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Literary

To the man who was never mine

I would first want to extend my deepest gratitude for all the memories we shared, whether pain or trial or even the happiest of days. Indeed, every moment spent with you was breathtaking.

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Greetings and a pleasant afternoon to you!

I would first want to extend my deepest gratitude for all the memories we shared, whether pain or trial or even the happiest of days. Indeed, every moment spent with you was breathtaking. You were never a boring person and never did I regret meeting you in my life.

Do you still remember our first meeting? It was such a coincidence. I remember that I gazed upon your beautiful, big, brown eyes, which, for some unexplainable reason, reminded me of sunrise. Surely, it was peaceful as if the winds flawed your cheeks – so serene which felt like a sleep – a deep sleep.

So, how are you and how long has it been since? Days, weeks, months, no, I’m sure years have gone by. A lot of things happened, both funny and childish. And I missed them a lot. Like how I’d put chilli in your street snack instead of sweet sauce, or how we used to nibble chocolate bars in secrecy during class.

Time spent like that was fun. I enjoyed it a lot. Our midnight calls and texts, instant messaging, and our endless sharing of love quotes each and every single day and night. Interlacing my hand with yours was one of our best moments together. Your hands were very warm and soft that I can almost cuddle it. It felt right, I guess, the perfect one for my shabby, fleshy fingers.

I also missed the times you’d rest your head on my shoulder while counting stars. We were young and innocent. I also recalled how we used to poke each other and how you held my waist every time. Then I’d look at your sparkling eyes in shimmering daylight. You would even take me to Waltz. But until now, I’m still not good in dancing. I must’ve acquired both left feet.

Many things happened – all about the same. Yet, one thing is certain, we never kissed. Time defined us, and realizations spoke that you were still a boy from deep inside. But because of that day, everything was shattered including our together-with-you-’til-death-do-us-part promises.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming you for anything. Maybe it was my fault for being the imperfect one. Maybe you saw something more fantastical in her eyes. Anyway, you said it so yourself – she was the real woman of your dreams.

Suddenly, time stopped. Do you still remember what happened? Did you ever imagine what it feels like for someone to be abandoned? With no choice but to weep night after night?

My bedtime pillows were soaking in humiliation. The last thing I remember of us being together was when you brought her in front of me. Later, you placed her sitting beside you as you professed your love for her.

You really changed. And in this world, love is nothing but a gamble where men are the players and women are simply the cards laid out on the table.

So I left you because I have to. I know my worth. I’m not just any other woman; I am a woman of dignity.

Acceptance should have been enough but no, I resisted it – I resisted my day-to-day torment of being forced to face the situation that we are never ever going back together. Yet, from here I learned that I deserve someone better, someone who can at least appreciate and see my worth.

Even if you seem to be a gorgeous angel, deceit is deceit. This is a fact that will never change. No matter how whimsical our past may be, we always have to face the reality that you’re not meant for me as well as I am not destined for you.

Let’s just focus on our studies for now. Education is important especially these days, is it not? Well, what can I say? Good luck and God bless in everything.

Ciao.

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Literary

Confession

It creeps up on me when I eat, when I am sitting in the living room, when I am about to sleep.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

To rest is a sin.

In the quiet moments of this new sheltered life, I have come to accept that there is a small dark corner of my mind where all the dates of the calendar are marked. From the first week of April, to the last week of May—it’s all there. It is a small dark corner. It creeps up on me when I eat, when I am sitting in the living room, when I am about to sleep.

This small dark corner reminds me everyday of what’s about to come. I explain that I’m not ready, that I need more time, that this is new territory and I haven’t taken a step further since I came here—it doesn’t listen to me. It tells me to get to work. It tells me that this is my priority, this is what matters the most in this worldwide pandemic. It forces me to listen, to do as it says, to be its puppet to be controlled with the numbers controlling my arms and legs.

But this is just a small dark corner of my mind. There are other corners. Much bigger corners.

To rest is a sin. 

I have yet to be forgiven. 

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Literary

Little Bit of Paradise

You try to breathe in the catastrophe as your thumb keeps scrolling and scrolling and scrolling until the end is reached, leaving a deep void that makes you unable to speak or act.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

You wake up to the sight of your room’s white ceiling. The summer heat makes your skin sweat immediately. Piled up papers stare at you from the corner of the room along with unpacked belongings from the dorm––ah, yes. You are home––earlier than expected but still, you succumb to this little bit of paradise.

You breathe in the familiarity of your bed sheet’s smell, let every caress of the fabric give comfort up until you check your phone.

Three hundred thirty-nine new cases. The death toll is now at 704. Recoveries at 1,842. The total is now at 10,610.

This little bit of paradise began to crumble from the inside. Like a volcano nearing to erupt. The summer heat began to burn not only the skin but also made its way into bones and flesh. Piled up papers began to yell, screaming for a continuation. Gentle caresses became tight grips with nails digging deeper into full palms.

You try to breathe in the catastrophe as your thumb keeps scrolling and scrolling and scrolling until the end is reached, leaving a deep void that makes you unable to speak or act.

You see posts from people staying up in their ivory towers while waving their flags of toxic positivity for all to see. You grit your teeth in disgust. The screen refreshes, showing heroes and people trying to survive from exhaustion and hunger.

This little bit of paradise of yours completely crumbles, leaving traces of guilt, fear,  and anger, all in one.

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Literary

Finding Courage

In this time, praying has become a refuge. There is solitude in knowing that you are being heard and that what you are feeling and thinking are valid.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

It’s nice to wake up with the thought of having food served on the dining table for the day. When you know that you have a home, your family beside you, and wondering what you will do for the rest of the day. Make Dalgona coffee? Bake? Read? Watch a new TV series? Finally finish your school work?

Watching the news has become a staple in the household. Seeing the cases increase, people helping one another, our frontliners making things easier for us, and the struggle of the people trying to make ends meet despite the difficult situation. Suddenly, watching the news brings tension, stress, and anxiety. 

In this time, praying has become a refuge. There is solitude in knowing that you are being heard and that what you are feeling and thinking are valid. It is okay to be scared in times like these but know that these too shall pass. Courage is hard to find these days but waking up and getting out of the bed is a progress. I hope you find the courage to go on day by day.

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