I accidentally met an old flame this morning, at the doctor’s clinic, of all places! It was my follow up check-up with a gastroenterologist, and he was with his wife and daughter to see a pediatrician next door. Waiting to be called in, I sat outside the clinic with the other patients, eyes closed, earphone plugged in my ears, and was surprised when my shoulder was tapped. I haven't seen him in a long, long time. I said hello, and was caught off guard when he kissed my cheek! His wife was staring and it was a bit awkward for a few seconds. After some kumustahan, he introduced me---telling his wife that we used to be neighbors! Kissing neighbors? Hah! Now I’m relegated to being an ex-neighbor, I thought! Funny!
When they entered the clinic, I returned to my music but couldn’t help thinking about our 'past'. More than a decade ago, we were "in love" but things didn’t work. We were both young and the relationship was full of drama (on his part mostly)! Most of our arguments were silly really, now that I think about it. One of the unforgettable dramas was when I walked out of our friend’s party because he was getting drunk and started saying stupid things. When I got home, it started to rain, then my roommates told me that he was at the gate asking for me. I told my roommates that he’s drunk and I wanted him to leave. He didn’t leave…instead he kept on calling my name and it was raining...he was soaked to the skin (di ba parang sine? hahaha)! My roommates were looking out the window feeling sorry for him, while I went to bed. Yes, I was a cold-hearted bitch! :D
I remember he liked being alone, and he was shy with strangers. People would mistake his shyness and reclusiveness for arrogance. I guess it was a convenient label slapped by those who see only the surface of things and nothing more. But alcohol loosened up his tongue---he would talk endlessly and sometimes, cry. It was like he had a split-personality disorder! He was this shy, thoughtful and gentle person when he's “normal” but after a few beers, he became a totally different person---nasty, jealous, offensive and just strange. He and his wife lookeed happy though…maybe she enjoys listening to his rants and could manage his psychotic breaks.
So there I was, sitting outside the doctor’s clinic, with a smug look on my face when he said goodbye. And I thought of my life now…a life of slightly unsettled contentment, all right in general but cut through with an aloneness that I simultaneously treasure and dislike. It’s a blend of contentment and weariness of being happy where I am and yet wishing I am somewhere else. But not with him, that’s for sure! I wish him and his family all the best.
Sometimes you have to get to know someone really well to realize you're really strangers.
~Mary Tyler Moore