Archives

I feel like there should be fireworks, really.

My favorite thing
about the way
you look at me, babe
is that now and then
I catch it
that little hint of wonder
and a bit of disbelief, too
that you found me
that I’m real
we’re real
and I’m yours.

I want to run to the mirror
and check
if there’s something there
something changed
something special
that makes you look at me
just like that
like I’m precious.
and utterly unique.
and you’ll never
never ever
let me go.
What is it, babe?
There must be something.

But nothing’s different.
Still the same old
chin and cheeks and nose
familiar and ordinary.
But wait—
Wait
My smile is new.
It’s changed
like I’ve won the lottery
without buying a ticket
(imagine that!)
and in my eyes,
that same disbelief
that same giddy wonder
that you found me.
You finally found me.
My darling
my sweetest love
I could spend my whole life
just looking at you.

*****

I wrote this for Carry On Tuesday, in response to the These are a few of my favourite things prompt taken from one of my most favorite movies, The Sound  of Music. The challenge is open all week. Join us!

Goodbye Girl

“Why are you giving me a feather?” she asked.

“Not just any feather, that’s a phoenix feather.” When she laughed, he hastened to explain. “It’s disguised like it’s from a boring old chicken, but that’s a phoenix feather, trust me.”

“Okay,” she agreed easily. Her imagination was capable. Besides, it was the first conversation they’d had in weeks, and she wanted to keep talking. She missed him. The razor-sharp loss of their easy friendship pierced her chest, but she ignored it. “Why are you giving me a phoenix feather?”

“Because I’m letting you walk away from me.”

Just like that, the tears in her throat rushed into her eyes. She knew it, had known that it would come to this, but had childishly kept wishing they could go back to the way they’d been for four years: high school friends, misfits fitting in perfectly together. Then he admitted his love, asking her to stay in the town she’d wanted to escape all her life.

His apology was in the hand brushing her tears away. The first touch between them in three weeks, five days, and 18 hours. Since when had she started counting the times he touched her?

“You know I’m in love with you,” he said gently. “But I’m no longer asking you to stay, or holding you back. I’m letting you go. We’ll let each other go.  Completely.”

“But…but,” she was really crying now,  sobbing like a child, knowing she was being hideously unfair, but too stricken to stop. “I don’t want to lose you. I don’t, Jay, I can’t. Please….”

He gripped her hand, crushing the feather, betraying how she was tearing him apart. But dammit, she loved him, too. She loved him, enough to hurt them both, but not enough to stay. The selfishness of it silenced her, while a dim, pathetic part of her mind registered his hands touching hers. That’s twice today.

“That’s where this phoenix feather comes in,” he soothed, smoothing it out on her palm. “You’ll return someday, or maybe I’ll find you. When the things we want no longer stand between us, we’ll start again.”

“A new beginning from the ashes?” It should’ve been corny, but she couldn’t laugh.

“Yes. Someday.”

“Don’t hate me.” Her greatest fear slipped out, and the look on his face told her he heard.

Oh, baby. Never,” he cried, pulling her close. “We have someday,” he promised, but the only important thing was that he was finally holding her, and his arms were tight, so tight that it was suddenly alright, it was perfect, but just for a moment, just enough to remember until someday. So she held on, carefully holding the feather, and believed him.

I wrote this in response to the “phoenixRed Writing Hood prompt from Write on Edge. It’s my first time to join this challenge, and the prompt was just too perfect to resist. This is a fictionalized account following the 450-word limit, but there really was a boy, a promise, and a feather that even now is tucked inside my wallet. It’s been almost ten years, and the promise has been kept, perhaps not in the manner of a Hollywood happy ending, but it’s our story, and we like our ever after the way it turned out. 🙂

It feels like it’s been standing there forever, watching over the world.

There’s this tree on top of a hill beside a road in a small town, and I miss it.

I was there only once, with a bunch of friends, but at odd moments during that windy, cloudy afternoon of laughing and picnicking and mad scrambling to get up on the branches, I sometimes felt like the tree and I were alone.

It reminded me of a place where I was happy as a child. Another hilltop, another small town, with friends I haven’t seen in a while, and one I never will again. But it wasn’t just nostalgia that drew me to that place. It was the tree itself.

It was beautiful. Standing on the horizon, it kept its solitary vigil over the hill and the road and the village, and the sea beyond it, keeping steady through the wind and rain and burning sun.  The world changed from dark to light and cold to warmth, yet still it stood. Constant, immovable, strong.

I want to be like that. I want to be steadfast and strong and constant, reaching higher while growing deeper as well. Sometimes, I feel like I’m too much at the mercy of the seasons, too small and fragile to do anything during the storms other than hide and hope I’m still here when it’s over. Too afraid. That’s not how  I want to live. That’s not how I’m meant to live.

It’s been windy and cloudy this past couple of days, and my thoughts are on that hilltop. I miss that tree.

I wonder if trees miss people, too.

This is how I plan to love you for the rest of my life

Just so you know, this is what happens when you have my heart.

You would never doubt it.

I wouldn’t let you.

Be more mysterious, I’ve been told, by magazines and blogs and sleepover confidants. It’s a mistake to let him know everything that you feel. Men like the chase, like competition, to keep from getting bored. So make him jealous, they wink and nudge. Play hard to get.

But how hard to get can I be, babe, when I’m already yours?

How jealous can I make you when the very thought of you doubting your place in my life feels unbearably wrong?

There will be no games between us. No manipulations, no pretenses, no lies.

You will know that you hold my heart. You will know that I would never want anyone else.

You will know that I love you.

See, I plan on telling you every day.

First thing when I wake up, whispered against your skin.

Last thing at night, for you to take into your dreams.

When you are tired and frustrated and sad.

When you are so lighthearted you start singing songs whether you know the lyrics or not.

When you make me laugh.

When you save me from cockroaches and nightmares and panic attacks.

When I am proud of you.

When you can’t believe that I am proud of you (especially then).

When we need to fix something wrong, so you’ll know that whatever it is, it won’t change how I feel.

When I’m asking for coffee kisses.

When you’re asking for a back rub.

When I welcome you home or kiss you goodbye.

When you look like you need a hug, or even when you don’t but I just want to give you one anyway.

I will keep telling you, babe, in whispers, in exclamations, in laughter, in letters, in touches, in looks.  I will tell you until it sinks into your skin, flows with your blood, and joins in the beating of your heart. Until my love for you becomes part of who you are, and who you will be, for as long as your heart beats, and mine.

I will tell you, always.

And every time I do, I will mean it more than the last time I said it. Every “I love you” will carry the weight of all the “I love you’s” before, and the promise of more to come.

That promise will always be fulfilled.

I will always love you.

And I will always let you know.

Island time

An old man sets his traps among the mangroves, praying for a good catch. It is an ancient craft, the weaving of baskets, the luring of crabs with expertly baited traps. He does this in a siran, a salt bed, unused and flooded with sea water during the rainy season.  During the summer, the siran is a busy place, bustling with people making salt the same way their parents and grandparents did before them. Today, it is quiet, serene, with nothing to scare away the myriads of crustaceans that make their home in the mud among the roots of the bakhaw. The old man is hopeful.

Such is the rhythm of life in the siran: in the summer, they make salt, in the monsoon, they harvest the abundant marine bounty flourishing in the shallow waters. Year after year, season after season, the sea, land, and sky support and nourish life in a finely tuned cadence that the islanders have learned how to dance, generation after generation.

In the cities, skyscrapers are being built higher than ever, information is transmitted at lightning speed, and whatever natural rhythms are being played are drowned out by blaring noise and bright lights. It is exciting for some, I suppose. Certainly convenient, and these days convenience is the holy grail. You pick up a cup of coffee from a convenient drive-through window, check traffic reports from your car for the most convenient route to work, and off you go to the office, where you offer a product or service that you promote as the most convenient in the market. The city does have its own rhythm, and it’s fast and ever-changing. There’s a wild adrenalin rush to be found in keeping pace.

But I find it soothing here. I love the sense of continuity, the feeling that some things do stay the same. Yes, Cuyo is gradually moving forward into the 21st century, and that’s also a good thing. There is, after all, nothing romantic about stagnation. But for the most part, the years turn more slowly on this island than anywhere else.

There’s comfort in that. Heaven knows there’s enough instability in my own life, with bipolar disorder drastically changing my world from vivid to gray several times a year. I wake up from my depressive slumber to find myself left behind, scrambling to catch up with people and things that have moved on without me. It’s disorienting, and more than a little lonely.

So while I’m here, I’m soaking up the rhythm of the island, letting it permeate my skin and settle into the center of my body. When I leave, when I have to keep pace with a more frenetic beat, I can pause for a while and remember that somewhere else, in my somewhere else, the world is moving to the slow and steady beat of a peaceful heart.

David

You know what I found this morning, in a long-unopened compartment of my wallet? It was a letter from you, dated several years and a lifetime ago. Tucked into the folds were three balayong blossoms, dry and fragile from being pressed for so long. You loved me then, I remember. You recorded these promises for posterity, so that I can read them over and over again and know what I meant to you. And then you changed your mind.

Dammit, David. How can I still be hurting over this now? People’s hearts get broken every day. People get left behind, and people move on. So why the heck am I here, plenty of time and plenty of adventures later, crying over sheets of paper that no longer hold anything real? It’s not like I spent my days wallowing in heartbreak. Eventually, I stopped missing you or even thinking about you. I loved, I laughed, I engaged. I did things that matter. I grew up a little every day, and I stopped wanting you back. You are no longer a part of my life — most of the time.

But some days just catch me off guard. It could be the little details, like the sight of my own palm, messy with squiggles and lines whenever I write with a ballpoint pen. I can almost hear your exasperated laugh,  almost see you trying to figure out why the ink that should have landed on paper ended up on my hand instead.  Or it could be the big things, David, the wounds received in the process of living.  Somehow, every goodbye is still an echo of yours, every person walking away steps in your footprints until they are out of sight. And suddenly there would be tears flooding my throat all over again. After all this freaking time.

So here I am today, writing on tear-soaked paper, thinking that’s enough. That’s more than enough. I want to love again like I loved you, in spite of risk, in spite of fear. Loving you taught me just how much I could give and how far I can go, and I don’t want to lose that. I want to offer myself again to someone, the right someone. You didn’t stay, David, but someone else will. Someone else deserves this misguided intensity of emotion that I wasted on you, long after you didn’t want it anymore.

I’ve always been the one who remembers. In a way, I’ve come to accept that, the inability to really forget what was once important. The memories will remind me to be careful, but I could stand to let go of the souvenirs. It’s been over for so long. This is the part, I think, where I stop letting it hurt.

Lady in the red dress

Her sultry, sensual voice held his attention.

“I want it hot. Sizzling and intense. I want to feel the heat on my tongue, licking down my throat, consuming the rest of my body. You see, I’ve been playing it safe for too long. Now let me burn. Make me sweat, make me beg for relief, make me come back for more. I don’t care if you think I’m wanton for these gratuitous demands. I don’t know you and I don’t care. Just don’t you dare leave me cold.”

 

The waiter nodded. “Ma’am, I’ll be back with your Thai Pepper Steak.”

______________________________________________________________________________________

(This is a response to the 100 words challenge in Velvet Verbosity. The word for the week was “gratuitous”. Everyone’s welcome to join!)