gone \’gôn also ‘gan\
no longer existing: no longer at a place; departed or lost.
When asked about my favorite memory, I can recall nothing. All that comes into mind is a blur of what has once been, of what things were, right before everything ceased to exist. I remember the shadow of your smile, the echo of your voice, and the silhouette of your embrace. It was the simplest of things, and also the insignificant ones at that, that seems to be tattooed on my mind. Nothing can quite compare to the feel of your lips pressed against mine, to the touch of your hands igniting my body. When it comes to you, all else fades into the background: my fears of commitment, of being not enough.
However, none of it matters now, anyway. Not when all is lost; not when everything is all a little too late. So if one would ask why I do not consider these fragments of memories as my favorite, the answer is quite simple. A favorite memory should be something that could bring you rapture in reminiscing. How could nostalgias centered with you become my favorite if all they do is haunt me of a love lost and another round of “what could have been”?
Once in every dream my brain could come up with, amidst the constant troubling of my nightmares to sleep, I get visions of us holding hand in hand with everyone right there to see. I dream of you singing me to sleep, enveloping me in your warmth all through the night. But this wistful thinking burns all hopes like how a piece of the sun could burn like a coin in my hand. No more, darling, we could not go back to the way it was, no more.
Like a missing piece in a puzzle, I know it is more than a mystery, an enigma, why I vanished suddenly. Are you even still waiting for me? Are you still there pining for my return? If yes, then good for me that I have someone like you. If no, then just know that I completely understand. But whatever the answer may be, I know you deserve an answer. The lies I reasoned with for leaving are not entirely tell-tales. But I did lie, by omission, of denying you the truth of why I wanted out.
As I write this letter to you, I want you to think of me with the sun’s rays illuminating my dark locks. Envision me in a meadow by the hill, with the sun setting behind my back, the pen in my hand with you as the subject of my afternoon daydream. But in this reverie, I do not think of how it feels to be loved by you again neither how it soothes my insides to hear your voice once more. Instead, in this contemplation, I gather all the courage to make myself vulnerable to someone, to entrust a portion of my soul to the hands of another.
I remember how you once asked me, “Will you stay with me no matter what?” You took my lack of answer as an affirmation and kissed me on the forehead instead as we looked at the stars lighting up the night sky. There was a lot of everything that I would have wanted to say but nothing came out of my mouth through every attempt. I wanted to tell you that I could not, that no matter how much I would have wanted that to happen, it would be more than unfair to you if I stayed. No, if you stayed with me.
Do you remember how I told you how my grandfather switched up names of his own daughters? Do you remember the story of how my aunt mistook her past lover to be her husband? You see, love, a year or two from now, I might become them. I have been diagnosed with a terminal memory loss, the Alzheimer’s disease as they would call it, and only time then could dictate the deadline of every single memory I have.
Leaving, as they say, was always a coward’s way out. But is not it dauntless how I braved living without my lifeline, living my life without you? I did not mean to be selfish, dear, but cannot you see how I am being selfless in letting you go? To set you free of me is to protect you from anymore hurt that this condition of mine would bring you. The knowledge of me leaving you for an unknown reason is a more tolerable pain than the reality of me forgetting you in the long run.
“Where were you then?” I was at the far distance looking at you exist without me in the picture. “Who else was there?” No one but your silhouette haunting me every minute. “Saying what?” That it was a mistake to abandon you.
Mourn no more for our lost love, dear. Mourn no more for the longing of what we once had and the regrets of what we could have had. As my every memory of you slowly wanes, always remember how hard I held on to them, the hardest that my brain could ever allow. Sometimes it is bliss to pretend that memory loss happens since the brain gives way for the heart to store the collection of moments we have, that my mind flushes you out to store you inside the core of my body.
But most of all, darling, the pain of leaving is endurable than the unbearable pain of seeing you suffer all because of me, than the inevitable pain of taking one glimpse on the masked agony on your face every single time I would ask “Who are you?” It would hurt to look at your beautiful face with me unable to know even just your name. You see, love, to be gone from your life is far more tolerable than to exist day by day with you in my life slowly vanishing into dust. Always, for always it would only be you. Even after all of my memories plummet into the hollow chasm and they are all gone, gone, just gone.
Disclaimer: This literary work in prose written in a first-person point of view is penned as a reply to Pablo Neruda’s poem entitled Clenched Soul.