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Copyright 2020 Mayumi Cruz
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The month of March ushers in the start of spring in America and elsewhere. Here in the Philippines, it heralds the beginning of summer. But whatever season it is named, March will always be extra special to me.
The third day, specifically. The day when heaven sent an angel destined to hold my hand and my heart forever. The day you were born.
Soft sunlight streaming through the dark green leaves of the tree above us touch her hair and I am instantly jealous. I lay my hand over her light brown crown, its ray instead hitting me with the morning warmth.
Before I met you, I was just. . . living. Taking everyday as it comes. Relationships went and passed me by, leaving me discontented and disillusioned. I found myself unconsciously, whimsically saying a silent prayer to an unseen God wishing for someone that will sweep me off my feet and make me forget everything except her.
Be careful what you wish for, they say—you might just get it. Well, I got my wish. But I’m not regretting it one single bit.
All around us, birds chirp in harmony, singing their own version of praise, welcoming the coming of a new day and glorifying the magnificence of creation, whatever label of season it is named in various parts of the world. The mild, fragrant scent of flowers chant with them invisibly, harmoniously.
She sleeps so peacefully on a bed of lush grass, oblivious to the busy workings of nature around her: the blooming flowers, the hovering bees and butterflies, the gentle sound of the waterfall’s soft cascading waters of the man-made lagoon.
I still remember the first time I laid eyes on you. You were trying to recover from a blunder in delivering your lines, but then you turned your head and saw me looking at you intently. Wanting to hide your embarrassment, you flashed your dazzling smile at me. And I was smitten.
Even at rest, her face looks radiant, pinkish skin flushed with love’s glow. Her eyes are closed, which just showed off the allure of her long, thick eyelashes. Her straight, perfect nose quietly hum her sweet breath. And her lips. . . those intoxicating pair of pillowy lips, which taste like sweet specialty red wine, infused with flavors of cotton candy and apples.
How could I forget the first time I tasted your lips? It was your 21st birthday, a sunny day in March. I couldn’t help myself as I pressed my lips to yours, a fleeting moment of heaven that left me with shaky knees. It was the first of many kisses that differed in intensity, length, and scope . . . but all equally unforgettable.
Without thinking, my thumb carefully traced her lips’ contours, reveling in the feel of every soft crevice. She stirs. I hold my breath. I would have wanted to stay like this forever, watching her sleep. But a part of me is also eager to see her open her big, brown eyes and be drowned in their bewitching depth.
The first time I looked deep into your eyes, I was captivated. Mesmerized. Your eyes haunted me from then on. I see it everywhere, day and night, even with my eyes closed, and I impatiently waited for the next time I will behold them once again. They are like glimmering, glowing lamps of light, illuminating my life, bringing brightness and colour to my once monochromatic world.
She smiled before she opened her eyes. “That was . . .”
“Arousing?” I amusedly asked.
Her eyes flew open, twinkling with laughter. “I was going to say rousing.”
“Good morning, beautiful,” as I held her hand wearing her wedding ring, kissing it gently, my eyes never leaving hers.
“I love you,” she said.
“I love you more,” I replied, cupping her face as my mouth met hers for a long, sensual kiss.
Smiling after, I asked. “Do you want to have breakfast now?”
“Can we stay here a little bit? It’s so relaxing here. I can’t believe I dozed off after our morning walk.”
“I knew you’d love it here. That’s why I bought this property before our wedding. This is our home, our nest.”
“And it’s perfect. The flowers, the grass, the trees, the birds. . .” her voice trailed off, for no additional words are necessary to describe the breathtaking beauty that is right before our eyes.
Like the petals of a flower, our love slowly, gradually blossomed to its fullness, yet not without the proverbial birthing pains associated with that inexplicable, incomprehensible, wonderful feeling of the dizzying, swirling, turbulent ride called falling in love. It bloomed when we stripped off all our fears and apprehensions of what was and what could, and allowed our true feelings to emerge from within ourselves for it to flourish.
You told me you’re moody and imperfect. I told you so am I, I can take it. Sometimes amusedly, sometimes not. Other times I feel frustrated to see you crawl inside your own world, shutting me out. But the prize I get every time I draw you out constantly challenged and revitalized me. We fought; we kissed and made up. We talked, we laughed, we cried, we dreamed. And we survived.
You told me to wait till you’re ready. I did. There were times I grew anxious and impatient. A few times I was threatened by other men who want to enter into your life too. Although it hurt like hell and I was green with jealousy, I held on. And one day, you surprised me when you said you’re ready. As simple as that. You were ready to commit yourself to me and make you mine.
Our love grew as the days and months passed by, nurtured by trust, cultivated by hope, and watered by a generous sprinkling of our common faith. A love that we persistently fought for against all odds. And we emerged triumphant.
The wedding last year was nothing short of magical. Everything was perfect. So perfect and so spiritually solemn that we both cried as we sealed our union with a kiss.
And now it’s March again. You just turned 24 last week. I look forward to discovering, exploring, and loving every bit and piece of you: your mind, your heart, your body. . . even if it takes a lifetime. Because as long as we’re together, I am not daunted by the uncertainty of the future, or even the forecast of storms or strong winds, or the heat of the sun.
Nothing else matters. . . except US.
“Babe?” she spoke. “Help me up, please?”
I stood and helped her up.
I shot her a worrying look as I asked, “Are you okay?”
“I. . . I think so. My back hurts. . . a little.”
“From the way you look, it’s not just a little pain. Is that normal?” I frowned.
She forced a smile.
“I’m sure it’s nothing, babe. Let’s eat, I’m famished.”
“Okay, if you say so.”
But I can’t shake off the uneasy feeling I have.
All of a sudden, she gasped out loud.
“Babe. . .!”
“What? Why? What’s the matter?”
I felt panic crawling into my voice as I saw her horrified face.
“I. . . I’m afraid. . .this time. . .”
“What is it? Please, tell me, love! You’re scaring me!”
The panic in me escaped out of my mouth.
“I. . . I think. . . my waters just broke.”
“WHAT? What waters? THAT waters? Oh God, what do we do? What shall I do? Don’t walk! Don’t speak! Don’t freakin’ move! Stay there. I’ll go get help! Or do we go together? Shit! Shit! I can’t think clearly!”
I blabbered and muttered and turned around, not knowing what to do. Well, I do, really. I’ve attended lots of birthing classes with her. But it’s kinda different when you’re faced with the real thing!
She grasped my arm, and I can tell she’s in pain by how tightly she held on to me. But she still smiled forcefully and spoke, haltingly, in between breaths.
“Babe, first. . . you should calm down. Breathe in. . . breathe out.”
“Okay. . . okay.” I followed her example.
“Then, slowly. . . carry me in your arms. . . and let’s go to the hospital,” she said, in between gasps.
“Right. Right. So here we go,” as I swooped her, pregnant belly and all, into my arms.
Snuggling her face on my neck, she whispered to my ear, “Carefully, now. Our daughter will be here shortly.”
Life truly begins in spring. . . or summer? Whatever season it’s called in any part of the world, the month of March just got more extra meaningful to me. And to us.
I enter her room after a brief knock. It is pitch dark inside, with only the light of the full moon coming from the open window illuminating my wife’s profile. The air inside is heavy. The scent of death is hanging above us. I try to control the urge to shout in frustration. I feel so helpless, so useless, unable to alleviate the pain she is feeling, unable to stop the inevitable from happening.
As always, she is sitting on the bed, in shadows, waiting for me. Every night, for the past three months.
“What is it. . . this time?” she whispered, weakly. Too weakly. Her voice is now just a shadow of her once vibrant, giggly self.
I swallow the lump in my throat. “Coffee. Brewed and black.”
She nods slowly. Too slowly. “The green tea last night was delicious.”
“I can make you one again, if you want.”
“No, coffee’s just fine. May I have some?”
I approach her, the tray containing the coffee mug clasped in my hands.
She turns her face away, as if stung.
“Don’t come near me! Can you. . . can you just leave it. . . on the bedside table?”
“Love,” I groan, “you’re too weak. You can’t even lift your hand. Let me help you, please.”
“I. . . I don’t want you to see me like this,” she murmurs.
“You’re still beautiful, love,” I hasten to assure her. “You’re always beautiful to me.”
She sighs. “You’re just saying that because I’m dying.”
“DON’T SAY THAT!” My words come out harshly than I intended them to, and she cringes at my tone.
Immediately, I apologize profusely, not wanting to add to her pain. “I’m sorry I yelled at you. I’m sorry, love,” as I walk to her, my arm outstretched, wanting to hold her. She puts up her palm, her unspoken way of telling me off. I sit on the bed, my fists clenched at my side.
Oh, what I would give to gather her in my arms again, to feel once again her warmth, to smell her sweet breath, to hear her beating heart against mine. . . things I haven’t been able to do in the past months.
But she turns farther away from me. “Please, love, just leave me. I have accepted my fate. You should, too.”
“No, I won’t, and I can’t accept it! You shouldn’t too. If you’d only agree to the cure they told us about, you will live.”
“I can’t do that.” She shakes her head slowly. “I don’t want to do that.”
“Why? For heaven’s sake, why?”
“You know why. You know why,” she feebly replied.
“Don’t you love me? Don’t you want us to be together?” I ask her, my tone pained and grieving.
“Of course I do. I love you, Philip. God knows how much I love you. You’re the only man I have ever loved.”
“Then, please. . . please. . . let yourself live!”
She shakes her head adamantly.
“Even for me? For us?”
“That is why I don’t want to get the cure, Philip. This is all for you.”
“No, it isn’t. Because if you die, I’ll just kill myself, Georgia.”
“Philip!” Gasping, she looks at me with panic-stricken eyes.
“I’ll kill myself,” I repeat with conviction, as I realize this was what I wanted — and planned — to do ever since she refused the cure. “I really will kill myself. I’d rather be dead than live without you.”
“Don’t,” she whispers, squeezing her eyes closed, as if in pain. “Don’t waste your life because of me.”
“But you are my life, Georgia. Without you, I am not alive.”
She looks at me for a long moment with haunted, sunken eyes. Slowly, one by one, the tears fall down her cheeks. She hasn’t cried ever since she became ill. The walls she had built up for herself are now crashing down, and I grab the opportunity, the slimmest chance, that she will consider getting the cure that can save her life.
I plead with her, eagerly, urgently.
“Love. . . you can’t survive with just a few drops of animal blood laced in the drinks I prepare every night. You need human blood, or you’ll die. Please, take my blood. . . and live. I don’t care that I will be a blood-thirsty, hunted vampire like you.”
I grasp her hand. . . her cold, pale hand, and put it on my chest.
“All I care for is being with you. . . for all eternity. Don’t you want that?”
“Oh, Philip, I do. I do!”
“Then. . . what are you waiting for?” I whisper seductively, “Coffee, tea. . . or me?”
She smiles. Then she opens her mouth wide, and I catch a glimpse of her fangs. . .
. . . before she bit me.
His feet tapped on the window sill, finding rest for his tired, wind-whipped body.
The mother whispered, “Go away,” but abruptly stopped when her child grasped her arm, weakly shaking her small head.
In gratitude, he sang her a beautiful song. She rewarded him with a dazzling smile.
From then on, the window remained open. Day, night, rain, or shine, he came and sang to her, his heart full of love.
Until one day, he found the window closed, its curtains drawn.
He understood. In grief, he wept, perched atop a tree. Wings folded, he sang a song for her…still.
Sing me our song, darling
Hum us our mystic tune
That melody all our own
Our rhythm of age-old.
Grant me this briefest joy
As I close my eyes and sigh
And remember with a smile
When you were still mine.
Round and round.
Pulled into a vortex
Drowned in passion
In the tornado named you.
We are all characters
Our lives, stories
Under The Writer’s fingers.
Works in progress,
Yet every now and then
We are given free rein
To write ourselves.
To close plot holes
Join incoherent parts
To improve our style
Perfect our voice
Rethink our life’s theme
And make ourselves resonate.
We are all WIPs
Yet we can turn ourselves
Into great stories
Before The Writer