Almost.

We lived a life of,
Almost.

I held her hand as we walked back to the train station so neither of us would get lost. She kept talking and talking about this one game character that she’d adored since she was ten. She kept laughing at the thought of funny moments she had with her dear mates. She kept walking cheerfully as if there was nothing else that mattered at the time—although she knew stuff back home was happening chaotically in the back of her mind. And while she’s doing that, I kept looking at her features in awe.

She was just a stranger one time. She was just a blurry face that I never knew would turn my life upside down the later on. She was just one person standing in the crowd, which I never expected that her existence would knock on my door. And our fate would almost never collide if I chose something the other way around.

Sometimes I think about the possibilities that might happen throughout my life. Things would’ve been different if I chose another options. There will be some people that I could never have known if I didn’t choose to be where they are. I wouldn’t have experienced stuff if I chose the other way around. Possibilities exist like specks of dusts in every corner of the road. And I… I think I have to always feel thankful for all of those decisions I’ve made.

“Are you okay?” she snapped me out of my thought, getting me back to reality.

I looked up to her, smiling and nodding to make sure that I am indeed fine.

“Are you sure? Because you just blacked out to your imaginary life and you did not listen to my story.” She looked at me suspicious.

I put my thumb up in the air, making her sure by saying, “I am. Why do you think I’m not?”

She shrugged. “It’s not everyday that you black out and daydream.”

I laughed. “It’s fine, really. It’s just that seeing you again today after a few months… I feel thankful for the fact that you exist in this life and that I got the chance to know you in my life and I really wouldn’t want to trade anything for that. Have I ever told you that you’re a blessed to me? That you’re a piece of life that I have always felt grateful about?”

She smiled and her cheeks turned scarlet. “You’re being overrated.”

And I held her hand tighter as we kept walking hand in hand.

On the day when I first time met her, I never knew what kind of color she’d bring to my life. I thought that she would just be another person walking and passing by in my life—one that would eventually be forgotten once our business was done. But I was wrong. Our meeting ended up into something more than that. We talked and found so many things in common. We shared and felt the same thing about life. And that accident led us to what we are nowadays.

And I almost fell for her. Deeply.

Indeed, I wouldn’t be afraid to say that, because I thought love is love. And for the past eighteen years of my life, I never thought about liking someone like her. I mean, someone with kind of her gender. Not once. And I was confused about everything. I was confused about how to define myself. Because even after that feeling came trapping me all of sudden, I never had the urge to sexually do her. No. But… rather that I’d marry her to be a soulmate—one of the kind I’d like to spend the rest of my whole life travelling world with, someone I’d like to share everything with, someone I’d like to grow old with.

But true, almost was never good. I almost fell for her deeply, and yet I repressed my feeling because I thought someone as wonderful as her wouldn’t see me that way. And I understood that what we had should only stay that way. Not because I knew she would reject me, but rather because I’d like to be by her side from time to time. And for that to happen, I had to sacrifice what I had and remained the same.

“And here we are…” she said as she let go of my grip. Our trains had come and we had to go separately after this.

I hugged her for one last time before she took off to her train and I smiled because in my prayer I wish it would not be the last time I see her precious face. “Don’t forget to call.” I whispered in between our hug. And she nodded understood. “Don’t forget to be thankful for this life and don’t forget to always be happy. You know you deserve it.”

“Thank you, Gill. I’d remember that.” And with that, I saw her back passing by and slowly disappearing behind that steel.

And oh God, I swear I almost kissed her.

****

“What happened after that, Granny?” My twenty-two year old granddaughter, Maggie, looked at me curious. I had to stop for a bit from my story because my throat was dry. And I smiled knowing my bride-to-be granddaughter was curious about how I carry on through the days after her. “What happened to her? What happened to the both of you after that meeting?”

“After that?” I chuckled a bit and said, “I simply carried on. I went back to college, she kept pursuing her dream to be a professional artist, we kept in touch for several years, and after my graduation… I heard she had started her other dream to be a part time wedding planner and a full time traveler.”

“Where is she right now? Can you please tell her to come to my wedding, Granny? I’m curious about the girl you have ever had a big crush on…”

I liked Maggie for her curiosity. I liked Maggie for her wondered mind. I liked Maggie for everything she is. That’s why I told her a story of my youth before her big day, just so then she could take a little advice from this old woman whom she called granny.

“Since day one that I realized I admire her beauty and all, I knew I’d spend the rest of my life wondering what life would be like without her. Maybe I wouldn’t crave such a feeling of a mixed regret and wonder like this. Maybe I wouldn’t have to feel what I feel today. But my dear, what you can take from my story is that, whoever it is the person that you feel right about, just chase after them and don’t ever give up. Don’t be the kind of person who’d wake up at their fifties regretting a piece of decision they had made on their youth. Don’t be the kind of person who’d wake up one morning knowing that they’re missing out on something in this life.

You are young, honey. You deserve all the good things in this life. You deserve a mistake to learn, but don’t let yourself learn that fifty years after the mistake, don’t be me. Because I’ve never told her enough that somehow she’s an important piece in my life—like a piece of puzzle, she made it complete and I haven’t realized that even after the divorce I had with your granddad. And my little advice for my little munchkin today is that, if next month you had cold feet on the day you walk down the aisle for Jack, just look at him standing in front of you waiting for you and smile, thus you will be fine and all your worries will be gone. And that’s how you know you are with the right person. So you don’t have to worry about whether marrying Jack is right or wrong.”

Maggie smiled, knowing that I had just reassured her with the kind of soothing words only I could give. “Thanks, Granny. But one more question before I’m leaving… have you ever regretted the decision you have made that you didn’t end up with her? Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you ever ended up with her?”

“Maggie, that’s two.” I chuckled, reaching out for my granddaughter’s soft hand. “But yeah, I think I have always thought of that. But it is what it is, I carried on with my life and I’ve kept her in the deepest part in my heart and I thought that no matter what happen that feeling will always linger. And that’s just simply how I want it to be.”

“But you almost got her.”

“I almost got her, indeed.”

“Didn’t you want more?”

She got me on point, which I smiled before I said, “God, I did, Maggie. I did. But I thought that keeping her as a very dear friend is better than taking it all into a serious relationship. Because at the time, I did not know how to define what I felt. Because I thought that supporting all her dreams is what matters. And guess what? The feeling still lingers even years after.”

“What’s her name again?”

“Fiorentina, Fiorentina Davis. It means blossoming in Latin.” I smiled remembering all the good stuff that happened in the back of my mind. “Because she is that one true person that radiates such a beauty, blossoming like the pretty flowers in the field.”

She smiled, nodding in gesture that she understood. So she hugged me and whispered, “Thank you for the story, Granny. I hope she’s alright wherever she is. You know you also deserve such a person like her.”

I smiled back. “I know. Now go, Jack must be waiting.”

And with that, I’m back to reality that my old self has to be alone again.

****

Maggie walked hand in hand with Jack to the graveyard complex. She wore a black satin dress and sat beside Jack. The priest talked about the bullshit they usually tell when one dies—how funeral is not for the death, but for the livings. The priest talked and talked until one by one of the family member gave them their eulogy for Jack’s grandmother who has just passed after her true battle of being old. They said she passed away in the most peaceful way, sitting in her rocking chair and smiling like she knew it was her time.

She heard that Jack’s grandmother is one of the most sincere people have known. They said she is the truest of true. They said she’s a lovely person to be around with. No wonder the whole family was sad because of this. After the funeral finished and people left one by one, Maggie stayed back a little while with Jack. She knew Jack loved his grandmother so much he can’t bare the hurt of his grandmother’s death.

“It’s gonna be alright, honey.” Maggie put her hand around his waist, sustaining that fragile body of her fiancé. “Your grandma is already in heaven.”

“She’s…” Jack sobbed. “I can’t believe I have never taken you to meet her properly. Grandma would’ve liked you, Mags.”

Maggie smiled, she wondered how the look of that lovely wrinkly face of his grandma. She would’ve been the same age as her own granny. “It’s fine, Jack. Now let’s go back to the house, your family must’ve been there already.”

Jack nodded, letting his fiancée to sustain his weak step to the front of the tombstone. Maggie put her bouquet in the grave. She stole a glance on the tombstone and read a single name she was so convinced about;

Rest In Peace
Fiorentina Davis
1998 – 2086

 

We lived a life of, almost. She almost got her. She almost kissed her. She almost knew what love really was. But she remained silent. All she’s done just only got her into almost. On the day of the funeral, one realized that life almost put a fate on her. The grandmother that can never be with the love of her life, her fate of almost… was replaced by the granddaughter’s own fate.

Almost is a sad word. Yet almost also led two into an eternal love.

 

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Kuta, 10th April 2017.
For a very dear friend of mine, I hope I’ve told you enough about how you deserve someone, everyone, everything that will accept every atom that composes your existence today. You know you deserve the universe. I hope I’ve told you that enough so I won’t regret it fifty years after. Every atom that makes you, you is a blessed to me. Keep that in mind.

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