The writer writes but never finishes what she’s writing. She goes from phone to paper to laptop to phone to paper over and over again, a cycle that does not seem to know how to end in “writing.” But it does know how to end in the realm of the internet, or in the world outside the window, or in the places around the house that still need to be cleaned despite the ant population dwindling down to a solid zero. And the writer comes back to writing, feeling guilty of the story she has left gasping for air. And in her despair, she writes a poem, and comes back to this, to me, still gasping for air, still breathless, still utterly lifeless. The writer reads my beginning, stops just right before I end, trailing the last few words. She scratches her head, defeated. She throws her arms in the air, I’m still waiting to be given another limb. She sighs, writes a couple of words, goes back to that endless cycle. And I am left—
I hope you do
I hope no monster tricks you into believing this isn’t real because it is
I hope the wind does not knock too loudly, enough to rouse you
And as much as I hope you would tell me all the stories you have read, or tasted, or touched while dreaming, let them live inside your Heart for a little while longer
Let them linger
Let them recognize your face, touching every feature, memorizing you with closed eyes but open hands, as I do when you are wide awake
Let them be dreams
It is five forty-five in the afternoon. The skies are dark and little drops of water are falling from the sky. I hesitate, then came to a decision to open my umbrella and start walking. Here we go again. A ten minute walk. But this time… I only have myself. My friends left me twenty, thirty, forty minutes ago. Here I am again… walking on the paved pathways of a village thirty percent I know by heart, seventy percent I know nothing about. I could hear the noise from my shoes as they stomp on gravel. Some kind of a crunching noise that somehow distracts me from my thoughts. But my thoughts overpower the noise. My thoughts are louder than any noise. Than the car near me coming to a stop, than the white cat purring, than the big dog barking, than the people talking. My thoughts about everything. About a “truth” I said.
I only wanted to tell the truth. I did not mean to hurt anyone. But what happened is that I did hurt someone.
The truth is…
The truth is… I should be on my way home by now. As I walk down the road, I ask why. Why did I have to say it like that? Why did I have to open my mouth. And… a car. Too close. Almost hit me.
Then it hit me. I did not want to change anybody. I only wanted for that person to understand. Understand what must be understood. I did not wish for that person to get sad… to get mad. I just wanted… understanding.
I understand that the rain made the road slippery. I almost tripped. I almost lost my balance. I almost would have wanted that to happen. For me to be injured. For me to feel pain.
Pain… that is what she must have felt. Like the feeling of fire penetrating the bare skin. Like the feeling of a billion bees attacking, their stingers sticking out. Like the feeling of a heart slowly breaking in two. Like the feeling of friendship… broken, shattered, left there for vultures to feed on. Like truth… slapping you in the face, telling you that what you did and what you are doing is just so wrong.
Maybe it was wrong for me to close my umbrella ten seconds too early. Now my favorite red t-shirt has all these spots on it. Maybe I am just too damn early in everything.
Everything feels so wrong even if what I did, I believe, was right. I told the truth. I honestly said it. All these years of trying to just let it pass by in hopes that that person might change over time… I said it.
I said it… the lines I have been memorizing ever since this morning. And I made people beside me look at me… because I said it a little too loud.
I said it a little bit too loud. Maybe he/she was hurt by the tone of my voice. By the way I said it. Was I too loud?
Loud. It’s always like this here. People lining up to wait for a ride home. People wiping sweat and stress off their faces as the day finally comes to an end. People talking, expressing their thoughts on the events of their lives. People trying to stay patient but fail to do so.
Patience. I have a lot of patience. I am a grenade that only bursts inside and never out. It is only now that I have exploded for people to see.
Exploding like a firework, a sigh of relief. I am on the way home.
A MORNING UNLIKE OTHER MORNINGS
The morning was like no other mornings for little Becky Walter. She doesn’t dream of riding a unicorn, flying up to the sky of cotton candy coloured clouds. No. Her dream was of darkness, her in the middle, nobody else was there. No sweet stepmother, no Tommy the Courageous Dog, no noisy baby stepsister, Kate. She doesn’t wake up seeing Mr. Sun peeking outside her window. No. She woke up seeing the rain falling down. Endless, endless rain. The tears of little angels in the sky. She woke up not seeing the dancing clouds of fluffy bunnies and friendly dragons. She woke up not hearing the sound of the singing birds but of the rain noisily tapping on the roof. Tippity-tappity-tap. She woke up not smelling the scrumptious aroma of bacon and eggs, her father’s favourite. She woke up not seeing her father, her dearest father, cracking open the door while she pretends to still be asleep. She wakes up not hearing her father’s slow tiptoeing on his way to her bed. She woke up with no, “Rise and shine, my little princess!” She does not wake up with her father beside her, with her hero, with her best friend, with her everything. No. But she woke up with a plan this morning. Maybe it was her turn to wake him up, it was her turn to slowly tiptoe towards his new bed and shout “Rise and shine, daddy!” Maybe then he will open his eyes. Maybe then he will greet her with a “Good Morning, my little princess!” Maybe then he will smile for her again.
The morning was like no other mornings for little Becky Walter. No… not at all.
Nothing in Everything
Let me please explain everything…
When I was young, I did everything to get the attention of our parents. I sang my heart out even if I was tone deaf, I danced for them even if I had two left feet, I did everything. Everything to let them see me. To let them listen to me. To let them love me. I was practically screaming, “Love me mom and dad!” right in front of their faces. But nothing worked. They continued along with their lives, being blinded by the mountains of paperwork on top of their desks. Work… that was everything to them. I was nothing.
But then you came along and I saw mother’s eyes twinkle. She was always happy when she saw you. She was always different around you. You were the talented, the intelligent, the pretty face. You weren’t even supposed to be a part of this family. But mom fell in love with you the first time she saw your angelic face in that orphanage. You were everything to mom. I was nothing to her.
Dad used to call me his little princess. He would carry me and spin me around. He would always make me that pork adobo I loved so much. He never let me see him sad. He would never let me fall off a cliff without me knowing that he would be the one who will catch me. But then you came and everything fell apart. No more princess, no more carrying and spinning around, no more adobo. I fell and dad was never there to catch me. Dad became busier and busier because he had to work for your everything. I was nothing.
You were bursting with love that I was so mad. You never felt the hurt I felt during those times when I was about to sleep but I was drowning in depression that my mind continued running even if I wanted it to stop. I kept asking myself what was wrong with me… but I never found the answer. No one cared, no one listened. And one day you tried to but I didn’t let you. How could I when I was so envious of you? How could I when you were everything and I will always be nothing?
School was so very different from home, Mary. We were always partnered up since you had a hard time gaining friends. You were beautiful and smart, yes, but you were shy. So very shy that I wonder what’s so special about you. I had a lot of friends… but they never knew who I really was. They just wanted to be friends with me because I’m rich. They wanted my everything. I still had nothing.
No love, no real friends but you had it all. You had everything I wanted. Mom and dad’s love, real friends like your best friends Kate and Dylan. You had everything, Mary. Why did you let all of those slip away? You had everything. I have always had nothing.
Nothingness never left me. So I tried to make everything to get what I wanted back. I had to accuse you of things you never did just so mom and dad would ignore you. But that only made them ignore me even more. I tried to tell your friends how cruel you could be but all I ever heard from them was, “Mary would never do that.” From then on I saw that you were everybody’s everything. And I will forever be nothing.
I just wanted someone to love me, Mary. No one ever did. No one ever did because of you. So I had to ruin you. I’m sorry I called you names, I’m sorry I started rumours that I thought people would never believe in, but they did. They really did, Mary. And so they started to bombard you with their barbed words. But through it all, you had a beautiful smile stitched on your face. You never let them bring you down and that just made them want to pull you down even more. They tore your best friends away from you. Kate went against you, Dylan went to another country without saying goodbye. They looked at you with disgust, they called you “slut.” They tried everything. I would tell myself that I did nothing.
I told myself that I did nothing bad. That I did nothing wrong. That nothing was my fault. I told myself that you deserve it. That you deserve to be sad, to be left alone, to feel what I felt. Then one night, at the dinner table, all four of us quiet, all four of us eating with no new stories from you, all four of us feeling this certain air of awkwardness, I looked at you and a single tear fell down your cheek. You didn’t wipe it away. You didn’t excuse yourself. You just smiled. Then you sniffed a little. Mom looked at you but you said you were just sleepy and that you were starting to have the colds. You lied, Mary. You lied so that mom wouldn’t get worried. You lied because you knew you were mom’s everything and you didn’t want her to see you hurt. Something inside of me burned. For the first time in my life, I excused myself from the dinner table and went straight to bed. I cried so hard but I didn’t know why. I cried and I cried until I felt nothing anymore.
I felt nothing. I didn’t feel the guilt that nibbled my heart every single time I saw your watery eyes. I didn’t feel the pain inside my chest when mom and dad noticed you were acting strange. I didn’t feel the loneliness that has always been residing in my heart. I just wanted you to be gone. You were their everything that I never hoped to happen. I was the nothing no one ever hoped to love.
I was nothing so I had to tell you everything. I told you to stop and look at what was happening because you never cared about anything. I told you not to be selfish because all you think about is yourself. I told you to stop making mom and dad love you even more because not one single drop of their love is given to me. I told you that you were their everything and that I was their nothing.
Nothing. Nothing will ever be the same, Mary. How can you leave me with that note? The letter that said: “Ate Grace, you have everything. Why don’t you see that? Mom and dad loves you with all their might but you never seemed to feel that. Why don’t you see that I want to be your best friend? I love you Ate and I’m sorry I stole everything from you.” I made you believe the words I never thought would hurt you. They did more than hurt you. They killed you. I never thought you would do that. All we heard was a bang… and you were gone. You left a note… a note that I can never… I will never forget. That note is everything to me, Mary. That day, I felt numb, I felt nothing.
Then it hit me like a speeding train. Mom cried endlessly and so did dad. I never saw them cry that much for me. I always knew that if I died, they would just leave me all alone, probably throw me out to be eaten by dogs. And then I realized how I really hate you when I saw your face, eyes closed, still perfect even if lifeless. Everyone was there, Kate wept remembering the times you talked all day long, Dylan flew all the way from America just to see you again, everyone who has ever hurt you was there, they always admired you and they were truly sorry for everything they have done. Everyone who loved you shed tears. Even I did.
Now you’re nothing and I am everything to mom and dad. But why? Why don’t I want this? I feel empty, I feel nothing.
Ate (big sister in Filipino) Grace
*this was our Final Project for our Creative Writing class
So I said… “Why not publish my short story on my blog?” So here it is.
by justanothersomebody (sunkissesmoonembraces.wordpress.com)
“So you’re just gonna leave me?!?!” She cried. He saw her cry for the 5th time. And that’s a lot. She meant everything to him, but so does his job.
“Hey. It’s not like it’s my fault.” He defended himself.
“Oh so it’s mine?”
“Come on babe, not here. Not in front of these people.” He said, holding her arms.
She took off. Mortified. Mad. And of course, sad. She never had a proper date with her “boyfriend”. If that’s what he really is. Why did she choose a detective?
“Yo, partner you’re finally here! The press wants details about the Coleman Case. And of course the sheriff’s pushing us about it.”
“Yo, Kevin. Sorry. Got caught up. Ugh, media.”
“Arden?” His partner asked.
“Ricky Dell my man, why’d you fall in love with Arden. She’s irresistible. Sexy, smart, beautiful and an actress. And you just leave her? I mean who does that? You’ll just break her heart.” Kevin said.
Ricky can’t blame this on his job, maybe Kevin was right. He shouldn’t have gotten a girlfriend. She’s just a…. distraction to his career.
“Arden Meyers, it is not your fault.” Her best friend, Kelly told her.
Kelly just looked at her. “If he loves you, he would forget his job.”
Arden showed a small smile.
“Arden, that guy’s clueless. He doesn’t know that he’s got it all, with you.”
“No he doesn’t. He doesn’t have time for me.” Arden felt tears form in her eyes.
She hated it. He was always busy. But she can’t blame his job. He protects people. He’s a top detective. The sheriff praises him. The mayor gave him an award once. She couldn’t help but feel that she’s nothing to him. Just an accessory. A toy.
“The Coleman’s were murdered by Jack Freeman, their gardener. He’s not so free now.” The sheriff told the press. And the press, with their unending enthusiasm, poured the sheriff with questions.
Ricky and Kevin watched him. He winked at them. A wink saying, “Good job, boys.”
Ricky and Kevin were the best detectives in their area, and they were also the best of friends. Whenever Kevin gets into trouble, Ricky always saves him from it, vice versa. Though Kevin just arrived 6 months ago, he’s catching up pretty fast. There was a case where he solved it by himself. Ricky and the sheriff were both impressed.
“Nuther job well done, huh Rick?” Kevin said as he looked at Ricky.
Ricky just stared in front of him and said nothing.
“Hello? Yo! RICKY!!!” Kevin shouted.
Ricky shook his head.
“Yo! Stop with the shouting, man. Not cool.” He said, touching his ears.
“You can’t stop thinking about her can’t you?” Kevin said, whispering.
“Ok ok, Kevin, you have got to control your voice. And, I can forget about it.”
“But you can’t forget about her. Dude, been there, done that. And look at that band on my finger. Been married for a year. And my wife never asks about my job. She’s fine with it.” He said, bragging.
Ricky raised a brow. “First of all, I’m 25 and you’re like… never mind.”
Kevin glared at him. “30. They say it’s the most important time of your life.”
“Fine. And second of all, Arden, we’ve been in a relationship for a year. It’s just now that she’s acting all weird.” Ricky said.
“Maybe its cause you kept thinking about your job when you two are on a date. Rick, being a detective, you need a lot of focus. You have to let go of everything. Maybe you should just let her go, before you break her heart.” Kevin said as calmly as he could.
Ricky nodded. He was right. He’s always right. Kevin’s wise. Maybe he should just… let go.
Arden stared. Unable to open her mouth.
The director whispered her lines. She looked at her director. But she can’t make up the words. Her world was turning upside down. Ricky was all she could think about.
The director said it again. And she finally understood. She snapped out of it and made an adlib so that she would cover her mistake.
“Oh my poor soul as I wander on these cold concrete floors.” She said, doing what she’s good at, acting.
“Arden.” The theatre director/scriptwriter pulled her when the play was done.
“Carey.” She said, smiling.
“You weren’t yourself a while ago. This is the theatre, Arden. And you’re one of the best. Why are you proving us wrong?” She asked with a straight, strict voice.
Arden looked down.
“Arden, stop ok?”
“But you were still good.”
Arden showed a smile.
In her dressing room, her friend Kelly waited for her.
“Hey, girl, great performance.” Kelly said, hugging Arden.
“Hey. Thanks.” Arden said, breathing.
Arden laughed. “Tired.”
“You have so many fans, look at all the flowers outside!”
“Yeah, I feel dead.”
A knock on the door was heard.
Arden took her robe, and wrapped it around her.
She opened the door.
“Hey there, pretty face.”
“Vincent.” Her ex, also an actor and she had to kiss him on the play today. Yech.
“You were amazing.” He said.
Get away from me. She thought to herself. “Thanks. I’m kinda busy now, so, would you mind?”
“Wanna grab some coffee?” He said, charming her.
Not gonna work on me. “Uhh, no. But thanks anyway.”
She closed the door.
“I hate that guy.” Kelly said.
“Not as much as I hate him.” She rolled her eyes and laughed.
“There’s a blood trail here, oh, and I just found the murder weapon.” Kevin said, showing the murder weapon, a knife.
Kevin and Ricky were working on another field case. A man, rich man, hanged up on a tree with a stab wound on his heart. Suicide? Nope. It just looked like it. But he would’ve died stabbing his heart. So the suspect made it look like a suicide.
“Hey Kev, I’m gonna ask questions, ok?” Ricky said.
“Sure sure.” Kevin nodded, busy with his bloody knife.
Ricky pulled out his phone, which wasn’t allowed, but what the heck, right?
He dialled Arden’s number.
“Arden.” He said as he heard her pick up.
“Hey, I heard you did well today. Congrats.”
“Hey, umm, I’ll cook dinner for you, so come by my place, about 8, ok?”
“I love you.”
“I love you too, Rick.” He heard her smile.
He hung up his phone.
“So that’s your idea of asking questions huh?” Kevin said, sneaking up on him.
Ricky smiled, “Sorry.”
Kevin laughed. “Just get on with it.”
Wrapping up the case, with the maid of the neighbour killing the rich man because he raped her, she confessed and they testified it, and saying good bye to his fellow detectives, he went straight to his apartment. It was already 8:30. He’s late, again.
As he neared it, he saw Arden waiting for him outside the building. She looked pretty, but she was sad.
“Arden.” He said as he hugged her.
“Hey.” She hugged him back.
And as they let go, he saw her frown again. She quickly smiled.
She’s lonely, he thought. As a detective, he got used to interpreting people’s actions. Arden was hard to figure out. She’s a great actress.
He kissed her.
“What was that for?” She asked, blushing, smiling.
“So I could see your real smile. Come on.” Ricky said.
Arden bit her lip. He can make her weak.
“So you’re blaming me?” She said, angrily. After eating dinner, they sat on the couch and watched T.V. Then, Ricky told her about the situation of his career.
“No, Arden.” Ricky said, steadily.
“You want to break up with me. So you could go back to being the best detective.” She said through her tears. She hated it. Hated crying. Hated him seeing her like this. She stood up.
“Arden please. You always blame yourself. You always get angry, and never let me say anything.” He said.
“I blame myself because I can’t blame you. You chose that job. You love it more than you love me.” She said, trying to calm down.
“Arden.” He said.
She smiled. “See? You can’t even say that you love me more than it. I’m sorry Ricky. I just thought you’d love me more, because I love you more than acting. I’m just a toy right? You just played with my feelings.” She took off.
“Arden.” He said whispering. For the first time in his life, he wept because of a girl.
His phone rang 30 minutes after their fight.
“Hello?” He said.
“Ricky!!! Help!!!” Arden shouted.
“Arden!” He stood up from his seat.
He heard Arden shouting and his world went all blurry. She’s in danger, he shouldn’t have let her walk alone in the dark.
He heard her phone drop. And his tears dropped as well.
He does love her more than his job.
Arden ran as fast as she could, tears flowing from her face.
Ricky ran fast. Only thinking about Arden, only Arden.
Arden ran. She heard a yell.
Ricky went past streets, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd. Nothing. He searched and searched. His legs ached, but his heart ached much more. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Then…
An empty lot, just one tree standing at the corner, nothing but rocks and soil and grass. He saw a yellow police tape, he cursed, his heart stopped beating, his vision blurred, he felt his bones weaken.
Arden kept on running, 20th, 21st,22nd,23rd. And nothing.
He went near it, Kevin was there. The police was there, keeping an eye on the crime scene, and people who might just barge up and ruin the scene. He couldn’t see the body.
“Kevin.” He said, his voice coarse. He was 2 feet away from the crime scene.
“Ricky…” Kevin’s face dropped.
“Wh-What happened here?”
Kevin stepped away from the body.
It was a woman, brown hair, sparkling green eyes. Beautiful. Except the blood on her forehead, blood. Hey, I saw her, the best theatre actress in town.
He cried, he covered his mouth and tried to wipe away his tears.
“Ricky, I’m sorry.” Kevin said.
One minute they were fighting, the next minute she’s here, lying on the empty lot, with blood on her forehead.
“It’s my fault, I didn’t take care of her. We got in a fight. And I didn’t apologize. She said she loved me, I didn’t say anything.”
“Ricky, it’s not your fault.”
“Yes it is!!!” He broke down.
“Ricky, enough. You have to solve this. So you could catch the killer.” Kevin explained calmly.
“You’re right. Let’s do this.”
“Hey, Rick. Look at this.” Kevin said looking at blood, there was a blood pool on the street, and blood on her head, some blood on the empty lot, and traces of blood in between.
Ricky looked as well. “She was dragged from the street, to this lot. And she’s been hit by a sharp object.”
“A rock?” Kevin guessed.
Ricky looked for a rock with blood on it. He found a big one, near the blood pool on the street. Murder weapon.
“Kevin. Murder weapon.” He said.
“Wow, that is a big rock. How’d the killer manage to carry that? And if he did, her skull would have been broken.” He said.
“Maybe she was shot and then she hit her head.” He said.
“No, Rick, there was no bullet hole on her. Nothing.”
“Then what?” He asked.
“Maybe she was pushed, the murderer knew there was a sharp rock so he took it for granted.” Kevin theorized.
“Yeah.” Ricky said. “Have you seen her purse, Kev?”
“No, no purse. Robbery?”
“Maybe. Umm, was she?” He asked.
“No, Ricky, thank God she wasn’t raped.” Kevin said with a sigh of relief.
Ricky tried to smile but it failed. He just can’t smile.
“Hey, hey! You! Get out of here!” The officer shouted.
“Y-Y-You get o-out!!! My property!!!!” The homeless man shouted.
Ricky and Kevin came near the homeless man.
“Sir, this is a crime scene now.” Ricky said calmly.
Ricky saw the man carrying a purse, it looked a lot like Arden’s purse.
“Sir, may I see that purse.” He said.
“No! This is woman’s purse.” The homeless man said.
“Whose purse sir?”
The homeless man pointed at Arden.
Ricky nodded. “Why did you take it?”
The homeless man shook his head. “I-I-I didn’t not take it.”
Ricky felt hopeless.
“I-I drag her to lot.”
Suspect. “Did you kill her??”
Arden kept on running. Empty lot. There was a man there.
“N-no. Rock killed her. Accident.”
Ricky closed her eyes, tears. His eyes lit up, fire in them, anger. “No! You killed her!!!”
Ricky strangled the homeless man.
“Ricky! Stop!” Kevin said.
The officer took Ricky by the waist and pulled him away.
“Y-You! You killed her! Arden! Arden!” Ricky cried.
“Stop it Ricky!” Kevin said.
“I h-hate people!” The homeless man said, and he ran away.
The officer started to catch him.
“Stop, officer.” Ricky said.
The officer stopped.
“It was not his fault. He saved her actually. A car might run over her, so he dragged her on the lot.” Ricky explained.
“Ricky, it was really just an accident. There was a witness. The building near this lot is an apartment. There was a bystander. He saw Arden running and hitting the rock and the homeless man dragging her. He tried to contact the police, but no one came.” Kevin explained each and every detail properly.
“So I’m gonna blame myself forever. I killed Arden.” Ricky said as his tears trickled down his face. “But who was after her, Kevin? She screamed a lot when I talked to her on the phone.”
“She was the best actress in town, Ricky.”
“Please Ricky!” She said.
She hung up her phone, and sighed.
I’m sorry I have to do this to you Ricky. But this is the only way. She thought to herself.
It was all just an act. If he did come after her, it was proof that he did love her.
She was an actress.
She ran, she tripped, she died.