I was standing at the shore, watching the sun set against the very nice backdrop of the sea and the sky, the perfect blend of oranges, yellows, and blues. The wind was playing with my hair and it was making it tangled, but it was okay.
I took a deep breath.
And then he came around, hugging me from behind. I closed my eyes as I felt him lean his chin on my shoulder.
He and I have been best friends, seven years ago. I had gone over the line and loved him more than a friend, and I told him so. But he didn’t love me in the way that I had wanted him to, and at that time, even though it was painful, it was okay. He was still in my life as my best friend, and that was okay with me. That was good.
And when he went away to study college, we lost all contact—only to talk once more after seven years.
And on the day he contacted me, he also broke the news that he’s about to get married because his girlfriend is pregnant.
Who knew after seven years that my heart would still break because of him?
And here we are, another year later, two days before his wedding, his kid already a month old, in La Union. He “kidnapped” me, asking me to come with him because he wanted to tell me something, and he didn’t give me a chance to refuse. He almost carried me to his car just to take me here.
We’ve been here already for a day, and whatever he wanted to tell me, it still wasn’t coming out.
“We have to go back, you know?” I said, and he nodded.
“Cold feet?” I said again, and he shook his head. “No, I’m good,” he said, but his voice was hollow.
“You said you need to tell me something,” I prompted after a long while. I removed his arms around me and I started to walk along the shore. He followed, three steps behind me.
“Yes,” he said, and he stopped. I turned to look at him.
He took a deep breath. “I love you,” he said without any other ceremonies. “I have loved you before, in the same way you loved me too. And I still do. I still love you.”
I gaped at him—I think that was the least I could do. I stopped functioning altogether, and I just stared.
“Do you… still love me?” he asked, and I closed my eyes, exhaling loudly.
“What is the point?” I asked him. “What is the point of all this?”
I took a step back and opening my eyes again. He was watching my expression real carefully. “Do you still love me?” he asked again.
“What is the point?” I insisted, not answering his question.
He gazed into my eyes and I could feel his resolve melting away.
“You can’t run away from your soon-to-be wife, from your kid. They are there and they won’t go away the moment you tell me you love me. And I can’t believe you,” I said, throwing my hands in the air. Angry tears sprung in my eyes. “I can’t believe how selfish you are. You’re telling me this because you wanted to find a way out? You’re telling me this and you don’t even think how I’d feel?”
He reached out for me, holding my hands. “I wanted you to know. I just wanted you to know so that I won’t regret that I didn’t tell you how I feel! If you feel I was unfair, if you feel it was selfish—I’m sorry. I wanted you to know that I love you because it’s true. It’s real. And even though I’m getting married in two days, even though I know this won’t change anything in my life plan or yours, I wanted you to know that at one point in this lifetime, I loved you in the way that you loved me and that I deeply regret not telling you at that time. That I wished so badly that it is you and me getting married in two days.” He was begging, pleading for me to understand. Tears were also streaming down his face.
“I love you. And I still do. And I would love you forever. But I know this is how it’s supposed to be. This is how you and me should be. We were meant to love each other but we’re meant to stay apart. And it kills me. It kills me every single day. And I want you to know that. I want to know it hurt me that I hurt you before. When I made you feel I didn’t love you too. I love you. I love you. I love you.”
I turned away, choking back my sobs, my eyesight blurry because of the tears.
“You’re getting married. And I’ll be there. I’ll watch you get married. You have to get married.”
“I love you—”
I nodded, removing my hands in his and hastily wiping my tears. I reached out and held his face in my hands.
“And I loved you. But this is it. Like you said, this is how we’re supposed to be. This is the end of the line for us,” I said, my voice wavering, wanting, willing for him to understand.
He nodded, taking a deep breath.
I gave him a small smile, trying to mask the breaking of my heart in a thousand pieces. I sat on the shore, the waves and sand tickling my feet, and he sat next to me.
He held my hand.
The sun set on the horizon, just like it had on our love that never happened, on our love that was might have been.