A Part of Me - Visitor's Love Story
by REYNALDO DE LEON ANG
Soulmates? Possible? Yeah, I guess we are.
We have known each other for like, thirty years. Who could’ve imagined we’d last this long? You told me once that what we had was “platonic”. Remarkable, though, because I don’t think you would have survived without me, nor I without you. It goes both ways, I think. And that’s what is good about us. You and I, we’re like puto and ginuguan, kape and pandesal —differing in texture yet goes fit together.
I remember one time when you had a girlfriend and she dumped you. Well, it did hurt a lot. For you, she was your first. And for me, because it pissed me off to see you so affected by what that girl did to you. I helped you get over her. But, not in a way that I would’ve liked. Putting my feelings aside, I make friends with all the pretty girls that I know so I could make them meet you. Just to kind of heal your upset pride. And it worked, didn’t it? You went right up to “seventh heaven” when the prettiest girl in school went out with you. Then, the cute cheerleader, then the pretty campus editor, then… I couldn’t even count all your girls then.
You didn’t have much time for me, but so what? I knew that when you’re over a relationship, you’d come running back to me. I loved those moments of comforting your hurt ego, helping you mend broken stuff, either your face or your heart.
When you’re not with your current “girl”, we’ll be all over the place, doing fun things together. Anyway, those were the old times. High school days. We went to different colleges but that didn’t end us from keeping in touch.
Did you know that I cried each night when I received your mail? Yes, because I missed you, damn it! I hated it when you write about all the girls you’ve been seeing. You even described to me, in all its gory details, your first time. You thought that was all right between friends. Well, it wasn’t, for God sake! IT was gross imagining you and that girl. And damn you, it hurt a lot! How could you be so insensitive to my feelings? But then, as I calmed myself later, I realized that you didn’t know.
I hoped a few years after college that, things will be just like the old days. We both didn’t change a bit. We just matured. Thing were, for a while, pretty much the same. I valued every single minute that we spent together because I knew that it wouldn’t last. And it didn’t.
Eventually, you got married. She was, admittedly, perfect. She’s a great person, and she makes you contented. You, of all people, shouldn’t know that whatever makes you happy makes me even more glad for you. Goodness, if you only knew what kind of agony you put me through all these years. Maybe, seeing you with other girls made me dead for hurt. But this —seeing you married— might be the complete end of me. I’ve given up a lot for you. I’ve bear a lot of hurt and sleepless nights thinking of you, you, and you. You are my life, the core of it; you’re a part of me...
But I couldn’t tell you any of this. I know that I’d hate to see the moment when your eyes would lose their joy and fondness when they look at me. I wouldn’t want that look to be replaced by disgust, or worse, rejection. So, I kept my mouth shut. I saw you through your wedding day, the baptismal, birthdays, the not-so-good hospital days of any of your three kids with.
You’ve treasured me, you’re sometimes annoyed with me, but I’ve always been the ever-loyal and good friend to you. That. Just that.
And you wonder why I never married. Silly, because I couldn’t find anyone like you. It is you that I wish for, you that I need, you that I’ve always loved all these years. Ah, thirty three years and I haven’t said a word. Much as I would like to regret it, I don’t. You’d hate me. Or, I could be a bit judgmental sometimes, even pessimistic, maybe you won’t, after all. Oh, I really don’t know. Maybe what we shared is reason enough for you to do just that. OR it could be the fact that I would even dare to suggest such a thing is enough to make your skin crawl and make you throw-away all those years of precious friendship. Until it disappears in thin air.
SO, I just won’t tell you. Because I’m not equipped with the right materials to be worthy of your love. It’s for your wife and kids—that love. Maybe, there’s even a tiny spot for me in your heart—you could even love me a little—just not in that way.
Look, our hair’s getting thin and grey. Our skin’s wrinkling. Doesn’t feel like the old days anymore, does it? But inside me, it’s just like those times…
“Hey, check out that girl,” you would whisper in my ear. I wouldn’t look at her, I’d look at you. So good-looking, so full of appeal. I wished then that you’d gaze at me like you did at that girl. But you wouldn’t, of course. In my dreams…
My feelings for you are kept respectfully at a particular place in my heart. Don’t worry, I won’t let it out. I won’t let you know. I’ll carry it to the grave, promise. I just can’t afford to let you go and ruin anything. Because… I just can’t. It would destroy me… because this part of me should be remain a secret. I have this heart that doesn’t belong here.
“She’s beautiful!’ then I will agreed.
“You’ve got it, Kenneth!” so he said.