I know our love was meant to be. The time when we first met was not a coincidence. Knowing him was a blessing from above and loving him was a great opportunity I will always be thankful for until the ends of time.
One year ago, it was Monday morning and I was waiting for the bus. After two minutes, the bus arrived. I sat at the back of the driver. There were two seats and the other was occupied by a tall, dark and handsome guy. He was wearing dark sun glasses and I presumed he was asleep. I had a chance to study him for a while. Even with those glasses, I could tell that he was devilishly handsome. I thought I saw a Greek god that time. I was taken aback when he said: “Don’t you know that it’s impolite to stare?” I covered my face because of shame and uttered “sorry.”
The next day I was sitting on the bench of the waiting shed to ride a bus when someone sat on the edge of the bench and started to sing out a tune. It was him. The man I saw yesterday. I stared at him once again. I just can’t take my eyes off of him. Then my instinct told me that he was about to say the same lines that he said the day before, I interrupted him and I said while rolling my eyeballs: “I know. I know. IT’S-IMPOLITE-TO STARE.” He let out a bark of laughter.
That was the start of our friendship-from a very awkward situation to a very compatible relationship as friends. We talked and laughed on simple things. He was there to make me happy when I’m sad. We also sat together at the back of the driver’s seat in the bus. We ate snacks and lunch together. There was never a time I felt bored when he was my companion.
One day, we were talking on some stuff when he smiled and stared at me. I felt a little bit awkward. I remembered the time when we first met, so I used the same line and said: “Don’t you know that it’s impolite to stare?” Then we laughed out loud.
After that incident, I could sense that there was something going on, that there was a spark between us but I can’t dare to admit it even if I knew that I was really attracted to him the first time I saw him. But falling in love with him was out of my plan. He’s a dear friend and I couldn’t afford to lose a good friend like him.
While we were sitting on a bench, he held my hand. It was good feeling. He said: “You know what, if we just met in different time, I could have fallen in love with you.” Shocked I said: “Come again?” He smiled but never repeated what he said instead he put my hand near his heart and stared at me. There was a moment of silence. He was the first to break it and said: “I really don’t want to say this because I’m afraid for the future but by just seeing you now, I can’t help it. I’m falling for you.”
“You do?” I answered. He nodded for an affirmation. “Then same here,” I said and turned my back because I was ashamed. He made me face him and I saw his lonely eyes. I asked him what’s the matter and tears fell down slowly from his eyes.
He hugged me and I hugged him back. I really couldn’t understand what was going on. He started telling me why and before I knew it- I was crying. Even until the time I got home, I still cried while remembering what he told me:
“You can’t love me Lianne. At least try not to love me. I will just hurt you, if not now, may be soon. I love you. I really do. The first time you stared at me, I knew that I found the girl I would love for a lifetime. But fate seemed so cruel to me. I met you-the one I’ve been waiting for all my life but it’s too late. We can’t work this out. I don’t want to be unfair to you that’s why I am telling you this. I’m dying.” I couldn’t utter a word. I could feel the pain he felt while telling all that to me.
“I don’t know when but I know I’m not staying any longer. I have a brain cancer. My doctor told me to prepare myself for it. I was doing fine alone and ready to accept my fate, and then you came.” I was speechless for a moment and we hugged each other and cried together as the rain started to fall from high heaven.
I couldn’t sleep that night trying to think about the situation. I came to a conclusion to give our love a chance even for the fact that he was going away soon. I talked to him about it. Of course, he didn’t agree with it but I insisted. At least, even for a short time, I would experience how it was to love and be loved by him. He couldn’t say no to me so we became lovers.
The time we started our relationship as lovers, we agreed not to talk about his condition. I told him that we will just cross the bridge when we get there. We went along just fine. We shared unforgettable memories. Every day he told me how much he loves me and he never failed to show it. He was the perfect boyfriend for me. I couldn’t ask for more. He was all that I’ve ever wanted. I love him more every day.
But some good things never last. Everything ends as they say. One day I received a call that he was rushed into the hospital. I couldn’t explain what I felt then so I went to the hospital. I saw him fighting back his life. I cried on what I’ve seen. The doctor told me that I only have a little time left to talk to him.
I sat beside the hospital bed and held his hand. I cried silently and called his name: “Z-eb.” He opened his eyes but I knew he was suffering from the pain in his head. He said:“Shhh. Stop crying. I thought we’re ready for this.” I just cried and looked at him. He continued talking: “Thank you for the time you spent to love and care for me. For making the remaining days of my life its happiest. I thank the Lord for having been able to meet you. You are the most wonderful and the best thing that ever happened to me. I know you love me but you have to move on. We have our memories but don’t be afraid to make some more even if I’m gone. I may not be here anymore but I will always be watching you.”
I hugged him and said: “Zeb, I don’t know how to live my life without you.” He answered: “You can do it Lianne. Don’t be jailed with our memories. I won’t be happy there seeing you here lonely. I don’t want to see you cry again after this. Please. Be strong for me. I know it’s not easy but this is life. We have to face it. May be, in other world, if there is, we will meet again and could continue our love. I will never forget you. Can I kiss you for the last time?”
I kissed him in the lips. Our one last kiss. I told him how much I love him. Feeling weak he managed to reply: “I love you more.” then closed his eyes.
And now, it’s been a a year after he died. I am driving my car off to the cemetery where he was buried. I was still in the process of recovery. I also wonder why something so beautiful should be taken away just like that. But I know, God has better plans for us than we do. I’m not yet ready to love again. My heart still belongs to Zeb.
When I reached the cemetery, a familiar face was standing infront of his grave. I could not forget her face, one of the beautiful faces I knew. She was my childhood friend before I transferred to another place.I approached her.
“Angelie?” She smiled and said: “Lianne?” We hugged each other and said: “Do you know Zeb?” She answered: “Of course, he’s my cousin. I never had the chance to attend in his burial due to my hectic schedule in the US.”
“But you didn’t mention before that you have a cousin named Zeb? All I could remember was your cousin August I had a crush on when I was 8.”
She laughed: “Oh I never called him Zeb because I prefer August more.”
I turned to his grave and read his name on the epitaph “Zeb August Alforque.” Then a memory flashed through my mind:
“Oh you’re staring at my cousin August. Is he your crush?” Angelie asked while we were palying in their house. I blushed and said: “Of course not. I am too young to have a crush.” Angelie rolled her eyes and didn’t believe me.
Deep inside, I knew that I got a crush on him then but we were never given a chance to know each other. I smiled at the thought.
Late afternoon breeze brushed through my hair as I was walking in this familiar road I have taken a year ago. I miss him. His bittersweet memories that still lingers in my mind. His name that was etched in my heart. And I realized he was never gone. He has always been with me, here in my heart.
PS| this is the first story I’ve written 3 years ago that moved me into a dimension I cannot explain.