"They say, 'What happened once will never happen again'," It was the first thing he said to me the second time we met on the third floor of a hospital four months ago.
"But what happened twice, will surely happen the third time." he continued.
The first time I saw him he was sitting alone on a stair from one of those emergency fire exits. I have a thing with elevators so I happened to pass by him there when I was tasked to look after my dying grandmother.
He was a hard one to forget. For when I saw him that time he seemed to be in a catatonic state, his head bowed so low that the bones on the back of his head were visible. He had a cigarette on his right hand and a cellular phone on the other. Both of his arms outstretched and was resting on his widely bended knees.
He was a like a statue of a man contemplating, or someone sleeping halfway down from finishing his cigarette beside a big sign that says, 'Thank you for not smoking'.
But now as I stare at his smiling face and to the vending machine that clicked, he seemed so different. Charming would be overrated but for the lack of better description....
I bent down to get the candy bar and faced him again, "Excuse me?" And that's how it all began.
Who are you visiting? I would ask while I watch him fill his lungs with nicotine. I seldom ask lots of questions. And he would answer them all with a lie. He lies very often, I could tell. But I wanted to believe in his lies a little longer.
"It's me who needs visiting," he said as-a-matter-of-factly. How come, I asked.
"Because dear, I have a terminal cancer and I only have days to live." You're gonna die soon, I said, or asked, however it sounded to him.
He paused to exhale smoke from his nostrils and answered, "To die will be an awfully big adventure," and laughed once more.
I began to frequent the hospital from that day on, taking care of my grandmother. And in between nurses' rounds and doctors coming in checking on whether my dying grandmother's still breathing or not, I was at the emergency fire exit, talking to him while watching him smoke one stick after another. "This is not a hospital. It's a hell with flourescent lighting." he would say.
Some days grandmother would have seizures and I would be the only one around to witness how her weak, aged body went berserk. It looked as if those wires attached to her wrinkled skin connected to unfamiliar devices that were supposed to keep her alive, administer electric shock. I thought I was gonna lose her.
I cried in my head that day. He came up out of nowhere saying, "You've got lots of fluid on that body it wouldn't hurt if you'd let out some of it through those eyes."
I must be out of my mind, I murmured. Hoping she'll live when for all we know she's no better than dead if those machines were unplugged.
For almost two months asleep, grandmother finally decided never to wake up again. They took out the machines with the instructions from my father leaving her to her eternal slumber.
The day they were to take my dead grandmother's body out of the hospital, I waited with him from under the cork tree. How come you're still here, aren't you gonna die soon? I asked nonchalantly. He laughed as he always did with all the questions I throw him.
"How could that be possible when I'm purely out of your imagination?"
I stood up and cursed him, shouted things I can no longer remember and screamed for having him play with my mind like that. Or was he really?
"Easy girl, one crisis at a time." he stood tall before me. And we kiss. His tongue memorizing the inside of my lips. I was seventeen, and I didn't even know him.
"Thanks love, I know you needed that. " and that was all I ever heard of him.
He died a few days later. Shot himself dead or jumped off the hospital, I don't know. I would probably never be able to know. I just saw him from under the cork tree. We fell in love there. They tore it down. I just saw him then. We kissed.
He died and I died inside with him. Or perhaps, just perhaps it was the other way around.
Something that's just been playing in my head lately. I had to let it out. Don't try to give meaning. Inspired by this: