I promised I won’t write about you anymore; I tucked that oath in my Notes app one random night when I was sadder than usual, wearing thicker socks than usual. You know I’ve always had this penchant for humanizing remnants of the past so I can laugh about it maybe five months from now, or maybe a year after if I would need more time to recover.
Most of all, I’ve always had this penchant for humanizing remnants of the past because I want to immortalize the time I spent staying there–just so I can convince myself that in one way or another, my seconds were never wasted.
You were the person I didn’t expect I’d do this for–we used to laugh a lot about the possibility like it would never happen, and there would never be a day when we become strangers.
We’ve cut down our already short timescale, entertained only minutes, then seconds. Skipped the skillful beat of the essential things, and left our hearts as the only ones beating. For what? It’s New Year’s Eve–some things need to close in order to open something up (even if sometimes, we don’t know what is). I guess it’s safe to say that this is a step-by-step process on exploring the poisonous pair of fleeting and longing.
So, how do you light up a firecracker?
1. Be ready, of course. This means dropping all other bombs that can disrupt my path towards you. You should be my only noisy focus. Months ago, our afternoon story sessions consisted of childhood memoirs, and hating New Year’s Eve was one of them. When I was a kid, I occupied myself with huge headphones and a Diary of a Wimpy Kid novel while all of my relatives would flock by the house gate to admire the loud fire-like cries of a thingamabob sent up to the sky, and the unfriendly-looking sparks that came with every signal at exactly 12 midnight. You would repeatedly laugh at this story, imagining how I would hide inside my badly lit bedroom, and instead immerse myself in another form of noise—rock music travelling through my headphones—and you would never understand. From the start, our lives seemed like a parallel play of possibilities, both of our pasts and presents, but I believed there would be some brand of understanding that would always lift our walls up—slowly and surely. So I dropped the bombs of noise brought by my headphones and books. Thought of lighting up a firecracker once and for all. There was probably nothing wrong with wanting to see where this spark could bring me.
2. Set up and prepare, but probably not too much, as what you said. You wanted our story to go like lightning—instant and conquering. It would sweep off crucial avenues of our long-built fears and the old rules we set up for our past selves. So I grabbed some goggles on the days I wanted to start loving you. I looked like a dork for saying yes to this, but you thought I was beautiful. You knew how much I tried not to step into this connection we built in thrill, but you said it would be worth abolishing my walls. I wore the eye protector with all my might, though my hands were still shaking—anything to make you light.
3. The next one is finally going past looking at a firecracker as something fear-fueling; instead, it had now become a wonderful no-stranger that fueled my every core. So I made ends meet, held and lighted up the firecracker by its end, and went impressing myself. You dropped and tossed my love, too, just like what I did to the firecracker for I wanted to see the best of it without harming myself. In a film roll of a cinematic play of months, you were the best thing I have ever had. You were a myriad of colors, new and old. You danced across the sky for me—only for me, it seemed so—and appeared as my humanized popping prize, that I forgot you were a deadly explosive. You were a brand new start. After moments of trying to decipher what this was and who you were, I finally found you. I inhaled the smoke of your words. Listened to the noise of your musings. And watched as your powerful light make me believe in what love is. You were my firework. People around me loved you, too. People around me loved the way you loved me, even. God knows how much I loved this feeling.
4. Nothing. Before I could even take a picture of you, keep you in my pockets and store you for this lifetime, you became nothing. For a while, I thought I wasn’t enough to make you stay.
5. But I guess you were the one who wasn’t. Or at least, you didn’t want to be enough for this. Because you were a firecracker in the first place—exciting but short-lived, hopeful but concluding, loving but consuming. Surely though, you were enough for yourself. Maybe I was right when I thought that I was someone you would never understand. So I continue to stare at the sky—now blank and black—as I accept your passing.
6. The last step is probably just taking out all of the good parts in this story. I pity myself in picking up your invisible ashes scattered across this unfair universe. I need to clean my memories as the first morning of the year opens. It took me so long to realize that the love I deserve isn’t just dancing fireworks. What I deserve is constant light. Something that’s always here. Certainty. And with this, I promise to never let my heart get burned by another firecracker again. Not even pinwheels or cherry bombs or bangers or sparklers. Our love was passionate, overwhelming, and appeared only for the best of days. But that’s not the light that lasts.
So I go back to remembering why I was scared of New Year’s Eve.
Art by Renz Mart Reyes