“Don’t say goodbye because saying goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”
“I will never forget you.”
“Oh, please stay, you don’t have to do this!”
“I’ll only be gone a few months. Not forever.”
“I wish things could be different. How do you know that this goodbye isn’t the last?”
“Don’t think like that, my sweet, we will see each other again, I am sure of it. We will not say goodbye, we will say ‘until next time’.”
And with that he got on the train, but I kept holding his hand because I did not want to let go. All the love in the world couldn’t keep him here with me, he had to go because it was his duty. I do not know when he will return but I have hope that he will. It’s the only thing that will keep me sane.
The fat train guard signalled to the driver that it was time to go and blew his whistle – the sound I desperately didn’t want to hear because it meant my husband had to leave. The train puffed smoke that I swore reached a mile into the sky. I gave him a last big hug and a tear ran down my face. He wiped my face with his thumb and kissed me. You told me not to worry and that you will return in a few months. I didn’t think it would be this hard.
“Until next time. I love you.”
“Until next time.” He smiled that cheeky smile I had known for years – the one I had fallen for so deeply. The train guard blew his whistle a second time as a warning for those running late for the train. The train doors closed and the engine started up and he was gone. We waved until I could not see him in the distance any more. I cried on the walk home until my tears were blurring my vision and I found my way home.
I never saw him again.
In response to Word-High July: 30 Beautiful Filipino Words Day 26 – Pahimakas