An Ode To You, Dear Ones

“The place changes and goes, like a wind, like clouds…” so does the song say. I’ve been here forever when I was a kid and now that I’m a bit grown up, I endlessly look for this one place that will make my heart melt away. Now that I’m here again, take me away. I… didn’t want to see it like this. Not anymore. Please stop.

A town is like a family. No, scrap that. A town is a family. My family. Every single one of them – Aunt Irene, Grandma Lauren, Sabeen, my childhood friend. I can go on but.. it’s not going to help me stay upright on my two feet. Each and every one of them, I would have wanted to say “Thank you. I’ve done nothing for you but you make me feel like I’m home everywhere.” You see, home is not a place, but a state of mind, a feeling.

I had to leave. You all knew that my single parent was in dire need of help, but I couldn’t let you guys do all the work for me. I needed to be strong myself. I needed to let you all know that I can handle it. That I’m grown up. That I can be independent. And that once all is said and done, you’d all be proud of me. For that is what I want to be – someone you can be proud of. Because I lived in a family of selfless people. My dreams.. They were your dreams too, weren’t they? You see, family is not people with the same blood as yours, but a state of mind, a feeling.

And I did. I found a community outside. People, company, friends, more loved ones. It was a great feeling. Happiness, tragedy, fear – they were all mixed up in a way I wouldn’t have thought out to be. It was inexplicable to me at first, but you all knew these things right? But somewhere, somehow, I still longed for that certain warmth. And then you look at the birds – they have wings – freedom to go wherever they want to go. Then sometimes, you get frustrated how they always come back at the same exact spot when there’s too much of the world to look at.

I didn’t understand that at first. But I do now.

They wanted to be back home right? Back to their family? I wonder how it felt like living in the air? Because then, there would be no earthquakes to shatter everyone’s homes, no tsunamis to take the lives of everyone you love, shattering your heart. This isn’t a scene of my home… This.. is just.. fantasy… Please tell me.. This isn’t true… Somebody wake me up!!! Please!!! I’m.. begging you..

“The place changes and goes, like a wind, like clouds… like the traces of the heart”.

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A Story of Transcendence

He first met her on college when he’s about to cut his Physics class with his friends. Just when they’re about to leave, he caught a glimpse of her by the stairway. They made a deal – he’d ask her out and if it’s on, he’d change. A silly bet. Minutes later, his palm is all sweaty and he’s almost trembling in both anxiety and excitement.

“What the hell happened dude? It looks like you’ve seen a ghost! You barely had a conversation! She just left!”, asks one of his friends.

“I.. uh.. She.. uh.. agreed.” he hesitantly replies.

“She what?? Are you mad?”

“N-no.. No! Of course not!! I couldn’t believe it myself. It’s like… She was waiting for me…”

“Jeric, dude, can you hear yourself? Hahaha. Have you been high?” asks his other friend while joking about it.

“Get lost you two!” he says while he sits back on his chair. There is no cutting of classes that will happen today, he decided.

***

Just like that, his life took a 360-degree turn. He’d spend less and less time with his old habits and friends and more and more time with her. They’d talk and chatter just about anything continuously, day and night. Little did they realize that they were also influencing each other more. She’d help her on her studies while he gives her a bit of life outside school. It was, in paper, a perfect combination.

When they both graduated, they took different jobs. He took an office work at the city while she helped manage the family business. After office hours, he’d visit her almost everyday and 100% of the time, she’ll have a treat of some sort from him – a cupcake, flowers, a diary, even a camera at one point when he had saved enough. In return, she’d cook all his favorite meals which would put a big smile on their faces.

Weekends are just the best though. They’d spend all their time leisurely having each other on all sorts of activities – traveling, hiking, swimming, or just plain singing at a videoke bar. To the eyes of everyone, they were soulmates.

***

One rainy and particularly windy night, on the night of their anniversary, the both decided to eat at a nearby restaurant, nothing fancy. He was holding the umbrella with his right hand while his left wrapped around her waist as they try to prevent from being soaked up from the deluge. A quick and sharp gale then blew and carried away their umbrella while they were crossing the road. He instinctively leapt backwards to try and catch the umbrella, but he was met with an overtaking motorcycle traveling at blazing speed. The driver tried to break hard to prevent the impact but the suddenness of the moment made it impossible to do so. The motorcycle and its driver came off flying to the right as a result of the collision, hitting a car that’s parked on the side of the road.

As for Jeric, he flew off several meters and spent a few seconds in mid-air, then came crashing to the ground, rolling helplessly at least four times before coming to a halt. From a spectator point of view, it was the harshest couple of seconds one can see. From Daisy’s timeline though, it lasted for several minutes. Her heart jumped out of her chest and her breath taken away from her as if some vacuum entered her throat and lungs. She couldn’t stand and yet she couldn’t even fall. Her mind wants her to run to him but his body won’t respond. Her body is nailed to the ground, burning hot with her mind dazed.

She couldn’t even muster the energy to lift up her phone from her pocket when she realized that ambulance vehicles are already arriving fast. It must have been the bystanders who have witnessed the tragedy. Before she knew it, she was already standing in front of Jeric – his body being lifted and taken to the back of the ambulance van. Without her noticing it, she was in it too. It was so painful for her that she couldn’t even cry – for crying is only for heartache and pain. There is no fitting human reaction to this at all.

***

She’d spend the next year visiting him to the hospital frequently, almost everyday in fact. She’d bring fruits, flowers, and lots of stories to tell. The fruits though, he couldn’t eat, the flowers he couldn’t appreciate, and the stories he couldn’t listen to. There are times when just looking at his lifeless face would draw out bursts of tears from Daisy, each of those due to severe pain. He hasn’t spoken a word since, nor even twitched a muscle. The doctors said that with him being in a state of coma, the people around him will suffer greatly and will someday have to make a decision. But they are all hopeful. For it can only get better from here.

During the following 12 months, the once frequent visits by Daisy had normalized down. Sometimes, she’d visit only once in two weeks. And during those long periods of time when they’d meet again, she’d tell him lots of stories so he can catch up. She even told him that she met a very nice fellow who helps her on everyday struggles. She told him about the similarities that Jeric and this fellow share and wonder how they can come from different parents!

“You know what, no matter what happens, I still love you. And I’ll be waiting. Until we can come home and live like the way we used to.”

***

The following eight months, Daisy regained her energy. She wasn’t as enthusiastic as she used to be but it’s a massive improvement. She’d still bring him stories and flowers every month that she visits and would still talk about this nice fellow whom he met more than a year ago – how he changed her life and helped her get back to her feet, and how he would tend to her needs even though at times, he’d look physically exhausted. She also showed him a bracelet that he gave her.

“He gave it to me. He said if I feel like giving up, just look at this bracelet and know that you are not alone on this journey. Kinda sweet, huh? I hope you don’t get jealous though. Anyway, I’m still waiting for you. Please come back to us. Your parents are dying to talk to you again!”

***

It was soon their anniversary again and just like before, it’s raining. As usual, she hailed a cab from her office so she can get back home and prepare something for dinner. And just when she sat down on the taxi, her phone rang. It was Jeric’s parents. This was the first time they ever called her. Moments later, the cab’s destination had been adjusted – to the hospital.

When she arrived, she did not know what to expect. There was not much that his parents told her. But as she opens the door, there was his parents on his bedside, crying and holding his still lifeless hand. The doctor was also there explaining something, but she didn’t understand one word out of it. All that’s going through her mind was “What’s going on? What’s going on? What’s going on?”

“Ah, Daisy, please have a seat.” the doctor urged her.

“Wh-what’s the matter? Wh-what’s going on?”

“About Jeric. Well, to start with, he had an outside chance of waking up when we first looked at him more than 2 years ago. From our first few months of observation, his body is responding ok and we never failed to believe that someday, he could do it. For the past several months though, things weren’t as good. Even though he’s still lying down here, it’s as if his body is being constantly fatigued. It’s very hard to explain it because even us professionals couldn’t understand much what’s going on. It’s like he’s trying to get up in his mind and do something but his body won’t obey him. Also, due to the lack of physical activity and having been bedridden for a while now, some of his bodily functions are starting to give up. At this point, it’s very unfortunate and I’m sorry to tell you but Jeric’s whole body is starting to surrender now.”

His mother hugged her so tight, it just added to that familiar feeling of breathlessness. His father whispered to her that they’d be removing his life support and free Jeric of the agony and suffering.

They all wept as the doctor prepare to move outside of the room to give them a little time with Jeric. But before he left entirely, he had a question directed to his parents.

“Madam, if you don’t mind me asking, did you take something out of Jeric’s pocket? A bracelet, to be specific.”

“No, we didn’t take anything.” told his mother.

“I see. That’s odd. I’m sure I placed a bracelet there before. My mentor gave it to me a few years back when I lost my wife. He said that if I’m feeling helpless, just look at this bracelet and I will know hope. So I kinda pass it to him since he needed it more than me then. Oh well, I guess it must have dropped off somewhere. Anyway, time for me to step out side for a while. Just call me when you need me.”

And like a needle piercing her heart, Daisy remembered.

“Excuse me! Was that bracelet of blue color with one yellow thread on its knot?” asked Daisy.

“Why, yes! That’s it! So you’re the one who picked it up then? I see, well that explains it. Take care of it alright?” tells the doctor as he steps out and closes the door.

When she heard that confirmation, she thought she’d be more surprised and confused than she is now. For some reason, that affirmation was comforting. She turned back to his parents and told them if she can get a moment or two with Jeric, so they stepped out of the room momentarily. Daisy then sat down to his bedside, and held his now very thin hands.

“At first, I thought that was you. Then I told myself, “Don’t be silly, that’s just impossible!” He’d treat me the way you do, and maybe that’s why my heart grew closer to him over that period of time. I felt really bad and told myself that I was being unfair to you. But instincts are never wrong, are they?”

At this point, she could no longer hold back the tears. She cried a lot but still tried to talk with her sobbing and quivering voice.

“Instead of me looking after you, you’re the one looking after me, aren’t you? How selfless are you, you, you…! Giving up your own life for a little of my happiness! How could you do that! Please stop doing that!! How do you expect me to live on knowing you’re no longer with me from now on! Please… Stop being so kind to me…”

She wept several minutes more before she can wipe away the tears from her eyes and kiss his forehead.

“I will keep this bracelet you’ve worked so hard to give me. Now, take a rest. The world is too cruel for you to stay here. I will be fine. I am comforted by the fact that there’s always someone who loves me more than his life. I’ll take care of myself.. and your parents too!”

And just when she’s getting teary-eyed again, she just shrugged it off and kissed her on the forehead one last time.

“You are the love of my life, and it will stay that way. I’ll miss you forever!!”

She couldn’t hold back the tears then as she tightly covered her mouth with both her hands, trying to stop the crying. She then took the bracelet out of her bag and wore it. Afterwards, she carefully walked away from him without looking back, opened the door quietly, and nodded to the doctor. The doctor with the nurses then entered the room and closed the doors. Jeric’s parents and Daisy wept many tears but as long as the bracelet tightly hugs the wrist of Daisy, she knows she’s never alone. That in itself makes living and moving on all the more worthwhile.

That Exuberant Feeling

“It slowly began to dawn on me that I had been staring at her wordlessly for an impossible amount of time. Lost in my thoughts, lost in the sight of her. But her face didn’t look offended or amused. It almost looked as if she were studying the lines of my face, almost as if she were waiting.

I wanted to take her hand. I wanted to brush her cheek with my fingertips. I wanted to tell her that she was the first beautiful thing I had seen in three years. That the sight of her yawning to the back of her hand was enough to drive the breath from me. How I sometimes lost the sense of her words in the sweet fluting of her voice. I wanted to say that if she were with me then somehow nothing could ever be wrong for me again.

In that breathless second I almost asked her. I felt the question boiling up from my chest. I remember drawing a breath then hesitating – what could I say? Come away with me? Stay with me? Come to the University? No. Sudden certainty tightened in my chest like a cold fist. What could I ask her? What could I offer? Nothing. Anything I said would sound foolish, a child’s fantasy.

I closed my mouth and looked across the water. Inches away, Denna did the same. I could feel the heat of her. She smelled like road dust, and honey, and the smell the air holds seconds before a heavy summer rain.

Neither of us spoke. I closed my eyes. The closeness of her was the sweetest, sharpest thing my life had ever known.”

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
Chapter 33: A Sea of Stars

 

It’s the 7th day of the month… again.

And my heart is broken still.

How many more months before I can feel that the 7th day is just an ordinary day, like the 16th, or 29th? It’s really agonizing. I mean, when you think about it, it’s only been four months! On Sunday, the whole world will celebrate Mother’s Day and this is the first time that we won’t be celebrating it. In fact, it will be the first time of many from hereon – Christmas, New Year, etc. I used to be giving her cakes and all that but at this point, nothing will suffice but just flowers, a candle, and a prayer.

You’d think that after more than one-hundred and twenty days, everything will be back to the way it was. It isn’t. Barely moving forward in fact. And it’s the one reason why I don’t want to be staying home for too long – because everything feels unnatural! The afternoons are so quiet and the dinner all the more.

I’d be going home from work and no one will greet me a warm welcome. I’d shed a tear.
I look at the kitchen and imagine her cooking us a meal. I’d shed a tear.
Time to go to sleep with the whole day spent at home, not even talking to her. I’d weep some more.

Last Friday, I went to the church to talk with you. Were you able to listen to all my troubles? I haven’t had the chance to talk about them to you before. It’s lousy isn’t it? Now that I know I won’t be expecting any reply soon. Maybe in kind (I hope).

Anyway, it’s getting longer than I intend it to be and I don’t want my keyboard to be soaking wet.

Know that you still are the love of my life. I miss you a lot!

I Will Not Offer You The World

I will not offer you the world. Period.
Because quite frankly, I cannot offer you the world.
Not a part of it is mine.
Nor even a tiny speck of its wonders. No.

I just… simply cannot do it.

I cannot show you all the oceans you so dearly love
I cannot reach the top of mountains and shout out loud
The feasts and the food we all so crave
I’m sorry, there is just no way.

But there are things outside of ‘that’ world
That should find you much delight and happiness
I’d be more than willing to provide them to you
If only you’d let me to.

Now… let me show you.

Have you ever wondered how many stars blanket a clear, night sky?
Let me count them for you then, over and over and over
And when I count, I shall describe to you how each of them
Sparkle uniquely, shining your darkened path. Always.

On your way to work and back home, do you stop by to smell the flowers?
There’s a reason why they were placed that way.
Or recall memories upon hearing a song? Upon being touched by the cold wind?
Those too are world’s wonders you don’t want to be missing.

Still… nothing beats being personal.

Do you have a recognition, perhaps small wins? Then let us celebrate!
Let me get you a glass of drink when you’re feeling exhausted and worn out.
Do not mourn a loss only by yourself, we are all interconnected.
For whatever reason it may be, I am at your disposal.

And when you’ve had too much of the world, one too many for you to handle
Come to me. Let’s talk.

Tell me your burdens, tell me your desires, your insecurities and your hopes
And little by little, you will notice; That your world will soon be my world,
And that what I’m giving you, and willing to offer you,
Is not the world (for I cannot offer you that)
But my world.

And you shall see yourself in it.

By then you would have realized, you are not alone.
And that the world that you have longed for –
The oceans, the mountains, the feasts, and the food
Will be nothing but just a backdrop.