There was a time when Sev’s Café was almost literally “home.” It was where my former household of two had our after-work dinners (every day, for a time); where we’d hang out to just talk and dream of the next crazy, creative adventure; where I’d stretch out on the small couch to read a book while he practiced his music; where we’d welcome and entertain friends because there wasn’t enough space in our unit to make everything and everyone fit.
It was our “unofficial living and dining room,” we’d tell our friends; there were even nights when you’d have to drag or kick him out of there to keep him from turning it into his bedroom.
Sev’s was also the space where we could explore our own art forms—he, music and performance; me, words and painted images. It was the creative sanctuary where we both felt safest to play and experiment—most of the time, on our own, although we both knew that the other was there, too, just a few feet away. We also performed poetry and music together, all the while struggling to make the rhythm and rhyme of our individual lives flow and fit.
What we didn’t realize then—although it was already creeping up on us—was that Sev’s Café was the only thing holding up our severely-weighed-down façade of a life. In those last few months of our union, Sev’s became home because “home”—that topsy-turvy box we crawled into at night, in separate rooms—became a cellar of baggage and mistakes and regret and resentment that hurt too much to come home to. We’d rather stay at Sev’s—where we could pretend that everything was okay—for as long as we could, every day, than stay in our own space, where it was evident everywhere that nothing was ever going to be okay.
Sev’s Café became the cocoon for our make-believe world; in there, we were the healthier, happier, more fulfilled, more “together” (and put-together) versions of ourselves. And although harsh, painful reality eventually broke into the fantasy and evicted us into our separate ways, Sev’s was, for a time, the only place where everything was as it should be—the happy bubble of the potential that we never became.
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To see Sev’s Café eased out of its current space is a painful reminder of how I was once eased out of a life I once knew. To see Sev’s close its doors is a physical signal of the closing of certain doors in my own life. It says that not everything is meant to stay open—that some doors are meant to be closed, and that you’re supposed to throw away the key (maybe even break it before you do) and never, ever look back. It is also symbolic that the home we once knew will soon be a shell for a generator and a septic tank; it’s telling us that, at some points in life, you’ll really have to make space for fresh energy to enter your life and flush out remnants of the past that you no longer need.
From the poetry and the songs to the people and the space we all knew and loved at Sev’s Café, we know this all too well: walang forever. Not in Sev’s, not in the stories and songs that we had all dared to share while we were there. Certainly not in my own life.
And you know what? It’s going to be okay. Each goodbye will hurt for a while, but it will also be a great reminder of how each moment is meant to have just a sliver of space in each of our lives. Eventually, we’re all meant to move forward, and those moments are meant to stay just where they are. We can’t let them take up too much space, because we’re meant to experience and welcome in so much more.
That’s how it’s been with Sev’s. It welcomed us all into its warm, nurturing space, but even people have had to come and go. Soon, even the spirit of Sev’s Café will leave Legaspi Towers, but the moments we’ve all shared in it will somehow have a space in each of our lives. The best we can do is make the most of every moment and every memory, and know that every closing is an opportunity to open—and possibly redesign, or even build from scratch—a new and better beginning.
Of all the things that I’ve learned through and from Sev’s. it is this:
There may not be forever, but you can always, always start over.