The lost lighter



About a month ago, I have stowed away everything that reminds me of him–I deleted all his messages, all the pictures, even the littlest things on Facebook that would rehash the past. Gone. Locked far away, never to be seen again. Not that I want to forget, rather, it was a way to make things easier. I think I’ve already tortured myself long enough that I have gotten bored of it. Isn’t that what we all want after a break up? A clean slate to start fresh?

I did very well in making sure nothing–not a single thing will make me think about him, but I wasn’t careful.

A few days ago, I was walking to a kiosk to get my packet of cigarette when the wind just blew all over, leaving dusts swirling in the air. It felt as if the wind was playing a joke on me: “tuck your hands in your jacket now, or I’ll freeze you like hell!”

Well, what choice do I have? It was as though the wind knew something that I was just about to find out.

Sure enough, in my jacket pocket was the lighter I thought I lost some time ago. It was the lighter he left me the very last time we were together. It was the very lighter we used to light the very last cigarette we smoked together.

And just like that, boom! All the memories came pouring in and out of my head. Maybe it is the girl in me who still remembers–who always attaches memories and stories to ordinary, everyday things such as a lighter. It’s funny how mere looking at it can bring back old memories that I have securely locked away in the dungeons of never again.

However, with the coming back of memories comes revelations–revelations of how I used to feel, and how I now feel.

I used to hold on to that lighter as though it was the only lighter worthy to light up a cigarette. I remember how I wouldn’t smoke a cigarette if it wasn’t lit with his lighter. Or how the experience of smoking is just different if it was lit by another lighter.

That day that I found the lighter, I was still holding on to it, maybe just out of old time’s sake. I am sentimental that way.

But yesterday proved that I have let go of everything attached to it. I lost it for the second time, and surprisingly, it didn’t bother me like it did the first time.

I guess it was because for the first time, I was looking at his lighter as an object and not a subject with emotions and memories enveloped in it. I didn’t even think about finding it. I just simply borrowed one of my friends’ lighter and to my delight, it felt good.

Today, I bought a new lighter and it will be the first lighter that has me all over it. It wasn’t given by a lover or an ex-lover. It’s a clean slate. I know that it won’t take too long before I get attached to that new lighter. Soon enough, it will have to be the only lighter that will light up my cigarettes. It will stay in my purse whenever I go out, or in my jacket pocket should I go for a run. That lighter will collect new memories, and later it will remind me of places I’ve been to, things I did, and people I met and went out with.

I know I sound silly when I say that losing his lighter for the second time makes me feel like a newly born phoenix. I feel that I can look through the past without crumbling anymore. But what is more satisfying is that I can now anticipate tomorrow and allow myself to be pleasantly surprised with whatever tomorrow has to offer.

Who knows, maybe one day soon, I will find his lighter inside my boots, or under my bed covers. Who cares? What I do know is that I will be able to look at it as a lighter and nothing more.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I deserve a cigarette break. 🙂

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