A one summer guy.
I first saw you in my geology class. It was the start of summer classes and I was one of the first few to arrive in the classroom. You came and chose to sit next to me, of all the multitude of seats available. Usually, I would hastily strike up a conversation with a hot guy like you, but that time I was exceptionally bored and tired. I just pretended not to care. You stayed on your own bubble, to my relief.
It was a large class, and soon the classroom was full of students catching up before the class starts. I didn’t know a single face in the large crowd, and neither did you. We stayed silent in our own little corner until the professor arrived.
First day of class and I was busy doodling on my new notebook. Three pages were soon filled with meaningless notes and drawings. The professor was still reciting endless lectures and talking to himself. I didn’t even feign interest. After a long stretch of time, my pen finally gave up and wouldn’t write anymore. You noticed this and offered your own pen, which was resting peacefully on your armchair despite the seemingly important writings on the board.
“Thanks.” That was my first word to you. “But I don’t want to waste your ink just for my bullshit of doodles.”
“It’s okay,” you said. “Watching you doodle is way more fascinating than listening to our prof.”
I blushed. So, you were quietly watching me all that time. Thoughts came racing to my mind and soon my boredom and sleepiness were gone. I thought of a good answer to answer to what you just said. When nothing came to my stunned mind, I just smiled at you. You smiled back.
Conversation flowed. It was a rude thing to do, talk like that when our prof was exerting effort to add knowledge to our weary minds, but at least we were not sleeping our heads off, which I thought was a meaner thing to do. We talked about random things and when the class ended, we found ourselves walking together, not riding a jeep, to the shopping center.
It was our routine the entire summer. We never rode a jeep around campus. You told me it would make our time shorter. We went to places in campus we usually passed by but never stayed at for long. We made food trips. We jogged around the academic oval. Most of the times, we just walk around, passing time and talking about everything.
Summer was quickly fading away. It was the last day of summer classes and it would all be over. That night, we decided to take a walk to the track oval just to gaze at the stars and talk about things. I waited for you at the lobby. You came with a basket of food and a blanket. It was like camping.
You told me days before you would be leaving soon and we had to spend as much time with each other as possible. During the past few days, I was thinking if we could handle a long distance relationship. I never made one work before and I was wondering if it was always my fault. I suck at having to wait and worry and ask a lot of questions to myself. That was why I was having second thoughts about telling you I love you.
“I have something to tell you,” you said.
“I have something to tell you, too,” I replied.
“No, you first.”
For a short while, we debated as to who should speak first. When both of us made points, countered each other, and gave up, you just said, “Okay, on the count of three, we tell each other what we want to say. No cheating.”
One… Two… Three…
“I love you,” I said.
“I have cancer,” you said.
I sat there beside you, dumbfounded. I couldn’t remember much about our walk back to the dorm. I couldn’t remember much about the days after that. Or the months. The years. My mom told me that you went to our house to say goodbye, but I wasn’t there that time, so you just left. I never even bothered to show up at your deathbed. I was telling myself that it wouldn’t make any difference, that I’d just hurt even more if I saw you slowly slipping away to the other side, that it was better if I just didn’t see you anymore.
At least I’d remember you as that hot and stunning and kind and energetic guy from my geology class one summer. And not as that sick young boy with a lot of tubes stuck everywhere in your body.
Funny when I remembered thinking about long distance relationships. I never imagined a distance that great, worlds and eternity apart. I was selfish. I only thought about my worries and pains, not knowing that yours were bigger. I even got mad at you for leaving me so soon, not caring about your feelings, feelings of the one going to somewhere far away and leaving everything and everyone behind. I was filled with sadness and grief that I thought about following you. I thought a lot about killing myself. But the Catholic soul inside me said that I wouldn’t be able to go to where you went if I did that. I contented myself with loneliness. I shut myself in my bedroom and spoke to you as if you were there. My parents thought I was losing my mind. I thought that, too.
I didn’t know how I made it, coped with it, and moved on. I just found my geology notebook one time when I was cleaning my room and I remembered you. I realized that I hadn’t been thinking about you for a long time now. Suddenly, I was back to those doodles and chats and walks with you. I missed you, your presence, more than anything.
And I still have your pen, now a useless piece of trash I’d always treasure. The ink was long gone. And so were you. But all those memories will forever be with me, no matter where I am. No matter where you are.