My arms and knees feel like jelly. My joints are weak. Sunlight is slipping through the windows, blinding my eyes. My breathing is steady but panicked. I try to get out of bed…but I can’t.
It has been a long time since I last dreamed of you.
Most of them have been vivid yet quiet. We just sat or stood across each other, never talking. You’d look into my eyes and I could see the pain and the sadness. Then I wake up.
Not this time though. This time, I actually saw you laugh.
This time, I actually held your face.
And this time, you actually talked to me…like nothing ever happened.
Like it’s the most normal thing in the world.
And, I was stunned. But, that wasn’t enough for me to just sit there and wait quietly. I actually walked up to you and hugged you…because it’s been so long. You were drinking. You were trying to get yourself drunk. The lines of alcohol tainted your face purple. I don’t know how that made sense. Alcohol taints people’s faces red, not purple. But that time, it was so vivid it actually made sense. It also made sense that you were in front of me looking healthier than ever while getting drunk on alcohol.
I was running away from somebody. A man. Like I usually do in dreams. That time, I knew why the man was supposed to meet me. In that story, we were supposed to be lovers in a secret rendezvous. We were supposed to meet up. But I changed the story and right when I was supposed to see him, right when he actually saw me pass by…I ran. I ran like the rest of my life depended on it. And that’s when I saw you.
You were sitting on a bench in the middle of what seemed like a park. Somehow, it felt like we were in a Buddhist temple. I don’t know why that’s the case, but that’s how it was. You were drinking from a glass and your cheeks flushed with alcohol.
I came up towards you – your eyes clouded with resentment. You said,
“Ikaw ra diay ang nabilin nga nakahinumdom nako. Mura man ug kamo tanan kay lingaw na nga wala ko. Lingaw naman mo sa inyong bag-ong pamilya.”
(“It seems like you’re the only one who remembers me. You all seem to be much happier without me. You all seem happier with your new family.”)
I don’t quite understand why, but it’s clear you were still very bitter over what happened. I gave you a hug anyway and told you that no one could ever forget. The ones left behind could never forget.
Then you laughed with that glint in your eyes – that glint when you were really happy and you joked about the silliest things. You hugged back and laughed and everything felt right. Like nothing has changed.
Then we joked around and talked. You told me about your side.
You told me how you felt bad but you still kept thinking about us, nonetheless.
You told me about how proud you were of us…that even things turned out the way it did, it still turned out for the best.
Then you told me about how you felt abandoned and worthless.
You told me about how alone you felt and how distant we have all become.
You felt like we intentionally avoided you…and it’s sad, because sometimes we actually did.
But you smiled and hugged me again.
Then you laughed and told me not to worry.
Then I woke up.
How could I ever have thought you stopped loving us? Of course you didn’t. That’s why it’s so painful. That’s why the whole messed up relationship was so painful.
Of course, we miss you. We always will.