Fake love, is love still

“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.”

 

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Flight 19

Flight 19

9:15 PM

It’s been approximately 35 minutes since my flight departed.

Do not get me wrong, it is not that I have missed my flight, I simply ‘voluntarily’ exchanged seats with a rather important character than my own, and in this story, it is a character that takes form of an 8-year-old boy.

“It’s with great regret for us to inform you sir, but you’re the only single passenger in this flight that is without a baggage. We would like to apologize for the matter as it seemed that the flight has been overbooked and there’s a single kid that has not gotten a seat left.”

It was supposed to be an option. It is usually an option. But in my case, it was not. They would usually tell me it’s an option, but in the case, that had occurred before my eyes was them slowly suggesting that either way, I will end up getting removed from my flight to be redirected to another one.

The next flight would supposedly be at 2300 hours. Supposedly. Not including delays, weather, or personal matters such as the one I had participated in, though I doubt the chances of it happening twice in one night.

“I should’ve taken the morning flight.”

I sighed.

“As a sign of our apology, we would like to offer you a stay at our first-class lounge for as long as you like before the flight. We wish you a pleasant stay and a nice evening good sir.”

What’s left of my spirit for the flight home had gone down the pipes of a roaring airplane, shooting across the field, taking off into the unknown. As gracefully and smooth as it seemed, only those who are taking the flight could actually feel as the engine revved it’s might, with each and every single nut in the plane holds on for dear life. Metaphorical life. Passengers saying prayers, mantras, wishful thoughts and hope, holding each other hands, or singing songs of adventures as they ascend towards their temporal destination, the sky. In that small space of a few hours, or even more in accordance to the destination of said plane, the destination never mattered. It’s all about that flight. You eat, you sleep, you play and you pee and if you’re ever lucky enough, you die. A life’s cycle within short hours.

But there’s more. In it, you get peace. For once, peace was apparent. That moment when the airplane dimmed its light, this 400 tonnes airplane is elegantly gliding across the midnight sky, with subtle whispers of the wind knocking on through your oval-shape window, there’s nothing more comforting than knowing that life bullshitery has ceased to exist.

“I was told to come here.”

“Yes sir, again, we’re sorry for the inconvenience caused, we hoped it had not dampen your spirit in your adventure.”

“It’s fine, I was never in a hurry in the first place.”

It’s true. I doubt there’s anything to be gained from complaining than wasting valuable time and liquid.

The lounge, as impressive as the name sounded, brings forth a feeling of serenity through its decor and colours. A slightly dimmed gold luminescence enveloped the area with low hanging lights, brown sofas, tables, chairs and soothing music playing in the background. From the entrance of which I’m standing at, the place seemed wide, and systematically arranged with passengers spread randomly, each engrossed to their own manners. Each of these people brought a reserved feeling of solitary and without a doubt, requiring no company than what they had in their hands nor with what flashing to their eyes.

While I was searching for a place to rest, I found a particularly interesting subject, a lady, who seemed to be in her thirties, smartly dressed as most of the others here, with an exceptionally intelligent face, and an immediate recognizable air of seriousness as she stared long onto the vastness of the field. Unwillingly, I found myself seated next to her in such manners that exhibit my more than obvious curiosity.

“I’m sorry to disturb your evening, but it had come to my attention that you’re quite familiar. Had we met before?”

“I doubt it. I rarely forget a face. Though the probability of it happening is possible but you seemed like a man who I’d not forget past our first encounter and it is very unfortunate for me to say that this is in fact our very first.”
She smiled.

“How is it unfortunate? We never met.”

“Because if we did, then I had forgotten such a good-looking man had ever started a conversation with me. That’s a lost don’t you think?”
She winked.

Her answers bring great surprise to me despite my brisk manners and how she reacted to it. Was it obvious that I had shown signs of advancement as I entered the room? I wondered to myself.

“Relax. I saw you over at the counter not too long ago. You were bumped from your flight did you not? It happens, I’ve been in such position before.”

“Such as now?”
I remarked. Of course, answering this, thought came late to me that she was in fact a first-class flier and all I did was offend her with such comment. But no, she did not, instead she chuckled.

“No, not now. I am a frequent flier here, hence my upgraded status. But truth to be told, I fell in love with these lounges because I too was once removed from a flight. Now, I find it appeasing. I get to relax and enjoy the view as much as I wanted in the comfort of my temporary home”

“That’s quite a statement. Are you working all over the country?”
“It’s a statement. That’s what it is, but it matters most to those who are living it. When you are in a plane, especially for long journeys, anything associated to it is pretty much home. You eat in it, you sleep, you play and you pee and if you’re ever in luck…”

“You die in it.”
“You die in it.”

This fast-forwarded banter felt delightful to me as I’ve always found myself as a man of confinement but it never occurred to me that someone may be the same in such perspective. Our talks sprouted from temporary topics of the airplanes and its majestic build to perhaps what I would call rather personal in the manner of favourite authors and quotations.

“And to answer your previous question, yes, I do work all around the country.”
She commented. She took a sip from her orange juice just beside her chair, and smiled as she offered me. I politely declined and lay back against my chair, settling down my bag against the legs and continued staring into the clock across the room.

She slowly unravels her wrist and looked briefly on her watch before settling her foot once again for comfort, positioning herself facing mine.

“What do you do again? You looked familiar. Have I seen you before?”
She asked.

“I doubt it. I’m not exactly a high-ranking individual to be recognized by sight nor by attire.”

“Well, from your attire and figure of speech, no, the very air around you, I would say you’re definitely a writer but in the end, that is just my assumption.”
“It’s a correct one then. I do write. But I have not reach the point of recognition such prolific writers would, and I could assure you, I have not met you before.”
“No, no. But you have written a poetry compilation have you not? I’ve read it before. Quite fascinating. I admire your work you know.” She smiled.

She immediately, in her current position, recited a piece, a stanza to be exact, with one finger in air, eyes closed, with her very voice as the focus, she exhaled.

“Whence the two strangers, of the east and west met, in their conformity exchanging thoughts and matters, was it randomness that brought these two souls? or was it fate?”
“You memorized it.”
I knew of it of course. It was mine.

“Of course, the whole piece was about fated strangers.” She laughed and was proud of herself as how she had memorized the line.

“Well, do you believe in it?”
“In fate? or in the randomness of it?”

“Both.”

“I see it this way. It’s the same. Fate or chaotic nature of randomness, they do not matter in life. What matters is how such situation is seen and confronted. For example, I could’ve just taken the morning flight hence missing this chance to meet a favourite writer of mine, but I did not. Was it fate or was it simply random? I do not know, but I do know it was a pleasure knowing the mind behind the words that I read late at night.” She then took no more but a second and gestures me.

“A sudden thought came to me earlier even, that you might be just another poor soul who had been removed from his flight and would be best left alone and yes, if you wondered now, if I would have started a conversation with you if you hadn’t. When that takes place, that’s another question, was it fate or pure randomness? It’s not both. Either way, seeing you walked through that door brought forth a sense of curiosity within me and this conversation would still happen no matter which universe of the two we lived in.”

“That was refreshing. You should be a writer yourself.”

“I was never good with words nor writing. But my mind is a wonderland of thoughts and you are among the few who seen it. You should feel lucky.”
She teased.

“I am.”

She gave it a thought and leaned it before continuing.

“So, tell me, it’s been a rather non-eventful day don’t you think. Delayed from your own flight, meeting this random stranger in a first-class lounge, having your own lines recited to you, will you ever in the farthest thought of your mind, write this scene in one of your books?”

“I am not sure. Would it make a good story? What would the plot be? It’s quite difficult to write it when you’re pressuring such ideals to be re-created back in context especially when I have no control on both of the characters. You are you, and I’m just a guy who got removed from his flight. There are no before and afters. Just two encounters coming from one scene to the next and bound to leave without ever meeting again.”

“That’s a harsh context. See it this way. Take me in as your ideal woman. Write about it, visualize its backstory and made way from there to here” She gestures the chair.
“And you, take yourself as a man of fate. Write it with those fingers of yours the thread of the story and sew a beautiful, heart-warming, love tale across the canvas that is paper. Isn’t it far easier when you see it this way?”

“It does. But you see, this prose another major problem in and out of context.”

“And that is?”

“That you are my ideal woman.”
She seemed shocked from my statement. And yes, even I was dumbfounded by my own remarks. What had happened to my own consciousnesses that made my mouth spouted such thoughts before such a lovely creature. Had the universe taken my thoughts into consideration, and materialize it in the physical sense that is my voice.

“Well, wouldn’t that make it more interesting?”

“I do not know and sadly, it is not up to me to decide.”

“For now, would you mind accompanying me for supper?”
She stood up from her seat and gestures towards the open dining table across the room. The long table were served under a dimmed lighted chandelier, with silverware spread symmetrically beside the array of condiments ranging from light snacks to heavy supper. Definitely first-class.

As I walked alongside her towards the table, something came to my attention which was the overwhelming theme of the lounge itself. It is not exactly something that bothers the mind but rather small sets of how the place is decorated and painted, or even smell that gave out that certain vibe, the vibe of timelessness. It struck to me that the lounge had barely any sort of indication of time except the main flight clock and digital numbers on headlights near the entrance. It had occurred to me that I’ve been talking to this lady for quite a while now and it’s almost ten-thirty. Time felt like it had not moved amidst our friendly chat but unfortunately it did and it is almost time for my flight.

After our brief supper, we both agreed that it is almost time for both of our flight, most likely the last flight of the day alongside other grey fitted gentlemen on a Thursday night. We walked towards the exit, and ‘logged-out’ the lounge before departing to our terminals which coincidentally was next to one another. Facing the huge information board, we stood there waiting for our announcements and I can’t help but turn towards her.

“Excuse me for saying this and I do hope that I am not being unpleasant, which I hope you would tell if I do, but there is a deep desire within me that wondered would we ever meet again?”
“I do wonder the same thing, but alas, it is not up to us. I’m going to be flying all over the country as soon as my project starts and I doubt I would be here nor anywhere for more than few months.”
She replied. She held up her ticket and showed me her destination which was definitely different from mine, wasn’t even close.

“Then allow me to suggest a proposition. I doubt this scene would happen again in the upcoming months, years, and probably never. So, I’m taking this opportunity to delve you into my mind for a change.”
“Interesting. Continue.”

“In the case of reality not governed by fate nor randomness as the one we’re living right now, I chose to create my own thread, my own story, and I would imagine it, no, I would make it that we meet again. But, here’s the twist, it’s not in real life.”

“You’re saying, we’ll meet again, our very characters would meet again in the pages of this book of yours?”

“Exactly.”

“That is an interesting story, especially to the both of us who actually knows the overall tale behind. But how does it help us in the future? How can I find you if the thought ever occurs?”

“Read my stories, my poetry. And you’ll find me in a place where no one would have thought of looking, or even know it was there in the first place.”

“And that place is?”
She wondered. I smiled along and gestures my head before continuing.

“Your mind, and hopefully, after you’re done reading the story, your heart.”

She smiled widely, and laughed covertly, hiding away her excitement before me.

“Very well Mr. writer. I await your next story.”

“Good. And when you do, you’ll know where to find me.”

“So, you’re putting your faith in me in hope someday I will try and find you? Is that confidence I’m seeing or is it pure chance?”
She smirked.

“See, it’s both. Either way, I know we would meet other again no matter which of the two universe we lived in.”
We both laughed whilst standing against the gate and shook our hand before leaving for the terminal. Few hours had never felt so short in my lifetime, and yes it does bring back the spirit of adventure that had lost before, but not for home, no, it’s for something else. Something deep inside me is eager to meet her again and one day, hopefully be lucky enough to witness that smile of hers once more.

My flight that night was a lonesome one, alone in my aisle with barely anyone else in front or behind me. Somewhere around sixty in this huge airplane for the midnight flight and as much as I would like to rest, my heart is still beating with exhilaration and I could not for the likes of me, fall asleep.

“It would be best to start now.”
I thought to myself. I slowly turned on the night light on top of me and pull out my pen and paper before succumbing into the alternate universe that is my writing.

 

===================================================================================

It’s been months since that fateful night and I have heard no signs nor messages from or about her. As unfortunate as that sounds, hope still lingers and I know that someday we would meet again through some uncertain circumstances.

“You’ll see me live, you’ll see me succeed in my writings.”
Those were the words I wrote within the last pages of my book.

I have the most profound feeling that out there she’s currently reading it, among the quiet, reserved group of a lounge or a cafe, slowly stripping away the content of each page and devouring its story by the eyes, focusing on every nit-pick and details. Even the thought of her brings a warm feeling of comfort and company.

“Whence the two strangers, of the east and west met, in their conformity exchanging thoughts and matters, was it randomness that brought these two souls? or was it fate? Moments shared together no longer than a night, but they shared the sense of belonging in each other’s sight, Warm souls meeting each other, waiting for the next chapter to unfold, and in secret wishing to be to be together, their hearts screams for the other, to love and be loved, past the stories and jokes told, in their deepest desire they wished, may the universe last this moment forever.”

And here I am, back to where it started, this first-class lounge that happens to be the very basis of my wonderful tale. As much as I enjoy reminiscing and being nostalgic in the presence of it, it still lacks something or someone for that matter and the way I see it, the scene is still incomplete. It’s imperfect.

I found myself staring onto the vastness of the field again while my mind wanders off to the unknown, no, rather, to the known thoughts of her of where she is and what she is doing. Could it be that she’s also staring back at me, in that seat of hers, sipping away the orange juice in some airport lounge, waiting for the last flight of the day, and probably, for company.

2200 hours.

Another hour before my flight.

“This is an interesting view, do not tell me you got bumped from your flight again?”

A familiar voice pierce through my gaze and it was a firm voice, and voice of confidence echoing behind me. And it could have been months, or even years, but I could not have forgotten to whom that voice belonged to.

“Now, sorry to excuse your fine evening, but your face rings a familiar scene. Had we met before?” She teasingly remarked. I found my face involuntarily smiles in the whisper of her question.

“I rarely forget a face and the probability of me forgetting one, especially one as beautiful as yours, would be close to zero. And if I did, then it has been my lost.”

“Charming. Well, where are you off now? Going to some exotic island to brainstorm another book? Or are you just jumping off in between lounges to find yet another random stranger to base a book from?” She chuckled.
“I’m going home.”

“Hmm, then we’re in the same boat.” She replied. She sat next to me, not opposite, but rather exactly beside me and laid her bag against the coffee table before taking out her ticket in one swift movement.

“Even better, we’re in the same plane.”
I can’t help but noticed the glaringly bold flight code as it matches mine.

“Wonderful. What are the chances of that?”

“Impossibly high. But then again, maybe it’s just how it’s supposed to be.”

“The universe is up to something.”

“He is.”

We took each of our moment, and silently continue our own business. I drank a bit of my water and stare into the nothingness again, not knowing what to say or what to do. In cases such as this, the plot usually starts with a close banter or a personal confession of the sort in order to get the story going, but I know too well the universe is not a story written by some person in front of typewriter. But it gave me sign, or rather a challenge, had it given me what I wanted or simply put me up a test to see how far I would work for it to happen?

An hour does feel long, it’s only been a few minutes since she arrived and time seemed to take its pace quite well. Maybe the best way is to start first and take the step into what I call ‘the plot’ of my life. Or if fated would have called it, ‘ours’.

“Supper?”
“Supper?”

“Hahaha, all right. Lead the way.”
She laughed and took my hand before setting off towards the dining table.

What the universe has set before me isn’t a scene, nor a story. Not even I, a writer myself could ever write about this, nor should but it is a beginning to an unknown story, a story that should be lived, instead of written.

Or both. Not that it matters now.

 

 

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.

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.

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? “

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”

A simple story

giphy (1)
(
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.

Suicide. (A short story)

grim_reaper_commission_by_n_deed-d5ivirq

Death…

The only thing in my mind.

The fifth floor, the bridge, the highway, the chair, the knife.

This bench felt cold, to me. The scenery was horrible, to me.

People was rushing around, doing their own stuff.

Along the bench was a homeless guy. With nothing but an empty bottle of wine, a small dog statue, and a pair of keys. I stared him for couple of minutes, wondering, thinking.

Seeing me in despair, he came closer. I offered him one of my canned drinks. He took it. Open it and started to drink slowly.

He’s still there, sitting there, doing nothing. We was surrounded in silence but it was nice. To have a friend, or just a stranger to company me.

Then…

Words started to came out of his mouth.

“If you even wonder why do I have these things”
He point his fingers toward his dog statue, empty bottle and the keys.

“I was once a guy with name, wealth and fame”

I wasn’t really paying attention but somehow I felt that I got to hear this one.

“I was once a guy who live with money, and gold”

“One day, I was thinking on how to kill myself”

Sitting on the bench was pleasant but hearing someone death plan was rather shocking and yet I’m still listening.

“I sat on a bench and thought about the fifth floor, the bridge, the highway, the chair, the knife.”

“At that point, I was ready to leave everything, my money, my family, and my fame, I was ready to lock the universe behind me and leave it silently, peacefully”

“Then, there’s this guy who was sitting beside me all the time, who happen to have the same thing as I do, started to talk about his life”

“He said that ‘life is not perfect, that what makes it beautiful and yet we still question the purpose of life’. Probably, the purpose of life is the imperfect part. Why do we question beauty if we already knew it was beautiful he said. He took a deep breath and continued. The man said that the answer to life the universe and everything is death.”

“The question of what came first, the egg or the chicken came up. Did death exist because of life? Or Life exist solely because of death.”

“The end and the beginning, the beginning of the end. Nothing is certain, so if our life.
All of us have our bad times and good times. All of us have our own family. All of us have our imperfect part. All of us have our beginning and our ending”

“How it started, it was beautiful. How it ended, you decide it yourself. I just hope that yours ended peacefully.”

“The man stood up and walked away”

“I started thinking about life and everything. Then I noticed that he left 4 things on the bench, a statue of a small dog, pair of keys, bottle of wine, and a note”

“I stood up and look around for the guy, he was nowhere to be found. As if he vanished into thin air”

“I took all his belongings and read the note before moving on”

The guy stopped talking. He stood up and walk away. Suddenly my hand started to move on its own and grab him on the shoulder.

I asked him, what does the note read. He turns around.

“The dog was a remembrance to the life I used to have, the life where I where I used to live. The wine resembles the fame I used to have when I was still alive, when I was still able to drink it. The key resembles the wealth I used to own, the money I used to hold. But I was too weak, so I let it go.”

“But now I remembered that among those things, there’s only one I could ever take back. and it was my life.”

“But since the cycle has continued, I’m left with no choice but to offer it to others.”

I was confused. I turned around to see the man but he has vanished. There’s no one in sight. The surrounding started to darken and heavy mist started to roll. After awhile, a knife was dropped among the three things from the sky.

A man with a hidden face appeared, wearing nothing but a shabby black robe, he whispered into my ears.
“Choose what your heart desires or death shall be chosen for you”

He pull out his arms from his long robe and offered me a bottle of wine on his left hand and a pair of golden keys on his right.

“The fame of a king, the tongue of a ruler”

“or”

“The wealth as big as the distance between heaven and hell”

I slowly move backwards but it was futile as if something were pushing me to choose.
My head started talking.

“Money or Fame”
“Money or Fame”
“Money or Fame”
“Money or Fame”
“Money or Fame”
“why not both….”

The man with the black robe continued.

“So….”
“..You have chosen greed?”
“Then I’ll give you both”

I keep trying say no, but my heart keep denying. With every bit of energy and control I have left.

I shut my eyes and rushed the man in front of me. His body is lighter than I imagined. Suddenly he started to disappear and all I could see is a small statue of a dog.
I grab it and hold it tight.
Tears started to flow out of my eyes. All I could ever think of is my life. My life where there’s a father who worked hard for me. A mother who give her all so I could live easy.

I kept on crying because I have done nothing to please them. Dying here would only bring more tears and misery.

I want this to stop.

“And it shall happen as you wish”
The man appeared again in front of me but this time he was not alone. He was accompanied with people.

“You were given the choice fame and wealth and yet you kept on denying it, you fight for something you didn’t know. It felt lovely isn’t it?”

“That my boy, is life. Keep on fighting…..”

“…and always remember that nothing is more valuable than life”

The group of men started to spin around me, up to a point where I can’t even recognizes their position. Everything started to vanished. Bit by bit.

and now, there’s nothing left.

As I look upon the bright sky, a note fall upon my lap.

“The cycle has been broken. You’re free. Everyone’s free”

Under it there was a scribble writing. It was hard to recognize but it started to take shape as any normal handwriting.

“Thank you”

Somehow I found myself smiling alone.

Thank you. For everything.

– Your life is valuable. Appreciate it.