Cebu Coffee Shops - Part 5 [Finale]

Written by: Ram 
I spent the whole day in my room, staring at my phone and contemplating whether I should answer him or not. What if this was just a trick to make me talk to him? Or what if it wasn’t? I was torn and I didn’t know what to do. Around noon, there was a knock on my door.

“Yeah?” I called out.

“Naa’y laki nangita nimo dong,” (A guy is looking for you) our helper said.

“Whoever that is, tell him I’m still asleep.”

“Are you sure you’re asleep bai?” It was Mike.

I opened the door and he entered my room. He laughed and I realized that I was still in my bed clothes; just a pair of thin boxers. I smiled and rolled my eyes at him. He sat on the bed and he had a serious look on his face. I put on a white shirt and dragged my computer chair in front of him and sat down.

“How are you?” he asked me. I just shrugged my shoulders.

“He misses you, you know. Won’t stop going on and on about you bai.” I just shook my shoulders. My phone alerted me with a text but I ignored it.

“Is that him?” Mike asked me but I shrugged my shoulders.

“Ram what the fuck is wrong with you?” I didn’t answer. I looked away from him but he made me face him.

“Do you love him?” he said. I fell silent.

“Do. You. Love. Him.”

“So much it fucking hurts bai!” I snapped at him. His eyes grew in shock.

“Then what are you doing?”

“Trying to unlove him.”

“Ram, Jon is stupid. So stupid and reckless. We’ve been best friends since we were children and I’ve seen the stupid things that he has done bai. But he always tries to redeem himself. I know Jon, and he didn’t really mean those things that he said and did that night.”

“Did he send you to tell me all of this?” I angrily asked him.

“No. I came here on my own. He even told me not to try and help him.” I nodded and felt a sense of relief.

“He told me what happened. Truth is Ram, he and Sarah were long over. He just had to do it that night because of his parents. He was pressured and he felt that Sarah knew about the two of you, or at least was starting to suspect. So he had to do it to throw her off your trail.

He didn’t want to risk the love between the two of you Ram. He really loves you. It has always been you.” I just stared at Mike. I knew that all of what he said was true, even before he said it to me. But it was just hard to understand it, it was hard to accept.

“Jon’s going to kill me when he finds out that I told you.” He smiled and was shaking his head. I was just sitting there, silent and paralyzed. Mike started to stand and head to the door.

“Is it true?” I asked behind him. He looked back at me, “True? Of course it’s true. I’m telling you the truth bai.”

“Not that. I mean…” I swallowed hard, “about him leaving.” Mike’s face changed. He was silent and then smiled at me; a pained smile that answered the question.

“Talk to him,” he said and went out. I grabbed my phone and read the message, it was from Jon. He said, “I’ll miss you.” And it was enough to bring the tears. I wanted to reply to him but my hands were shaking. I tried calling him and when he answered, I found no voice to speak, “Ram? Hello? Ram? Are you there?” I hung up. A couple of minutes later, he messaged me, “Ram, can we talk? Please I badly need to talk to you. I’ll be waiting for you tonight in IT, we’ll have dinner at Irie. I don’t care how long it will take you to go there or whether you’re going or not but I will wait for you.” I didn’t reply.

At 8pm, I drove to IT park and parked my car far enough to be concealed from the restaurant but near enough to have a clear view of it. I saw him, sitting by the window table, waiting for me. My phone rang but I ignored it. Then I received a message from him, “I’m here. I’ll be waiting.” Still, I didn’t reply. I was just in my car, staring at him. The waiter kept on going to his table, probably to ask for his order, but he kept on turning him down. Once in a while, he would text me, “Where are you?”, “If you’re not coming, please tell me.” His face looked tired and it hurt to see him like that but I could not bring myself to go out of the car and meet him. Inside, I was still hurting.

This went on for an hour until the manager, I think, went to his table and was talking to him. He was probably asked to leave because up to that point, he only had a glass of water on his table and no order. He went out but sat on the curbside and still waited, “I’m still here.” He texted me. I drove away.

I felt bad leaving him like that. I was stupid and I didn’t know what I was doing. I was still hurting and I am a proud guy. I didn’t want to see him suffer but I wanted to make him feel the hurt that I felt, immature, I know. At around midnight, I received a text from him, “You didn’t show up, I understand. I deserve that. But I will be there tomorrow. Hopefully you’ll show up. I don’t have much time anymore. I love you. So much.” And again, I cried.

Next night, I drove there earlier and dressed up, just in case I had the courage to show my face. When I parked my car at the same spot, he was not yet there so I waited for a while. After a couple of minutes, I saw his car pull up by the restaurant and watched as he went out and entered the restaurant. He was greeted by the manager and I had a feeling that he wasn’t going to be welcomed in the place so I decided to go out and walk towards them.

“Is there a problem?” I asked behind Jon. He turned to me and his face lit up like a kid in a candy shop. He smelled good. God I missed his smell.

“There is no problem sir. Table for two?” I nodded and he escorted both of us to our table. He took our orders and left us alone.

“It’s good to see you bai.” Jon said. My feelings were bubbling inside and I honestly didn’t know what to do. I kept on avoiding his eyes because I can’t stand them; every time I see them, it feels like the first time all over again. I just smiled at him and kept on avoiding his gaze.

“I’m sorry.” He said and I couldn’t help it. A tear escaped from my eye and his smile broke into a frown. “I really am sorry Ram. You can punch me, shout at me, hurt me in whatever way you want. Just please forgive me.” His face was pleading. I felt sincerity in his voice and I couldn’t help it but smile at him.

“I’ve forgiven you long ago bai. But once you break something, no matter how hard you try to fix it, it’s already broken.”

“I understand.” His face softened.

“But I love you. I love you so much Jon. I’m broken, it’s a given fact even long before. But I like the way you break me.” His face changed, his aura changed; he broke into a smile, a genuine smile, and I couldn’t help but smile at him too. I found his hands under the table and held them; he squeezed mine in return.

“I want to kiss you.” He said and I smiled at him. Our order came and we talked over dinner. We had a lot of catching up to do and that’s exactly what we did. We were laughing and smiling like nothing happened. It felt good. He felt good. That moment felt good. It was perfect. We ordered dessert and our talk continued. When the dishes have been cleared and the bill has been paid, we walked around IT park and talked some more.

“About what you texted me bai…” I said.

“I know I said I wanted to talk to you about it but, can we reserve that for some other time? I want this night to go as beautifully as it started. Please?” I nodded at him and he kissed me on the forehead.

“Someone might see us,” I said but he only laughed.

“Then come on, let’s go back to my house,” he took my hand and dragged me to his car. When we arrived there, he led me straight to his room. He took 2 bottles of beer and we drank it on his floor. It was after twelve midnight and we were talking in hushed voices.

“Which reminds me,” he said and stood up. He went to turn up his speakers and played an acoustic song I didn’t recognize it but it was beautiful. He stood in front of me and held out his hand, “I didn’t have the chance to dance with you that night. So, will you give me the honor of having this dance?” he asked me and I took his hand and we danced in the darkness of his room. Having him wrapped in my arms felt so good, I never wanted to let go ever again, I told myself. I was wrapped up in his warmth and I could feel our whole being stitching up together. In that solitary darkness, we were one. Our bodies moved as one, our souls were in sync and the universe stopped for a while to give this paramour a secret only the two of us knew how to whisper. It was like a ritual, our dance, as our lips started to dance on their own and our hands started to rule our bodies. It progressed into a holy ceremony as both of us clawed on each other’s clothes and planted kisses on the surfaces of our skins. Our danced continued as we whispered I love you to each other with every movement of our bodies. We were two entities; making up for lost time as we continued our rhythmic dance in the veil of shadows that hid us from the world. The moon has been a witness to our love, even from the start and that night, she became a part of our promises.

I woke up to his smell ruling my nose. His chest was heaving and his arms were wrapped around me. I looked at his face and he planted a kiss on my forehead.

“I love you.”

“I love you.”

We stayed like that for an hour or two before he sighed deeply and said, “I need to talk to you.” There it was. I should’ve prepared myself for this. I knew all along that nothing lasts forever and I tried to prepare myself for the goodbye that was eventually going to happen between the two of us. But no amount of preparation can ever prepare us for when that moment comes. We both sat up and faced each other.

“I love you,” he said. He took both of my hands and held them.

“I love you too,” our lips met.

“Ram, bai, I love you so much,” his voice broke and I kissed him again, “but I’m leaving bai. We’re leaving.”

“What do you mean?”

“We’re going to live in Australia bai.” And in a single moment, my whole world collapsed on top of me. I felt the room getting smaller and smaller. The air grew tighter and I could feel my body going numb.

“When will you be back?” I asked, suppressing the tears.

“I don’t know.”

“But what about school? What about your life here? What about us? What about me?” I began crying and my chest was heaving. He came closer and hugged me. I held him tighter; I didn’t want to lose him a second time around.

After I have calmed down I asked, “When?”

“Two weeks from now.”

“TWO WEEKS? We only have two weeks left?” This is so unfair. I cursed at everything. I cursed at myself for the time I wasted bitching around. I cursed at the universe for all of this. I cried even harder and I held him close even more. I began telling him that I love him again and again, like a broken record. My crying got to a point where I had a hard time breathing and he kissed me to stop it. We began kissing each other and tried to make our last moment count and last forever.

The last two weeks passed by like a blur but we made sure that we saw each other and spent time with one another every day. Not a day went by without us saying I love you and making memories that would last a lifetime. He stopped going to school to prepare for his departure and I would skip classes to spend time with him but he reprimanded me for that, so we only saw each other before class, during my long breaks (and even the short breaks that I had) and after class. I never stopped hugging him and kissing him and saying I love you to him. The night before his departure, we spent the night on his balcony, under the stars.

---

“I can’t believe that this is goodbye.” I told him as he waited for his flight. We were at the airport restaurant and his family were already in the waiting area. At this point, all the care in the world was gone and he held my hand on the table. I looked at him and made sure that I take in all of the small details about him. I made sure that I had his face, his smile, his hair, his eyes, his smell, his voice, his laugh, his scar, his skin, his whole being, tattooed in my heart, in my mind and in my soul. I didn’t dare blink because I was afraid of missing a single moment with him.

“I love you so much. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like this before,” he said, squeezing my hand.

“I love you so much it hurts.” I replied, “I am lost for words Jon. I don’t know what to say anymore bai.”

“Then don’t say anything. I love you and nothing can change that. I love you. I will always love you. I love everything about you.” He said. I smiled at him and I knew that he saw that it was a sad smile. He brushed a tear that fell from my eye.

“Long distance relationship never works. No matter how much the two parties love each other, it never does. People will say that it does but it doesn’t.” I said and he gently nodded.

“So this is the end of the road for us?” He said and a small cry escaped my voice. He reached over to hug me and I let myself get wrapped up in his arms.

“It would be easier if we don’t talk; if we cut connections from one another.” I said, in between breaths and his chest was heaving and he began to shed tears of his own. He nodded.

“I love you.”

“I love you.” We fell silent for a while.

“In another lifetime maybe?” he said and I nodded at him.

“Timing is such a bitch.” I whispered and he smiled.

“I hope that you know that wherever life takes me, whatever life gives me, whoever life sends me, you will always be special to be Ram. I will always love you. You may think that it’s impossible but it’s not. You will always be with me,” he said as he held my hand.

“You will always be the one for me Jon. Let’s not hope for this to be goodbye. We’ll see each other again. I swear. I commit myself to you.” I told him. We can do nothing else but smile at each other. Time stretched on and if I could, I would pause life at that exact moment where we belonged in each other’s arms and live in that moment until the day I die. But we don’t always get what we want and goodbyes always exist.

It was time for him to go. We hugged and I didn’t want to let him go. I wanted to be selfish and keep him for myself. We both went to the comfort room and shared our final kiss there. We hugged some more and we exchanged our goodbyes and a lot of I love yous were being said, like a mantra. The moment our hands parted, the moment he started walking away, I knew that my life will never be the same ever again. I watched his back disappear in the crowd. He looked back once, and it was my last memory of him.

It was the end of the road for Jon and I. I cried, a lot and up until now, I don’t think I am over him. But just last week, as I shed a tear over him, as I was stalking him in facebook and in instagram, he messaged me in facebook. I didn’t know what to feel, I didn’t know what to do. What he told me, I will keep it to myself for now and if I replied to him or not, that is for me to know. All that I will say is this; I love him and I know that he loves me. We both know that we belong to each other and maybe timing is such a bitch but we know that under the same stars, Jon and I, we are possible. Things are possible. I love him. And I will never get tired of saying that. I love him. Even if we’ve moved on in life. I love him. I love him. I love him.

THE END

He stopped going to school to prepare for his departure and I would skip classes to spend time with him but he reprimanded me for that, so we only saw each other before class, during my long breaks (and even the short breaks that I had) and after class.

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