I sat next to a smoker at the jeepney this morning. The stale smell of his breath, his clothes, his sweat, mixed with the mint gum he’s chewing sent me to a distant place; some parallel world I once knew where there is no one else but me and one smoking jerk I once loved. It felt poignant, really, to suddenly remember; to suddenly be enveloped by a familiar sensation of being with someone I’m so fond of in a place and time I have long forgotten. I wanted so much to go back; to be the rebel of a person that I was. Then again they’re all but memories and the only thing I could do was pray that the stranger sitting beside me will stay long enough for me to fully remember.
And so remember I did; the scent of his shirt, the soft touch of his hair, the rhythm of his breathing, -- how after every exhale, a faint breeze sends me the sweet-minty-smoky mix of icool and Marlboro. The memories were infectious, as if I could almost reach out to him, touch his ear and whisper something to make him look me in the eye, perhaps kiss me like he did long ago… long long ago, when our innocence kept us from looking past each other’s gaze. Long ago when we would spend entire days just laughing and having fun; all those money wasted away, texting or talking until dawn; all the plans and dreams we made together; all the promises of forever; all the petty fights that got people at school talking; all the tears I cried; all the stupid things we did for the sake of that thing called love…
Ah, the folly of high school, the unwariness of young love. You miss it sometimes, the craziness and the carefree feel of it all. Then again, you become content with being sane (or maybe not, but that’s another story), with pleasing parents and planning ahead, with being realistic and worrying about your future, with riding jeepneys and sitting next to smokers.
You grow up. And most of the times, you’re better off matured.