They say that what we regret the most are the things we didn’t do and the words that haunt us the most are the words we didn’t say.
I finally understood how important it is to close our chapters in the best possible way we can—to transition to the next chapter and stop rereading the previous one.
At the beginning of this year, I knew that I have moved on past the pain and transitioned to the acceptance phase. However, friendship remained to be a painful and unwelcome idea…until I saw you a few days ago. We have only exchanged a few smiles but seeing you again washed away the remaining bitterness of a painful past. I realized that I no longer felt threatened about the idea of becoming friends.
I typed a quick hello hoping that we were both on the same page already, hoping that my intentions were regarded as how I wanted it to be.
Between our random exchanges, these were the words that took me by surprise. I was unsure what it meant but I knew that to me, it was a distant memory.
“It’s been a while but it feels like yesterday. I want to talk to you in person soon.”
“Ok. Pero walang drama ha? “ I replied trying to lighten the mood, knowing that soon was a very relative word.
I have learned some time ago that SOON can mean today, tomorrow, a few days or months from now and sometimes it can also mean never. I don’t know if we’ll ever get the chance to talk again but I’d like to picture that day as something like this.
I’d walk inside the café and find you sitting at a corner table, probably fiddling with your blackberry. It would be a bright, sunny afternoon in a warm, cozy place—my favorite setting. You would see me and you would smile. I would smile. You will look happy and so would I. No more of those somber, uncomfortable, emotional atmospheres that we frequented some time ago.
I will sit down and we’ll take our orders. You would ask me “how are you?” and I would sincerely answer it “Great!” as you would when I would ask you the same question. That would be how I want you to be. You would sigh just like how our conversations started before but it won’t be followed by your brows furrowing into a worried look like you are about to say something dreadful. Instead, you would speak about how great things are going.
You would talk about your new job and it would be good, as I hope it would be. You would recount the great adventures and misadventures of your passion. We would laugh easily like we used to. I would talk about my same old boring job, about our friends, about my plans for the future. You would talk about your plans for the future with a smile in your eyes.
Then you would slowly speak out the words you would have wanted to say a long time ago. You would look somber about having hurt me before and the possibility of hurting me again. I would take your hand, look into your eyes and smile. I will say “It’s okay. It doesn’t hurt anymore.” I would want you to know that I have really forgiven you. I would want you to rid yourself of the guilt. I would want you to move on as I already have.
I would tell you how I want our final meeting to be something which will allow us to move forward without regrets weighing on our decisions. I would hope that you would have forgotten those ‘somedays and what ifs’ because I want you to live your life and be happy with what you have chosen. I’ve said those words so many times before but I would mean it more this time, without secretly wishing that you would choose me. I will tell you that I have long accepted that we were not meant to be together. I will smile and tell you of my hopes about finding the one and you would smile and wish me the same.
I would not want to hear that you have made your decision based on obligation. I would want you to tell me that you have wholeheartedly chosen her because you realized that you didn’t want to lose her and that you are still in love with her. That would have been the fair choice. That would have been the manly choice. That would have meant you had enough courage to stand up for what you want in life. That’s what I would’ve wanted for you, to have found the courage to live the life you dream of. That would keep me in peace knowing you are going to live your life happily.
And when it’s time to say goodbye, we will hug each other and smile, instead of cry. We will smile because we have finally closed a chapter in the best possible way we can. There will be no tears, no regrets, only memories and lessons learned. I would tell you that I am no longer afraid to love again because I know that I am capable of healing and forgiving and that pain is temporary.
We would wave with a smile, knowing that wherever life leads us, we are going to be okay.
We would walk out of that place wiser, stronger, a better person with more love and compassion for ourselves than we had when we walked in.
That would be how I want our chapter to end.
Forgiving is not only forgetting the pain. It is extending compassion to the person who has hurt us. It is wishing the other person good despite the circumstance they have thrown upon us. We should always come out of our pain as a better person.