The Waiting Series: Fragrance Less Intense
…the idea of substituting one love for another
carried him along surprising paths.
Little by little the fragrance of Fermina Daza
became less frequent and less intense,
and at last it remained only in white gardenias. 
Four years ago, I was so in love the thought of falling out of it was very much an impossibility. I believed in forever. And I refused to listen to one of my professors who insisted that there is no such thing. I couldn’t understand how some people profess their undying love one day then utter break-up lines the next. To love like crazy then suddenly (or slowly) lose the spark was something I totally couldn’t comprehend. Until I, myself, loved and lost the feeling.
I had my first serious relationship in 2008. I was an incoming senior university student. At first, everything was like a fairytale… a soap opera… a cheesy romantic movie. After a year, for reasons I would not (could not) elaborate, the guy left me – through a text message. Yes, not even through a phone call. And it shattered me. Because for one, I didn’t deserve it. I believe mature individuals deal with their issues face to face. And more than anything else, I deserved a proper closure. A proper break-up, if there is such a thing.
I went through the usual ordeal that every heartbroken woman has to go through. Sleepless nights – thinking what went wrong; thinking I was all wrong, it was all my fault. Being overly sensitive – crying or felt like crying even when I was in front of my student discussing verbs and nouns and adjectives; crying at seeing the places we used to go to, or remembering the things we used to do together. The real heartbreaker are the songs, the scent, the feel of a certain familiar street corner, seeing someone who looked like him, and seeing him from afar or worst, an arm’s length away.
Then days turned to weeks. Weeks to months. Months to years. Affection turned to hate. Hate turned to doubt. Hate and doubt turned to love again. For a few months it was a vicious cycle. Then love eventually turned to apathy. He meant (and means) nothing anymore.
Although we have been in contact intermittently for the past three years, things have never been the same again. He would send me nothing but cold messages (business matters). And I didn’t mind, I answered them with equally cold, straightforward ones. I answered a few phone calls with a monotonous voice, void of any emotion. I never asked about why he left. Never mentioned about the past. Never initiated a conversation.
Then a few days ago, he sent the very first message with “haha” in it – his poor attempt at joking or whatever. Or maybe he was flirting. He started asking questions like “how are you? have you been well?”. And sending short almost affectionate messages like “take care, Joyce.” “It’s good to know your Korean has improved.” “I want to meet you for dinner soon.”
I never replied to this indirect invitation. Seeing him again would be awkward. As I told one of my friends, I do not want him to complicate things for me. I do not want him to exist in my life anymore (it is enough to receive his usual messages whenever he’d ask about something). It’s not bitterness not even the residues of my old feelings – I just want him out of my “happy” life, simple as that.
I have moved farther and farther from “our” past that it has only left me with few memories, as I cannot discard everything no matter how selective I try to be. The fragrance has become less intense. The images have been blurry. The streets and other places have become random ones that I do not attach meaning to anymore.
I have loved yet lost it.
But I still believe in forever. Apparently our love is not meant to last forever. I’m still in search; waiting for that one true love. The scent that reaches eternity.
 Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera