I guess I’ve been reading too much books these past days. To top it all, books that told stories about human longing – and about how the greatest forms of love bridge the vast oceans, the mysteries of life and even death just to ease that longing. I’d be lying if I said I’m ok after reading all of that – I’m not. Because I’ve been longing, too.
The night I read that chapter from Peony in Love where Chen Tong (Peony) died after starving herself because of too much love and longing she felt towards Wu Ren, I cried. I closed the book for the night and cried uncontrollably. The reason? I did not know. Perhaps I was too much engrossed into the book that Peony somehow possessed my being. The feelings she felt – I felt them too. Because just like her, I was longing for someone as well.
That night, I asked that person, ‘Should Chen Tong be actually judged? Should she be laughed at – because she died miserably? But then again, I’d rather die because of love, than die a death because I was empty and had no other option but to just die’
I was subtly telling him, that I was longing to see him. And that I understood how Chen Tong felt. We both liked to read books, I’m sure he’d understand that some books, can really touch the deepest pits of our hearts.
A few nights after finishing Peony in Love, I started reading another book. And it still somehow ended up as a book about human longing. And just last night, the manifestations of all this reading I’ve been doing must have come upon me.
Last night, I dreamt of him.
It was a short one, probably lasting for just a few minutes; compared to the one last time. But just like last time, it felt so real – like I could feel every touch we made on my hands – my real hands in the physical world. Dreams about him always felt so real.
It was my birthday. A surprise visit came from my college classmates and best friends – there were smiles and a lot of ‘I missed You’s and ‘How Are You?’s. My mother entertained all of them while I stood and gazed lovingly at all the people who managed to remember my birthday. I started chatting with some of them until the door opened once more.
It revealed a group of young women. Each of them greeted me and smiled at me; each proceeded to approach me by the table where the food was set up. Each of them carried sweets with them – which probably were their gifts for me. That person was the first one who approached me and gave me her share of sweet gifts, then that other person, and another, and finally, my favorite girl, with the biggest gift – which was a cake. I smiled thankfully and sincerely at them, offering them my gratitude.
But I noticed my smile didn’t reach my ears. It was like I wasn’t completely happy – despite the presence of the people I could call my real friends. Then the door opened once more.
I was too engrossed with staring at all the sweets that now stayed on the table that I didn’t notice the new person who just came in. There was silence from everyone, as if the Emperor of China himself graced my insignificant birthday party. It was only when I turned around to a voice that I fully grasped on why everyone was being too dumbfounded.
It was him.
In his hands, he held a small gingerbread on a stick. I couldn’t remember the design. He smiled sincerely and apologetically at me and I was too awestruck to even give him a reply. He smiled that smile I wanted to see him wear every time – that smile that revealed his pearl whites and his rosy gums: the signs that told me he was genuinely happy. The smile I’d give my life for just to see every now and then.
He inched backwards as the group of girls gave me their farewells. I presumed he was joining them to go back to perhaps, that place. He was probably going to hitch a ride with them – so like him. I stayed rooted on where I was standing, it was only until something mentally snapped that I realized it was wrong for me to stay like a statue there while the person I’ve been longing to see was leaving again. A few seconds of encounter would never be enough if it was with him. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass, as my feet started to walk…. to run to him.
He was chatting with my favorite girl when my feet finally reached him, by the door. He stared at me when he realized my presence and I held his gaze. We held our conversation mentally, sending signals and pulses through our eyes and beating hearts, as if we had a language of our own. He understood finally and nodded at me, with a smile of his underbite – another thing I loved about him. Having that shape of a face had its wonders – but only on his features.
He grabbed my hand and turned a bit to mumble goodbyes and sorrys to my favorite girl. They understood what he meant: he would just follow later and spend some more time with me – the insignificant birthday girl who acted like a puppy because she missed him. Just like the weird person he was, all we did was run all over the place while holding hands. Like I said, my dreams that had him always felt so real so I still feel until now how my hands melted in his.
His hands were gigantic, as everyone already knew, and if he decided to be a lunatic murderer he could crush my little fingers using a small amount of effort. The texture of his hands weren’t soft – after all, he played sports a lot. But there weren’t noticeable callouses nor was it too rough. I can’t explain it fully, but it gave the feeling like he had just played with face powder and it remained on his hands. I checked his hair and it was still the same as before, still trimmed short. I wondered when he’d return to that good amount of hair – the princely look he had before. But one thing I liked about having his hair short was that it gave me a full view of his face. Not that his previous hairstyles covered his features, it just that with a short hair, I can even see the moles I failed to see before.
He smiled every now and then to the people around us, and we just continued to run from one place to another – just like the idiot that I become whenever it’s with him. When it was finally time for him to go, he smiled apologetically to me again and I just nodded – but with one last request. I wanted to immortalized the moment, as if we were always together like that, just running around like idiots while holding our hands. So I asked him if we could take a photo. I assured him I would keep it to myself and he just nodded with understanding.
The photo take highlighted our simple, yet fulfilled smiles and it was drawn up to our knees. the purpose was to capture us rubbing elbows with an incredible small distance between each other and trailing down – hands that melted against each other’s touch. My smile was a smile I’ve never seen before whenever I looked at the mirror, or all the photos of me taken in my whole 21 years of existence. A smile I only smiled for him.
Human longing is scary, because it haunts at night when you sleep. No matter how happy and fulfilled you may be during the day, at night when every task has been done and all that is left is silence, it comes. When you lie down in bed and lose your eyes, images of those you want to have, to see, to feel, to achieve will take over your consciousness – and sometimes, just like in my case, the subconsciousness. No medicine can cure human longing, I learned that from the books I read. The only way is to feed that longing, with what it wants to have, see, feel and achieve. The only way is to see him, before I die away like Peony.
When will I see you again?