Once in a Lifetime

Once in a

“I love you since we were 10. I never liked the stars until I laid my eyes on you. You became my universe, a shining universe that brings light to my darkest days. I’ve thought about this for a long time. It took 30 years before I gathered all my courage to confess my love for you. You are the woman of my dreams, the reason for my being. Please accept my love, and let’s be happy together.”
“Let’s just be friends.”
“We’ve been good friends for almost 30 years. Let’s just stay that way… until the end.”
“Why? I mean, your actions speak otherwise. You were never cold to me. Your actions reciprocated the unspoken love I have for you. I thought it’s a mutual feeling. You know, for 30 years we’ve been acting like lovers. It’s just that it’s unlabeled.”
“Actions are misleading, Stephen.”
“Don’t be like this Pia. I know you love me too. I can feel it. We’re getting older. Don’t you want a build a family?”
“I do but not with you. I’m sorry.”
He held her hand, feeling all the emotions she might be hiding. He looked into her eyes, wanting to see the feelings she might be keeping. She looked away, gently releasing his hand. He held her hand tighter. He found her evasive eyes, telling her that he won’t let go.
“Please let me go Steph. Let’s just end it here and forget it never happened.”
“I’m not letting go. I love you, I’ve kept that for a long time. I love you, Pia. Please give me a chance.”
“If the feeling has been mutual Steph, I would’ve given you the chance even before. I wouldn’t wait for this day because I might have confessed to you before you could.”
As she turned her back on him, he felt the pain. His first confession, his first rejection… all for Pia, her one and only Pia. He watched her walked away. He didn’t know what to do, he felt helpless.

“Pia, can we talk?”
“There’s nothing to talk about.”
“I still love you.”
“How can you forget me when you keep on walking towards me? You’ve been doing this for a year now. I’ve been avoiding you but it seems that you don’t notice it. Steph, I don’t want to hurt you more so please stop doing this.”
“Do you think it’s easy? It’s painful Pia but despite everything, I’m still in love with you. 30 years, all those years you’ve been the only one. But in just a day, it’s all gone, I got rejected. You’re driving me crazy!”
“I’m sorry. Just forget me, I’m not the woman for you. I’m sure there’s someone out there, more deserving of your love.”
“How can you say that when you know you’re the only one? I never loved any woman except you. Why is everything so easy for you? Just forget you? It’s the same as telling me to destroy my world because you are my world.”
“I don’t want to be harsh on you but I think I need to do this for your sake. Let’s avoid each other, treat each other like strangers because as long as you’re going to act this way, I’ll have to reconsider our friendship.”
“Why? What’s with your special treatment? What are those happy moments we have shared? Do they mean nothing to you? They meant everything for me, Pia. I love you so much that it hurts a lot.”
“My answer is still the same. I can only offer my friendship to you.”
She quickly turned her back on him as he held his tears. She slowly walked away but the hope is still there. A hope that says she’ll hold my hand, and tell me that she loves me too but that didn’t happen.

“One-sided love broke the see-saw down
I got to get rough when I hear the grudge
And you went your way and I went wild
And girl, you’d understand if your heart was mine…
If we had an exchange of hearts
Then you’d know why I fell apart
You’d feel the pain when the memories start
If we had an exchange of hearts…”

Alone in the middle of the street, he sings with all his heart. The bottles of tequila had swallowed all his sanity, leaving only the marks of pain.

“Mister! Please stop. Don’t jump! You don’t have to end your life just like that. It’s a mortal sin. You’ll find a better woman.”
“I don’t want another woman. Can’t you understand that?”
The man gets closer to the edge of the rooftop. It draws scream from the people.
“Hey! You wanna end your life?!”
Out from nowhere, a man appeared and approached the suicidal man.
“Do you think she’ll come here and save you? Do you think she’ll come back to you just because you want to end your life? You’re being stupid!”
“You don’t have any idea about what I’m going through. Leave me alone, I just want to die!!!”
“You’re being pathetic, man. Just because she left you, just because it’s over, you want to be like that? Hey! If she’s not the one for you, accept it. You became happy even if it’s the wrong one, I’m sure you’ll be happier when the right one comes along. Stop this drama.”
“Nobody understands my pain.”
“More than anybody else, you must listen to me.”
He immediately turned his back to leave the area. Everyone was silent.
“Why should I?”
Slowly, he looked at the suicidal man with a teasing smile.
“I’ve been there.”
He continued his way towards the door and left the rooftop. Surprisingly, the man went down and cursed himself for being foolish. He felt his pain, he knew how his heart is coping with that pain. In the midst of the crowd, a familiar face stood out. Her eyes with mixed emotions are constantly looking at him. He longed to see that face, to know how she’s doing after all these years.
“Dr. Stephen! Hey!”
His heart was racing faster. That familiar voice, that familiar scent…
“Dr. Pia. How are you? You gained weight. I must say everything’s fine while I’m gone.”
“Where have you been?”
“I’ve been to paradise but I’ve never been to me. Haha.”
“You’re back. You are really back.”
“Hey! Stop that. How’s everyone?”
“We’re all good. Can… I have a moment with you? Please have a coffee with me. See you there?”
“All right. For an old friend.”
For a brief moment flashes of memories passed by. It’s been 8 years since he left. A lot of changes have happened but the people whom he used to know are still here. For a short span, he saw Pia’s trembling hands while talking to him. An awkward moment maybe but he’s happy.

“Stephen I’d like to apologize for what happened between us 8 years ago. I didn’t mean to hurt you. For those years that you were gone, I realized my mistake. I… missed you. I hated myself for letting you go, for rejecting you. I was afraid.”
“But my love for you was stronger than your fears that it can pacify them. You should have given me the chance. That was all I asked from you.”
“You are my once in a lifetime.”
“But you chose to let me go. You broke my heart and I… I almost died.”
“Are we not worth a second chance?”
“I don’t love you anymore.”
“For the last 30 years, I’ve been the woman of your dreams…”
“And you wasted it.”
Her tears poured down. She had the same tears likes he had 8 years ago. He felt sorry but his love for her was gone.
“Forgetting you wasn’t easy. But it was you who pushed me to do that. If you had only said that before, I would come back and hold you forever. But it took 8 years before it happened and my feelings were already gone, Pia.”
“Stephen, please give us a chance. I was just afraid. All my life you were there with me, through my ups and downs. I was totally dependent on you. Then one day, I just wanted to have my own life, to be independent and to stand on my own. When you confessed, I was happy but fears have overcome everything.”
“I’ve loved you since we were 10, for 30 years. The chance was right in front of you. You let it slip away.”
He doesn’t want to hurt her more. He has been there. He totally knows her pain but he can’t do anything. No matter how he tried to remember the feeling he had for her, it won’t come back.
It’s nice to meet you again. I hope in time, we’ll be good friends just like the old times. I should leave now.”

“I’d never wished a lonely heart on you
It’s not your fault, I chose to play the fool
One day will come when you’ll be in my shoes
Then your heart will break and you’ll feel just like I do”
—here goes the song again—-

…and it happened. Pain changes people. It forces people to forget what should be forgotten. He’s happier now. He’s free from the bondage of pain from his past. The universe is playful, it twisted their fate. He loved her too much but she let him go, she loves him now but the feelings were gone.

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