Pictures of Anne
29 Oct 2002
[Airport 10:30. Last call]
In the sea of people, there she was, standing in the middle of her family and friends. My angel. She walked into the departure terminal.
She turned back and I stood there, both of us separated by the glass wall.
And all I can do is to mouth the words that she needed to hear.
"Bye, Anne. I love you."
"I love you, too."
She turned around, went past security and walked onwards, looking back only once.
But she is gone.
Why do I feel like I've been here before?
"The clock became a bullet hole
Cruel and unkind
It hurt me with its second hand
Alone another night."
-jewel [enter from the east]
She lived in jeans and t-shirts. She wanted to be a fashion designer. She loves the outdoors and stuck to her fanatical fitness regime, often dragging me along.
I am unconventional and free-spirited. I love the rush of adrenaline and was known as the beach bum. I am always submerging myself in my creative work, either shooting short films or messing around with my production crew. Despite the craziness and apparent lack of ambition, I aspired to take my dad's business to greater heights.
Anne and I are as different as day and night.
Anne is my friend.
We bumped into each other in a café tucked away in town on Christmas Eve. We ate dinner together and traded jokes. I listened to her and her, to me. As time went by, we became close friends. We shared good time and bad times. We encouraged, comforted and consoled each other.
Our usual meeting place was the café where we first met. We loved the coffee they served.
It was our special place. We'd sit there and talk till the café closed. Then we'd go our separate ways, coming back again the next day or the next. There was no specific time. We know we find each other there.
"Here I am, sitting alone in this café, like what I did years ago. It isn't easy living alone for so long, especially without her. Trying to find answers to everyone asking about Anne. Too many maybes and what ifs. Who knows what the future holds anyway? " -Nicholas's Journal
We discussed the headlines and campus life. We compared the latest fashion, kept notes on the eating places on the island, and when and where the best DJs were spinning at. She boasted about her bargains, I bragged about my cheap finds. Since we spent so much time together, other people thought there was something more.
"It had to be, or else why would a girl and guy spend so much time together?"
"I've lived through many pitstops, everytime hoping that it'll be the last stop I'd make, but life as usual won't end in a happily ever after. And again I wander alone." - Nicholas's Journal.
She had a string of boyfriends and I knew that. As for me, my dating history has been disastrous. Anne had always introduced me to her girlfriends, hoping for once I will stop travelling light and settle down. But nothing ever worked out. What do women want from me? I had asked in frustration.
"That is a sad fact to live with. It hurts mostly at nights, whenever I think of Anne, it cuts deeply into my heart.
With the passing of time, there is never a moment when I don't think about her. Even if time continues it's continuous journey, I am still in my own world trapped within the confines of my memories of Anne." - Nicholas's journal.
Sensitivity, a sense of humor, intelligence, and confidence, she replied. The physicals are not important. Neither is the money, really.
But I doubted her words. My past experiences had proved otherwise.
"It's funny how things turn out in life, and you spend a lifetime trying to find the one that you love, and somehow, she's right there in front of you and you don't know till it's too late." - Nicholas's journal.
What Anne and I shared was mutual respect, understanding and affection. Our relationship didn't have that highly charged feeling closely leading to a romance. I never would have thought that Anne and I could have a romantic sort of relationship.
"I never did really tell you this, Anne.
I love you. I really do.
You are my life, my other self, and the missing piece of the puzzle to my lonely life." - Nicholas's journal.
I never wanted it to turn this way, but, I fell deeply in love with her. The only one that I really needed was always beside me all these years.
I knew that she was aware of how I felt and I knew she feels the same way too.
"Will you ever forgive me, Anne?" - prayer to Anne.
There was so much I wanted to say, and too much she wanted to hear. But the words refused to come out. Not even when she told me she was leaving Singapore to work overseas indefinitely. I wanted so much to tell her that I loved her but fear held me back. What if I was wrong about how she felt about me? The fear of rejection, fear of her regretting in time that she ever loved me. And mostly, fear of losing the magic we shared over the years.
"And years of working all over the world, I'm back in Singapore. To a place where I had something special but lost it just because I was too blind and to scared to hold. " - Nicholas's journal.
"Why leave, Anne? Isn't there anything worth staying for?"
There was a part of me that wanted to cry.
"Why stay then?" Her face cracked and tears flowed down her face.
"There's nothing holding me back."
I did not know the answer back then, but now I know. Just three words could have made her stay. But there were no words like 'I Love You' to hold her back, I kept telling myself.
No words to hold her,
No words to hold me.
"This is all I have to say. It may sound like a fairy tale or one of those love stories you read all the time.
But it's my story.
It is not easy, trying to make a reality from words, from a memory I often wished had only stayed a dream. But it is only memories that is left in my world, which will someday fade away from my mind into oblivion.
Well that's about it. That's all I have to say this year.
I take this moment into my hands. Even if we are such stuff dreams are made of, I will not keep waking up to cry to dream again." - Nicholas's journal.
[Closing time. Last Chance Café.]
I closed my journal, capped my pen and put it all into my haversack. Sitting alone in a little café tucked in the heart of the city, I am looking at the Christmas crowd.
There is a little corner near the wall and it's there I often sit with my head against the wall, thinking of the times I've spent with her, especially in this café.
I miss you, Anne.
Must remember to buy flowers for Anne, she loved lilies.
[Letter to Anne.]
Will you ever forgive me?
I wished that I could have held you that night and asked you to stay when you told me you were leaving. I know you are still mad at me for not even trying to hold you back. But how can I be so selfish to hold you back from your dreams?
We come from different worlds, we live different lives. We have different dreams. I know you'll never ask me to drop my commitments here and go with you and please do know that I would never do the same. I wouldn't want you to turn around one day and blame me for asking you to leave everything for me.
Are you happy now, my angel? Are you still chasing after your dreams?
Are you thinking of me as much as I am thinking of you?
I miss you so much that it hurts. When will you return to my side? A million waking hours later, I am still waiting for my angel to return to me.
My darling, would you make a life with me? I won't send you away again.
Please hurry back so we can start a new life together.
Always did, always will.
I am in control of myself.
I am still in control of myself.
I lost control and began to weep.
Almost three years ago.
Was it three years?
It seemed like yesterday that we sat here in the café.
Tomorrow's her death anniversary.
Has it all been wasted time?
No. She wasn't a waste of time. She was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Goodbye, darling, I know you want me to carry on with my life.
Thank you for telling me I can.
But I'll always love you. I always will.
I drew a fag, shaded the lighter from the cool wind and took one last look at the café, and walked out of the café, away from the world we shared, back into my world, alone.
[for gorecki. 2000-2002]