"Gulf, hurry just run and don't look back!"
Mew and Gulf ran as fast as they could, holding each other's hands tightly without wanting to let go even for a second. They raced amidst the sounds of gunshots and the screams between the French and British soldiers. Mew, a handsome man who held high ranks in French Armed Forces, and Gulf, a low-ranked but handsome soldier from Great Britain, did not care about the responsibilities they were supposed to carry. That right now, they actually had to kill each other to win, not running together to escape reality.
Amidst the panic and fear that swept the two of them, amidst questions that crossed their heads repeatedly about whether they would survive and succeed in finding refuge on the opposite continent, Gulf remembered the beginning of his story with Mew. That day, he rescued a man in a tattered uniform drifting in a river near his rural home. Gulf knew that this man was his enemy, but his heart was taken the first time he saw the face of the owner whose life was saved by him. Only with the hope of not being killed when this man woke up, Gulf sincerely took care of his wound, until finally he opened his eyes. God heard his pray, the man thanked Gulf for saving his life. And while recovering, they fell in love, very deeply.
A bullet scratched his ear and made him grimace, waking Gulf out of his reverie: now he and Mew were in the edge of life and death.
"Gulf!" Mew stopped shortly, "Are you all right?"
The look in Mew's clear eyes that showed he was very worried made Gulf's fearful heart warmer, “I'm fine, just a little bullet scratched my ear. Mew let's continue! "
Mew nodded his head and led Gulf again to run. Seeing his sturdy figure with a broad back, made Gulf once again told himself that he was very grateful to meet Mew, even though he met him in the worst possible place and time. But whatever happened in the future, Gulf would not be afraid as long as Mew was by his side.
Until suddenly Gulf heard Mew shouting loudly calling his name and a second later, Mew lunged him to the ground while hugging him tightly.
“Mew! What happened?" Gulf reflexively hugged Mew's back and felt something wet on his hand. As he saw red coloring all over his palm, Gulf trembled violently, did not dare at all to find out what was going on. That Mew took a bullet for him without any slight hesitation.
“Mew …… Mew… ..” Tears slowly rolled down and he turned Mew's body, trying to see if there was a gunshot wound coming out of Mew’s chest. None. The bullet was still inside the body of his lover.
Gulf gently patted Mew's cheek, whose eyes were currently closed in his lap, with a low voice he murmured, “Mew, wake up. Please wake up. Do not leave me alone."
Slowly Mew's eyes were opened. His gaze was wistful, as if gathering all the strength he had left to answer the call from his dearest. “Gulf, I'm sorry. I've promised to take care of you until the end of my life. I thought it would be longer than this, but I am wrong. "
“Mew, what are you talking about? Please stop talking nonsense. I'll carry you; the forest is only 1 km away. In your backpack and mine there are medicines and other medical equipment that we had prepared for this kind of situation. You can endure this. I promise I will immediately seek help after we reach the nearest village.” Gulf rubbed Mew's cheek repeatedly and he couldn't stop his tears from falling down to Mew’s cheek.
“Gulf…” Mew started coughing up fresh blood, and Gulf stared in disbelief, “Gulf, I love you. I Really do. "
Mew weakened on his lap and Gulf brought his face closer to Mew.
"Please live for me, my beloved." With that, Mew took his last breath, becoming a mere body without life. He left Gulf alone who was now crying uncontrollably and being blinded to everything except for the fact that Mew was gone forever. This was not what he had planned, this was not what he dreamed of, this was not what he expected when the two of them took the vows. Gulf thought they had a future, but everything vanished right in front of his eyes.
Gulf screamed sadly while hugging Mew's body, until he suddenly felt a terrible pain in the left side of his chest, then everything went dark.
"Wake up, you noble soul."
Gulf tried to open his eyes slowly because he was greeted with a very bright light. After he got used to it, he turned his gaze around him. He stood on a vast meadow that was very beautiful, surrounded by high mountains.
"Who are you? Where am I? "
The figure in front of him answered, “My name is Mikael. I will guide you until you make your choice. Right now, you are at the crossroads between mortal life and eternal life. "
"Am I dead?"
"Yes Gulf, your time in the world is up. Now is the time for you to decide whether you want reincarnation, or live eternally in heaven with us. However, you are classified as a noble soul, as a reward for your kindness during your previous life. Therefore, God sent me to grant you one wish. Think about it. "
"Yes, just name it. God is almighty. "
“Please allow me to meet and love Mew once again in the world. May I?"
"Was he your lover in your previous life?"
"Yes. I don't have enough time to love him, I need more. Could you please grant it? "
Mikael smiled sadly, “Gulf, I really want to help you. However, there are a few things you should know. First, the reincarnated soul will not remember its previous life. Second, partners in every human life will always be different. The soul that chooses to reincarnate, will be paired with another soul. So even if you choose to reincarnate, you won't remember the Mew you love, and Mew won't be your partner in your new life.”
Gulf was silent for a long time. Mikael came over to pat him on the shoulder, but Gulf's answer surprised him, “If it has to be like that, then please don't erase my memories when I get reincarnated. Mikael, my wish from the start is for me to meet and love Mew once again in the world, which means that Mew doesn't have to love me back. I just want to love him once again, without expecting anything in return. I really miss him."
“Gulf, you must also understand that you and him are two of billions of souls waiting for reincarnation, with different destiny that may or may not cross. I don't know when you could see him again. You could be born when he is already old, or vice versa. You and him could be born in different parts of the world. Time and distance, too much uncertainty that could separate the two of you. "
“Then let me continue to choose to reincarnate at every end of my life until I find him again. Mikael, as I said before, my wish is that I want to meet and love Mew again. To be able to do so, please don't erase my memories every time I reincarnate. I promise I will live as a good human being so that at the end of my life, God will give me one request to be granted. Before I find Mew, I will continue to choose this path.”
Mikael sighed in defeat, he then invited Gulf to sit on the grass. Mikael stared at the gate to Heaven, a place where Gulf should have resided if only he chose it. Unfortunately, he preferred to be reborn in the world to meet the person who was once his lover.
“Fine, I will grant your request, on one condition. If someday you finally find him, then that lifetime will be the last life for you to love him, no matter what happens. Later when you die, you won't remember him anymore. There are too many laws of nature that I have broken to fulfill your request, this is the most I can do.”
Gulf nodded and looked at Mikael, “One life where I could meet and love him once again is enough for me. I can't ask for more. Thank you, Mikael. "
Since then, Gulf continued his journey of reincarnation over and over again as a new person, but with the same memories. He was back to death, made the same choices at the crossroads, and being born again as a different person. At one lifetime he became an archaeologist named Sebastian who lived in Buenos Aires. In another life he was an aristocrat and music genius living in Budapest named Jonathan. Once he was George, a volunteer doctor who actively traveled the world visiting conflict countries. And he was also Lucas, a well-known zoologist in Perth. The age at which he died also varied. He once died as a toddler, and he also experienced dying when he was very old.
There were only two things in common in dozens of lives he had lived: he was not married and he did not meet his Mew.
It was true what Mikael said. Finding Mew was like looking for a needle in a haystack. No, even worse. Like looking for a precious drop of water in the ocean. As long as he had not found that drop of water, he would always be in agonizing thirst. But Gulf chose to hold on to this cruel fate, rather than giving up.
This was his seventeenth life. Gulf was born as a speech impaired man named Kanawut Traipipattanapong, an only child who came from a prominent family in Bangkok. His father was a lawyer and his mother was a famous fashion designer. Both of his parents really love Kanawut who despite of his flaws, was brilliant and charming. He was grateful that in this life, he grew up with abundant affection.
Just like the previous lives he had been through, Gulf's soul in the form of Kanawut was looking for Mew. Every night he prayed to God; may his long wait be answered in this life. His heart could no longer hold back the sorrow and pain of loving only a shadow.
At his 14th birthday party, God answered his hundred years pray.
Mew came to him as a son of his father’s old friend who had recently moved from United States. Even though his name was different, Gulf recognized him at one glance.
How could he recognize him? There was no wonder, because in the past, he also fell in love with Mew in one glance. And even though the Mew in front of him was still a teenager, he looked the same. The same as his adult figure, a dashing soldier who became his lighthouse for centuries.
When Mew, the one who forgot, greeted Gulf, the one who remembered, using sign language and introducing himself as Suppasit Jongcheveevat, Gulf cried silently and rushed to hug the boy in front of him tightly.
Gulf initially did not get any response from Mew. But then suddenly he felt a warm caress on his back, soothing him until Gulf was ready to release the hug he had always longed for.
"Your name is Kanawut, right? Why are you crying and hugging me all of a sudden?" asked Mew.
"Finally, you came back to me. Finally, I found you again. "
“I am sorry, but it looks like you are mistaken. I think this is the first time we've met. "
His answer awakened Gulf from his dream: a dream that his Mew is back. Mew's soul was right in front of him, but in this life time Mew was Suppasit. Not his lover Mew, who loved Gulf as much as Gulf loved him.
And no matter how bitter Mikael's words were hundreds of years ago, Mikael was not lying. The Mew standing in front of him was destined not to remember him at all.
"I'm sorry Suppasit, surely I surprised you? I just feel so familiar with you that without realizing and without your permission I hugged you." Gulf looked down with stinging pain.
“Hey, it's okay with me. If you do feel familiar with me, from now on shall we get acquainted further and become friends? My house is also not far from yours, only 100 meters away so it's easy for us to meet. Be my first friend in Bangkok."
Mew looked at Gulf warmly, and made Gulf once again shed tears of joy and sadness. Happy to finally meet Mew who was standing in front of him, with the same traits as his past self. But sad, very sad because for Mew, Gulf was just a stranger teenager with the same age as him, who would possibly become his new best friend from now on.
Gulf nodded and replied in sign language, "Suppasit, can I call you Mew?"
The boy in front of him raised his right eyebrow, but soon after smiled broadly, “Of course you can, Kanawut. Mew sounds nice. And how should I call you? "
“Gulf. Please call me Gulf. "
Let Gulf be selfish, let him insisted on repeating his story with the same name. Even though in this life he was Kanawut and the figure in front of him was Suppasit, even though Mew didn't have any memories of him from their past life, at least please allowed he and Mew to call each other by the name when they were once lovers.
Because after this life, Gulf would no longer remember that he really loved Mew.
Over time, Mew's soul as Suppasit and Gulf's soul as Kanawut grew together as a pair of inseparable friends. Wherever Mew was, Gulf would be there, and vice versa. They spent many days and nights together, exchanging stories and thoughts, and sharing burdens. Even though Gulf couldn't speak, Mew could communicate with him very well using sign language because Mew grew up in America since childhood with his cousin who had the same condition as Gulf.
In line with growing towards adulthood, Gulf's feelings for Mew become stronger, a love deeper than he had ever felt. Honestly, he alone bears the love from the past as well as the present. Unfortunately, and actually it was expected, that even though Mew's feeling for Gulf was getting stronger too, it was only a feeling as a best friend. Because one night when they were in their first semester of college, Mew expressed his first attraction to their opposite sex.
"Gulf, I want to tell you something, but honestly I'm embarrassed." Mew, who was sitting on Gulf's bed, cupped his palms on his face, didn't want his red face to be seen by Gulf.
Gulf then patted Mew softly while holding Mew's wrist, trying to get Mew's attention. When Mew finally dared to look at him, Gulf smiled, “What's wrong, Mew? I'm someone you know very well, right? Don’t be shy, just tell me. "
"You are right…." After a few seconds of silence, Mew continued, “Do you remember Andrea, a petite and fair skinned woman with a cute smile? She is a friend who I used to work with in discussion group? Gulf, I think I like her. "
And that night Gulf's heart broke instantly.
Mew's relationship with Andrea only lasted for a year. But Andrea certainly wasn’t the last for Mew. He then had relationships with Kirana, Georgia, and others that Gulf couldn't count. Mew was not a playboy; he loved sincerely. If his relationship came to an end, there had to be reasons behind it.
One pattern that clearly shown from every relationship that Mew had; Mew loved woman. Mew in this lifetime never loved a man. Which means, Gulf's hope of having his love return was gone.
But truthfully, Gulf also had known from hundreds of years ago, that even if he met Mew again, it would be impossible for Mew to become his lover. His love was meant to be unrequited.
To be honest, Gulf wasn’t unloved by anyone. On the contrary, there are lots of women and even men who were fond of him. His handsome yet beautiful face, his tall and ideal posture, his intelligence that amazed many people, and the gentleness of his heart that could be felt by every person who knew him, made it easy for anyone to fall in love with Gulf. However, Gulf chose to be alone, because there had never been room in his heart for anyone else.
His heart was already full, with everything about Mew.
Seven years had passed and now Mew had become the CEO of a technology-based start-up that had attracted the attention of many angel investors. He worked so hard on this. On the other hand, Gulf had become a well-known writer who had inspired many people through his work. He often got invited to share his life stories and encouraged other people with disabilities. Even though both of them were busy with their respective jobs, their feelings were still the same. Gulf still longed for Mew, and Mew still considered Gulf as his best friend.
Then came one Saturday when Gulf sat on a café's terrace, patiently awaited Mew, who was 20 minutes late. The sky was very cloudy, making Gulf wonder if something bad was going to happen. But when he felt his shoulder being tapped and turned to look at who he did it, he saw a smile that bloomed so brightly on his muse’s face. No matter how dark the world was, Mew's smile changed everything.
"Sorry, you must have been waiting for a long time."
"Not really, it’s okay. You must be hungry, right? I've ordered food and drink for you."
"You are the best! You always know all the things I love,” said Mew making Gulf blush.
“Of course, I have already known you for too long. Eat before it gets cold. "
They both started eating lunch while trading stories and joking. Gulf really missed seeing Mew, it had been 2 weeks that they had not met face to face because Mew was busy going out of town to promote his business.
"Gulf, I actually want to meet you because I have important things to say, and I want you to be the first person I’ve ever talked about my intention."
Somehow Gulf felt Deja vu. He was familiar with this kind of situation, and he had a bad feeling about this.
"You know I’ve been with Aurora for quite long time, now it's been more than two years. She knows me inside out, understands and accepts my good and bad sides. She is a very beautiful woman, who came from a nice family, and she makes me want to love her more and more. We both are adults too, so I had thought deeply about this and decided to propose to her next week. I want to make her my wife. What do you think, Gulf?"
Gulf didn't reply, he just froze and stared at Mew blankly. Even though Gulf had prepared his heart since a long time ago to give up on Mew if one day Mew found the love of his life and took next step for marriage, in reality when the time came, Gulf couldn't. All this time he had always loved Mew in silence, but he couldn't help it anymore. Gulf wanted Mew to know how deeply Gulf loved him. Gulf wanted Mew to know how badly Gulf hoped Mew was his. Gulf wanted Mew to know, that Gulf was ready to give everything, even his life for Mew, if it could make Mew to only see him.
In fact, Gulf had devoted to love Mew for hundred years already, even though he knew from the start that his love would only be one sided.
Gulf shed tears, which made Mew surprised to see it falling on his best friend's left cheek. "Gulf, what's wrong?"
At this point Gulf was tired of hiding, tired of lying, tired of not feeling pain, tired of not expressing his heart.
"Mew, I love you too."
"Gulf .... what do you mean?"
“I love you Mew. Since long time ago, I have loved you. I'm sorry, but can you see me as more than a friend? Even though it's late, I beg you to love me Mew, instead of her.”
Tears kept rolling down Gulf's face, breaking Mew's heart to pieces. He didn't realize that all this time, his best friend had loved him. But no matter how bad Mew wanted to wipe the tears away, he could not reciprocate the feeling, because he had completely given his love to the woman he had chosen.
“Gulf, I'm sorry. But all this time I only thought of you as my best friend, nothing more. I'm sorry that I hurt you, Gulf. Forgive me."
Gulf immediately got up from where he was sitting, and ran out without looking back. Call him a coward; he really didn’t care. The reality turned out to be far more bitter than what Gulf had imagined. Now, at this exact time, Gulf could not stand to be at the same place with the man who occupied the highest throne in his heart for hundreds of years, as well as the man who in this life did not have the slightest room in his heart for Gulf to occupy.
Gulf was depressed; he wanted to end his life. Anything, Gulf wanted to do anything if that could chase the pains that eating him away.
Gulf cried, again and again. He questioned why Mew couldn't love him like he used to? Why didn't Mew remember him the way he remembered Mew? Why he had to endure a deep wound that scarred his heart caused by Mew’s answer to his love confession?
Gulf continued to blame his fate, until finally he remembered what he had promised to Mikael: He only asked to be allowed to meet and love Mew once more. It didn't mean that Mew should love him again. All the consequences had been explained to him, and this was clearly his choice.
No matter how painful it was, this was God's gift that he asked himself.
So, Gulf wiped his tears, took a deep breath, and strengthened his heart. Gulf was only a weak human, he needed time to make a peace with his fate. After shutting himself up for days from the outside world, without wanting to be seen by anyone, especially Mew, ignoring hundreds of incoming calls from him, Gulf finally typed a short message on his phone.
"Mew, can we meet?"
Under the starless sky, under the dim lights of the park, Mew and Gulf sat together on a long wooden bench. The two of them were still pondering what to say.
Until finally Gulf started it, "Mew, can I ask you something?"
Mew looked closely at Gulf, nodded and replied, "What is it, Gulf?"
"I know I have no right to ask for more of you. But could you please still consider me as your best friend? "
Mew cried; He cried over the generosity and sincerity of his best friend. He cried because Gulf was one of the most important people in his life who he was willing to give everything, except loving him as a lover.
“Gulf, once again forgive me because I only love you as my best friend. I couldn’t love you more than that. Is it okay if we stay like this? I'm afraid to hurt you. But Gulf, I’m sorry I also can't lose you. "
Gulf took Mew's hand and rubbed it lightly, “It's okay, Mew. Love doesn't have to be returned, right? Maybe someday I could love you as a friend, like how you love me now. I hope nothing changes from us. I hope I can still be by your side to accompany you in all the important moments of your life. May I?"
Mew nodded quickly, with a clear relief written on his face because he didn’t lose a friend. Meanwhile Gulf put on his mask, to cover up the lie he had just said. Because it would be impossible for Gulf to stop loving Mew. Hundreds of years that had passed clearly attest to that.
Like he said that night, Gulf accompanied Mew for the next decades, until they turned 60. Gulf witnessed it all: the moment Mew got married, the moment Mew had two children who grew into adults, even the moment when Mew was at the peak of his glorious career. Gulf stood beside Mew as his best friend who chose to unmarry. Lots of questions were asked to him, but his answer was always being too busy with work, and already felt happy without having a partner in life.
In the past, Mew and his parents also often asked him about whether he had someone to love or not. Gulf sometimes pretended to be in relationship from time to time so they didn't worry. Gulf also didn’t want Mew to think that he still loved him. However, each relationship did not last long because Gulf could not bear to give false hopes to his partner. Just like dozens of previous lives, he did not want to hurt his partner in promises he could not keep, because his love had always been only for one man.
The sound of heart monitor could be heard clearly inside a white rectangular room. Gulf laid weakly in the bed which was located in the middle of the room, waiting for the arrival of someone. Mew always visited him every day at the same visiting hours, ever since Gulf's health condition deteriorated and required him to be hospitalized. Not to forget, he always brought a sunflower to be put at the desk table beside the bed. It was a request from Gulf, because Gulf really liked sunflowers. "Why?" Mew asked one day. Gulf replied because sunflowers looked very bright, and he always hoped that his day would be as bright as the sunflowers.
It was a lie. Of course, that was not the reason. It was because to Gulf, Mew was his sun, and the sunflowers would only grow following where the sun was. Just like Mew, who was always be the reason and purpose for Gulf to live on.
When Gulf saw the door to his room open and Mew walked in, he smiled.
"You're not sleeping?" Mew asked.
“No, I had slept many times today. I am waiting for you."
Mew drew closer to the Gulf and showed what he was holding, “Here, sunflower as usual. Do you like it?"
“The flower looks prettier than yesterday. Thank you, Mew.”
Mew nodded and then sat down in the usual chair right next to the Gulf. "How are you doing today? Feeling better?"
"A little dizzy, but I can handle. So, tell me about your daughter’s plan to move close to you. Her house won’t be far from yours, right?”
“Maybe by the end of this month she and her husband would move here. I've told them many times that they don’t have to do this though. I could live alone. "
“Just let them, Mew. Your daughter wants to take care of you. And you also need a friend, right. "
"I have you as my friend, Gulf. It's enough for me at this old age." Mew looked at Gulf gently.
Mew's wife left the world a year ago. It made Mew’s children became worried with their father. Even though Mew was still healthy, he’s old already. Therefore, his youngest child decided to move closer to him.
“I may not be able to stay with you any longer, Mew. No matter how much I want it. "
Mew grabbed Gulf's hand which was slightly swollen from the IV drip. He massaged the area around it to reduce the swelling, “You shouldn't talk like that. You will definitely be healthy again, Gulf."
"But I'm afraid my time is near. Mew, I have something for you. Could you open this drawer and take out a brown book with a letter in front of it?"
Mew went to open the drawer and took the book, "This book contains my memories of you. And this letter is the introduction before you read the book. Promise me, you will read it only after I am no longer in the same world as you. "
Mew looked at Gulf sadly, "To be honest, I wish I never have to read this letter and the book, which means you live longer than me."
Gulf smiled sweetly at Mew, repeating his unanswered request, "Promise me, Mew."
Mew stroked Gulf's head, "Yes, I promise, Gulf."
Two weeks later, Mew had to do what he promised earlier. Because Gulf once again was destined to leave the world again, and this time ended his long journey.
To my dearest Mew,
Mew, please forgive me, for I would call you as my lover in this letter. Because when you read this, it means that this would be my last chance to talk to you. And here I would like to tell the truth, that until my last breath, I am still the same Gulf who loves you. I still love you not since that time when I confessed to you in the café, but since hundreds of years ago.
You are not reading this wrong: I have loved you from hundreds of years ago. I am sorry that I never told you before, and I hope you don't think that I'm crazy. But centuries ago, you were my lover, Mew. More precisely, your soul is the lover of my soul.
Back then we used to be enemies who fell in love with each other at the wrong time and the wrong place. We died, but I couldn't let you go. You must have heard of reincarnation? It is true. At every end of my life, I chose reincarnation over and over again. I looked for you every single time because I want to love you once more. I think you would find it hard to imagine how happy I was when I finally found you in this life.
I wrote all the stories about us in the past when you and I loved each other, my adventures in search of the existence of your soul, and our stories now when we also loved each other although differently, in a book that is now yours. Read it when you miss me and don't feel guilty for in this life you couldn't love me as a lover. I have known since the beginning, that if I chose this path, my love for you would always stay unrequited.
Mew, my lover, forgive me because after this life, I couldn't continue my journey of loving you. Not because I didn't want to, but because I wasn't given another chance. I wish I could love you and be with you a little longer. But the universe has its own destiny for every human being. In the past, you promised to take care of me until the end of your life. And I am happy because I could do the same for you, which is to keep my love for you until the very end of my life.
There is one hope that I secretly whisper in each pray of mine. Maybe one day, God is kind enough to bring us together again. Even though none of us would remember, I'm sure Gulf in that time would be happy if he could love Mew again. As happy as I love you, my forever Mew.
From Yours truly,
At Gulf's 10th Reincarnation – Seven Lives before His Last
Mew couldn't believe that the figure across the street was his lover who he kept looking for through several reincarnations. His Gulf was wearing a high school uniform; it was obvious that Mew was born eight years earlier than him. Mew's heart was beating so fast, he really did not think that in this lifetime his Gulf would be born in the same country as him. And now he stood not far from him.
Mew recalled what Gabriel had said when he agreed to Mew’s reincarnation request, that Gulf would not remember Mew, and Gulf would never be his lover again. Mew says it was okay, he just wanted to love Gulf one more time.
Awakened from his reverie, Mew then saw Gulf walking further away from him and went into a shopping center with his friends. Without thinking, Mew immediately ran across the big road that separated the two of them, afraid of losing him. Because once he found Gulf, there wouldn’t be any more lifetime after this where he remembered of loving Gulf.
Suddenly Mew heard a very loud horn coming from his right side, and everything went dark once again.
I will grant your request, on one condition. If someday you finally find him, then that lifetime will be the last life for you to love him, no matter what happens. Later when you die, you won't remember him anymore.