Everything in Between (Chapter 1)
WHERE BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS MEET
Most love stories have tricky beginnings. People often think that the question “How did it start?” is synonymous to “How did you meet?” and so they make a long account of how they first laid eyes on each other. But, except for the real love-at-first-sight, romance does not have a definite starting point. It doesn’t necessarily mean that love stories begin at first meetings. Most of the time, people are not aware of how it all started, of the exact moment that they suddenly thought of each other and one tiny smile emerged on their faces, or of the very first time sparks flew between them.
Some nights, I would lie awake looking at the glow-in-the-dark stickers on the ceiling and think about how mine started. But then, I realized that I don’t know. That somewhere between then and now, I lost myself, and I lost track of time that I only see the past, present, and future as a big shapeless entity all jumbled up and flowing into each other. That although I had a eureka moment when I was taking a bath and I screamed “I love him!” out of nowhere, the love I felt might have started way before that, when I was doodling during a boring class and I unconsciously wrote his name, or when I bumped into him at the hallway and it sent me chills all over, or when… Well, honestly, when I pinpoint a situation that might have started my current love story, I remember another one before that, and another one.
Until my mind takes me to memories even before I met him, right when my previous relationship ended.
Every relationship that ends, ends brutally. Couples may walk calmly and quietly away from each other but they could still hear themselves breaking into pieces. They may say the famous line, “We could still be friends,” but things don’t ever stay the same. Goodbyes get stuck on their throats, and they choke because they know that when they utter those words, it will all be final. They hold on to that one last thread of hope, like children trying to preserve a soap bubble, and they pray silently, “Just for one more second please, let us be infinite.”
Endings are harsh and painful. You know, the usual crying yourself to sleep, refusing to eat or eating a lot, shutting yourself in your room, thinking of the past, wallowing in self-pity. I remember how devastated I was over my last break-up. I drifted in and out of sleep only to find out that it’s still the same damn day. I welcomed grief and regret. I hugged my loneliness. I got stranded between relieving memories and running away from them.
I lost my inspiration. I gave up those dreams we painted on the night sky. I believed everything was finished. I even tried to finish myself. But, there was something inside me that was still fighting my lost battle. I felt a faint flicker of hope, a tiny bud of faith, that this misery would not take forever. Nothing is permanent. Endings also end.
And the end of an end becomes the beginning of a new beginning.
Endings are the perfect beginnings, don’t you think? Just when a caterpillar got swallowed by its coccoon, it turned into a butterfly. Just when I thought the night was endless, the sun shone at the horizon. Just when I got my heart broken by the person I thought I’d marry, someone better came along.
A better me.
I got up one morning, after a relationship that happened so fast and ended too soon, and opened the windows to let sunlight into my dreary room. Summer was almost over and I felt that the sun was giving all its energy and bursting in its brightness for one last time before it went hiding behind the clouds of June. That was the time I gave myself another chance. Basking under the early morning sunshine, that was the moment I knew something I have known all along. I would have another love story.
And that, I decided, was where this love story started. At the end.