“Yes, they are,” Vincent said.
He can never ever forget Amanda’s eyes as she watched those lovely fireworks. She was lost in their glory.
“Amanda, I think I’m in love with you.”
Amanda looks stunned after hearing those words. She turned to Vincent; but after her breath stopped for a moment, she began to laugh.
“Is that serious?”
“Yes, of course...”
Amanda laughed again, "You know what, I had always wanted to hear those words from you.”
Vincent smiled and uttered, “Really?”
Again, he heard that soft laughing sound. Amanda doesn’t know what to say. But deep inside her heart, she cannot express how happy she was after Vincent said those words.
That night, when they celebrated New Year’s Eve together in Singapore, was so unforgettable.
They were both from Manila. Vincent is working as a Bank Teller and on his third month in Singapore, He met Amanda inside a grocery and they became instant friends. Since then, they would call each other regularly and meet during weekends. They were drawn closer and closer to each other as days go by.
“I promise you, I will love you forever.”
He heard Amanda’s tickling laughter after he whispered those words in her ears. They were on East Coast Park then. Sitting on a bench and watching some people enjoying the sea.
“But what if I can’t be there forever,” asked Amanda, “What if I'll have to go one day and leave you? And then, everything isn’t going to last?”
Vincent looked at her. Her eyes, however, were not on him. They were on the sea. Or maybe they were looking nowhere. He can’t understand why all of a sudden, he felt some kind of fear in his heart after she said those words. He took a deep breath. Amanda noticed his silence.
Until he finally said, "Then, let's just live one day at a time and stop thinking about forever." He stood up and took her hand, "Let's go for a walk..."
As they were walking, Amanda felt guilty because even if Vincent didn't show it, she can feel that he was affected by what she said. Especially when he exclaimed, "Today, we will pretend that everything won't have an end."
They had been on for eleven months. Short period but enough to share a lot of things together. The world almost evolved only between the two of them. Everything is great and all seemed perfect, but as they say, some good things never last. Some things were not really meant to be from the very beginning.
Now, it’s another New Year’s Eve and Vincent is walking along that park where he and Amanda watched the fireworks last year. Same place and same effects. The only difference is that this time, he's going to watch the lovely sky all by himself.
“Vincent, I’m here at the airport now. I will be flying back to Manila today.”
It was Sunday morning when Amanda called him.
“What? Why did you tell me just now?” he asked.
Instead of hearing a quick answer, he heard sobs.
“Amanda…what’s the problem? Why didn’t you tell me you have plans of going home?”
“Sorry I didn’t let you know that my contract is over. Now, I have to go back to my husband and son.”
“Husband? Son?” he exclaimed. He was so stunned.
“Please, don’t ever think that I poked fun on you. I really did love you. I didn’t tell you about them because…”
There’s been a moment of silence. Even Vincent can’t talk. Something blocked his throat and he doesn’t know why.
“I don’t know. I’ve grown to love you and I just wanted to be happy with you while I’m here in Singapore. I'm sorry, I know I sound too selfish, but...”
He heard more sobs than words.
“Amanda,” he grasped his breath, "You're confusing me."
“I need to go to the airplane now. I’m so sorry…I know I will miss you so much.”
Amanda hanged up on him. The earth stopped moving around him the moment she said goodbye. He was devastated. He still wanted to say a lot of things but she's gone. He doesn't even know how to call her back. Definitely, there will be ways to find her in Manila, but then, maybe it's best not to bother anymore.
Vincent turned his head and looked at the bright sky. He watched those fireworks steadily while listening the noises of celebrating people. But in his heart, he hears only pain. On the other hand, the strong desire to move on is also there. He knows that he deserves to be happy.
It is so lonely in Singapore. His loved ones are all in Manila. He had to make a sacrifice so he can help his parents send his younger siblings to school; but when Amanda came, colors were everywhere. She never failed to make him laugh and make every moment that they are together meaningful. There hasn’t been any dull moment with her.
The relationship he's had with her is like those fireworks; so beautiful, so warm, so pleasant; but it can only last for a while. You'd definitely forget everything around you for a moment while enjoying the breath-taking sight.
After a few minutes, the lovely fireworks disappeared. He could only sigh as he watches the sky turning back to its normal appearance. For a moment, he thought about Amanda and the fireworks she brought into his life.
“Goodbye, Amanda…” he whispered to himself. Those are the words he wasn’t able to say when she made that last phone call 3 months ago.
He took a few steps away from where he was standing but he accidentally bumped a lady who was walking opposite his direction.
“Oppps, miss, I’m so sorry. I didn’t notice you.”
“It’s okay. Don’t worry.”
He looked at her face and he was glad, “Hey, are you a Filipina?”
“Yeah, I am. I’m Bernadette and you are…”
Well, he has to admit that she's cute and immediately, he felt the interest to get to know her better.
“Do you have a number where I can get in touch with you? Maybe you would like to go out during weekends with Filipino friends,” asked Vincent.
“Yeah, I would like to and yes I have a number…”
After exchanging numbers and talking for a few minutes, the lady said goodbye because she has to look for her cousin. She already made a few steps when Vincent called her back.
Bernadette looked back with a smile on her lips, “Yes, Vincent?”
“I just want to ask, are you still single?” a question he failed to ask Amanda before.
Bernadette laughed, “Yeah, I am. I’m very much single.”
When Bernadette was gone and he was left alone, he said to himself, “I wish I won’t have to watch the fireworks alone next year.”
[I've written this a few years ago. In 2005 I guess. That was after watching the beautiful fireworks on the sky one New Year's Eve. Both this and "Broken Pot" are about infidelity. That is because one of my office mates then is experiencing this dilemma with her ever gorgeous husband. 😂 I write better when it is about the experience of other people. I get inspiration most of the time from what's happening around me.]