Here comes the bride….
The piano hummed that familiar tune and my knees started shaking. Damn oxygen! Why won’t you just stay in my badly bruised chest? I tried to breathe deeper; to let more of this air into my system but the exact opposite just happened. No use. Better think of something else.
As I walked in the carpeted floor adorned with white flowers, everyone turned to look. I gazed ahead, seeing the altar and the smiling priest.
Calm down. It would be too embarrassing if you start to pour your heart out now. What would the guests think? You’re not like this… you’re usually cool and calm… After reprimanding myself for the nth time now, I was able to grab hold of my tumultuous emotions and started to concentrate real hard on the man waiting at the end of the aisle.
He was smiling. The usual smile that makes my heart beat real fast, do the crazy jiggle and then move real slow that every beat seems to bring so much joy that I could cry out in pain. If only he would stop smiling right now, maybe I would be able to breathe better.
Wishful thinking, I guess. He just wouldn’t stop this torment. Gazing up at his face, memories of the times we had flashed through my mind.
“Hoy, bata. Laro tayo.” he said.
I looked up and saw two huge black eyes staring down at me. I was five then and it was the first day of school. I stood up after tying my shoe and said, “Sige ba.”
And that was how it started. We became seatmates. Together, we survived the bullies of pre-school (or we became the bullies in pre-school), won the fights during our elementary years and garnered victories, both academic and on the battleground when we were in high school. Inseparable. We were that and a whole lot more.
And like in all great stories, changes took place. I wonder if he noticed that I was changing into someone else during our high school years. That while he was busy with basketball, I was busy daydreaming about boys. That while he was busy pointing and admiring the latest adidas shoes, I was checking out the pink dress. That while he was so engrossed with things most men do, I was busy with what girls do.
Nah, I don’t think he noticed those changes because I was invisible to him. Unseen. Unnoticed. Ignored. Just another supportive best friend.
But I fell. I fell and I still am falling for this man. And everything else is no longer important. The only thing that matters is now.
I wonder if he knows how special he is to me. It would be impossible for this man, whom I have loved with all my heart, to know how important he is to me. He wouldn’t know just how much, he couldn’t know just how much.
“Kuya, thanks. Without you there wouldn’t be us.” That was Mimi.
“Oo nga, pare,” Michael said as he took her hand.
“Ingatan mo yan, pare ha, nag-iisa lang yan” I said staring at the face of the man who was the start and would probably be the end of my life.
“Syempre pare. Kapatid ata ito ng best friend ko,” he smiled and led her to the altar.
He looked her in the eyes and smiled.
She blushed and smiled back.
He was gorgeous, beautiful in his imperfections. Alive with the very thought that he would be starting a new life with her.
And there she was, perfect and vulnerable. Pale yet vibrant. This is just the start of more wonderful things in her life.
And here I am, bleeding and smiling. Cursing yet laughing. Dead to the world knowing that my life has come to a screeching end. But I must pretend, for my sister and for him, I know I must. I know my place in this pretty picture and that is beside my sister — the bride.