Till Niagara fallsBy Hannah Kimberly Idiesca Obar |Philippine Daily Inquirer
You say you fell asleep after a long frigid day at work. You guys threw a birthday surprise for your friend, and you wished I were there with you.
You don’t know how much I wish the same thing. Your eyes probably closed after telling me you love me just a few minutes later. An hour has gone by. It’s 4 p.m. here and 3 a.m. there on the other side of the globe. You left me a message. You told me, with an endearment, you were dreaming of me. Even in your somnolent wee hours, you make time to remit sweetness.
You tell me how much you hate snow. I understand you all too well. Often, you tell me how much you want to come home to me with my home-cooked meals on the table after an unforgiving day of work without winter. With my novice kitchen skills and expertise in preparing instant food, I’ll learn to cook even better. And I promise I’ll keep trying even if you tell me many times that you’ll eat anything I prepare. Even when my adobo tastes like tinola.
After all those years of living in the same town and going out with the same set of friends, I wonder why we never hung out together, just the two of us. We rode the same van with our friends to school, but we never exchanged words much. My meekness did not allow it. You used to pass my house, I remember, on your bike. But that was it. No matter how I try to reconstruct other memories of you and me brushing shoulders or having trivial chit-chat, it’s always to no avail, murky and kind of like the black-and-white audiovisual noise one gets when there’s no TV signal.
Five years ago, you were fresh out of our country without me knowing when you actually left. But thanks to cyberspace, we weren’t alienated to each other. You’d talk to me before going to your night shift and I’d wake up real early just to catch up with you. We’d draw together and play the silliest online games. The sparks ignited, but didn’t linger. Like steam from those warm noodles you had lately, our previous connection fizzled out like supernova stars combusting and disappearing in a black hole.
Funny how life’s twists surprise years later. You swear it’s déjà vu but it’s not. We said those three words over and over again to a couple of people in our separate pasts. A cliché it may seem, we loved and we lost. It’s almost all whiplash. But we learned a whole lot. I honestly thought I’ll never love like I did, but crossing paths with you after all the conundrums and experiences, I slowly come to see why we stood toe to toe with stubborn souls who taught us and emancipated us to think and feel what is genuine—that which is now the scaffold of our relationship.
We’re not kids anymore, you say. We know better now. But we’ll continue to learn even more from each other’s lenses—and the world’s. You tire yourself daily to face the blighting climate, carrying the thought of being with me soon. I try as much as I can, despite my circus of a job, to make every winter day of yours into sprightly spring. I can’t wait to be with you. But though waiting is one of the hardest parts when we are oceans and mountains apart, I know it’ll all be worth it. I’ll finally be wrapped in your arms, with such bliss that will make me forget the world for a while.
You wake up in the middle of this piece. It’s half past 10 p.m. here and 13 hours later there. You get ready for work. You start your day by telling me you love me so much. I tell you I love you, too. From the bottom of my heart, to the moon and back, till Niagara falls… And then I tell you not to skip breakfast.
That’s all I can do now. But I’ll make up for it when we start forever together, under the same roof, in the same room, with the same last name.
Hannah Kimberly Idiesca Obar, 21, is a communication graduate of the University of the Philippines Baguio. She lives in Balaoan, La Union, and is teaching first and second graders in San Juan, the surfing capital of the North.
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