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Lydia Davis
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Table for Two

Table for Two - Marla Miniano Believe it or not and related or not, the plot kind of reminds me of an old Filipino movie, “Jologs”. It was a first Pinoy flick that I have come to appreciate. It was an automatic association upon learning that the book is about how people’s lives intersect and intertwine at one place. However, I can only give the book a 3-star rating because with creativity comparison between the said movie and this book, I still would settle on spending my time re-watching the movie than re-reading this. I know it’s not an apple to apples comparison. I probably have expected more or that I was easily out of focus with the sudden shift or change in the set of characters. If I would consider re-reading this again sometime in the future it was because I need to go back and review the characters that I have come to appreciate and the specific lines that I would agree to be declared as “quotable quotes”. There were so many beautiful words or can-relate-to words, that I haven’t moved on yet. I just couldn’t agree with how all this was assembled together in a book, in a supposedly one ending. I wish for relevant characters and more emphasis.

I skim through the pages again, so if you’re the spoiler addict like me, you might understand why I wanted to quote this (someday, I’ll probably read this again, I need some sort of motivation why, or maybe not because it only provokes bitterness and more depressing thoughts):

* * *

“There is an unmistakable vibe independent people give off, an enviable confidence that allows them to eat alone without looking pathetic. I am not an independent person. I do not give off that “I’m alone and I’m okay” vibe. What I give off, clearly, is an “I got stood up by my boyfriend so now I’m loitering and trying to pretend that I’m okay” vibe.”

* * *

“Guys are so easy to drive out of your life, especially when their interest in you has mostly been sustained by your blind, naïve, hopelessly hopeful interest in them.”

* * *

“If anything, I guess they disappeared on their own; their absence has been waiting to happen for a long time, postponed by my persistent belief that they could change, or that they could love me, or that they were just keeping their feelings hidden beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered and nurtured.”

* * *

“…You tell me, “It’s never going to be perfect. It’s not even going to be as great as you imagined it would be. You need to be okay with that. There will be days when I’ll enjoy flirting with other girls, days when I’d rather hang out with my friends than with you. There will be days when the sound of your voice will irritate me, and the days when I wouldn’t care less what you’re up to. There will be days when we will yell and fight and I won’t love you at all.”

I nod, like I am agreeing with you, or considering agreeing with you, but I don’t think I ever will.”

* * *

““Liked,” I correct her, as if the lack of the letter D were the real issue and not the use of like instead of the more accurate love. Nonetheless, I emphasize the D because I want to properly divide my life into the past, the present and the future, and I’m trying so hard to categorize you as part of my past. I don’t want you to be the shadow always hanging over my head, haunting me every time I attempt to move on. I don’t want to hope and mope and whine and pine. I don’t want my mother to keep worrying about me, asking unnecessary questions like, Are you awake? Are you sad? I don’t want to have to keep answering her with the same accommodating optimism one would extend to a repetitive child: I’m trying to sleep, but come in, or, I’m fine, Mom. I can manage. I don’t want to be hurt, because I am, still, and the fact that you didn’t do it on purpose doesn’t cancel it out. I don’t want to be in love with you anymore. Because I can deal with you being the one that got away – at least that was your choice, your responsibility. But I won’t allow you to be the one who never left my mind because I never tried to forget.”

* * *

“Goodbye is a strange concept – if the person being left behind resents it and refuses to accept it, is it still goodbye, or simply a departure? I know now why you left. It wasn’t because of anything I said or did, or anything I didn’t say or didn’t do. It wasn’t my fault; perhaps, if I succumb to my unfailing instinct to be the bigger person, it wasn’t even yours, either. You left because I wasn’t a part of your past or your future – I was only a part of your present, and that wasn’t enough. You never saw me as anything else or anything more. You left because you could. And you’re leaving because you can.”