by Ma. Shazka Vistan Salvador
It is my first day back in the city and man, I forgot how heavy the traffic is here. I surely did not miss that.
And I did not miss crowds. You can’t imagine the number of people in the mall today,
They were like ants that are flocking the sweets that were left on the table for far too long.
Years. It has been years and finally the country has been officially declared as COVID-free.
Although I still can’t help but cringe at the thought of people just being at arm’s reach,
Of people breathing directly and just existing within six feet of each other.
All I can think of is “my god, how unsanitary.” I did not want to be here.
But a promise is a promise, and so I braved the river of people just so I can eat at our favorite spot for dinner. It was nice.
It was as good as I remember it and my taste buds were dancing, but my eyes keep darting towards your space in front of me;
my ears itching to hear the sound of your laughter;
my hands wanting nothing more than to hold yours.
It was nice. The closed up shops have started to open up again and things are slowly going back to the way they used to.
It was good.
I wish you were here with me though,
so we can cringe together at the thought of our personal spaces being invaded by strangers,
so we can laugh at the most stupid things.
And maybe we’ll stroll around as we eat ice cream, and like pirates who have been away at sea for months, we would tell each other of our adventures apart, bragging of the bounty we have collected.
It’s good. It’s all good, right? This is good.
We should be celebrating because things are back to normal.
Normal. As if COVID never happened.
I miss you. See you soon.
It has been weeks since I got back in the city and everything sucks.
Public transportation sucks.
Why has nothing changed? As if the years of being in lockdown merely paused time, and the dust-covered play button has been hit and everyone just picked up where they left off.
And I want that. Why can’t I have that?
Why did you have to go and leave me all alone in this miserable, miserable city where every corner is haunted by the memories of you
Every face resembles yours
Every shadow, every sound, every fallen leaf and every sidewalk, triggers flashbacks of my time with you.
It’s not fair.
Everyone just picked up where they left off
They have the audacity to act as if nothing has changed; as if the pandemic never happened; as if things were like they used to be. Well they’re not!
Because you’re not here.
Because I want you to be.
I hate you for leaving me.
I hate you because I have to carry the weight of this life alone
Like a raincloud that only exists above my head.
I hate you. You left me alone in this unforgiving world.
I hate you.
I miss you.
I’ll see you soon.