The last ride

It was 1 in the morning when I got the notification. Just a short drive. It’s been a quiet night; hopefully it will be more productive once I got one going. From the name, it was clearly a girl, going from a club. The thought of future cleaning I might have to do in the case of someone vomiting doesn’t really bother me much, especially when it’s the first customer of the day.

I drove pass by the front door, parked slightly behind a curve just outside of the club. It’s still pretty early, for the place. It’s only been 1:15 and there are still crowds lining up to enter and music blasting through the small door in front.

I saw her left the building along with her friends, happily waving each other goodbye for the night. She looks young, 20 or so, I don’t know and frankly, I care little about it, she’s clearly old enough to enter it in the first place. That’s good enough.

“Sorry, did you have to wait?” She asked. “No”

We left the area, driving slowly but steady out to the main road among the almost nonexistent traffic. She tapped me by the shoulder and asked me to stroll around the city for awhile. There’s nothing wrong with taking a ride, and I felt like maybe I need some midnight air too.

“Just felt like seeing the sceneries one last time” She whispered under the dark reflection of the driver’s seat mirror. So we drove around the city, aimlessly for quite some time. No small talks, no glances, just the sound of the engine revving accompanied by the late night talk shows and soothing music played along the breaks and interventions. We’re at the part of the town that was ‘asleep’ in. In the morning it would be bustling with businessmen, workers and traffic. A congested mess of people obliviously living their own world.

It was 1:40 when she spoke again. “Are you okay with just strolling around?”
Not sure how to respond to that. She’s paying, and it’s not like there’s any other visible customer around. It’s almost 2 in the dead of the night, in the middle of the city. I replied the best and shortest way I could. A simple ‘no’. It wasn’t the like of me to strike up a conversation but as a driver, I have come up with a habit to just blurt out with random, generic questions.

“Had fun just now” I glanced on the window back to see a reaction. She smiled, with a little dimple on one side. Just one. That cute little imperfection that would captures anyone ever had the pleasure of seeing it.

“We had a farewell party” “It was for me” she continued. “I have a flight tomorrow and I feel like saying a proper, happy goodbye”

“I see, for work? Or are you still studying?” I replied. “No” She stared long into the distance and suddenly, her eyes were glistening from the flashes of passing streetlights.

“I’m actually going for an operation” She said, taking her view away from the mirror. I could sense from her voice she’s holding herself from bursting into tears. I kept quiet for I had never been in such a situation.

“It’s for my heart. They said I have little chance of surviving but they didn’t give up. There’s a new technique somewhere in Europe” She held back a little and shut her eyes. She took a deep breath and smiles. “I told my friends I’m going for a trip”

“I just didn’t tell them that the destination is heaven” She laughed.

And in the darkest of nights, I find myself tearing up. The air turned colder and silence soon overtakes the room again. That night, I sent her home with a heavy heart and it kills me as the way she talks as if she had lost hope of it. I couldn’t, for the life of me to even drive properly. That was the first and last customer of the day. I went straight back home crying. And I never heard from her again.

Poetry

What is poetry but emotions put to words,
An organized mess of emotions,
Blood written on paper,
Requires no convoluted plots nor counter plots,
There’s no need for intricate sentence,
Simply the purest, unadulterated thoughts,
Scribble down your demons,
Describe your hell,
In each labyrinth of person, is a story to tell.
Behind a smile conveys an unimaginable feeling,
Distraught emotion over the pain they’re dealing,
It’s a story that needs no introduction,
No ending nor solution,
Give it a hear, pay attention,
A simple question could change everything,

“Are you okay?”

She is

She is beauty in a troubled world,
Word expressed beyond its meaning,
Beauty in way how the light reflected upon her eyes,
Beauty in perseverance and strength,
Through great length she walked,
Those tears hidden behind the way she talked,
In loneliness, she writes her story upon skin,
And despite her weaknesses, there existed a dim star,
Long beyond its peak, it caresses her in her sleep,
It kissed her under the dark sky, she slept,
The star whispered, I’m here,
And I’m here to be kept,
The star had found its purpose,
Because at night in bed, she holds it, and claims me from the universe.

Nights

It’s 1 o’clock in the morning,
With my body lay upon bed,
Staring onto the plain ceiling,
Thoughts occupied my head ,
But neither of them help,
Many nights have I postponed my sleep,
To be awaken in a pool of sweat,
I gasped for air and found myself alone,
Like many nights before I ended up writing ramblings,
My dreams laid upon paper, thoughts into ink,
Not awake nor am I dreaming,
The night turned the darkest as my heart slowly sinks,
Here comes the inevitable thought of my demise,
Uncertain and unknown,
Like threaded fabric, my fate had been sown,
Every night I simply wait,
And every night my death is postponed

Syllables

Her name is filled with syllables no longer pronounced within my existence,
Three too many, one too short, a two syllable word that even my battered, hardened heart couldn’t hold,
A complete word, spoken with one movement of the tongue, with its four letters overused, it turned stale and boring,
She couldn’t take it, what she was hearing, so she left,
And those syllables were no longer mentioned, ever.
Even so they still carry the deepest remembrance, and the loudest echo as it resonates in the depth of my now empty heart.

The Rain (1/3)

image

                   (credits to whoever drew this)

“It’s going to rain soon.. ”

Yes it is.

The skies had darkened and the sound of thunder claps echoed. Each getting louder and closer and I could feel the wind blowing against my face, bringing the scent I miss most, the sea.

It’s fifteen minutes to four and I’ve yet found my purpose for the evening. Should I skip class? Or should I just wander around until it’s time to go home?

There’s nothing to do in class anyway.

“Have you heard? There’s a new shop opening by the corner?”

The corner huh? Looked like the old flower shop closed down. How unfortunate . I like the old lady there.

It’s sad, seeing how time progress at such an amazing pace and how we’re in the middle of all of it, not able to do anything about it. These streets used to be brimming with traders’ cart, fruit stands, with plethora of foods, flowers, and knickknacks to choose from. The buildings were 4 – 5 stories high as apartments, travellers inn, bars, library, and shops. The road stretches from a higher part of the city to the last corner at the end, where it breaks off into separate roads. It used to be this travellers’ paradise where one could enjoy their time without having a destination.

Now it’s a bustling city, the roads are now what they’re meant to be, roads. The streets became an important passage to those who came from the higher part of the city. At peak times, there would only be cars, with each slamming their horns against one another in a useless effort to move the traffic. Smoke fills the air among the occasional curses spouted by the ones who should be cursed at.

“It’s raining.. ”

I didn’t noticed the drops but it was definitely raining. The crowd suddenly gained pace, dispersing into their own way, seeking shelter from the rain.

It wasn’t long before I found myself hiding in a staircase of a souvenir shop. It was located beside the main entrance but I have no point of going inside, hence the staircase. Although it was there from the beginning, it never occurred to me to unfold my umbrella.

Pools of water slowly forms as I stare into the emptiness, waiting for something to happen. Anything. As long as it would take me away from this place.

In the back of my head all I could recognize was the sound of traffic, the sound of droplets as they fall onto the roof and the ground. I stared as leather shoes splashes the water, as umbrellas fill the scene, and without notice a sudden strike of loneliness hits me.

“Great weather isn’t it? ”

“Yeah…”
“…It’s been awhile since it rained”

I replied.
I wasn’t really paying attention. My thoughts were preoccupied with randomness and what came out was a statement made at the spur of the moment.

“You’re new here aren’t you?”
” Want to hang out upstairs? ”
It replied.

‘Who’ was what came to my mind. ‘It’ turns out to be a ‘he’. A quick glance proved that he had a higher stature than me. White tshirt, black pants, and sneakers. The simplest of many men I had seen today. My eyes weren’t used to it since I was considered tall around everyone else. It was a first for me, to actually look up from down below.

“I’ll be opening up, you can come if you want”

‘Opening up’? A shop then? I thought to myself.

I know the rain won’t be stopping soon. It looked like it would only get worse from here. The gods sounded as if they were angered with bolts of lighting striking the ground violently, and thunders roaring loudly. It took a moment, wasn’t too long nor too short, before the sound was heard, ringing in my head. I knew it happened just around the vicinity.

I took the gentleman’s offer, as I found myself in need of a place to kill time and laze around while waiting for the weather to change.

I followed him upstairs, going up a floor, one after another. It wasn’t the fatigue that got me first, it was curiosity.

“Are we there yet?”
I asked.

“It’s on the highest floor”
“Just up ahead”
“Who told you about this place anyway?”
He smiled.

“No one, it was through pure luck I ended up here”

“That’s new.”
He wondered for a bit.

“Must be fate”
He smiled again.

“I doubt it”

“Don’t you believe in fate?”

I didn’t answer. For awhile, I was somewhere else. I wasn’t walking up a flight of stairs, I wasn’t in that neighbourhood nor that city. I was in a state of serenity.

A place that couldn’t be put into words. Usually I would stay there for awhile, staring towards the emptiness as my mind wanders off.
However, something snapped me out of it.

“Well, you are the master of your fate”

“.. And the captain of my soul”
I replied.

He looked quite surprised.

“You’re the first one.. ”
He was rather amused by it.

We soon arrive at the highest floor, although it was the rooftop, it seemed more like a floor as it was covered by the a wooden roof. The entrance were entirely made of glass, allowing me to peek whatever may be inside. There were flowers, tons of them, with each with different colours, neatly put and arranged around the corners.

He opened the door and allowed me to sit. It was different. Although the temperature dropped earlier, it was quite warm there. The scents of the flowers reminded me of spring, the heat, summer, and the dark, brownish, wooden interior, fall. The edges were walls of transparent glass, and there were small, rounded, wooden, chairs, with table facing the outside.

The place was well situated on the highest building, allowing the viewers to see some part of the city up to the horizon. I could also see the tops of other buildings, the cars, and the walkers down below.

There’s a weird scent lingering in the air, a mixture of the sea and flowers. A weird mix. But somehow it fits. As I whiffed the mixture in, a melancholic melody slowly fills my ears.

“You’re okay with Mozart right?”
The voice came from the back.

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“I don’t know, maybe you’re into other composers”

I was surprised. Why would he said that?

“Your arm”
“I couldn’t help but notice the music sheet tattooed on your arm”

I didn’t noticed that my sleeves were folded up. Subconsciously, I lowered it down.

“So what is it?”

“Promise me you wouldn’t laugh”

“Okay, I promise”
There it was again, that smile.

“It’s ‘Path of The Wind’, Joe Hisaishi”
It wasn’t some classic, timeless, piece. It wasn’t Mozart, Bach, or Schumann. It was just a simple piece, filled with memories of when I was younger.

He just stood there. I know that he might had found it silly. But he never let it show, instead there was that smile. A smile you could never forget. It was like a mystery that kept on lingering, wanting to be discovered.

“Okay.. ”
” That was interesting”
“So, coffee or tea? ”

I opted for the coffee.
I sat on the bar, facing him as he brewed the coffee beans, and cleans the cup. There was a mural behind him that resembles the great waves off Kanagawa.

“I didn’t noticed it before, but why are there bamboo shoots over there?”
I wondered. On one of the corners were a group of bamboo shoots sticking upright in position.

“I don’t know, for good luck? ”
He laughed.

He handed the coffee and began wiping the sink and some of the tools. It was still hot as steam was seen rising and I thought I’d better wait for a minute or two just to make it tolerable.

It was a habit for me, to open up my phone and check on notifications, as means of avoiding awkward moments. I’d rather read the news than to converse in a thoughtless subject. Moments later, I drank the coffee black, without sugar nor cream, and of course it caught his attention.

” You’re weird”
“I like that”

And then something happened. Something that changed the atmosphere.

He closed his eyes, leaned over the bar, with his head just besides mine. It didn’t touch. But I felt like it did. He was so close, I could smell his perfume very distinctively as if it was mine.

My face reddens, my heart flutters, and a sudden rush of adrenaline comes through me. My mind went blank and it felt like.
It felt like time had slowed down.

“Hmm, it WAS you”
“Tulips isn’t it, I like the smell of it”
There’s that smile again. The smile that my insides rages for more.

And before my mind made up, my body moved on its own, it leaned closer, and before the both of us noticed it. Our lips were connected. His to mine.

In the course of a few seconds, the universe changed. The temperature dropped even more,  the music was at its climatic moment where the whole Orchestra was in motion, and it seemed like the rain is slowly turning into snow.

And somehow, time stopped completely. 

My peculiar dream and how it ended

 

I woke up in despair over something, again. Though in reality I never knew what it was. It would come and it would go just like that. A persistent and aching memory of seemed to be neither the past nor the present. The mind could have not conjure such imaginations without substances holding it or in other words, it is impossible to think of something we’re not capable of doing, such as the warmth of her cheek, the touch of her fingers, her breath, her body, her substance. Does ‘she’ even exist? or am I simply rummaging through all my past experiences? Then what of her? How did she came about? Question I asked myself as I hurried through the door, terribly late for work.

Days like these I always found myself late. The dream of the night before somehow had taken hours off my schedule.

“Maybe she’s someone from your past?” The waiter suggested. “Memories does that, when a trigger occurred, it would sprung out even the deepest of memories that lays dormant”

“Like a virus?” I replied.

“Exactly”

Then what is the trigger. I could perfectly view her in that vivid dream of mine, but I could not, for the life of me, identify it. Her laughter echoed through my ears, her existence gave warmth before me as if she was there, holding my hand. Before, she was just a random dream my brain made up to accommodate my nights, soon it continued up to a point where her existence has become my day, and my day became a horrible lonely, fazed dream.

I handed the keys to my waiter, and have him open up the shop for the morning. If the dream consists, I may not be up at all. With what I know, the very source of it must be investigated which is the dream itself.

“Where had you been in my life?”

“I never were in it, not yet anyway” She replied.

“Then why am I seeing you?”

“Because memories does that, it is showing you what you misses the most, what you’re about to forget. The memory itself is clinging on, banging on that brain of yours to remember” She whispered as she placed her hands on top of mine.

“So you’re saying we have met?”

“No, you’re saying that. It’s just your subconscious trying to cohere with your condition”

“Then are you a figment of my subconscious?”

“A question for yourself it seems” She giggled.

And I woke up, with tears flowing down my eyes, smearing my cheeks, feeling nothing but distant sorrow and loneliness.

Sometimes I’d reflect myself and see how far I had progressed, from one point to another, hoping to catch a glimpse of what I used to be. Was she really from my past, my future? or my brain is simply slowly breaking apart.

I’ve always been a man of solitude. Relationship has been proven, on my side, based on my experience and observations, to be completely inconsequential. Or it could be my early shy demeanor, closeted attitude and introverted life that had brought me to that conclusion. That I could’ve continue without ever needing it, and even now I don’t, what I really seek through all these mysteries is simply an answer that would balance out everything again. When I could enjoy doing I love and being what I truly am. When it occurred, it changes me, it’s bugging me from inside out, begging me to take notice of its existence.

“Maybe you just have to wait” The waiter commented. “It will come, one day, maybe not now, but it will come”

“But it’s idiotic, to believe in blind faith” I replied.

“It’s not blind faith, call it a gamble. Don’t you enjoy an occasional gamble?”

With the very balance of myself as bargain.

And it continued. After few months, I had accepted it as the way it is. It’s a part of me now. This nonexistent lady that was somehow imagined from my very imaginations had became a real person in my brain. To avoid sounding like a complete maniac, I should say, she had taken resident in my memory and she shows no signs of leaving.

It was a Saturday, and I was enjoying myself reading on one of the tables. Someone came through the door had to share a table with me. Something she didn’t seem to mind as I even offered my leave. She commented that it was nice to have a company. It was quite busy, hence the situation.

“It always full here on weekends. Glad I could get a seat.”

“It’s your lucky day then”

“Not exactly luck” She replied. The waiter came and took her order as she smiled her way through the menu, simply contemplating on the choices available.

“What is it then?” I continued as soon as the waiter left.

“Call it blind faith or whatever, but it was worth the wait. Don’t you think so?” She smiled right through me. Not for what was behind me, but rather through my physical existence. As if it was knocking a door deep beneath this flesh of mine. And that’s all I could remember of it. The waiter remarked on how we chatted through the afternoon before she left. Every Saturday, around 11.30 in the morning, she’d enter around this busy cafe and would somehow ended up on my table, to a point where we had known each other quite well.

One evening, I noticed how I had stopped dreaming of that particular girl. And somehow as I lay deep under the thick blanket of my bed, I had the deepest impression, that I was sure, that she will not be returning anymore. Not in my dream that is.

If I were to die

If today were to be the day I breathe my last,

Hold me tight, hold me close,
If the time were to come, it’d be too fast,
If I were to set upon the earth, devoured by dirt,
I am sorry; I did not mean to hurt,
If I were to die before you,
Don’t cry, let’s spend these last few days,
With everything we want to do,
Let our skin be shined by the sun’s rays,
Let the day be blessed with your embrace,
Attached with the widest smile on your face,
If I were to die before you,
Let me go, peacefully, in entirety,
I may had wished to be free, and fate had let me,
But though I despise the thought of you alone,
Without you, I am without a home,
If wishes were mine to begin with,
I’d wished for you to go first,
As I would not need to worry about death’s curse,
So I would not need to see you cry when I’m gone,
If I were to die before you,
In your embrace I went, in our room,
Then honestly, I had went too soon,
If I were to drown,
Death be slow, without a sound,
Beneath the ocean I could see the glimmer,
The amount of love we have around,
If I were to die before you,
Give everyone my love,
Tell them I’d watch from above,
But I fear there would be nothing but darkness.
And oblivion.


(if you liked it, feel free to check my other work. And if you haven’t heard, I’m compiling all of my work into a book (or an ebook). Wish me luck!) 


My ebook! (or just book) 

Hey there! 

It’s been awhile since I posted anything due to hectic college schedule and just the fact that I don’t have a laptop to write on. Sad case, I know. 

But, here’s the good news, I’ve also started a new project of mine called ‘Perfect Strangers’. 

It’s a compilation of my short stories and poems ranging from one of my earliest to my most recent. 

It’s going to be an ebook of course, and I hope to have it ready soon. 😄

If you’re a fan of short stories or poetry, you can always read some of it here in my blog. I hope you enjoy them. 

Don’t forget to share and support! 🙂

Have a nice day there! 

A story behind the ring

“Hey there. I’m sorry for not visiting you in these past few months. It has been very busy at the office and… ”

“.. Hahaha, shouldn’t have use that as an excuse”

” I brought some flowers, lavender, and your favourite root beer. Aren’t I romantic? ”

“Now, where should I start. Hmm, yes, the wedding…. ”

I talked for a bit and evidently it did took quite some time before I finished. Not that it matters. Here, the sun is just a passerby fixated on its daily schedule. It could be sunny, or rainy, or a well mixed of both, and yet, it would still leave no remarks here. The heat will cool down, the rain will flow, and the snow usually melted well before the day was over. It’ll come and it’ll leave, as if it never happened.

Some would say it’s a boring place. Lifeless more likely. Because it is.

“.. As for him, he married his childhood friend. Yeah, shocking right? … ”

I’d usually ask myself. What am I doing here. I could find a thousand other hobbies to do during my free time and yet I chose to come here. Unfortunately, every time I try, I’d find myself here asking for suggestions.

Time felt as if it hasn’t passed, even though it did, as it always would. Before I knew it, it has been an hour since I came.

The wind hasn’t been blowing but the heat was tolerable. It seems the sun is being generous today.

“… Beetlejuice died for the 250th and final time last Saturday. I messed with the battery a bit but after a few effortless tries, I knew it was too late. I decommissioned it with honour and 25 rounds of the song ‘Blackbird’ by the Beatles. The other were devastated upon hearing the news. ”

Beetlejuice was an old Volkswagen beetle we bought during our college days to get around. It has served the whole squad countless times and for 3 continues, tiring years.

We decided that by graduation we should drive the car towards the edge of a cliff and does a last minute jump before flying off and crashes into the rocks below, exploding into a million pieces.

But, she fell in love with it. We renewed some of the part, repainted the whole thing. Afterwards, it was a beauty. Not that it wasn’t a beauty before, but it has more appeal.

“.. You may already know about this, but our old teacher from high-school is also here. Somewhere…”

High-school. A short, bittersweet experience. High-school was the pinnacle of our teenagers life. A place to gain, lose, share, and to love. Some wished for it to last forever, but time has proven otherwise. Life goes on. Yet, every time the thought comes ringing, yesterday has never felt so close.

She was the flower of our glum trio. The best of friends in success and failures. We held on together from the moment we met till the day we threw our hats off to the world.

As memories fade, the route of which we took become less clearer. We’d wonder, ‘where did it went wrong?’. Something that was so close, thrown into imbalance, and soon broke into pieces millions of miles apart.

Amidst the succession of flashbacks, I thought to myself, ‘He was perfect for her’.

“.. It was supposed to be him…”
“.. And you were supposed to happy.. ”

‘He’ was the missing piece of our trio. I was always an introvert, and she was the complete opposite, but him, he was different. He was the piece that settles the others from breaking apart. He’s the gravity that settles the moon from crashing down to earth. From whatever catastrophe that the universe had prepared for us, he was there all the time.

Again, time played a crucial part in our story. They were in the American faculty and I knew that they had developed feelings for each other. I knew it. From the way they talked, laugh, and how their cheek reddens not from the heat of their own, but from one another. Just like anything that is affected by gravity, all it need was a push. Sadly, I too fell in love with the same woman.

But the heart that beats alone has no power against the ones that beats together.

“… Yet, he was foolish enough to do it.. ”

By the end of September 2015, he, the man who was known for his calmness, humour, and integrity, was found dead in his room.

It was suicide.

For whatever reason, what he did was wrong.

The funeral was held on a cold, winter day, and was visited by all if not most of his closest friends. But she never came. It was too painful for her.

I was selfish, thinking I would have a chance now, but I knew she’d always choose him over me, even in a world he no longer existed, she would always choose him.

I cried but I wasn’t sure whether it was for him, or for the fact that I lost both, my friend, and the woman I love.

“… It’s getting late… ”

I fiddled a small box within the palms of my hand, hesitating. I wanted to push myself even if it was too late. Even if there’s no longer hope for me.

” Remember when you said that there’s always a time for everything? Sadly I never found mine… ”
“… I’ve always been the weakest one from the start yet I never thought I’d see myself as the last one.”

” And before my time is over, I’d like to share a few things.

I, have always been in love with you. My shy demeanour hid most of it but every time I found myself staring at you, my insides flutters, my mind went crazy, and my heart skipped a beat. I lust over your attention and every time you told him about your day, I was always there, listening as if there was no sound that pierces my hearing except yours.

But I know you too well. What could I do, he was always the better man.”

I opened the box, revealing a small ring inside, held firmly in between the cushions. The simplicity of the ring was not a sign of its shortcoming rather it’s a way for all of the attentions to be paid fully towards the diamond that reflects perfectly for its size.

“I never knew what your size was, so it could be a little big”

I placed the ring softly on the ground as I caress the headstone. My heart aches and my eyes started to wear me down but it was her own wish to see that no one would cry again and as a friend, it was my duty to uphold the wish.

“If somehow fate brought us together in the next lifetime, would you be mine? “

Story Behind The Letters

“The last train to …”
“…. Arrive in a few minutes …”
“… kindly wait…”
“…… Behind the yellow line …”
“Just a few more hours.”

Few more hours.

It has been too long since I’ve felt my heart pounding with anticipation. Against the cold air, I sweated thinking of the ending my adventure. It was 8.22 pm the last time I looked but it felt as if time hasn’t passed at all. A minute had never felt so long in my life.
The platform was in complete silence. The machines were turned off, stalls were closed down, and all that was left was the thought of how busy it was by day. As I was waiting for the train, I stared on the clock, hoping for to fasten the time as it passes. Sadly, all it did was increasing my awareness of time, thus making it slower. As longer hand slowly ticks its way around, continuing its endless cycle, I heard the sound of screeching metal coming from one end of the station.

Before I realized it, I was laying my back on the seat, looking toward the now empty platform. Looking towards the nothingness, towards oblivion.

As the train fasten up, the cabin slowly falls into a deep slumber. The darkness was inviting, but I kept my eyes open. Somehow, I didn’t want to miss a thing. One thing I’ve always find convenient about night trains were that most of the pairs (seats) only belonged to one passenger. 8 rows, and all 8 of them were occupied by one passenger, minding their own business, oblivious to the world.

Somehow, it felt ‘right’.

———-
9.00 pm
———-

“.. next stop..”
“…. kindly wait…”
“…. train to stop..”

It has been years since I saw her. ‘She’ was my classmate during the early stages of school. Although divided by high school, we were still friends since we live in the same neighbourhood. We’d always go home together, distant from one another, walking in silence. All we had was one of those occasional ‘hi’ and ‘hello’s but it was constant. Every day, even by a little bit, I got to know her. She had a sister, 2 years younger than her but could be easily mistaken as her if they were at the same height and coincidentally wearing the same dress. I never knew, but she actually has a soft spot for animals.

I was shy back then. I’d walk beside her, not talking a thing, just to be in the same air as her presence. It was not until the last 2 years of high school that we manage to convey a real conversation through a hilarious mishap. It was about cliché ending, a topic we both agreed that was too common. Looking back, there’s a reason why it’s called cliché, because it’s common.

The distance between us as we walk became closer for each moment we spent. Every conversation turned longer, and it felt like it could last forever. And even until now, I could not remember how did that walk ended. Whether we reached my house first or hers. I don’t know. In my memory, we never did, we walked on a perpetual journey.

However, by the end of our senior years, her family moved. She got an offer outside of town and her father got promoted. And I could still remember that day where I stood in front of her empty house, holding in the aching feeling in my heart.

After high school, my family too moved. And it wasn’t until my semester break that I found out that she sent a letter. The new owners of my old house called, said that there was a letter addressed specifically to me. It arrived 1 day after we moved. The letter was full of her telling about how her place is close to the campus, and she learned to rode a bike for the first time. And at the end of the letter there was this.

‘I hope everything is well there. Send my regards to my old classmates will you. Tell them I missed them. And that cat we raised. Don’t forget to feed her. 😡 ‘

But that was not it. At the back of the letter there was a little scribble.

‘Oh, and I missed you too’
‘ 😉 ‘

There it was, a little scribble of a face, winking at me. As if it was mocking my incompetence to actually say it back. To say that I missed her too. To tell the truth.
One night, after my shift ended, I traced the letter. I travelled for the first time, hundreds of miles away from home, going to an address that could have easily changed, chasing a long lost miracle. Because that is what she is to me. A miracle.

———–
9.45 pm
———–

“What would you like?”

The waiter asked.

I asked for a hot coffee as I was unable to stand the cold air and lullabies of the night. Night like these reminded of the time I travelled for the first time.

When I arrived at the address, I found out that she has left to her hostel 3 days ago. They were kind enough to let me stay the night and promised to help me get my way back home the next day. Despite her parents insisted for me to sleep inside a room, I chose to sleep on the couch. I couldn’t sleep at all. I was so close. I was sitting in a place where she sat 3 days ago, watching the TV she watched 3 days, reading a book with a clichéd ending she read just a few days ago. It felt like the universe was playing with me.

Before I left, her parents gave me her new address and wished me luck. I knew it was for something else, but I took it as an encouragement.
One day, I’ll find her.

————-
The letters
————-

‘Hello there,
It’s me. I hope you still remember me.
Sorry for being late by months, my family moved to a new neighbourhood. It’s not as nice as the old one but I got used to it after a few months.

Do you still remember the cat? It gave birth to 3 cute kittens before I left. The lady across the street took care of it. You know the one who always gave oranges dressed as pumpkins on Halloween. Well she changed it up a bit by putting a real pumpkin disguised as an orange dressed as a pumpkin. Not recommended.

Your old classmates also said hi, but that was months ago, all I know now is that the frizzy one got into a college down south while the freckled one (who turned out to be a goddess through puberty) became a part time model.
I met your parents awhile ago. Hence the letter. Heard you’re on your way to become a doctor. At first I thought it was quite cliché but it turns out to be a vet. Good luck with it.

Just a question. Do you still remember the bracelet I made for you in 4th grade? I need it back. Hahaha Just kidding.

Ps: By the end of this letter I wrote my new address.’

—————

‘Hey’
‘How could I ever forget you? You’re the one who jumped into the deep abyss in order to save an innocent life. How is everything? I heard that you were going to move but it seemed that the letter was a bit late. I really thought that you never wanted to write back. I’m glad you finally did.

I wished I could see the cats now. I missed them.

The lady should really start giving away candies. Those oranges were a bad idea. I knew about the ‘frizzy’ one since we’re writing each other every now and then. For the ‘former-freckled’ one, I saw her on an article once in a magazine.

It was an offer on the medical field but I felt being a doctor was too cliché, so I opted for veterinary.
Ps: I’m wearing it right now.’

————
11.15 pm
————

It has been hours and most of the passenger has already fallen asleep. On the edge of my vision, I saw a light flashes out of a seat. All I could see was a silhouette but it seemed like there’s another person who can’t fall asleep.

We kept on writing back and forth after that. But the letters slowly receded as time passed. She went on her practical and I was on my finals. We were too busy to write each other letters. But the thoughts of her never once left my mind.

“I’ll write her tomorrow”

That was all I could think of. But sadly, ‘tomorrow’ never came. I never did write the letter.

————–
The stories
————–

It was 4th grade. As a kid, I never knew what love is. Even now, I have no idea what love is. But for some weird reason, I’ve always wanted to sit beside her. At that time and age, she was easily the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. My shy demeanour was always stopping me from starting a conversion but on this day, I hid a self-woven bracelet under her table. She may have seen me doing it but I was sure my ninja mode was on. It wasn’t actually self-woven, it was a finished product but the nice lady allowed me to make additional customizations to it.

Don’t judge me. I was never romantic.

Surprisingly, she wore it. But it wasn’t until in high school that I told her that it was me. All she did was giggled, hit me on the back and said thanks. It was then that our little journey home became more talkative.

————-

It was during our second year of high school when it rained heavily across the suburbs. The sky darkened in a flash and before anyone was ready, the heavens rains down upon us. Despite the rain, we still chose to walk home. It wasn’t romantic as it was portrayed in stories as our umbrella was huge so there was adequate space for the both of us. It’s mostly awkward. And it was then we heard a faint calling under the drain.
We searched for the source for awhile before we found a cat under on the pipe seeking refuge from the rain. Unfortunately, the drain was clogged up and water started to rise. We know it would be terrible for the cat if the rushing water poured into the pipe.

Suddenly, I found myself jumping into unknown depths of the drain. And all I could feel was the rush of adrenaline as I grabbed the cat and handed it over to her. I didn’t realize it for awhile but during my landing, I seemed to hit a sharp object and cut the palm of my foot. It was bleeding all the way home but thinking back, it was worth it.

————-

Months had passed since I last send her a letter. I visited her parents once to ask how she was doing. It seemed she has gone overseas few days before after a company offered her a job involved in helping near extinct wildlife around the world. Typical of her. She’d never let go of an opportunity for such adventures.

It was then I realized how stupid I am for taking time for granted. All these time I had the opportunity to actually tell the truth. To tell her that I love her. But I was always shy. Always afraid of the answer. And always at the wrong time.

I regretted every chance I used to have.
As much as I wanted to cry a river full of regret. I knew it was too late. Life moves on. No matter how much I tried, time have no mercy.

Years passed and it seemed as if I was ready to move on. I landed on a good job on a promising company and my life was in a way, organized. I wanted to forget the past, hoping to create something new for myself. Something I could remember in the future.

‘ .. beep.. ‘
‘There’s a conference tomorrow’
‘Do your best and you might land yourself a promotion’

The message was from one of my older colleagues. It occurred to me that I need to find a way to apologize after this for the reason I’m on this seemingly endless train was to due to a simple phone call from a past I wished I could have completely forgotten.

“Hello..”
“.. Do you still remember me?”

As the memories flashes through my eyes, tears running down my cheek. I hung up. The throbbing feeling returns, the aching came back, and the truth resurface. Once again, I found myself in the same situation. For some cruel reason, the universe put me on the right time at the right place for this one phone call. For this one last chance.

To what exactly.

I thought to myself.
And that was the reason I came. The reason I left my job, my responsibility, and my dreams was to find why the universe had played such games on me.

The central was the centre stations for all ongoing and oncoming trains, hence the name. As big as it was, it was still empty by the time I reached it. Lights were dimming, sounds fading and my vision is getting heavy by the minute.

“She’s visiting since there’s a special occasion”
“She’ll be staying there for 5 days, you should really meet her”
“She said she has something important to tell…”

The words spoken by my mother echoed in my head, as my vision blurred. The cab took me to a nearby hotel and as soon as I was inside, my body completely fails me as I fall onto the bed, towards my inevitable slumber.

I found myself walking again but this time alone towards this uncertain destiny the universe has set up for me. I followed the address but it was soon rendered useless as from miles away I could see the white tents and people in well fitted gowns and suits. From the view, my heart clutches tight, nearly suffocating me. My mind soon over think of the possibilities of what she wanted to tell me. Out of all the probability, my mind was stuck on one and it was the worst. The balloons, the music, the aisle, my mind knew what was going on but my heart resisted. It defects from the obvious fact that lies before my eyes. It was trying to find hope in a hopeless place.

“… May I know your name sir? ”

The reception asked. This time I wasn’t shy, instead I was afraid. Fear caught up to me. The weather was cool but my hands were sweating, my chest was throbbing and I was looking around for something. Something I lost.

From a distance, I saw a woman, dressed in a white gown embroidered with white and silver thread , which it in itself blows the other in comparison. It was a perfect dress for a bride. And sadly, I knew the face too well. Too well to hide the the feeling ripping out of my chest. In the sea of people I saw none but her.

“.. It’s okay. I’m at the wrong place”
I replied. I shouldn’t be sad. If she’s happy, I should be too. But as much I wanted to, I also wanted to be the one that make her so.
Maybe the universe never wanted to give me a chance; maybe it just wanted to give me closure.

The story behind the picture.

“We’ll soon arrive in station……”
“…. in 30 minutes..”
“ …. please take care of your baggage…” “…… and have a nice day..”

I wonder when they’ll fix those blurry speakers.

It has been hours since I sat on this seemingly endless journey. I wondered where will find myself. But soon I realized, why should I? I took this train because of the realization that it would take me toward a specific location. It was long before I noticed how the short hand had already landed on 11 pm. The blankets of which I had laid upon me were rendered useless as I clutches on more clothes to keep myself warm against the cold air.

I quickly changed my clothes, putting another layer of t-shirt before covering it with my sweater. Changing clothes was never the problem with night trains considering that barely half of the seats were occupied and most of them were asleep. The cabin’s lights were off but the luminescences of the outside were enough to give me some sort of visibility. I’d always take the mirror’s seat every time I took the train. The most plausible explanation for it is the scenery but it was overruled due to the fact that I always travel at night. Maybe that’s why, because of the night.

Going at 124 kilometres an hour, the only light source I have was the dashes of light as the train passes by. Occasionally. Sometimes there would only be darkness. A perfect reflection of what my heart feels like.

“One hour left…”
Before my big day. Supposedly. And yet, it’s also the reason why I left. A little earlier, I would have been searched, a little of longer, I would have gone insane. The feeling that my heart can no longer hold, screamed out, distorting my perception of reality. Never had I thought that such emotion could cause pain of such magnitude.

I’d slide my phone, just to see if there’s any notification worth seeing. As much as I want to let go, something inside of me kept on wishing. Maybe, just maybe it’ll change. The brightness of the screen blinded my eyes, flashing the situation with white light and even then, I was still alone. Whether it was bright as day, or dark as night, I was always alone. Thousands of miles away from home, on a foreign land, hoping to find an escape. But it haunted my for every corner I turned into. And now I found myself on the road again. Hoping to find serenity in a foreign land.

“..Next station….”
“…. Please be careful when the …”
“…. opens ….”

“I wonder when they’ll fix those blurry speakers.”
A stranger’s voice pierced the silence. I turned around to see a rather blurry silhouette standing in front of me.

“Hey, could I sit next to you till the next station?”

I nodded. It was a girl. From a single glance, she seemed like 20 or older with her long, striking, black, hair as dark the night was dangling to her back. She sat next to me and covered herself in a blanket in such ways that it resembles me earlier. She thanked me for the seat and explained the purpose of her action to such a stranger. It seems that sitting beside me puts her in a more secure situation as she put it ‘it’s easier to sit beside a stranger you’re brave against’ than to sit alone.

“Plus, you seemed like a nice guy”

The silence of night lulled the other passengers into a deep sleep. But I soon myself awakened by the loneliness. Both of us were. She would ask a question, trying to convey a conversation but I was too lazy to answer them longer than a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. It doesn’t take much for her to stop asking, and once again, surrounding the cabin with silence. Every now and then I would glance over, catching a look of what she’s up to. As the train passes by an empty station, all I could saw was nothing but the glimmer in her eyes as it reflects the lights outside.

“Lights..” She whispered.

“…the visible reminder of invisible lights..”
I continued.

“It’s beautiful”

“What is?”

“The scenery..”

“There’s nothing to see at night”
I replied as I yawn over the view.

“There’s more to just ‘the view’”

Maybe she’s right. Maybe that’s why I always took the night train. Because there’s more to it than just the view. Sometimes, the reason we chose to avoid the light is not because we hate it, we just misses the night. It wasn’t long before we continuously talk over random subjects. There’s 30 minutes left before my final stop, our final stop. And yet, it felt like the longest 30 minutes of my life. She was, in a way, the opposite of me. She travels from one place to another to discover new things and keep those moments eternally in the form of a photograph. She would bring numerous empty albums to be filled by the end of her journey. In each picture lies a story worth a thousand letters. A memento of the past to her future self. She said it served ‘as a reminder of who I was, to who I will be’.

“Who are you visiting?” I asked. The question has been hanging around my mind. I was either curious, or just wanted the conversation to continue.

She took awhile to answer.

“My boyfriend…”
“… What about you?..”

“Umm.. My girlfriend”
I hesitated.

“Let’s hope they’re not jealous then.”
“..haha..”
She replied as she laughed slowly. The talk soon turned into silence. And I’ve been quiet for too long to suddenly start a conversation. My mind once again asked me to converse in words, but all I could let out was the cold breath as it vaporizes on the window. The scenery soon turns brighter, as we slowly reach our final stop, the central.

And lights were all it was. The station was empty of passengers except of the ones on board. All I could hear was the sound of vending machines serving nonexistent customer, looping the same message over and over again. The only living flesh I could see was the workers of the public transportation service. Even they had announced that it’ll be their last trip.
The crowd soon dispersed, going to their own direction. It didn’t take long before all that was left was her and me.

“Send my regards to your girlfriend…”
She smiled.

“Tell your guy I said ‘hi’”
I replied. We both walk equally the same distance towards the gate. As much I wanted to ask, I couldn’t.

“This is goodbye then….”
“… My friend is here”
She said as she walked forward, leaving me behind.

“..Bye.”
I replied. We both went our own ways. Dispersing the final group of individuals. Because that is what we were from the beginning, a group of individuals.

“… Hey…”
The voice shouted. It was her again. She grabbed her camera and snaps a picture of me. When the film came out, she quickly handed it over to me. And as she left and turns for one last time.

“Hey, about the boyfriend….”
“.. I lied”
“I’ve been through a bad breakup.. and..”
“…and what I wanted to say is thank you..”
“ .. for the company”
“ hahaha”
She smiled. and I ,too, found myself smiling amidst the empty building.

“Me too”
I replied.

“Hope to see you again in another train”
She smiled as she waved me goodbye. She soon entered her friend’s car and left.

And that was the end of it. She will always be ‘that girl embedded by the night’, and I will always be ‘the missing picture in her album’.

Battle of Attrition

Near the border of pre-war Poland,
24th Platoon & 25th Platoon,
October 11
Thursday, 0200 hours,
Sgt Pearson P.
Pvt Vasili K.

It has been 4 weeks since the last supply truck came. We are low on food and ammunition. But most importantly, we’re running low on men. The ‘Line’, is a trench stretched throughout the borders of the town with only 30 men keeping watch. One man for almost a half of a kilometre in the cold dark night of October, two tops. If any movement were reported, the tower would send backup from other points of the ‘line’ and the local militia. The orders were to hold the lines as long as possible until reinforcement arrive. It’s either one of ours, or one of them. Mission states that the line is ‘the least possible entry for hostile forces’ due to the ‘no-tactical-advantage’ rule and harsh weather thus requiring no extra men or artillery. To be honest, it’s also ‘the least possible area for allied fortification’. Nevertheless, it never stops the opposition to send one or two squads to ‘scout’ the surroundings.

“Hmph…”
‘Scout’. Tell that to the last mortar strike.

“This is tower ..”
“.. Status update..”
The radio and the sound of insects were the only thing keeping me company ever since.

“.. Everything is normal..”

“..Copy that..”
Surely it was a lie. There’s nothing normal in such place. Rain has completely messed the surroundings. There’s mud in our weapons, food and water. Puddles of water inside the trench caused great discomfort especially to those who are new to this kind of stuff. Not to mention the smell, it’s just horrible. I served in the world war, this is nothing new but it still manages to give me the shivers. There’s nothing great about war.

“I hate this place!”

“Lower your voice, we’re not welcomed here”

“Huh?”
He wondered. I pointed my finger on a nearby bush. He couldn’t get his eyes on it but it was clear to me. It’s a wild dog, and its puppies. There’s nothing far scarier than a mother protecting its children. Not even heavy weaponry.

“What are you doing here?”

“I was assigned by tower to provide support..”

“Just keep your head and voice down”
I couldn’t see his face but guessing from his voice, he must be young. Very young. The night was somewhat peaceful even though the thought of someone or something out there lurking, waiting for the right moment to kill us was there, I couldn’t help it but to feel relieved.

“Where you from kid?”

“Grey country…”

“I meant before the war..”

“…A village nearby a city called Lviv.”

“Ahh, Ukraine. What are you doing behind the grand line?”

“…Saving my country or what is used to be..”
“.. How about you old man? Where are you from?”

“Pre-war England”

“I’ve heard of it…” He smiled. “The tale of Knights and Dragons, Damsel in distress isn’t it?”

“Yeah, you can say that.”

The grand line was like a border, or at least for the moment. It separates two major forces, the west and the east. The ‘Line’ is just a fraction of it. After the war erupted, major countries take those smaller countries under their wing or some sort. Forming an alliance, the biggest the world had ever seen, dividing the world into two forces, black and white. Each of the alliances is now under one name. Most people decided to stay with the original names but it died out. Literally. And it wasn’t that easy, white was not that innocent and black was not that hostile. In the end it’s just people trying to satisfy their greed of power and control.

The capitals of each Alliance were categorized with the colour pure white and pure black. While those smaller countries around it were coloured with a fade of white and a fade of black and territories where the alliances are left ambiguous, were coloured completely grey. In some way it’s funny because in here, no one knows who’s on either side. During the shut-in period, where the two forces chose to settle out differences through the table, most skirmishes happened in this place were among themselves. That’s why I was sent here in the first place. When the blitz strikes pre-war Italy, we were taken aback, pushing the ‘grand line’ to the west. No one survived. Those who lived probably joined the opposition. It’s not their fault; they are just trying to reclaim their home.

“…It’s quiet..”

“.. It’s horrifying…” He replied

“Why?”

“I grew up during the early stages of the war. The shut-in. My lullabies were the sound of distant gun fire, artillery shot and sounds of madness marching through the pavement. My father joined the local militia, protecting the town from invaders. These invaders weren’t even the army. It was just people from neighbouring town scavenging for supplies. There were no announcement made, no evacuation. One night it could be the west, the other it could be the east. We have no alliances, we only have ourselves. We continued our lives with such thoughts in our minds but it was enough. Life continued. The sound of war has been the norm of my life. While silence has been the complete opposite”
He stopped for a minute and takes a short breath before continuing.

“The day the war broke out of its captivity was the day we had the worst. The day I had the worst. Nothing was told. Everything just blew up like fireworks. We were taken by both fronts. It was a battle which no mere groups of militia can handle in one day. My father fell protecting the last line of defence against the east or whoever who was shooting back at him. My mother and I were captives at first but we were freed by the west when they moved in. That’s how I got here.”

“Your father was a hero” I commented.

“He is. He still is”

I couldn’t see what’s happening. But from the sound of his voice, I could hear sorrow, pain and sadness. I grew up in a suburban town filled with peace and joy although the first war had already started. I joined the army when I was 19, lied about everything except my name and live through it. Survived the war and built a family near the country side. It never crossed in my mind for me to be sent back here.

“Do you have a family Sergeant?”

“Kind of..”

“Please. Do tell more”

“I have a wife. No kids but we’re happy. We were supposed to live the rest of our lives together in a quiet village facing the sea. Unfortunately, she died because of a certain illness 3 years before this happened”

“I’m sorry…”

“It’s alright. I’m glad. At least she won’t experience the harsh life of war ever again.”

We both laughed at our pitiful lives as we burn our midnight cigarettes. The air has gotten colder as time passes and the sound of nature began to fade into complete silence.

“Sergeant! Look!” He rushes over my sleepy shoulders and pointed his fingers towards the skies. It was flare lighting up the night skies.

“It’s a signal!” I screamed.

Suddenly, the sound of screaming broke the silence. From the bushes and ruins of building on the other side, came probably 12 or 13 men running towards our position. I shot my bolt-action rifle, killing few of the moving squads. Being completely hidden and covered under the trench provides the comfort of aiming without the hassle of worrying about a stray bullet. It was an easy task until I discovered that they weren’t coming after us. They were running away. They were frantically running across the trenches, and over the barbs wires. They completely ignored us.

“Inform the tower!” I shouted to the kid earlier. I quickly positioned myself inside a wooden bunker and hold a machine gun between my grips. I have no idea of what maybe after them or us.

“Sergeant, they are all over the place! We’re getting pushed back!” The kid quickly grabbed his gun and positioned himself near me. The trenches suddenly were bombarded with heavy artillery. The grounds were shaking as if it was scared of the opposition’s power. Our position was spared but it won’t be long before another trouble comes along.

“There they are!”
Countless, from what I could lay my eyes upon were the numbers of soldiers running towards the line. Their numbers are increasing faster than I could fire this gun. The only option was to retreat, fall back and regroup with the others. The kid and I left the bunker as soon as we set up a little surprise for the visit.

“Run like hell kid.”
I shouted. From the opposite side, we were two guys running from artillery fire, stray bullets, a battalion of men and probably nature itself too. It would make a damn good movie if you asked me.

When the first few line of men landed inside the ‘line’. The bunker explodes, shattering them to pieces, igniting the trail of oil left by the only people who had ever lived there. Us. It was effective to stop them for a while. But it won’t do much against an army of men. I’ve been running back and forth between the line and the tower for supplies and food but tonight, the tower feels a whole lot farther than it used to. My adrenaline kicked in and I found myself jumping inside a barricade of sand bags nearby the tower. Surrounded by familiar faces, I quickly grab my rifle and prepare myself for an impending strike. The kid was, as expected, brave. He was shooting very precisely despite the pressure. I guess war do that to people.

Our group of 30 men were reduced to 17, but that was before the local militia decided to join in. From what I could see, it was over 50 men, against god knows how many they are out there.

“Hold the line, hold the line, hold the line,…”
Those were the words of a nearby combatant, fighting for his life. I know we can’t win this battle. Some of our men had already fallen, some had already lost all their ammo, and some lost their sanity. Charging head towards the enemy line while holding a hand grenade.

Some need to run, to surrender, to die, in order for others to live. I quickly handle the machine gun positioned nearby and started shooting randomly, providing covers for those who are unarmed, and unfit for battle to escape. Of course, I’m not alone. The kid is still there, at the same spot from before, not budging even an inch. In his eyes, all I could see is nothing but fear. Not for death but the fear of defeat.

“You need to escape!”

“And let you die here!?”

“Just go! It’s an order!”
I commanded. He was persistent as ever. I retreated to his spot as I had fired all the bullets left in the machine gun earlier. I know he won’t retreat but there’s no other way.

“I’m sorry”
I whispered before firing a single shot on his thigh, just enough to stop him from firing his gun for a while. I ordered the last of the remaining platoon to carry him to safety.

“Hey kid, would you tell the others my story as well?”
I asked. He nodded as he was carried by a stretcher.

All that left was me, alone, in this wretched place, facing against an army of thousands.

What am I feeling?

Peace.

“I’m coming honey”

My feels

Tumblr_inline_mrnq6drraZ1qz4rgp

Stuttered, sad, and depressed. I found myself saying these very words.

“I love you”

To the one who never cared. By the one who cared too much.

Note to a crush

itshurtingagain_by_stanlowx

By the time you’re reading this,
I’m probably already dead,
My body could be separated from my head,
Blood could be gushing out of my streams,
Broke all my bones, shattered all of my limbs,

Tears would fall from your eyes,
As I left without any words of goodbye,
But do even you care?
Or are you crying just because it burdens your eyes to watch and stare,

I love you from afar,
A bit close,
Yet it’s not enough, unreachable just like a star,
You kept on giving promises,
As if I have a chance,
To take your hand for a dance,
Everytime I would be so bold,
You would carelessly put it on hold,
My feelings are yours to toy with,
While your feelings for me is just a myth,

You don’t even know me,
Everytime you look you would scrutinize all the fact,
And talk about all the things I lack,
You spread your stories behind my back,
Without the truth it’s still inexact,
Be it good or bad,
I’m not glad, nor sad, neither am mad.
But now I’m dead are you satisfied?
Your wish is granted, right off the bat,

I hope you have a good day,
As I have nothing left to say,