It all started one stormy night, when I decided to drive along a very rough road. My mind kept telling me to go on because all reasons kept pointing out that it was the right thing to do. But my heart was telling me to go back. For there, I am safe.
That was the story I told a long time ago.
That long drive was all about being torn between two people. It was a moment of having to contemplate between Peter and John. It was about a flash in time when life was gracious enough to give you the luxury of choosing between the one you need to be with and the one you’re already with.
And this is the part where I ran out of gasoline.
People have always known that it was a choice between Peter and John and with that came all their unnecessary verdicts. People, when it comes to other’s lives, can be very opinionated. All their questioning made them know everything. All this time, they knew about Peter and John.
But no one ever knew about James.
And this is the part where I write my open letter to him. The truth is, even James never knew.
Just so you know, there is a sort of discomfort in the pit of my stomach as I begin to type these words. I won’t call this strange feeling “butterflies”, because that will only further disguise the truth that I have kept hidden for years. I always thought that writing about you is the bravest thing that I could ever do. Still, I never tried, just like you never did. We’re older now, and the part of me that once constantly desired to please other people has already gone with the years that passed. I am asking one last favor from you, James. Please finish reading my letter. And please don’t ever say that you don’t know it’s for you.
You will never know how I feel; because you weren’t the one who felt that strange feeling those times I caught you staring at me. You weren’t the one who lost sleep thinking about how in the world I keep catching your eye, or if it was just normal for you to stare like that at other girls. You weren’t the one who rushed through noontime breaks so as not to miss the chance of walking back to school with you. You weren’t the one who got affected with your straightforward remarks and neither were you the one who got all speechless with your compliments.
I’ve always thought to myself that you were joking. You were very good at that. The truth is, I held onto the slightest chance that maybe, you telling me I was pretty was half-meant. You weren’t the one who felt giddy whenever people say that we look good together. I want you to understand that it was hard to conceal those emotions, especially when you are an insecure seventeen-year-old girl, but still believes that there is someone out there who might give a damn that you existed.
That’s right, James. You were never all that, but you were somebody to me.
There came a time when you were even everything, before time robbed us of chances and before life and people got in our way. Today, before the universe starts depriving me of another chance, I just want to tell you that I felt the same way that you did for me, long before you even recognized the feeling. And it was more than you have ever thought.
Maybe it was the distance that deepened the longing. Maybe it was those chances that were missed. Maybe, it was those moments that we kept denying but lingered for a while, making everything much more confusing. Maybe it was the way you held my hand or the gravity that keeps pulling me when you’re near. Maybe it was those words that were never heard. Or maybe, this is just me.
I’ve known you for a while, James and I know you’ve worked so hard to become a person who needs to justify every action with reason. Stop kidding yourself, James. You know you are never that. You know that you never needed reasons, at all. I know time has made you capable to do a lot of things, but not controlling your happiness and even your loneliness that creeps within. Your heart was pure and I will never understand why you worked so hard to envelop it in darkness.
Still, to answer your question, I am not doing this to remind you. Nor am I doing this because I wanted to. Whatever I felt for you has always been here. I spent a lot of time to shake it, but then there are those times when I just wanted to embrace it.
It has been my hideaway in my not-so-sunny days. It was both my hope and disillusionment. It has saved me from a lot of pain only to make me pay, in return.
You see James, John never promised me anything. Neither did Peter. But you did.
And at the time my engine ran out of gasoline, I looked around and felt something both strange and familiar. It was a spur of a moment when I am sure that the universe was telling me something. The rain has stopped so I stepped out, and looked above. It was when I saw the moon, shining like I’ve never seen it before. I was certain I stared at it for quite a while.
I will never know how something as cosmic as that will make me feel that I am not alone. It was dark, and I am utterly sure that no one’s there to rescue me. But the moon made me feel that for the longest time, I was actually in the right place.
With the rush of the wind and as the moon illuminates the concrete roads, I thought of you. I started walking towards that familiar street where the moon exactly shines because you promised me that if today comes, you’ll be there.
We’ve never been together, James, but you were the one who hurt me the most.
You were never there, and once again, I was lost.
You’ve never shown up but I kept looking for you. I kept calling out your name in the dark. And even when daylight finally came, I was waiting at that spot that I’ve marked in my heart forever.
You tricked me, James, with your eyes, with your words, with your moon and all your stories. I started to see the moon for what it really was. It suddenly became nothing but a dead and cold dump that is not even capable of rotating. I was a fool for letting the light that it doesn’t even own rule over me.
The truth is it was you who lured me into the trap. It was you who made me feel that I should run away and search for something. And it was also you who made me realize that I should go back. You were the reason why every now and then, I felt like something was missing. You were the reason why I started to drive that night. It has always been you and your promise.
You never waited for me. I was the one who kept waiting for you. Maybe you meant it for a time, but then you suddenly found comfort in the thought that you left someone hanging. You used your words because you were sure that words have power over me.
That night, I felt like I lost you. And as the distance between us grew further, so are all of my childish beliefs. I started doubting everything that I ever knew. I despised myself so much because just when I thought I became smarter, the realization that I am still the naïve little girl started to creep in.
To this day, you are still acting like nothing ever happened. My part in your story has finally reached its ending, and it all turned out to be in your favor.
The most painful of all is you tore me out of the page, and you threw the pen you used to write it down.
James, maybe you really were the one that got away.
But I never want to call you that because you’ve always been there. You just took me for granted.