Monday, September 5, 2011

vacant

  
  
“Story,” I called out from the darkness. The dungeon was dark so I brought out my lighter. I spotted him in the corner, sleep in his eyes. “C’mon Story. Let’s go. It’s your turn.”

“Not today, boss.” he said. “You’ve got something else you need to write.”

I looked around the room. Stories in various states of finish looked at me and then ran away into the darker parts of the room. “They don’t want to be written today either.” He looked at me, or rather looked through me as if to say he knew something I didn’t want him to know.

“Is it that obvious?” I asked. “I thought I was hiding things pretty well.”

“You are. But we know better.” One by one, my stories came towards me. They wrapped around my legs, some crawled up my back as they fought to lay me flat on the table. Some struggled with my button fly, others with the leather to bind my hands and feet. Stripped and bound, I took a deep breath to get started.

“You could go on and on and on, given the state you’re in. You could fill a whole novel about your sadness,” Story warned.

“What do I do?” I asked. “How do I even start to talk about how my love died?”

“Focus on what’s important.” His beady eyes still sliced right through me. “Focus on this.” His bony finger resting on my heart, I knew just what I needed to say.

“Write this down.” I began. “Before I forget, I want to tell you I love you…”

---

Before I forget, I want to tell you I love you. I can feel my fickle brain, fragment after fragment pulling you away from me. I close my eyes, trying to remember your face, the way your eyes squint when you laugh at my jokes or the wheeze you make from smoking too much. Memory is a tricky bastard. Count on it all you want but it’s got a mind of its own.

There are moments when I find myself staring at lost corners of the room. I think about our plans, the children we were going to have (adopt?). One was gonna be a boy and he was gonna be like me. He’d be friendly, not that smart but really active in school. We talked about him playing sports, the unlived lives of his fathers coursing fiercely through his blood. I remembered our daughter, how she was gonna have your gentleness, your eyes, how she was gonna be a dancer. I pictured her pink tutu as she fluttered around the kitchen. I saw her poetry written in crayon, magnets on the refrigerator door. And then memory took her away. He took them all away.

And then anger fills the Vacant. I picture you, I picture him. I close my eyes and all I can see are his hands on your body, your mouth on his lips. I hear your moans and I hear his (with the voice I imagined he has). I clench my teeth, my fists, my soul. I’d punch my eyes out if it would stop these tears. I stare at my reflection in the mirror, feeling ugly, feeling obsolete and unworthy of anyone’s attention. I hear the collective laughter of my exes, how they said I would never amount to anything. I listen closely, wondering if you had already joined them.

And then shame fills the Vacant. Last night, I dreamed that I was flying and everyone could see. I was yelling, screaming, squealing with delight. I relished the moment, setting myself apart from those I walked the earth with. I’m different, I’m special, I seemed to say. My feeble wings reeked of bird shit and glue and then I flew too close to the sun.

I still hear your voice when the room becomes quiet. There are days when I feel okay. Then there are days like today when I stalk you both obsessively on Facebook. Part of me is praying you’d unfriend me soon so I wouldn’t see the pictures you just posted or his vague status I saw right through. And then the vacant fills the Vacant and it’s a struggle to remember your face, the way your eyes squint when you laugh at my jokes or the wheeze you make from smoking too much. So before I forget, before my mind loses to its own defenses, I want to say I love you.

---

“I promised you a song. We had just met and you asked if I could sing. I’m sorry I never got to.” I opened my eyes but it was still dark to see. From behind me, I could hear Story scribbling angrily on my notebook.

“Who was it that said that loving is too short and that forgetting is too long?” I asked Story as he wrote down my last few sentences.

“Neruda,” he answered, almost instantly. “That bastard.”

“Let’s throw that in somewhere.” As our voices faded into the night, the other stories untied me from the table. The leather left marks on my skin. I sat up, the cold creeping from the window to the table to the small of my back.

“I want to forgive him, Story. I really do. It’s just…” I looked around me and I realized I was alone.

Someone wise once said that love is a series of choices and that you choose to love somebody despite understanding, despite all your defenses. I’m sorry I chose myself.

We are born innocent.
Believe me, Adia.
We are still innocent.
It’s easy. We all falter.
Does it matter?

♫: Sarah McLachlan | Adia (1998)

62 comments:

  1. Neruda had issues. Story? Story is but a reflection in a mirror with eyes.....

    Rick

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Rick: I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. I want to be a walrus.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hope you do forgive, Nyl. I understand how you feel.

    It's one of those days all over again, I suppose. So I guess those days are gone.

    Kane

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Kane: Thanks for the empathy. Remember this conversation we had mga a year ago about how I was worried na it would all turn to shit? Akala ko naman kasi I was done with my dog days. Ugh, I can hear myself talking as I type. I'm so whiney.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "So before I forget, before my mind loses to its own defenses, I want to say I love you"

    Wow. Such an honest post.I'm sure you'll learn to forgive. One day.

    *Hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think we can allow ourselves to whine. Once in awhile.

    But wasn't it beautiful while it lasted? Perhaps it is enough.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "you could fill a whole novel about your sadness."

    aaahw. :) just know that there will be and there are people behind you, every step of the way.

    aja Nyl! kaya yan :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Apol: Oh honey, you should've seen what I left out. Angry bitch post to when it started.

    And here's to forgiveness. *clink*

    @Kane: It was. There'll come a time when I'll appreciate what we had instead of moaning about what happened. I just don't think it's gonna happen any time soon.

    @Rei: Thank you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. don't aim to forgive, in the long run, it will only inflate the god-complex and we are back to icarus. rather, my advice (unsolicited) is to aim to understand.

    by understanding, you can change the past and the future. without it, you are condemned to the same past, the same future. that is karma and that is the road to liberation. i think.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You're so wise for someone so young. One day, perhaps.

    So... for now, go moan. We all know the drill honey. Take a deep breath!!!

    Kane

    ReplyDelete
  11. @LOF: I think if they were to ever make a TV series out of my life like you suggested two posts ago, you'd always show up with a long beard and a flowing off-white robe. I need a hard reset, LOF. Maybe then, I'll understand what he did.

    @Kane: Awww sweetie, that's so nice of you. I didn't peg you as a generous compliment-er. lol

    Thanks Kane. I'll be fine. Folks like us, we always get by.

    ReplyDelete
  12. on the other hand, no pressure in terms of time. if you force it, it would be just as bad as that christian crap of forgiving (and assuming the unconscious role of god). as for the hard resets, it sounds like it already happened without your conscious initiative and you're looking at a blue screen with white letters wondering how to get back to the regular startup window.

    (and yes, the senex is the shadow of the puer: although i'll leave the flowing robes for YJ.)

    ReplyDelete
  13. @LOF: So no more plumbers? Jeff will be so sad.

    ReplyDelete
  14. let's put it this way. i myself don't consider it a valid hard reset unless i'm the one doing the resetting. =P

    ReplyDelete
  15. @LOF: Point taken. Either way though, I'm pretty sure it'll fuck me up even more. I get addicted easily these days. Right now, I'm hooked on really ripe bananas. You know the ones that are about to get bad? It's the only thing that fills me these days. If I see the plumber, I might lose all my money from repeat service. lol

    ReplyDelete
  16. There, there. Let's talk some time.

    ReplyDelete
  17. oh and i'm in favor of addressing a compulsion head-on if fear of it is the only thing stopping me.

    ReplyDelete
  18. @nyl: i was sooo engrossed in your post.. i felt i was transported to the place where Memory, you, and Story were.. like i was really there.. you na!! you already!!

    it seems like Story is a sadist.. or maybe it's just how i see it.. anyway, i hope Memory won't eat you up and get the best of you.. i hope you'll allow Forgiveness to meet Story.. that would be really something to narrate about..

    since you & Story both grow in one, i'm looking forward to reading more of you & Story.. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  20. and that Placebo remake of Running Up That Hill was playing while i was reading this....

    "Tell me we both matter, don't we?" - hurts everytime!


    Nothing makes you feel uglier than a nasty break up my friend. You told me that!

    now, come and let's take a walk along the outskirts of your city.

    maghanap tayo ng mga papel sa poste! kailangan na natin ng hard reset ni LOF! bwahahahahaha

    ReplyDelete
  21. *sigh!* this, too, shall pass. hug na lang kita. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. The view changes, depends on where you're standing. Maybe all I can say out of a handful of stories I gathered that we are all duty bound to find beauty in everything.
    .
    .
    And Kane is right, we all know the drill, yes?

    ReplyDelete
  23. That was so sad, and yet so, so beautiful, Nyl.

    ReplyDelete
  24. @Yohan: Thanks. I'll text you pag may plano.

    @LOF: Naughty naughty..

    I guess it's not fear of compulsion. It's fear of bankruptcy. lol

    @Nate: Thanks! It's nice when people get it. Minsan kasi, I'm so in my head na it takes different meanings.

    This isn't the end of Story. Narealize ko, third incarnation na niya to, hence the new label.

    @YJ: listening to it now. Hay, mare. Sana pwede kong kainin sarili kong advice.

    @Kiko and Aris: Salamat. :)

    @Desole: Salitan lang tayo ng emo, e no?

    @Rudeboy: Glad you liked it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. "I hear the collective laughter of my exes..."

    -- relate kung relate ako. parang yung sinabi ko lang sa post ko dati na "I felt conspired at, ridiculed". Emo lang.

    ReplyDelete
  26. @Green Breaker: It might be a Leo thing. But anyway, we all have our emo moments naman, diba?

    ReplyDelete
  27. It might be a Leo thing.
    Well, maybe. Lions are territorial so they are kinda lonely that way. When all the hunt is up, we just think if the prey was worth it. Shoooz, lalim-laliman! Pasensya na.

    ReplyDelete
  28. @Green Breaker: I was actually thinking along the lines of we value our image so much. Like when we succeed, we feel like everyone's cheering for us and when we fail, we feel everyone's heckling.

    ReplyDelete
  29. just to clarify my comments regarding forgiveness. forgiveness (esp. in its Christian version) provides no meaningful resolution to the underlying feelings one has because it creates a relation of power (I forgive you). Compare this with non-Christian forms of resolution (like "I understand you" -- that is, I stand under you). Forgiveness is such an absurdity and a condescension, it's a sticky trap not worth getting involved with.

    I was not intending to dismiss Christianity outright -- just this dogmatic view regarding forgiveness, which is contradictory to the broader movements towards consciousness that Christianity may offer to human existence with the moral implications of developing consciousness.

    ReplyDelete
  30. ...before i forget, i wanna say i love you...

    Haa... That's killing me... Becuase that truly is what I still feel for him. Despite all the complains I got and the truth that I learned, i still love him but I know it's not gonna work anymore. But the voice, the messages, the face... They seemed to be tattooed on my my mind...

    Take care!

    JJRod'z

    ReplyDelete
  31. LOF: I don't think it's necessary to clarify it. I'm a Christian but I didn't really mind. lol it's either that or I've lost touch with the concept of forgiveness.

    @JJ: Forgetting's a bitch. :S

    ReplyDelete
  32. i hope you've totally lost touch with it. it's useless in the realm of love!

    ReplyDelete
  33. @LOF: And here I was thinking it would be essential. Or maybe that's just in my case. lol

    ReplyDelete
  34. forgiveness is only useful in establishing a power differential. nothing loving there. understanding is the key. forgiveness just puts the forgiven in this strange position of giving forgiveness (about what?) (exactly!)

    ReplyDelete
  35. @LOF: okay so that last question got me confused. forgiven is being asked to forgive? not sure I agree. I would transform into hulk if I told him I've forgjven him and he says he forgives me too (and sounds strange about it) while I'm not entirely blameless, I'm pretty sure there are people out there who've been wronged, who didn't do anything to deserve it and forgave anyway. why would people like that need to be forgiven?

    could be just semantics. to me, forgiveness is a higher order of understanding. like i can understand why he did it. I'm just not sure if I can forgive him for it. do I make sense? I just woke up. might need coffee before next reaction.

    ReplyDelete
  36. "Before I forget, I want to tell you I love you..."

    ah, that line. always heartbreaking.

    - Nishiboy

    ReplyDelete
  37. i read this and it moved me.

    ReplyDelete
  38. @A: Hey! Thanks for dropping by. Welcome to my blog!

    ReplyDelete
  39. haha. forgiveness is anything but understanding. forgiveness is the "giving up" of resentment, indignation or anger because of something someone did or the release of some kind of demand for restitution. understanding however is to become aware of another person's feelings.

    with forgiveness, you are giving someone something or forbearing to do something. with understanding, you are sustaining an awareness of the other person's feelings.

    the problem, in my mind with forgiveness, is that it creates an unwarranted attempt to exercise power. it undermines one's own responsibility in the situation and indirectly enters into the blame game (and where there is blame, there can be no true awareness of the other person's feelings).

    Blaming people and then forgiving them does nothing to address the underlying feelings and is just a tool of denial. But I don't blame you, denial of dealing with my own grief (in my life) has animated my entire side of this discussion. Feeling feelings can be very very difficult and packaging our avoidance of it as some beneficent act to another person is a clever way to elide the real issue.

    ReplyDelete
  40. @LOF: Okay, I think I get it now. If I forgive him, I'm also blaming him and thus, does not address our feelings.

    I totally blame him. I share a little of it because I know I wasn't perfect. But what he did and what he's doing right now, it's just.. my shortcomings don't justify that.

    I am aware of his feelings, ergo I understand. But I don't see the reality of forgiving him. Especially because it's pretty clear he's fine with the idea. If he isn't then he has a pretty funny way of showing it.

    I don't want to be bitter. I don't want to hold on to all this resentment. But I can't help it. He broke my heart and after all that we went through, it feels like he shit on all of that just because he was sad and itchy.

    Sorry, today is the "angry" part of my shuffle.

    ReplyDelete
  41. It is better to be angry than to pretend to be pious and 'turn the other cheek.' you need not apologize to me. i'm not forcing the forgiveness stuff on you.

    Nevertheless, the real point here is this (phrased in the form of a rhetorical question): is HE really responsible for YOUR feelings?

    ReplyDelete
  42. @LOF: that's an excellent point. no, he's not. the sooner I get that, the better.

    thank you for understanding my anger. I've been trying to be pious all week and I just exploded a few moments ago. things are calm now and I think it's because I now understand I was going at it the wrong way.

    which brings us back to your first point about Christian forgiveness. lol

    ReplyDelete
  43. i only understand it (and only partly) because i myself am constantly confronted with a world that doesn't conform to my expectations of it! and sometimes its really fucking irritating. lol

    (i had a friend once who was a devout born-again christian who would actually forgive drivers while he was driving for driving in a manner different than how he expected them to drive! i only can fully appreciate the humor of it now.)

    ReplyDelete
  44. I always choose myself. Kaya ayan, look at what happened to me. I'm a disaster. :P

    ReplyDelete
  45. "I’m sorry I chose myself."

    why and to whom are you saying sorry, nyl?

    ReplyDelete
  46. "forget, before you won't stop loving." -

    - my two cents.

    ReplyDelete
  47. @LOF: I live in a house full of people like that. It's a little alienating.

    @Andy: Can we help it? It seems we're stuck.

    @Geek: Mostly, to him. Because I promised to stay with him but I couldn't anymore. Not after how he hurt me. I didn't want to break my promises but I had no choice. It was him or me.

    @Jon: And I fully appreciate it. Thanks for dropping by. :)

    ReplyDelete
  48. This is quite nice, has more meaning than something usual, fits a relaxing sunday.

    ReplyDelete
  49. @Neatfit: Thanks for dropping by! Welcome to my blog. :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. My stomach ties itself in knots as I read. The imagining of the man I love, his voice, his body, his sounds, in someone else's arms... Torture. And yet, love doesn't up and disappear or it never really was. So there you are. Your heart left to heal on a tightrope.

    ReplyDelete
  51. @She Writes: Oh Amy, that's exactly how it feels. I find myself clutching at old promises like an idiot. I guess I just gotta take it like a man, or a half-man at least.

    ReplyDelete
  52. hey nyl. i know i've been out of touch lately but in times like these i emerge rin naman not to comfort you but to remind you of the nyl i know and liked: the aleck-bovick-bashing nyl.

    you'll be alright...

    ReplyDelete
  53. @Glenn: As always, you are the sweetest. Panira ng image mo yan. lol

    I'll be fine. We super miss you. Movie night ulit?

    ReplyDelete
  54. i hope you're ok na...hugs :-)

    I love this post lang.lalo un beginning, about story...and this line:"You could fill a whole novel about your sadness" OMG,grabe!

    ReplyDelete
  55. @Mac: I'll be fine. Thanks Mac! :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. It feels stupid commenting on a post written years ago, hahah

    For sure this will just be another tricky bastard that will force itself to show up in times of grief and pain. Well, I doubt another emo moment will take place, i am hoping that there will none.

    But in case it did transpire, I will print this post and let you read it out loud, tapos i will say, "look, this is how emo you are before, and you were able to survive it. you will be fine now."

    really nice, nyl, this is love. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LJ: Years ago talaga? Late last year lang naman. Oo, I read it just now and I couldn't help but feel like this was written by a completely different person. Ah, the tenacity of the human heart! Nakakaloka minsan. :p

      Delete