On a white bench for two | Inquirer Opinion

On a white bench for two

/ 06:37 PM April 20, 2016
"She wanted to be free, not to sit there with me."

“She wanted to be free, not to sit there with me.”

If we haven’t met before, then, hi. It’s a pleasure finally meeting you.

If we have, well, look how that turned out.


I’m waiting for you sitting on a white bench for two. Hoping, praying, day-dreaming that somewhere in the near future, your path leads you here, beside me, seated, too.

I never thought there was a need for you to exist. I was completely fine without you. I’m sure your life was great without me, too.


I never thought I’d experience being alone again. At this point in my life, I thought I’d be settled down, content, happy.

See, I’m coming fresh off an end of something that I thought had no ending. The time I spent with her gave me a false sense of permanence. We got so used to being together. We swept things under the rug, kasi sayang naman, kasi the good outweighed the bad pa rin naman.

Then it was all over. I must have missed a hundred red flags because it still caught me off guard.

Years ago, she told me to build her this white bench. I cowered. It wasn’t because I was unsure (I was) or because I felt there were still a lot of fish in the sea (there weren’t any, at least not for me), it was because I didn’t feel I was ready.

I was afraid it would cost too much and that I wouldn’t know how to start it. I was afraid of building a white bench that would pale in comparison to others. She deserved the best and I wanted to give her the best. That was what I believed in. In hindsight, I guess that was my excuse.

I held her hands as I told her I wasn’t ready yet. She nodded as tears welled up in her innocent and hopeful eyes; eyes that believed someday I would hold true to my promise. I tried to reassure her that it wasn’t her, that timing was just not right.

As the years went by, we refused to talk about building that white bench. Little did she know that I was already busy laying out plans. I thought I was making our dreams come true when I finally told her I was going to do it. I was going to build her the white bench she always wanted, one where we’d sit and grow old together.


She said yes but she also told me she had to go away for a little while. She needed time for herself and I gladly gave it to her. I needed time before and she waited. I was not going to stop her from doing that, although a part of me really wanted to.

So I let her go and off she went to see the world.

She met new people and visited new places. Early on, she’d tell me she wished I was there. I was happy for her, but I was also sad I wasn’t beside her as she saw life in a different light. I was sad that we did not get to marvel at new things while holding each other’s hands.

Then it all started to change. Slowly, she eased me out of her life. It was about these new cool people she met and this crazy adventure they had. Everything she had here with me was boring and ordinary. Everything she had there was fresh and exciting. While I tried to reel her back by reminding her of the good times, she moved farther away.

I was her universe. But now, I was just another person who lived in the same one as hers.

When she came back, I thought everything would just fall into place. The white bench was almost ready. My hands are a bit rougher but I made it work as I promised. I thought it was just a stage she had to go through. Her last run of fun before sitting down beside me till eternity.

“I can’t sit on this bench with you,” she told me with a blank stare in her eyes; the hope all gone.

I tried to make it perfect for her. I learned how she wanted it built, adjusted so it could fit her better, but she wouldn’t even give it a try. It was the perfect white bench. The problem was the one who’d sit beside her.

She wanted to be free, not to sit there with me.

She wanted to dance in the rain without worrying about tomorrow. She wanted to immerse herself in different places and cultures and people and all I did was hold her back.

But enough about me. Please tell me your story. Tell me about the love you found and the love you lost. Tell what he did to make you blush and how he made you cry. Tell me about your dreams and your fears. Tell me about your day, about your first kiss.

Show me your scars; the ones you endured on the path that led you to me. Point to each one and tell me its story.

Tell me about your journey and your family.

Show me your wounded hands, the ones you used to pick up your broken pieces. Tell me how deep the cuts are so I can marvel at your strength.

There’s no need to hide anything from me. Like you, I was broken, too. But even the broken could be whole again.

Whatever pain I felt didn’t change who I am. It’s why I believe that someday, I’ll find you and treat you the way you want to be treated; love you the way you want to be loved. That we’ll both find happiness we never knew was possible.

So wherever you are, whoever you might be, know that I’m sitting here on my white bench for two, waiting for the strength to tear it all down so I could build a new one for you.

The writer says he is “a 29-year-old professional storyteller who likes to engage in honest and hopeful conversations” and adds he is “sometimes seen on TV and heard on the radio.”


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