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Two Songs and a Shoelace

Two songs and a shoe lace

 

            It was ten in the evening. The sky was overcast. Stars were remote and the moon sought refuge behind the clouds. Before us, people walked past in haste. Shadows kept tugging their way in a rhythm-less dance. A montage of lights flickered abruptly ‘til it had withdrawn its lucid touch among us, disturbed and damned to an eternal silence. In a distance, your favorite song was playing.

I’ve been so alone my all my life;

couldn’t give my heart to anyone.

Hiding in myself was a man

Who needed to be held by everyone.

Before us, the metropolis slept while we stare at the pavement; you, tying your shoe lace; I, watching you intently. How come it has been thirty days since you’ve left and the ghost of you still hovers around? This street reminded me so much of you, a guy who couldn’t walk thirteen miles without stopping to tie a lose knot on his shoes; a feeble man whose favorite song would tell you what he was going through. I took three cautious steps and realized you’ve stopped walking. Behind me, there you were, sitting down the alley’s darkest corner and forcing your back on the wall where you wrote my name: Catherine.

I stood where I was, paralyzed. I shook my head, reminding myself you’ve passed away four weeks ago and forcing my mind to kill illusions that had subconsciously crept in my system, giving birth to paranoia. I shut my eyes for several minutes and when I opened them, you were no longer in sight. I gave out a sigh of relief and started to wander aimlessly until I’ve reached 711 where we used to share a cup of hot chocolate. I sat down, mind-tired, body-exhausted. And then I saw you paying at the counter. Your image came like a mirage, I couldn’t decipher whether it was ghostly or real. But your scent, I could smell.

As if someone was playing a cruel joke on me, you sat before me and drank a cup of hot choco. I closed my eyes once more but this time, you were still there when I opened them. Why do you keep haunting me everywhere I shift my glance, everywhere I go? Don’t you know it maims my flesh like a thousand daggers thrusting themselves towards my heart until in pieces, it shatters? This odd pain, both an excruciating and numbing one, resurrected every old heartache. Then all of a sudden, as if you had felt my anguish, you rushed towards the door and boarded a jeepney. Instinct told me to follow you. But wait. You were a ghost. Why was I following a spirit?

“ Just because everything’s changin’,

Doesn’t mean it’s never been that way before…”

Even the song in the jeepney made me feel anxious. Had it happened in the past, like a rush of déjà vu? You and I, sharing this trip…you and I humming Regina Spektor. Yet something wicked was telling me it was never been this way.

The screeching of the wheels halted. I did not know what pushed me to get out but I did. And just like all my delusions from day one, you were with me. You ran as rain poured in torrents. It felt like I couldn’t really feel any whipping sensation brought about by the angry wind. What mattered to me was following you, eager to know where your ghost might lead me. Finally, you stopped and sank down the damp soil. If you were crying or not, I had no way of knowing for raindrops raced down your cheeks. I looked at your eyes; they were as sad as mine a month ago. I was about to touch your mystique presence, to feel the contours of your face against my bare hands but you were not even looking at me. You were looking at…an epitaph? I knelt down to see a better view. On a marble, were written:

In the loving memory of Catherine Evans

Born: April 1, 1985

Died: August 4, 2008

            Shock and bewilderment gripped my entirety. Several images kept shifting before me: a shoe lace…car…blinding light…blood… hospital…funeral.

“Now we’re back to the beginning.

It’s just a feeling and no one knows yet.

But just because they can’t feel it too,

Doesn’t mean you have to forget.

You’ll come back when it’s over…

No need to say goodbye…”

            It dawned on me like a nightmare. Suddenly, I knew. It was twelve midnight and your shoe lace was missing. I felt a liquid in my eyes mixing with the merciless raindrops that had abandoned their sky.