We were in a gargantuan cathedral
When it was time
To say Christ's Peace
You took my hand in yours
And we said as one
''Peace be with you.''

When we touched
Our bare palms together
I felt the whole universe
Was in perfect alignment
Our first interaction
That lasted mere seconds
Seemed like a lifetime.

God Almighty
Must have been amazed
We did the ritual handsclasp
A deviation
From everyone.

We shook hands
So tight and fierce
Yours was so warm
And so was mine
Like the feverish foot
Of an infant
The warmth seared through the heart.

The mass has ended
My eyes captured you right away
Despite the sea of people
That passed along the way.

You made
A long sustained eye contact
You have the most beautiful eyes
I have ever seen in my life.

The eyes that met mine were brown
Like dusts of cocoa
Over chocolate truffles
Melting from the warmth we exuded.

You smiled at me
My, the creases framed
Your eyes beautifully
I felt your eyes
Pushed into mine
And everything seemed in limbo.

I gathered all my wits
And then you said,'' Hello ''
I mouthed the word '' Hi ''
Without a sound
We both smiled.

A little pain stabbedmy heart
When I saw you
Going the opposite direction
We parted without saying goodbye
With eyes full of joy and hope
That we will meet again sometime.

For the first time in my life
I spent sleepless and restless night
The night that was so dark
I felt it was starry night
I am so excited
It felt like my heart beats
More than 150 per minute.

I faced the morning
With so much glee in my heart
Grinning from ear to ear
Driven and with increased energy.

One misty day
You caught me unaware
You were there
At our front door
With the beautiful flowers
In your hand.

I don't know what to do
I just stood like a post
In the middle of the room
Staring at you.

My parents were fast as lightning
In attending to you
As they talked
I saw your face
Suddenly changed
From happy to serious.

I overheard them saying,
''You are already 19 years old
At the threshold of adulthood
Our daughter is only 13 years old
Just at the cusp of her youth
She is still under our care
Seal yourself away from her.''

Furthermore, they said,
''When you are meant to be together
Fate will find a way
To make you together forever
In the meantime
Seal yourself away from her.''

My eyes were clouded wth tears
You gave the flowers
But never looked at me
I was burned by the warmth of your hand
You touched the midst of my palm
It reminded me of our first encounter.

I discarded all the petals
Of the flowersthat you gave me
I inserted them
In every page of my book
To remind me of you
A tear suddenly fell on the petal
It stained the highlighted
Three loving words.

Time had elapsed
We haven't seen each other
The tree that I named after you
Had been uprooted
By super typhoon Haiyan.

Season of Lent is here again
The first time we met together
In this gargantuan cathedral
I brought the children
I teach and care at the convent.

We lined up for the observance
Of Ash Wednesday
Then I saw you in white robe
You put crosses of ashes
On all the worshipper's forehead.

Copyright 2019, Rose Marie Juan- Austin, All Rights Reserved