We all have stories we tell ourselves since time immemorial; narratives we repeat to ourselves throughout our lives until they form part of our philosophy and become the ultimate driving force of our rationale.
My first kiss was at the back of someone else’s room: dimmed lights, darkened walls, frayed sheets. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus blasting music in the background like some kind of an affirmation for my action. The rest of the world slowly shifting into a silent sea.
If you were given a chance to sleep and wake up 500 million years into the future, would you do it? Would you wish to wake up to a world where humanity, and perhaps the whole of the planet, is entirely annihilated? Where the memory of a former life is so distant and out of reach that it almost feels like you are waking up to an entirely different lifetime? Where the faces and the places surrounding you are no longer tinged with an acute sense of warmth and familiarity? Would you be glad to know that you are alone now, no longer surrounded by the people you once knew, no longer in the presence of every living being you once associated with your own dear life, the memories of them woven in the lonely background of your own, finally becoming one and intertwined.
I stood by the bridge, overlooking España Boulevard and UST. I thumbed through the spaces that surround me, overtaken by the swooping sensation that I was so close to the world, yet so distant and so disconnected from it all. Lights blinked from every corner of the place like kaleidoscope colors splashing life to the dead canvas of my troubled mind.
Certain places in the city never catch my attention and make an impact — like the crowded stretch of a boulevard or the blinking signal of traffic lights. I consider them ordinary, the way most people do, and recognize them as merely a part of the overall rhythm of the life force that drives and moves the city.
One . . . two. . . three
The jeepney swerved to the left and to the right before it made a full stop at a gasoline station where its tank was filled with fuel: hot, brazen, and gold. I imagined the smooth texture of the combustible fluid sliding effortlessly down my throat, setting my body in flames. I remembered the film I saw once about a Buddhist monk who burned himself to death in 1963: how fire licked his skin, his robe, his being, and how he felt nothing. I wanted so badly to assume that he died feeling nothing.
There should be a word for the gap in our souls, for this hollow space in our chest where our hearts used to be.
I reach out for myself, dragging my hand all the way down my trembling lips, my bruised neck, my aching collarbones, and notice the cracks stretching infinitely into that lonely cave they call heartbreak. I let my hand wander further and find my skin a vast ocean of memories. My eyes water, my tears forming pool and tracing an island of scars.
Certain conversations never leave my head. They linger in me like traces of smoke after a bonfire is doused with water. They hang onto me like memorial lanterns, constantly parading themselves in front of my weary eyes, demanding to be felt and comprehended until I finally give up the resistance and give in to remembering.
Here is a memory.
I look back to one sunny day in March: by the hall way of the sixth floor of the university, the entire view beneath us glimmered in the light of the noontime sun and the sticky breeze blew me away as in a daydream. Someone was speaking to me but her words came off as indistinct murmur as I went about staring mindlessly at the cumulus clouds over us. She nudged me twice, thrice before I managed to pull myself back to Earth once again. Her voice was intrusive when she burst out her question.
My heart still breaks
a little at the sound of
I wonder where you are, or how
you have been or how many nights
like these passed by without you
noticing or remembering
that once, on an August night,
we were together
and you were mine.
Some days just feel so unspeakably empty despite the presence of events and people. some days just run like the flow of time and take away everything in its wake. But some days just run dry and leave no words, no language — nothing but the sound of a moving life with all of its unmoving senselessness.
I wish I know what I am saying, dear blog. But you see, I think of all these things I want to write about but as soon as my mind sets itself into motion the thought of all those feelings, all those senseless attempt to craft my own meaning, simply melts into the distance. Maybe what I am trying to say is that sometimes you just have to lie to yourself because the cost of honesty is too high a price.
There are instances in our lives when we consider an event as fleeting, forgettable, ordinary, at that particular moment when we are experiencing them. Like a quick glance from a passerby on the street, a word, a phrase spoken without the least bit of intention, the way a stranger’s face carves a memory of some faraway island, the way city lights hum in a frenetic buzz in the midst of the metro traffic.
Perhaps we were wrong
to test our hearts of their limits
thinking they can withstand
the wickedness of this game
And when I tell you love
perhaps it was a mistake
on my part
to wait for an answer
From where I stand you are
only a thousand light-years away
I count the distance like
I would count the years
And I realize if you multiply
ten by itself, then by a hundred
then by a thousand, by a million
What we would have at the end of the equation
is the product of our lost and wasted time
when we once believed, fooled ourselves
that we were right for each other,
or when we thought we knew
how to love when
the truth is we were
If I tried to take
everything in this world
that reminded me of you,
it would be so empty
that fucking God himself
would have to fucking start again.
And his eyes would
roll back in his head
and pretend it never happened.
It is the time of the semester once again for everyone to finally bleed: for words to fall heavy with the weight of farewells, for silence to finally speak the same.
I think about this passing semester and remember not so much the days I stayed alive in crowded hallways and sticky classrooms listening to the hours tick away in slow motion, as the nights I spent awake thinking what will happen when all of these are over.
I think about empty offices and the muted silence that accompanies them after everyone has stood up and left. I think about the stillness of the lonely river by the window, the ferry boats that pass every so often like time dragging away, and wonder what kind of lives people lead long after they have abandoned this place.
I think about their plans, crafted well in pieces and hemmed seamlessly in place, and realize that I have long forgotten how to dream.
I spoke to my some of my batch mates yesterday afternoon as if by accident. Their words were stars that sparkled in the dimness of own universe. They spoke of things that every average graduating student have in mind: grad school, law school, application forms, the endless pace of someone who chases after endless dreams.
When they asked me about my plans, I spoke sheepishly of my wanting to retire already, to which they laughed almost as a form of contempt. I spoke of going to Europe and learning a language, leaving behind whatever there is that’s forgettable, heavy. I spoke of scratching the ground and starting all over again. My words were blunt, silly, marked by a childishness of someone who never take things seriously, but inside me was the turbulence of Tahrir Square. I thought about Berlin and a one-way ticket to everything that I have n[ever] dreamed, and realized that this too was practice. I thought about the future, the helpless attempts to decipher what is to come, the foolishness of it all.
Are you following me?
I have spun myself into a circle, into places where she’d been, and sought for a sign. I have left a mark on the road in case I forgot the way back, but my mind has lost traces of her footsteps the moment she mentioned something about substance. And right then I thought about abuse and the dim lights of a yellow bulb singing its way into her soul, a round of prescriptions on the bathroom floor taken twice, thrice, until there was numbness and the sorry look from a stranger’s face saying “What have you done to yourself?”
I thought about her eyes, dull in the height of frenzy, and watched the rainbow haze float from out of her misshapen mouth. I thought about her silence but all I remembered was her scream, and the cracking of an old vinyl as it swallowed the hollow spaces between her smoke-stained teeth.
I thought about the crooked line that separates both substance and abuse, and wondered how one person could be both. I thought about the setting sun, and the stillness of her sunken face when Death finally came to empty her of her
miserable miserable life. They said overdose. They said she had too much. But she was so empty, so hungry, when she left us all.
Are you following me?
There are only two points in a straight line. Point A is where we’re at. Point B is where we’re going. Kara never cared about the line, only that she wanted to carry her cross to eternity. She jumped her way out of it—into the vacuousness of everything real and imaginary. She spun herself in circles, in spirals, for she
never believed in an end. She danced. She dances still, to the slow steady music of an ethereal eternal return.