Illustration By: Moonie Toons

Author: Nova Genesis

Type of Love: Pragma

“What are you doing?” A voice on the cusp of breaking spills above her bowed head. The orange-yellow diamond patterns of the sun from the tree leaves abruptly fleeting.

“Aiyoh!” She screamed. Her hands flailed and clutched at the sketchbook that she’d been engrossed in. If anything, she wanted to hide away from the world least anyone saw what she'd sketched down. “Don't scare me like that!”

The boy, no older than seventeen, pulled back. He ran his fingers over his buzz cut hair, eyeing her up and down. It must be the trick of the light overhead but her companion seemed to take on a hazy after effect. The shade of the tree could not hide how gentle and sweet he looked. 

“Sorry, Amaris. I didn't mean to startle you.”

“It's fine Cyrus. Just don't peep in like that.”

“Okay,” he looked around at the mowed green grass, the treelines, and the few park benches that were scattered around their little haven, hidden by a little grove. “What were you drawing if you don't mind showing it?”

Amaris clutched her sketchbook tighter as her face grow hot. Was it even necessary to show him these? Flashes of her dreams, of many lifetimes echoed in her mind like a sonorous bell. It wasn't inappropriate but she wanted to tear away the piece that she'd drawn and burn it. A picture perfect fantasy of a teenager that strangely resembled her friend.

“Promise you won't judge me for it? If you laugh, I'll sock you in the face!”

Cyrus laughed loudly and placed a hand on her shoulder. “I'm a hobby sculpture maker. You think I'd laugh at your creations? Amaris, you wound me.”

Amaris scratched the back of her head. Her dark ponytail was loose, draped on her right shoulder. It swayed with the shake of her head before she presented her plain white sketchbook to Cyrus, the page of her new creation there for him to see. 

“Oh wow.”

It must be her fantasy coming out to play again but wasn't Cyrus' tan face a little red?

“Do you like it?” Amaris lowered her gaze and clutched her sketchbook to her chest again. “Please be honest.”

Cyrus blinked and grinned like he had gotten the moon. “Like it? I love it! It's beautiful.”

“Really?” hope kindled in her heart like a flame. “You think so?”

“I know so. If anything...” He leans back on his hands with the same grin that made her want to hide in a field of flowers. “It feels like you've known me for lifetimes and drew me from memories long passed.”

“Don't we already know each other so well?” Cyrus teased.

Amaris smacked her laughing partner with a loud and flustered; “Cyrus!”

10 years have gone by in a blink and she couldn't quite believe that she was gifted this blessing of a cherished life. Cyrus had approached her on their college graduation and had asked if he could court her. Apparently, he'd had a crush on her since they were children but had not acted on it in fear that she'd stop being his friend.

Of course not. The only problem Amaris hadn't told Cyrus was that she felt like the confession had been repeated all over again; like a shadow of a gentle caress and hug. A sense of deja vu that could never be ignored when he had sputtered it like a broken machine:

“Throughout the ages, throughout our lives, I have longed and loved you from afar and have kept silent because I can't bear to break our friendship. But now, I'm here and I don’t want to keep this any longer. Amaris, will you be my girlfriend?”

So vaguely familiar and so likely of him that she had blubbered like a fool and hid herself in her hands before she smothered him in hugs and long overdue affection. But she did not tell him of the dreams, or the familiarity, or the patterns of their touches and affection that kept repeating like paint on a canvas being applied again and again.

Now, Amaris' is standing in a humble workshop, in a garage with the sound of metal hitting stone marble right across her workstation. The brush that Amaris used halted in the middle of painting black acrylic on her canvas. Just in the middle of covering the imperfection of a tanned and bare again. Almost done, the picturing was starting to look like the targeted specimen.

“Cyrus?” She called. “Have you had dreams where you felt like you've lived in many lifetimes? Times where you just... feel like you've loved that person for eternity and still haven't worn yourself out?”

The chink of marble stops. Cyrus meets her gaze, warm and sure. He looked a little older now, an adult with responsibilities to bear. His signature buzz cut had been grown out, hair tied in a man bun and a beard that framed his once cute face. 

“Of course I have.” His voice was as soft as the whispering wind. “Love can transcend through time. Heck, I believe that lovers reincarnate and meet each other through each life cycle that Bathala allows.”

“It’s not crazy. I believe the stories about reincarnation and myths that our grandparents tell. Perhaps one can be reborn as a pair of cardinals or sparrows, maybe they'll be reborn as butterflies. Or...” Amaris placed down her brush on the aisle and walked over to Cyrus, placing her hand on his shoulder and kissing the side of his face. “They too are just like you and I. A pair of humans destined and fated in eternal union.”

“Ah, my dear, you speak of soulmates and I can't have it any other way.”

The arms around her waist are sure and safe. She could sink there for eternity, basking in the comfort that Cyrus provided without reservation. 

Her dark eyes strayed over to the sculpture that her partner was making. The sculpture that had been made was in the likeness of her image, dressed in the early warrior tribes of the pre-colonial past. 

Amaris smothered her laugh on Cyrus' shoulder. 

“Dearest, you made a sculpture of me! In pre-colonial clothes too no less!”

“How can I not? You're beautiful in any form you take. I love you and you will forever be my muse.”

Such a silly man Cyrus was. They were still in the early stages of their engagement and yet this man was already finding ways to make her blush. A retaliation is a must. “You wanna know what I made?”

“If you want to show me, then yes. Of course.”

She took him by the hand and led him to her masterpiece. She did not turn to look at her fiancé but she felt his gaze burn behind her back and moving to the painting.

“This is...” He stepped forward with an elated grin.

The grin that made her feel like a high school girl that was warmed by the sun all over again.

“I thought of you and what you'd look like if you were a Rajah or Datu in the pre-colonial era. It's a funny coincidence isn't it?”

“Not a coincidence,” Cyrus pressed a small kiss to her temple. “but rather a work of fate.”

“And dreams?” Amaris looked up at him hopefully.

“And dreams.” He readily agreed.

“Should we put your sculpture and my painting in a museum?” She asked after they separated and had managed to finish their task for the day, now lounging on the rattan bench and hugging a pillow to her chest. The television was blaring about news reports around some local Filipino area and its happenstance. The house was lit by the single lightbulb just above their wooden ceiling.

“You think they'd like that?” Cyrus leaned in to her space. “Because I don't mind. Maybe we'll spin a tale that the sculpture and the painting are companion pieces, never to be separated or else they’ll both cry.”

“That doesn't sound so bad. Maybe we can include telling the curators that our piece is about soulmates that traveled though lifetimes and eras just so they could see each other again.” She mused.

“Sounds like a good idea, just make sure to put them in various clothing that suits their time period. Wouldn't want to hear Mister Amarillo’s lecture on inaccurate portrayal.”

“Cyrus!” Amaris laughed, joined by her soon-to-be husband in her little charade.

“We'll contact the museum tomorrow. Right now, I think it best that we think more about what we want to add in our pieces thoroughly.”

Two sparrows flew around the skyline, dancing around each other and flapping their wings in tandem like nothing existed between them and their little world that fell to dusk. A new beginning, a new and yet old love that was rekindled again and again.

One thing about an artist when they fall in love; they will make you their muse and immortalize you for all the world to see. No matter how short life can be or how fickle it is, you are loved for all eternity and beyond; for generations to witness and hear your story of how you came to be the subject of an artist's love and devotion. This, Amaris realized as she squeezed the hand of her husband that was twined with hers. 

“Look, darling. Isn't that amazing?”

Calloused, sun-kissed, and well worn with wrinkles. Crows feet on the eyes that used to be filled with youthful vigour, now shining with aged wisdom.

“Didn't expect that it was going to be popular. Young people truly are enamored with transcendence.”

Amaris laughed in her gentle and well-worn voice. “Who better to pass it on than generations after our time?”

As they watched the sculpture and the painting that they'd made all those years ago, now sitting in the middle of the Museo, being crowded by a bunch of young and old artgoers, she believed long ago that love could transcend throughout lifetimes. That it would last for as long as someone would let it burn throughout the course of history.

Owl Tribe Creator

Pragma (Love that Lasts) by Nova Genesis and Illustrated by Moonie Toons