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I'm an ambulance in EDSA traffic at rush hour. Forcing my way through the road, sounding an alarm that for most people triggers bad memories, or simply exasperates them. In an ideal world, these vehicles' drivers blocking my way would let me pass without question or hesitation, but tonight they're left with no choice, because what is there to do when there simply isn't any space to move aside and let me through? My lights are signals of distress, I'm communicating urgency. Move. Move! Out of my way. I don't even have a patient. It's just me, making you uncomfortable.
A disclaimer: I am writing this on April 11, 2:29 a.m. Nine days late for April 2. I used to be able to do this a day at a time. That way, my updates are more varied and not borne out of a single mind-set, when, say, I write 10 pending entries in one sitting. Looking back at my past entries, I could tell what my mood was while writing a batch I missed. Up until July last year, I guess, I religiously stuck to 100 words a day. The goal next month is go back there.
Hi, if you're reading this. I don't think I mentioned ZAYN's album last month (released March 25, but singles have been released since January, I think). Anyway, when was the last time you listened to a whole album? I think it was Taylor Swift who said something about music being better consumed in album form, or something like that. In our hurriedness these days, we barely have time to sit down and listen to just one song. Anyway, ZAYN's Mind of Mine! Give it a listen, will you? It's a solid 10/10 in my book. Maybe even 12/10.
It was 2006, March or August, when Lola Liling drove us to a church in San Leandro and in the driveway there was a tree showering pink and white petals on account of a playful breeze. Lola's windshield welcomed the petals like an old friend (a hug without intent to let go) and in that moment I told myself to always remember that day, that turn into the driveway, those few seconds beside Lola Liling, marveling at petals. It was early spring or late summer, I forget now. Anyway, on that day we also almost ran over an old lady.
Over the weekend, here's what I did: I poured out my feelings on the Internet, I also ate potato chips and an insane amount of chocolate. There's a plan to get back on track yes, but what do you do when your only recourse (that you believe will work to calm you) are these things? What you do is don't, of course. Physically restrain yourself to do something that you cannot take back (because the idea is that these are things you shouldn't be doing at all). I am generalizing. There was also an episode of terrifying sleep paralysis yikes.
I am that dappled sunlight on your palm on a cold morning when the birds hesitate to sing because they'd like more time in bed, warm, cuddling. I am that faraway sound you hear during an afternoon walk; you look around and the sound wanes, you start walking again and there it is, almost like a song you heard when you were young. I am that sliver of a rainbow you can see from your window while you bake bread; your children checking on you every now and again because the smell is driving them crazy in a good way.
In the past I believed that if I had a lot of problems I would finally be considered cool, by whom? I have no idea. That, if I had zero time for myself and an enormous responsibility on my shoulders I can have the license to complain about it and I would be given that privilege. I may have fallen into that trap in the past couple of days and now I have to recalibrate and rewire, because you know what they say, character is being bombarded by challenges, problems, upheavals, and finding the grace to keep quiet about it.
This boy flits from one person to another, trying so hard to find that one thing that would make him feel welcome and secure. He wonders if it is from a childhood deprivation, this yearning to feel safe and seen. He can't be sure. He stays in his room an inordinate amount of time, gathering strength to go out into the world of people who always need something from him, always demanding, always talking. He locks in on a girl, strikes up a conversation. The moment he feels the slightest form of rejection, he reverts to staying in his room.
It's the morning after a stormy night. Burnham Park is muddy and sidewalk vendors are bleary-eyed, tired but decisive that today is going to be better. The past three days have seen nonstop rain and the comforts of a hot soup was fast becoming a reminder of discomfort itself. Familiarity breeds contempt, or so they say. Three days of rain can make you feel morose and it would take a number of sunny days before you can recover, but then it rains again. Today there are children running around as if the past three days didn't happen at all.
He likes joking about it but you know that when he does, he means it when he says he'd like for you to be his wife. His eyes are pretty and he smells good, like cotton and vanilla. His hair is ruffled 95% of the time and you are disoriented whenever you see him with neat hair. His smile is a lopsided grin that makes you smile involuntarily and there was a time you caught yourself sighing and he looked at you, questioning. He likes you, you like him. "What do I have to lose?" you ask. "Everything," you answer.
Wow. Just wow. Is all I can say so far this year. Too many good and not-so-good things happening all at once. First off, I have to learn to stop talking ill about other people, it's become somewhat of a vice, a form of release, an addiction, a need. It's Monday and I hope I can get through the week without talking bad about anybody behind their back. I am expecting some sort of failure but will try harder and harder until my system's purged of that habit. Good side of things, good side of people. It's there.
She goes out of the house at 5:30 p.m., as the sun is setting, and the streets are in a warm orange filter. She can almost taste it, buttery, with a hint of honey and hazelnut, and a good kind of wine. This is her favorite color, time, place. Golden hour. As she watches the setting sun, she's mesmerized, every day, how it's fleeting, gone in a few minutes, like a special guest in her party hurrying off onto another appointment. The best part for her is the certainty that tomorrow she'll see this again. Lest it rains.
Small comforts on a muggy, rainy day: Ice bucket in front of the fan. Warm coffee (it does cool you off!). Smallest amount of clothing decently possible when with company. Company. Someone funny and uncomplaining. Small comforts on a cold day: Insanely good ramen. Endless tea. An old fleece jacket that's been owned by more than one person. Hearing the whoosh of wind outside while warm on a couch with somebody funny and uncomplaining. Hi. I'm thinking of you today. Your little socked feet. Your mischievous eyes. Your bedhead. How it's you I'd want to be stuck with any day.
I dreamt of kale! In the dream I was chewing it and chewing it and was hyper aware that it's healthy, it's good for me, and all that. But then I spit it out, for some reason believing that I've taken all the vitamins or whatever and that it was okay to spit it out now. What happened was, I looked at the thing that came out of my mouth and the kale was there on the table, unchewed, untouched, like Superman, it was unaffected! Then someone scolded me for "wasting" good kale. And I woke up feeling so bad.
It's been a "happy-cry" week. Now that's out of the way. There's a park in Haight Street that's on a hill. Buena Vista Park, is it. I forget and too lazy to Google. I'm also not 100% sure about the hill thing, I just remember there are steps you have to navigate in order to reach the park. Not sure about this, too. No idea why I'm writing this at all, to be honest. Just that, I've seen it twice during my walks and I've never hiked up, I think, must have been my worry of dangerous strangers. Maybe.
She looks into her teacup and internally shouts "Get me out of here." But she doesn't mean it. She does, okay, but only for the few minutes that she succumbs to tiredness and resignation. She gets up, walks it off, then she's better. She looks into her now-cold tea and does a little bow: "I feel better now, thanks." It's a cycle, day in day out, Dave Matthews Band's "Ants Marching" plays in her head, and it sometimes sounds like a taunt, sometimes a comforting uncle. Aren't uncles the best? The ones with the same stories over and over?
I hum Zayn's Blue whenever I feel stress. It kind of works. Today I had to go to the office to retrieve my planner which I forgot on my desk yesterday in my hurriedness to get home. I really like that word, "hurriedness." It was quiet in the room with a few strange sounds every now and again, and it was beginning to feel like something's telling me to leave, like I was disturbing them? I lasted for 1 1/2 hours. All that time, well, almost, humming Blue. Also, hi, there's two bottles of really good peanut butter here.
What the fuck, April. Just what the. While I'm at it, let me get at you, too, March. Why are you in a hurry? Feels like I've done so many things already considering how many days have moved past just like that. But, no. I rarely have time to do anything else aside from what I need to do. This sounds like a complaint, no? It's not. It's an odd mix of disbelief, gratitude, amusement, and excitement. There's no time to feel sadness or guilt, it's move, move, move. Seven years ago I would've cut a hand to get this.
Authentic Greek yogurt sits on a special chair in my heart because my first experience with it came with lessons and experiences I still learn from a lot to this day. It's sour and all that, yes? Sprinkle a bit of sugar and voila, best eating time ever. I exaggerate, but it was a happy discovery. Just a few days later after that day, someone would choose to break my heart on a Sunday. Every time I eat yogurt now I am reminded of that pocket of time when life dealt me cards I thought I hated but now love.
It's a lot of people's birthday in the coming days. It was a lot of people's birthday in the immediate past. And, I wish it was like the old days when I'm able to greet someone in a not-late way. This is me being able to sit down on a Thursday like today without scampering to strike-through an item in my to-do list which is now two-three sets of indiscernible imagined responsibilities. Work, personal, other people, June, etc. My point is it seems so busy but ah, here, now, I realize, not so much going on.
It was a Wednesday yesterday? Huh. You know, it was already a week past April 1 when I realized I was still saving files in my March folder and my desk calendar was still on March time. That there is the craziest thing I can tell you that happened this month. That's it, that's the exciting story I will tell a group therapy circle. I lost track of time. Others are living crazier lives, having kids, marrying, jumping off cliffs. And me, well, at my desk forgetting April is here. Do not compare, yeah? Okay, stopping. How are you really?
You're like my old house. Sturdy and dependable. Sometimes disorderly but always comforting. The stairsteps make a sound and that's how I know I'm home. The front door knob is unwieldy but I know how to deal with it and it lets me. The 20-plus-year-old toilet bowl at the upstairs comfort room is still there, sullen and unaffected, still providing my needs. I don't mean to have the last item compared to you to be a toilet bowl so here, a window, my bedroom window, giving me the same old view of heart-shaped leaves during summer.
It's a Saturday. I got this right, I hope. Brysen was born on a Saturday. My sweet, sweet firecracker baby boy. He's three this July. I cannot believe how time goes by so fast sometimes in relation to people and places you rarely ever want to grow old or move on. If it were up to me I'd make him a baby boy for 10 more years. Let him enjoy this time and play and play and have people dote on him because you know, affection wanes too fast, but that's for another story. Hi, Brysen, if you're reading this.
It's a Sunday. She's staring at his feet peeking from under the covers, she's thinking of the best way to leave him. The small sighs he makes when he's asleep is all she knows, yet here, now, she has to make a decision on how to break his heart. Face to face or through a letter? Or just up and leave without a word. How do you go about ending something that you're not sure you want to end? He stirs and her resolve to walk out the door weakens. She gets back into bed. She will try again tomorrow.
I'm trying to turn this in before the next distraction takes my attention away from what I'm supposed to tell you now, and that is: I love that split second before a laugh sound escapes your mouth, that swift transformation of your face from a smirk to a full-on laugh face. I like watching you, if you don't know this by now, well, now you know. There is a wishing well on my way home and every day, I stop by and drop a coin, a stone, a leaf. I wish for you, for days upon days of you.
He writes love letters for her in his head, never sending them out or writing on paper, too afraid that if he transfers his emotions onto a physical form, they can be stolen, destroyed, ignored. If they're in his head, they're safe from human intervention except his. She won't know of his love, no, but the important thing is he won't be hurt. He's protecting himself from happiness, too, see. Because everyone knows how it is: happiness can be had, yes, and so it can also be lost. He'd rather not have anything at all. This is the wisest way.
It's white with brown shutters, red and purple paint punctuating our favorite rooms, this is how our house is going to look like. There will be bougainvilleas, different colors, pink and white mostly, that plant with heart-shaped leaves, a swing, a pool, trees, lots of trees. In the mornings we'll take walks and I'll take a mental snapshot of your sleepy face, dappled sunlight and shadows accentuating your beauty, your smile, your hands. These mornings will be my true home. Whenever I'm away all I have to picture is your face, looking out at me framed by brown shutters.
You have a way with Thursdays. I like being with you on Thursdays. It's your favorite day, you say, a sweet middle finger to a workweek that you just want to forget. Most people would pick Friday to be in a certain positive mood, but you, you choose Thursday to be at your best optimistic self. It's quite draining, life in general, so you buy a cake on Thursdays, give everyone a slice, share your enthusiasm: Just one more day before the week ends! Your warmth is infectious. People are beginning to feel light. Friday is a breeze. Thank you.
You have a playlist for rainy days. Have I told you how beautiful you look when you're humming along with that song that has an abundance of drum sounds? Bushwick Blues, I think it is. "We were just two kids acting tough. Then we grew up, me, not so much." You know? When we first met you told me you like the rain. You must have forgotten this now. But I remember it so well. I don't know now how life would be without you. "Because my love is strong and my heart is weak after all." Stay that way.
If there are more than 24 hours in a day, what would you choose to do with the extra hours? You've gotten so used to the mere 24 hours that you might sit down at the (original) end of the day, exhausted, and wonder "more?" Or you might take to it like it's nothing new and just go and go and go. You'll feel tired by hour 40 and really like this new thing, this...extension. You can love someone for a longer time, etc. Me, what I'll do is throw all my watches. This is a form of freedom.
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