You began to let your darkest moments of your past fill your thoughts and swallow you whole. You knew you had a choice whether to fight them or give in to them, but you decided the latter. You let them consume you until the very last part of you left that was made up of love, hope and trust were completely engulfed into a black abyss. From then on, you were constantly afraid of what the future holds; you were afraid of change; you were afraid of people – afraid that they might get close to you and find out something about you only to use them against you; afraid that you will let jealousy overtake you and end up hating anyone you deemed better than yourself. You kept living like this until every piece of your soul was shredded off from your body only to exist as a soulless entity roaming the face of the Earth.
It took me awhile to get used to the fact that I can never have you back again and that I am now only left with the memories of our countless adventures residing at the deepest part of my brain. I cherish the good times and the bad, although there were times when I felt completely shut out and alone just because I wanted to know what was wrong with you. I have moved on and despite everything –
I am happy to have had the chance to witness you before everything shattered.
I am happy to have been able to call you my friend.
There used to be two flowers that grew under a big oak tree just across the open field that stretched from my little cottage. These two flowers were of the rarest kinds. They grew flower petals that were the colour of the sunset – yellow, purple, pink, orange – all blended into a colour of hope, wonder and ecstacy. They were so magnificent that you can spot them straight from the windows of my cottage. They were the two beauties of the valley. They existed as one.
On the Friday of the third week of November, I noticed something different. I didn’t know how long it has been that another flower grew between the two beauties. From far away, that flower was as striking as the two but the colour of the petals were different – they were a mixture of red, blue and a tint of purple here and there. The mixture summed up essences of bold, strong and mysterious all into one.
I was so used to gazing upon the two flowers that now, with a third one sprouting out of nowhere let alone being in between the two, the view was odd. The combination of colours of the three flowers were somehow not in balance. A number of days had passed when one day, I decided to walk across the field towards the big oak tree. Upon reaching, I noticed the most peculiar thing.
One of the beauties and the bold one had produced a new offspring just next to them. It was exquisite. It grew into a colour of rainbow – fun, quirky and lively. It was such a lovely view to witness at that time that I had completely forgotten about the other flower. When I turned my head, I saw it. The other flower had wilted. Its once before colours were drained out from the petals and it has lost every ounce of life in it.
It was gone.
The thing is, it didn’t fit into the picture anymore. It’s existence was overcast by the shadows of the bold one. It no longer belonged and it never will. It will never be the same again because time has changed everything. They will never exist as one anymore.
Thing is, you can’t change what time does on you whether you like it or not. But what you can do is to adapt. You may not be one person’s priority anymore and you may not be able to be as close anymore but that’s okay. You can adapt. We’re humans. It’s in our nature.
I remember the first day I saw you cry. I was four at the time and was busy arranging my toys in front of the television. It was a quiet day as the Telly was switched off and all I heard was my tiny footsteps trudging around the house and the sound of your voice. You and I were minding our own agenda that time and suddenly you received a phone call. You went to pick it up. I guess I wasn’t paying that much attention to anything else other than my toys. But then, I started to hear sobbing – you. The conversation, I did not understand and I forgot ( Again, I was four ), was getting more and more intense – so was your sobbing. Tears came pouring out all so sudden that I stopped what I was doing. I stood there and watched you cry. I sort of knew at the time that you definitely weren’t crying over toys so I knew it had to be something really serious. I remember myself trying to listen to the other end of the phone, wondering WHO was making you cry… I heard his voice. I didn’t know what daddy said that made you so hurt until you just cried in front of this little four year old who, of course, got so frightened and worried and confused at the same time. You hung up and continued crying and talking to yourself. It made me really scared because I knew a person I love made another person I love cry. I didn’t know what to do so all I did was just went over to you, gave you a hug and we both cried together. I asked you why you were crying but all you said was, “It’s all daddy’s fault.” I didn’t see you cry anymore after that time. As the years slowly go by, little did I know I was already twelve. This time, when Mom cried, I knew why. Dad was having an affair. My father, who I trusted so much, had an affair with someone just ten years older than me. Someone just old enough to be my freaking sister. Mom came home from work one day and just burst through the door, crying. She headed straight for their room and locked herself up. Dad found a spare key to their room and went in. I stood outside their door, trying very hard to listen to what they were saying. I cried when Mom brought up ‘divorce’. I didn’t want to end up with a broken family like some of my friends. I also didn’t want my younger brother who was only four that time, see his dad leave his family. So I did my best in reassuring and comforting my mom day and night after that day. I became her only best friend; the only one who silently knew everything, keeping things normal at home. I also became my dad’s rock. He was so close to falling but I stood by him, despite the hurt I felt whenever I look at him, to make sure he didn’t; to make sure he would stand up again and save his family. I went to school acting as if everything was alright. For a couple of times, I actually believed that everything WAS normal whenever I’m at school. But the moment it was time for me to go home, reality knocks itself right at me to remind me that everything was nothing but okay. It took me almost two years to hold my family together. I have never regretted all my efforts because things are much better now. Today, I saw you almost cry. And this time, it was my fault. It was me who wasn’t strong enough to withhold my frustration that I just lashed out on you. You didn’t deserve those hurtful words I’ve said. I didn’t mean any of them. And I didn’t purposely scratch your arm. Seeing you almost close to tears just now, reminded me of everything once more. You’ve gone through a lot with your troubled past and our almost broken-up family. It hit me that I too do not have too much time left with you because soon, I’d have to leave you again for further studies. It breaks my heart to see you cry; I never ever want to see you cry again. This, I silently promise to myself.
Running, running and running,
Though it may still seem too far,
You can be sure I am still trying.
Reaching out into thin air,
Trying to grasp the moment,
As if the minutes and seconds are in midair.
Oh, if only I could rewind time,
Or stop time if I must,
I might have saved myself from this crime.
This crime of love,
You brought me into with you,
Together in high pace; we drove.
Drove into ecstasy,
Feeling as if the world has only you and I,
Living in our own little fantasy.
I should have known it was too good to be true,
That fantasies will never last as do realities,
I was but naive; I didn’t have a clue.
I can’t look back; not now nor ever,
Because if I do,
I might see those eyes that have won my heart since forever.
Alas, my heart betrayed me once more,
I turned around and there you were,
Looking right into my core.
I willed myself to look away,
But wait, something caught my eye,
It is but a trace of hope for us, gleaming as bright as a sunny day.
Because it's just not meant to be.
How often it is that we tend to fall in love with someone but never having the chance to actually be with that someone; being fully aware of our own feelings but never able to satisfy the thirst of being with the other just because life does not permit; to be tied up with “fate”. We can simply say life isn’t fair, right? That’s the thing about life : One moment you’re riding a smooth path towards your dreams and desires and then BAM! life beats you to it; the next thing you know, you’re falling so fast like a meteor finding it’s way to the grounds of the Earth.
I have dreamt of fairytale romance scenarios coming to life and happening to me countless times. Being a firm believer of true love – because I’m a hopeless romantic, I have always believed that the first person I fall for will be my one. Sadly to say, my first was an asshole. However, right after him, there was another guy. A wonderful, caring and amazing guy. In truth, it was because of him, my break-up with the asshole was so so SO much more bearable. Mr. Wonderful was there for me since day 1 when my then relationship was beginning to shed some light on me – of Mr. Asshole.
That year when Mr. Asshole was out of my life for good, was also a really trying year for me. Disaster after disaster happened and I can say, I really felt as if I hit rock bottom at the time. It was overwhelming. I changed schools, got into an accident, dealt with family problems and the list goes on and on. Well, he was there. All the way. He admitted that he liked me and so did I. But we never actually had the chance to be together. It just… didn’t happen. There were quite a number of times when I kept thinking of the ‘what ifs’. There was also a point where I got really upset that I’m going to watch him leave for further studies somewhere overseas. Katy Perry’s song “The One That Got Away” was on repeat for God knows how many times while I was in the room crying my eyes out. We eventually talked about it one night through the phone and concluded that we didn’t think the relationship would work out anyway due to the long distance. It would only end up hurting us both.
I still keep in touch with him though; he has someone now and she seems to be really sweet and wonderful – just like him – and is able to be kept close to him. I am perfectly happy with my boyfriend now too. And call me cheesy (I know I am) but, I dare to bet on this one that we’ll last a long time. I guess when it’s not meant to happen, it won’t – even if you were THIS close – because that’s life. And most of the time, the outcome is simply… unpredictable and magical.
Pain; it demands to be felt.
One of the most beautifully written story I have ever read. John, I salute you for being able to touch the hearts of many readers – me, in particular. Thank you for letting me experience the life of being a cancer patient (even though this book is like, fictional) through the eyes of Hazel. Filled with humor, tragedy, suspense, wonderful characters… I could simply reread this novel over and over again despite me being the type of person who never reread the same novel twice. Ever. It definitely gave me a lot to think about : how brief our existence will be in this universe; how important it is to actually live than to just exist; how friggin’ scary it is to have an incurable disease; how love has no limit.
I wish I can just tell you the whole story but of course, I don’t want to spoil the suspense that you must indeed experience yourself. All I can say is, it’s definitely worth the read.