today i have decided: i am setting you free.
i’m writing this from a small house in the Bay, that overlooks the sea. the sun is setting in the valley, bright orange sinking into the ocean. i am surrounded by palm trees and lush green foliage. your favorite color.
on my first day i thought about how much you’d love it here. i was blasting your favorite song through my new favorite city earlier, cause i guess i wanted you to feel the peace i get from breathing in this town’s cool breeze. i wish i could tell you about my uncle and cousins, about the whole conversation we had about إن شاء الله - and what a beautiful word that is. beautiful like your soul. your mind. your face that i may never get to see again.
kahit magsikat ang araw, at maglipas ang gabi, hindi ibig sabihin na babalik ka rin sa akin. at siguro tinatanggap ko na yan.
(there’s something about closure that only ones native tongue can provide. it helps me understand what otherwise cannot be comprehended. i’m sure it’s the same for you.
but i digress.)
i desire for you, so badly, to fit into the fabric of my life. to let me into your deepest fears. to laugh with me when i need to be reminded that life is full of joy as much as sorrow.
even now, i wish you were sitting with me in this house by the sea. but the truth is that you’re not. you’re two thousand, three hundred miles away. even further is your heart from mine.
because the truth is that i tore you from the fabric of my heart. and i’m sorry. i know that no apology could ever bring you back. but i want you to know i am. i’m sorry i overstepped your boundaries. i’m sorry i broke your heart.
(every person i meet now knows this. they may never know your name. but they will know the imprint you left on my skin the night you hugged me in the study room, when you said you weren’t rejecting me but redirecting me for something better. and i tear up remembering your words. cause every person that knows me knows you, from the way i ask them where i should draw the line. what boundaries do they need. what do they need from me.)
you knew it was best for you to leave. whether that is good for me, i still don’t know. but i want you to know that i want the best for you, and if the best thing for you is to not know me anymore, i accept that. i hope this distance is helping you heal.
what i do know is that right now, i am sitting in this house by the sea. watching the waves break over rocks. crashing into each other, too. my wave broke against your rock and retreated back into the ocean. and in the period when our waves superimposed, you reminded me that it’s okay to take a chance on love. that when i push people away with my vicious, vicious words, everyone gets hurt. including me. and maybe some people are not meant to love me forever. maybe some loves are just meant to pass by. but it doesn’t make them any less important.
i meant what i said, in the laundry room.
the first Saturday night.
“mahalaga ka.” you are important (to me). and you always will be. cause i may not love you like that anymore, maybe i just loved a version of you that doesn’t exist, but i’ll always be grateful that i got to know you. cause to know you is to love you. thank you for letting me know you. thank you for letting me witness the love you give to the people you love.
in spite of our differences, we are so similar in so many ways. i see myself in all the ways that you are hurt, cause i have passed through those hurdles too. and that’s why i’m not too worried, cause for as stubborn as you are, you’ll find a way to make it through. and i’ll be silently rooting for you.
right now, i am sitting in this house by the sea. and the waves are breaking, sinking, crashing, rising. the way our own waves crashed and retreated. the way we broke - the way i broke you and that broke something in me - in between. maybe one day we’ll meet when we are both rising. all i know is that i hope we both take our time. you stitched your way into the fabric of my heart and my future lovers will always know, cause you are one of the people that first taught me how to love.
even if you never loved me back.
(it’s funny, how the people that don’t love us often teach us the most about love.)
take your time, dear. maybe one day i will be sitting in this house by the sea and you’ll be in my life again. but maybe you won’t. one day i’ll understand why your wave drifted into the harbor of my heart and sailed away, just like that. but i think i’m already beginning to understand that insha’Allah i will love again. and so will you.
i still pray for you every time i clasp the rosary beads that come from an olive tree in your home, because your God-fearing attitude has made me love and fear God even more. and i will visit one day, even if you won’t be around to hear all about it. who knows, maybe one day you’ll read all about it.
i hope you remember the word, tadhana. that we don’t meet people for an accident. meeting you was not an accident. cause you taught me so many lessons, which i’m determined not to have to learn again. i pray i never hurt someone the way i hurt you, ever again.
alam ng Diyos (LORD knows) there are so many things I have left to tell you. so many things about the places i get to visit and the people i’ll get to love. the people i will love better now, because i knew you; because i loved you first.
but because there is a chance that we are not fated to meet again in this life, i’ll save it for when i see you in the next one.
(or maybe we’ll party in heaven if i’m not sent to Jannah wallah.)
.إن شاء الله
and i always will
malaya ka na.
to a palestinian boy from dearborn, michigan, here are the last things a pilipina girl from metro manila wants you to know. if somehow this letter finds its way to you.
you know who you are.
sometimes we hurt the ones we love. and it tears us apart. and sometimes anything we try to do to fix it is “too little, too late.”
i was constructed by the desire to undo.
malaya-Filipino word meaning “free“