By CAMILLE GOPICO
Memories are the days gone, the clips of yesterday, and the times left behind. They warm me up inside and at the same time tearing every bit of me that is left behind. People say it gets better as time pass by, but I learned that it never did and it never will.
There was a point in time when he asked me to dance in the silence of the night. I was startled yet I still took his extended hand. Then he started humming softly. We danced slowly, he gently held me, and guided my moves while I listened to his soothing voice.
It was like the fantasies I have dreamed, a scene from my favorite movie. It was so cliché yet romantic. The wind blew the strands of my hair and my heart was beating so fast that it reverberated on my ears.
I stared at him, thousands of thoughts clouded my mind yet I couldn’t articulate them. He looked straight into my eyes. I wanted to say something but I stayed quiet. I didn’t know why, my throat was dry. It was as if my voice was being held up. Everything seems to be in place yet it sent shivers down my spine. He tuck my hair behind my ear and told me:
“I love you. Remember this dance because the next one might take me a while. In the near future, you might ask the same favor but I’ll apologize ahead because I will refuse. I’m sorry but please do wait for me. I’ll dance with you again in front of everyone we know. After I have achieved something, I will proudly announce that you are mine. When that time comes, please forgive me for all the times I didn’t take your hand the way you took mine tonight.”
I remained silent. I felt the sadness of his words. I didn’t know how I should respond. I know his struggles and the insecurity he have always felt while being with me. I was his suffering yet he still loved me dearly. I didn’t know how to ease his pain. I just locked my gaze into his. The guilt was eating away all the things I ought to say. I know, more than anyone else, the hardships and triumphs of staying by my side. Holding on to me was the greatest challenge he accepted. He was determined and so was I.
While trying hard to articulate the words I didn’t have, I cried hard while he held me in a tight embrace. I felt helpless, the guilt sank deep within me. It was suffocating me so I chose to stand still. I chose to be protected rather than being the protector. I ran away, scared that I’d hurt him more. I was scared that I might inflict more pain than I already have.
I remember it clearly. I will always regret the silence of that night — the things I failed to do and the words I did not utter.
These memories hurt so much that sometimes, I wish to just forget everthing but then, these memories are also the reason why I’m still holding on. They are keeping me sane. They are telling me to live despite the exhaustion I feel.
When he passed away, I realized losing him doesn’t happen just once. It happens over and over again. I lose him every time I see a glimpse of the pictures we took and every time his favorite music plays. I lose him every time I think of holding him. I go to bed at night and lose him when I wish I could tell him about my day.
And in the morning, when I wake up and reach for the empty phone across my bed, I begin to lose him all over again.
Camille Gopico is currently helping out in their family business. Someone told her before that someday everything will be nothing but memories, thus she is hoping to preserve some of them through her write ups.