Every morning I wake up at 6am and leave by 6:55 for school. I go through 6 periods and a lunch break at school. Stuff’s hard. Then I go to multiple practices for poly, JCKC, and swing everyday of the week and sometimes there’s more than one practice a day. I come home around 4pm, tired and hungry. I eat and prepare for badminton practice and try squeezing in a short 20 minute nap before I leave at 4:50 for practice. Badminton practice? Doesn’t seem so hard, right? Nope. There’s a lot of running, footwork, exercises, suicides, lunges, etc. that I do right before we hit. And when we hit, I’m already exhausted. I try playing my best when I hit and that usually takes a lot out of me. I leave badminton at 7pm and get home and rest and eat dinner. Then I shower. Then I procrastinate until 10 or later to get homework done. And then I talk to some good friends and someone special until I lay in bed and try sleeping. I usually sleep around 12 now. Whoop. My schedule is killing me. I cannot wait until next week once international rally is in so that I don’t have to attend so many practices a week and focus on homework and badminton. I can wait. I can do it!
Walking through the forest near sunset probably wasn’t the best idea, but oh well, screw it. I needed to let some things settle down. The sky was dimming, the stars were beginning to appear, and the light clouds settled in their herds. I was below, hanging with the tall trees and the nocturnal life that scurried around like a mediocre New York City.
I walked casually through the oaks, occasionally hearing the sound of other footsteps quickly rustle through the dead leaves that were scattered among the dirt floor. My breath became visible in front of me, small wisps of proof of life came alive in front of me and disappeared just as quickly as it had came. My eyes were faced forward, watching the path I was taking. The path was beaten down and littered with human foot steps, now including mine.
The silence? There was none. In this part, I could hear the animals all around me rustle and hoot. I could hear the sound of crickets dancing around me. I could also hear the sound of leaves rubbing against one another in an organic choir. This was the music of the forest. There was never any silence and so what filled my mind now were the wonders of what had surrounded me. The sky became twice as beautiful, the sounds were a million times as lovely, and the atmosphere became much more alive in the subtlest of ways. I saw a clearing up ahead.
The walls of trees had disappeared as the sight of the clearing grew ever more. I was left within a valley of grass and stars, an entire stage to my play. It was beautiful. There was so much I could do. So much I could say. But I just laid in the center of the clearing and kept my eyes sharp on the stars above me.
The entire galaxy was in my hands. I could erase anything, everything. All my problems had melted away and it was just me and the sky. All that had hurt was now gone. All that had mattered so much before, now had little meaning. I was all alone and all was good. All was good. Very good.
It hadn’t hit her until the night before the flight. Her grandma was actually going to leave her and move all the way across the globe. All this realization had been brought down on her and she had froze in her nightly activities of facial care. The woman who had cooked for her, who had forced her to go to church, who had taken care of her since she was a baby, was about to leave her.
The very thought suddenly had brought a tear to her eyes.
She didn’t want her to leave. Her grandma was the one person who made “home” a place to call home. Without her, there would be no hot, cultural food on the table every night. Without her, the girl felt helpless and lost. Where would “home” be if the house was left empty without her grandma singing around the house and working in the garden?
In that moment, all the realization weighed heavy on her shoulders. Crouching down in place, she placed her hands over her knees and cried. She cried to how much it would hurt when her grandmother moves. She cried to how much pain she’s experiencing at that very moment. She cried and cried until she was all cried out, sniffling with a puffy nose and red eyes. She exited the bathroom looking a million times worse than when she had originally entered. Her grandma appeared in front of her, a wise smile cracked upon her worn face.
She motioned with her arms for the girl to come forward. And that she did. The girl walked sullenly towards her grandmother, placing her arms around her and squeezing tightly.
"Don’t worry." the old woman cooed in her ear. "Just be a good girl when I’m gone, okay? Get good grades, clean up after yourself, and grow tall. Then when I see you next time, tell me about how proud I should be." she said, chuckling. The girl couldn’t speak, she was speechless. This old woman in front of her was going to leave within the time span of 24 hours. The girl collapsed in her arms.
"Shh!" he says, tracing his fingers on her delicate skin. Goose bumps raise at his very touch. He wraps his fingers around her tiny hands and a silent promise is made.
She closes her eyes and nods, tilting her head slightly downwards. He laughs his laugh that she loves so much. With his finger, he brings her head upward and smiles at her wide eyes. He, being the more vertical of the two, slowly, painfully leaned in.
She waits impatiently, feeling his two lips near her own. She tastes his warm breath of peppermint and immediately melts into his arms.
The clock is ticking, their time is coming to an end. He gently places his vow with hers, connecting in a bittersweet kiss. The world was disappearing around them. Time itself began to stop in its tracks. All that exist now were him and his lady. It was a brief moment in time and yet everything was standing still.
The world came back and time put back the seconds held still. Their vows had taken place. He unwillingly pulls back and gives her a saddened smile. There, he takes his leave. No good-byes, no words, just one, silent promise.
You figured your options were 50/50 since the answers you could get were “Yes” or “No”. Then you re-evaluate the situation. Has she ever shown interest in you? No? It’s a 45/55 chance. Have you ever dropped hints? Maybe like, once… 40/60. Has she ever responded? Well… 30/70. Your palms begin to sweat as you re-assess everything with these new questions floating around in your mind. All you really knew was that you liked her, a lot. And also that she has the prettiest smile, the cutest laugh, the funniest jokes, and a killer personality. You also know that you want all of that to be yours. You suck in a sharp breath. Should you? Should you not? All you know is that your doubts bring you back to 0/100 chance of saying yes. You figure again that you would rather get this over with and know her answer for sure than regretting not asking. So within the time span of the bell and her walking into class, you finally muster the courage to ask her.
"Um, excuse me." you say. She looks over and greets you with a "Hi" and a smile. Your insides go jittery, your palms are hot, you can’t breathe correctly. But there she is with her perfection standing right in front of you.
"I know it’s a bit sudden but… Will you be my girlfriend?"
In that slightly rushed sentence, you held tight to your feelings and hoped that in some way or form she’d return them. The seconds felt like minutes, that soon felt like hours, that felt like an eternity of waiting. The answer came in a million eternities. So you’re back, it’s another 50/50 chance.
Yet another boring Saturday night spent at home. I call your phone a number of times, only to reach your voicemail. Before giving up, I decide to call once more. Twelfth times the charm, right? After two rings, you finally pick up.
I jump up from the bed, excited to hear your voice. “Hey!” I say to you, a smile widening on my face.
"I’ll be home late tonight." you say to me in reply. My smile slowly wilts into a frown, a crushing feeling beneath it.
"Oh." was all I could muster up. The conversation doesn’t go too far since you have to go. You were busy, yet again. I hung my head low after we both hung up. What was I to do while I waited for you? Crawling out of the bed, I get up after spending a good two or three hours in it. I pulled your white T-shirt over my head and toss on a pair of shorts. I pull my hair back with a headband so that no strands of hair touched my face.
I pulled a pore strip and place it on my wet face. One pore strip kills approximately fifteen minutes. I begin to run a bath, adding my favorite bath bubbles. Lighting some candles, I place them around the bath. I count one, two, three, four, five… Six candles.
Before I step inside the bath, I lay out a bathrobe and towel to the side and pull my hair into a bun. Music is playing in the background as the hot water soothes the stress away. Sitting in my own company, I sit in the bathtub as I wait for you to come home.
The steamy bath water and bubbles were good company, but they didn’t compare to your warm arms. I sigh as I sink lower into the tub, wishing you were home. I hear the front door open.
"I’m home!" you call out. I could hardly help myself, so I get up as quickly as I can. I pull the bathrobes on just in time as you step into the room. Before you can say a word, I run over to you and jump back into your arms.
"You’re home!" I cry, the smile returning to my face. You return the smile as you place a comforting kiss on my forehead. From behind you, you pull out a box of my favorite chocolates. My eyes light up as I grab it from you.
"Why are you so soapy?" you ask me, chuckling as you wipe away the bubbles. "You look funny." you say to me, reminding me that I forgot to peel off my pore strip.
"Shut up." I say, a smile still spread wide on my face. But it doesn’t matter. You’re home and with me, and that’s all that matters.
The harsh winter is starting to let up. The snowy days and the icy breaths are lessening and the rain is turning into a light sprinkle. Snow reduced to frost, crunchy leaves are blown away, and the sun was starting to wake from its hibernation. Sweaters were turning into cardigans. Boots, back to sneakers and flats. Scarves turned to necklaces. Hot chocolate turned into iced tea.
The time when winter transitions to spring is beautiful.
You can't just walk in and out of my life as you please
Don’t you have any consideration at all? Ever considered how I’d feel once you talked to me and told me all this bs again? And don’t even try to act like nothing happened because you and I both know what went on in the past. Think it’s that easy? Think again.
It’s another noisy Saturday in the middle of San Francisco. I’m still laying in bed, wearing your white dress shirt and boxers. Our bed is a simple white surrounded by a blue room with a bookcase and chair sitting near the window. I sigh as I open my eyes to the sun. You had opened the curtains again, letting the sun flow in as natural light. I sat up just in time to see you walk in the doorway carrying a large tray. I smelt coffee and orange juice, one for me and one for you. You placed the tray in front of me as I switch my position to sit cross-legged.
"Morning, nigga." you greeted me with a smile.
"Good morning." I say, yawning. I sip my orange juice and begin to eat the food you had made for me. Bacon, eggs, sausage, and pancakes with whipped cream and a strawberry on top. It was perfect. You were perfect. We sat together in bed, watching the Sisco traffic below. After finishing my meal I gently lay the tray on the side of the bed and once again snuggle in bed. You try to tickle me out of the covers, but I’m persistent and I’m still underneath. You finally give up and had succumbed to getting under the sheets with me.
"Isn’t this better?" I ask, wrapping my legs around yours. You smile and give me a light morning kiss.
Nah on the real. Lemme tell you about this one nigga named Amariah Jaylene Tadena. Ride or die niggaz 5 ever. Swear, she is the one and only person that I could tell ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to. But like, I have her back at all times. Arguments only last a few days and we’re back to good ol’ buddies. That’s real friendship right there. I’ve been talking to her since Summer 08’ I believe? Yeah man. Lots and lots of memories made through the years. And we have so much more to come. She is someone that I plan on having in my life 5 ever. Yeah bruh, I never actually told her I love her without the thought in the back of my mind being like “Lol, what a faggot” But on the real, I really do love her. Yeah. Hahahaha.
I remember when you got mad because I supposedly “stole” your bestfriend. You should remember to tell her that you love her and treat her like a human being instead of having this sick, parasitic relationship with her. You treated her like dirt. It’s no wonder why she chose to come to me and tell me about her feelings instead of you. You’re always bringing her down if she gets some kind of time in the limelight. Keep that up, she really will end up leaving you altogether.
A colorful array of lights shine her way as she steps into this deep abyss. She finds herself wandering deeper and deeper into this hole in which she cannot get out. Beauty and horror so surreal begins to embrace her as she contemplates whether to embrace it back. There is a long, deathly long silence. It mocks her as she steps down further and deeper. Looking up, she cannot see the entrance in which she came through. She is trapped. The only option is to keep going. She steps and steps in silence. And soon she just stops in place, tired of walking through an endless darkness. She closes her eyes. The world she felt herself in disappeared. Opening her eyes, she found herself back in her lonely bedroom with only an alarm ringing tirelessly.
So we sat in silence, taking in all of what I had just confessed to you. You turn around and look at me for the first time in fifteen minutes. It seems as though you finally found the words to say.
"Are you okay?"
Really? Was that all? I should’ve expected this. You never did know what to say, especially in situations like this. I pull my hood up and shove my hands in my pockets as I rise up from the bench.
"No." I say, facing the opposite direction. That would be my path if you decide to let me go. I wanted to be as far away from you as possible.
"What are we going to do about it?" you ask me.
"It doesn’t matter what I say, you’re going to leave anyways. I might as well leave first." I say, walking away. You never were good at comforting me or getting to know me. In the end, it doesn’t matter anyway.
I told you not to go. You went anyways, disregarding everything I warned you about. Eventually, I got tired of warning you and stayed silent, watching you. You kept going and going down this one-way street even though I clearly wanted us to take another road so we could turn back. But no. You went down this damn one-way street and now that you’ve seen the place you’ve destined for us for taking this road, you want to turn back. Well guess what, asshole. You can’t. You can try but you’ll eventually get hit, crash, and die. And all the while I’m in the passenger seat, watching you ruin everything.
I’ve been scurrying around here and there, burying myself in my studies at school, taking up my time in clubs and then going to badminton practices late night at the gym. So by the time I get home, I’m too tired to worry or think. Whenever I want to think about it, I automatically ask for a distraction by talking to others. I feel comforted when I’m talking to other people because they end up talking about something irrelevant and I worry less and less. But at the end of the day, it all just comes back and hits me. I lay in bed holding back, stressing a hundred times worse. I blow up at night and fall asleep. And it repeats and repeats..
She called him, crying over the phone. He stayed silent on the other end, not knowing what to say. She was desperate for someone to talk to, to vent to, to cry to. She was hurt and he didn’t know what else to do except listen to her sniffling cries and muffled words. Listening to her rant was like trying to read a blurred out text, almost impossible to comprehend. But one sentence came out loud and clear.
"I really just want to kill myself."
It finally hit him that this isn’t just something that happened overnight. Depression has been affecting her for a long time and it built up to the point where she would actually say this. The next sentence broke his silence.
"I… I cut myself."
He hollered a loud “Stop!” and she quieted down. The roles switched, she was now listening and he was the one ranting. It hurt him so much to hear her say these words, feel this way, and seem like he can’t do anything about it. He was helpless trying to watch her destroy herself. He couldn’t take it anymore.
"Why do you do this to yourself?" he said, a husky cry hiding in the background. He breathed in sharply and let out another yell. "You don’t understand what you’re doing! You think that it’s okay to do all these things, but it’s not." By the end of the last sentence, he was in tears. "I care so much about you, you don’t even know how much this hurts me trying to listen to you say these things. There are so many things I wish I could do for you but I just don’t know what to do and now I can’t stand watching you destroy yourself. I want you to respect yourself. You are so much more than what you think. You’re beautiful and when you want to cut that beautiful body of yours, I want to stab myself. I wish that you would respect yourself as much as I do. You can’t kill yourself. You just… Fucking… Can’t. If I hear you say those words again, I swear I’m going to kill someone." he breathed hard and heavy, hardly having any breaks in between his speech.
"I just want you to respect yourself…" he sighed, ending his lecture. She stayed on the other end, at a loss for words. The silence carried on for a good, uncomfortable ten minutes.
Before I stop to think, I write. I write and I write and I can’t stop. My fingers twitch with the urge to write. The pen glides so smoothly on the paper, it feels like I’m writing on air. I keep writing and writing. All the pain spelled out in ink on a piece of college-ruled note book paper. I can’t stop anymore. Everything pours out. I go through several sheets and still, I cannot stop.
Finally, I am left with the final product. My hands cramp, my heart aches, my eyes hurt. There’s so much more I could write, but I just don’t think I could handle to write anymore. I take it all under the moon, where I could only see by the light of the stars. I sat down on the concrete, placing the sheets carefully in front of me.
I lit it.
The lighter flamed up with a bright, orange fire. It only took a second to place the flame down onto the paper. It burned. Bright orange, yellow, tinges of black and gray. Ash and dust swallowed the air as I sat there to watch all the time and emotion I spilled onto those pages be destroyed.
And soon, the fire had consumed everything and left behind nothing but a pile of ashes. The wind blew past me and took everything away with it. Everything I had written was burnt up and flying away from me. It was unbearably sad and somehow appropriate.