If she asks you
If she asks you who I am, tell her. Tell her
because she is not starting a fire for an explanation but a confession.
If you tell her I was just a girl you dated
for a couple of years, she will only give you a hard time.
The hundreds of photos tagged in your outdated profile and the stack
of books with our names written will be her allies.
If you tell her I was an old friend, she will only hear
half of what you say. She will recall how you looked at places
with a tinge of regret and a shade of nostalgia. She will remember
how you skipped a certain song ― a reminder of something you’ll find an excuse
not to tell her every time the car radio is on.
If she asks you who I was, lie a little,
because she is not crossing the line for answers but for assurances.
Don’t tell her how our lips played with poetry and how we dared
to dream under the light of the taciturn satellite. Skip the part where we
fought dragons together and how we named each other’s scars.
Reserve the fact that you still keep the letters, notes, old restaurant receipts under
your drawers and some tearstained thoughts at the back of your pillow. She doesn’t need to know
why you reread past conversations or why your mother mentioned me at the family dining table
just to ask you what I have been up to.
Finally, if she asks you who I was to you, tell her you love her. Put her in the limelight
because she is testing you to pull the trigger pointed at her
But you won’t. Instead, you will tell her she’s beautiful to compensate
for the words you never had the guts to tell me. You will tell her she’s a keeper, for the hell of it.
You will tell her a poor research about human cells being replaced after seven years so that one day,
I will leave no trace on your body.
She will then forget that you mentioned my name while sleeping. She will wash the lipstick stains
on your bedsheets and remove the extra toothbrush in the shower. She will ignore the way you twitch
every time you hear a familiar author or my favorite curse word. She will fill the spaces
of your fingers and plaster kisses at the holes of your chest. She will replace every scent of me
with her own promises, insecurities, and mistakes.
She will do this. She will, because when she asked you about me,
she knew I was the ghost of the house. And at the back of your head, you wanted to tell her
that the damned no longer need saving. But by all means,
darling, she can try.
A. A. Dizon