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Monday, March 26, 2012

And he left with everything he came for

There is that one great love for every person. For some things will be easy and they will meet sooner than they could’ve hoped for. Others in quite some time yet still the fateful day of crossing distance surely will come. And then there are those who are less fortunate. For in eternity, they would spend the universe’s time searching and searching. Fate won’t be kind to them. The threads of their paths will never meet and on they go further in their sorry barren life. But worse is those who are given the chance to meet yet tragically no one would dare cross the borders of strangeity. From then on, they will have to go on with their lives more miserable than they could’ve imagined. 

It was an official business that brought me that humid night of March 23 in Caloocan. It was a Friday. I was in a meeting and I didn’t notice the time was already verging on midnight. So I packed my things, hailed a cab and directed the driver to drop me off at the Victory Liner bus station in Monumento. 

There were no more buses when I arrived. It was around 12:05 in the morning and it’s already March 24. I walked a few meters from there to this van terminal hoping there are still units en route to Malolos. 

I was lucky. In a distance, I could already hear the barker calling “Malolos, Malolos.” I approached him. The vehicle is nowhere in sight, but he assured me it’s already on its way and that I could wait at the benches with the other passengers. I chose not. I bought two Clorets and two sticks of Marlboro Black. It was my first smoke after half a year. I was agitated. I was tired and all I want then is to go home and sleep. 

The place was dark. In front of me is the haunting sight of the burned down ruins of Ever Gotesco Mall. All around are closed stalls and the ground was dank. 

I was sweating like pig and the weight of my backpack started to feel like punching my shoulders. I looked behind and I saw the benches. There are people there, waiting. A young couple who looked like students; the girl was hugging a pillow and the boy was carrying all sorts of architectural stuffs. Two men who appeared to be in their forties and a woman carrying a plastic bag; a saleslady, I presumed. And then him. 

H e was at the right edge of the bench. He was wearing some loose blue shirt, black slacks completed with black leather shoes. He was clutching a plastic bag with clothes in it. Beside him were his backpack and an empty bottle of mineral water. I approached him, asked if I could put beside my backpack. He obliged, threw away the empty bottle of mineral water and placed his backpack on his left. He invited me to sit. I chose not, instead I dropped my backpack and focused my gaze at the far monument of Andres Bonifacio. 

It’s around 12:35 in the morning and my feet were already giving up. I sat behind him. I sensed his frustration as he kept glancing on his wrist watch. We were both sweating and I noticed we were seated like we knew each other; arms gliding and legs in collision with the tiniest move. I broke the silence. 

“Was it always like this here? The vans taking too long before they arrive?” 

“I dunno. The barker said it’ll be here in a jiffy. In fact I already ate there at the Ministop to while away the time and yet this,” he politely answered. 

I was taken aback by the way he confronted me. He delivered those words with his piercing eyes unhesitantly crossing mine. I broke the stare-off and shy away. And then, again, silence. 

He called the attention of the barker. It was already 1:00 in the morning. I was cursing under my breath. I wanted to go home. 

“It’s scary here. Everyone looks like a criminal or some sort,” I said to break the monotony of waiting.

He chuckled. 

“Actually. It’s dark and…anyway, do you know any other terminal where we can get a ride home?” 

I was surprised with the way he used the word “we.” Suddenly, I felt something bizarre stirring inside me. 

“Well, I was originally planning to take a cab or a bus to Trinoma. There we could get a ride,” I said. 

“Right. But the best choice, I think, is for us to go straight to Cubao,” he answered and here, I was beginning to get excited with the idea especially when he used the word “us.” I loved the sound of it: “us.” 

“Yeah. Besides there are options there. We can even go for those en route to Cabanatuan. Where exactly are you in Malolos?” I asked. 

“Actually I’m from Pulilan. I will alight at Malolos Crossing and then another jeep from there.” 

“How ‘bout in Tabang? You can also catch a jeep there to Pulilan right? I will alight there.” 

“So you live in Tabang?” He asked. 

“Uhmn, no. I still need to ride a tricycle from there and that’s it.” 

At that point, the van came. The passengers piled up and the barker collected our fares. We hopped inside and we were seated side-by-side. 

Once inside, I whipped out my phone and texted my momma. He whipped out his, too. It was a myPhone model cellular phone with qwerty keypad. A few moments more and my momma called. We talked and finished for about two minutes. And then he had a call, too. I heard a woman’s voice asking him if he already got a ride. He asked the woman in the phone if all their friends are there already. At that point I received another call, this time from a friend and we chatted in length. 

We didn’t get the chance to talk throughout the entire half an hour ride from Caloocan to Bulacan. When the van crossed the barrier at the toll gate he advised the driver to pull over at the Tabang tricycle terminal. This puzzled me since he mentioned he will alight in Pulilan. Althroughout, I thought I’ll be leaving him first. 

He waited for me to alight the van first and for me to catch a tricycle and then he waved me goodbye. The tricycle driver was still gearing up, putting on his jacket and checking his gas. He was already about 20 meters away. When the tricycle finally ran, that moment when it was about to catch up on him, he glanced back, smiled at me so that in return, I raised my right hand, angling my point finger, directed it to my temple in an act like a salute, and off we part ways.

There is that one great love for every person. For some things will be easy and they will meet sooner than they could’ve hoped for. Others in quite some time yet still the fateful day of crossing distance surely will come. And then there are those who are less fortunate. For in eternity, they would spend the universe’s time searching and searching. Fate won’t be kind to them. The threads of their paths will never meet and on they go further in their sorry barren life. But worse is those who are given the chance to meet yet tragically no one would dare cross the borders of strangeity. From then on, they will have to go on with their lives more miserable than they could’ve imagined.  
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"And he left with everything he came for" by Don't Forget, Clementine
 

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