RIGHT BESIDE YOU

I was watching you as you walk away, your head down, not even looking at the road you were heading to. I have come to believe that letting you go was the right decision. But I can never let you watch me walk away because I also knew that I would always be hoping that you would run after me. So there I was, watching you walk away.

Those two times you looked back almost made my resolve vanish. Even in the distance, I can see the pain in your eyes and the tears that you were fighting so hard not to show. I was doing the same thing, you know, holding it back, until I was sure that you wouldn’t look back at me anymore. Only when you were about to disappear in the corner street that I’ve let the tears go.

I’m not really sure how many times I wanted to call out your name and run to you. But I stood my ground. It was for the best. You need it as much as I did. The only way to fix what is broken is to fix the thing on its own. We can’t be broken together.

“That was just stupid you know, letting it all go like that.” I turned around to see your brother on one corner, a lit cigarette on one hand, staring intently at me. How he had grown all these years is gone to me.

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“I’m young, not stupid.” He was smirking as always. Gone was the boy who would cling to you before, hating me for taking you away. Where there used to be so much hate, his eyes just show pity and maybe a little hint of sadness.

“Then you should understand why I am doing this.”

“I do and that’s what sucks.” He said with a sigh. “Because no matter how much I understand where you are coming from, I still think that this is stupid. You two are the reason why I didn’t really want to grow up because you made it seem that growing up and falling in love sucks.”

“Don’t go blaming us for your own selfishness and cowardice.”

“I’d admit to being selfish but coward? Shouldn’t you be looking in the mirror to see someone who’s just like that?” He said that to me point blank that it made my heart sink deeper. He was right of course. I was being a coward.

I didn’t want you to make the choice between me and them. I could bear the thought of seeing you torn apart. And maybe, just maybe, I didn’t want my heart broken if you’d choose to drop me instead of them.

It wasn’t our fault that you had to make that choice but we both knew that you had to, at least for now. There was no point in trying to find from each other’s broken pieces the things that we lacked if it would mean that you had to be broken again and again just for being with me.

“Mom and Dad were being selfish. I guess you can say that it runs in the family. But him, it was different. He had never been selfish, at least not on those things that really matter. Then he met you.”

“Still blaming me for everything, I see. Not really surprising,” I couldn’t help the bitterness that echoed through every word I uttered. “What more do you want from me?”

“Honestly? None. I still hate you, you know. You changed him.” His brutal honesty was something that I have gotten used to. He had been pestering me to let you go since I met him anyway. He was just ten years old then. At fifteen, he never really changed. So did your family.

“Then what’s the point of talking to me now? You got what you wanted right?” I asked bitterly. “Now, you can have that one perfect family that you guys have always wanted. I’m already out of the picture.”

“For a grown up, you’re stupid.” He said. Irritation was in his voice.

“You have no right to say that to me.”

“Well, you also had no right to break his heart just when he got it back together. God! You adults make it so complicated.” I looked at him with confusion in my eyes. He managed to look away before our eyes met. “All this time, all he did was to make sure that our family won’t fall apart ever again. He made a promise to me you know, that whatever happens, he’d fix us and bring us back together. How he managed to do so, I can only imagine. He got Mom and Dad back together.”

I knew all that, of course. That was the reason why you didn’t want to have anything to do with me in the first place. But things happened and before we knew it, we were together. I saw how you have sacrificed everything just to put the broken pieces of your family together. I guess, that’s also one of the reasons. I didn’t want you to break what you have painstakingly rebuilt. I was that torn part in what could have been a perfect picture.

“You were the first selfish thing that he ever wanted for himself and no matter how much it had pained him to think that staying with you would mess it all up again, he still chose you. We always knew that he would choose you. He may be the one that made our family whole again, but you were the only one that had ever made him feel whole. And it would take time, maybe it would never happen, but we can’t be so selfish after all of the things that he had done for us, so in the end, we have to choose you too. We at least owe him that much. So why aren’t you choosing him?”

That question jolted me out of my own self-pity and misery. He continued talking but I never heard a word anymore since I was running as fast as I can to catch up with you. I was almost out of breath when I did and called your name. You turned around and the minute you saw me, you came running back. We almost tumbled in mid hug but you didn’t care. Instead, you kissed me and hugged me tighter.

“I thought I’d run out of pavement to walk on before you’d come after me, you idiot!” You said after a while, still locked in a tight embrace. “I was so freaking afraid that I wanted to stop and walk back.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“I almost did. But I knew that I have to let you choose me too. That’s the only way I would know that I have every right to stay beside you no matter what.”

I didn’t have an answer to that and to a lot of other questions that would surely come our way. But somehow, I have to believe, that whatever happens, I’d always choose you and you’d always choose me too.

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