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One Year Ago

I was at Taoyuan International Airport. My ex-girlfriend called me. I was surprised. We hadn't been talking with each other for a week. She'd refused to reply to my sms, to pick up the phone when I called her. Then, one day before my departure, she suddenly wrote me a long e-mail, at about 3 a.m.

I was happy that she'd called me, although she hadn't come to the airport to see me off. I was so silly. I'd gone to Taiwan for her, and even if she wasn't with me at the moment of my departure, I was still grateful that she was talking to me.

"We can be friends," she said.

"Why do you call me when I'm leaving to tell me that you just want to be friends with me?" I said. "Yesterday night I was tossing and turning in my bed until I received your e-mail, and then I was so happy, because I thought that we could solve our problems."

"We can be friends. This time I mean it."

"You always make one step forward and then one step back. You drive me crazy."

"I didn't call you to quarrel."

"All right, have a nice Christmas." I hung up the phone.

Then I regretted. The fear of losing her forever, of not hearing her voice any more was too powerful. I called her again. "Okay, listen. Fine, let's not quarrel."

"What time are you leaving?" she asked.

"In one hour." Until the last moment, I'd hoped she would come to the airport. Just like I'd done when she was in Europe. But she wasn't there.

I was checking in and talking with her at the same time. They told me my case was too heavy.
"I'll call you back," I said. "I must throw away some stuff."

Two boxes of tea and a package of pineapple cakes ended in the garbage bin.

I called her again, checked in, went to the security control. "Wait, I'll call you again in a few minutes."

It's hard to accept the loss of a person you love. But love sometimes is similar to an illness. Hearing her voice gave me a feeling of relief and peace, like a painkiller does to a sick person's body. It's just an illusion, a temporary, addictive palliation, before the pain resumes.

We kept on talking until the flight attendant on the plane asked me to switch off the phone. "Good-bye. Have a nice Christmas," I said.

When silence fell, it was as though the world around me had become empty.

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