That day was the Day of Perfidy; Blood-red hearts and roses accompanied with self-serving desires hidden behind deceptive smiles. Every corner of the university reeks with tangy scent of flowers and pheromones.
You almost missed the first and only class because you came late. I was talking with our friends on the corridor when you walked in with that single stalk of rose you tried so hard to hide behind your back. We saw it and behaving like gradeschool kids, we didn’t let you off easily. We teased and provoked. Our friends are doing it for the fun but I was just curious. Perhaps, I was jealous. But most of all, I was surprised why you bringing a flower meant something to me.
Being friends with you is something I’d always consider as a miracle. You are a one-in-a-million guy who quickly got used to my obnoxious attitude and found a way to push me out of my rock to get me talking non-stop. We’ve always talked easily and we don’t need to hide behind a mask when we face each other. I could probably use a toothpick in front of you and you wouldn’t bat an eye or if you break a wind while sitting next to me, I’d probably laugh with you. Even if I don’t understand half of what you’re saying sometimes, when you talk about charcoal painting or Billie Joe Armstrong, you will segue in a very lame joke we can both relate and then I would still laugh in spite of it and I would begin to care about charcoal painting and Billie Joe and listen to you for once. One smile, one flick of an eyebrow or an eyeroll, we understand each other and simultaneously crack up while the people around us are staring at us as if we’re crazy.
I wonder if most girls with guy bestfriends went through the same thing as I did. Even for once, had they imagined their best friends as someone they end up with? Or is the thought as repulsive as marrying your own brother? Guy friends are there for two things: If they’re not comforting you, they are confusing (without meaning to, of course) you with your feelings. And even if you know so much about each other enough to try the higher level, being great friends doesn’t guarantee that you will be great more-than-friends kind of thing. Stories like that seldom survive once outside books and movies.
That day, on our way home from the group date, you walked with me when the others are gone. You’re still holding that flower, unsure what to do with it on your hands. I joked about you chickening out and wasting P50 for a rose you can’t give to the girl you like. In response, you shoved the flower to me. You gave me that half shy/half messing-around-with-you kind of smile and I can’t help but to smile back.That time, I swear, we were as gooey and awkward as teenagers going out for their first date.
I would always love and immerse in that what-if moment. A moment of crossroads, a glimpse of what-could-have-been if we continued to the path we were too afraid to take. I could have answered your feelings that time with mine but I took a step back. You didn’t stop me and we parted ways, smiling as before, the same people as before. It’s a mutual decision to never cross the line.
I imagine of another world, in another time, the two of us could have been together. Yet for better reason or for worse, in this time and place, we are not. In another life, we are soul mates who can be so perfect for each other and yet perhaps in another, we fell apart and went back as complete strangers. During these quiet, contemplative nights, it always feels so nice to go back to that moment, recall my jumbled thoughts and drive myself crazy by thinking about the solemn smile you gave to me when I left you standing there without saying anything. I would often think of quite a few endings, deliberately better than what actually happened.
Time grew and the fire kindle between us dies. And we are perfectly content with that, because after everything is said and done or, rather left unsaid and left undone, we can still smile and look at each other in the eye. On that day and the future after, I wouldn’t have it any other way.