It’s been six months. Half a year is a good enough time to think about where you are. The change has not always been welcomed. Between days of study and writing and learning about the art of domestic activities, there were also stolen moments of regret, early morning brushes with anxiety, and late evening blues. Who am I now that a huge part of my life is now in the past? Who am I now when the things which used to define me are now memories, fragments of time and space that no longer present itself as a work in progress but are instead examined under the meticulous gaze of hindsight.
You are in the past too.
I know I owe you a lot. I changed because of you. You were my cross, my confusion, my certainty, and my conversion. I do not carry the same weight to you. It was – as if anything changed in the melodrama of my life – unrequited love. Those two words are too familiar now – in my life and the lives of others – that they no longer carry the freshness of sorrow that it holds. Because what can be more painful than to have all those affections rendered as imagined?
I owe you a lot because of the things I did, the regrets now part of the collective past I am most inclined to summon only to taste the bittersweet nostalgia and to find out many other misgivings that could justify the reason why I left. And the truth is, you were also one of the many reasons I left: reasons ranging from fear to uncertainty, to exhaustion and frustration, impulse! Maybe if I no longer saw you, I could finally become the man I wanted to be – no pun intended.
The last time I saw you was last Friday. I had to go back and finalize some paperwork. Closure – the professional kind. Before that, and I don’t think you remember, I saw you walking down St. Francis Avenue, along one of the tree-lined streets beside a fancy hotel. You were on your way to work, and I was on my home after another visit for ‘closure’. My eyes were hidden behind a pair of cheap sunglasses, and in front of me were two, young gay men. When I saw you from a distance, I panicked. Was I going to say hi? Will I acknowledge you existed? You were, after all, part of the past. Why risk being unnoticed?
So I kept silent. When you passed by, one of two gay men turned his head and checked you out. I laughed inside. He thought of you as handsome. How many times did I turn my head when you were near me in the past? And how many times after did I bow my head, or looked the other way, and changed direction, after I made those embarrassing mistakes?
Last Friday, when I went back to fix even more paperwork, I saw you. You were alone again for lunch. My friends were at another table. I looked at you before. I raised my eyebrows to greet. You did too. A wordless encounter. The past was in the present again, but for the first time, it really did not feel like anything. I was happier to see my friends. I was more excited to talk to them. You were there; you were not there. I don’t know how to explain it properly. I just knew that the man who is the cause of my conversion – oh the peculiar way God chooses – and the man who confused me about the paths I took no longer played a role in the melodrama of my life. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to talk to you, maybe just to find out how you were, and maybe, just maybe, to apologize properly, and genuinely.
But maybe it is no longer needed. Maybe there is no more purpose to it. The past can never be present. It is contained in yesterdays, in words that no longer make any sense, and mean anything. The farther I am to the new today I live, the fainter the sound of those words which once lifted me up, brought me down and settled me in the finality to become the person I am supposed to be. There is no use contemplating about what ifs. I made a choice, and I am sticking by it.