We’re standing on the rooftop, she’s standing on the edge of it, while I’m seven feet away from her, upon the sim on a wrecked house. I fear that she might jump down or do some suicidal deed just because of me. I lunge forward, but I falter, because if I do, she might soar down to the death. It’s nighttime, the sun has vamoosed and the urban lights just got turned on, the stars concealed themselves beneath the skies, they wouldn’t want to contend with the lights emitted by the city. We’re hovered on top of where she resides, it’s a rickety home with a nagging wife and a distressed husband.
She’s wearing the dress that made me fall in love with her. The scarlet dress with glistening fake diamonds, or I guess glass splinters used as embellishers, and the pineapple fabric knit on top of her silk fabric. She matched it with polished red shoes and painted her lips with matte lipstick. And, she’s poised: her hands gracefully stretched out and her palms hanging from it, her toe touching gently to the cement, her hair tied like a bun, like the one Angelica Schuyler wore in her musical, and her silhouette traced in the moonlight. Behind her are ropes where articles of washed clothing were hung.
Or maybe I’m just hallucinating. I was drooling and lost my senses. She’s a lot more glamorous than her unkempt hair, her oversized shirt and her shabby shorts.
This place ain’t Paris, it’s Manila, where squatters are littered across the landfill. It’s not the most romantic place to live. I grip the flowers behind my back more firmly. They’re roses, with a petty amount of cash inserted in it, and a red ribbon tied around the golden foil wrapper.
She faced me. Her eyes sink sullen, and I can see the distress in her eyes. They tell me I’m guilty. She glares and snivels, and wipes off her tears. I’d like to hand a hankie to her, or I’d wipe it myself. But then, maybe she doesn’t want it, but I guess she needs it.
“H-how dare you.” She thrusted out of the silence bubble.
I exhale a huge breath, finally, it’s about time she caressed me with words.
“Now, you approach me like you never did anything wrong. I needed you those times, but then, w-why did you leave?”
Love always protects. (1 Cor. 13:7) And I didn’t get that job done on my part. I, protected myself. She was disheartened by the adversities afflicted by this cruel world, and I fled because she might hurt me. Hurt people will hurt people. At least that’s what the adage says. Love is not self-seeking. (1 Cor. 13:5) But then, I sought my protection instead of cloak her with the love God freely gave me. Remorse clogs my thoughts. Love never fails. (1 Cor. 13:8) But I failed her, I thought she needed distance, but then, it was distance that made chasms that hampered us.
I find myself trailing down petals of questions: Did I really love her?
“I- I am, sorry.”
It’s hard to vomit out the words, but I did it anyway. Sorry-s are bitter when they’re in you, and are sour when you puke it out, but the sorry was as if I walked through a vineyard of thorns and now a splinter was being yanked out.
“This world, everything in it. She had to die. I had to fail a test. You had to leave. And, I had, to face the world, all on my own!”
Her brittle voice beholds anguish, I imagine tears bursting out of her eye sockets like the Angat Dam during typhoon Ulysses, which almost drowned the city into its rage.
I muster bravado to solace her. I saunter forward, lay the roses two steps away from where I stand, and pray, I take a seat. I brush my palm on her back, and fumble through my pocket to lend her my handkerchief. To no avail, I guess I left it in the car. I doff my polo shirt off, divulging my folding fats and my wobbly biceps. I really should consider elevating my masculinity. She cuddles my polo shirt in and sniffs it, she grimaces and a giggle escapes her mouth. “Ewe.”
I chortle, “Imma have it back. If you don’t want it.”
She clasps it in her arms more tightly as if she was securing a child by her bare hands. “No.” She sheepishly shakes her head. She wipes her tears using my shirt.
It soothes me looking at her smile in a split second. I smell my armpit- it’s repugnant. I pinch my lower lip and rub it side to side.
“It’s nice to spend 14th with milady.”
She doesn’t respond. Another epitome of silence blocking our vocal chords to speak.
“There’s God to turn to, you know?”
She doesn’t retort. I look around and hurl my gaze at the jam-packed road with jostling cars and fatigued employees. The face shield and masks and social distancing reminds me of the pandemic. It still exists.
I’d like to embrace her, but, I’m pissed, and the pandemic is the reason. Another is, she might ward me off.
“Twenty-four seven, He’s open.” I fidget my fingers and twist my head to look at her.
“I wish I had done that.”, she sobs.
“Maybe, not sure, depends on you, maybe you were so fed up with the problem impeding you, instead of the one capable of redeeming you.” I shrug.
The moon was watching over us, she was colored blue, and I gaze at it. I offer her my hand for a dance in the moonlight, that might be romantic. She accepts it, and I lead her upwards. I feel my arms firmly grip and so much weight is added on to it, to the point it makes me stumble. I look back, and my eyes jut out with what I just saw. She, slipped.
She stepped on the roses I was about to give her. I heard the sound of the roses crash to the ground.
“Help,”, she wasn’t squealing, but the tone of her voice was so guilt-bearing. Her eyes moisten, and I look down, we’re twenty feet high! I pray. I drag her up, but my strength is failing.
She loosened her grip, and she lets go. I howl, “No!” My bellow managed to shoo ravens away. I froze for a moment or two. I imagine her soaked in a pool of blood.
I seize a glimpse down, she’s on her butt, and I sigh. I realize she just fell on low ground, on her terrace. Ugh, I overlooked, thought it was twenty feet, but, she fell only for an altitude of two feet. I thanked God.
“Want a dance, in the moonlight?”
“You owe me one.”
I spot my blue and red polo shirt hanging on the verge of the roof. I lunge to it and toss it down to her.
“Sure.” I drop my ass to the sim and gasp. I jolted by what just happened, and my jaws hang agape.
I look down and check on her. “Not on the roof top.”, she replied impassively, and threw me a kiss. I was charmed and decided to scurry down to check if she was hurt.