At the Hearth, In Your Arms

It was not supposed to be like this. No, it was against the rules of the world (whose?) to fall in-love with a mere mortal whose life will slip away between your fingers after only a short time. Yet for a someone like him to break that rule is nothing short of a shame.

For some reason, there was something so warm, hot in that person that his soul yearned for. Like an oasis to his thirsty soul, he chased after it—to learn more about a feeling that he was sure he has already thrown away in exchange of a lifetime of immortality. 

It can’t be helped, right? It’s been centuries, no, eons, since he was born, grew, ate, lived. There’s nothing wrong with chasing after something that he held himself back from after all those years, right? It’s his reward for sacrificing everything. He has been punished for so long with this eternal life (that he so foolishly desired back then) and a bit of a respite is all he can ask for. (Please gods, hear him—)

“I’m no god,” someone said from behind him, as if they can hear all of the thoughts that ran through his head. “But why are you trying to punish yourself for seeking out things that a normal human being would want? You’re free to chase it; to feel love, you know.”

No, it’s not that easy and he knows it. People would die before him. If he held onto these feelings, on a finite concept such as love, he would be hurt. It would be too much for his already weary soul. He doesn’t even remember the last time this heart—still existing, surprisingly beat so achingly for someone he knew would slip through his fingers like sand sooner than he would notice.

He was selfish. So unbearably selfish that he didn’t even think of the consequences of requesting for an eternal life. He doesn’t remember, no; doesn’t want to remember all of the faces of those he loved that passed before him.

A faint ache still resonates throughout his heart at the memories. If only he could erase those. But he has already asked for so many things throughout this impossibly long life of his. This is his punishment and it’s ironically fitting for someone like him.

“But,” he started, a sigh leaving his lips as he tried to put all of these thoughts into words. “I have been selfish. I thought that if I could extend my life and escape that shit of a disease, I could have a more fulfilled life. I could chase after everything, do everything, heck, even reach for all the goals that I thought I wouldn’t have a chance at because—”

“Because you thought that your short life wasn’t enough.” they finished, and he could feel a bit of his burden lightening up. “Do you regret it then?”

Did he regret it? Maybe he did. After all, if only he knew he would be a million times more hurt than he was when he was sick, he would have turned down the idea before. Heck, he would have accepted the fact that his life was painfully so short and there’s no such thing as fulfillment in his life after everything that sickness took away from him.

But if not for this eternity that he was given a chance to experience, he wouldn’t be here right now, contemplating his life choices.

He wouldn’t be here to meet them.

“You don’t have to answer right now,” they said, a smile that lit up and warmed the coldness that permeated through his soul on their lips. “But… I would love it if you could trust me. With all your feelings-even if it’s just for this night. I know I won’t understand the entirety of hardship that you faced, but if I could understand even just a bit, or even carry it, I would love it… B-because—”

The following words hung heavily on the air. And even if they don’t need to be said, he felt saved.

Like all of the eons that he lived through were worth it to meet them.

It’s okay, right? He knows he would hurt over it again—maybe tomorrow, in a year, or a century. But that’s something his future self will worry about. For now, just for now, even if it’s another sin to add to the mountain of evils he has under his soul, so be it.

After all, he’s still just a human, right? Still full of contradictories and ironies.

“Do you mind if just for this night, I—”

And so, he tried to speak all of his heart—the coldness, the warmth, and everything in between—to the person who offered to share his burden that night.

Marc Froilan F. Padernos

Marc Froilan Fornea Padernos is a writer who wishes to explore the relations between the fantasy and reality, as well as encapsulate the various emotions people feel through his prose. He is an AB Psychology student in Philippine Christian University – Dasmarinas Campus, and is a writer for various organizations including The Graciella Collective, Christian Chronicle, and Vox Populi PH. On his free time, he likes to consume animanga usually for the Shonen demographic.

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