Ghost story

Ghost story

Everyone has a go-to ghost story that they share around bonfires, when Halloween nears, sometimes just when the opportunity arises. They know this is effective. Could get the reaction that they wanted. Everybody is sharing one now.

When they look at me to signal that it’s my turn to tell my ghost story, I look at you instead. I say I don’t have any. I smile timidly. And in my head I count the thousands of times you’ve haunted me over and over, always in between wakefulness and slumber, just past the point of real contact. But never really touching.

Everyone has a go-to ghost story that they share. And we all have that one ghost whose story we can’t ever tell.

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Boy

BoyI’m going to tell you about a boy who loved me a lot.

He came out of nowhere one day, offered me ice cream in one hand, and the future of us in the other. I said yes, of course. I mean, who says no to ice cream?

He loved me through hysterical laughter, through tears-in-our-eyes, couldn’t-breathe-anymore type of laughter I’ve never felt before.

And he loved me in between my sobs. When he said one day that he couldn’t be seen with me in public because people wouldn’t understand. Because people believe in black and white and we walked the streets in full color.

He loved me through pregnant silences more deafening than any amount of screaming. He loved me through pointless fights and senseless arguments.

He loved me even after calling me ugly, when I cut my hair so short he said he almost didn’t recognize me. He loved me through one slap after another, until my cheeks burned bright red, the same shade of red they turned into when I first heard him say, “I love you.”

And he loved the demons inside me, the ones he said he couldn’t get a grip on, the ones he said were eating me whole.

I know he did these things because he loved me. I’m sure of it.

Because didn’t they say that sometimes you hurt the ones you love? So he must have loved me a lot. He must have loved me too much.

Unrequited

Unrequited

Too many poets write about unrequited love as if it’s the worst thing that could happen. As if it’s about as hopeless as one hand clapping.

But it’s like playing with a kite and getting angry when you see it flying. From what I’ve seen from timeless love stories, from what great poets have written, love never demands for anything.

Is one-way love such a terrible tragedy? Are we so tightly wound that we cannot survive with the truth that not everyone we love will love us back?

Unrequited love is sad, but what kind of love isn’t? The purest, most sincere love I’ve seen is not a turbulence. It is more like a silent prayer, even to those who have no god to believe in.

Unrequited is a small word. Say it over and over and you start to question if it even is a word. Unrequited. Unrequited. Unrequited. Unrequited. Unrequited. Unrequited. Unrequited. Unrequited. Unrequited.

In the same way, love someone wholeheartedly, without expecting anything, and you start to wonder if unrequited even is a thing.

If you love someone–whether he loves you back or not–embrace it. Own it. Cry about it. But choose not to turn it into another sad poem. It doesn’t always have to be another sad poem.

Ghosts

How many poems have compared love and loss
To losing limbs, to broken body parts?
Too many in this lifetime

I think at one point or another
We’ve all been guilty of this
Romanticizing our bodies

Turning tears into diamonds
Hearts into suitcases
Filled with other people’s ghosts

Turning bones into sugar that easily crumbles
Skin into tinder, sparking fire
Fingers into daggers

But how many times have we hated
Our bodies, hated even looking at it
Does the same go, then,
With looking at loss and love?

Alaala

Alaala

Naaalala mo ba? Yung unang beses na sinabi mong mahal mo ako, kinakabahan tayo pareho. Di mapakali sa pagkakaupo. Dun nagsimula ang ating kwento. Pero simula din ‘yon ng pareho nating pagkatalo.

Dahil dadating yung araw na hindi ko na malalaman ang pagkakaiba ng “mahal kita” sa “sino ka?”

Maguumpisa sa maliliit na bagay ang ating pagkasira. Yung hindi natin mamamalayan. Yung matatawa pa tayo dahil nakalimutan kong Lunes ngayon at akala ko Sabado. Yung mapapailing ka na lang sabay ngingiti kapag napagtanto mong imbes na asukal, asin ang nailagay ko sa kape mo.

Magtatawanan tayo, aakalaing ito yung tipo ng mga kwento na iniipon at ibabahagi balang araw sa ating magiging apo. Hindi mamamalayang unti-unti nang gumuguho ang mundong kay tagal natin binuo.

Bukas, hindi ko na maaalala yung huling limang paskong magkasama tayo. Sa makalawa, susunod na mawawala yung mga gabing wala tayong ginawa kundi tumawa at kumanta. Sa isang linggo, titingin ako sayo na walang bakas ng pagkilala kung anong pangalan mo.

Patawarin mo ako.

Sa iiwan kong kirot. Sa lahat ng gabing magkaaway tayo at hiwalay natulog. Yung papasok ka sa umagang walang imik dahil ayaw mong may masabing hindi maganda. Lahat ng pagbabanta natin ng hiwalayan. Mga nakaligtaan kong anibersaryo–nung sinabi mong wala akong pakialam o kaya siguro hindi lang kita ganun kamahal. Sa mga pagkakataong wala akong ibang dahilan kundi, “nakalimutan ko.”

Napakadaya ng kapalaran. Alam kong pinangako sa isa’t isa na magkasamang tatanda. Pero hindi yata kaya ng Panahong ipagkasya sa habambuhay ang pagmamahal ko sayo, kaya siguro hanggang dito na lang. Kaya baunin mo sana sa iyong pagtanda lahat ng beses na sinabi kong mahal kita.

Dahil dadating yung araw na hindi na mapipigil ng utak ko yung dapat nitong malimutan. Lahat ng taong mahal ko, magiging estranghero. At ikaw. Tayo. Magiging anino na lang ng lumilinaw na kawalan. Ng walang hanggang pagbalik sa simula.

Dadating yung panahon na para kang sinasampal tuwing tatanungin kita kung sino ka. Kung bakit mo ako tinitingnan nang ganyan. Bakit mo kailangan hawakan ang kamay ko? Sino ka ba sa buhay ko?

Dadating yung oras na hindi na kita maaalala. Lahat ng pinagsamahan natin unti-unting mawawala. Isa-isa. Mga litratong pinira-piraso ng pwersadong paglimot.

Kaya bago ko makalimutan kung sino tayo sa isa’t isa. Habang kaya ko pa, sasabihin ko paulit-ulit. Naaalala kita. Naaalala kita. Naaalala kita.

Naaalala mo ba yung unang beses na sinabi mong mahal mo ako? Nagbiro ka pang araw-araw mong ipapaalala ‘to at baka makalimutan ko.

Umaasa akong tutupad ka sa pangako. Kahit na araw-araw unang beses sa pandinig ko lahat ng sasabihin mo.