Art By Gil Escorial
Art By Gil Escorial.

To Make Up For Lost Time

Old habits die hard—but new beginnings give hope to life

By J.J. Carlos | Friday, 12 April 2024

In my silent hour last night, I pondered every moment we spent together. It seems like I had lost myself in a sea of banter and meaningless words with you—almost each night through early morning, across our screens, when we’d just talk for the sake of talking. And for all the blaring silences between us, a voice in my head wonders aloud if there’s a purpose to any of this. I wondered why I stayed all those times when I could’ve exited the room.


If you only knew how much I gave until I had nothing left for myself. I partly put the blame on my lack of willpower to refuse though, as I foolishly pined for your company. For some reason, I found it easier to accept you than my own self. Or perhaps, I simply found myself drawn to the enigma of your character—a puzzling yet fascinating sight to behold. 


I concede to the fact that I never learn. 


Nevertheless, I tried to sleep through the ache emanating from my soul. The disappointment never dissipated until morning came, when the sun shone through the barren windows in my room.


For a minute or two, in my drowsy stupor, I had forgotten your name. Memories were blurry—but they were there, merely sitting at the back of my mind. I savored the blindness of my clarity and mind’s eye for a few sweet minutes while I basked in the sunlight. 


But as the morning ticked by, all the words you’ve said to me would come flooding back, as though the gates had fully opened. I realized I wasn’t used to being on my own anymore. Perhaps I had gotten so used to the sight of you willingly picking up after me while still muttering under your breath—until now, I try to make sense of it. 


I made myself a cup of coffee—something I seldom do, as I could barely drink one—in an attempt to drown my racing thoughts. It was rather stronger than how I’d usually like it. Even so, the bitterness was able to keep my mind at bay, even for a little while. 


I figured that going out would be a good idea, instead of sulking about something that never was. For once, I wanted to give something back to myself, something that you could not and would never do, despite it seeming like so. 


Without hesitating for too long, I put on something appropriate and headed out the door. I noticed the air was getting warmer, a sign of the times that would tell me summer was on its way. The heat of the sun was pricking my skin as I started the car. 


An impulsive thought suddenly came up. I remembered your address, a few hundred kilometers away from mine. I still knew the directions and the little shortcuts you’ve shown me in case I wanted to crash for a bit. 


I blew the malevolent cloud away as I heaved a sigh. 


A notification rang on my phone, as if it were some saving grace to my morning. It was a reminder for my to-do list for the day. It contained mostly mundane things (as I had wanted to feel like an adult for once), and a few for you, like trying the new noodle shop at some place you had mentioned to me the other night. 


In the spirit of fairness, I kept that item on the list—but deleted your name. I was going to do it for the sake of trying, and nothing else. 


I pulled up to the mall where you said the shop was. It had just opened mere minutes when I arrived, so there were barely any people inside. It was almost like a safe haven, feeling the chill from the air conditioning and seeing such a slow-paced scene on a Wednesday morning. Even the shop itself was empty when I came in.


What stood before me on the table was a warm bowl of beef brisket, the savory smell wafting throughout the place and through my nostrils. The thought of you melted once again as I braved through the formidable bowl—something that was supposed to remind me of you. 


With each passing hour, and with each errand I crossed out on my list, I was starting to enjoy the day. It was a silence all the more appreciated. Though I had yet to accept what was on the table for me, I was slowly getting back in touch with what I had lost over the past month. 


In the afternoon, at home, I called my mother. I never failed to regularly message her, but I had been lately lacking in talking to her on the phone. I felt the guilt crept up my face, knowing that I had been talking to you more than someone who was frankly more important in my life. 


But upon hearing her voice on the other line, I felt the comfort of knowing I had been forgiven for my shortcomings. We talked for hours, as I confided in her about how I had been feeling. She told me to come over on the weekend for lunch—something of which I will definitely do. 


As my day now comes to a close, I receive another notification that caught my attention the moment I saw it. It’s from you, with a simple ‘hey.’ For a split second, I strongly contemplated messaging back—until I realized I might have to make up for lost time once again once I do so. 


I have a class the next day too, something that is also way more important than talking to you. You can be as patient as I am for once, can’t you?