“Ouch!”I cringed as you dabbed a ball of cotton soaked in alcohol on my open wound. It hurt like hell. I didn’t know what I was thinking when I dived in for that ball. I used to enjoy playing volleyball, except for times like this—times when I’m completely incapable of any rational behavior.
“Shut up already. I’m just cleaning the wound so it won’t get infected.” You’re sweet as usual, despite your nonchalant manner. I smiled furtively as I realized how awkward we must look like, with you kneeling in front of me, cleaning the wound on my knee.
The clinic was empty except for the two of us, and the male nurse writing something on the desk. Everything was quiet except for my heavy breathing. I looked at my injury and thought what an ugly scar it would become later on. I hate having injuries. They make me feel weak and helpless. Thank God for band-aids, at least it can cover the ugly wound until it’s healed. You call yourself a varsity player Tin? I thought bitterly. It was a good thing that I invited only you to play with.
I’m thankful that you’re always available whenever I need you. Particularly when Gino dumped me for his ex three months ago. You always cheered me up, coming over to our house and surprising me with little things I love the most—DVDs of my favorite movies that we would watch all afternoon, an invite to go stargazing at the rooftop, pizza, and balloons. It was endurable going through something so painful with someone so special. Somehow I thought all the pain would eventually go away with you always around to comfort me.
“There. All cleaned up. Let’s go home and eat.” You suddenly said, standing up.
“Wait, aren’t you going to put band-aid or something first before we go?” I asked, confused.
“Of course not. It’s a common misconception that band-aid speeds up the healing of wounds, but it doesn’t. The wound needs to breathe first. Putting band-aid on a fresh open wound only makes it worse.” You explained patiently. What a lecture, I thought. You just could’ve said no. This is one of your habits that amuse me. You love to explain everything.
I limped slightly as we headed to your house. Our house was not an option since my mother would freak out when she finds out I hurt myself playing volleyball. I resolved silently to just sneak up to my room afterwards. I seated myself comfortably on the beanbag in the living room as you went to get some food.
I sighed. It’s been three friggin’ months, but I’m still devastated inside about Gino. I didn’t dare tell you. I couldn’t. I wanted so badly to think that you’re my savior, but there just are times when I can’t help myself from thinking about Gino. I thought everything was over between me and him after he dumped me. And what we have is a new special beginning.
But after I got a call from him a week ago, I wasn’t so sure anymore. I hoped so badly that I wouldn’t feel anything anymore upon hearing his voice. But I couldn’t pretend. I really missed him. It was undeniably stupid to miss a jerk like him, but I did. I fucking did.
“Yogurt?” You asked, suddenly appearing from the kitchen, holding two cups of yogurt.
“Strawberry.” I said plainly. You handed me the cup, and smiled as you sat in the other beanbag beside me.
“So… whoever told you that you could replace emotional pain with physical pain?” Your voice sounded amused. I looked at you sharply and found a hint of a smile.
“I didn’t do it on purpose,” I said crossly. “It’s not like I wanted to dive in at the floor instead of for the ball and end up like this.” I looked disdainfully at the ugly wound on my knee. “And besides, I’m done with emotional pain,” I said almost in a whisper.
“Are you sure? So we’re officially going out?” You asked suddenly, a bit excitedly.
“Huh? Hey, just because you give me free food doesn’t mean I’ll go out with you,” I half-joked. I smiled as you pretended to be shot and grabbed at your chest. Oh god, I wish I was only joking. You’re really special Kevin, but I don’t love you, I thought sadly as you went to the kitchen again to get more snacks.
This is agonizing for me. After three months, I thought I was recovering. But clearly, I wasn’t even near coping with what happened. I felt so bad for dragging you in this situation. I should’ve dealt with this myself first. I knew what I have to do. I was being impulsive, as usual, but I’d rather say this now, than wait for everything to get worse still.
You appeared again from the kitchen with home-made brownies. I smiled. It was my favorite. You placed the tray on the coffee table and sat beside me again. I readied myself for the worst. I took a deep breath before speaking up.
“Hey stranger, I want to talk to you about something,” I said casually. You beamed at me. You always thought it was cute to be called “stranger”. I flinched.
“Gino called me last week, and I–,” I trailed off. You stood up suddenly.
“I know. He told me.” Your voice was suddenly icy. “He also told me that he broke up with his ex again. And that you forgave him.”
Oh hell. My eyes were suddenly filled with tears.
“Yes. I figured everything is complicated again. I’m sorry for not telling you sooner,” I said meekly.
“I—have to deal with this alone.”
“Why? You know you have me.”
“Exactly. I don’t want this anymore. I might hurt you along the way. This has to stop between us.”
“I don’t love you.”
Silence. I can feel warm tears rolling down my cheeks. I stared at the floor so you won’t see me crying. You were still standing. Me and my big mouth.
“Why…” It wasn’t a question anymore. You were pleading. I can barely breathe. It was all my fault, but it has to stop now.
“You’re… you’re becoming my band-aid,” I blurted out. “What happened to me was very painful, and I’m so thankful that you were there to cheer me up. But I didn’t get a chance to breathe first. I didn’t stop to consider my feelings before I started hanging out with you. And now… now I think everything is worse, because I thought having you would help me forget my heartache. Clearly, it didn’t.”
Somehow, I felt worse still. It didn’t help to tell the truth either. I looked up at you, tears still streaming. You sat down, as if defeated.
“Are you going to throw me away?”
“Never. But I don’t want to pretend either.” I stood up and headed for the door. I looked back at him. “I’m sorry,” I said.
As I was closing the door behind me, I heard you say, “I never thought nor wanted to be just your band-aid.”
I am such an idiot.
(original post date: June 18, 2006)