Thursday 26th February 2009

by Tina

“What’s eating you this time?” Brian asked Heart. It was a couple of weeks later since they last talked, and they were at Common Sense again, in the corner of Rome and Real.

Heart sighed. “It’s just that…I don’t know what to do.”

“About?” Brian signaled for the waitress to get his coffee. He had a feeling that this was going to be another long discussion with Heart, and he better get comfortable. Interestingly, she got to Common Sense first before he did, so now she was waiting for him instead of him waiting for her.

“I’ve been trying hard to move on from him, you see,” Heart started, playing with the straw of her milkshake — vanilla this time.

Aha, he knew it. “So how is it?”

“Miserable,” Heart took a noisy sip from her milkshake and then sighed. “It’s just so hard!” She added, almost wailing.

“Do tell.” Brian was familiar with this conversation once again, but he knew the only way to help his friend is to humor her, and so he did.

“I mean,” Heart continued, as if she didn’t hear Brian talk, “I know it’s not going to be easy. And some days I really feel like everything will be okay, that I can do this. And then I start thinking…about it, and about him, and I’m back to square one! It’s so unfair!”

Brian watched her drop her head on the table melodramatically, slightly awed. She’s been down this road before, but like how she was in the past, she couldn’t remember how she got out. And here she was again, doing almost the same thing she did last time.

“I just keep thinking of so many things…mostly what if’s! What if it’s all really something he’s just saying, you know, to make me jealous? What if he breaks up with her or she breaks up with him? Shouldn’t I be fighting for this? And it doesn’t help that he’s just so darn nice!” Heart paused to take a deep breath and to drink more milkshake.

Brian was just about to open his mouth to speak but Heart interrupted him. “Why does he keep on doing those nice things? Why does he have to ask how I am? Why must he be so friendly when I don’t feel like being friendly to him at all?” She finished her questions with a frustrated sigh.

Brian kept his mouth shut for a while in case Heart decided to talk again. She looked at him after a few moments of silence and then snapped, “Well, aren’t you going to say anything?”

He chuckled. “I was waiting for you to let me talk,” he said, grinning. Heart just rolled her eyes but looked at him expectantly, waiting for him to speak.

Brian took a sip of his coffee that arrived a few minutes earlier while Heart was talking, He took his time, gathering his thoughts so he could his point across to Heart without her spiraling with her emotions. He put the cup down and picked the book he brought up.

“You know how I like to read books?” Brian asked Heart.

Heart nodded. “I don’t see how it relates to how I feel, Brian.”

He held up his palm to stop her from talking. “Wait, let me explain. When I finish reading a book, the story is finished. There’s nothing else for me to do except accept that the story is over, no matter how much I like it. I can decide to write an additional story about it, but it’s not the same as what the author would write,” He flipped through the pages of the book until he got to the very end. “And when the story is over, what do you do?”

“You mean in a book?” Heart asked, impatience in her tone. “I close it, duh.”

“Exactly,” Brian said, closing the book he was holding with a snap. “That’s how life is, too. When a particular aspect in your life ends, you have to close the book.”

“But what if I don’t like how it ends?” Heart asked. “Can’t I do something about it?”

“Not if you’re not the author, which is most cases, you’re not,” Brian said gently. “The book ends whether you like the ending or not. You have to close the book, and let go of all what if’s because it’s over, and there’s nothing you can do to change it. You have to close the book, Heart. Close the book on your story with him, because it’s finished. Accept that it’s done.”

Heart fell silent, processing Brian’s words. He watched her as her expression changed from thoughtful to forlorn to resigned. Brian knew how hard it was for Heart to take in things like these, to accept the facts as they were. She usually followed her emotions without a question, sometimes even without thinking, doing things based on what she feels, and she always end up getting hurt. Not that she was stupid, just very passionate.

“Sometimes, a book has such a profound effect on us that we find it hard to close it and let it go,” Brian continued gently. “Inasmuch as we can read two or three books at once, it’s hard to appreciate the newer one if the old ones are still open.”

He paused, waiting for Heart to meet his eyes. When she did, he spoke his next words firmly. “Close the book, Heart. Close your book with him. Stop asking why and what if. Not now, at least, when you’re too emotionally invested on it. Give yourself time off from it.”

Heart nodded slowly, with a sad sigh. Brian reached across the table for her hand and squeezed it. He could see her processing everything he said, and he knows it will take a bit more time for her to start doing it. Right now she was still struggling with what she has to do and what she wants to do.

“You’ll get through this one, Heart, I know you will,” Brian said, leaning back on his chair with a smile. “You’re stronger than you think. Just like how you did every single time you did before.”

He was glad to hear Heart laugh after his statement. It was a weak, kind of sad laughter, but it was still a laugh nonetheless. She grabbed her milkshake and finished it noisily, slurping up to the last bit. A good sign, Brian noted.

Silence again. Brian started flipping through his book idly, waiting for Heart to talk again. Heart fiddled with her straw, still deep in thought. They could stay like this for hours, silent, neither of them minding. Brian knew Heart would take some more time for all of this to sink in, but she will be back to her old self soon. And probably fall in love again, but they’ll deal with that when it comes.

“Hey Brian?”


“Thanks,” she smiled gratefully. Then she shot him a questioning look. “I have one more question, though.”

“And that is?” Brian answered with a raised eyebrow.

“What if the book had a sequel?”

[1188 words]

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