3 days without sleep and my body wasn't about to give up.
I trooped to his Monday morning class upon his request. He wanted to "assess" how he really felt about me and about his student. I knew I had a ticket to absent myself from work. Sunday was graduation and I thought the bosses would understand my supposed drunken state, perhaps from the revelry... only it never was.
I sat at the back, anxious, waiting for the firestorm to come... and come it did. His nonchalance was cutting, his remarks biting. It's as if I threw myself into the proverbial lion's pit, the chewed up crumbs of my ego to be spat out in front of all his students to see.
"If the outermost electron gets excited, it almost always jumps to the nearest atom. Remember class, you don't always see red. You don't always see red!"
Given that his personal life was an open book to his students, the chuckles from his class with every joke that alluded to my unwelcome presence surfaced a lump in my throat. I was choking. And a good hour of keeping a brave front was only too much to handle.
I raised my hand.
"Sir, ano ba kasing excitement ang hinahanap niyang electrons na iyan?"
The class turned their heads to the back and stared at me.
A few more attempts at a territory he has already mastered, with jabs at entropy and how people should always try to piece things together, I stopped, taking in the silence that now conquered the air.
"See you next meeting class."
The crowd dispersed... and that was it.
Looking back at the mess I was in then, I can't help but ask why I always find myself as one of the options, just that: an option. I know I can never impose what I want on another but then, I can't help but think, no, I can't help but wish that somehow, for once, I become the choice. No comparisons, no weighing around, no assessing how I measure up against another. Just me, only me.
I checked an email account I haven't touched for so long. A couple hundreds of unread messages to sift through, browse, and delete.
Sometime February of this year, a message from him.
"I know you owe me no favors but can I see you... before things change... please?"
Funny how casual I felt reading that plea. Off the cuff, I replied a good luck and a wish that things are good with him.
"It's almost a year," he answered.
I felt no desire to reply back. Although I wanted to correct him. It's been a year since things really ended but two years since that fateful summer. A summer that saw me lose myself, a summer that scarred me and broke me, a summer that took my soul to places I never knew I'd reach.
Maybe I'm still broken, an irreparable chink in how I see my own worth, the scar of being just one of the options that still haunts me until today.
But then it's been two years. And time's balm has been a crutch that propped me up to push on. A sigh offset by an affirmation, that there's nowhere I'd rather be than in this, my broken road.