“Here’s your coffee, sir. Anything else?” I just shook my head and didn’t even bother to look at the waiter as he placed the coffee cup on the table. I wasn’t really in the mood to socialize with anyone at that very moment so I just opened my laptop and opened my account in a social networking site. My meeting with my colleagues from the publishing house has ended an hour ago but I just didn’t feel like going home. No one is there anyway.
Like clockwork, I automatically went to your account. That, as always, wasn’t the best idea to be honest. It’s been three months since we last saw each other and I know that just looking at your account wouldn’t even be enough. In all honesty, even being with you wasn’t enough because for all you know, we’re just friends.
I did try to tell you how I felt last time we were together. But as always, you were feeling down and lost and I just can’t force myself to give you another thing to worry about. After all, you did say that our friendship is the only constant thing in your life right now and that you didn’t want to mess it up.
My mood went from bad to worse when I saw your latest post. You were out with your friends again, smiling like you really have no care whatsoever of the world around you. You are always running off somewhere. I did try to ask you once what you were running away from but you just said that you didn’t know.
I let out a sigh, looking at the pictures of you and some other people having fun. I was so engrossed in looking at all those seemingly happy moments that you have with them that I didn’t even budge when someone bumped the chair I was sitting in. I was in too much of a bad mood to adjust for whoever it was on the table behind me.
A picture of you sleeping was on my screen now, looking so peaceful as always. That’s how you always look, you know, peaceful, when you are asleep. There are even times when you smile suddenly that I thought you were awake. Sleep and running around, they were your escape from whatever demons you were hiding from.
I was happy for you, to be honest. That was way better than seeing you sulk longingly at a corner the way you did when I first met you. It’s just that I knew that I can never be part of both. I can definitely not share the dreams you have when you are asleep and trying to catch up with you when you’re always somewhere doing whatever it is that you do is just expensive and tiring. It just feels like I can never catch up to you at all, or be part of your world no matter how many times you tell me that I’m the only constant thing in your life.
Not really knowing what I was doing, my hand reached for the laptop screen and started touching your cheeks, imagining how it would feel like if it was really your face I was touching. I gave out a sigh taking our last conversation into account. Maybe that is the problem; I was the only constant thing in your life. Way too constant that you never seem to see me when you are out there trying to capture all the fleeting moments in your life.
“My real face would feel warmer, you know.” I snatched my hand from the laptop screen and turned around to face the table behind me. I almost shrieked in embarrassment when I saw you there, grinning, your eyes darting from my face to the screen of my laptop.
You took my hand and placed it on your cheek, still smiling. “Here,” you said as the warmth of your skin seeps through my palm. I was too shocked to really say anything so I stared in disbelief, half of me wanting the Earth beneath me open up and shallow me whole while the other half is wishing that time would just stand still.
“Why are you here?” I asked after a while, not really taking my hand off of your face. I was afraid that if I did, you’d disappear and I would realize that I have just imagined everything. I did try to pull out a while back but you didn’t let go of my hands.
“Well, I’m done running around so I’m coming home.” You said, not taking your eyes off mine. I just stared at you with a confused look.
“So, you’re travelling back to Manila?” I asked, quite disappointed. And there I was thinking that you’d be staying here for a while. I forced a smile to hide the pain. I almost got angry when you started laughing.
“God! You are dense!” You said which made me more confused than ever. Your life is in Manila while mine was here, stuck in the province.
I snatched my hand back and faced my laptop again, irritated. “Well, I’m sorry I’m not as smart as you are.” I said before taking a long gulp from my coffee.
“Seriously? Are you seriously waiting for me to point everything out to you?” I didn’t even look at you this time. I went ahead and turned my laptop off and put it back in my bag.
“You don’t.” I said. “Whatever you do is none of my business.” I took my bag, left enough money for the coffee on the table and started walking away.
“You are dense!” You said before I can get too far. “That’s the reason I’d been running around all this time! I’ve always known that you were my home but I never really knew if I was yours.”
That made me stop and turn around to look at you. You were looking at me with so much frustration and fear written all over your face.
“Am I wrong? I just thought that seeing you looking and touching my picture that way means you feel the same way. All these years, I’ve been running around, trying to see if you’d even notice if I’m gone. Well, I guess I am the dense one then. I’m sorry.”
Slowly, I started walking towards you until your face was just inches away from mine.
“Welcome home.” I said and that’s where it all began.