We were celebrating Christmas at his house, a few days before the holiday. Although his place wasn’t the grandest, it was a second home to me and my friends. His mother served a feast for us that day. A platter of tender roast beef tantalized our senses. A large bowl of rice and a basket of bread were placed in the middle. On top of the side dishes she prepared, we were given heaps of warm chocolate cookies for dessert. I’m sure I gained ten pounds after that party. We played games and talked and laughed for hours. It was clearly a blur. But when the sun started to set, we decided to end the day by exchanging gifts.
Everyone had a gift from each friend. Given there were seven of us in the group, each had six gifts, an overwhelming amount of presents in one day. Like impatient children, we ripped off the wrappings around our gifts and reveled in their beauty. Some of them squealed happily and showered everyone with compliments about their gifts. Others seemed distant as they examined their gifts, but their watery eyes were filled with an appreciative gleam. Across the room, I saw that he intentionally saved my gift last. I will do the same for him, but I tore the wrapper of my other gifts slowly to see his reaction to my presents.
His eyes brightened up when he opened my gift. He looked straight at me, full of appreciation and happiness. It was enough to make my heart skip a beat. I felt my chest tightening when started to approach me. Why was I feeling this way?
“Thanks for this,” he said to me. I smiled when he gently lifted my Christmas card from the box. A few photos peeked out of the card along with some lists of great books and songs that I would recommend to him. “It means a lot.”
“What about the keychain?”
He laughed, shaking his head at the silly looking alpaca keychain. Only its smile can be seen because everything else was covered in fur. “I hate it and love it at the same time.”
“I hope it reminds you of my existence.”
“I think about your existence everyday.” I wonder what that was supposed to mean. I don’t want to overthink it.
He picked up his gift and placed it in my hands. “Maybe you would like to open it,” he said with a grin.
“What, is this a prank?” I joked.
“You’ll see,” he teased. I couldn’t wait any longer. Tearing off the wrapper, my eyes met a small box, humble and sweet in size. Opening the lid, a golden necklace sparkled in radiance. A cute sun hung from its thread-like chain.
“It’s beautiful,” I say breathlessly. I immediately put it on. The necklace didn’t feel heavy and it fit just right around my neck.
He didn’t say anything, but I noticed he was breathless as well. After a short pause, he nodded to me. “Let’s go to the porch,” he said. “I want to tell you something.”
Without a reason to refuse, I followed him out of the living room. He still held my gift tightly in his hand when we were sitting together on the porch. We both stared at the distance in comfortable silence. Even though it was fairly chilly during this season, the sun’s rays warmed our faces with its caress. It shone with colors of farewell and hope to see us for the next day. Streaks of pink and orange painted the sky with every stroke seeming to come from a masterful painter. The thin clouds laid low as if they were about to rest. The beautiful scene seemed so bittersweet with its beauty and its show of fleeting time.
“I realized something about the sun,” he said. I turned to him. This was not his first time starting a sentence with those four words. But everytime, his reflection would provoke a thoughtful discussion between us two, conversations that I truly appreciated.
“The sun is crucial to our lives. We can’t live without it. Our earth would be nothing without the sun. Yet the sun continues to shine for the earth, not knowing its importance to earth. Its presence is felt by the planets around it and the closer you are to it, the more you burn.”
I simply nodded my head, not knowing where he was going with this.
“Don’t you think there are people like that in our lives?” he asked. “There are people who don’t know how important they are to another person. They don’t know how their presence becomes a necessity to the people who have experienced it. And to those who are close to them, the more they need them and want them. The more they burn for them.”
He turned to me and leaned towards me. Our eyes interlocked with each other and I saw it. His eyes had longing in them, like a tortuous wave washing over. For a moment, I saw vulnerability in him and a deeper layer to him that I couldn’t identify. He was shaking, a bottle of emotions waiting to erupt.
“Say it,” I whisper to him. “Your whole being is shaking to say it.”
He took a deep breath as he tore his eyes away from me. His hands gripped mine as if he was holding on for dear life. He took a look at the sun necklace around my neck and breathed in. Then, a torrent of emotions burst out.
“You are my sun. You are a constant shining presence in my life. Whether you are there or not, I think of your existence everyday. I don’t want you to get out of my life, because if I did my world would become a dark place. The more I get close to you, the more I burn for you. So much have I burned for you that here I am. I am risking our lifelong friendship for a chance of something deeper.” I don’t know what betrayed my thoughts at the moment, but his eyes saddened after his confession.
“I understand if you don’t want something deeper,” he explained. “We can still stay friends and forget that this entire thing happened. Just say the word and I’ll never raise this subject again.”
What he didn’t know was that I felt the same thing for him. My heart longed for him, but my head held me back.
“What if I’m not ready?” I ask.
“I’ll wait,” he answered.
“What if you get tired of me?”
“I would never.”
“What if I can’t love you as much as you love me?”
“I would still be here.”
“What if we forget each other?”
He smiled at me. “Aside from that being near impossible, I would still fall in love with you every single day.”
My entire being started shaking. I was afraid. “What if you hurt me?”
He looked at me. “I would make it a point to never hurt you. But if I do, would you forgive me?”
My lips quivered. “Yes, I will. I don’t want a simple mistake to separate us.” My wave of emotions started pouring out. “You are my sun. I need you in my life. Everyday, I look forward to seeing you because you give so much light in my dreary world. Just like the moon who gets light from the sun, I brighten up because of you." I rubbed the sun necklace he gave me.
“Can you be the sun to my moon?”
His grin outshone the sun. He planted a soft kiss on my head and whispered to me.
“Yes. Yes, I will.”