Monday, January 22, 2018

on how we went to bed one night and never shared a bed again

Nobody tells you about the moment. It’ll creep up on you and will have passed before you even realize it was there. Nobody warns you but at some point, you got into bed with somebody, slept, woke up, got ready for work, and never shared a bed again.

If somebody had told me, maybe things could have been different. Maybe I would have held him tighter, kissed him one last time so he would change his mind. Maybe I would’ve told him about how you could take a flight from Sydney to Hawaii and land the day before. We could go back in time. We could change. I could change. You don’t have to do this.

But memory is a tricky thing. Science tells you that we forget more than we remember and when prompted, the brain will fill the void with anything it can get its hands on. But forgetting is a feature, not a bug. We couldn’t possibly remember everything we have ever seen or done. Our brains just aren’t built for that kind of storage. And so we make do with what we have. We fill in scenes with fragments that may or may not have taken place. We imagine because we forget.

And I wish I could say I remember everything about him. On most days, I remember how it felt to be in his arms. I remember his breath on my nape as he slept. I remember the roughness of his hands as he held mine. I look up at the fingernail moon and wonder if all we lost may simply be hiding.

And so I take that flight from Sydney to Hawaii. I turn back the hands of time. I fill the spaces in my memory with whatever I can get my hands on. And as he gets into bed with me, I push my body against him one more time and pray he could somehow hear each beat of my heart.

“Tell me a lie,” I say. “Just like before.” Soft whispers in his ear trickle down like water.

“I won’t miss you.”

“Tell me another one.”

“You don’t still turn me on.”

“Another one.”

“I don’t love you anymore.”

“I told you to lie to me,” I tell him. “That wasn’t a lie.”

“How would you know? You weren’t there.” I bit my tongue. He’s right. I wouldn’t know if he was lying. All I knew was either way, it was going to hurt.

By now, I’ve put enough distance between us to know that there wasn’t going to be a good answer. Maybe he did still love me. Maybe I could have done something or said something to make things different. But I didn’t and now the hours and miles between us are too massive, too imposing to simply ignore. And so I sit here filling the gaps of my memories with nothing but the ghosts of our love.

“Now you tell me a lie,” he commands.

“This doesn’t really hurt.”

“Tell me another one.”

“I wish you all the best.”


“I will never forget you.” That wasn’t a lie. Good or bad, this love has wounded me so deeply that years later, I can still run my hands over the scars.

I awake from a daydream yearning for a time so clear, it could have been a memory. Whatever happened to us? I used to see us, hands clasped, silver in our hair, waking up to a million forevers. Why did you have to lie?

♫: Ben&Ben | Kathang Isip (2017)
Post: reprising the teacher

WE'RE BAAAAAAACK. So a bunch of bloggers headed by @jace_n decided we all missed the olden days so much, we've come back for what I hope is not the last of these writing prompts. I was supposed to publish on the 20th but life got in the way. Blah blah blah. Here are the other entries:
PS. If you wrote an entry and I wasn't able to include you, just holla below.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

no room in my heart for hate

A few years ago, I discovered that someone had taken some of my stories and posted them as his own. I have had many regrets since then but an unspoken one is I wish I had been mature enough to see beyond what happened, beyond what he did. Instead, I posted screenshot after screenshot of his supposed crime. I wanted him to hurt as much as I was hurting then. His apologies were left unanswered, his attempts to reach out and rebuild unequivocally rebuffed.

I let hatred out of my heart and into the world not fully realizing that it may take days, hours, even years but hate always has a way of coming right back to you.

Recently, it's come to my attention that he has been saying hurtful things about me online - half lies too many to disprove, too pointless to discount. I know a couple of the people egging him on but most were relative strangers to me. They insulted my writing, my work, and even my physical appearance. I couldn't understand how there could be so much hatred out there, and from people I didn't even know.

I have scratched the itch that is hatred for such a large part of my life. And while it is easy to play the victim and fuel the flames of this narrative, today I choose to be different.

I saw this wall of letters in a hotel a few weeks ago and I thought it was interesting how if you extended it to infinity, you could build infinite combinations of letters, words, and sentences. Somewhere in this wall are all the things you have wanted to say but couldn't. I could pick out the letters I like - strike back, say mean things, fight fire with fire - but what would that accomplish? What good would that do to either of us?

So instead, I pick out this combination. I forgive you. I release you. I hope you find the courage to move on.

I have. And let me tell you. It feels great.

To quote the brilliant Wachowskis in Sense8, there is simply no room in my heart for hate.

♫: The Beatles | All You Need Is Love - Love Version (2006)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

your umbra, my penumbra

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration defines an eclipse as an event where one heavenly body such as a moon or planet moves into the shadow of another heavenly body. There are generally two kinds of eclipses: a lunar eclipse where the Earth blocks the sunlight that is normally reflected by the moon and a solar eclipse where the moon blocks the light of the sun from reaching the earth. In cases on total solar eclipses, the sky becomes very dark, as if it were night.

I remember holding your hand as we made our way through the crowd. I remember the beads of sweat glistening on your forehead as we looked for our perfect spot. I remember the strength of your arms, your sinewy muscles as you laid out a blanket on the damp grass. I remember you squinting your eyes, your right hand resting on your brow as you struggled to see.

The sky began to darken as we sat down. I squeezed your hand tighter as the crowd began to scream louder and louder. Through high-powered lenses, we watched as the moon emerged, encroaching gently on the sun. I watched as that big ball of light faded into unnatural shapes - a bitten apple, a child's toy, an orange wedge, slowly retreating to a fingernail. The crowd grew in fervor and despite warnings from the government, a number looked directly at the sun. How could you look away when you know that these things only happen once in a lifetime?

I didn’t look at the sun. I didn’t look through the lens. I was looking at you. You were all at once so beautiful, so curious, and yet so dangerous. I could’ve stayed there looking at you forever. The sight of you was more beautiful, more breathtaking than the sun, moon, and Earth combined.

For what seemed like a millisecond, the whole world was wrapped in darkness. I held my breath and closed my eyes, letting the sound of the crowd, the warm August air, the grip of your hand, the magnitude of a solar eclipse in our lifetime – I let it all wash over me. For a second, I was no longer in my body. I had somehow found a way to fly away into the darkness. I was floating in zero gravity. I had never felt so calm, so free. That’s probably why I didn’t notice you’d let go of my hand. You let go of me.

I opened my eyes. It was the afternoon again. The crowd began to put their cameras and their sandwiches away. Everywhere, everyone was moving on with their day. It was as though the eclipse and all that came with it had never happened. I looked to where you were but you were gone. I searched through your face in the crowd but you weren’t there. Why did I look away when a love like yours only happens once in a lifetime?

In the middle of it all, it was as if the moon stayed put and there was nothing but darkness. Some eclipses last a few seconds. Some stay for a few minutes. Some of us are still waiting for the sun to come back.

♫: Jill Andrews | Total Eclipse of the Heart (2013)
Photo: eclipse
Text: NASA