"How come Fidel... you never came?"
Fidel just sat there in silence... thinking what to say to the person in front of him. he's confused on what to answer back at the commanding stance of Pete... surmising about the time when they were to rendezvous behind the state library, decisive of their act to drop everything just to salvage their love... that was ages ago....
a man in uniform entered the room... and silence suddenly sliced the thick air of tension...
"Mr. President... its time for your next meeting…the Agri Militant group BINHI, is next in line sir... Mr. Fidel Arreleano, your time is up... please proceed to the holding area..." the PSG guard ordered...
Fidel just stood up... looking at the only person he loved all his life... now the president of the Philippines... with sorry eyes, wanting to explain to him what really happened... but his goal for Urban reform, and having been tasked by his group to represent them in this meeting came first...
"Thank you Mr. President for your time..." Fidel uttered and left...
Pete just stood there... half president, half human... wanting to embrace the man who changed his life forever.
Fidel just walked towards his staff waiting at the left wing of Malacanang, eager to know what happened during the meeting...
Kano, a young optimistic amerasian approached him and asked for details... but Fidel just walked past him, his heart sinking fast and tears were lining his tired eyes.
Fidel wanted to tell Pete why he never arrived at the back of the state library. He was torn between being the diligent son of a sick mother and an amorous lover to the future president of the Philippines. He had no choice but to look after his mom who's terminally ill.
Fidel's group, shocked with what just happened stood there, still wondering.
Fidel opened his car and took hold of the pouch that was inside his car's compartment. He retrieved something from inside, a pen. Pete gave that to him at law school when they were still younger during the 60's. It was only to be used whenever they write to each other.
He closed his eyes as tears gushed and remembered the pen Pete used to sign some documents a while ago... He's still using the same pen like the one he’s holding now.
He never forgot. Fidel thought.
Pete just sat there, listening with deaf ears to this old man in front of him...all he can hear was the problems of the agricultural sector being bombarded on him... he wasn’t annoyed really... frustrated to be exact... that for the longest time he's moved on from his past with Fidel, became a senator, married and now the president of his country....
He can never get the one true love he's longed for.
Pete still remembered how shocked he was upon seeing Fidel in front of him. He never expected that the two of them would go to two different directions and end up face to face still in this room. A far cry from their hippie days in law school, idealist and free spirited.
His hands were numb and stained with the ink from his old pen that Fidel and He exchanged when they were younger. He kept it like it was gold. This was his only link to his past. Now that both of them were way their prime and summoned by their nationalistic spirit to serve their land in their own respective fields, Pete found it hard to accept the realization of what can and can’t be.
His chest was pounding, wanting to run after Fidel. But his duty as the commander in chief of the land beacons far more than his personal yearnings.
He stood up and excused himself from the old man in front of him and went to the personal space of the president, tailor made for him and with no guards to watch over him.
There he couldn’t contain the surge of emotions and succumbed to his human side. Pete sat sown in weakness and sobbed.
Fidel started his car and went out of the compound of the new presidential palace, adjacent the old one. And as he gave his ID to the guards, a big blast boomed from behind him making his car shake with the impact. Screams and the sound or collapsing walls filled the air, utter chaos.
He remembered Pete was still inside.
Fidel went out of his car and immediately ran towards the building where Pete was at. Dead and injured bodies littered his paths... the smell of smoke filled the air. His tears were pouring like crazy. Sweat trickling down his nape. Then he paused, shocked with the magnitude of the blast.
The presidential office was in rubble,
like the scenes from 911 in New York...
He fell to his knees...
shouting the name of the only person he loved all his life....
Fidel shouted over and over again.
The smell of burning flesh and smoke caressed the thick air. The smoke blinding him almost, but he just kneeled there, speechless and numb.
He collected himself back again and shouted Pete’s name louder and explained himself why he never arrived at the library eons ago. He couldn’t contain the woe he has inside, the longing, the doubting of their relationship and finally with pride he shouted that he loved him so much.
The sound of sirens echoed and masking his shouts. He sobbed so much that gunk from the ash and his tears dirtied his face.
He yelled again, louder.
Then fell silent...
Fidel knew Pete was gone and that inside the pile of burning rubble was his body. He looked at his hands and realized he was still holding the pen Pete gave him and held it tightly, the withered skin on his hand feeling every round edge and metal parts of the pen.
The sound of chaos around him can’t match his rebelling soul and heart... gasping at the pen he bowed his head almost in prayer.
Then a soldier took hold of Fidel and dragged him towards an armored vehicle.
The soldier sat him there…
and was shocked to see PETE inside.
"Thank you soldier," Pete said in gratitude... “Secure the area of the palace... and I’m placing the country on red alert... carry on soldier"
"yes Mr. President" the soldier replied and went ahead with his tasks....
The vehicle moved on, towards a secure place. Inside the metal armor of such vehicles, are the torn hearts of two simple human beings, just wanting to love each other, tagged along by their abilities to lead, and the infancy of their first battle with country over self.
At the end of the day, they knew after much service to what they believed in, the bottom line is love…
Love that has no hierarchy, race or gender.