Like Tangent Lines { t w o }

” For the man who told me to do anything that will make me create something beautiful out of a terrible pain from a heartbreak. I don’t exactly remember who you are but this is for you. You are the muse of this book. “

This is the dedication written on Jaz’s first self-published book. There are only few copies of the book so Matt made it sure that he’s among the first set of buyers. But he didn’t show up. He remained outside the coffee shop where Jaz is set to distribute her book to the buyers. His sister claimed the book for him instead. Just like what he usually does, he contented himself in looking at her from afar because he’s not ready to show himself to her yet.

“Kuya, you’re stupid. Why do keep waiting and hiding when you can just go to her, remind her of the things that she’s forgotten, and tell her directly that you’ve been loving her for almost eight years now?”

“I want her to remember me. I want her to remember first that she was the one who asked me to wait and all. I won’t chase for her because I’m waiting. Chasing and waiting are two different things. And I’m on the latter. I want her to realize that first.”

“If I were you, kuya, I’d rather chase than wait. I’d rather chase her now than wait for her all my life.”

He didn’t listen. He just let her sister’s advise pass through his right ear to the left. He’ll keep waiting. Even if waiting means waiting for another book to be written, and another, and another. They agreed to meet again after she has written something that she’ll call a masterpiece. And this is just her first book. It’s not a masterpiece yet. Maybe. Matt’s not really sure. Whenever he attempts to read the book, he’d always get stuck in the dedication page. This is for you. You are the muse of this book. This is for you. You are the muse of this book . He’d be as amused as the first time he read that. He’d just stupidly stare at that one page until he’d realize that once again he wasn’t able to go on to the next page. It’s been five months and a week since that night they met and had an agreement about meeting again. Matt thinks that she has completely forgotten everything that night but reading that dedication never fail to keep alive the little hope he has.

There are times he’d think of ending this waiting thing and just go present himself to Jaz and remind her of that night and tell her that he’s the guy she’s referring to in her dedication just like what his sister have been telling him. But he’d always end up listening to the stupid part of him that thinks that he can wait forever until she finally finds for him. It amuses him that she was able to remember everything he said except him. All except him. And the kiss. And the promise. Little did he know that she actually remembers him. But not completely. She remembers that night, the man, the kiss, and the promise. But the man’s face remains blurry when she tries to remember him. She has the feeling that it’s someone she knows. Maybe it’s Matt, she guesses but she’s not sure and for some reason, she thinks that it’s impossible. Maybe it’s just someone who looks like him. It can’t be him. It can’t be. She wanted to ask him but she’s shy. She can’t accept the fact the she kissed him. She kissed the first guy she ever liked. She liked him before she met Simon. She didn’t tell anyone about it until her feelings died, until she met Simon. But what if it is really him? She actually waited for him, too. Every time she had a meet up with the buyers of the book, she always hoped that he was one of them. All books got distributed but he didn’t show up. No one did. No one presented himself to her as the guy that she has been looking and waiting for.

They are both waiting for the other to do the first move. Both waiting for something so unsure. Both waiting for nothing. Matt’s waiting for himself to finally man up, for her to remember, and for things to fall into place while Jaz is waiting for a confirmation that the guy is Matt. She doesn’t admit it to herself but she’s wishing that it’s really him.

Matt wrote her a new song in hopes that it’ll reach her and make her realize that it’s him and that he’s still waiting and that he’s still clinging to their little promise they made that night. And it did reach her. The song randomly played on her car radio one day. She immediately fell in love with the song the first time she heard it. But things didn’t go as expected. She looked for the singer instead of the song writer. She found her way to this guy named Nico instead of Matt who has been waiting for her for so long.

He feels like he’s being punched, stabbed and shot all the same time whenever she’s with Nico. Nico whom he asked to sing his song. Nico who has been his wingman since highschool.

And maybe, William Faulkner was right when he said:

“Perhaps they were right in putting love into books.

Perhaps it could not live anywhere else.”

He finished reading her book. He was surprised to read a story she made up about them. In the book, they found their way back to each other. In the book, they were both in love. In the book, things were not as ugly as the reality.

In the book, they didn’t need the long-ass waiting.

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Like Tangent Lines { o n e }

Matt enters a bar which seems about to close; he sees some staff already arranging some of the tables, but he still enters anyway. Just as Matt enters, he hears a drunk woman spewing curses and rants. The voice gets clearer as he walks by the bar counter. It turns out that the woman is alone and is talking by herself. The people around are just ignoring her, letting her rant about her issues. There are only few customers left inside the bar since it’s about to close; few couples and one group of teenagers left aside from this drunk lady in the counter.  Matt sits one stool apart from the drunk lady. He orders for his drink and while waiting, he glances at the her. The longer he stares at her, the more familiar she gets. Finally he remembers who this lady is. Of course, he would always remember her. He knows her too well. He chuckles as he witnesses the lady alternately crying and laughing, cursing included. Matt got his drink already but he keeps staring at this familiar drunk lady. “What a coincidence that I found you here,” he says, trying to get her attention. The lady slowly turns her head to his direction. “Well, it turns out that he rumors I’ve heard about you is nothing compared to what I’m witnessing now from you. This is definitely worse.” She grins at him but the grin doesn’t reach her eyes – her eyes remain unfocused; torn between shutting it or keeping it open. She leans her arm in the counter and rests her head against her palm and sarcastically replies, “Rumors? Oh, I love rumors!“ She gulps another shot of a hard liquor and continues, “okay then, tell me about those rumors and what makes this state of me worse.” Matt gulps a shot of his liquor too before he speaks. He imitates her position and looks directly at her unfocused eyes. He remains silent until her eyes finally meet his. Her eyes finally focuses on his gaze. “Some of our batchmates speculate that you’d probably commit suicide after Simon broke up with you. Of course it would be a hot topic among our batch. You two used to be popular during our college years; you were one of the most popular couples back then. It’s alarming that you two have broken up three years after our graduation. You two lasted almost seven years, which is quite impressive. We were just waiting for you two to get married not until the news came.” He chuckles a bit as if he just talked about something funny. She winces at what he said. “Suicide? Are you kidding me? Suicide, really? That’s worse. How can you say that getting wasted is worse than suicide?” She sluggishly says, some of her words are unclear but Matt is still able to catch up with what she’s trying to say. “Killing the pain by suicide is faster, but this, you getting wasted probably every night, wasting every day mourning for your broken relationship, is worse. In my opinion, that’s a slow form of suicide. You let the pain drain positive emotions left until it kills your insides while you’re still alive. You’re physically alive but inside you’re already dead. Of course that’s worse.” It takes a while before everything Matt has said to sink in. And when it finally did, the lady bursts again. Matt just lets the lady have another moment of crying and wailing while he drinks his liquor. After a few minutes she starts to calm down. She moves to the stool next to her to get closer to Matt. He tilts his head as he waits for her next move. She reaches for his hand. Her eyes focusing in his. “You talk like an expert with these kind of stuff. Help me, then. Help me, Matt. Help me move on.” Another set of tears escapes her eyes but she keeps her cool and ignores them. “Matthew, how do I move on?” Matt pouts his lips, trying to prevent them from grinning. He composes himself and coolly tells her “you need to look for a rebound. That’s the easiest way of moving on. Manipulate the pain to your advantage.” The grin finally escapes from his lips. “That’s what I did. That’s how I moved on.” She snorts at him with disbelief. “Seriously? Dude, that’s a bull. I may be drunk but I still have my senses with me and what you are saying right now is a bullshit, I’m telling you. Why would I hurt another person? Ugh, that’s so disgusting.” Matt just shakes his head while chuckling. He is about to say something when a staff reminds them that they’re about to close in ten minutes. The lady is still waiting for his reply as she raises an eyebrow at him. Matt glances again at her and he remains nonchalant. “Did I say that your rebound should be a person? I didn’t. A rebound can be anything else, Jaz. Just immerse yourself in the pain, not to hurt yourself more but rather to use it to your advantage. Let it bring out all the emotions in you until you make an art, a novel, a painting, or anything else you can create; let the pain inspire you to create a masterpiece. Keep immersing yourself in the pain until one day it’s hurts no more, you’d be too distracted, and you’d realize that your priority is not him anymore; you’re priority would already be your masterpiece, and yourself. Keep yourself distracted with your masterpiece until you forget that there was once a guy in your life who had broken your heart. After you’ve moved on, you’d probably thank him for giving you the pain that made you create your wonderful works. I’m a songwriter now, and writings songs had been my kind of rebound. My songs are my kind of a rebound girlfriend. And I still thank the girl who had broken my heart for giving me the pain that led me where I am today – a songwriter of well-known songs.” He ends it with a sincere smile. Jaz just keeps staring at him, again taking time for everything to sink in. She remains silent while Matt waits for her reaction. A staff breaks the silence, apologizing that the bar is closing and that they need to go now. Matt pays for the bill and takes Jaz outside with him. As soon they step out of the bar, Jaz slumps herself in the pavement. She just sits there while staring at the blank dark sky. Too bad there are no stars to entertain her. Meanwhile, Matt’s torn between looking for a taxi to take her home or just let her sit there until she’s ready to go. He decides to just sit with Jaz, just a few inches away from her. He joins her as she stares at the night sky. Jaz startles Matt when she suddenly opens her mouth to speak. “I… I…” She starts, still staring at the sky. She slowly glances at Matt who’s now staring at her. She looks directly in his eyes. “I’m actually hoping this isn’t the last time seeing you. I hope we’ll meet again… after probably having written my novel – my future masterpiece, as you call it. And let’s see then if moving on through that kind of non-person rebound can really drain the pain. But let’s not meet while I’m still on the process. Would that be okay?” Matt nods but he doesn’t hide his doubt. “What if you forget? You’re drunk and there’s a probability that tomorrow, everything will be forgotten – what we talked about will be forgotten, this night would be forgotten, and I… I will be forgotten. I’m just one of your batchmates who happen to witness you in this kind of state. And later when you wake up, you’ll think that I was just a figment of your imagination.” She just grins while she stretches her arms upward, her arms slowly goes down, until she reaches Matt’s neck, pushing him closer to her as she seals him with a kiss. Just a simple kiss – just two lips closing the distance in between. Jaz breaks the kiss and whispers against his lips,  “I may forget things but I don’t forget kisses, Matt. Now you calm yourself, ‘cause I guarantee you: later when the sun comes up and I’m already sober, I’ll still remember this kiss; I’ll still remember you; I’ll still remember your lips that told me how I’ll be able to move on.” Matt feels Jaz’s warm breath against his lips. He chuckles. “Okay, then. It’s a deal. We will not meet until you finish your novel. But after that, you will look for me and we will meet again. I will wait. I will wait for you.” “We will not meet until then,” she reiterates and he nods. “Yes, we will not meet until then.” Jaz flashes another smile, her eyes again unfocused – a mixture of being tired and sleepy, and a few seconds later her head falls to Matt, there in the space between his neck and his shoulder.

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Note: The part where Matt tells Jaz that she could move on by using the pain to her advantage and letting the pain inspire her to create her masterpiece is taken from Antoinette Jadaone’s talk on How To Turn Heartbreak Into Nasa Iyo Ang Huling Halaklak.