Here I scatter the ashes of our Wednesdays
and throw dirt on our names because we fell into a stupor of unsaid goodbyes and insincere apologies.
I take my time trying to unclench my fist,
after all, release is only sweet when you feel suffocated.
I always made sure to adjust my grasp to your comfort,
present my entirety as if you owned more than a half of what I used to be.
I remember you in things that have no heartbeat, but a pulse of regret and anger that devours it, and to think you swore you would keep me alive.
In Binondo, you taught me how to eat street foods, walk in the crowded places, sit still on taxi rides,
and feel beautiful even when you kept your eyes off me.
You believed in slow motion, and the magic of lugaw at 12AM,
I watched you in a fascinated haze.
Too unsure of the light.
In Fairview, I told you that I cry during movies and laughed at the way you spun me around in the theater. Hand on my waist for good measure. I showed you claw machines and photobooths,
at least remember me.
I held your hand the first time, bled on
a piece of paper you read on the way to Quiapo, and all the long rides have made me feel empty ever since.
In Ilocos, I gave you a warm kisses on your cheeks when you took me
to church the first time, head spun just at the right angle for when
I walk down the aisle in a dress with you waiting at the end of it,
not knowing that in 4 years, I’d come back at someone
else’s wedding, begging on my knees at silent altars to keep you
even with my faith hanging from my fingertips. You still left.
In Intramuros, I see you in every nook and crevice,
in the holes, in the walls with Lechon Kawali, in quiet places we
claimed are for ourselves. In street vendors, ATM machines,
and pedestrian lanes too dangerous to walk on. Nowadays,
I shut my eyes in the backseat, afraid to see a shadow of who
I thought you were whenever I am near.
In Pasay there are people to see and places to walk
through to cover the tracks of almost lovers, a pair of shoes
to buy, impatience on my throat, and kisses on cheek as a cure
for my silence and satiation for the hunger below your navel.
In EDSA, we locked more than just lips, ate street Palitaw,
knocked three times on wooden doors, even lit candles to be sure,
that we would keep each other for good. Someone must have
knocked harder, the wind must have swept our fire out,
and we were fools to think promises were as simple as padlocks
that rust and break in the rain. How I never told you that I pictured
us in a million other bus rides that night. The road could never
have been shorter than the infinite one you promised.
In Pandacan, you wanted a life with me
with nights in bed, the sickening kind of happiness harrowing
the peace we always knew we had. You held me close
and by the early hours of the morning you swore you’d meet me
again when the clock strikes twelve on a different year. I think
you left your love for me in that two-bedroom suite, and
wouldn’t it be wise if I left mine right next to yours, folded
and hung before the stain of resentment covered it whole?
In between the hurt and madness, memories of us
unfolding without grace on the table, I loved you.
You knew what you were doing when you let go of me to hold
onto someone else that was never as sure as I was of you,
and I wake up in sweat at 3AM thinking I never really knew.
Now we are in places we’ve never been, and I dry
swallow the hurt that swells even when I no longer touch it.
There are spaces I no longer need to be filled because I got used to being hollow
even when I was next to you
and now that I don’t have to be there anymore
it makes it easier to forget you ever happened, and I will tiptoe my way out of these places until I no longer feel you everywhere.