That November

One day after All Souls’ Day,
one year before they swore the world would end;
one year before we swore our souls would never share that fate –
on that day: I knew you were my soulmate.

This is how we started.

I swore I would never look back
when we started.
There was nowhere to look back to.

I swore I would never look back
when we ended.
Because you asked me to.

You asked me to.
You asked me to forget.
You asked me to forget you.

So now I am sorry
that I still remember.
And that I can never remember anything else other than the tears that made our cheeks into a river that shared the same riverbed on the first night of our forever;

that I cannot remember
how to not remember
any other nights other than those nights that you and I had together;

that when you told me “move on and never look back,”
I only looked forward that one day you will come back;

that I still hope you will be back.

So I am sorry
that I still remember

that this is how we started –
with words we both by then haven’t heard of yet: “They feel each others’ breath.
And they know all they need to know.
They kiss.

And they feel each others’ tears on their cheeks.

And if there had been anybody left to see them, then they would look like normal lovers, caressing each others’ faces, bodies close together, eyes closed, oblivious to the world around them. Because that is how life goes on. Like that.”

That is how we started.

Like that.

don’t go.

it’s gonna be morning soon

and

i’m

still

damn afraid to wake up.

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On Jupiter and Venus

They weren’t together anymore when I saw them on the sky as I walked home tonight.

I would’ve seen them earlier but the clouds of uncertainty covered the sky, and they cried tears that thieved the warmth of night.

I remember that the nights we stole under the rain were warm, that the seconds we killed time were the only moments I felt alive, that our forever was written on indestructible stone.

But time was cruel and vengeful.

Its ghost arrived at dusk as storms that weathered the rock we carved our forever on and I was buried under the sediments of our crumbling memories.

I would’ve ignored them sooner but there were uncertainties that clouded my vision, and I cried for nights that thieved my warmth.

And the next thing I know, we weren’t together anymore when I saw you touch the sky as I crawled back home from the weight of our shattered forever I was buried under that night.

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Broken Normalcy

I was told that everything already went back to normal when my mother started doing her regular chores again.

This easily became my favorite hasty generalization. You see, when life around you abruptly stops altogether, any sign of getting better is a sign you’d be more than willing to accept as truth.

When my dad left, I almost surrendered to the sameness of normal and never. I never felt comfortable with the smell of post-separation soup hovering over the upside-down plate no one ever used.

It felt to me like a zero after the decimal point. It highlighted two things: emptiness and preceding smallness.

This spelled our daily lives.

So when weeks passed and my mom somehow started to come back to life, I tore down the possibility of routine being different from normal.

When she started cooking again, and asking how her cooking was, and told stories over meals, and slipped jokes every now and then, just like before, things were – as far as I was concerned – fixed.

I would wake up again to the inviting smell of breakfast every time and things went on as usual. She would ask how the food was, and I would respond with a polite nod signaling approval. We would share stories of how our days went and laugh over silly jokes.

But then the thick layer of routine sagged as the jokes got watered down.

We later on found that we shared an open secret that sometimes we would fake the laughter to deny the difficulty in swallowing the food. Honestly, the soup would always feel too hot. The rice was always steamed with excessive water. And the drinks were painfully saturated with artificial sweetener.

When she asked me how the food was, I realized her voice broke at certain points similar to her rehearsed assurance that things are the way they were.

I would fake a nod of approval in response.

The truth is, I can still taste the minutes she wished it was her emotions curdling while she cooked that tasteless soup, I know her tears were responsible for the watery rice, and not too long ago, I have noticed how she would douse the juice with sugar because she worried that the rind from lemon, or the touch of her hands perhaps, would make the drinks unbearably bitter.

And really, I couldn’t find the taste of the food drowned beneath scalding bowls of her daily apology.

Her doing the same chores again said nothing about things reverting to normal. If anything, the sight of her doing the same chores again was just her reliving the nightmares she roughly dressed up as normalcy. Surely for the kids only starting to feel what a nightmare their lives have become.

Don’t fuck with my head – things are never normal when each spoonful of dinner requires a heavy serving of sorry so it does not taste like an unapologetic statement of a mother who cannot make delicious food for her kids and their father; a mother who always puts too many salt, or pepper; a mother who worries that the food on their dining table may not be enough; a mother who worries that she may not be enough to keep her husband in their dining table.

Every ‘forgive me’, every ‘my bad’, every sullen and sunken ‘sorry’ were screaming proof that our reality did not equate to normality.

Shut up, do not even try, I already know – the smell of soup can erupt into a miasma of suspended sorrows; upside-down plates kept untouched on the dining table only makes the table emptier; and while these are eventually forgotten, broken things remain very broken.

But it is okay, mom. We can be broken.

It’s okay. That wasn’t your fault, I promise. You don’t have to be sorry.

Please do not be sorry.

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I’m. Not. Okay.

It’s okay to be crazy, to be mad, to be unsurely happy. It’s okay, you can jump off a cliff or outrun a bus with the speed of your death, you can eat a whole mountain of brokenness and choke on your tears as you painstakingly swallow every shard of underhanded and undeserved words that kids just pick and throw away, you can die or sleep or remain awake as long as that helps you. It. Is. Okay. No one can judge you for the ways you find your way.

It. Is. Okay. And that is what it is, it is just okay. Okay is never enough because you, above everyone else, know that okay cuts through the chest like a million knives as you force it out whenever someone asks you how you are and you’d have to cough those four letters through your mouth. You taste the blood and rust and pain in your tongue and say it is okay. You know that it’s not what you wanted to hear when you showed your favorite piece of art, or shared your favorite weather, or wrote your deepest emotion to people who seem so huge despite the overwhelming distance expanding in between. It is the only word you managed to speak while you were sobbing more than breathing as you listened to all the things wrong about you and all the reasons you are being left behind, your lungs caved in and your heart sank into the bones you’ve broken pleading and forcing yourself in, you wish you could’ve said more, but all it really was was okay; it is the last thing you wanted to read, the only thing they ever bothered to type, when you woke up at 2am and you got the weirdest courage so you spoke your heart out and shouted all your closely kept secrets and screamed for all the agony that breathes life into you because they couldn’t pay a shit’s worth of time. You know damn right that that okay was never enough. And it will never be enough because you lose every single time things reach that point, so you want to be mad and crazy and gone instead, and you think that it’s okay because no one can judge you for the way you find your way, the way you know you’ve willfully and arrogantly treaded a thousand times yesterday, a million the other day, the way you are lost in today. You think it’s okay so you blindly go, you follow that word that pushed you there in the first place. You entrap yourself in your own convolutions and wonder why the cycle never stops, you allow yourself to fall and ask why you have fallen. But you are broken, so you beat yourself some more, thinking that it is okay, believing in the lie that is okay.

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How long do we have to remember before remembering matters?

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Do Not Be Sorry

Do not apologize for every breath you take,
Because a thousand more than I can ever have,
I’d give so that you wouldn’t break.

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Wishes and Stars

We both admired stars, you and me.
We stared at the boundless skies and liked what were there, stars from the distant galaxies.
You said you liked them for their shine despite their being tiny.
And for me it’s because of their tiny light racing with the space that grew immensely.
The thing about stars, however, is that they will always be larger than us, you and me.
The only thing we see is not all that they can ever be.
Yet we still admired the stars just for the shine that we can see.
We admired them so much making their light all that they can ever be.
And I thought, while looking at the bright specks of white in the dark sky of uncertainty,
About the only certain thing I know – you sitting beside me.
I thought about the words we weave, our glorified poetry,
And I thought that I don’t want to be admired like the stars shining from the distant galaxies.
They had to be distant to fit our mold of beauty,
They had to be far before we liked them, but only for what we can see.
We both admired the stars, we liked them, you and me.
But I don’t want to be admired like the stars from the distant galaxies
Because I don’t want to be far away from the you that completes me.
I stared at the boundless skies but no longer just admired what I began to see.
I love what was there shining all along, you sitting beside me.

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Ode to a Star

I heard that some stars are millions and millions of light years away.
They’re so far that their light takes millions and millions of years to cross our way.
Some of the stars we see in our night sky might already be dead by now,
So do not ask me to deny the love I still see shining somehow.
You can say over and over that it’s long gone in your heart,
But at least allow me to believe the illusion filling the space that sets us apart.

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Of Signs and Sighs

Your sigh broke the dead silence which occupied the expanding space between
Two cold bodies that housed two hearts caving from within.
The weight of your short breath collapsed with a million shards of frozen air
They died long ago but not longer than the hope burnt with your empty stare.
And then air was no more and in this vacuum remained our ruins,
Floating around disobeying gravity were shrapnels of our best kept sins.
Tears then dared to fall from my eyes, but they flew around and orbited around the lies.
We imploded all together when I heard you sigh;
Nothing was left – not even nothingness –
The sinners and saints, the mute witnesses,
All that were true: the love, the hoax, including the you, the me had to die,
When all you ever gave us was that short, heavy sigh.

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