Chance Encounter

Tonight I allow myself to grieve.

I feel like it has been lifetimes since we met. When was the last time I thought about you? When was the last time you thought of me?

Lifetimes— yet there are days when I still can’t fathom just what happened, days where I can’t seem to comprehend those tumultuous four months. There are days, where I still ask questions and stubbornly look for answers, going through every moment, overturning every message, dissecting every memory I have, as if by some miracle— maybe the 6th time I replay it I’ll find something, anything to explain why. Nothing. Each time I find nothing but the silence of my own thoughts. Each time I find the same moment, the same message, and the same memory etched at the back of my head, unchanging, disdainful.

On the best days, I can easily shrug the entire thing as sheer incompatibility, a misguided trial of ennui and desire. A game of cat and mouse where this time, I was the mouse. I’ve always put myself in the position of advantage but this one was just a gamble that I lost. And the usual words and phrases come up like “there are so much people out there,” “you’re young, you’ll meet someone else,” “it’s okay, the world is your oyster, di mo yan kailangan.” On those days, I agree and think to myself, I’m absolutely right. I deserve better. I can do better. I’ll be better. Yada-yada. And for a moment, I believe it.

On the worst days, I still think it’s my fault, that I could have done better. I still think that maybe what I asked for was too much, that maybe I was not enough. Or that maybe I wasn’t understanding. On those days, the sheer weight of my thoughts are chained to my wrists and ankles, jangling with the memories I would rather keep forgotten. I am heavy and every movement I make creates marks where the cold, unforgiving metal scratch against hard reality.

Lifetimes— I have been vacillating between these lifetimes, the good ones where I don’t spare a moment and the bad ones where the first thing I think of in the morning is you.

When I saw you tonight, on one random evening, walking to my direction but not toward me, I felt as if all those lifetimes were crushed into one single moment. Every bone in my body whistled with excitement and anticipation.

And in an instant, almost too short to bear, I was already ahead of you and you behind me. We passed each other, our eyes never meeting.

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Patient

You’re dressed in immaculate white, dazzling smile underneath a mask. Your broad shoulders stretches across the brightly-lit room.

You’re standing tall, looming over my prostate body laid carefully across the metal bed. I’m wearing nothing but green scrubs, so thin, I can feel the cool surface of steel.

The knife clatters as you take it from the tray and inch it closer to me. I hear the blood rush through my ears. My chest is pounding.

I look at you.

Of course you make no hesitation, your long fingers deftly making an incision. The knife is quickly engulfed by vermillion. Everything feels like a whisper until the lids of my eyes close like curtains.

When they open again, I see my hands, pale and delicate, in a basin. The fingers are relaxed.