Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Lived A Lifetime of Dream Today

Same old scars bled again.  How could a person, who used to give you joy, can suddenly become a nightmare?  No…, feelings are not the same anymore.  I am not hurt because I still love him… coz I don’t…at least not anymore.  He came. I loved. He promised. I waited. He said sorry.  I forgave. He promised again. I waited longer. He accused. I proved him wrong. He left. I begged. He cursed. I cried. I begged again. He cursed some more. I still loved. He never looked back. I died.

And in an instant, I remembered how alive I still am right now.  It was not long after I died that I came back to life.  Wearing his own wounds, another man came and breathes into me his own.  Now, we see the world from a single view. Our souls are one.  Although, I still can feel the lingering pains of a past, not so far behind, I live for the NOW that we share together; in the midst of distance and time.  At the very thought, I wipe away the tears and lie down.  Where can you be right now?  I need you so much.  I wish I could talk to the moon again, like I used to, when the one I need is nowhere near.  Trying to remember his voice and picture him in his usual sleepy mode, I felt my own eyes narrowed until the world, as I see it, was gone into the emptiness.

And there you are….

As you came out from the arrival area, I froze at the sight of you.  You can not be real, I thought.  After months of waiting, our promised day has arrived.  It didn’t take seconds ‘til I felt your arms around me.  It was the most beautiful sensation a human can ever experience.  They still feel the same up to the last time you held me, after so many years.  You were so kind and great with my family.  I remembered how you loved my parents’ cooking and how I smiled at the sight of you and my father talked over some bottles of Beer.  We went to the beaches that I promised to bring you to and how you looked so handsome on your tees and jeans, as I was secretly ogling you while we walked on the shores days and nights ‘til the sunrises.

And then there was our very first sweet kiss.

It was more than I have ever imagined and hoped for. I felt like I prepared all my 27 years for that kiss alone.  It lasted for just a few seconds but it gave me renewed passion for you that lasted years upon years.  We went to a lot of places and if it was not for you, I would not have discovered more beauties from my own land.  You made my closest friends cry…of joy, of course. They waited for that as well, for me to be truly happy with someone I deserve. We had a lot of fun together.  You would read to me verses from the Bible and how I would endlessly ask questions after that.  We’d sit side by side, lazily, on afternoons by the porch and I’d be silent, both knowing what’s in my mind.  You’d hold my hand then, and tell me, “I’m not going anywhere.  I’m all yours forever”…and I would let my head fall onto your shoulder and sob.  You were leaving.

At the departure area, just a minute before you have to go, my eyes never left yours, wanting those stares to stay in my memory until I get to see them again for real.
“I love you…” is all I can say.  As I felt another tear fall down, I felt your hand slid against my cheek to wipe it and kissed me.  We kissed for the days and months we will not be able to.  And then you hugged me tightly as I hear you say, “I love you, Ella.  Please, wait for me.”
I blankly stared at your disappearing image before me…and then came my lonely days.

We stayed in touch more frequently as days pass by.  We loved each other more than the yesterdays we had.  Again, with the distance and time between us, we were inseparable.  We just gave each other more reasons to wake up each day and strength to go on, no matter how hard days being away were.  We had so many beautiful days together, while apart…but some few days were not.  Can you still remember them?

It was just few more months until we may hold each other again.  I was never angry jealous, but you know how I can be sensitive at times, not that you were bothered by it, you actually liked seeing me that way, as you have mentioned one time.  You once told me about this girl who you’ve met online and how she just wanted to be friends.  We know how we are both faithful to each other and I never ever see you as otherwise.  Well, she pushed herself further and met you up. You told me about it, and except for jokingly teased you about her, I did not try to see it as a thorn in our relationship. I was ok with you having female friends. It’s how we started and I know how you are generally gentle with us, ladies.  I saw your pictures when you went out together, the one you told me about. Female instinct told me she wants you.  My heart told me that I trust you.  I just told you to be careful.  Your kindness may mislead her to think beyond.  And I was right. She fell hard for you and I could not even blame her.  But when she tried to take you away from me, shadows of the past haunted me and took me away.  I thought I was doomed to be lonely forever.  I did not talk to you for the next few months, ignored all your emails, calls and all kinds of reaching out.  It ate me inside slowly.  You never loved me. You got tired of me. You found someone better. I kept hearing my mind say those words.  I needed to be away, if that’s the only way I can save myself.

I went to this resort and stayed for a week.  Halfway into that length, I found myself just longing for you harder. It was on a beach like this that we shared our most precious moments together. It pained to feel that, again, I will lose the second man I gave my heart to and that time, it felt worse than I ever thought.  As I cried hard facing the angry sea, I felt nothing but pity towards me and love for you. How can I ever tell myself to stop?  And as if it was the answer I needed, I felt the warmest touch enveloping me from behind. “I was looking all over for you…please, do not give up on me…” you whispered them so aloud yet deep and felt you hugged me tighter as the words were spoken.  And like a surreal painting straight out of a vivid dream, I saw your face as I turned to you.  With your nearness, all that kept on killing me for the past few months disappeared.  Still down on your knees, we held each other like it’s the only way to move. You said your apologies and I said mine.  You were sorry for neglecting the signs and letting someone come between.  I was sorry for being weak, for allowing the problem to eat the relationship instead of fighting for it.  And then, for a few seconds, you got me frozen. “Ella, please be my wife.” I must have been too shocked-happy that I can’t even remember what I replied. All I remember was that you brought me up, carried me and swung me around.

The engagement was not that long and you wanted to throw me a big wedding.  I was in such bliss that I can’t even seriously prepare the details for a wedding other bride may have had dream of.  We could not wait, I suppose, that we decided to marry in my church with very few guests and simple gathering after that.  It was so different from what we both thought I’d imagined.  We flew your parents in to witness us. Nevertheless, it was the most beautiful union people have seen.  We know that it was the usual impulsive us that got in the way but we were the happiest couple.  Our vows were just our stories then and beyond, just spoken aloud in front of people.  I heard myself cry s I spoke them out like a favorite verse.  We heard every one cheer at each kiss we made as husband and wife.  Yes, the kisses still felt like the first time.

We spent our first night together and became one.  It was indeed the most beautiful act between two people in love and who were bound forever.  It became one of my unforgettable nights up to my dawning days.  We spent the rest of our honeymoon alone together and happy.  In a few days, you needed to go back.  And I would be left here, again.  But you promised we’d be together, this time, forever, in just a matter of weeks.  Although tears were constantly flowing after you left, I was the happiest wife in the world.  You gave me the perfect love more than I felt I deserved.  And then I was told I can already go to you, to where our home will be, to a whole new world away from where I spent my last 28 years.  I was only reading stories with your place as a setting, wishing I would somehow find my own Prince from there. Guess what, I just did! I bade goodbye to everyone.  I never wanted to leave but I wanted to be where you are…to my husband who had been waiting for me, too.  And so I flew, flew towards you, my love.

I was scared the whole series of flights, yet was fixated on the sight of you waiting for me.  When I knew I arrived, my legs were shaking, everything was new to me.  Almost everyone were too tall, errr…I know, even way back home, I was always the smallest.  I nervously made my way following directions.  A man was kind enough to assist me to the arrival area, after seeing my concerned face.  Hauling my luggage, I saw with my almost weary eyes your smiling face, waving at me with a bouquet of daisies and roses before you started to run to me.  I felt my heart skipped a couple of beats before I felt you carried me up and hugged me around tightly.  We kissed for seconds before you realized we were still in the airport and saw some smiling faces passing by us.  You took me home, and your hands never left mine while you drove. Words were scarce but your stolen kisses told me more.  I remember how my eyes widened at each beautiful scenery we passed by and would stop to take pictures of us.  You took me to some places you only described to me before. Even the most beautiful photographs taken were not nearly as beautiful as when it’s right in front of you.  When we arrived, you held me tighter as you led me to where we’ll spend the rest of our lives together.  Before me, just a few steps from where you led me to stand still, is a cozy-looking house with lots of plants. Suddenly, I could hear some children’s laughter and a dog barking.  A tear fell down from my eyes and hugged you. Sometimes, realizations of how real this is can still be so new.  You raised my chin up and kissed my forehead and told me that “I’m home”.  And then I remembered something you still didn’t know about. “Baby, you’re gonna be a Daddy”. With that, I remembered the time when you asked me to marry you. I saw the same look I had in you.  And like you never had enough, you carried me up again and kissed me deeply, this time, with your tears flowing.  This is happiness, I whispered to myself.

We had a blissful life; one that not even the most romantic novels can ever put into words…not even the best artists can paint.  I had great time with your family and became closer to them as days pass.  Your nieces became my playmates as I wait for you to come home. They’d fight over to who’s gonna take care of our baby.  Lucky was always so kind to walk me down the nearby parks every morning…as my baby bump becomes more obvious.  You kept on bragging how you gained weight since I arrived coz I cooked all your favorites and invited some friends to show your very pregnant wife off, too.  When I would miss my family back home, you would do everything just to cheer me up.  You installed and upgraded our internet connection regularly, so I will never have to miss everything back home.  We’d spend some of our lazy weekend afternoons either at Nana’s porch or down the Parkway, just breathing each other’s closeness.  We were just dreaming about this before, weren’t we? I still find myself touching you as if checking if you’re real.  And you’d kiss me to prove further.

I had a very sensitive pregnancy but with you being always positive made everything easier.  Everyone was worried after I waited 10 hours in the delivery room before proceeding to labor.  I remember your blank face while I, taking whatever strength I had left, was stealing glances at you.  When I was taken to another room, although almost unconscious to feel anything, I still saw that you wouldn’t leave me and held my hand tighter as you plant little kisses on it, trying to smile.  I smiled back and said “I love you…,” I just hoped you heard them.  And then I succumbed to a hollow breath and I can no longer remember what happened.

God gifted us with a healthy baby boy.  I remember waking up in the hospital bed and had smelled some vanilla and jasmines nearby.  There were lots of flowers in the room and then I felt something heavy on my right. I realized you were sleeping next to me, had your arms locked around me and your leg crossed over mine.  Anyone who would have seen it must have chuckled at the sight.  You could’ve covered the whole of me with your size.  You woke up when I tried to move to kiss you.  “Good morning, mommy” I heard you say to me.  And that was the start of a new beautiful chapter of our blossoming lives.

The baby brought in more happiness to us, to both of our families.  Everyone loved our little guy.  We brought him back to my home one time and I can clearly remember how it gave so much joy to my parents who had been wishing to be grannies for a long time.  He got your eye color and your seemingly calm ways.  I always thought our son would take my always curious nature.  He was such a fast-learner. His pedia even thought he’s above-average.  After 3 years, we were blessed with another angel, this time; we got a very cute baby girl.  We thought we’ve never been happier since then.  By that time, you were doing great with your work and had done solo jobs apart from your regular one.  I thought, with the kids growing, I may need to help out maximizing our income so we can support all the way to their college education. I was almost going to apply to some available day jobs in town when it hit me; I can’t give in to the chance of pulling some time off away from my family, from my kids…and from you.  You said that I didn’t have to and you will just have to work harder.  That made me a little frustrated, feeling useless.  I felt so low thinking I could not help my husband out.  And one night, after I took a last peek at our little ones after reading them their favorite fairy tale; I sat down by our bedside.  I looked at you and thought of how much I still love you up to now.  I saw how you breathe slowly while probably dreaming of something.  “I love you so much”…I will never get tired of saying it over and over again.  I brushed my lips gently against yours and saw you smile still in deep sleep.

I turned the laptop on.  Except for some short blogs I have written a few times over the recent years, I really have not written like I used to.  You always craved for some more but I was probably so into you and the kids that time was just not enough to squeeze in the thought of real writing again.  But that night, I felt the words were haunting me, calling my name begging me to take a pen, or whatever to toss them around and make beautiful stories again.  And like a plane in autopilot, I let my mind and heart make love for the first time in a long while, let whatever that something carry me to some distant familiar places that I know I sorely missed.  I was subconsciously awake in my reality, still hearing the crickets outside and hear you snore, but I was moving along the waves of words and I would not seem to stop.  And as I sensed a new day coming, the story naturally folded to its end.  Although I had always dreamed of being a writer, I was ok if I will not be.  It was you who always brought me back to wanting it again.  And that time, I am doing it again, for all the right reasons and on top of them, is YOU.

I submitted a story to a publishing company who’d been in my contacts list for almost 2 years.  I was not sure on how to submit it properly but I just needed to do it. I did not tell you about it, not for a while.  And I was beginning to be okay as days pass by.  You became happy as you saw how I became me again.  You always make any potential problems so easy to get over with.  You made me feel like I was the best mom in the world.  I hope you believed me too when I say the same about you.  I know how much you always try to exceed what is expected of you.  You were way ahead of all husbands and fathers I knew.

You remember that one night, when I thought you were not coming home, for the first time and how I was bummed coz it was our Anniversary.  I cooked your favorites but I tearfully packed them up knowing they might just spoil in no time.  Next thing I knew, you appeared by the doorstep at exactly 9 in the evening, when the kids were fast asleep.  You were so handsome in a casual suit and a cute ‘do. You surprised me with another bouquet of fresh gerberas and my favorite sweets and you asked me out for a date, just like teenagers, you said. Before I’d comment on not being dressed and no one to watch the kids over, Nana made her presence known.  You brought her in so you could sneak me out away.  You bought me that yellow dress which I had been saving up for.  We took the foods I cooked with us and you drove away.  You had rented a beautiful mountain cabin for us.  The moon was high up and it shone over the patio where you laid the picnic blanket.  You never stopped complimenting me and the dress, although I know I would have done a lot better if I had more time.  But, whatever you saw in me that night, you made me feel like I’m the most beautiful woman in the planet, even if I was just in my simplest at-home-look.  We had a candlelight picnic dinner and I was happy you loved the foods I cooked and the cheesecake I baked.  I practiced on it for weeks, you know.  We talked about the kids and how they’re doing so well in school.  You were so great in tutoring them and of course, having Nana and some of the relatives being teachers helped so much too.  We shared some wine and laughed at how I would squint my eyes coz I really never learned how to appreciate them over the years of trying to.  You asked me if I missed home, if I regretted having to live here and gave up a very promising job.  You asked me, seriously, if I wanted us to go back, live in the Philippines or wanted anything to happen in my life.  Without blinking, I told you that yes, I missed home, I missed the life I had and may look forward to going back home whenever we can again, but I regretted nothing from the choices I had…with the years I spent time with you.  I would go back in time and still choose the same path.  You knew I meant it with all my heart and then you hugged me…and I somehow felt you broke down.  I never saw you cry, ever since…and it was breaking every bit of my heart.  I know how you struggled to be the ‘Perfect’ husband for me and I wish I tried harder to make you feel that you are way more than that.  I kissed the trail of your tears and you kissed my hand.  I used to just dream about this when I was just waiting to see you for the first time.  It had been years since I touched you for the first time and bore 2 children with you, I realized just how beautiful this reality is than all those dreams I ever had put together.  I almost forgot to give you my present.  Trying to collect yourself together, you giddily waited for me to give it to you.  Shyly, I handed it over to you at last.  I used every craft material I could find at home for the cover and I was proud to see how you liked the way it was packed.  “This ain’t much and I’m not so sure if it’s any use to
you but I could not think of any other special thing to give you.”  You seem to have not heard me as your eyes glistened while trying to carefully unwrap it.  It was a thick notebook made of organic materials.  The pages were made of recycled papers sewn together and had two thin wood planks as covers.  You were speechless.  You remembered how I was so busy gathering all the materials for it that I once forgot to wash your suit which you wanted to use for your workmate’s wedding.  You opened it and saw all my handwritten notes, poems, quotes, verses and even the silly stick drawings I scribbled…all of you and my love for you.  Still speechless, you grabbed me instead and kissed me deeply.  I knew then that you may need it.  I thought it was over but as you parted your lips away from mine, to my dismay, you showed me a small tube with a cute pink ribbon tied around its circumference.  “For me?” I could not believe it.  I never got tired of your sweetness and would still surprise me.  “Open it” And I did.  As I twisted the tube open, I pulled out a thick piece of rolled paper.  It was a special kind of paper that artists use for sketches.  I rolled the paper out wide and saw what he had drawn.  It was me and I seem to be in a meadow trying to pick flowers.  It took me some seconds til I remembered when it was. “You remember? I took you out one Sunday morning to pick some berries and you ended up picking flowers instead.  You were 3 months pregnant with our first born and I thought you looked so beautiful and blooming and I know I will always remember how you looked that time and I practically imprinted that vision of you in my mind forever.” I held the sketch for a long time and stared at myself who is a little years younger than the one holding it.  Slowly, I felt your shadow tower over me.  I smelled your perfume trying to cast a power on me.  Little by little, I felt your touch possess me again, like you always do.  I turned to face you and just fixed my gaze at your gray eyes.  You untied my hair and let it fall.  You brushed it with your hands.  “I want you to know how I still long for you even after the years we have behind us.  You are still a dream that I am just living in.  Promise to grow old with me, baby, and just let me love you more and more…”  I knew then that any reply would never justify how I really feel that very moment.  When you bent down to kiss me again, I asked my soul to give out all that I have for this man in front of me…the father of my children, my best friend and beyond.  And just like the first kiss and all the kisses we had, the stars fell down for us.  And into the depth of the night, our bodies danced to the song only us could hear.

Many weeks after that special night, again, we got good news; I was pregnant with our youngest.  It was probably my most sensitive pregnancy where I would be sick most of the times.  Even though I had my not-so-happy days and would be frowning at the pains I’d feel, you were always the sweetest gentleman and be my shock absorber.  Midway towards my due date, while the kids were playing with their older cousins in the backyard, I got a mail.  It was unusual to have a mail addressed to me.  Except for the bimonthly issues of Country Living and Nat Geo, I would usually not get any snail mails. I wanted to wait ‘til you get home so we can both open it together but I became impatient.  I felt nervous and I knew it wasn’t my hormones.  When I opened it, the header itself got me in disbelief.  I was not expecting it at all.  I forgot about it since submitting it online.  Since then, I never opened mails which were not from family and friends back home.  My story was chosen to be among those for publishing.  The publisher had been emailing me since a month without a reply so they sent an official letter via airmail to confirm my address.  I immediately contacted the person referred to in the letter and yes, it was confirmed.  They had chosen my story and will be published as one of the season openers a few months from then.  For that alone, I will be getting a relatively huge sum of advance payment.  If the book sells good, then as the author, I will surely get my royalty checks.  In disbelief, I called you up about it and immediately, you came home early and celebrated with me.  I owed everything to you.  I owed the chance of realizing my dream of just seeing my name printed on a paperback that’s resting on a bookshelf.  We eventually got the advance pay.  You wanted me to keep it to myself and may send it home to help my family out.  Yes we were doing ‘okay’ as a family, but I know that I was given that chance to give back from all the good things you made happen.  Just a month before our youngest was born, I got you a surprise.  I was scared a little bit that you’ll get mad at me, but I gave it a shot.  I loaned to buy the lot just a few blocks from ours and secretly built your shop.  The royalties I’d get would be enough to pay the rest, I thought.  I had some of your friends help me out coz I still know nothing much about building one.  It took a few weeks to get it done and when it was ready, I had nowhere else to contain my excitement.  I asked you to drive me to the grocery and back.  We almost could not pass by the spot I needed you to be because of the moving trucks that were blocking the way.  You saw it anyway.  And you slowed down when you saw the new small structure that was opening on that exact day.  I heard you sigh a bit coz we both know how you wanted that lot to build your shop on one day.  I motioned to get out, and invited you to go with me.  You were hesitant but would not want to break a pregnant woman’s heart.  As we got near, I saw your expression changed when you realized it was an Auto shop, and just like how you’d dream your own would be like.  We took a peek through the glass window and saw a classic “Jaguar” model.  It’s a…Jag--- “Surprise!” altogether, we heard the loud voices from inside.  All your families and friends were there to help me out in surprising you.  All night long, you were speechless. At first, I was worried it meant you were going to fume at me later coz I was stubborn in using the paycheck for something you were planning on doing.  But your kisses, caresses and almost painful sobs I heard from you as you laid down beside me later that night proved that I did the right thing.  We just kept on fulfilling each other’s dream.  You eventually had to resign from your job of many years.  It was a good parting and they wished us good luck.  With your loyal customers always looking for you to take care of their jags, even those from distant counties and having hired some trusted men, your business did well even on its start.  And we just loved and loved each other everyday…every hour.

I gave birth to our youngest on a one chilly evening.  Everyone was gushing over the beauty of our little man.  A few weeks after we took the baby home, we decided to have a long vacation back home and you were more excited than I can ever be.  The reunion was festive.  Everyday was like a celebration.  I saw how my aging parents had missed their grandchildren.  As always like when they were younger, my little sisters untiringly watched over our kids as if they were their own.  People admired how we remained in love for years and we can just ask back, why not?  We went to the beaches we had gone to before and relived all the romances that had kept us glued together.  One early morning, I saw you sitting by the shore and I sat next to you, sliding my arms around you.  We were like little honeymooners who still could not get enough of each other.  I asked you what you were thinking and you told me how you would want to retire one day and have a home in my country.  The mountains are great but the peace that the beach gives you is different.  And I just nod in agreement.  Wherever you will go baby, I will be there.  And just hearing only the beating of our hearts like a love song, I closed my eyes and just felt your warmth.  I love you Dustin, I whispered to his heart.

We spent Christmas at your parents’ home and stayed for a few nights because the kids just would not want to leave their Grannies, who had been spoiling them.  Our youngest just turned one a month ago, we both felt how we have become older since.  All of a sudden, in a twist of fate, a familiar person from your past was weaved into our tapestry.  She returned to NC after so many years after we were married.  Everyone thought she was happily married to someone as well.  Little did we know that she still could not and the thing that kept her from coming back was seeing you happily married to someone else, when she thought you will never be after she left. We were very civil with each other and she was sweet to everyone, especially with the kids.  She was close to your family because she was, of course, your wife for a couple of years, before I came.  I was so good at hiding my jealousy and even if there really was not anything to be jealous of, I could not fight my own fears. You promised to keep in touch; you were always so good at being friends.  I could see your sincere plain friendly gestures but my weaker side got the better of me.  I became a little bit distant and cold towards you.  I would not answer your usual calls to check on me and the kids.  And whenever you’d mention about having seen her in town, I’d suddenly turn quiet and pretend to do something important.  I was writing my second novel that time and no matter how hard I tried to get the best scenes out of my mind, nothing would just pop up.  You may have gotten used to me not answering your calls so you began to not call at all…making me miss them so much.  You begin to not come home earlier than usual.  I dropped by your shop one time and saw how you’d busy yourself under a car when you would have just been inside your office attending calls and doing the paper works.  Just before leaving the house, though, you’d kiss me, but I’d just stand still and nod at your goodbye…and guiltily cry over it when you’re not in sight anymore.  One time, you have not gone home.  I tried to think you’ve just been busy and forgot to call.  But I could not sleep at the fact that you’re not beside me at the bed, something that never happened ‘til that night, though I should have known why.  I sneaked out of the house into the cold autumn night breeze and just walked towards your shop.  I saw that it was still open and the lights were on.  It was already almost midnight and I wondered why you still left it open.  I saw a familiar looking car on the parkway.  I wanted to ring the doorbell but opted to just go inside quietly.  No one was at the work area and everything was in order.  Except for the heater being on, nothing else sounded that someone was working.  I heard a soft thug at your office and wanted to call out your name until I heard a woman’s voice.  I went to where it came from and I was led to your office.  I opened the door slightly and saw you, lying down, seemingly asleep, yet without your shirt on.  You looked so tired and must be hungry and it broke my heart to realize my failures.  As I tried to step into the room, I remembered the female voice I heard earlier and like a scene out from the novel I was working on, I saw her walk towards where you were lying down as she came out from the wash room.  Shock filled my emptiness.  I was glued to where I was standing until I saw her look my way.  She called up my name but I ran away.  Speeding towards home, I shut my mind off thinking of running away from everyone.  I did not try to rationalize nor justify what I saw.  I was just the weak me and saw the scene I was dreading to see.  I didn’t have the heart to leave home, though.  In as much as I was clouded with anger, I know that deciding something that was against our nature would hurt each other more.  And I heard the phone ring.  I heard her from the other line.  Just from the sound of her voice, I felt nothing for whatever she’ll say.  “Ella, Dustin is badly sick.  I had the ambulance take him to the hospital.  On the way to my mom’s house, I was curious to see the shop still open at 10 so I checked. Then I saw him lying down next to the door, unconscious.  When I saw you earlier, that was the time I tried to lower down his fever while waiting for the ambulance.  I was calling your home phone but no one was answering. I hope you are okay.  Will you come down here, to the hospital?”

I wanted to curse myself that very instant.  Part of me wanted to really run away from the shameless act for the past few days but I can’t bear the thought of you almost breathless because of my pride and failure as a wife and partner.  I rushed to the hospital and searched for you.  When I got to your room, I saw your immobile body on the bed…a scene I had never seen before nor have I ever imagined.  Of course you don’t know about this, but I broke down on your side, endlessly asking forgiveness for the days I took you for granted…for the false thoughts I had over my trust for you.  I kissed your hands wanting to wake you up and undo everything.  I had hurt you when I had promised not to.  I almost abandoned you for what was not real.  The doctor said you had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and it will take days ‘til you’ll fully recover.  Your family and friends came over to visit.  You were still half unconscious to talk to them but I made sure to tell them all how you will be fine in a couple of days.  I tried to be strong and I owe the strength left with me to you.  I still needed your forgiveness.  I still needed you to hear me vows again.  I wanted you to hear from me how lucky I am to have you and that you would have deserved better but I will fight to the ends of the world for you and for me to keep you.

You were still in a deep rest, as how I always put it.  Tomorrow, as the Doctor promised, you may fully wake up and talk again.  I never left the hospital.  I never left your side.  The kids were with Nana and sometimes, your brother would pick them up and have them play with their cousins.  Hearing you snore a bit calmed me down.  It made me feel how alive we both are.  I needed to breathe some fresh air, I thought.  I asked permission from you and kissed you before I went out.  The hospital chapel was beautiful.  It was more like a garden than a chapel.  I knelt down on one of the pews and prayed.  I missed going to church with you.  I knew it’s gonna be soon and we’ll be finding ourselves in our chapel with the kids and everything will be okay again.

After praying and a little tour around the ‘garden’, I motioned to go back.  I missed you again.  As I turned to the door, I saw her, smiling.  She was just waiting for me to finish praying.  She went inside the chapel too.  I welcomed her in and we sat down.  I told her of how thankful I was for being there just in time to save you from the worst.  She said she knows you'll be fine.  She mentioned about her recent talks with you and how you became the Dustin at your most perfect phase.  You never seemed to get tired of mentioning my name when you talked.  When she saved you that night and tried to lower your fever, you kept on calling my name.  That very time, she remembered the moment when you were still married and you had an accident that could have killed you but she chose to be at work instead rather than be there for you.  She felt like the worst woman to ever lived to have done that.  For years after she realized she’ll forever lose you, she regretted all the pains and blows she caused you.  Never mind if you still ended up in divorce, she just wished it ended without you wounded badly and bruised to the insides.  You were not the man to deserve the cruelties from the person who was supposed to love you, unconditionally.  I saw her cry baby.  She was really sorry for the wrong turn your marriage was led to.  But she seemed better now and I thought she found some peace we both have prayed for.  We hugged; baby and I knew then that somehow that sealed a rather unhappy chapter that I myself caused.

I found my way back to your room.  There you were, still lying down, peaceful and probably dreaming of your jaguars.  They were well taken cared of, baby. You had a good bunch of guys at the shop.  Like always, and like how I know you’d prefer, I laid myself down next to you, gently placed my arms over you and hugged you tighter.  I wanted you to wake up knowing I never left and still in so much love for you.

Up to now, I wished to have woken up earlier that morning.  When I opened my eyes, I saw you gone beside me.  I almost fell down the bed trying to move quickly to look for you.  I checked the bathroom to no avail.  And then I heard the door screeched lightly.  Slowly, I saw you appear from the door.  You looked like nothing happened to you at all.  Still so handsome with your now longer hair and growing beard, I could not believe how lucky I was to have married a man like you.  I ran towards you and cried.  “ Awww…baby, I’m sorry if I left the room. I was just asking for an extra thick blanket for you since you seemed chilled up.  Now, don’t cry…I’m all ok now, right?”  Your eyes were so warm…so alive.  It seemed like I was the one who was sick and there you were, reviving me whole again.

“I’m so sorry…for all the things I’ve done and how I acted for the past few days…Forgive me baby,” All you did was just you carried me again, with me hesitating coz you were not fully ok yet.  When you would not put me down, I stopped fighting and just felt the strength of you.  You laid me on the bed and let me sit with my legs hanging down.  I could not imagine what else you would do next.  You knelt down in front of me and held my hands tightly. 

“When I felt you slowly fading away from me, I feared for what was to happen.  I know that even if there really was nothing between me and her anymore…for a long, long time already, even way before you came, I know it would have been smarter to have not immediately welcome her back into my life like it’s as easy as it seems.  I saw how I wounded you a bit by her sudden presence but instead of shaking that fear off from you, I tried to believe you’re going to be okay until I pushed you away.  I could not, in a million years, imagine you to step further than the last time I kissed you and I felt nothing from you. That was why I tried to just preoccupied my mind and self to working until I can feel it’s okay to face you again.  She promised to help me out clear the clouds of your mind baby, but I failed to hit the right timing and I lost a couple of days to prove it to you….”

“Baby…I--- ”

“Baby, listen to me…. I know what she may have told you and yes, they are all true.  Seeing you cuddled to me the moment I woke up from near death was more than enough to prove how living again is all worth it.  I love you, Ella.  I fell in love with you so many times since the first time.  And this time, I don’t want to let a day slip by without confirming it again.  We had the most enchanting years behind us and I am so excited to live the rest of our years from now…”

I caught myself stranger to any speech.  Your words were clear yet I wanted to hear them again and again…

“…Ella, will you marry me, once more?  Will you still chose to have me by your side as you grow old?  Do you want to be the one lying next to me even on my death bed?”

Still at loss for words, I could not move nor think of anything but burst out the happiest tears while nodding endlessly and jumped down to reach for the man my heart can only want.  Again, we sealed the moment with the sweetest kiss only our lips can make.

The wedding, though not the grandest, was one of the celebrated in town.  As if it was built a long time ago for that wedding, we found this beautiful chapel facing the sea and knew that was the very place we would love to make our I Do’s once again.  The family all helped to give us the perfect wedding.  Our little ones were the proudest children cheering for the fact that their Mommy and Daddy are going to be married twice.  The beach was boasting of an endless view of the horizon, simply telling of how infinite our love can be.  The place became a playground for fairies on the wedding day with whites, yellows and light blues sprinkled all over.  This time, we flew in my family.  It was no easy task but all worth it.  We wanted everyone we dearly love be witnesses to how we triumphed over everything.  Our little girl was so pretty in her gown as our flower girl.  Our youngest, carried by our young man, held the same rings we wore for so many years.  When I walk down the aisle, immediately I searched for you.  With my already waning eyesight, I loved how I tried all my might to just find you.  And there you were, always dashing and simply handsome on your suit.  I wanted to run to you but I remembered how you worked hard to give me this wedding and I can’t ruin this for you, not again.  I saw how all eyes followed my walk.  It was the longest walk I did.  When I reached where you were standing still, I suddenly just let it go.  Our love story was relived by the vows we effortlessly declaimed.  And once again, after exchanging our long-awaited I DOs, I heard the angels sing.  God had always blessed our union.  He was always the one who showed us the way.  He gave us each other and nothing can ever unbind us anymore, not even ourselves.  And just before the sunset revealed its glorious rays, we shared the kiss that will open a new page of our lives.

We had such a wonderful, blessed life together.  After 12 successful bestsellers and 3 branches of your shops opened and still operating up to now, we were more than in perfect terms.  But more than those, we lived in love and the path that the Lord had led us.  Just 2 weeks ago, our youngest brought his kids with him to visit.  The ‘lil ones reminded me so much of our own so many years ago.  I wish I could still stand up and play with them more.  I’m sure it would have made little Donna happier.  I wanted to carry her and I would have, if not for my weak hands.  I saw you, chasing the lil boy around.  I’m so proud to have such a still strong husband who never left my side ever since.  You never got tired of pushing my wheelchair to wherever I desired.  You would carry me always, so easily, day and night, not just because I needed to be, but because I felt how much you still longed to touch my skin against yours.  We aged graciously, as everyone would compliment us, but I can’t have everything forever, I think.  But I would not have it any other way.  If not for this condition, you would have to carry me less and less.  You never got tired of telling me how beautiful I am.  Even if I don’t get to hear the same from others, hearing it from you over the years are more than enough.   I love looking at that sketch you did of me which I got on our Anniversary.  I wished to go back to that time again and relive all those beautiful memories that I can only touch when I close my eyes.  With the children having their own lives to live now, it is confirmed to me once again that loving your wife or husband above everyone, even above your children is the best display of love one can ever live in his lifetime.  On our quiet days together, I would see you glancing on that notebook I gave you.  Most of the times, you’d read them to me and I’d finish the lines.  I still know all the notes by heart.  I would close my eyes, sometimes and keep on saying them as you would just sit next to me and listen, held my hands tighter at each depth the message would go.  There were times, when I’d find you, secretly weeping in a corner.  I wish I could peel away that layer of sadness and bring back whatever strength you lent me when I became weaker.  No, I’d never leave you, my love.  And If I have to, I promise to leave but without a hint of mourning.

“Baby, do you wanna go somewhere else? Your birthday is fast coming…”
“You mean our birthdays are fast coming…”
“Mmmmm…yes, they are.  Do you want me to do something for you?”
“Can we go home?”

And you nodded.  I told you once before I wanted to die in my country one day.  But If I die, I want you just beside me, holding me still.  In just a few days, we reached home.  Our beach house which we built when our youngest was 10 was still a beauty standing alone away from the rest of the houses.  It was not as big and lavish as the nearby ones but we were always complimented at how peaceful it looked.  You carried me around the house and we cuddled on our favorite sofa that we got for a bargain years ago.  We watched some home videos that we took when our kids were still, well, kids.  We laughed a lot and you wiped some tears after seeing some dear ones who passed away.  We hugged each other ‘til we both felt weary and slept in each other’s arms.  And as I dream away, I could still smell your life…the only thing that has been keeping me from leaving. 

I love you Dustin…

Thank you for the most wonderful dream that you made real….

In an almost haunting breath, I parted from that dream….

I woke up still clutching onto my pillow holding the phone with messages which had ruined my day still in view.  Deleting the messages, I remembered the dream I had.  I remembered you.  You are my now.  You will be my forever.  I am going to sit by that couch when I am old and weak and have you carry me while you walk me down the beach.

I can not be touched by the sad faces of my past…nor by the nightmares of yours as well.  Sitting still, I opened up my laptop and wrote you another message.  When you wake up, I pray that it shall give you another smile on you face.  I love you Dustin.  The story of our life is ours to make.  I can’t wait to hold the pen with you and write it together.

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