Hear my plea,
I sometimes think,
Don’t you see,
That I’m just another,
Stranger who’s not meant to be,
Who reminds me,
Of the one,
It once was,
The way we used to be,
“Why were you in love with me?” He wondered. His morning coffee sat quietly beside his toast, unstirred and unflavoured.
“I honestly don’t know.” She replied. “I feel that, maybe ‘we’ could’ve worked out.”
“But we both knew how it would end. We knew we weren’t made for it. Life is too easy for it to be just that.” He replied. “So, why did you stay?”
“Because helping you, in a way, helped me too.” She sat there, hand on her cup of coffee, sipping it, letting the slightly hot liquid warms up her cold body.
“Why? What good could you possibly gain by trying?” The crumbs of his toast fell as he munches them down one by one.
She put down her coffee and wondered off to the distance for a moment, before looking back into his eyes. The ones she spent countless hours staring into before. “Catharsis.”
“Maybe.” She continued. “Maybe, all I wanted was to love and be loved. And to say sweet encouragement and words of wisdom, hoping one day I too would be as strong and as brave as the person I led people to believe.”
“To you, I was just an emotional wreck that needed help is it?” He questioned.
“Yes. You could say.”
He took his time, thinking on what to say next. The morning clock ticked away in anticipation, without the need of any permission nor recognition, time moved on.
“It’s kind of funny when I think back about it.” He finally spoke up. “In a way, I too was using you.”
“I wanted to have someone to tell me that it was going to be okay, that life isn’t as hard as I make it out to be, and that maybe it will work out in the end.” He continued. “And you fit the description.”
“So, what were ‘we’?” She asked.
Sitting there within the roadside café amidst the morning crowd, the two stood among the others. A couple of misfits, or rather, a misfit couple.
“Therapy.” He answered.
“It’s not your fault I’m like this. And it’s not mine either that you’re the way you are. It’s just that sad people attract one another.” He explained.
She went on, ignoring her sandwich on the table. “But still, what are the chances of it working out? It’s a big world out there, I’m sure at least 1% of them would’ve worked out.”
“Sadly, my dear, we’re not that 1%. We’re the rest of the 99% losers. We’re the ones who think love alone could fix our problems but was too oblivious to the fact that ‘love’ too was a part of the problem.”
“We were too busy playing ‘love’ that we forgot to grow up.” He continued as he finished the rest of his tasteless coffee. “Two broken hearts won’t fix a single one.”
“So, why did we bother at all?” She asked, staring onto him, looking for an answer.
“Because fake love, is love still.”
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.
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.
(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!)
“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? “
“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’.
“.. 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.
“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.
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.’
‘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.’
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.
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.
“.. 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.
(I’m Neither Happy nor Angry, Just sad)
It was during birthday celebration when I suddenly choked on a piece of cake that was supposedly the softest one in town. After that embarrassing scene, all I wanted to do was to go away when I caught a glimpse of an astonishing young lady walking across the room. Before I knew it, I was heading there, head first as bold as brass. Somehow, I got off on the wrong foot as my foot was on hers before slipping and falling down flat on my face. Literally.
I guess I managed to crack her up as she was seen giggling instead of screaming in pain, running away, or beating me with her handbag, like other girls would do every time they meet me. Tough luck, I know. I decided to put my chin up because the floor was dirty as hell and there’s no way I’m giving up now. I have come a long way, battled a lot of embarrassing moments to be defeated by a mere incident.
“You’re that cake guy”
She addressed me. Instead of adding insult to injury, she was rather shy or simply evading the fact that my life was too hilarious and sad to not laugh at. Being someone who could easily lose their nerve, I was able to keep it in during the entire conversation. We talk and talk, changing from one topic to another. We talked from A to Z but I was too much of a coward to ask for her numbers or locations, or anything for that matter. Before I knew it, I have fallen head over heels over this person. It was surprising indeed as she was wearing sneakers during the event.
Time sure flies when you’re having fun. Without notice it’s already midnight, the party has ended and the numerous crowd began to recede. Silence take place and the atmosphere has become dark as the night. She thanked me for a wonderful evening before hitting the road with her family. And in the end, all I got was a name and a memory. By the time I went home, I realized how foolish I am to not grab that opportunity. I’ve missed the boat and there’s nothing left to be done but to hit the sack.
Feels man, feels.
There you are, standing on the altar, to witness the arrival of the love of your life dressed in an angelic heavenly white gown, to be walked by her father toward another man with you as the best man.
The one you love doesn’t feel the same way about you.