Civilization Ends and Nothing Comes Ahead but Love

A short story for the men and women I love
Adrian Mendizabal

The fortunate, virtuous and talented Mr. L of 11th Avenue, Grace Park prepared tea and dived into his plans. He knew this day would come, a Monday, when everything comes into orbit, flying around, and yes, he remembered one morning, as he cooked breakfast, a bird perched through the window on top of his sink. A blue jay, the bluest of all he has seen. And he knew, at that moment there was peace, a quiet morning; there was peace at 11th Avenue. Scrapping the tin can to eject the fresh dry leaves of Jasmine, the world bemoaned, hallow, and so he continuously withdraw the leaves, a spoonful, a half a teaspoon, he pour in hot water and simmer it in a black teapot, oriental, one its kind, rare. He got it from Japan. One must cross these things once in awhile, L thought.

On the other of side of the room, there was a man sleeping, snoring. L knew the man by heart. He was 21, fat and he met him on bright midday of December of two thousand eight, and all this time, he knew the man he slept with very seriously for there was, above all, a small bump in his head that reminds him of G. G was short but this man was tall, taller that the rest of the friends he knew. He was mostly intelligent but a bore. He has a sharp eye for details though he was always dull, full of blemishes and abstract thoughts, and he spent a rather long hours inside movie theaters. L was there obviously, sitting with him last Wednesday night to watch Ishmael, a Richard Sommes film. L knew one thing, the man left him for two years for some reasons he did not understand. What was he then? Sixteen, too young to fall in love with everyone. What month is it? Oh, his favorite season, the love season, where couples enjoy strolling around and breathe each others breath ‘till they faint in dark corners of tall buildings. Manila in the dark, who could have thought love can break free in the dark, or in corners of buildings, of streets, of that 7/11 store at Katipunan Avenue, or the parks, the long walks, the shortcomings...

What could go wrong today? Deliveries at nine in the morning, coffee and breakfast with A, a full attention to piano teaching, and a dinner with friends, oh, of course, lunch with A if ever he wakes up at ten in the morning. By then, I would have delivered the shirts that Julie entrusted me. Such a day it is, normal, nothing exciting, though today I will meet with G over dinner with friends from the college, G. Why G of all? I cried over him. But indeed, one must move on, look through life as a passing, compliment to death, I guess. Reasons. I come ahead of this, G must expire for a reason. Yet, the reason for inviting A over was an ending that has been hanging in me for months. Yet, one must survive, yes, G must survive, and as A, and me and all those people who fought and failed must do survive, for there were always reasons for love, or the thing they call ‘love’. But love is indeed a process, and not an impulse but a meditation of fears and yes, repositioning one’s gaze from oneself to another person’s gaze, and liking it, loving it, luxuriating immensely and how it flatters the brain, oh, very good indeed. I must learn ahead and love ahead, though in my arms, I knew nothing but G, some bits of A and all the guys and gals I’ve been with. Love and other devils. Hope Austen would write about me, but that is the fact, the only fact that cannot be written: two men in love.

A is amiable, to say the least, but he has a glitch within him. I never said a word about my feelings for him, or to the man I met a few days ago, what was his name? What was he wearing? But it was an angry, noisy affair of two men in bed, darting each others tongue for the pleasure of none, and to break away from all that, end of civilization, end of the years between us, dearest A, how I hold you last night in bed as you snore yourself to sleep. Glorious, indeed, to wake up each day, to dream about each day, to fall in love and die, like all princess and princesses in a song, in a story of hate and love, without fear, I must say peace, darkly, I must say it: peace.

Wherever there was reason, for L knew nothing about the calmness of A, as he slept with all his arbitrariness, there was reason behind all this. His own fixations, his own attributes, his conditional temper, his amiable self, and he could think of nothing but love now. Can love be planned, negotiated, for you, for him, for this and everything in between? What a question on this sunny day of Monday, must make the tea right before A wakes up, and yes, for most days I cannot think of life as bright and sunny as today, a Monday of February the 14th. What can I know, really about my mistakes, of that boy who said I look like a star, a handsome prince, yes, but I do not understand why all this must go on, without me, or without A or to think that the light beaming from the window is eternal, why is love not eternal, nor exposed, nor organic? It is when one leaves behind the life one is willing to pursue and give in to the pleasure and displeasure of love. Who can love one like that?

But it is here, inside this small room that A promised to love me, as I was, at that time, sleeping, three months ago, and I never said a word because of shock. Who could, with great still eyes, spoke the words so brilliantly, and nothing much, nothing so simple as that, breaking the waves, with winds carrying light in the billowing tunnel of hate. Strangely, I woke up as he was kissing my nape, my old self, oh, how long will I wait, until it expires continuously. Love do expires.

Stately, plump. I did read some excerpts from Ulysses, the book A was carrying around for two months. A always say: James Joyce! Ahoy! James Joyce! And I remember the passages correctly so, history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfumed they are coming, waves. How beautiful such a writer must be! But I didn't read the book all and all, all of its great passages. A said it was about the Odyssey. Full mouthed ODYSSEY! Odysseus and Penelope. Long gone. Long gone are the days when love is eternal and when one romped around, in streets, in mall windows, look at love, everyone, look at love at window shop, all bloody red and death, so to speak.

I must schedule a meeting tomorrow. He. She. Be it. Yes, this L. Are you available tomorrow by 12PM yes uh what are your plans for tomorrow or we can schedule it days ahead on monday sunday you prefer sunday oh wait a minute I am making tea so yes you not tomorrow but Sunday 10AM the earliest got it thank you so much mr. vergara I hope we make a good deal out my violin okay then bye.

L dropped the phone.

He took a bath.

A woke up and L was gone and all things were gone. What else is not gone but the broken heart. L, I left him for good on an April month, 2008, darkness lives without the immensities... One goes on forgiving, forgetting, going through this and that, getting busy, getting up, getting ready for the day. And of all days, I spend my night here, with him. How darkly! And yet, a few days ago, I was crying. Too bad it was a short cry, too short to be noticed by my roommate who was, at that time, sleeping, but I did remember it well. I was crying hard in the pillows. On my bed was a cloud of dreams drenched in tears. On my bed was my phone and in that phone a text message from L: I think you know it what I'm saying. It's over. The long days are over but I must give back. The frivolous heart deserves to sleep once in awhile. Longer, linger are the days that shout back at us, that mock us all, are we once great survivors of tragedies?

And yes, I do like the sound of the door bell ringing, he must be getting back. I must sleep back again, and let the sheets encapsulate me and my dreariness, my dreams last night were blank islands, for there was indeed island of thoughts floating in our reveries. Look at the ceiling, the sky, the window by the kitchen and suspended air that pulsates with the streak of sunlight, such a beautiful morning! In dreams, in weighted dream I am awake finally, I am. And he must be going back shortly, momentarily and I must escape. Escape with the winter's song and ranging rivers, the streams in which old Joyce called life. The English-colored wooden panels stood alone, and he was, too, a stand alone in a crowd when L had a party to go to, and I was with him, alone in the crowd. Order of day, the order of day.

A was sleeping when L came back. He placed his body beside A and carefully, peacefully he encircled his arms to his chest, so that he could not wake up the sleeping giant, just to feel the warmth hissing from the body. Take me A, take me away in your dreams and your soliloquies, you look so distant, yet I am here, waiting, in the woods, in the darkness, take me away with the waves of your loneliness. Greatly, one hid oneself in pictures, in videos, yet, all this was true, A, with me, in my arms, in my loving arms I cuddle him in this orange-colored day, Monday of all days. How long love will push me through, but I never said the magic words to him. So special, so pure, deeply soothing to hear, and yet, when A says it, it deflowers my conscience, my race, my history. In the aspect of saying yes, yes to love that is, one forgives oneself from the bitterness and pastiche everyone remembers once in awhile, like what A described to me once as my most hurting words to him. it was never hurting, it was honest. Of not liking him at first because the feeling is not mutual. I am just afraid of hurting him too bad he would run away again. How calm this moment can be! An embrace of two different souls in a bed so thin a line, so thin a space between our hearts, so thin a space between you and I. Yet, I could never give in. I have to tell him one day that we're friends only.

Only friends, that is.

And yet the feeling of being loved, of A saying sweets words of encouragement to me, and all those kisses, all those embraces, those loving words, I seek nothing but love. But I can never give in to it, I can't. I just can't right now. The world seems bright and brimming yet cold and dejected, conflict after conflict, nothing comes out alive. What forces me to believe that love is only said when one feels the settled: two hearts in mutual harmony, singing in great and swelling voices, up and down, scale to the tempo, two hearts beating, hunting for each others. And yet, for some reason, A had just loved me too much and I can't contain it. He gives me this complex glance, whenever I wake up to find him sitting beside the bed plunging himself on his laptop, I see him looking at me incandescently happy. And that is love for sure, in his face. Yet, this embrace will unfold so many histories between us, to just say to him I love him will mark a new beginning in our lives.

Yet, only friends that is and it can never be more than that.

A woke up. Drank the tea L prepared. Took a bath and packed his bag. He left L, smiling. L knew this day would come.

And yes, they never met again.

- End of story

For L.