Believing in New Year’s eve

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“Believe, that you are about to steal this moment with her. Running away with the little things, just the little things, with the belief that there are still cheap movies to watch at least. Never getting tired, the excitement ridiculously there all the time, and I bet that even without these words spoken, you’d do it anyways. “

I found myself sitting on an old wooden bench, waiting, a commuter, alone in a shed which stood on a fork in the road, on my way home, one sunny afternoon.

Seeking shelter from a dire shed with its chipped off paint and tilt posture, its once reluctant concrete pillars now wrinkled by the cracks. As its wounded soldier stance tells a story, of its scarred but proud appearance that was brought about the changing weathers, I spared time and listened by leaning against one of her seemingly tired pillars. This old beauty still remained to be the centerpiece of that place though. She was surrounded by an overwhelming knee high mantis fields, with each green grass bowing down to its queen, each time the wind passed by.

On my right sat a dust-covered backpack, resting next to my feet — my only companion in this worn down shelter. I almost forgot this feeling, the abundance of the season’s grace, of the little things around me had taken my eyes away from me, of all of the nicest things and more, that almost simultaneously, I hasten to rest my biases onto these wonders that soon to be morphed into just a mere memory that I alone had witnessed. As I closed my eyes taking deep breaths, of swollen-inflamed entwined feelings of guilt and desire, digesting the stimulus, feasting on the most colorful view, taking mental pictures to make sure that the feeling stayed on, at least for just a little while. Something has to give you away I guess, the addiction translated into something profound, from worse to better, just like that, for your very own sake, just to keep you alive, you know that you need to go back to this place eventually soon.

And soon, youth will be replaced by memories of spilled drinks from plastic transparent cups, of the million conversations you had on those sleepless nights and the laughs and the promises during your days with her. As you clench, as you take and entertain, the feeling inside just burns you alive. But no matter what, no matter how many lines may appear on your fragile skin, for as long as you are in that universe, as you fly that kite of the memory, you can say that you’d feel like you are still in your twenties still willing to run away even with heartburns and that irremovable stench of nicotine in your lips.

As each passing day comes by, as you look at your reflection in the window pane, you’d say that true romance can still be felt these days. Nobody could tell you on how really, but you know it is out there.

As I inhale the last remaining souls of these wonders, I try to capture the feeling within. Having the hammer of my memory to be cocked back, without hesitation, one tries to be awake for the next episodes. Finally ready to take that ride back, hoping that you’d still believe, and holding hands by New Year’s Eve.

Summer draft

No more airplanes just speedways, outdated maps, and crumpled flown itineraries. Panoramic views, paper cup thoughts, and backpacks; it was a romance with turquoise blue and cocaine white, as we follow the sand-tracks of the giant rolling maleta, singing along to the endless strums of our summer acoustic guitars. While most of us were trying to remember the words, some were doing their best just to be in tune. Imagine us in falsettos in the morning sun. As we find sobriety, there were no more zeros and binaries during those days. Just tropical igloos, nicotine lips, and sunglasses, along the shoreline, we were weekend bums on foot.

So this is how it feels like, I told myself. As I strike every key, writing a promissory note of scribbles and shorts, to always surrender to the integers of life. The idea is to take the ripples far, refilling my usual morning routine, putting the words together while tuning in to my old radio.

It is an idle Thursday morning, the weather is fair. It is an easy going day so far. You can actually see the clouds blocking the sun; news report from the radio says it is a windy 24 degrees Celsius. The monsoon is at its peak but there were days during the season when the mercury hits 33. I dream of Laing, our first meal on the island, the brilliant mix of Taro leaves and coconut cream with pork, fish, minced garlic, onion, chili peppers, and ginger. It was the first taste, a preview of what was in store.

A fine lesson, to always remember to throw a smile back to what visits us, a yawn then out of nowhere, seeking for a companion, the playful breeze invites itself into the window screen. Quite an entrance for my intruding guest, as it knocks over the stacked books as it enters. Maybe it was too quiet outside for my bored friend. Whiskey was out of the question, it was too early so I went for orange juice while hitting a couple of my trusty reds. My thoughts were cluttered by rhymes and illustrations from what I have just read. Skipping breakfast, I was caught trapped, trying to shape this overdue draft.  Tried to overrule the idea of writing about last summer, but the delight of the perfect blend of all the good things, the taste that lasted longer than it should, the goodness of it all were too overwhelming for my paper to ignore.

I am yet to make back up copies of the photographs taken of that summer. Memories stored for safe keeping.  As we keep up with the seasons, we cannot just bank on our neuro-capacity to remember.  Youth captured in every snapshot, stolen from time, I remember, during the Sunset, we were our silhouettes doing artsy photograph poses. Making the most of everything on what we had there as the sun held itself proud; it had a different strength compared to the wariness it displays this cloudy morning. And when darkness fell, the universe conquered the night, our planetarium in thousand folds.

We were captives of our own freedom, with carry on lights on our foreheads, our bodies lay, resting, throwing wishes over comets and shooting stars crossing the sea of twilight and glitters. We were fanboys of happy endings and of spaceships and submarines; we were time traveling through our storytelling of hopes and what-ifs with our burnt skin and sandy pockets.

Always out to look for answers, learning, and understanding to see.  I took an early dive, head first into the ocean. I could not find anything; the water was still murky and unsure. As if the ocean was waiting for something. It will not wake without its father, its bright skies. Its humility was based on something beyond compare, it was a wonder.

Trying to figure out, the immeasurable distance above; I am discovering what is in between the empty spaces. The gaps are the bridge we build every day, a connection to the person next to us.  Realizing finally, that it is alright to say that we are all but small ripples in the water, taking on to make a difference, a humble attempt to change the course.

Hits and Misses

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It has been so long since the last time I stepped outside just to feel the sun on my face. This was never part of the itinerary of the day.  The plan was, just to be as lazy as usual, glue the control in my left hand and watch the world in a tube on my wall.  Thinking of it now, catching myself a realization, I used to love being out here, to be in the same neighborhood, living as a kid, without any pretensions, to just wander aimlessly without any plans and direction, to just contribute to the traffic of random movements.

Lately I have never been good in doing things continuously. And in the way things are going, I think I need to put up with that fact. Reassessing, my principle now is of a grown up’s.  Now, I would always say that, the end of something is also a start of a beginning. And over the years I have conditioned myself to believe that my life is a series of changing cycles that one has to catch up with, every time it restarts. I guess that’s how things really are, but then, at times I still ask myself otherwise.

I remember as a child, I was fond of merry go rounds, and what I would always do was lean back, sticking my tongue out of my mouth and taste the sweetness of the wind. Silly may it sound, but there was something about the air when you go fast that I really liked.

We were in 1st grade when my Dad taught me and my twin brother how to ride a bike.

We would go biking around the neighborhood, buying pandesal every Saturday and Sunday mornings, passing by the same houses and never got tired of it. We used to race with the bees at the park. Sundays were even better with our Mom’s turbo-roasted chicken and for me; it just got sweeter and sweeter every week. Our family turbo roaster retired last year.

During afternoons, when the Duhats and the Alatiris are ripe enough, we would climb the trees to feast. And as far as we were concerned, the Duhats and the Alatiris were all we ever needed to survive. We steal Kamias from our neighbor’s for spice, and most of the times caught but it did not matter, we were just kids anyway.

Even in our early years, we had our way to out play the grown up romantics. Instead of buying a dozen of roses, what we would do was make bubbles out of Gumamela.  Pounding the slimy juices out of the leaves and petals, plus ground detergent, we pretend to be the pilots of zeppelin bubbles with rainbow striped glare that would wow every girl in our street. And when it rains, instead of staying indoors, with our air cool sandos, we would peel off blank pages from the back of our school notebooks, and instantly, we become captains of our own paper boats; our fleet sailed in the rain swollen gutters.

One morning, my son and I took a walk out of our front gate and saw the same gutter where I used to play growing up. But now everything looked different. We then paid a visit to where the Alatiris tree and the Gumamela plant used to stand, but they were both gone.  I told him of our stories and adventures with those trees, of how we caught the biggest spiders on the branches and lizard eggs laid in between the hollowed blocks of the wall behind them.  Dylan was all ears.

Luckily the Duhat tree was still there but it no longer bear fruits. Maybe someday it will again, maybe when kids start to play and climb trees again. It saddened me for a while but felt thankful right after.  I realized that they will always be a part of what was, a story of the past and of the kids who played and out grown the life.

And I guess this was what listening to all of those plastic records was all about. It was never just to read the leaflets or just to sing along. It was about something else. As I write these words before hitting lazy mode again, before resting my aging legs to rest, I would try again to relish these collisions with the kid in me, may it be solicited or not, to just crash and see what is carefree.  Hits and misses.

Caffeine, Love, and Sleep

I remember having the conversation of our lives as if it was happening before me. Her pale body now colored by the dim light from the lamp across the room, the shade was just perfect from where she was. Her painted eyes gazing with grace, she had her left arm supporting her head elbowing the cushions. I was sitting on the edge of the bed with leaflets of old cassettes, burning cigarettes and magazines, I had everything there I needed. We were scientists with our bubblegum theories and shooting stars perceptions, the wall clock made no sense- as if the night will never end.

I was aiming my attention looking past the side table through the open window. I was staring outside, but my mind was way off somewhere beneath the experience of lullabies and hums. Not my intention to, but my tired back gave in, the comforts of the sheets and my trusty blanket were overpowering. And as she brushed my hair to sleep, I was sold to the treats of slumber. I was out with the stars over our heads.

Somewhere beneath my dreams, I was being carried. With helium balloons and flying watermelons, I was afloat with the clouds – up into space I glided. I knew that it could only last for so long, but it was cosmic, nonetheless. It felt right, with nothing beneath me, only stardust, tiny heavenly specs of wonders they were. The beams of oranges and samurai blues hazed mixed streaming by the rings and the moons. Funny, that even in my sleep I could still hear her breathing. I knew that she too had fallen to sleep, subdued tenderly by the whispers of the lateness of the night.

Rewinding the episodes, it was summer when it started. The warmth of the season had just begun to settle in. With our drunken smiles, we found ourselves playing through the honey coated fields – it was endless. She had her ways, I had mine, we were incoherent she and I. Learning how to forget about our tomorrows, we wandered aimlessly through our days. It was like we knew where we were heading, without roadmaps nor directions, we braved the crossroads and the highways. We were renegades, with our bandanas and leather jackets, having no expectations in our pockets.

In those days I was looking for the answers but what I end up finding was the soundtrack of my life. A little dose of her in paper kept on striking the keys before the cold with caffeine on my side. I was on my way to my thoughts, to a place where I always go to find her. I went rushing to her doorsteps then a sigh. As I held the words within, about to slide in a letter under her door, having second thoughts, but it was Inevitable. It was bound to happen anyway I figured.

A couple of hours before dawn I turned to my left now facing her, “My love defined” I whispered in her sleep. Our night light flickers, we shared one bed, travelers in different worlds. My love was both inches and miles away from me. Half asleep, somehow, I see her smiling, thinking to myself, what magical dreams she was on. Moments, subconsciously we both hear the speeding cars outside, sleepless in their roars, from yellow over the white lane, recklessly they follow the tail lights before them, the architected paved routes they are on. And as I held her close only to lose her, Jealousy kicked in, as the sandman’s charm creeps in, it was more compared to mine.