- Café Compañero, Imus, Confederal Republic of the Cagayan
May 15th, 2021
t was a non-descript day for a boy and a girl as they wandered into the café. They had known each other in the past, and had become regulars of the place, and the café bore witness to their life, watching over their past and continuing to witness their present as it unfolded.
And as it unfolds, one can only be in sacred awe as one witnesses time pass, as metal rusts into an orange clump, as trees grow and die, as the walls of a house crack and the paint fades away. And as the saying went, ‘Time walks, but it runs from passion.’ The pair would attest to that.
For as they talked over the years, the seconds quickly gave way to minutes, the minutes to days, and days to months, and at some point all the words simply passed them by. There was a subtle melancholy as these idle, yet emotional, words became meaningless, and in turn forgotten. And at some point, the emotion itself faded into obscurity.
“Can I ask you a personal question?” She waded through the non-descript conversation they had almost regularly.
“When did you stop loving me?” She blurted the words out without much thought. She felt her lips form a slight smile, as if to cover up whatever she was feeling, but it felt like a conscious façade all the same.
And he remained silent.
And in the silence, she continued to wish. She continued to yearn. She wanted to see his face contort, wanted to see him trip over himself, tell her in a ramble bordering on incoherence that he still, in fact, loved her. That he was simply waiting for the right time. That he... that he what?
She didn’t know, but she continued to hope.
But as the silence progressed, her hope faltered, and her countenance crumbled as a biscuit dipped into coffee. The pieces silently fell to the floor with a clatter that only she heard echo inside her.
And he spoke.
“You know, I was actually kind of hoping you wouldn’t ask that,” he admitted. As she looked at him, a gold band on his finger shot back with a glare matching her own confusion. “I don’t really know. I just woke up one day, and it came to me that no matter what I did or tried, I wouldn’t really be the right one for you.”
“Well, it wasn’t all bad, given we’re still here as friends. But... yeah.” He sighed.
Despite the mutuality, the embraces, the words, now lost to time, that they said to another in these moments, either in bed during the cold night, or on any table just like this. She continued to look back through the years to figure out what she did wrong, what she could have changed. But all she saw was the past, irreversible and forever lost, now in a place she could never return to.
And that was it.
She noticed a ripple on her cup of coffee as a tear fell into it. A ripple that lasted for a brief moment before it calmed, the instant of action gone. She wondered if that was what happened to it all.
“Are you alright?” He said with a look of concern on his face. And she laid back on her chair. In that moment, she decided to be happy, at least, that it all happened.
“Oh, yeah. Just a bit tired.” She took a deep breath. “I... I hope you’re happy.”
She wasn’t, but she can do nothing now. She sighed into the winds her broken heart as it sang a song of mourning.