White Flag’s Amiss


White Flag’s Amiss

Ry Sumulong

July 22, 2022

  • White

    The unnerving question of surrender will forever linger in halls filled with closed-off doors. It manifests in the heavy footsteps of an indefatigable lover, knocking on the wooden frame, and begging you to come out. 

    You rarely do.

    Because you are not welcomed in hallways that you’ve once frolicked in. Meant to be locked in a room with thick-foamed walls, you wrap your arms around your knees and sit at the corner farthest from the exit, trying your best not to shake. Afraid is a mere six-letter word used to describe the terror churning in one’s stomach, but you can actually feel each letter’s weight sitting on your chest. It’s more burdensome than disturbing. Much heavier than the somber footsteps.

    The knocking doesn’t stop.

    It’s accompanied by forlorn whispers. A prayer in the form of a plea, repeating itself like clockwork in hopes of an answer. “Please, open up,” you hear them say. The continued phrase ‘to me’ echoes inside your ears, albeit silent. And every time they say it, you pause for a second to think about it. You’ve been thinking about it for 8 minutes; they’ve asked 480 times now. Beyond too much than the regular count, but it’s not like you don’t want to come out— again, you’re not welcome beyond the confinement of the room you built. There is a reason why you built it in the first place. More than security, it offers you permanence, something you longed to have.

    Something you never got.

    Surely, in the arms of another, you find safety. You find everything you need and more in a person you call home. Yet the looming threat of transience keeps racing inside your head like a marathoner determined to find a non-existent finish line. The runner only stops when your so-called lover finally leaves, yet you don’t know whether to grieve or gloat that you were right about them all along. You choose both. Because either way, with whatever choice you make, the stop remains brief— like quickly tying one’s shoe laces to start moving again. Merely a few seconds compared to tireless hours of the sprint. In desperation, you cut the ribbon to cut the running. You build your own home, enclosing yourself in walls that keep you away from everything. Although lonely, at least, you are perpetually safe. That’s what you always say.

    Your current lover says otherwise. For the first time, you hear something more than a prayer. Something more than a plea.

    You hear her resolve.

    She says, ”The safest place is home. You think your home is the inside walls that you have built but surely, slowly, and safely— you will bring your walls down to finally run into the home you’ve always been looking for. The home where real comfort and serenity exist. And my dear, please realize that home is tight in my arms where I hold you and tirelessly tell you that as long as we’re with each other, we can brave any storm together.”

    So as her spiel ends, your freedom starts. A step towards the door feels like you’re walking on quicksand, but the diminutive feeling of hope sparks wildfire in your steps. The march towards it continues as your hands shake in anticipation of finally touching the doorknob.

    A simple twist unlocks everything you’ve kept hidden. A simple embrace makes it okay. 

    The white flag, formerly amiss, is now present.

    And that is how you face your lover— bare and in complete surrender. Just like how love should be. In all its glory, first and foremost, it is still vulnerable.

    I think most of us fear vulnerability, therefore leading us to fear love. Not everyone is as brave as those who lower their walls down to let someone in. Many of us believe that in love, you give someone the power to destroy you. You give them the opportunity to break you and leave you torn apart. Yet, in reality, love gives us the power to be human. Love bridges people’s hearts not to burn them in the end, but to create connections that would make your spirit grow.

    Fear is present when faced with the unknown, but the unknown isn’t always uncertain. And with this, we are certain— love is greater than fear.


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