Fifth Floor

(My latest blitz story, written on paper with pen and without edit)

“Fifth” was the first word I heard from her after 5 years. Accordingly, the elevator operator pressed the “5” button, and the elevator closed.

Her voice had changed, I must say. From the shrill little girl’s soprano with which she fondly yelled at my silence, it has now become a womanly contralto.

I could not forget how she annoyed me on that day. We were in 6th grade, and she just said that her family was moving to Davao. I was in such great shock that I couldn’t give her an answer. But she kept bugging me to speak, crying with that shrill voice, before finally giving up without a word.

Now, in this elevator, I could wish for nothing but for that same shrill voice to bug me again.

When I first saw her last year in the Ateneo, her more pronounced beauty was the first thing I noticed. She was definitely a far cry now from the pale little girl with thick glasses that I confessed to in 4th grade by scribbling on a book in the library. And I could say it more so now: she was wearing makeup, probably a requirement in their OJT.

Looking at her up close, I could see how beautiful her figure is. Her waist was perfect. Surely three, maybe four guys have held that waist while kissing that beautiful neck. I don’t know. That was what even the most unattractive people in Kidapawan did back in High School, so surely someone as beautiful as her would get into that…

No, I’m sure she did that. What else would make her this lovely? Surely not more walks under the mahoganies while talking of Anne Boleyn and the metaphors, like what we did back then! No, she has definitely done it.

For unlike me, she seemed to have gone ahead. She did not have the echoes of a shrill voice weeping, demanding an explanation for indifference, to hold her back.

I, on the other hand had been left behind. Her voiced echoed in the emptiness she left behind, and the echoes echoed thereafter. When nothing of her voice remained – yes, when nothing remained, I myself uttered her question of condemnation, and I continued to be left behind.

I did not have much intimacy with others from then on. It was partly because the echoes constantly remind me that fate seems to will every relationship I form to crumble at my touch. But it was mostly to punish myself, to punish myself for not ending those three years with her properly. Yes, I punished myself by keeping my love for her.

I’m a sad state now, so I’m somehow thankful she didn’t look back to notice me.

The elevator opened when we came to the fifth floor. Then, for just one split moment, she remained standing and said, “thank you.” Then she stepped out into Finster Hall, and the elevator closed.

And I realized that I had suffered enough to atone for my sin. I have suffered enough. Drying my tears, I wondered half humorously who she thanked before stepping out.

But definitely, I realized, it was time to head up to the next floor.


One Comment on “Fifth Floor”

  1. inday bisaya says:

    “But definitely, I realized, it was time to head up to the next floor.”

    i find these last lines masterful:).

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