(*Morrish’s (not his real name) story as told to Anthony Nash O. De Leon)
Just one dance… just one dance. Your eyes laid on mine. Your arms wrapped around me. All my heart and soul are ready for yours to take. Our song sways our bodies to its rhythm and makes us float in the air like feathers. And we minded no one not even time. But in this one dance, in which I pretended you were all mine, it was all just a dream. So, if I could just have the strength. So, if I could just be so bold. Can I ask you just one question; could I have just one dance?
I have longed for that one dance with him. A dance that I wished would have happened. A dance I wish will happen. A dance that I know will never ever happen.
I am *Morrish. I am 19 years old and I will be graduating from college from a well-renowned university here in the university belt on March 22. I am a virgin. Yes, from head to toe, I am one. But that is not what I mean to say. I am a virgin of saying the words: I love you… and goodbye.
I love you. These are the three words that I deem so sacred. It is an idea that has floated inside my head but it never had the chance to break free. They are the words that I have never spoken. They are the words that I treasured so much because of its profound meaning. I want to utter it in front of the right person during the right moment. I want to be sure because it is not in my character to just say those words to someone just to impress her or to satisfy her need to know that I really do love her.
Saying goodbye, on the other hand, is as difficult as dividing a lumber of wood into two pieces. It is easier to say, “Bye!, TTFN (Ta Ta For Now)!, Till we meet again.” But to say goodbye, I find it so hard. Just hearing the word tears my heart apart. I remember so vividly that day when I wanted to say goodbye. But I never had the chance to state it. It was the burial of a great man. A man I know is one of the reasons why I am living; why I was given a chance to explore life. He was my father.
His death was because of his heart. It was not as strong as it was before when he was still young and playing his favourite sport, basketball. It has lost its vitality and has struggled to continue pumping blood. It would ache terribly. The pain was too strong. It cannot be tamed. It stopped. There were no more sounds. It was just the sound of a person’s last breath.
I was still very young. I was innocent, in fact. I was unable to walk and unable to run. But I was able to hear though, unable to speak. I only had feelings that I can express through a cry. It was a cry that meant sadness and pain. It was a cry that I wanted the whole world to heed and understand. However, for many it was just a cry; a cry from a hungry innocent child who just lost his father.
Father… oh how I wish I could call someone like that. Father…Father…Father…
The eagerness that I have to call someone ‘father’ is far stronger than my eagerness to say the words: I love you and goodbye. It is true. Never had my lips opened and spouted out neither those three words nor that two syllable word. It is not that I have a phobia from them. It is not that I am mute. It is not that I have a lock jaw. It is not because I have a cleft palette. It is just that the right time never came even though the person I deem so perfect for me was there, standing, smiling, glancing, as he says the word, “Hi!”
“Hi!” It was the same word that began my past relationships with Kathe, Debz, and Ija. Oh how I fondly called them by their names even when we were already in a relationship. Never did I call them those couple nicknames like honey, babe, hubby, love, or whatever couple nickname one might think of. Maybe it was one of the reasons why we broke up. But, besides that, they told me that my inability to say “I love you” prompted them to break up with me. Was I wrong for not saying those words? Is it really the only words that would express one’s love and affection to his/her partner?
Now, it has been five years and I have been single for a very long time. Single, oh how I wish I was never one anymore. Especially, when I met him a few years ago when I was still a college freshman.
He was an upperclassman. Many admired him not just for his looks but also for his brains. The only problem was he was a sloth. He would flunk most of his minor subjects. And that was the reason why we met.
It was an English class. We were seatmates. His surname began with an E while mine with an F. We never really noticed each other until the second week came. We were partners for the whole semester, for quizzes, for home works, for activities, but not in the major examinations. He had fair skin; baby face, if I may say so. His scent was a mixture of peppermint and chocolate. He had a medium-sized body, not too thin, not too fat. He was just right. He was gorgeous.
Weeks pass by and little did we know that we were becoming closer than before. We shared stories about our families, about our childhood, about our friends, about our past relationships, and a lot more. We would tease each other incessantly like there were no other people around us. I remembered our teacher scolded us once because we were too noisy in class. This continued until the semester was nearing to its end. The thought of losing a friend came into my mind. He was one of my first friends in college. I did not want to say goodbye.
Until one day, he came up to me and offered a proposal. “Let’s be roommates,” he said. And I answered with just a nod. Now, I didn’t have to say goodbye to him anymore. Later did I know, it would be harder to say goodbye to him in the end.
Years rolled by, he was already going to graduate. And I still have one academic school year to finish. He considered me as his younger brother. But I wanted to be more than just friends, to be more than just a brother. I wanted to be his lover.
Time began to expire, and it is only a few more belly shakes before he reaches his commencement rites. Their course mates prepared a ball as a send off party to them seniors. No one was allowed to bring a date; just friends. I was invited. That night, I wanted to profess my love. I wanted him to know. I wanted to know what he feels. I just wanted to say those words that I have longed to say. But it did not matter. Later that night, he divulged that he and Julia are already in a relationship. Julia finally said yes to him. I did not know he was courting somebody. I did not know he loved somebody. Why didn’t he tell me?
The song by Steven Bishop played. They went off and danced in the dance floor. They were happy. I can tell. They had those twinkle in their eyes. Their smiles lasted and they never faded. I was broken. I had a broken heart. I left. I left without any trace.
I left our room. I transferred to a farther dormitory. We ended our communication. I am now content. Am I happy? I do not know.
All I know is it was something special for me. Until now, I wished it never ended.
I still have dreams of him and I together. We are alone. We are happy together, just the two of us. But still, there is no closure. The longer I try to say I don’t love him anymore, the longer my feelings for him become stronger. It hurts so badly. It is as if I was feeling my father’s pain when he was about to die. It can’t be contained.
If only I had the strength to say I love you to him. Then maybe, now, I am stronger. Then maybe, I am now courageous. Then maybe I am now a virgin no more. No more of the virgin who cannot say the words I love you and goodbye.
Now, here I am, sitting in this old wooden chair saying to myself: “ Just one dance… just one dance. Your eyes laid on mine. Your arms wrapped around me. All my heart and soul are ready for yours to take. Our song sways our bodies to its rhythm and makes us float in the air like feathers. And we minded no one not even time. But in this one dance, in which I pretended you were all mine, it was all just a dream. So, if I could just have the strength. So, if I could just be so bold. Can I ask you just one question; could I have just one dance?—Anthony Nash O. De Leon