without any family, relatives nor friends with him, he saw himself renting a small room in katipunan together with an old landlord.
for almost four years the two men stayed under the same roof. but they managed not to divulge into a conversation. there relationship was constrained with brief nods or small talks whenever the boy pays his rent. there were even times when the boy catches the old man just waiting for him sitting on an old dusty couch as if cornering him to finally know who his tenant was.
but the boy, though as polite as he can, would always excuse himself with alibis of something important to do. then he will just catch the old man's dismay through his eyes. He will then feel loneliness radiating on his face.
It seemed like the boy just cannot stand the gloominess and coldness of the room. it was as if he was watching a very depressing film. hence he would always just stays inside his own space.
one time, the boy woke up realizing the landlord was not in the house. there was no coughing down stairs. no radio turned on. it was just plain silence. so he finally went out of his lair and decided to explore the entire house. then he realized, it actually took him a year before he have done this.
in general, it was old enormous house, where dust already covered its elegance and time already stole it from being a home.
there was an old piano dead waiting on the corner. above it were frames of blurred old photos; of people who the boy have never seen before. but somewhere among the frames, he managed to identify his landlord. a young radiant man who was laughing while hugging a woman carrying a baby. the boy figured it must be his family. and no, he no longer attempted asking where they are now? he just left his curiosity inside boxes of piled stained letters, post cards and peeking photos. the mere thought made him really down and was even magnified when a cold smooth breeze brushed his arms.
it had been over a month since the boy learned his landlord was back. surprisingly, he was no longer waiting for him downstairs, sitting on that old dusty couch and listening to a struggling radio box. however, he noticed a woman, probably in her 40s, cleaning and bringing food to his landlord's room. she was also silent. eyes blank and lip tucked.
when the end of the month came, someone knocked on the boy's room. it was the woman. she said the landlord wanted to see him.
the boy also barely recognized the old man's voice. though the message was clear. it was almost over. he wanted the boy to find another place; afraid that he can no longer maintain his house. he just wanted to rest and go back to another waiting. At least thats how the boy understood it.
the words struck him. he (boy) was speechless. there was just that automatic response of handling over his rent and go out. guess, he just can't bare the feeling or perhaps the conscience asking him why he cannot give the old man very small amount of his time before, just to make him forget or at they very least alter his routine.
but before he even made his second step, the old man stopped him. he refused to take the payment and advised the boy to use it for his next space. then he smiled. the boy almost surrendered to his own tears. he thanked the old man and left.
when he arrived in his room, he just stood in front the closed door and looked at the space he called at that time called his home, along with the things that he have brought inside; all the memories that he have met for the past four years.
goodbye has never been his thing probably because he always has difficulties of starting over. but if theres one thing he have learned from the old man, its simply waiting in between is far more worst than starting or ending something.