My short lived Italian romance
I was about 150 kilometers away from reality. My cousins, new friends, and I were having the time of our lives. We were on top of the provincial jeepney, traversing the highway carved out of Mount Halcon, which stands nearly 2,600 meter above the western Pacific Ocean off Mindoro, at 120 plus kilometer per hour speed. It was so fast, everything was fast, I was a few minutes behind of the real time.
“It was one hell of a ride,” I heard myself say while we were settled at the shore. The topload ride from Tamaraw Falls up to here was fantastic. We were all in awe. The way our weights pressed against the sand of White Beach and the heavy breathing could depict how tiring the day was at the same time how fun it was. But it felt that the day hasn’t even started yet. In fact, I still have all the hours that encompass the entire night. In short, a lot can still happen.
So my friends decided to drink, dance, and get it on throughout the evening. We decided to succumb ourselves to the power of music and alcohol and get really, really crazy. We danced, made awful dares, tried to achieve all of them, and pretended to be soulless human beings. After all, we were having the time of our lives.
Throughout the night, I’ve set my eyes on this one foreign guy. God knows how I hate foreign guys—they attract me, seduce me, and frustrate me effortlessly and now I want to marry one of them someday, even if I barely trust the idea of marriage.
While we were at this bar by the shore, with feet struggling to dance at the sand, and drinking what they call ‘Mindoro Sling’, a group of people from Spain joined us in our catholic grooves, which gave us an awesome kickoff. Until their two friends, one of them is the foreign guy I’ve spotted beforehand, joined us. Things happened so fast that I find them difficult to narrate. The alcohol we indulged only allowed me to absorb little vague clips of the early scenes.
Somewhere the liberating chaos was a dance with the foreign guy. My early memories with him were not alphabetical as things turned around so quickly. Dance, stares, alcohol, kisses, rain, which to put first in the enumeration is really a mystery. All I can remember was after the first few interactions, I needed to snatch him from the crowd, from the loud music, and get lost further to reality, and so we did, he let me, and we did. The farther we drift away from the drunken people, from the lights, from the music, the clearer the memories sink into my fragile heart. I was falling in love. He was falling in love.
Elfo is an Italian guy. He struggles to speak English but I find his action towards me even harder to translate. I didn’t even know if I had to. I just know that the deeper the night gets, the anxiety grows further, the kind of anxiety that is addictive, a toxic, gentle wind that sneaked inside me and suffocated me but in a good way.
Every time his hands run through my skin, it carves a thousand words unfamiliar to me, carefully peeling off my walls until it exposed nothing but my avid soul. The way he stares at me felt like magic, a spell that froze through time yet it was capable to melt my sorrow away, while his lips spoke to mine like they never needed any word to understand the emptiness inside me. And when he embraced me, his soft skin felt like feathers from his wings that shielded me from the cruel world.
The night was infinite. When I looked at the dark sky, there was ‘us’. There were stars, the moon, the illuminated sky, and us. I opened my eyes and we existed. He was not an illusion. Elfo was real. We were real.
Then I felt scared. I know that this kind of bliss doesn’t last long. That is the reality that runs through my veins like a constant threat. I hated myself when I almost cried in front of him because it really pained me to inhale this inevitability. Then he wiped the invisible tears and kissed me again.
Approximately seven hours, that’s all we were given. When we separated, I asked the universe if it was a gift or atonement. While I was struggling to walk away from him, I was smiling like a child but my 22-year old heart is aching on the weight of the fact that I might never see him again. Yes, seven hours of being together and I started to long for him that way. I didn’t know what to feel and how to feel about us. All I know that whatever it was, it struck me really hard and it was a damn struggle to let go of it.
Less than a month since that Puerto Galera trip, I am now stuck with my usual routine, talking to same people, and doing the same stuff. Sometimes, I’ll take a quick break and think of him. It was addictive. Thoughts of him make me high and suddenly, I will find myself smiling at the center of the fast-spinning earth. I actually dreamt of him a few weeks ago. I have been waiting for him to appear in my dreams and there he was. In it, we held hands as we walked towards the infinite road. I took a glimpse of him and he smiled in response. It was euphoric.
I didn’t mean to drown myself with thoughts about him. He messaged me last Saturday telling me that he misses me. Of course I messaged him back, of which he no longer replied to. I’m not mad or anything. I guess we have both accepted the fact that whatever it is between us, it will never grow into something bigger. Distance is clearly a big deal to everything. But if I will be given a chance, if heavens will allow me, if for some reasons, my feet have brought me to Italy, I will trade several years of my existence just to have another hour with him. And that’s really just how I feel.