From Chasing to Leaving


The map I borrowed from the local store showed the way to a familiar old church beside the belfry. I grasp for air as I softly stepped inside.

Flower vendors greeted me on the entrance. A lady in veil prayed on the altar. Kids ran around while a blind couple listened to a transistor radio. Chills shivered through my spine.

Clutching my handy cam, I reviewed every image I managed to capture. I relaxed my shoulders and closed my eyes. I tapped to see the next photos of people, market, schools, museums and art galleries. Each picture was reviewed for not less than 2 minutes.

Not a shadow of you was on them. I let out a long breath. Where are you?

The stillness and solemnity of the church allowed me to think of you. I was dreaming of you again, sitting at the same bench I am on. If that’s the case, I’m sure you admired the glass art on the walls and the golden pillars on each side. I wondered if you were also at awe by the grandeur of lights hanging on the ceiling. For sure you used to be on same ground I was on – only during a different time, only in another circumstance.

Did you come here to escape the summer heat? Were you caressed by the same humid air? Did you see the same kids, the same blind couple and the same praying lady?

No one was there to answer me.

It was as close as I can get. In search of you, I only found the places you abandoned, the people you once knew, the things you once loved, were most fond of but was left behind.

Not much different than myself.

Finally, I decided to leave. For the last time I gave a downcast gaze at everyone and everything that was a part of you. And for the first time in a long time, I allowed my skin to face the scorching sun and walked away. This is. Refreshing. Liberating. Heart-breaking.


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