Piece by mangled piece; bed to bed; late nights and early morning sunrise: where was I?
We have lead parallel lives.
We crank back the emptiness with routine and put back all the lost parts from Pandora's box. Siphoned sadness through a straw from the empty ocean we slept on. Loved to love but fated to hate. Until the next scene, or the next frame.
We have lead parallel lives until the lines to the points in a plane stopped and went a different direction.
When every direction still feels the same. When we went haywire to find—if only to find—someone there. But without a name. Or a face to place the name. The face in the darkness where we went haywire and found you there.
We have lead parallel lives until the lines to the points in a plane stopped and went a different direction. The direction was towards an apex—a literary climax all the same.
The goosebumps have flattened out, only resurfacing when I am on my way to meet a pack of strangers in a packed joint somewhere familiar.
We have lead parallel lives until the lines to the points on the plane stopped and went a different direction. The direction was towards an apex—a literary climax all the same. We were two points in a plane.
The long, L-shaped counter is attended by female contractual workers with cracked, caked-on foundation that does not match the tone of their arms. They wear a red pout ready to turn into a scowl, tinted the color of lipstick sold for the same price as six Marlboro cigarettes. The lipstick probably contains more lead than the lightning speed production of toys that sparkle, bark, and jitter during the peak of Christmas season.
All this remains an afterthought. First, the glass double doors had to open.
The stench of the stockroom out back diffuses a musk of half-eaten stale bread and open bags of local junk food. Whatever it is, it stinks. And it does not stink in a special, unique way—all branches from this convenience store smell the same, no matter where you go from opposite ends of Davao City. Mintal, Buhangin, Jacinto Extension. . .
A woman with a pair of forceps is tugging at a spot in my arm. She stops to wipe her forehead with her folded elbow. Next to the cartoon figures of her scrubs are blots of scattered sweat stains.
Here I was, shivering on a thin mattress of a cold metal bed. The bones of my jaw are clenched to silence my chattering teeth.
She takes a large syringe from a metal pan next to her. With the needle taken out, she sprays a clear liquid on the thumbprint-sized open, bleeding flesh on my arm. "Sakit?"
She digs the long tip of the shiny forceps underneath my skin, disappearing inside a small horizontal opening about the same size of the hole on a 5 centavo coin.
The clinic was a concrete room that can be walked from point A to point B with less than six giant steps. Above the small operating table was an air conditioning inverter blasting unforgiving breaths on my limbs already riddled with goosebumps.
I shake my head first. I wished she also asked if I was cold.
Filed under non-fiction
There's an empty paper box that used to contain half the things we used to say in secret. Half of them are dust and paper lint; others are just pressed trees with letters, numbers, and scribbles on it. All of them are in a language written by fools to make time go slower.
Fast forward to when you dragged me to a moonlit graveyard. Above us, the clouds dance to make pictures against a deep, knowing backdrop where shooting stars pretend to hide. Twice, you counted. Thrice during the night, you woke me up like the child you are.
Backtrack to when I was plying my way though work while you were doing work that's less serious, except only that we joked that it will one day be the death of you.
There are things you took without my knowledge, but were yours all the same.
Days like these are the best. Half an hour ago, my clothes were hanging to dry in a dirt patch of rocks and potted plants. Now, the sky is gray—pregnant to burst open with large, painful drops of angry rain.
My cat chases a dried leaf brought to life by south wind. Above, birds fly fast away from a storm that's going to fall in a little while.
The days are unpredictable.