This is an old work I did for my Creative Writing class
Staring blankly at the mountains, I let out my arms as the winds gently embrace me, welcoming me; the calming smell of the breeze that captures the very essence of me. Sitting on a well hand-crafted chair, I tried to lean forward as I enjoyed the cold wind encompass my being. This is probably the most peaceful that I have ever been. I can stare at the mountains as long as I want to. I have never seen them this beautiful. Enjoying every second, I don’t even notice how time passes by so fast. It’s almost twilight. The day is slowly coming to an end, the same as with my life as I know it.
My name is Lucila. I am a retired company executive in an international brand. I’ve been living for 70 long years. I have everything that money can buy. I worked hard for what I have now. I have a mansion, the expensive cars and a beautiful farm in the province. I gave up everything to have everything. I have experienced every single thing that is there to experience in life except for one. I was never married. I never experienced how it is like to have a family; to have a child to call my own and a husband to show my love to. I also never had a gentleman to stand by me when I was decades younger than my age today. Odd as it may seem, I would like to experience how it is to argue with someone I love. I would like to feel the feeling of jealousy, the feeling of anger each time we fight. I’ve been living for 70 years and all I can hear are people complaining about love but it is that one thing that I’d give everything to experience. But it’s too late now.
Love, I never experienced love. I never knew what love truly means. I can hear people talk about it; even describe it, but I was too limited to fully understand the feeling, love. When I was young, I can remember myself staring at the couples strolling around the town plaza. Hugging, kissing, smiling and laughing. They looked so sweet. Each couple staring at each other’s eyes like there’s no tomorrow. They made it seem like a whole day is not enough to express how much they love each other. These were the sights I envied.
However, there is no more room for my regrets. I have grown old. My hair is grey. Loose wrinkled skin covers my whole body. It is indeed too late now. This is the consequence of what I chose. I chose to love my career instead. I gave my whole life to my work. I used to travel a lot for business meetings hence; I was able to know many gentlemen whom I’ve made friends with. Still, I didn’t bother to know them better because work came first before intimate relationships.
I’ve made myself numb for years. Numb from the feelings that I knew I had for him. His name is Manuel. He was a stock holder in the company that I was working for. He was rich yet humble. He had everything but was willing to lose everything for me. We became close friends, closer than what friends should be. He seemed almost perfect but I was more focused on my work. Then that one night changed everything.
I have a very vague memory but that night is never forgotten. It was May 18, 1971. I knew that night was unusual. Manuel prepared a dinner for the two of us in his house. The setting was very intimate. There was a bouquet of roses sitting on the table with a romantic song playing on the cassette player. Everything was perfect, I almost gave in to my assumptions but I knew I shouldn’t. I asked him what the aura was all about but he just told me to wait until after desert. I was confused. Manuel doesn’t talk a lot, he’s actually a man of few words but that night during dinner, he talked about his feelings for me from the appetizer until the main course and as for me, I just kept quiet. I can tell from his gaze that he was sincere, that everything he’s telling me that night came from his heart. There were many things going through my head at that time. I have the same feelings for him but I just wasn’t ready to give up everything for him. I knew to myself that having an intimate relationship with him could jeopardize my career. I just wasn’t ready to take that risk. I was so deep in my thoughts that I didn’t notice that it was already desert. I didn’t know what to do. The next thing that I remembered myself doing was running out of his house and driving myself back home. After that night, I started to avoid him. The telephone kept on ringing and ringing and ringing then it stopped. After that last ring, I never heard from him again. I knew it was over. I almost had him. I almost had love. I live every day thinking what could’ve been. I live each day thinking of a thousand what ifs. I can only imagine what could happen if I didn’t run away from him.
It is already late. Clock’s ticking every second. As I look up to gaze at the beautiful stars at the night sky, a falling star met my stare. It is the most beautiful sight tonight.
The sun is up. I can feel the heat of the sun on my face, the wind blowing a beautiful bliss on my skin. As I slowly stand, I can hear no bones cracking; every joint on my body feeling no more rheumatoid arthritis and I am not even breathing heavily! I feel perfect! This is the best that I have ever felt in 20 years! But this is so unusual. I unusually feel perfectly fine. As I look down, I see something is different with my body. Then, I look around. My heart almost fell! I am back in my old house! This is the house that I used to live in when I was just starting my career. It is exactly it. Nothing changed. Suddenly, every nerve in my body is slowly climbing up in my head. I am beginning to feel nervous, anxious.
As I try to get across the dining area, my peripheral was stunned by a young reflection of myself on the mirror. My knee starts shaking. I am in awe. It seems like the clock stopped. I can’t move an inch. I can’t dare look at the mirror but then ~~~ “waaaaah!” my scream surrounds the whole house. I can’t believe it! I look so young. No more wrinkles. No more grey hair. Many thoughts came to mind. My head’s a whirlwind right now. This is so confusing. “How did this happen?!! I am decades younger!” I drag myself towards the coffee table to look for a newspaper. From afar, I can tell that the year is 1971. I can’t believe my eyes so I stride closer and closer to the calendar. It is indeed year 1971 month of May and the date is 18. Every memory about that night slowly came back. I thought I am going to lose my consciousness.
“Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.”
I slowly am collecting myself. Hours from now, I’ll be having the most memorable dinner I’ll ever have. I’ll be seeing ~~ *ring* *ring* *ring*. The phone is ringing. My heart starts thumping double time. I know that the person from the other line is Manuel. He’s going to remind me about our dinner.
“Hello?” he said.
My heart stopped. Just by hearing his voice, it makes me stutter. I can’t think straight. I got lost in oblivion.
“Hello Lucila! I called to remind you of our dinner tonight here at my house.”
“Oh yes. I know you’re going to ~~ I mean yes, of course dinner!”
“So do you still want to drive yourself here like you’ve been insisting? Or do you want me to come and get you?”
“Uh, Okay. You can come and get me. I’ll wait for you tonight!”
“Great! I’ll be there at 7 o’clock in the evening. Bye!”
Manuel is coming tonight. I told him to come and get me tonight apart from what I did a long time ago wherein I drove myself to go to his place. It is settled then. This is my chance to change my life. This is my chance to not be alone, a chance to finally answer all the ‘what ifs’ and all the ‘what could’ve been’. This is the perfect opportunity to change the very decision that made me frustrated, the perfect opportunity to experience love from the person I love the most. I feel like my heart’s bursting with emotions, the very emotions that I feel for Manuel, the only man that I ever loved. I am now ready to take the risk and show him how much I love him. This is my chance to change my life and make it Manuel’s.
Seconds passed, minutes passed then hours passed. Manuel is coming any moment now. I am wearing the best dress that I have in my closet. My face is perfectly blushed. I have never been this nervous about Manuel. In my mind, I am practicing the things that I’ll be telling him, trying to put all my emotions in one speech. I can’t understand it but I am stuttering as I verbally practice my speech. I have never been like this. I can feel my palm sweat like never before.
I can feel the cold steel door knob as I twist it open. This is the first time that I’ll see Manuel since that night.
“Manuel! I missed you!”
I can see the confusion in his eyes but I couldn’t help myself but hug him tight. I miss how his body was so perfectly aligned with mine each time we hug. I miss how he smells and how he strings down his hand on my hair when we hug. I miss everything about him.
“I missed you too Lucila.”
I looked at him and stare, his soft fair porcelain skin, black shiny hair, tantalizing brown eyes and red cherry lips smiles at me. It’s a moment that I hope would last. I can live just by staring at him.
“Lucila, our dinner’s getting cold. We better go.”
“Of course! Sorry for staring too long.”
“You don’t have to apologize for that, you know that.”
This is a quiet ride to his house. As we go pass every street lights on the road, I just stared at him. I can’t believe that I didn’t see this side of Manuel before. I can’t believe that I was so focused on my career that I didn’t have the time to stop and appreciate Manuel’s efforts.
“We’re here.” Manuel said.
The setting is the same as before, a bouquet of roses sitting on the table and a romantic song playing on the cassette player. The only thing that is different is me and my feelings towards Manuel. Apart from before, we are enjoying every meal with a tasteful conversation. We are talking about every topic that comes to mind.
The appetizers passed. The main course passed. Here comes the desert.
“Lucila, we’ve been friends for a long time now. I know that you are not numb not to feel what I am trying to make you feel. I know that you love your career and you’re doing everything to be at the top but I like you. I like to love you, Lucila! Please give me a chance to be the man who will stand by you every day.”
I can see the overflowing sincerity in his eyes; hearing those words coming from Manuel sounds like a beautiful music kissing my ears and enlightening my heart.
“I know that I’ve been putting all my attention on my career. I know that you’re taking the risk to tell me these things tonight. Manuel, I also feel the same way for you. I am ready to lose everything to make you my everything. I don’t want to live a day away from you anymore. I love you too Manuel!”
This is the happiest that I have ever felt. Tears streaming down my cheeks, telling me that I am making the right decision. Now I know how it feels to love and be loved. Nothing is more important than this. I may have everything but no other happiness can compare to the happiness that love can bring.
The sun is up. My eyes are startled by the ray of light passing through the windows. I had a good sleep. As I tried to move my foot, an electrocuting pain hit my joints. Every joint in my body is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The pain is killing me. I want to shout but my heavy breathing prohibits me. I am back to my old self.
“It was a dream. It was just a dream.” I cried to myself.
I am alone again. Manuel is just a faded memory that I am trying to bring back. We were never meant to be together. Why do I have to ~~
“Grandma!!” an echoing child’s voice said as it faintly reached my ears.
“Grandma? Whose grandchild is that? What is he doing in my house?” I said to myself. To my surprise, the door rapidly opened.
“Oh there you are Grandma! I’ve been searching for you! C’mon, let’s go outside. You haven’t eaten your breakfast yet!”
“I’m not your Grandma, I don’t know you. What are you doing here?”
“Yes you are!! C’mon now Grandma! Everyone’s waiting for you for breakfast! Hurry! I am hungry hungry! We’ll wait for you downstairs ok Grandma?!”
I tried to pinch myself thinking that I am just dreaming but I’m not. “I have a Grandson?” I don’t even remember myself adopting a son. I slowly moved my body assisting every joint that I have in every motion avoiding a massive pain.
I then reached for the digital alarm clock on my bedside table to look for the date today. The year is 2010 month of July and the date is 27. I am speechless. There are no words to define all these things that are happening to me now.
“Grandma! I am hungry hungry!” the boy shouted as it reached my room.
As I walk towards the door, I can’t help but wonder what’s happening. I feel like I am in a whirlwind right now. One thing after the other, everything is moving in fast pace except for me. Stepping carefully on the stairs on my way down, I have never seen the dining area this full. Every seat is occupied.
“Grandma! You’re here! At last, I can eat now!”
“No. Not yet kiddo! Wait for your Grandma to sit and then you say grace.”
The man he called Grandpa, he awfully looks familiar. His eyes, his lips and his stance, he’s a lot like my Manuel. The wrinkles may have covered his porcelain skin but aside from my eyes, my heart says that he is Manuel, my Manuel.
“Lucila! Come hurry, sit beside me. The food is getting cold.” he said.
As I sit, I can’t help but ask him, “Who are you?”
“Why my dear? Do you suddenly have Alzheimer’s disease?”
“No, just please bear with me. Please answer my question.”
“I’m Manuel, we’ve been married for 35 years now. And they are our children with their spouses and they are our grandchildren. Don’t you remember? This is me, Manuel.”
Tears fall down from my cheeks when I heard those words. I am married to the man I love. I am not going to be alone anymore. I have a family now. I am so far from what I used to be. No wealth can be compared to this.
“Dear, why are you crying? It’s breakfast. The kids are staring.”
“Nothing, I’m just happy Manuel.”
Manuel smiled at me. Behind those grey hair and wrinkled skin, is the man that I love with all my life. I used to think that giving up everything to have everything is better but then I realized that what is more important is Manuel, because if I have Manuel, I have everything.