by Chong Yen Long
"I'm sorry. I can't help it," she said it a few times, each time sounding more apologetic. Veronica's call was unexpected, ending a long week of self imposed exile. The girl I had loved for five years now was saying goodbye. Without telling why.
And the following morning, she had taken flight, wishing that I did not go to the airport to say adieu.
Weeks passed, and daily, I buried myself reading our letters of exchange -- with funny poems sprinkled here and there. I believe my wordsmith ways and wiles won the fair maiden's heart, and my sincerity, of course, for I told her often I would sacrifice the world for her happiness. I also wooed her with cowboy songs, strumming the guitar by moonlight. Now I see irony in the ditties, mostly about broken-hearted lovers. "Do not forsake me, oh my darlin'…", remember?
This morning the postman delivered a letter. The writing was distinctly by Vera's hand, more firm definitely, less flowery, and by nightfall I could have quoted every line.
"Hi, Desi, Remember on our tour to Switzerland five springtimes ago? Our car broke down near an abbey and it's nigh midnight. I am training now at the Abbey's nunnery."
Enclosed in the envelope was a solitary photograph, showing an imposing castle with just some flicker of light from what looked like the belfry. It was taken just before we entered to enjoy the hospitality of the sanctuary one spring, accidental night years ago.