“When was the last time that you two talked?”
I stopped my packing to think. I’m not really sure if a simply exchange of “Hi!” can be considered as a conversation. That was the last exchange that we had days ago. And probably that awkward moment when you paused in front of me while I was eating and I didn’t even have the courage to look up and ask what you wanted.
“Months ago,” I said, uncertain. I don’t really remember the last time we sat down to talk to be honest. I guess, it is true; you don’t really put much on things when you don’t know that it’s going to be the last. I continued packing, folding the last shirt I was bringing home.
All that is really left to do is for me to wash the dishes and I’ll be all set to go. The landlord already knows what to do with the stuff I’m leaving behind, all these trinkets of the life I had here.
I looked around to see if there was anything else that I would like to bring home with me. There was none. Everything that I need was packed. Everything else was just something I’d rather not have.
“You’re not coming back, are you?” That question caught me by surprise. Not that my leaving wasn’t obvious; I just didn’t think that someone would actually say it out loud. After all, everyone had been so comfortable with silence these past few months that it never really occurred to me that someone would ever have the courage to break that.
“Maybe,” I said, not committing to anything. I didn’t want to make promises that I can never keep and I wasn’t really sure what I was about to do. I just knew one thing; I had to get out of the place, not to run away but to fix the things that had been broken all these months. I made the mistake of coming back before even with all the uncertainty that was here, I’m not going to let myself make the same mistake again.
“You two should talk, at least before you leave. What you had—”
“Had. Past tense. Let’s leave it at that.” I said, cutting her off. I wasn’t in the mood to go down memory lane. My resolve to leave was already on the brink and I wasn’t going to take the chance.
“You could at least say goodbye.” I didn’t need to turn around to know that it was you.
Our friend made a flimsy excuse about needing to do something else and left. And like the day I came back, we were alone.
“Some things are better left unsaid.” I said before starting to pick the dishes that need to be washed.
“Why are you leaving?” You asked. I just smiled and walks pass you. We both know the answer to that. It was stupid for you to even ask.
“You really want me to answer that?” I asked as I put down the dishes on the sink and started the water. I watch as the water slowly cleans the plates and glasses even without me doing anything just yet. I wish our life was like that, one rinse and everything would be as good as new. But it wasn’t.
“Maybe. I guess I need to hear it.”
Maybe, just maybe. Guesses and maybes, that’ what we had.
“Silence is a cruel prison and I have served enough time.” I was proud of myself for being able to say those words without wanting to hurt you. “I came back for a dream forgetting that nightmares are dreams too. It wasn’t your fault really. It was my fault. And right now, all I’m really doing is trying to wake myself up.”
“Do you love me?”
For the first time in months, I looked you in the eyes. I saw some things there that I really didn’t want to see. I ignored them as much as I can.
“That’s not the right question.” I said, going back to the dishes.
“Then what is?” You asked. Without turning to look at you, I asked the one question that I’ve dreaded to ask you since I came back.
“Do you love him?”
Again, I was back in your prison of silence. I closed my eyes, fighting the tears that were threatening to fall. I finished the dishes, dried my hand and walked pass you one last time. I grabbed my bags and started to walk out of the door.
“What was I to you?” You asked, making me turn to you one more time.
“You were the person who taught me how to swim.”
“I don’t even know how to swim.”
“I know. You are the ocean.” I’m not sure if you even got that before I started walking away. Because that was just it, you were the ocean and I was drowning and the only thing that could save me was to learn how to swim.