I’ll tell you a little story…

It’s a story most of us has heard already. It is told in many different ways, various mediums and different strings of words. But the bottom line is the same: eternal love. Yet we never tire of this story, for love is timeless. So here goes:

There was once a man with a heart of stone
touched by someone vulnerable and gentle.
People thought it would leave her wounded,
perhaps scar her where she was weakest.
But she made him burn, his heart turned molten
and filled up where she was wounded and scared.
She grew strong and bold, he soft and kind.
But oh he burned and loved her most
Perhaps more than anyone could understand.
So when one day she was no longer there
That lava continued to boil, at first in his heart
But now in the very depths of his soul
And he loved her forever and ever
perhaps only the heavens could understand.

Pet Story #1

https://i1.wp.com/www.cutestpaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Cat-Paw-14.jpg

I had a cat but she pawsed away.

People Who Are Better Than Me

I choose my friends, and I am picky. I like being around people who are better than me, but first, they have to be humble and kind individuals. It wouldn’t be healthy to hang out with a genius who’s a prick, right? But being smart is not necessarily a requisite. Generally, they just have to have something that I admire, something I feel like they’re better at than I am, like being generous to people, driven, having a sense of justice and equality, knowledge, and skills to name a few. If they have the qualities that inspire me or help me learn, that means that they’ve unknowingly set a higher bar that I want to reach. I want to keep looking up than to look down.

I’ve looked down on people before. I was in a poor environment where most people weren’t as smart because they didn’t have the resources to begin with. I was the top student for years, and I jealously guarded my position. Looking back, I know that it wasn’t a healthy motivation to just be better than everybody else. Now that I am in an environment where I find so many people who are better than me, it’s so humbling, and it’s enlightening. I learned that there are different ways in how people can be smart, and it doesn’t only apply to academics like how well you memorize things. It’s not how smart you are, it’s how you are smart. So I began to look in each person I know what they’re best at, and what they’re worst at. I secretly appraise people, not with the motive to be mean, but to understand what kind of people they are and see their multiple facets. Sometimes, I don’t even have to look hard. Some people just stand out with excellent qualities and I truly admire them.

I’ve found some people that are so unlike the majority, people who are above all genuine, wise and do not fit in the mainstream. I’ve found such gems, and I’ve had the honour of having them as friends. So, I like hanging out with people who are better than me, because watching them encourages me to be a smarter, kinder, and more honest person. When I have been pretentious in the past, they inspire me to be genuine. When I’ve been doubtful, they give me the good nudge. When I was a proud person, they’ve unwittingly taught me to be humble by their example. They’re more precious than any diamond or emerald, they’re rare finds here on earth.

Sure, I still have an innate mean streak and a darkness in me that sometimes need some outlet, but I like to think that I’ve become less of a prick thanks to these awesome friends. I haven’t told them how I love and admire them yet, it’d probably take ten bottles and I’m not even much of a drinker!

Implosion

I reach out, feel the cold empty breeze.

Silence lands on world-heavy feet,

Emptiness surges a flood so deep.

Someone’s absence hangs in the air

and it has never been so sharp.

Never had cut me until now.

Longing presents a bitter edge,

But I conceal and contain it all.

I’ve loved, and I’ve lost.

It’s surprising how brittle I’ve been.

I try to hold up but I couldn’t stop

The implosion, then me falling apart.

Pleasant Distractions

I listen to my heart, try to feel it leap,
though I half-hope it wouldn’t.
Half-expecting for something to blossom,
but tiptoeing… wary…

I hope…
No I don’t.

I feel…
I don’t feel.

Dreaming…
Then stopping.

Only Time can answer my question.
Will it amount to something beautiful?
It may wilt in the end,
but…
It may be worth it.

Love.

Fireworks

I like to call them flowers in the sky, transient blooms that I try to burn into my memory as hard as I could by staring at them. Sadly, these brilliant sparks of light fade away before I could replicate them fully in my mind.

Like fireworks blooming and disappearing before me, the girl standing beside me was also about to disappear. She was holding out her hand, but I was afraid that a mere touch of my fingertips might pop her like a bubble and I wouldn’t see her again. So I did not take it.

“Goodbye,” she said.

I couldn’t say the same thing. How brief was her life! I wish we had more time! Fate is too cruel to play with our lives.

“You’re going so soon,” was all I could say.

She nodded. “This is not my world after all.”

I couldn’t help it but something in me began to burn, slow and painful. I knew this was coming, and yet knowing of it wasn’t enough to prepare me for it. “Why can’t you stay?”

“Because I’m imaginary.”

I resented that fact. Indeed she was a figment of someone’s imagination– not mine but someone else’s. If she was mine, then I could’ve made her stay. It wouldn’t matter if no one else could see her, for she was very real to me, and she was someone I desired to keep by my side.

“I know,” I said. “I know. But I mean… I mean, why?”

She was calm. There were no tears in her eyes, but I saw a profound sadness in them. I knew that look, she felt sorry for me. But I didn’t want her pity, I wanted her presence to continue.

“Will you remember me? Forget me?” I asked her.

“I suppose… I might forget you.”

“That’s unfair!” I choked on a lump in my throat—a sort of dam that kept the tears from flowing forth. A part of me wished that she would embrace me, just one last time. Another part of me hoped she wouldn’t, for it might break me completely like how a temple made of stone, torn asunder, could not be put back up together.

“I want to find you. Please tell me how,” I said when I calmed down.

She shook her head. Then she sadly smiled and began to retreat in the dark. “If it helps,” she said, “I’ll tell you this. My creator is a writer, a dreamer. She lives somewhere in this city. If you find her, you’ll probably find me, but I won’t be the same.”

Darkness swallowed her. There was not a rustling of leaves to indicate that she had stepped through the bushes behind her. Of course that wouldn’t happen, for she simply… disappeared. I looked back at the small pathway through which we came, and I saw only one set of footprints.

I was left alone underneath the sky of bursting fireworks, still unable to pronounce “goodbye” even long after she was gone.

Waking Up Under the Balete Tree

I had dreams last night, dreams of things and events that occurred so long ago that I had almost forgotten. I was surprised how vivid the memories came when I hadn’t thought about them for years.

In my dream I woke up in a hut, on my mat on the floor. I knew it was early in the morning, for the air was cool and I could see the gray sky, growing brighter, through the thin bamboo walls. Then I got up, it had been my everyday routine that I did it without a thought, and headed outside. The thin bamboo floor shifted under my feet and felt cool; in my dream it was nostalgic.

I went to the well in the yard carrying a plastic bucket to fetch water. The well was deep, very deep that the bucket would only hit the water after it disappeared in the dark bottom. I pulled on the rope and felt it sway back and forth and knock the concrete wall, spilling water and splashing it back to the bottom. A cock crowed somewhere around the house, the birds chirped, and the wind swayed the trees and rustled the leaves.

I heard a cry rising over the familiar sounds… someone was shouting. “Mang Andoy, Mang Andoy!”

I straightened up; down the dirt road I saw people approaching the hut. There was a frantic expression in their faces. “Mang Andoy, tulong!” They were asking for help, carrying a man wrapped in a straw mat. He seemed delirious, as if the earth was calling him back to its cradle. “Mang Andoy! Tulongan nyo kami!”

From the hut stepped out a skinny old man, blinking out the sleep that remained in his eyes. He peered under his palm, saw the people coming to his house and stepped down the stairs. He wiggled his feet into his rubber slippers and went to them as they laid the man on the ground. The man was shaking, and his eyeballs rolled back above his open eyelids like he was having a convulsion. Mang Andoy crouched down, touched his forehead, and then he inspected his stomach and his eyes. He said something to them I didn’t hear, and they carried the man into the hut.

Mang Andoy… yes, I remember him. He was a good man. A strong one too, although not strong enough to keep me home, to protect me. He took me in after my parents died. People said they were killed by an asuwang, and that was true. I was there that night, when the wind howled and the leaves of the banana trees madly flapped until they were torn apart. I hid in the complete darkness, between trees. I cowered, too scared to run and find help. I listened to my parents’ screams and the monster’s laughter, while I swallowed every whimper and curled up, kept myself as small as I could.

That dream about the old man, or more correctly, a memory, occurred some days before the enkanto came for me. The man was laid on the floor, and Mang Andoy called me into the hut to help. I always helped when these things happen. We lived in countryside near the mountains of Mabingay, five hours from the nearest city. Here superstition ran strong, and people believed in the enkanto. Mang Andoy told me that we often get in the way of the enkanto, disturbed their pathways, and they didn’t like it. They didn’t accept changes as easily as we did.

The man’s leg was swollen and gangrenous. I took a few dried herbs from the shelf, tore them to pieces and put them in the kettle. As I poured water into it, the man moaned, and the people broke into murmurs and talked all at once when Mang Andoy asked them a question.

“When did this start?” he had asked.

Anita, the man’s wife, spoke: “Last night, about twelve. I thought it was just a fever.”

Another one said, “Do you know what did this?”

“Maybe it was a duwende,” the wife wondered.

“Maybe a jealous enkantada?” a young man named Crispin said.

“Heh! Enkantada? Why would an enkantada fall in love with my ugly husband, eh?” she snapped and knocked the man’s head with her fist.

“I didn’t say anything about anyone falling in love with him,” he said, sulking and stepping out of the hut.

I finally placed the kettle on the stove and turned it on. Then I gave Mang Andoy his homemade ointment which he rubbed onto the sick man’s leg. “This is not an enkanto’s work,” he muttered and chuckled. “Look at his calf, there’s a wound. It’s infected!”

They all fell silent as they looked at him with wide eyes. Mang Andoy nodded and showed them the wound. A greenish-yellow pus sat there, and around it the skin was red and raw. It looked like a really bad gash, which Anton the sick man did not clean and take care of. Then finally the wife sighed in relief and smiled. “Not an enkantada?” she asked and looked up. “Oh, thank you, thank you Lord.”

“You’re scared an enkantada would take him away?” Crispin was back in the hut. “For a woman who calls him ugly, that is something.”
She glared at him. “You know why I married an ugly man? So that nobody would take him away from me!”

We waited for the kettle to boil, and Mang Andoy gave it to Anton. Then the old man put the remaining green water in a glass bottle and gave it to Anita. “Give this to him each night before he sleeps.”

That was the last dream I had before I woke up, the only one I remembered well. The rest were slipping away from my memory, but I could recall some things… just barely. What was left was a faint feeling that I was forgetting a lot of things. One of them was the death of my parents. Yes, I had forgotten about my parents for a long time, but the dream brought them back into my thoughts. Why had I forgotten them? It must have been a hundred  years, no, maybe more since I left the surface of the earth. The enkanto had taken me away, held me captive for reasons I do not completely understand. They had broken me and took away my will to escape or even move. For a long time I’ve been merely an empty shell, but now I’ve been dreaming and I am waking up. I’m beginning to remember.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/59/7d/80/597d809ac73352d30a73d96d5347268e.jpgArt by Darkcloud013 at Deviantart

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