Things change, that’s for sure. I guess I just never thought they would. You have these ideas in your head of what things should be and how they will be and you get you so involved in these thoughts, it’s too late when you realize the world has passed you by and left you stuck in your thoughts.
It wasn’t really painful when I sat there in the old places where we used to hang-out, it was more like a dull sense of ache; the feeling that comes with the realization that it really will never be the same again. It was feeling that ate away at me piece by piece because in my heart, I so desperately want the things back the way they used to be. Even for a couple of moments.
It’s like in those movies when they sit in places and reminisce and the present merges with the old and they see old faces, hear familiar voices and suddenly they find themselves laughing too, but they’re all by themselves. I kind of had episodes like that and it felt so lonely walking around: smelling same smells, seeing same sights and still, have everything feel so very different.
It feels worse when you feel like no one else cares. That those people you made these memories with have better memories to remember, are experiencing things that will create memories without you in them. What makes it more difficult is that no one ever wanted to forget. They just do. Life’s just crazy that way.
I went to Hayahay on a Reggae Wednesday, the place and the night that had always defined us a group, and instead of getting a taste of what it used to be, I got a taste of what no longer is. I couldn’t stand it. The nostalgia, coupled with the ache and the knowing that you’re making the trip down the memory lane alone was more than I could take.
Dumaguete has always been special for me, because I fancy that where I found myself - that it helped me understand who I really was and where I found people who saw me for who I am. The truth is Dumaguete is just a place where I became the person who I thought I should be – a person who is “free”: free to choose, free to make decisions on her own - and I did. Only, a lot of them were wrong. And yet, even so, I reveled in them because they were mine.
I made a lot of mistakes in Dumaguete. I don’t regret them. But I do regret not learning all the lessons I should have learned. I felt I came to Dumaguete as a naïve, incomplete person searching for an identity. I found what I wanted in Dumaguete, but maybe not what I needed. I found an identity, but it was defined by the people I surrounded myself with and without them, I still found myself incomplete. I guess that’s not really an identity - just an illusion of one.
I hope I find myself soon. It’s not the place really. It’s probably more on knowing where to look. I have so many questions right now, and I feel like I’m existing in a void, cut-off from the world. I want to reach out but nobody’s reaching back. I went to Dumaguete to do a little soul-searching but like an echo, it just threw the questions back unanswered.
I don’t know if no one else understands, but as I left Dumaguete, I think a little part of me died… because I realized that my city was never really mine.