Messier at 31
𝐌𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐭 𝟑𝟏
ᴡʀɪᴛᴛᴇɴ ʙʏ ʀᴀɪᴀ
𝘐 𝘩𝘰𝘱𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘴𝘰𝘰𝘯.
For years, I firmly held on that fabled saying that most of us people believed. I was one of those hopeless dreamers and indecisive chasers; however, the trust I gave on that particular motto made me who I am today—whether it was good or bad. For I have put my faith on it—believing that’ll change some significant courses of my life—but I’m not sure if it did.
Of someone who is confident with chances and destiny, my so-called-passion is filled with nothing but cowardice—only compelled with conviction and sentimental words of people. And I held on to it, hoping it’ll lift up my shattered soul—I believed in them, because I couldn’t do it in myself. I was uncertain of everything, on anything so I relied on what we call ‘luck’ and ‘fate’, because I am a coward—
—only seeking on idioms and destiny for the sense of haven and safety.
But what good things had happened in my life when i started to choose that route? Nothing really, nothing—but the coward in me hanged onto this crooked path of mine. Because I am scared of changes, I am frightened with differences. I am afraid on uncertainty.
I want to stick with the standard; the norms, the usual. Because taking risks by changing your path takes a whole lot of courage and acceptance. And I couldn’t bear to see myself fall—I just couldn’t.
Looking back, I could actually say that I didn’t grow, not a bit, even after the challenges. Only putting my faith on the popular motto—hoping it would change a part of my life full of catastrophes.
Another wave of raucous yells of several unfamiliar men surrounded the populous terminal of the unacquainted place I landed on. I looked around to hear their words and analyzed the area properly. Hundreds of people of all ages were scattered around; busy with their own lives, vendors were on all sides of the terminal; working hard for their living, and insalubrious stray dogs and cats dotted around—and all left me feeling weary; not being able to breathe. Everything made me speechless.
Really…if everything happens for a reason—then what is the reason behind all of these?
I stopped on my tracks with that sudden thought. No…
Dismissing the thought earlier, I marched my way nearer to an area where it isn’t populated. When I saw a young girl, I asked her. “Miss, can I ask where is this?” pointing the piece of paper with an address where I’m supposed to go.
She read it silently then gazes me with a question on her face. She turned her face and looked in front where there are several tricycles. “Go straight then ask them.”
What a load of bull. But instead of pushing further, I thanked her and went directly to where she pointed. The clustered tricycle drivers gaze curiously at me with a hint of malice when I walked closer to them. I rejected the thought and focused on what I should do.
“Uh, manong. Can I ask where this is?” I asked once again on the much more nice-looking man on their group as I pointed the piece of paper on my fingers. I’m sure my eyes glinted with hope when I saw familiarity on his look to my paper.
The truth is I’ve always been afraid of risks and challenges—most particularly in changes. I didn’t know where or how it started—but the moment I realized my fears—it taunted me. Always and constant; never failing to remind me of my flaws and doubts.
And to witness the sudden change in me after several years, I can’t help but to grow worried. Considering the fact that I’ve always been the runner, the escaper and more like; the crybaby—it’s troubling…more so, being here in this unacquainted situation; a new environment.
But they say change is the only constant thing in the world. And here I am, growing…for my change.
The sudden blow of the wind muddled my neatly tucked hair and its cold breeze found its way on my body; making me quiver for a moment. I focused my gaze on the unfamiliar path of endless coconut trees with some lined small wooden huts with several goats and cows on their own front yards. It was a different sight, very unlike from what I always see.
And for someone who is afraid of sudden changes—this feels, somehow, okay.
“My line is up to this point only...” The tricycle driver from before said to me after he stopped the engine of what they call habal-habal. I nodded quietly and paid, then gazes on what seems like an endless road in front. I heard the tricycle driver beside me hurled a heavy sigh. “You should’ve rode a bus, really.”
I shook my head and smiled honestly, assuring that I’m okay with my decision.
I’ve always been unsure on my life choices, but staring on the unfamiliar path in front of me; it made me doubted on my decisions more and more. The countless of questions lingers; the trance of thoughts flows; almost pouring. All of them repeated; I don’t know where I am. I don’t what I should do next. I should’ve listened. I should be at home right now. But I am nowhere but in this new environment. And, as I stuck my gaze on the endless trees and simple wooden houses—I am yet again reminded with changes.
To change, you have to be ready for the unfamiliarity. And here I am embracing the indifference.
The few walks to home created concern with a hint of déjà vu in me, but when the wave of familiarity washed on my senses; I was instantly back to the place where I grew. And when I saw the crystal ocean upon me, a flash of memory ran into my mind.
And along with the sudden shift of breeze, I was back to yesterday.
In this particular place which I call home; I met him. He was hesitant at first, but also calm—like the waves of the ocean on that day we come across. The sun was setting, and the orange hues with purple tints shone his features perfectly. It kissed his golden tan skin and caught his dark eyes—looming onto the light.
On the horizon, where I am surrounded with beautiful nature—I fell deep into him. He was prettier than the sunset, peaceful than the waves, and it was mad of me to think that he was more beautiful than the picturesque in front.
But it was more fool of me to think that he’d be here, fulfilling his promise.
This day was supposed to be special. Because on this specific date and time; we met. On this familiar scenic, he promised. But also, on this particular moment; he isn’t here. Because he didn’t want to—and I was so dumb and a love struck chump that I held onto his words.
To think that this was the only decision in my life that I’ve always been sure of—to think that I forced myself to be brave on changes—to think that I let myself face my deepest fears; not minding the worries and cries of my soul—but only to be broken by reality.
And at 22, I realized that life is not worth it after all. It’ll get messier and messier at any point of your life. This isn’t worth it—all of these are useless.
To imprudently believe on fate and destiny. To doubt driven choices. To fear indifference. To hate changes. Oh, what a fool I am. Are these conflicting arguments of mine the fruit of my indecisiveness to a messy life?
And they say everything happens for a reason. I am certain of that, and still am. But on moments like this, I couldn’t stop myself from unbelieving. Because what really is the reason behind all of these?
“Tala,” Someone called my name in the middle of my reverie. I looked up, only to be welcomed by a dear colleague, Mary. “Madame called you—wait—have you already checked the locations?”
I hurriedly nodded, realizing what’s up beyond me. “Y-yes, shit, wait.”
It’s been years since that day and here I am still stuck on a memory. I couldn’t go on without explanations, I couldn’t move forward with ease. Because from that time, I got broken for I had my hopes held up high.
Growing up with uncertainty; I had continuous downfalls—mistakes after mistakes. But I stood up with a brave courageous heart and soul—only held onto the idiom; only certain of one thing.
Everything happens for a reason. I hoped and hoped for it. I built positivity in me. And there, I mutter; Hope, Krystal. Continue to hope—until the world is tired of your optimism.
And at 31, I accepted everything already. My life is as messed up as I am.
The heat of sun blazed on my skin warmer, my sweats started to pour all over my body, and my eyes stung from the sudden drop of it. Everyone was busy preparing for the shoot. The model is already here and the set is fixed, perfect as it can be. But—
I glanced at our director, busy sipping his regular coffee. “Sir Billy, the director isn’t here yet.” I panicked.
Billy, our director, shrugged his shoulders off as he indulged himself with his drink. “Oh, dear. Don’t worry, he’ll come. Let’s just wait for a while...” And it horrified me!
I was supposed to be in charge with it! But Billy entrusted himself with choosing the DOP because it’s a dear friend of his! “Sir Billy, 45 minutes left for prep…”
“Ivo will come! He’s great!” He assured me with those words but it did nothing. This is stressing me out! I can’t believe I let him do that!
I can only imagine the wrath of our client!
Sighing, I turned around and reviewed my checklist. Everything’s ready, except for the “professional” photographer that Billy’s insisting. However, the lights need to be checked by the DOP. We’re in an open area for the shoot; the beach is perfect for the summer theme of the upcoming beauty product of our client.
I coddled myself with my work after getting my heart broken by a boy. It was disappointing—to witness myself fall from it. But years of accepting it, I learned that it’s life—that everything happens for a reason. And I searched for it, I looked for the reason of my downfall—and it only led me to one thing; growth.
And I wouldn’t be who I am right now if it weren’t for that experience.
“Ivo! There you are! Long time no see!” The usual pitchy voice of Billy roared the location. I sighed, finally thankful that his Ivo is finally here. I turned around to welcome the Ivo, only to be brought back to home.
Just like when I was 18, I once again fell from the pits of my doom. Ivo, or whom I know Ivan, stood languidly in front of me—smiling like nothing had happen when we were eighteen—laughing like everything’s fine except when we were twenty-two—and meeting my gaze with his usual expressive dark eyes like it’s okay to mess my life again now in thirty-one.
Everything happens for a reason. But I still couldn’t find life’s intention on why I met him—on why I have to meet him again.
“Are you married?” He asked like everything’s cool between us, even after the chaos that he had created. I fixed my gaze on the sunset in front then on the waves. A bitter feeling I sensed on me when I realized the scenic in front.
Nothing’s changed; I forced myself to believe on that. Everything here seems normal and natural and clearly, it feels okay. With the sunset that kissed the calm ocean, the light breeze of wind, and him—shining as ever. But there’s a voice in the back of my mind insisting that it’s not—I know it’s not. And it hurts to realize that—this is not the same anymore—
—for the sunset isn’t pretty, the waves aren’t peaceful, and he isn’t as beautiful like the picturesque in front. Because in this horizon, even when he is shining as usual with his sun kissed golden skin and glistening dark eyes, I’ve come to realize that the orange hues and purple tints of the sky was more beautiful than him.
Because this is not when we were eighteen—we are not in twenty-two—because this is the present, where I am already thirty-one.
I shook my head and showed my bare fingers. There wasn’t even a single jewelry.
“Oh—” He muttered in surprise. “I thought…oh, sorry,” somehow, panicking.
Such a pity—he’d been always good with words—it was one of the reasons why I fell for him. The way his mind works and find perfect verses to ease up any situation, it attracted me. I would always admire what he says—even when I couldn’t understand some of it; his wit and creativity made me love him more, He was smart but cunning, exactly who he is. But witnessing this situation where we’re both looking for the right words to say and almost gasping for air—it’s a shame.
At a young age, Ivan exceeded my expectations on boys. He was different among them, obviously unique, and superior in everything. But still, he was one of them—but then again, there’s a thin line between him and the rest of the boys that elucidates his greatness. He was simple yet with a far-etched mind; his intelligence makes him stands out the most—it was endearing and sexy.
The way he chose his words on every matter describes who he really is. His stand on something clearly explains the problem that needs to be solved. And he never fails to teach me on anything I have no idea about. Maybe, that’s why I fell really hard on him—his words, his greatness, his cleverness, his everything.
And to witness him out of words—it ached me.
He never fails. But for the first time—I know, he failed. He failed me.
I went home that day feeling blue; it was tiring and my heart constantly ached—it was heavy, and very disturbing. But I knew I can get over this. Because I’ve been feeling this way ever since—I don’t know—time immoral? I can’t remember a day where I felt fine. I was always mad—angry—sad—frustrated—annoyed—miserable—just unhappy of everything.
It was the way I was born. But as I experienced life—I grew and learned to be happy and appreciate the tiny bits of everything. I taught myself to be happy of something and how to not find a reason on everything. But I know, alright. I’ll always find the reasons why.
A familiar shadow I saw when I entered the kitchen of my small rented apartment. I sighed as I realized who it was then continued my way to the fridge to drink water. The heavy feeling stirred in my soul once again—not failing to remind me how horrible this feels.
My father, who was checking out the insides of my small cabinet above the counter, stopped to greet me. I nodded to acknowledge his presence and asked; “Where’s Mom?” And just when he was about to answer, Mother came out from the bathroom door. I sighed. Great, they’re here.
“Krystal dear, how have you been?” She greeted with her usual girly voice. I forced myself to smile amid the heavy burden feeling. “I’m fine, Mom. What brings you here…” My voice became soft and lowers on the last phrase.
“Oh, just a quick visit before our flight tomorrow.” She answered and moved to the dining area and sat. She motioned me to sit in front of her. I nervously followed and couldn’t smile at all even when she shows her usual cheerful beam at me.
I nodded once again. “Oh…what’s happening?”
“Tala?” She exclaimed, calling me by my nickname, along with her exasperate sigh. “It’s Selene’s wedding day this Saturday!” She answered.
Oh…right. I nodded and threw an apologetic look even when I knew it looked fake on me. I took a mental note to greet my cousin, and then focused my attention on my scowling mother and my father’s usual disappointed look exclusively just for me. I longed noticed those kind of looks, I memorized them all and brought it with me every single day—not minding the heaviness it weighs.
“I—I know about the wedding, it just slipped on my mind. I’m sorry.” I said moments after bracing from the pain when I saw their faces. My mom seemed to doubt my words with her skeptic look and father didn’t bother to silence his disturbing and hurtful heavy sighs. I am so tired for all of these.
Father withdrawn himself from leaning on the counter then walked towards Mom. I slightly ducked my head when he caught my gaze with his fiery ones. And I realized it hurts, even when I have been used to all of these—it still hurt.
“Why don’t you look for a stable job, Krystal?” My Father said all of a sudden and it shocked me.
And if everything happens for a reason…what is the reason for all of these?
“You’re the only unmarried one among your cousins , Krystal. What are your plans for your life? ”Although it was spoken in a low tone, his voice still thundered on my system—leaving me speechless and almost paralyzed to even move a muscle.
I am 31 years old. I chanted those words on my head over and over again…until my soul felt familiar with it. And my heart sang with the lyrics even through the burden of everything. Every inch of me memorized the words and I could almost laugh at my horrible self.
“You’ll be home for your cousin’s wedding? You’ll go home, right? Krystal?” Mom asked with a hopeful voice and expression. I stared on her eyes as I mentally repeated her question.
Then it hit me again, but this time, more forceful—clearer. And my mind grew haste and I couldn’t think of anything but the specific word I heard earlier. And the words I chanted played on my soul again. I am 31 years old.
I nodded on my parents in front of me. “I’ll be at home.”
Everything happens for a reason, I wished for it to be true. I hoped for it to be real. I prayed for it to exist. My soul ached for answers and my heart yearned for the peace it’ll bring. Because it is the only thing that made me sane—it never failed to give comfort on my struggling nature.
And I find it hard to believe that I am something but a coward. A coward driven by a dumb beliefs and words I thought were encouragement from the people. And I continued to held on to it; hoping, believing, and praying. I relied on the idiom.
Maybe, it was because of my twisted beliefs and childish antics why I couldn’t marry, or even land on a job with sympathetic colleagues. Maybe, fate was weirded out by me, realized that no one would dare to translate and understand my soul. Or maybe, but because I am a fool for reasons just for the peace it brings—Fate chose to let me suffer; hoping I’d learn from it but I didn’t. I continued finding for answers—since I couldn’t accept that my misery was all from my mistakes and wrong decisions. I needed a reason from life or an answer from destiny on why all of these happened. Because I couldn’t bring to blame myself, even when there is no one at fault of my downfall but me.
It was the truth. My belief on the idiom was not brought by a masked unwavering faith on life; I didn’t even have that in the first place. And I didn’t held onto it because I am an optimist since the truth is, I was never positive. I was just dumb and angry of what happened in life that I needed something that’ll give peace to me.
Everything happens for reason…is there really reason?
And I thought I could find peace in my home. But coming back carrying these thoughts and burden, I couldn’t bring myself to feel comfort. I looked on the scene in front of me, and it’s still the same. Everything here in my home looked the same from before; the sun kissed the calm ocean, the breeze of the wind danced with the surroundings, and the waves are peaceful—the picturesque is beautiful.
But the void I feel inside as I continue to stare on my home grew heavily. I couldn’t find peace on what I call home anymore.
I heard the usual noise of my phone’s ringtone again; it disturbed the silence of my home. My eyes gazed on the screen and I saw the name of my Mother. I smiled bitterly, remembering how I failed them again with my impulsiveness. But mother, I mean it when I said I’ll be home…because I am here now. I am at home.
Ignoring the call, I stood up and walked nearer on the shore. The warm waves washed my cold feet and I welcomed the indifference. And I didn’t know what came into my senses on why I took steps forward. But when I felt the water on my knees; my long skirt was soaked now, I didn’t mind everything. I was never bothered with coldness and indifference because both became a part of my life—my life would never be the same without them.
Sometimes, I would think that the universe know how much of a monster I’ll become if Fate gave me such perfect life. That if my life had been good and picture-perfect, I’ll never be grateful—I’ll grow wicked and ruthless. I’ll never learn and that’s the worse that’ll happen, that I’ll become. Universe knows the chances if things were different. But the Universe also hears us—no matter what our wishes or fates was—it hears us—it knows.
And sometimes, I’d like to think that our most private dreams are meant to be daydreams forever—that our ideals are much of a high and unworthy of us hence why it’ll stay as an ideal. Sometimes, we were meant to be imperfect. Just for us to know what’s more to life.
But I’ve learned everything in the hard way. Is it enough, already? Can I have my own share of peace now?
I shivered when the cold water finally registered on my body—my legs grew frigid and my arms were shaking. But it feels as if my insides couldn’t feel anything, so I continued walking until the water reached on my neck. I tried to gasp for air to calm myself down. But irrational thoughts wandered on my head and its trance grew longer and heavier, until I couldn’t think straight anymore.
I couldn’t hear anything from my surroundings. And just like before, my favorite verse played on my mind…Everything happens for a reason. I closed my eyes and looked for the reason of everything.
And maybe, I was better off as dead…right? I’d like to know what’s beyond here—what’s on after life. I’ve been curious of it.
Laughing at my own silly morbid thoughts for it distracted me, I took another step forward and the water reached on my nose and I couldn’t breathe anymore. My chest grew heavy and it ached so much but I resisted from it.
Everything happens for reason, right?
Another step forward and the water swallowed me completely, leaving me unseen from everyone. Flashes of memories came into my mind and I just thought of them—I was emotionless. It seems like I grew tired from feeling.
I thought death was out of reach, but now, I could already touch it—the only thing missing was for me to embrace it. But I stayed staring on the hand reaching for me; I barely touched it, doubting everything. And just when I was about to entwine my fingers on them, another arm reached on my back and forced me to face them.
Back on home, I gasped the salty air and I breathe heavily, rushing myself to be okay so my senses could register what had happened, Then, I saw Ivo in front of me. He was sporting an unfamiliar look, one that I didn’t know he was capable of expressing; a forlorn look. Ivo stared at me with eyes I couldn’t manage to read.
“Are you planning to commit suicide?!” He shouted with his deep but now hoarse voice and it thundered on our area. I felt scared and lost for a moment and I searched for something in his eyes as he continues to gaze at me with his unreadable ones.
It’s like when we were 16, the time I met him. He was a stranger to me, and so I was to him. And he looked mysterious and cold with his enigmatic atmosphere and cryptic stares to everyone. It was that time where my curiosity and admiration on him started to grew—he was a different one—unreadable. Just like now.
“Tala?! Answer me! What was that?!” He shouted again and he held me captive on his arms. He snaked them to my waist, guiding me not to descend in the waters again. I was lost for words and I tried to search for them on his eyes.
I wasn’t ready to run into him…
“It’s not your fault, okay? Nothing’s your fault! It’s normal to fall and fail, Krystal! Why are you so harsh on yourself?!” He spitted words that stung on my senses.
I didn’t listen to what he said, so I insisted. “You don’t know how much it affected me, Ivan! I failed everything! I was so unsure of my life! I didn’t know what decisions to choose and I am fucking impulsive of everything! Now, I failed! I am a failure!”
“Tala! Just listen! Accept your flaws and failures! If you failed and knocked down, then stand up! Start again! Why is it so hard for you to understand?!”
“Because I don’t, okay?! I will never get your point! You will never understand me! We won’t understand each other! So, don’t force everything, Ivan! I’ll never be okay! You’ll never get me! And we’ll never understand each other! That’s it!”
Ivan pulled me closer to him and I surprisingly rested on his chest. The familiar warmth lingered on my system and I couldn’t stop myself from inhaling his scent. Yet again, I am reminded of my foolishness.
“Just start again. We’ll start again.”
Sighing, I escaped from his arms and plunges away from him, and just like before when we were young; he’d hold me back and I’ll spring on his arms again. It feels like yesterday where he wouldn’t want me away from him. But this time, I know it’s different.
My heart feels heavy and I was close to crying when he held me again with his strong hold. I snapped then I hit his arms and body, hoping it’ll prove a point. But his arms didn’t even budge even when I was resisting on his touch.
…or maybe, I was ready.
“Let go of me!” I cried. “I said, let me go!”
Instead, he renewed his hold on me. This time, much tighter and stronger—but it was fool of me to think that his touch on my body felt soft—it felt safe—I felt secure—and this is one of the reason why I want to be gone—him, he’s bad for my senses.
I didn’t notice that we were already on the shore until he loosens his hold on me. My feet slowly touched the coast; I withdraw from his arms and stood nervously in front of him. What just happened?
”I can’t let you go. You know that.” He said, breaking the deafening silence surrounding. I almost choked when I heard those words coming from him. What the heck?
This reminds me, how much of a fool I am. I sighed and shook my head as a response. And instead of muttering words for him, I walked away from him. “Tala, will everything be worth it after that?” He asked.
I stopped on my tracks, and turned to face him. “It will, Ivan.”
“When will you finally forgive yourself?” Ivan asked again and he took several steps forward until we were inches away. I looked into his eyes and searched for something familiar, but I couldn’t—or more like—I can’t accept the truth and reality with his sincere gaze.
“It’ll take time.” I said honestly. “Maybe, in forever.” I added.
My life’s been a mess for years, already. Starting again will take forever. I am uncertain when and how. But standing right here with him, and after the chaos I created just to fail and fall on his words—I realized, maybe, it’s worth giving a try.
I looked into his eyes once again and I finally found the answer. Everything happens for a reason, it chanted on my soul once again. I wouldn’t mind having a much messier life at 31, and maybe, for the rest of my life.
“I’ll just dry myself.” I mumbled.
He nodded and held my wrists. “Okay, I’ll help you.”
Staring on his palm on my wrists, I stopped. He looked at me with a doubting gaze and I answered with a certain one. Ivan expresses a genuine smile and I slowly reached for his hand, entwining my fingers with his.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, astrumysticusWrite a Review