Here’s How I Loved You In Six Little Words

man and woman kissing each other while holding fireworks low-light photography
Jared Sluyter / Unsplash

1. Pen

“Hey, do you have a spare pen?” that was the first time I heard you speak.

The clueless girl in me would have never thought that borrowing a pen was your lame attempt at starting a conversation… but it worked. Next thing I knew, you’re handing it back to me and I was using the same pen to write down my number.

It became our thing. You’d randomly buy me pens each trip to the bookstore. Different colors, different tips of each kind. You told me how you liked seeing me write with them, so that’s what I always did. I worked on prose and every line on each page of my journals with the ones you gave me.

I still sometimes write with them, at least those that are working… mostly I use them to write about you. I guess they serve as your remnants. As each pen ran out of ink, I know soon enough my feelings for you will fade as well. The same as how the words I’ve written about you will become just that, words… lacking meaning, and only what was used to be.

2. Eyes

You asked me back then what it is that I always notice first in a guy, or what specifically catches my attention. I never put much thought into it before, but I realized how I’m always drawn to people’s eyes. It felt like getting to know them better without actually listening to them, staring straight into their eyes and trying to see through if they actually mean what they’re saying.

It baffles you how I’d have to be deep about almost everything. You find it funny sometimes but loved it nonetheless. I think that people who feel deeply usually have the most expressive eyes, sincerity will always be present in each gaze. You can deny it all you want but your eyes are one of the most expressive ones I have ever stared into. I can easily tell if you’re sad, if something frustrates you, or if you mean each apology. I fell in love with the way your eyes light up at something that makes you feel alive. I get drunk with your kisses but your stares always kept me sober, reminding me of how real everything was between us. And then one day, it changed.

I wish I wasn’t an expert when it comes to reading what’s on your mind everytime I look through your eyes. I wish I wasn’t that familiar to even notice the slight difference in how they were. Or better yet, I wish you never had those expressive eyes at all. It would have made them less painful to stare at. Your look of disinterest slowly broke every part of me. And no matter how I try to look further, deeper, I knew I wouldn’t be able to see the love that was long gone.

3. Burger

If anyone would have asked me what’s the best thing about being in love, it would always be the midnight runs for food. I never really liked anything fancy and that’s what I loved about you. You never cared what would impress me, you’re always after the fun. Other girls can have their three-course meals and perfect bottles of wine, but I will always be down for your burgers and pizzas with a glass or two of cherry cola.

It was our first date and it will always be my perfect kind of date. Up until today, no one compares to the ones you have up your sleeves whenever you plan to take me out. At first, I thought you were kidding when you called to claim that you were outside our house and starving. We ended up at a cheap burger place that’s open 24 hours. I learned then that you don’t want mustard in your burger or that you can finish 4 burgers in one sitting. You told me about your dream of having your own diner. I listen to your stories no matter how shallow they were because you made me feel that slowly I can be a part of someone… and then I let myself fall for you. It felt good and I was happy, that’s what matters right? Regardless of what comes next after the fall.

There are times that I still wait for your calls at midnight. There are times that I pass by the same diner and wish you’re with me. There are times that I order burgers without mustard on it because that’s how you like them. And there are times that I still have to keep reminding myself that we are over and done.

4. Rain

I’d choose rainy days over sunny ones all the time. I like the cold weather, the sound of the rain hitting the rooftop. It calms me and I find comfort in it. But these were all before you.

It was past seven in the evening back then and my gym class just ended. Despite the heavy rain, you still showed up to make sure that I’ll get home safely. We were an odd match to begin with. Even before we made everything official, we managed to make things a little complicated. Apparently, we both still have baggage, people we should have sorted things out with prior to opening ourselves up for each other. I knew then that I was falling in love with you, but you somehow think that I was just trying to get over a failed relationship. And then I thought you weren’t serious at all and was just stringing me along until your ex was ready to get back with you. A friend of mine said something to one of your friends, one thing led to another, and everything was a mayhem from that point. But you didn’t give up on me, you asked me to trust you. And so on a rainy night in October, I kissed you for the first time without any hesitation, I was sure of what I want and I wouldn’t let others tell me otherwise.

Of course, it’s all good while it lasted. Now on most rainy days, I would try so hard to stop myself from crying. Suddenly, I can no longer find the comfort it used to present. It no longer soothes the worries I have. The worst part is it only reminds me of what I actually lost… you.

5. Handkerchief

Do you remember how you used to love the faint smell of my perfume that lingers in my handkerchief? You liked how the scent reminded you of me, that’s why you started the habit of getting my handkerchief in exchange for yours. You never fail to do this before we part ways. “It feels like I’m still with you,” you’ll always reason out. I used to find it sweet, I thought it’s rare for a guy to cling this much or be sappy this way towards his girlfriend. It had me wondering what I did to actually deserve someone like you… but of course, reality will hit you hard the least you expect it. I was shaken up from my daydream when I saw a pink floral handkerchief inside your bag. It’s pretty to look at, really… it’s just a shame it wasn’t mine.

I would have bought all the excuses you have given me that day, but something doesn’t sit right. I cannot count in one hand how many people have told me to trust my gut feeling because despite your poster image of the perfect boyfriend, all along my instincts were right.

It was a subtle hint. It was your way of telling me that apparently when you say ‘forever’, it’s just a couple of years until you could no longer tolerate having me around. I should have known better. I always thought I’ll be the first one to throw in the towel, jokes on me. Like the ones before you, you walked away intact… while I was left crumbling into pieces.

6. Coffee

Not a single person would have thought that my unwavering love for coffee would be tainted by a month of bawling uncontrollably. It was my everyday thing, three to six cups specifically… and yet you managed to make sure that I will be reminded of you with each cup. Unintentionally, of course. But I never thought I’d wake up one day and prefer a cup of tea instead.

It was a week after the supposed time of you and me thinking things through. Or more of you securing your next relationship? But I have never been so hopeful in my life more than I was at that time. You met me at a coffee shop we used to frequently visit. When I got there, you have already ordered my coffee. You remembered what I’ll usually have, another ladder up for my hopes. But the coffee has been there for a while and had already lost its warmth, resembles so much of you.

You told me you were sorry and it was for the best. You told me I’ll find someone better, and all the other BS that I probably didn’t need. The whole time you were talking, I was staring at my then tepid coffee, contemplating on whether to ask someone from the waitstaff to warm it up for me… or if I should just order a new one. But warming it up wouldn’t really make a difference, would it? I would know that it’s not the same as the way they first served it. Same goes for the two of us, even if I asked you then to try and save whatever’s left with our relationship, we will always go back to this. Because I know where exactly it went wrong, just like how I know that it’s not a fresh cup of coffee that I’ll be getting back. It would never be the same. I could watch it lose its warmth just like how I watched you fell out of love with me.

I knew it would hurt like hell, but at least I wouldn’t have to go through the same pain over and over again for the exact same person. So I stood up, didn’t bother to bid my goodbye and went straight to the counter to get myself a new drink… not the usual coffee. As soon as my order’s up, I claimed it and headed for the cafe’s door. I may have lost you, but I’m not going to lose myself just for you. TC mark

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