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From Our Readers: For When He Leaves You, But the Memories Don't

I liked being without you.
PHOTO Mark Jesalva, MODEL Kim Chanpongco

There are a lot of times when I think that you can never ever be taken out of my life. That our moment, our summer, so glistening and perfect, would last forever. Of course, that didn't turn out to be true, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this.

I was terribly afraid. Of losing you. Of not having those 24/7 conversations where I allowed myself only four hours of sleep so I could accommodate you, so I could work around our time difference. I was terribly afraid of missing out on whatever time table we had figured out, sending a reply minutes too late or not having an internet connection at all. These things would send chills down my spine.

I was blinded by it all—the thrill and initial rush of inexplicable feelings that I didn't know how to explain. I told myself not to label whatever was going on. After all, how could you label a relationship through a computer screen?  I said I had it under wraps, that despite all the kilig, I had a clear head. I knew, knew so very well deep inside me that this was nothing. Child's play, done on a whim, just for fun.

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So why? I ask myself now, and now, as I see it all fall apart, I see my answer.

It felt real.

I have no words for all that our five months have been. It wasn't a waste of time, nor was it a waste of feelings, or a waste of tears and secret grins that you elicited from me just by replying, only to be hidden by a screen. It was not a waste of anything. In fact, it was a blessing. I learned to love a bit more, to be in a relationship where I felt like someone was actually afraid to lose me and all that we had. I learned to be headstrong and fight against being right all the time, because I realized that being right isn't necessary when you're with someone, being happy is.

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It happened slowly, not all at once like an avalanche rolling towards you, set to crush you under all its weight. No, not like that at all. Instead it came like rain, tiny little pats at first, like gentle taps on the shoulder as a reminder, then full force; pouring down on me and drenching me in reality.

Wake up, the rain says. This isn't real.

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And then there's you, of course. You're the wind, working at me full force, slamming into me and sending a chill that seeps into my skin and sets in my bones forever. I watch as you sweep the rain away, urging it to move, and I let myself become the object of both forces attention. So much that I lose myself in everything and I am no longer me. I am only being pulled apart by two things that I need.

The rain came stronger, urging me to open my eyes and see that this was not all I had, and I curiously lifted my hand up to the rain, welcoming it with my open palm and I let the droplets of rain swirl and fill the creases in my palms and fingers.

As much as I wanted to keep things up, reality was setting in. I had a life beyond this, beyond us. I had more. And no one is ever content.

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I found myself stepping away from my laptop, my hands setting down my phone and leaving it untouched for hours. Hours which, back then, I would've filled with you and only you. My wrists are hurting as I type, and I haven't even been typing for an hour now. Back then, I would never notice the pain in my wrists as I typed up a reply to you.

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In the times I spent away from you, I felt small cracks growing on the surface of our relationship, little cracks in the most perfect porcelain vase. But then I started to feel okay about these cracks. I didn't feel the need to fill them up and relentlessly check my phone for any signs of life from you. I learned to live away from you. And in these moments, I felt that I liked being without you. I liked not having to think about whether I would be able to talk to you tonight. I liked that I didn't feel the need to give up my hours of sleep just so we could work things out.

I liked being without you.

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I guess you reciprocated my feelings, even in the slightest bit because all the enthusiasm you had then is now fading. The wind is slowing down and I no longer feel it whipping against my face harshly as if it were trying to swallow me whole. Your replies have become shorter and the distance between us was growing from cracks into a fissure. It isn't a gaping hole yet, but I can see the beginnings. I was mad then, mad that you were choosing to not reply for days or that you cared less about what to say to me. I had little time for you but I still chose to face you with as much enthusiasm and love as I could. But then I realized you had your own rain to face, too. And like the wind, I must give way.

Now I feel it like a breeze, your love, our love,  rippling my clothes or blowing parts of my hair away from my face. I can never fully do without this breeze. Sometimes, I close my eyes and remember how strong it was once, I cherish these memories and I never wish to forget them. I know this breeze will die down eventually, but the cold it has left me will never go, even when you do.

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Written by Chloe Jundez.
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