It could have ended the other way but it did not

The pelting rain in the bus window reminds me of Baguio in 2011. I dumped my life in Manila and moved into the town. I watched the landscape changed from the wires and concretes of the urban walls to the melancholic plains and rice paddies of Central Luzon to the hill cliffs and foggy mountains of Cordillera. That was the north of my youth.

And in the north of my youth, I was under the wrong impression that I was fixing the shards of my broken heart. I was not. I was reconstructing the rubbles of my ego.

Heart break is different. Heart break is heavier. Heart break is standing in the corner of a hospital room watching someone I love took the last gulp of Earth. No, that person wasn’t you, past lover. I never loved you. We savoured intense lust and poetry but never, never love.

Heart break is the embodiment of my inability to reverse time. Heart break is the white void in my chest that ekes an acrimonious lather. Heart break is reading Didion and finding myself in a vortex, in the hospital room, in my awfully thin and shaking body. Heart break is my public confidence and my private doubts.

Heart break is secretly ruing myself because of my regular failures — regardless of my imagination and writing skills — to alter the actual conclusion of the hospital scene.

Heart break is exhuming all the corpses I’ve buried long ago: a dying person, the beads of sweat on her forehead, her laboured breathing, her inability to draw even a single word, the last tether of life before death and coldness and rigidity stole her from me, her dilated pupils fixed on the ceiling but never seeing anything.

I was the one who closed those eyes. And I witnessed how it reopens — time and again — still unseeing, still dead.

That is heart break. It never heals. Grief never goes away. Time magnifies absence. Dead people never truly disappear. They leave belongings they used to own — worn clothe, earrings, wallets, household plates. They leave holes that grow robust and demanding and evoke painful memories and acid foams.

Heart break is wanting that person back but never having her. Heart break is holding uncertainty and desiring to smash it. Heart break is living each day in sheer meaninglessness and lack of purpose and perpetual boredom. Heart break demands tremendous effort to wake up each morning, get out of bed, make coffee, water the plant, feed the cats, and rearrange the pieces of your damaged self.

Heart break is reading Didion and finding yourself wailing uncontrollably behind the bus’ curtain on a random Friday morning.

That is heart break.

It is graduating this semester and knowing fully that she will never be here because she’s stranded in some hospital room looking at the ceiling and forgetting to blink.

It is refusing to accept any of these. It is wanting to scream, to cheat death, to steal her back. Come hell or high water.

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