Monday, June 28, 2010

side x side

I’m a good listener. I’m a pretty good kisser too. At least that’s what I’ve heard. Not that I’ve kissed a lot of people. I’m pretty generous. I’m always quick to pick up the bill. I’ve been told that I’m smart. I’m a lot of fun so you know you won’t get bored with me. I’m really good with kids and parents love me. If I really wanted to, I know I could be a good boyfriend.

My love is bright and warm like the sun. If you let it, I promise I would never do anything to hurt you. I’ll keep you safe. I’ll let you sleep in my arms for as long as you’ll have me. I’m a pretty good lay too. Just so you know.

Photo Credit: Like Night and Day

Why Don’t You Love Me?
I Am… Sasha Fierce

When people bore me, I look into their eyes and pretend I’m listening. I nod, make generic comments here and there and I have them convinced. I’m a little too impulsive for my own good. That’s something a lot of people have told me. I cry too easily. I get mad quickly. I lose interest in things before my mind is able to fully adjust to them.

My heart is cold and dark. I’m not perfect. I am deeply flawed. I hope you don’t hate me for these little things. They are the product of years of loving and leaving, of losing and winning. Forgive me for this is all I’ve ever known.

Flaws and All

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Because it can happen to anyone.
Because it happened to me.
Because you can only write so many weepy blog entries
    before you start running out.
Because the glass cannot be one-fourth full.
Because this song is cute.
Because I can.

Laura Shigihara
Zombies On Your Lawn
PvZ Sountrack

Monday, June 14, 2010

in dreams

I’ve never really given much thought about the future and stuff. They say your early twenties are for making mistakes. While I’m not exactly careless, I try to live in the moment as much as possible. I’m good at things I can control, my conscious mind being one of them but in dreams, I find that certain things have a way of taking over. My desires manifest themselves in figures of people and places my eyes have not seen but my heart knows really well.

In one dream, I am wide awake, naked in the middle of a white room. The windows are open and the curtains are swaying. I am alone, of course. I rise, put on my underwear and sit on the veranda to smoke. I see the city alive and hurried and find peace in the middle of chaos.

This is usually the part where I wake up. I guess my mind knows how much my heart can take. It’s not exactly the greatest feeling in the world to wake up with a heart broken by things you can’t have. But if I were to allow it, I’m sure my life in dreams would be very interesting.

I’d have an interesting job where I am accountable for little but I get to meet all sorts of people. Perhaps in one dream, I am a barista in a small Parisian café. In another, I am a travel agent in Barbados with a PhD in Anthropology. In one dream, I could be a cab driver in New Delhi with a gambling problem.

I would walk the busy city streets and strangely feel at home in a sea of strangers. I would smile at attractive strangers and strangely, they always smile back. Sometimes they follow me home and… well you know the rest. In my free time, I write or I sketch and though no one gets to see my stuff, knowing that I was able to solidify a concept once only my mind held is enough to keep me going. My study is lined with notebooks full of stories and poems. My walls are full of paintings that mean nothing to the average person but mean everything to me.

And applause means nothing to me. Because for someone to remain honest, the sheer act of expression must be enough.

I share my bed with no one but it is hardly ever empty. In all of these dreams, I am never with a lover. I am able to do the one thing I can’t in my waking life- find happiness in solitude.


But then there are bad dreams, unrelenting ones that leave me shaking and sweaty. My fear of being alone becomes so big, it takes over my whole body like a phantom mountain out of a molehill. There is one in particular that recurs whenever I am stressed out at work or when I go to bed in a bad mood.

It always rains in bad dreams. I am in the backyard inspecting tomatoes or something equally mundane when the first drops fall. I would go back into the house and stare at the rain from one of the kitchen barstools. The dream would be like a song on loop for too long. I’d be staring at the rain for hours until I wake up thinking will my life pass me by? Has it already?

The dream itself is not sad. It’s the reason behind the dream that shakes me. I am almost certain I am married in these dreams but the vows were made more out of convenience than love or even passion. We barely touch. Where there once was sparks, we have charcoal and dust. We sleep in the same bed but seemingly in different continents. Perhaps we have children but they do not like me. They treat me like a stranger. My diploma hangs on the study wall gathering dust, my mind equally unutilized. I have dozens of novels half-written. My dreams of getting published give way to school meetings and doctor’s appointments. But the part that leaves me cold is that I am a stranger in my own house. In these dreams, I am eternally embracing suburban cliché with a morbid flair for conformity and compromise.


All the time, everyone around me is hooking up or getting into relationships. The follower in me tells me I must do the same. On lonely nights, I give in to the desires of my body. But I know this is not love. This is not even life. The dreamer in me knows that my happiness will always be synonymous to my solitude. The sooner I acknowledge it, the better off I’ll be.

It is nighttime. I undress, stand naked in front of the mirror, and begin a love letter to myself. My hands journey through all the familiar places, the spots that hide from the light of day and exist only in darkened moments such as this. Right now, this is you. You are neither floating nor flying. You are alone but not lonely. You cannot change the past. It is too late for the present. Perhaps it is time to work on the future.

Lykke Li
Time Flies
Youth Novels

Monday, June 7, 2010


I ran into an old boyfriend at a vintage record bar two days after my twenty-ninth birthday. Neither of us spoke at first and when we both realized it was too awkward to just stand there, he asked if I wanted to get coffee. I think he was just being nice. Maybe he asked thinking I would decline but it was a Sunday and I had nothing better to do so I paid for my records and said yes.

Years ago, we were madly in love. No wait, that’s not exactly true. I was madly in love and he had just gotten over a long relationship and was looking for a “distraction.” Ashamed as I am to admit it, that was me. I took what I could back then. Those were such different times. My hair was longer and most of my clothes had at least one food stain. I had just moved into the city and I didn’t know that there were monsters hiding in the dark spots behind alleys and doorways.

Needless to say, it didn’t work out. Two women took him away one day- his mother who disliked me from the get go and his ex who changed her mind as quickly as she changed her hair color. For the longest time, I sat at home in tears, counting hours and footsteps, wondering how many of them it would take to bring him home. Prior to that inconspicuous day at the record bar, I had neither seen nor heard from him. That’s probably why I was stunned in silence when I saw him at the Jazz section listening to an old Coltrane record.

In lieu of coffee, I told him I wanted to get bibingka. “There’s this great place a few blocks from here.” He nodded, stubbed out his cigarette and hailed a cab.

We were mostly quiet on the ride there. The pleasantries had run out and in its place, there were several elephants in the cab with us. One was for why he chose her over me. Another was for why he didn’t write me back. There was one for if he really loved me. I had thought of that exact moment more than a few times in the past but the lines I rehearsed for hours in front of an imagined audience reeked of vengeance and bitterness and I just didn’t feel that way anymore.

“What do you want?” I asked as he thumbed through the menu.

“I don’t know. Just get me what you’re getting.”

I got us two of the café’s special bibingkas. They’re laced with salted duck eggs and threats of heart disease but they’re also good as hell. The entire place emanated with good energy and the overwhelming scent of butter. Over the PA system, an unknown DJ was playing Top 40 songs from two years ago.

“So, how’s Rebecca? You guys still together?” I asked. I figured we were there anyway so we might as well talk.

“She’s good. She’s at home, I think,” he said as he checked his watch. “Yeah, she must be home by now.” I hadn’t noticed but there were lines around his eyes now. He also had a few stray gray hairs here and there. He didn’t smile as much as he used to back then. If I were to be honest, I’d like to think that that woman sucked out all the happiness in him but seriously, it could be how the whole situation was just so darn awkward.

But I was fine. For some strange reason, I didn’t think it was awkward at all. I made circles in my glass of water with a purple straw. “We should get her something.” I said as I called for the waiter. “You can say it’s a bribe for coming home late.” I ordered a third bibingka and asked them to put it in a pretty box.

“Yeah, she’d like that. She’s been craving a lot lately.”

“Is she…” I stuttered. There was a lump in my throat that might need more than nine months to get rid of.

“Yeah. It’s a little crazy at home right now. I’ve been taking these long walks just so I can have some me-time. I think it’s her hormones or something. That’s how you found me a while ago.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was interrupting anything.”

“No, no. It’s good. I needed a, uh, a distraction.” We both froze at that word. He closed his eyes, probably regretting why he had to bring the D-word up again. And to think we came so close, so good at toeing the line without hurting anybody.

The food arrived and we ate our cakes in silence. Every now and then, he’d drop his fork and open his mouth like he was gonna say something but then he’d pick it right back up and continue eating. When he was finished, I still had more than half of mine. I couldn’t eat another bite.

“You want more?” I asked. “I had a heavy lunch and I’m just stuffed.”

“You should have gotten us smaller ones. I’m pretty stuffed myself,” he said, patting his belly like they do in cartoons. “Or we could’ve split one.”

“It seems like such a waste of good food if I just leave it here.”

“I could bring it home to Rebecca.”

“That doesn’t seem right. She shouldn’t have to eat my leftovers.” We both stared at my plate, wondering at what moment it evolved from a simple bibingka to a volatile metaphor. I looked into his eyes. He looked a little hurt by what I said. I wanted to apologize or maybe explain but he had called for the bill and I knew there was gonna be no more of it after that.

Outside, it started to drizzle. “I’m just gonna get a cab, if you don’t mind. It’s gonna start pouring soon. Can I drop you off anywhere?” he asked. I struggled through my purse for my fold-up umbrella as he lifted his collar and turtled into his jacket.

“No, I’m good. You know my house is just a few blocks away. I’ll be fine.”

“Seriously, it’s no bother. I mean, it’s technically along the way.”

“It’s not. You know that.” I said, with a chuckle so it wouldn’t seem so spiteful. “I’ll just wait till you get a ride.”

It’s a universally accepted fact that nothing is ever there when you need it. There wasn’t a cab in sight and the thunderclouds seemed right about ready to release their load on the unsuspecting citizens of the city. We stood there, shivering from the cold, me under my frail umbrella, him with an outstretched arm aimed at the highway.

“Listen,” he began, when the silence became too heavy to bear. “I’m sorry about before. If it’s worth anything, I really did love you.”

“I know. It’s all good now. We’re cool.”

“Thank you. That means a lot to me.”

A beat up taxi spit out a passenger across the street. “There’s one. Go catch it before somebody else does.” I said. He zipped up his jacket and made a run for it. His feet made such large splashes on the concrete. They muddied his khakhis from the knees down. I wondered if she would wash them for him.

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized our take-out-slash-metaphor was still with me. After all these years, he still managed to leave me with the burden of our relationship. I popped it inside the refrigerator with the milk and my feelings as I wondered if I had just undone what years of therapy tried to rebuild.

Photo Credit: Bibingka

Gwen Stefani
Love. Angel. Music. Baby.