Out of Goodbyes
"I told you not to come here anymore."
"You should know by now that I'll never do anything you tell me to do."
"Ahh, there's the man I fell in love with."
It was like a dream where I already found myself at the middle of the story, no beginnings and wishing there were no endings as well. Living in the present, trying to forget what has passed and dreading what tomorrow holds. I saw him under a tree similar to hundreds other, right in the middle of an overcrowded plaza. Tall buildings surrounded it, the traffic was terrible and cars were honking everywhere. Yet when I looked at his eyes everything disappeared, even him. All that I saw was the sorrow he had no time to hide.
My feet moved towards him, taking sure steps that my heart did not have courage for. His eyes locked with mine the whole time, it was a short walk but eternity was in his depths, there was no way I could've looked away. I stood beside him sneaking a glance at him once in a while, now that his focus was back to the tree. The wind blew and his dark tresses flowed like water, it was a sight to behold, I never knew a man could look so ethereal.
I had no idea what overcame me that day. It was quite mortifying, just staring at him and standing there like an idiot. My face turned completely red. I guess I was thankful that the stranger chose to walk away. Stranger? I really couldn't call him that, despite the fact that I don't even know his name or the coldness in his gaze, I felt connected to him somehow. Or maybe I was just deluding myself, because I found someone with the same grief as mine.
As I found my way out of my thoughts my gaze settled on the tree. I wasn't able to actually see it, I was too busy memorizing the details on his face. But this time, uninterrupted by his presence, I started to see or rather, feel why he had stood under this tree for such a long time. It still looked the same as the others, yet it seemed older, filled with so much more memories. It seemed so familiar like I've been here so many times before. Standing under it gives me peace.
I knew then that I would always come back.
"Why do you love me? I am all those things they say."
"You're very talkative today, I'm honored."
"Just answer me."
"Because all those things they say are nothing compared to how you make me feel. I'm a selfish person."
"You sound so happy about that fact."
"You'll make me happier if you tell me you love me."
"Fine, but someday you'll run out of chances to say it."
He was there again the next day, this time I just stood beside him, my head barely reaching his shoulder, carefully not looking at his face. I expected him to walk away again but he remained at my side. His calm demeanor calms my beating heart, only to hasten again when he looked down at me with eyes as bright as fire, completely the opposite of last time. His existence was such a paradox to my own.
It lasted for a second, the next moment he was gazing back at the tree as if nothing happened. To him, I am merely someone who happened to like the same tree. That day we didn't have words. But I knew then I wasn't imagining the connection I felt. My soul recognized him, yearned for him. Yet I couldn't reach out, he was still so distant. I wonder why…he beckons, but when I answer, he suddenly disappears.
"I won't stay."
"Why are you still here then?"
"I think this time that means you're actually speechless. I love you."
"You should stop doing so."
"But you don't want me to."
"I'm a selfish person."
"What a pair we make. Will you let me go?"
"I didn't think so."
I forgot when it had become a habit. All I know was that I had to see him again and again. It didn't matter that he doesn't talk to me. Just his presence fills me with joy I didn't think I would feel. I still don't have his name and I couldn't ask because I have this nagging feeling that I know it. I have been spending so much time with him lately that he has become so familiar but I somehow feel the familiarity runs deeper.
The blossoms have begun to fall, in a few days the tree will be completely bare. The thought saddens me. Will he be gone as spring ends? I look at him and still I can't read his thoughts, he feels this and looks at me as well. The fast beating of my heart started again as his hands moved towards my face. His thumb stroked my cheek, removing the stray petal that landed there. My face reddens and my heart constricts, I try to suppress it. For the first time, I'm scared.
"Why don't you see me?"
He says, and then he was gone. The look in his eyes that first attracted me to him was there again. My heart broke for a reason I could not fathom. My tears fell as more petals swirled in the wind.
"You shouldn't move so much."
"W-we both k-know how this will e-end."
"Why did you do it?"
"B-because I l-love you."
"It's not enough"
"It w-will have to d-do for n-now."
"You know I will be waiting, no matter how long it takes."
"I'll t-try t-to m-make it in t-time."
I dreamt of him. His voice, his face, his eyes. He was in front of me, he was saying something. But I couldn't hear anything. I tried to go to him but I was thrown back as I took a step. He turned his back, but not before I saw the sorrow that was mirrored in my own heart. I called him but no sound came out. I woke up crying, it started snowing. Without thinking, I ran.
I saw whiteness all around, the vibrant colors have faded. The tree was finally bare and so were my feelings. He wasn't there. And as my regret reached its peak I uttered the name I said in my sleep.
"You're late Sakura."
I would know that voice anywhere. I slowly turned around and saw him. This time my heart was the one that urged my feet to move forward. I fell into his embrace, everything came flowing into my mind. My heart felt how it used to feel. And I just knew what to say.
"It doesn't matter, now I'm here. Tell me, why here, why this tree"
"It reminds me of that time. Back when you remembered."
"But it doesn't have its petals anymore."
"I don't care now that I found you again."
"You're so talkative today, I guess time changes everything"
"Ahh, there's the man I fell in love with."
It was a surprise to see his smile. It was a small one, barely noticeable. But it was for me, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Then he whispered what he had wanted to say all along.
I met you at age 16 and fell into a hundred-year love.