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      Con te Partiro, Zhylrae11

     


Once upon a time... when my life isn't as complicated as it is right now, I met a beautiful stranger on a mini-bus from the south. It was an encounter I never expected to blossom into something that, even now, I could not fully understand. It has become a sad song that continually haunts my waking hours with bittersweet, nostalgic refrains.



The most vivid image I remember of that meeting was her eyes. No, she wasn’t cross-eyed or cataract-blind, or whatever. Her eyes were normal of course. What struck me was the feeling that somehow I’ve known her for a very long time. I felt strangely comfortable with her. And the fact that the only available seat on the back was beside me, wasn’t really helping me at all in hiding a silly grin that suddenly appeared on my face. God, I must have looked like an eight-year old kid about to receive a brand-new Playstation 3 gaming console from Santa. Nonetheless, it didn’t matter. She was making a beeline for the seat. I mustered everything I had into making a straight, poker face just to look “normal”. I blew it. She looked at me as though I’ve just smoked a pack of cigarettes and swallowed all the smoke. I might have been wrong, but, hey, anything is open for interpretation when you’re thinking of something, a topic, any topic, just to strike a conversation and somehow explain whatever it was that needed explaining.



I looked at her and smiled. Yes, I smiled. I would have preferred jumping off the window on my right, but I didn’t. I didn’t have my parachute then, and the pavement below didn’t look very comfy for splattering. So, I smiled. And, by some divine intervention, she smiled back at me. A shy smile. God, I wished I had jumped off that marvelously crafted and blessedly glorious bus.



Then, I did the most romantic pick-up gesture ever known to human kind. I offered her a bubble gum, and it’s called “Judge.” Smooth, huh? What was I thinking?! See Also: Bad Breath, Gingivitis, Halitosis. But, the gods must have smiled on me that day, because instead of being offended, she just accepted it. Probably just to get it over with. I wanted to tell her that I was not trying to insult her or anything, but I didn’t. I just chewed one instead as an act of sympathy. We silently chewed our gums until I found the strength to ask another question, “Aha diay ka gatrabaho” (read: Where do you work?). She told me that she worked at a call center in Lahug. I said, “Me too. I mean I don’t work in a call center, but I work too.” She probably thought I was stupid or something, but that didn’t deter me from throwing another one, “Naa naka uyab?” (read: Do you have a boyfriend?) By now, I think you have a general idea of how smooth I was when I met her.



Okay, I was kinda like Johnny Bravo that day, except I forgot two things -- ask her if she wanted to smell me and tell her that she’s so fine, she blew my mind. With the backdrop established, lemme go on to tell our very short story…



I called her Liz. It was like finding another me, only female. We talked about everything under the sun. Our work, families, online gaming, music, everything. It was so easy to talk to her. We talk in English the vernacular, even in Aramaic. She was a Scorpio, so am I. I was born November 3, she, the 2nd. She plays the bass like I do. We talked about our special someones. We share a similar situation. Complicated. I felt free to be who I am when I was with her. And I felt she did too. I wasn’t afraid that she wouldn’t accept me. Our conversations were without pretense or patronage. We were both crazy for each other. I felt it. She felt it without a doubt. I loved her. We fell in love with each other. We became lovers, platonically of course. I respected her, and yet I wanted to possess her, but I didn’t. I loved her so much so I didn’t insist. She’s with someone she really loves right now. And I…I have a son, but am not married. Can’t? Won’t? I don’t know. I am between two roads, the one mostly traveled, the other one, less. I am seeing things in a new light. I will take the road less traveled and hope it will lead me to where I need to be. Like Robert Frost, “I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”



Liz, remember me for who I was when I was with you. I will always cherish what we had, and mourn for what could have been. I choose to suffer the pains of regret to remind me of what I’ve lost. And yet, I accept everything. I will always miss you as the desert longs for water. I shall look for you in every sunset and remember you whenever I am lost in love’s maddening labyrinth. Fare thee well, liz...

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