16 February 2006

Summer's Tears

The moment Summer opened her eyes that morning she knew something was in the air and she just can't put a finger on it. The rising sun, which warmed her skin on her way to work seems to greet her a good season ahead. Summer was then reminded of that night a week ago that brought her to a crossroad she had faced last night. Little that she knew that it was a first of many.

"Hey, Summer!" her friend, Erin greeted her. "Did you know Peter's in town?" Summer's heart skipped a beat upon hearing the news. Peter? My Peter? Peter from two years ago? She frantically thought to herself then realizing the error of her thoughts she bites her lip. Good thing Carlo her boyfriend was not there to hear that piece of news and see her reaction. Summer has been seeing Carlo for almost two years. She met Peter almost right after she met Carlo. She had developed feelings for him but Peter told her how he felt about her a moment too late and circumstances were somewhat difficult between them because he was moving to Davao.

"Really? Peter?" She merely checked if she heard her friend right. "How is he? Why hasn't he been around? Like tonight?" They were having their usual dinner on a Saturday night with a few other friends at a cool new place in the central business district.

"Yea. He's such a meanie. He won't show up in any of the times we've invited him!" Erin pouted. "Maybe you should give it a try! Here, I'll give you his home number." She then wrote it down on a napkin and gave it to Summer.

That was a surprise. Peter? Not show up at Erin's beck and call? They were pretty tight before he left for Davao. I mean, they used to hang out a lot and she even has 'Psycho' as a nickname for him. Summer continued on thinking to herself. She stared at the napkin then cautiously, slipped it in her bag. Summer felt guilty in some way but she shakes it off reasoning that she's merely doing it as a friend and nothing more.

Summer can recall conversations she had with Peter two years ago. All his personal thoughts and opinions about things he learned along the way, which he shared with her. Peter was the first person she knew who had an opinion about a different way of thinking, the kind that's outside the norm or the kind that was totally different from the things she grew up believing in. Perhaps that is the reason why she was drawn to him. He had that ability to capture her attention and compliment her by paying that same attention to her.

It was once said that you have to build bridges of chance for destiny to reach you. Summer took that opportunity to get in touch with an old friend and see how he's doing. She thought that what is a harmless phone call anyway? It's not like you'll be going out with him, right? She will tell Carlo all about it afterward. And she did.

After a few blunders, Peter had called Summer at work, which came as a surprise because it never really occurred to her that he'd be interested to hear from her and the kid who she left her messages to was not at all reliable. They talked for a bit then arranged to talk more so they exchanged more contact numbers including their mobile phone. Peter was once more in her life. Perhaps, it was destiny that they'd meet again.

Summer was honest to Peter when he inquired about her current relationship with Carlo. She didn't tell him details just that she was happy. They talked about his life in Davao and topics included other trivial things. But there was a tension between them that neither of them seems to want to break. Until the last few days he had before leaving for Davao.

Summer was flattered that she need not ask him to see her or any of their friends. Peter told her he wanted to see her and if any of their friends happen to be around then it would be fine but he primarily wanted to see her. He asked for a lunch date but she felt uncomfortable going out with him alone so he settled to meet over coffee instead. She brought Erin along and he brought his cousin Miguel with us. Summer felt safe somehow that it wouldn't look like she was disrespecting her boyfriend. The meeting didn't last very long. Before saying good-bye, he said that seeing and being with her again were enough.

Everything changed between them after that meeting. Peter became increasingly present in her life. He treated her as if she was someone who's important to him. It mattered that he let her know how he felt about her in simple things, through simple ways. Summer was bothered because she knew she wasn't trying to lead him on and she tried to tell him just that. It all culminated last night on their last conversation. There was closure somehow. Or at least Summer wanted to believe it.

Now, just after a few hours of sleep, Summer vividly remembers how it all went, especially before they said their good-byes.

"I now know that there is no future for us.. yea, I've thought about us having a life together, complete with kids and all that. But I understand it better now." He said the words that followed with finality. "We'll never be together."

"What are you talking about? I already told you from the start that I have a boyfriend, right?" Summer asked him, totally baffled. "How then can you think of and say such things?"

"Yes, I know.." He told her plainly.

"You have to understand that I love Carlo and no matter what, I will choose him." She found herself defensive somehow. She didn't understand the pain that came with uttering those words to him. But she knew that virtue will always win out when it came to her.

"Someday when you look back to our conversation tonight, you'll understand" Peter had told her quietly. "I was just given the opportunity to tell you this... that after all this time, no one came close to replacing you in my life, Summer..."

"Peter.." she was fighting back the tears of shame for the hurt that her words earlier may have caused him.

"I love you very much... Knowing that you know that is enough." He then grew quiet.

Summer was too moved by everything that transpired between them that she, too, grew silent.

The silence gave each of them the proper good-byes, which words will never satisfy. Summer remembered the promises to keep in touch, for real this time and wishes for a good life before they parted ways. Peter's flight was 6 o'clock this morning. It was almost 8 o'clock, he must be in Davao by now. Summer hoped for a safe trip for him and is only brother, Marlo, especially when she somewhat heard about news of a plane crash somewhere. Her boss was telling a colleague about it when she got in this morning because they were on their way to Davao, too. And she had laughed at the coincidence.

Summer came back to her desk from her morning break greeted by a return call message from Erin. Why would Erin call her? She asked herself. Then at the back of her mind pieces were coming together. Peter. Davao. Plane crash. Morning. Erin. She suddenly felt a cold shiver run down her spine. Summer knew she urgently needed to call Erin. She had to ask her friends for her home number. She tried to reason with herself that it's crazy and mean to come into a hasty conclusion as bad as that. She kept doing that until she heard Erin's voice.

"Hello, Erin?" Summer tried to remain calm, "You called me?"

"Summer, you heard about Peter's plane?" Erin asked flatly. "It crashed. The plane that crashed was the one they're in."

Summer remembered feeling cold then warm then cold all over. She didn't know how to feel. She didn't remember how the conversation ended but it did. She didn't feel hurt at that moment. Perhaps she was in denial. Her brain was in full mode, wheels of logic was in motion. Then she was in shock.

The days which followed were a blur and she remained numb. Summer wanted and needed to cry but can't. She longed to tell her friends about what happened between Peter and herself but she couldn't. She had no right to grieve.

It happened April 2000. Memories of Peter flooded her mind. Peter, the guy who had offered a love that Summer refused out of loyalty and propriety. She broke his heart. Now, he's dead and she knew she'd never have the opportunity to piece them back together. Peter will never know how she did love him somehow.

On a mid-summer's eve, a year after Peter's death, only did Summer allow her tears to flow. On the sands, under the star-filled sky, where they first met and touched each other's lives, she lit a candle to rejoice his existence in hers that's now, forever immortalized.

Something I wrote sometime ago. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect something like it to happen but it came and I went through it. It's just that the past few weeks I've been thinking a lot about stuff from the past and how much emotion filled my being over the years. This is one of the things that started the domino effect in organizing all my thoughts and beliefs in my chaotic life.

This is for you, Peter.

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