Friday, February 11, 2005

umaasa sa pagputi ng uwak

Tiny fingers. Tiny hands. That’s what I remember most about her. That and her smile. The heat was insane but there we were, sitting on a tree stump, baking under the sun, talking about everyone we knew, catching up on what we’d missed, remembering good times and crazy days.
“Do you remember the time we almost totaled your car?”
“ALMOST? I had to commute for two months after that!” I reminded her, recalling the incident oh too well.
“It was worth it, you must admit. I was in a very critical period in my life.”
“I hardly call dumping your current chew toy a crisis, D.”
“To be great, is to be misunderstood my friend. You, of all people, should know.”
Things had always been like that, Dianne the envied and her weird friend what’s-its-name. I was loathed, ostracized and stereotyped. But I was happy. In a silently warped and utterly secret way, I was happy. But then she found out who I really was, how I truly felt, and all she had left to say was “That’s just not my kind of thing. And I don’t think it will ever be.”
I wasn’t so convinced about that then. I should have prodded, I should have ranted and raved like a lunatic but like the softy that I am, I left hoping she’d stop me or that by some miracle I could have been turned into something different. But my heart and my body would not make peace and until now, the battle rages.
“Do you think you’ll remember me ten years from now?” she asked nonchalantly.
I waited a while before answering, confused by the contrasting emotions in her countenance until, unable to bear the intentness of her gaze, I replied,
“Ten years from now, a lot of things will be different. I’d have saved hard enough to retire early and start writing. That’s what I really want to be, you know, a writer.”
“Yeah. I guess ten years does a lot of damage.”
“Nobody really knows about these things Dai.”
“Like Dorothy Parker said, “Women and elephants never forget.”
“Dorothy Parker, whoever she is, has no idea what she’s talking about.”
“But maybe I do.”
The clouds began to race across the sky, providing a respite from the previous onslaught of sweat and discomfort. She cracked a joke. I shared a story, The Drawbridge Operator. She was silent after that. And out of nowhere, I heard her sniffle. “You’re good at telling stories,” she said. Then she laughed. “That’s the second time I’ve heard that story but you know how to say things better.”
She’s like that.
The shadows lengthened and the silence grew deeper. It was almost time to go but we stayed a little bit longer, hanging on to the chance meeting that might never happen again. Somewhere far away, her mind lingered.
“It’s time to go,” I said, calling her back to the present, holding her hand a little tighter than necessary.
“Well then, I guess this is goodbye.” It was all that I could say. She nodded. “I guess this is goodbye.” I turned around quickly then. It was the second time I’d heard that but somehow she just knew how to say things better. Alone, I laughed long and loud.
Tiny fingers. Tiny hands.
I’ll remember.

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