This, My Friend, Is For You
I remember witnessing the same grey sky under your umbrella. We were broken with sadness as we watched the other “special” people with their smiles and happy colors. I twisted my arm with yours, took your scent in and cried as I wept. My sharp edges kept giving me cuts in places I cannot dab with cures. I was told of stories, both whispered from land and sea, that everything will be okay. But the closest I got to “okay” was drifting off to dream. Like a cannon ball shot to the sky, the smoke blurred us from the clarity or cruelty against fragility. I held you close as your flesh shook from the cold. I held you tighter to chase away the wintry feel in your bones. Our eyes were deep-set and darkened from worry. We always slept but when we opened our eyes, they resembled disturbed, contaminated waters. I lived strangely, while you preferred to be buried in halls nobody knew of. I held your hand tightly and kept it against my chest. I knew that one day you will fade like the clear clouds on a Sunday evening. All I could see were patches of black and gray. I wobble, as I stand where both our soles once marked the ground. I’m not the same anymore. My face got back its color. It’s no longer deep-set, but my eyes mirror our days that once was. I close my eyes and beseech to the gods. If there are any, may they defrost the chills that prison his heart. May he be in a happier place with clearer skies. I raise a toast to those dark days for in those moments, having you by my side was the brightest I’ve ever been. I know you are elsewhere and happier too. This meager whisper into the changing winds, my friend, is for you.
I once knew of a man who knew everything. He learned how planes flew, why mice had pink on their feet and why compasses pointed North. He knew everything and to him, learning was breathing. But there was a void inside of him that nobody knew about. It was a certain portion of space that was always left hanging. He wished he didn’t know so much so he wouldn’t focus all the more on the emptiness. As his knowledge grew, he became lonelier and craved for answers he will never have. I last saw him slumped at a corner down the road, chanting to himself, "I would trade all this knowledge for the ignorance of a past I cannot remember."
She knew she didn’t have much time. Jade’s fingers sped through the keys on her laptop, finishing off 4 pending articles for the newspaper. It was her last week before her resignation. She was terrified about being jobless but she knew that her part in the newspaper industry was over. Scanning through the hills of papers that rested on her desk, she sighed and continued typing. She heard the front door open and close itself shut. A heavy bag was heard hitting the living room’s sofa with a thud. Footsteps were drawing closer. Jade continued to face her laptop as a shadow appeared on the wall, blocking the light that shone from the outside room. A pair of arms wrapped themselves around her shoulders, a nose sniffed at her neck. "Hi, baby," Jade said cheerfully, "Welcome home." Without turning around, she lifted her arm, grazed her palm against Adam’s cheek and ran her fingers through his hair. Adam had been away for several weeks on a business trip. Turning around to take a look at her fiance’s face, Jade could see he was evidently tired. But she smiled as his playful eyes remained untouched - they still twinkled in all its purity. She stood up and gave him a tight embrace. "I missed you," Adam murmured. He buried his face in her neck and held her tight. Jade hummed in agreement, stroking the tight muscles on his back. He was stressed. She knew he had been lacking sleep. She broke off from him and told him to prepare for bed. He nodded, gave her a kiss on the forehead and went to get changed. Jade sat back on her chair, now distracted from her pending articles. She sighed and got herself a hot cup of tea. She continued typing, shaking her head now and then with disagreement with herself. She was not motivated. She was exhausted. It was almost 2 in the morning. Sleep was starting to rest itself on her eyelids. She heard Adam leave the bathroom. She wanted to sleep too, but the days ahead were keeping her awake. Jade was clouded with her worries when Adam sneaked up behind her, planting a kiss on her nape. Shivers went up and down her spine. She stood up from her chair and accepted defeated. Jade wrapped her arms around Adam’s neck and kissed him softly. When she pulled away, she gently blew the breath of Listerine that she got from his kiss. Jade and Adam got under the sheets and slipped into slumber right away, after a long while of being sleepless and apart.
I sliced an apple into 6 equal parts and rested them onto a porcelain plate. Mother told me to never use them unless the Queen came over to have a slice of cake with us. I wasn’t quite sure if it was true that Mother and the Queen were pen pals. But the scare of that in the past few years was slowly wearing off. Just like the several times I have disobeyed her, I unearthed a porcelain plate and placed it on the center of our tea table. I sat for several hours and watched the 6 equally cut apple pieces turn from blush, to shades of beige and brown. I could trace the veins of the fruit with my finger. I took a whiff of a slice before grazing it against my wrist. I smelled it again - this time, from my wrist. It smelled good. I dabbed a finger on the spot where the apple slice came into contact with my skin. It felt sticky. I licked my wrist and giggled as I got tickled. I placed the apple slice back onto the plate, continuing to watch them in silence.
My brother came in through the door. He shot through the living room like a twister. He grabbed an apple slice and descended it into his agape mouth. I screamed as loud as I can. His eyes widened and stood in his place. I continued to scream until I could feel the veins in my forehead appear. I still didn’t pause. My scream passed its 15 second-mark. Mother came frantic into the room, demanding answers from my brother. He told her that he ate 1 of my 6 apple pieces. I was already crying and still screaming. I couldn’t stop. I screamed even as Mother covered my mouth with her Clorox-scented palm. I hated the smell of Clorox. I wanted to stop but I kept going. Drool oozed from my mouth. Snot rested on my upper lip. From my reflection on the kitchen mirror, I could see that I was red as a beetroot. I couldn’t breathe properly. Mother called Father. She said he was on his way.
Father came in with an ambulance. My brother held his knees as he hid under the table. I could hear him crying. Paramedics were carrying me onto a bed as I continued to scream. I was trying to squirm away from their grip. Mother tried to whisper soothing things into my ear. It didn’t work. I could hear and see my heartbeat. There were spots wherever I looked. When we reached our front porch, it wasn’t an ambulance that was parked in our driveway. I couldn’t tell what was written, but I read something that was on one of the medics’ uniform. It said “Psychiatric Ward”.
I continued to scream even when my voice was almost gone. I started hitting everyone that I saw. My hair was all over my face. I was made to wear a jacket where my arms couldn’t move. It felt coarse on my skin. I was told to lie down on the bed. Mother and Father sat next to me as the vehicle drove away. Mother was crying. Father was comforting her. I could see us getting farther away from our house, our front porch, our driveway. My brother was left alone in the house. With the remaining untouched 5 pieces of apple slices. The thought made me scream harder.
The Way You Look Tonight
A child from our neighborhood woke me up this morning. I was lying down outside my house, flat on my stomach. Beer breath oozed from my mouth. Drool was dried up on my chin. The child poked at my face with a stick and I woke with a yell. I shouted at him before he ran to his mother. She looked at me with a grieve expression before holding her son’s hand and pushing the trolley in front of her.
I tried to get up, but the pain in my joints and muscles stung. I cursed out loud, until a few other heads popped out from windows and doors to look at me. I flipped them the finger as I limped my way to my house. Fumbling for keys in my pockets, I blinked rapidly and tried to focus my vision.
The fridge was empty and the cat has given up asking me for food. The couch was disarrayed with food leftovers. Cockroaches took comfort in them and I let them. I looked at my reflection from the glass cabinet that once belonged to my wife. My stubble has made me look filthy and homeless. She always liked my face clean. I can still recall her soft hands cup my face as I lean in for a kiss. Her sweet scent remains around the house. I am left distressed. Grabbing a bottle of whiskey by the counter, I took a swig and dropped to the floor.
I miss her everyday. I’ve lost count of the days since she has passed. She used to do my laundry and do something to it that made them emerge as the softest things to wear. Breakfast would always be ready and she’d make smiley faces out of eggs, bacon and tomato bits. When I would oversleep due to tiredness, I’d find her slip in with me. Her arms would wrap themselves around me from behind and she would kiss my nape. She’d stroke my hair and say that it was okay to stay home. I was her home, she said. We would stay in bed all day, her warmth healing every pain I’ve ever felt.
There’s loud knocking on the door. In the sea of voices, there was a familiar one. I’ve misplaced my phone and didn’t bother looking for it. Friends and relatives are probably trying to reach me. I’ve abandoned my job and took refuge at the bar five blocks from here. I approached the door and clicked the two other locks shut and proceeded to my basement. I slammed its door behind me, drowning out their noise.
I sat on her favorite sofa. This was where we watched our favorite movies. She would always have her knees up to her chest, her toes curled in as she focused on the film. She wasn’t a fan of horror films, but she only agreed to watch them if I held her close enough that she could hear my breaths. The basement was our favorite part of the house. It was away from bright lights and people. The sole bulb in the middle of the ceiling allowed us to trace each other’s facial shadows. This was where I asked her to dance with me to a Sinatra soundtrack. She saw me cry that night and she kissed my tears away. I kissed her and tasted my salty tears from her lips.
Slumped on the floor, my back rested on the edge of the sofa. I patted the spot where her body’s imprint was. I found myself closing my eyes tightly shut and calling out her name. I clawed at the floor, hitting my forehead against it. I wanted her near again. I wanted to smell her, kiss her and succumb to the fires of her skin. I wanted to hear her voice. The only sound that made me calm. I wanted her back. I’ve lost her for good. The gods have forsaken every prayer I have offered them. There is no god. My pleas were left unheard. The winds have carried my woes until they’ve vanished to oblivion.
The pounding at the front door got louder. People found their way inside the house. I heard footsteps across the living room and ones approaching the basement entry. My brother slammed the basement door open and ran towards me. My body was on the floor, just as how the child this morning had found me. I cried silently as I was lifted up to the sofa. I closed my eyes and refused to look at anyone. I have lost my wife. I have lost purpose. In losing her, I have lost myself completely. It was meant to be that way or nothing else at all.
I love how the twinkle in your eye resembles the tranquil surfaces of a lake mirroring the gloss of the moon. I love how the sun appears to descend in between your flushed lips, like two rose petals enveloping an orb between each other. I feel a fragment of the universe settle itself inside me whenever our lips touch. If I were to explode, it would be the most beautiful way to be broken for eternity, the most beautiful way to go.
I Wanted To Tell Him
I wanted to tell him the little secrets that writhed in my bones. They were stories that clawed at me when my skin was rid of its defenses. I hid my thoughts carefully in my hair. Every time a hair strand fell to the floor, I felt like my own body was giving up on me. My face wrinkled each time I made a sigh in front of the mirror. Seeing who I was made me turn away every time.
Moonshine that crept in my room both caressed and burned right through me. The sheets in my bed are never in place as I slither in and out of them. I was barefoot to the kitchen and back. I carried a small cup of hot chocolate in my palms, hoping the chill that resided between my ribs would thaw. I drank the sugary liquid and felt it burn my throat. I shook my face and felt a tear drop from my left eye. I sat on the edge of my bed and grazed the spot where his shadow once was.
It was two in the morning and I could hear cats squealing from a distance. As I placed my hand on the rungs of the balcony, I took in a deep breath of the evening. I could see the stars prance every so lightly in their home. Their shimmer distracted me from my gloom for a while.
The floor of my room was littered with unfinished books and creased clothes. I sat underneath them, stroking the spines of the novels longing to be read. I felt my eyes and cheeks get wet, dragging the edge of the bed sheet and quickly wiping my face dry. I kept my right hand dangling on the left side of my chest, patting it to the drowsy beat of The Cinematic Orchestra’s To Build A Home. Cradling myself back and forth on the floor, I buried my face between my knees. I could feel his shadow upon me. I could feel his smell on my skin. Like a ballad startling your soul, I was helplessly endemic to his parameters. Even without.
I could taste myself and I found it rancid. I was nectar only when he was around to consume me. His absence made me physically ache. I try to make my way in the dark until I fall and scrape my knees. The blood starts to feel like jam. My joints quiver. Like a whisper into lifeless walls, I call out to you in silence.
I wanted to tell him the little secrets that writhed in my bones. They were stories that clawed at me when my skin was rid of its defenses. I hid my thoughts carefully in my hair. Every time a hair strand fell to the floor, I felt like my own body was giving up on me. My face wrinkled each time I made a sigh in front of the mirror. Seeing who I am made me turn away every time.
Jeric | Mad Makina
The breeze swept the ends of his shirt sleeves to prance along to its rhythm. It was a calm night, with hints of clouds gradually moving across the charcoal sky. We sat across each other and had our sandwiches untouched with the thirty-minute-long conversation we had between us. There was fervor and spirit each time he described how his ideas turned to sweet fruition. He pursed his lips as he thought of what to say, his mustache quivering as he spoke about the rush he got every time because of Dumb Drop. Dumb Drop is barely six months old but it has soared from a starter independent, t-shirt selling brand into a movement that supported local and underdog creatives. I observed him as his eyes darted from the sheet of questions I had prepared for him to looking me straight in the eye; proof of the fires he always had in his chest. (insert quote) The evening grew colder but I was riveted with the solid attachment he had with his proudest creation yet. he talks about being a part of Mad Makina for several years until present. I rested my head on the palm of my hand and was all ears. He spoke about his co-members in a manner that took friendship to another level. It was about being a family and supporting each other like brothers, thriving in sibling competition and progress. Even before expressing a comical tale, he would suppress laughter like that of a child; as if a bulb in a dusty room has suddenly been lit, shedding light at memorabilia tucked away in a corner. He crossed his arms in front of his chest and took his gaze away from me, talking about the ups and down of creating your own brand. In no time, he broke into a determined smile. He knew he still had a long way to go. But he knew the familiar faces that always covered over him prevented other shadows to dim the light of his aspirations. He had a swift and concrete attitude about his approach towards Dumb Drop and its pursuits. I respect him greatly for it. Despite the uncertainties of the imminent conditions of tomorrow, a smile was always present underneath all that facial shrubbery. Jeric was a good friend of mine. I didn’t know him too well, which still leaves me in awe about the boldness that resides in his bones. But I do know him well enough to predict that his craft would always keep people guessing. Dumb Drop would reach places and most of all, reach out to people who wish to get their fill of art and the madness that went with it.
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Mad Makina will be at the Middle East Film and Comic Con from April 3rd to the 5th at the World Trade Center, Dubai UAE. Come support and show some love. ♥
I spoke to her for several hours and realized that I wasn’t able to catch her name. Waving away hairs from her face, she removed her spectacles and rubbed the lenses with the loose of her shirt. She still continued on with her story despite this. She was telling me a story about dreams and how they’ve etched themselves to her skin. She said the ghosts would come in from time to time, even during a night of calm sleep. It would leave her terrified, which was why she got very attached to a particular pillow on her bed. She said it once belonged to her older brother who passed away in a car accident. She said they had a theory about pillows; it was an extension of the clouds for us humans to cuddle with. Sleep feels like you’re floating and pillows may just be the catalysts to thinking that slumber is a temporary escape from tangible, hurtful things. I nodded in agreement. Brushing the soft spots of a pillow across your cheek feels like getting into contact with clouds. Like the fluffy kind Peter Pan bounced around it. She was getting tired from telling her tale but she pressed on. We were both at a queue at a flower shop for more than thirty minutes that it encouraged a random conversation. It was free Flowers Day and it was a bad time to avail just that with all the crowd that’s lining up. The place was congested and the sweltering heat left my queue-mate cursing under her breath. She was thin but her backpack felt like she was carrying a small person in it. Her back was hunched a bit but I got back to listening to her when she offered me gum to chew. She told me another tale about how sunsets made her depressed. She said she’s been diagnosed with several yet moderate mental illness and that the pills weren’t helping her. It was as good as not taking them at all, she said. I caught a glance at the front of her cut hand that she quickly tugged at her jacket to hide them. She continued on that sunsets were a symbol of “curtains repeatedly closing” and that “the sky alone is bound for exhaustion, what more the foolish, human heart”? Apart from her brother’s passing, I asked her if she was troubled by anything else. She broke me off by pretending to answer a call on her phone that never happened. I nodded and respected her silence. She went on with a happy story about how she used to eat ice-creams minus the cone, so she could stack them all up and build forts and temples. This was apparently a hobby of hers since she was eight. She showed me pictures on her phone of her attempting to build a miniature Himalayas and Chinese temples through waffle cones. I told her I too could make a masterpiece with a mere cone. A traffic cone. She punched me playfully on the arm and laughed a genuine one. There was something beautiful about that, which was absent when she told me her stories. She finally walked away without saying good bye, her patience finally all leaked out. I wanted to call out for her but I didn’t know her name. I stayed in line and bought a single stem of a rose, heading home with her in my thoughts. I placed the rose on my bed side and chanted the lines to myself, “Sometimes I’m terrified of my heart; of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants. The way it stops and starts” before falling asleep. I woke up and looked at the mirror and saw the familiar thin figure with the thick glasses resting on an almost non-existent nose-bridge. I gave her the rose.
He sat across me in all his quiet and gentle form. With his right leg upon his left, he held his guitar close to him, his fair fingers tweaking through the tuning pegs. Bits of his hair fell upon his forehead, a sign that the heat from the morning paved way for it to be unkempt. But I found it very attractive. I found my cheeks feel warm at the sight of how his glasses gradually fell on the slope of his nose as he bent to look to and fro the guitar’s head and the strings. I remember how his eyes were as clear as a lake, round like marbles. I suppressed a sigh. My hands held my face as I continued to watch him. He began to play the first song he ever played for me on his guitar. His fingers tapped, plucked and strummed the surface of the instrument that he claims speaks better than he ever did. His eyes darted from string to fret, fingers skipping along the surface as if it were its playground. I knew the song lasted for three minutes but I caught him staring at me, waiting for my response when he was done playing. I smiled and leaned closer towards him to whisper “Thank you”. He replied with a soft “Happy birthday” before holding me in his arms. I felt his warmth thaw my cold heart. I closed my eyes and rested my soul in his embrace. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to fall in love.
Sighs and First Love
Tim held her close as she clumsily sat onto the sand. Some of it stuck to her legs, but Mary didn’t mind. Her long-sleeved dress still made her cold amidst the winds of the seas. She crossed her legs and shifted closer towards Tim. He was like her warm fireplace on a cold winter’s night. Mary intertwined her arm with his, pressing it closer against her to shoo away the cold on her skin. Her fingers found Tim’s palm and played with his for a little while. She loved the soft surface of his palm, her fingers finding their way to the little bumps on his fingertips. She giggled and proceeded to resting her palm and fingers in the spaces between his. Tim reached out for her other hand. As if clasping a delicate piece of a stray cloud, he held her hand as his thumb softly stroked her skin. Mary rested her head on his shoulder, still brushing her fingers against his. She could hear Tim’s breaths. They reminded her of the quiet lakes in deep forests - ever so still yet thriving in all its solitude. She buried her nose on his jacket and took a deep whiff of his scent. It shook her bones and excited her senses. Tim playfully smelled her hair too. Mary’s peripheral vision showed that he broke into a big smile. She sighed. Tim held her hand tighter, pressing his cheek gently on her forehead.
Your Hand In Mine
The beach was dimly lit. The lights that came from a distance felt like Christmas decor that should have been long taken down. I looked up and saw the stars gradually enter the scene. They looked like clusters of grain, like opaque light that hung from the sky.
I looked to my right and saw a dock. There were machines that stretched up to 40 feet. Merely looking at it left me a dizzy. I couldn’t imagine myself manning such heavy equipment at frightening altitude. But the view from up there must be breath-taking. Whoever took the evening shift that night had the best view. He could probably see people strolling down the beach like ants, watching the balletic sea careen towards the shore and back.
I looked to my left and saw a few silhouettes. I could hear laughter, but it was drowned out by the singing of the seas. The sudden waves sometimes felt like a wardrobe crashing its way down a staircase. It would then dissolve into a gentle fizzing sound as it creeps towards the shore again.
I went closer and felt the remnants of what was once a giant wave kiss my excited toes. I took a deep breath and felt my lungs jolt in sheer joy. The beach was deserted. I felt a certain kind of peace descend upon my tired mind and chest. I embraced it like it was a raft navigating me away from a persistent storm.
The sand was cold. My toes played with it. I felt small pebbles and shells from the soles of my feet. It didn’t hurt. But I liked the way its slightly sharp edges attempted to prick me. I sat on the cold sand and leaned upon a shoulder. He smelled like a meadow. I took a whiff of him and felt the hint of really good fabric softener. He barely spoke to me as I took in the magnificent beauty of the beach that night. But his presence felt like a security blanket. He held my hand in his and let me absorb my surroundings. I felt like a tired sponge. But I had enough spirit to consume this ephemeral truce with existence.
Leaning closer, I felt his innocent warmth complement the wintry breaths of the sea. It enveloped us. We allowed it. I closed my eyes and took another deep breath. I could feel a piece of the sea waltz with my feeble bones. My thrilled heart drummed against my chest. I was in between a beautiful moment and a beautiful soul. I held hands with both. Just like the salts and secrets of the sea, we became one.
It would be silly to deny the inventions of happy little winged things. They flutter around my head since we met. They resemble tiny musical notes dipped in gold. Sometimes I’d hear your voice. It would paint the floors of my mind with the prettiest sights.
If my mind were a tree, birds that have come to rest upon my branches brought with them the sweetest scented petals. Your whiff is strong like the ways of the wind, prevailing like the impact of an aged anchor.
My pillars crumble and my fears weigh me down. You are every weakness. But your gentle gaze blanket with me with strength to face everything else. Feeling you near leaves me floating. Your iridescence dissolves me.
You’re a lighthouse in the midst of unstable waters. You are the sole candle in a slumbering city. I like to watch you in your stillness. I like watching you watch me in your stillness. In our melodic quiet, my mind reaches majestic heights.
When your hand is in mine, I feel my feet lift off the ground. My dearest dose of warmth, how you sing to me. My lungs hurt. I think I am about to cough out stars.
Always be here. Always be near. In all this silence and solitude, I hold you dear.
I feel a little swallowed into the sea. My skin feels dry, but I take you in, breathing rapidly until my lungs ache. I am shaken as my bones wear me thin. If only I could hide the terrible notions of flowers in my hair, I would. If only I could tame my blood from the mere sight of what makes my heart drum against my chest rapidly, and slowly, and then altogether, I would. If only I could write it all down perfectly from the time my soul soared through your cerulean skies to this point when I’m as high as the perpetual moon, I would. But not even that could justify the song that you’ve left to play within my veins. We feel like a hundred houses apart, but like melody is to purpose, you belong with me. I am a thousand reasons to be left astray, but my demons are willing to play with yours. If it’s something you’d allow.
"Her voice rang like piano keys up and down my spine. Her skin smelled better than roses, giving flowers a run for their purpose. She was both light and dark to the shadows I keep. I feared being around her presence, but the sight of her encouraged symphonies to fill my head. Everything around us turned into an immediate orchestra. The breeze played with her hair. I squinted to tame the glow that surrounded her. She is lethal and I am drunk on her hungry, tired soul. What was once an untouched guitar were now strings that played beautiful music. I close my eyes and tapped my hand upon my chest to the rhythm of my fast beat. My lungs hurt from the excitement. My heart aches, but she makes my bones dance in time with hers. I’ve built my home inside her mind. There I know, I am in eternal warmth. There I know, I am hers to ruin and keep. Until forever tires."