The text message came at almost seven this morning. "Happy new year," it said.
I knew who sent it. My mind went back to that last morning that Benjamin and I went jogging by the seaside, the sunrise shining on Manila Bay whose waters sparkle under the blue sky.
We were sitting at one of the restaurant tables one morning after our jog. He was well aware that it was my last day and we sat and chat a lot longer that day.
"What if it had been us?" he said, lips smiling, but his eyes almost seemed sad.
"You would have left me after a few years," I replied.
He turned, the disappointment evident in his face. "Why do you say that?"
"Because I could never have children. And you men want to have children." I stretched a leg to another chair nearby, avoiding his gaze.
"You know I am not like that."
Did I hurt his feelings? I thought not. He was simply declaring.
"I know you're not. But your life wouldn't be complete without children," I said, briefly glancing at him.
"When you love someone," I heard him say, then he corrected himself, "When I loved you, it was unconditional."
I straightened up, leaned across the table from him and looked at him square in the eye. "Do you still love me?"
He made a brief chuckle and joked about the seriousness of my face. I eased back into my chair. We laughed together while he fiddled with his Blackberry, put on a song that was part of a file I gave him the day before, then placed the Blackberry between us on the table, Eydie Gorme blaring, competing with the sounds of the waves and the drone of the people around, along with helicopter sound above and the traffic behind us.
"I'm constantly thinking about you." He mumbled something else.
Our eyes locked for a moment before we burst into another giggling fit.
"I heard that. Rockin' solid, man! I heard that!" I said in between giggling and breathing.
His face suddenly became serious.
"Is that true, what you just said?" I asked, my voice uncharacteristically softer and lower.
He looked at me and smiled, a sad smile, I reckoned.
"What does your wife say about that?" I asked.
He stretched his legs as he relaxed, took the Blackberry and put on a Lani Hall song. I Don't Want You To Go blared between us.
Saturday April 22nd, 2017
10 hours ago