I couldn't believe it. I was sitting there, right next to the love of my life. We were at Starbucks, not daring to say a word. I don't know if I was just trying to hold back the tears, or there just weren't any tears to fall, or I just psyched myself that I won't cry.

He, on the other hand, was finishing his nth cigarette since we got there.

Earlier, he asked me why I wanted to see him. I just handed him an envelope. He said, "Baka maiyak ako dito ah!"

(He thought it was my wedding invitation.) I said, "Hindi yan invitation. Later mo na lang basahin, ok?"

But he still opened the envelope anyway. And before I could say anything else, the golden ring fell from the white stationery.

He just looked at me and said, "Sabi ko na nga ba eh."
For a second there, I thought the world stopped. I can still remember the way he looked at me when he saw the ring.

Not exactly teary-eyed, but surprised, I guess? Or sad? Or just plain... uhm, blank? I couldn't tell. All I could remember was the look.

It was different. The one I'd remember for the rest of my life.

It was the ring he gave me the day after my eighteenth birthday.

(It was actually a wedding ring. He said his mother bought it for him, for the girl he would love forever.)

Along with that special ring is the promise that well, someday, we'll end up with each other and we would tell our grandchildren about our love story. From that time on, we were officially a "we".

We were best friends in high school who couldn't exactly define our relationship, although we both knew we loved each other. Until that day.

But for some insane reason I couldn't even remember, we broke up after a few months.

And things were never the same. We weren't "best buds" (as we would call each other) anymore.

There were no more late night telebabads, or hi-hello-what's-up texts. Nothing.

Well, except for the birthday greetings and the exchange of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's.

Oh, and the 2 or 3 times he called me up at 3 or 4 in the morning and said "I love you".

(How weird can he get?). Oh, and the other time he was crying at the other end of the phone line,

"Nasa `yo pa ba yung ring na binigay ko sa `yo dati? Itago mo `yon ha?

Kasi someday isusuot ko ulit sa `yo `yun, sa harap ng maraming tao, habang kumakanta `yung children's choir...

Maglalakad ka sa aisle, tapos hihintayin kita sa kabila." I found myself crying too after that.

Between birthdays and Christmases, when we had no contact whatsoever,
I was living my life. (Or so I thought. At least I tried.)

I engaged myself in every activity in school there is. People would compliment me, that I am so independent,

so "strong", the "sorry-you're-not-good-enough-for-me" type.

I would occasionally hear from friends that he has a new girl.

I'd just shrug it off like it's no big deal and assure them that I am so better off without him,

that I am so over "that jerk". I just couldn't let them see that I was swallowed by my own emptiness.

But at night, just when I was sure nobody would hear me, I would still cry. Bitterly.

I must admit I got stuck. Amidst all the endless speeches about being "happy on my own",

"letting go and moving on", and the other okay-keep-telling-yourself-that conversations with my friends, the girl inside was still hoping. That someday, somehow, she and the love of her life would still have a chance.

I led myself to believe that he IS the one, and that we're just taking our time but eventually will realize we belong together.

And then, somewhere between the wishful thinking and the slap of reality, I just decided I've had enough.

I know it's long overdue, but it's about time I "leave everything behind".

After all, it's been four long years. I had the longing to "feel whole again".

I convinced myself the right thing to do was to finally end what should've ended a long time ago.

(Technically speaking, it WAS over, but for me, it never was.)

I realized that in order for me to really, really go on with my life, I had to free myself from the "holding on"

I've been doing over the years. Maybe a "closure" was all I needed. As in totally and completely conclude our so-called love tale.

And that's why I was there.

After what seemed like eternity, I gathered up some courage and said, "Hindi ata para sa kin `yan eh."

With the unidentified expression on his face, he asked, "Kelan mo naisip yan?"

This time I was sure I was trying with all my might to prevent the tears from falling. My voice was cracking.

"Dati pa. Hindi ko lang matanggap." Another long silence followed. Minutes later, I found myself saying,

"Alam mo kung ano'ng naisip kong gawin dyan? Ipa-tunaw mo na lang tapos ipagawa mong dalawa.

Para tig-isa kayo." I was struggling to project the "I'm okay" image. He just looked away.

What a stupid thing to say. But I didn't care. That was what I was planning to do "when we get back together someday".

We finished our coffee and I took him home. Just like that.

He didn't say anything. He just sat there. When he got off the car, while he gave me the directions back to my house,

I couldn't help but stare at him. This might be the last time I'll ever see him again. This is it.
This IS the end. What the hell, I did what I had to do, right? I said "thank you" and slowly drove away.

I couldn't help but feel sad when I looked in the rear view mirror and caught him just as he was walking back to his house.

He was gone. I know I have to but it may take some time before I could wholeheartedly get myself to wish him happiness.

With the girl he'll be marrying soon.