. The bar is more like a pub-- dark wood, solid beams, generic music that sounds familiar yet not quite identifiable. People talk in low, hushed tones here naturally. No one ever really stopped to wonder why. No one really seems to care.

May is impatient. I rush through my assignments and deadlines and I still find myself wanting-- needing-- to do more. I rummage through my closet and throw out all the dresses I wore to our dates. They fall to a discontented heap on the floor, a variety of short and maxi dresses, sleeveless and off-the-shoulder dresses, lace-trimmed and ruffled-hems, gingham and polka dots, black, white, beige, midnight blue, baby pink, crimson red, seafoam green. I no longer need these to define myself according to your expectations. I step out in shorts and jeans all the time now. It's liberating.

In June, I met someone on the train. He is the sort of person who doesn't attract much attention, sitting in a corner thumbing through The Book Thief with headphones on and not a care in the world. He had an empty seat next to him, so I planted myself there and took out my choice of reading, which apparently piqued his curiosity because he then started talking to me and one thing led to another and that is how we ended up having coffee in Starbucks when we were supposed to be going home. It was a nice change of scenery, because for the first time when I was talking to a stranger, I wasn't thinking of you.

July promises to be fun. He takes me to the park, buys us a snow cone, and proceeds to tell me stories of him growing up in three different continents while we lap up the ice in the deliciously warm afternoon. I take him to my local bar, the one where the bartender knows me by the way I strut to the counter, and place an order for two glasses of Mojito. The bartender looks at me quizzically, as if asking me what happened to the tequila shots I usually order. I give him a smile and tell him I'm past tequila shots.

August takes me by surprise. A bouquet of bright and sunny daffodils sits at my desk on my birthday. I pick up the card. It isn't from him. It's from you. Call me, you wrote, in your scrawly handwriting on black ink. You left me a new phone number. Why? Why now? I pick up the phone and punch the first digit, but then I slam the receiver down, more so in fear and confusion than in anger. What are you doing to me what are you doing to me what are you doing to me.

The breeze is gentle in September. His plane leaves in five hours, and he will be gone for five months. Only five months, he tells me, but I know, it will no longer be the same. I will no longer be the girl who reads Kierkegaard, and he no longer the boy who reads Marcus Zusak. At the airport, I cling to his every pore, wanting to remember his aftershave, memorising the textures of his cotton shirt and the way it lingers against his back, and trying in vain to recall the color of his eyes, because the funny thing is, as soon as his plane took flight, I cannot, for the life of me, remember if his eyes were emerald or turquoise or blue. You see, everything about him is too right. His eyes too soft, his voice too husky, his personality too charming, his poetry too alluring. But he isn't you.  

October sends a lonely shiver through my spine. I am lying in my bed, counting the stars outside the window. My thoughts are scattered in disarray, like the stars in the night sky. He is gone, and I don't know if I should call you. The night you left-- softly as the lilac blooms in the garden, and swiftly as the fox which roams in it at midnight-- felt like a a period of rude awakening, as if you'd left a marker delineating the years With You and the months After You. Where are you now?

November frightens me with its downpour. It seems to be drowning my soul, and my entire existence. I get off the train and as I step outside the station, I see a familiar silhouette holding an umbrella, glancing my way. You look at me, at my rain-drenched state, and take a stride towards me. You pick me up and sway me in your arms, the umbrella long dropped to the ground, long forgotten. We are soaked to the bone, you and I, but this time, maybe this time, we won't catch a chill, and we'd be alright, all the way till the end of December.

(Photo credit: Tumblr)


Christy said...

One word, beautiful! Jun, you never fail to amaze me with your writing, just so mesmerizing!~ Xoxo!

Jun said...

christy: aww.. thanks girl! it's amazing what you can do when you're studying for exams T__T

Bariah said...

Thats so lovely! Awwwww

Jun said...

bariah: thanks ^_^

taleanski said...

I love it! You write so darn well you should so publish a book of all your best pieces! :) xoxo.

Jun said...

taleanski: aww thanks darl! the problem is, inspiration doesn't strike as often as I'd like :<