this is a post. you’ll eventually see more of these as the months go on.
“Of balconies and quiet moments spent together, of late night whisperings and songs.”
In a balcony below a night sky, I sit and strum the worn strings of a ukulele. The sliding door moves aside, and he steps into the open space. I don’t have to look at him to know that his blond-dyed hair is sticking to his forehead and his eyes still don colored lenses. If nothing has changed, let it be his lazy (“Carefree,” he’d argue) demeanor.
The scrape of a chair. The thump of a body. But he doesn’t speak; he never does until I do. Then there were two—him resting sore limbs and me passing time with lyricless songs.
Even if it’s a slow beat (as it usually is), he can never stay still. His fingers will dance anew. His knees will jolt in a beat. He’ll shake his head to move hair out of the way, but he’ll get frustrated and end up using his hands. I know it; I’ve seen it all before.
Eventually, I’ll let out a chortle and he’ll harrumph in response. I’ll quietly turn my chair to face him, and he’ll be staring back with strange, lovely eyes. Tired, heavy-lidded, but lovely all the same. The moonlight reflects off the pale blue irises; they suit him well. Tonight is different, but only by a little. Instead of leaning his forearms against the chair’s back, he sits normally, albeit with lanky legs lifted to the balcony edge. Fingers drum against the flat plane of his black shirt.
“How was the rehearsal?”
“Hng.” Another loose laugh. He closes his eyes when my strumming resumes. The song is old and somewhat overplayed, but it is comforting nonetheless. Lyrics slip past my teeth easily, natural and welcome.
The moment is personal. Intimate. I close my eyes; I have to.
‘Cause I can’t help falling in love with you.
I’ve looped the song twice now. Has he noticed that I can’t seem to end it? My fingers give up first, but my voice sings on. No other noise covers the meek melody; the city quietens to listen. By the last words, I’ve tapered off to a whisper. No one stirs. No one speaks. For a brief moment, I consider the possibility that he had fallen asleep or perhaps left and I didn’t notice.
“Beautiful.” The timbre of his voice is chillingly low, a stark reminder of just how many years had passed. Of course he’s still here. He always is.
He always will be.
I stand up, and the chair makes an ugly noise. I can’t stay here much longer. I’ve barely opened the door when he lays a tentative but firm hand on my shoulder. He murmurs my name as a question.
Just one more time. Look at him just one more time. I obey.
He towers over me by a full foot, but he couldn’t ever be intimidating, no matter how long it has been. His eyes are wild in confusion—pleading?—and surprise—desperation?—when he looks at me.
“Where are you going?” Where am I going? I never know what lies beyond this door.
It takes too much of a pause to respond. “You’re not real.” My voice cracks, and my fingers grip the instrument tighter. “It hurts. Every single time, it hurts.” His eyebrows are furrowed.
“But you’re real to me. Doesn’t that matter?” His lips don’t sync to his words—they never do. I flinch; it burns. It burns like ice, slashed across my eyes and leaving trails of tears. Are his words his words? Is his voice his voice? Is he really him?
The expression on his face hurts harder. His hands are fists at his side and open palms the next moment, unsure and unsteady. The gesture, so familiar, tightens my heart. My hesitation answers with a bittersweet smile. It had always mattered. You had always mattered.
I miss you, I love you, I miss you, I love you.
I have to let you go.
The ukulele falls to the floor. His arms envelop me, and my own follow suit. He smells of sweat, chocolate, and the faint scent of snuffed candles.
Stars sparsely dot the night. The sliding door moves aside, and he steps out.
A lone ukulele is propped up on an empty chair.
“Legend has it that if you hold two mirrors facing each other under a full moon night, you are able to capture a demon and it will grant you one wish in exchange for freedom. Write your experience of that fateful night.” [tumblr]
The leaves crunch under the weight of my boots, padding heavily against concrete. The owls call to one another; they seem to feel the need to fill the silent night. It’s a quiet affair, this walking and lugging oneself out in the twilight hours. The drive to the campgrounds isn’t long, but with the burden of two full-length mirrors, one can never be too careful with time. A tug at the ropes secures the cloth-covered glass. My heart is oddly fast, although I chalk it up to exertion. No need to be nervous after all; Theo did this… activity routinely and he’s still breathing. Better than that, he’s got everything he needs. A similar sense of stability wouldn’t hurt to have. Green envy curls with my breath.
I reach out for the handle, opening and closing the door swiftly. Turning the keys takes more effort than anticipated. My left knee starts jumping, so I’m careful not to place any feet on the pedals. My eyes close. I count to ten. When I open them again, the engine is humming reassurances and the radio is playing some song of a bygone era. I catch a glimpse of my face in the rearview mirror—blank as paper, thin as a sheet. Inwardly, I scoff. If I’m to be paper, I might as well be torn already. With the brake released, I shift the gear stick. Slowly, the truck pulls out of the parking lot. The drive begins.
The frame creaks slightly at the pressure of being moved. It protests again with a worrying crack once I settle the mirror against a tree. A low-hanging bough dips in a curve, perfectly shouldering the weight. The second mirror follows shortly after, sitting across and expectant. I breathe out slowly.
My fingers hesitate at the white fabric, skimming instead of pulling the mantle off. Before I get the chance to ponder why, my stomach pangs with neglect. I stand up straight, take one last look at the veiled mirrors, and trudge back to the truck where a measly meal awaits.
The metal lunchbox sits at the passenger seat. One hand grabs it, while the other searches for a tinderbox in the compartments. Later, a fire is gently roaring and the lunchbox is emptied. There’s room again for thought. One wonders if a fire should be kept, but the other thinks it’ll prevent the ritual from working. Above the mountains, heavy clouds tuck in their blankets.
The round moon hangs, waiting. Waiting.
I grit my teeth. The sky’s mockery urges me to kick the dry branches from their pile, dividing the flames. My stomping conquers the blaze soon enough. On the ground, dying embers lay pulsing. From the wind, the ashes scatter. I glance heavenwards.
Gone are the rolling clouds. The plain clarity of night accentuates the white coin in the middle of it all. The wind has died down. The time has come.
I stride boldly to the first mirror. Not a single second is wasted as I wrench the cloth and capture it, the edges barely fluttering on the dirt. The second mirror, with its white drapes still catching the moonlight, is revealed in its reflection. Carefully, I fold the blanket. Am I stalling? Probably, the moon sneers. In six strides, the gathered sheets are set away in the truck. In another six, I’m standing again beside the second mirror. I stare at my doppelganger. He stares back.
The second sheet crumples onto the earth.
I suck in a breath.
For a noiseless moment, nothing happens. Whatever extraordinary occurrence or supernatural being was anticipated, whatever it was, it didn’t materialize. The only mystic phenomenon was the full moon’s gleam hanging just above my likeness. I step back to the middle. The mirrors were reflecting properly, yet there was no demon. Was there a waiting time for this?
Then it dawns on me: my reflection never left the mirror.
The realization startles me, enough to cause my imbalance as I stepped backward. I topple over, but my eyes dart wildly between the two pairs of eyes—my eyes. Unable to suppress my terror, my throat chokes back gasps and bile, my veins rush with adrenaline and blood, and I shiver against my own will.
The body—my body—steps out of the reflective glass, along with its twin. The mirror holds me—them—captive no longer. They meet in front of me as I am still sprawled on the ground, helplessly, desperately crawling farther. Together, they reach out their hands as if to grab me, but their palms flatten. White veins pulse outwards from their arms, a hauntingly beautiful sight against the stolen flesh. It ricochets in the space, illuminating a faint, glowing dome surrounding the demons. It reminded me of a science class years ago, discussing cells and mitosis and centromeres (for a fleeting moment, I could smell marker ink), only this cell was alive with death and one could only pray that it would not multiply.
Their faces contorted into matching expressions of disgust and frustration. In chorus, they spoke. “You tamper with what you do not understand, human.” They had taken my body’s image, but they did not use my voice. Theirs were of untuned pianos and snapped strings, smashed and ground into speech. Did falling from the heavens cause that?
My mind raced with questions. This was real. My mouth opened as I prepared to speak, but the demons struck the barrier again with renewed frustration. A high-pitched yelp came out instead. They grinned. I cleared my throat and clambered to my feet. Setting my shoulders, I spoke back.
“’Demons, under the full moon, I hold you captive. Fulfill my wish, and you will be returned to the place from which you were summoned.’”
[ as you read this, open your mind’s eye, and let your imagination show you what i saw, what i felt. however, i must give you a trigger warning: suicidal thoughts. i promise it ends up alright. i’ll explain myself in the end if you’d like to read that too. ]
the clock ticks incessantly, reading a time too far gone into the night but far too early for morning. it entrances me; my empty gaze focuses on nothing. somehow, my eyes drift over to the balcony door. there’s a tug in my chest that pulls me closer until i’m standing before it. i pause to stare at my reflection on the glass, but i can’t make out a face. my hand unconsciously grips the handle.
i open it.
one step onto the open balcony and my hair is already brushed away by the wind. it seeks my exposed skin, leaving a trail of goosebumps in its wake. i’m forced to clench my teeth in order to fight back a shiver. the patter of raindrops offers to wash yesterday away; the sound is comforting — the smell, fresh and clean. drops come in pinpricks. the wind is neither gentle nor harsh, but it seems to curve into me. at its coaxing, i follow its lead.
another step forward.
the city flickers impatiently, as though waiting for the familiar heat to graze it once more. the twilight is subtle. the silence had no hold here; its place had been taken by the white noise only a city could provide, with the rain in tune like a duet. a dull half-moon keeps watch over those who were resting and those who were restless. the streetlights remain on, of course. but i’m not just looking out.
i’m staring down.
i see the distance of twenty-three floors lengthen. my left foot takes yet another step forward, and my right follows. fingers clamp onto the rusted railing, and it bites back with ice.
then i’m frozen.
the wind is whispering, yet it screams in my mind. it throttles me with poorly sugarcoated thoughts.
‘imagine if you jumped. the feeling of flying. the feeling of falling. swimming in the rain. i’ll rush past your ear like encouragements to continue your downward spiral. the earth crashing into your very soul. how much fun it’ll be. how exhilarating it would feel.’
it croons and caresses and cajoles, but i find myself rooted in the tiles. i start imagining where i would land. that makes me teeter — was the wind pushing me? was i allowing it? — but the off-balance was enough.
my recoil from the railing sends me backward. with a newfound desperation, i shove open the door and dash inside. my thoughts were collected enough to have the sense to close it gently. when had my hands started to shake? my gaze lands on my reflection once more. the dim nightlight offers enough illumination this time.
i see my eyes. i see the dark circles underneath them. i see how dazed i had become. but they were not broken. and that thought was enough to let me breathe again.
the next night, the balcony beckons me once more.
but i was done complying.
though your heart may be choked
and your lungs may be strangled,
still your blood sings His song
and your breath lives for Him.
( purpose. )
your beauty runs deeper
than just a pretty face —
there is something divine
in a soul bared with humility.
( 1 peter 3:4 )
when you had nothing,
you still gave;
when you had everything,
you still received.
( blessings )
but your smile was not just
a curve of the lips;
it was warm, like the sun on a rainy day.
it was comforting, like a stuffed animal you could never give up.
it was yours.
( and that was more than enough. )
i’m growing up.
i feel it when the scars of days past sink into my skin.
i see it when i look in the mirror, and my eyes are not as innocent.
i hear it in my voice, and i don’t recognize my words.
( or is it the other way around? )
it’s not all bad.
my relatives tell me i’ve gotten taller.
my family tells me i’ve gotten stronger.
my friends don’t tell me anything.
( is that a good thing? )
then why am i fighting it?
why am i so desperate to turn back the clock?
why am i so terrified of numbers greater than nineteen?
( i don’t know that i know why. )
do i want my independence day?
i’m scared of being alone.
s.a. ; natural disaster
i used to wonder why
you left my ears to hear;
but when i hear honey dripping,
i wish you didn’t
s.a. ; tied to you
brown is the color of
the warmth of an embrace,
the crackling of a fire,
the comfort of home.
when dawn ignites the sun on the horizon,
the shadows can no longer hide us.
so let me savor this moment
spent in silence with you.
( 4:27 AM )
a city that never sleeps —
a forest of silent dreams —
i was sitting alone,
my only company the
sound of cars running across the pavement
and footsteps fading down the hall.
yet it was
she had the universe at the tip of her fingers;
she held the stars in the palm of her hand.
who are you to offer the world?
( already )
my memories either have
faces without names
or names without faces.
but what i do not lack
is the spectrum of emotion
that one can never forget.
( faded, but never forgotten )
so often are words written in favor of
but those who did the breaking,
did the abandoning, did the forgetting,
what happens to them?
what did they feel?
what did they seek?
were they truly brutal and cold,
or did they fumble with pulling the trigger?
were they a consuming fire,
or a rain that turned into a flood?
what if they didn’t want to hurt you,
but they couldn’t see any other way
to get out of the cage?
no, i am not justifying the actions of all.
i am only reasoning for the actions
of my own heart.
s.a. ; heartbreaker
[ not sure where i’m supposed to categorize this. should i put a category called ‘rants’ or ‘blurbs?’ maybe ‘ramblings?’ it might be useful. ]
filters are interesting little things. they make sure that whatever comes out of it is changed, in one way or another. let’s start simple.
one. coffee filters are used in order to make sure that the coffee grounds don’t pass through. only the liquid coffee is allowed to fall into a lovely cup of coffee.
two. the filters for pictures are not only amazing but also quite useful. on one hand, it enhances your photo, making it look better and more appealing to the eye. it becomes a way of expression, a form of art even, if you want to get to that point. on another, it becomes a sweet lie. it becomes a way of hiding the reality of things — no sky was ever that pink, no eye was ever so vibrant. a way to make the unappealing appealing. whatever side you choose, no one ever forced you to use or not to use filters. i think it just became programmed into our aesthetics, or whatever you call that small part of you that thinks that everything has to look nice.
three. i think the most useful filter of all is the one we use daily: our minds. before we speak — and unfortunately some people lack this — we must first think carefully of our words. i do believe this is self-explanatory.
[ p.s. i’ve decided to make them all categories. i wonder how they’ll be filled eventually… also i still have no idea why i wrote this so don’t expect it to make sense all the time. ]