Going Away and Taking You With Me

The bell rang. Thank God it’s lunch, meaning I survived half of the day. I don’t have to pretend to listen to teachers. During lunch break, I just pretend to listen to my friends. There’s nothing wrong with them, really. I like my set of friends. I just find it difficult to always give my full attention to different people blabbing gossip about strangers I don’t care about.

Sometimes, I wish I could just fly with my thoughts. I want to be outside. I want to be at the ocean.

As I walk along the halls towards the cafeteria, we stop by each of my friends’ lockers, like picking them up until we’re all complete for lunch. I guess we’re really close that way. All my friends say hi and wave hello to classmates along the way. I’m usually friendly like all of my friends, but these are the days I just don’t want to be the social butterfly I’m expected to be. I put my earphones on and I hope they get the sign I’m not in a friendly mood today. I hit play when I find the right soundtrack in my playlist – Everything by Ciudad. The best I can give to people right now are soft half-hearted smiles. My friends don’t seem to mind and the crowd doesn’t seem to notice. But the moment I see him coming our way, I quickly drop my smile. I look down on my shoes trying to control my pace as I secretly steal a look. He doesn’t see me. He pretends not to. I continue walking.

I take my seat at the lunch table with my friends whom I’ve been sitting with since freshman year, eating the same stuff they’ve been serving us since the golden age. Some things never change. My friends start the blab. I start my pretence while I peel the napkin off my utensils. It’s become a reflex of mine to glance at his table. He sits in his usual spot, the same old table with the same old friends. While his friends are busy laughing their heads off at some toilet humor, he leaves the table. I see him head to the exit, but he looks at me first and signals me to go out.

As I go through the door, I see him waiting for me outside. He’s leaning back at the same bench where he always waited for me. The sun hits his hair just right to make it shine its usual glow. His gaze looks up to me slowly from the floor. He flashes a smile. I get the familiar butterflies. “Wanna get out of here?” he asks and gently grabs me by my wrist.

He runs and leads me to his car. He starts his engine when I ask, “Where are we going?” He slowly backs up his car and he says, “To the ocean.”

I can never know how he knows what I want, and when I want it. I can never know how he knows when I want to have a road trip or just lock myself in my bedroom and watch Ghibli films. I can never know how he knows when I’m just too shy to get the last piece of pizza, and when I’m too full and he needs to finish my plate. I can never know how he knows when I try to be strong and keep pushing, and when I just want to give up. I can never know how he knows.

I watch him drive as I try to decipher everything in my head, and I get surprised as he reaches for my hand and intertwines his fingers with his – I let him. Familiarity strikes me. I get comfortable. I don’t remember how many times we’ve done this together before, and until now I don’t picture doing this with anyone else.

We were driving in silence for a while just listening to Ebe Dancel in his playlist. I’m not sure if he remembers it was me who put it there.

“So what are you planning after graduation? It’s only a few months away.” I ask.

“Me? Still the same plan. Nothing changed.”


“And you? Did anything change?”

“… A lot.”

He stops the car as we reached the ocean. He takes off his seatbelt when he looks at me intently and asks, “Ready to test the waters again?”

“No, I’m just here to see it.”



Going Away and Taking You With Me

The Fair

He found his love at the fair.

Pass the Ferris wheel he was supposed to ride, he saw her at the middle of the fair commotion. Everyone was just passing by her beauty, while he marveled at her mere presence. He stared at her brown curly hair, her pretty purple dress and of course, her pink curved lips that showed her big but soft smile. He then, in return, smiled back. Even though the little boy gave her a long stare, she did not mind the obvious admiration.

He remembered how everyone had told him that people would not meet the one they would want to spend their lives with at such a young age. But at the age of 6, he knew she was the girl for him. He pictured himself at the fair beside the young lady and it didn’t bother him at all. But of course he did not know about the girl. He could only wish she felt the same.

Unfortunately, he awoke from his fantasies when he heard his mom calling out for him to go home with her. He didn’t want to leave, but then he needed to. Nevertheless before he left, he promised that he would come back soon. And he made her promise that she would be there.

The time he was free from school the next day, he went straight to the fair. He knew that if the girl weren’t there, it meant that she did not feel the same for him. But as he approached the place where he first saw her, he suddenly stopped from walking. He was struck by her beauty all over again. She was once more, sitting there where she was before, with her ever perfect smile. He then ran to her and gave her his big wide smile.


Every Friday after class, he would go to the fair and spend time with the young girl. She would always be still, not minding how long he would simply gaze upon her loveliness. They would not do anything there. They would only smile at each other the whole time, sitting perfectly still.


But after a while, the visits that he gave often became rare. News of accidents had been spread about the fair and the mom forbade the young boy to go there. As much as he wanted to see her again, he had no choice but to follow the orders.


He still fantasized about the young lady whom he recognized as the girl he wanted to grow old with.

He thought that the girl was probably mad at him for his absence after promising he would visit every time. He wondered if he missed her as well.


But a long while had passed, and it was inevitable to grow old of such dreams. He then accepted that his magical world of finding his true love at the fair, was in fact, just a mere fantasy of a young boy about true love.





The fair from my childhood was very old now. It didn’t look as inviting as it was ten years ago. As how I saw it, it now looks like a deserted playground.


But my little boy wanted to know where my favorite place on Earth was, so I brought him here. Who knows? Maybe he might find something good in this dumpsite of my memories.


We circled along the place where I usually spent my childhood. Then I let him walk around himself. I knew he wanted to do so since he wanted to be treated like a big man, as how he had put it to his mom and me. But I told him not to ride anything, because the fair was known to be dangerous. I then had a flashback of how my mom had emphasized to me as a little kid never to return here.


He said yes, and then ran away from me getting all excited of the ancient rides that made me happy so long ago.


I remembered the reason why I enjoyed the fair so much. It was because of this statue of a young lady. I could not remember what she looked like, but all I remember was she was beautiful.


As I was about to approach the vintage Ferris wheel, I sighed and smiled at the same time.


My memory was proven right – she was beautiful, even up to the present. ‘After so long, you are still here’, I thought to myself. I was glad she kept her side of the promise even through the time that had long passed; she was still here.


Staring up at the statue of the little girl, I saw my son with the same smile I had twenty years ago.


The Fair