It was always me.
It has always been me.
I need you like the ocean needs the shore.
Without the shore to welcome the ocean back from its travels,
It will never have a place to rest or a place to call home.
Without the shore to listen to the ocean’s stories,
It will never have enough room to go out and get some more
Without the shore to receive the ocean’s soft foam and battering waves
The ocean will just continue going forward with no past, present, and future.
I need you like the ocean needs the shore.
I need you like a breeze needs the mountains
Without the mountains standing tall to transform the wind,
It will only have one direction and one strength
Without the mountains calming the gusts of air,
The wind will only have power to shove and not to touch
Without the mountains forming beacons, forming homes,
The wind will just go through life never staying with no past, present, and future.
I need you like the breeze needs the mountains.
I need you like I need you.
Without you I am this big ball of ideas, of passion, of fire
But without a future to exist, without an outlet to let go, without anything to light up.
Without you I am a compendium of a million interesting stories
But without a mind to reflect on them, to mend them, to recreate them into something better
Without you I am just a creation, an existence, a life
But without a purpose, without a reason, with no past, present, and future.
I need you like I need you.
Fills up the lungs
Expanding your chest
Fills up every inch of you with oxygen to breath
Fuels the blood
Like a start signal your body needs in order to live
A beautiful cycle
Simple, fast, direct
Looking closer a little complex
But easy enough that it goes on automatic and you don’t need to think about it but then something out there happens and you wonder why you do it and you wish somewhere that it
And then there’s thing
A little thing that you hardly notice
A thing that was a symbol of anarchy, of the cool, of the rebellious
A thing that had little to no consequence
A thing that what you thought was only used to belong was now the thing that would bring you the freedom that you longed for
That you craved for
That you breathed for
A cigarette for a lot of people is just cancer in a pack
A ticket or a fast track to a one way destination
A cigarette for a lot of people is just plain old repackaged poison
That’s what they all say
This can happen and that can happen some people die in just less than 48 days
But how can that not be appealing for someone who’s entire life has felt like they were dying?
Fills up the lungs
Cutting the oxygen
Giving you a little time to fly from whatever happened
Goes through the veins
Burns through the system
Making you feel so good you don’t have to imagine
What it was like when your dad was home
What it was like when you were crying on the phone
What it was like when all you needed was sympathy and then you look to a friend and found an empty seat
Smoke mixes up the brain to give you some sort of a lift from thinking
It’s like a key that slowly turns and you relish in that turning that with this
You will be free
I don’t encourage people to smoke but if you do it I’m not one to judge
Go inhale that piece of lightness, go forth with that piece of solace
Because this is why I smoke and with every puff I forget my reason
I was invited by a group of friends to go out drinking. Although I don’t drink, an opportunity to strengthen rapport has always been hard to pass up.
We went to a place called Loading Point. The place was dark with hints of red from the light inside. Placed at a small stretch of road without any lamps, the red was bright and distinct; it was like a flame to the moths. Going through the throng, we finally saw an empty table. We sat down, ordered drinks, lit up cigarettes, and breathed for a while.
Then out the sea of black and red came a figure, eyes glistening and smoke flowing from its mouth. I felt small somehow, like he was a hundred feet tall, standing in front of me. I can feel his breathing and the slow movement of his feet toward me. It felt like he was coming nearer and I was frozen in fear.
Then he looked away.
A friend nudged my shoulder. I noticed that my cigarette was about to die. I killed it and lit another one, ushering my return to earth.
2:08. No signs of the crowd getting thinner. By then, Charles invited two other friends to hang out with us. They were nice. One was a Psychology major, she was on the quiet side. The other was a PolItical Science major, who was the complete opposite, sharing stories like how she broke her leg wake-boarding in the amazon or the time she met Jake Gylenhall in a random cafe and hit it off. I couldn’t tell if she was telling the truth, but it was a pretty interesting way to speed up time.
3:47. I needed to pee before we called it a night. I walked to the bathroom and went ahead with my business. The door swung open. I couldn’t really look at the person who entered with the urinal being on the wall opposite the door. But I could smell the alcohol coming off him the moment he came in. I zipped my pants up, thinking of how great a feeling an empty bladder is after a night of drinking.
Suddenly lips were on my neck. They were warm and moist. I stayed there for a good three seconds and then I turned around. I saw a familiar face but it brought an unfamiliar feeling. It was the guy I saw earlier. It was different seeing him without the smoke and the glow of red against him. He fell on me and started kissing me; his hands were tight around my body. I pushed him against the door. I held his hands up against the wall and kissed him. Then I broke away. I washed my hands and splashed some water on my face. I could see through the mirror that he was just standing there looking at the floor.
I looked him, kissed him on the cheek, and stepped out. He motioned to look at me but I was already outside before he could.
The guys were outside saying their good-byes to the two girls. I walked slowly toward them while lighting a cigarette. I heard the comfort room door swing open, seeing the guy walking out and wiping his mouth. Stopping in the middle of the crowd I looked at him and he looked at me. His stare was holding but his eyes were weak.
I let out a snicker while breathing out the smoke fresh from my lungs. Because at that point, I knew exactly what he was seeing.
I want to try waking up with amnesia one day. But just a day please.
The thing about death is that it’s not a solitary experience.
I’ve read books, seen movies, and heard songs use the line, “we die alone.” But that would be a best-case scenario. It is true that the direct effect of death is only towards the person who dies, but the scope of the collateral damage is big and wide, sometimes, even random. The best way to describe it is a volcano. It erupts and damages the area around it–be it a village, a forest, a river, what have you–but at the same time the plumes it sends up to the atmosphere affects other areas maybe as small like a town or as big as whole countries. In the same way, that is how death affects us: the person dies–a direct impact of death–while other people like family, friends, acquaintances die as well due to nostalgia and longing–collateral damage.
The thing about death is that it is not temporary.
One can never bring back anyone from the dead; we have watched too many movies that have proven that resuscitating those from 6-feet under is not a pretty sight. If you’re dead, you’re dead. That’s it. End of the line. One way ticket. Hasta la vista. This is part of the collateral damage. Once someone dies, it brings about somewhat of a deep cut in a way that you can stitch it up, layer it with stuffing, but the mark of the wound is still there. To get over someone’s death is not possible. To get over something means to go on with life by passing above that something; sweeping it under the rug, so to speak. In other words, ignoring that something like what happened happened. And death is something–even if you’re brave enough to try it–that cannot and will not be ignored.
But a thing about death is that it also goes hand-in-hand with living.
Death is not solitary and it is not temporary. Death is a communal and permanent experience to the one who died as well as the collateral damage. Death is not an easy thing to look ahead from; to many it becomes a road block or a detour from plans, people, and, ultimately, to life. But death, having these qualities of communality and permanence, can help in one’s own emancipation from it.
Someone once said, as a piece of advise to someone who has just recently lost a friend, “Okay lang ‘yan. Alam mo, mapagtatawanan niyo rin ‘yan (That’s okay. You know, you’ll be laughing about that soon enough).” And somehow, it sums up these two qualities.
One does not experience death by oneself. Because of this, one can find solace in many a people who share in this mourning. The sadness, the anger, and the annoyance maybe doubled or tripled while experiencing this with a group of people, but out of this comes a more stable mourning. Experiencing things–especially death or loss–with a group of trusted people lifts the weight of the experience from oneself to the other able shoulders of the group and thus making the load light, while making the reason of coming together heavier.
One does not get over a death. A death is not something that is swept under a rug. But it can be taken and formed depending on who ever holds this experience. Getting over the experience and living with the experience are two very different things. Opposite from getting over something, the first step of living with something is acknowledging its presence. This is because a big part of how one lives with something is how well one has accepted this something. Living with death means facing day after day with a little voice saying that he/she is gone but hearing this reminder and still being thankful, fortunate, and hopeful that life is to continue on.
With this, death can reiterate or initiate life itself; to bring life a new or to renew what was existing. This, by all means, does not say that an experience of death is easily accepted and lived with. Death is still one of the greatest experiences of loss anyone, or rather, everyone has to face. But in looking at death as something communal and something one can possibly live with and learn from, may make dealing with this experience a little easier and, somehow, a little bearable.
To my friends who have lost someone, my deepest and sincerest condolences.
When you’re sad I’m angry because I can’t do anything.
All I can say is be patient, be brave, but nothing really moving.
Nothing that could make you break out into a smile or make your heart come back to life.
Less of what I want to be for you when you’re sad.
I can’t do shit for the love of my life who’s dying on the inside.
I can only stare and hope for the best.
When you’re sad I’m angry because I don’t understand.
It’s what I’ve been thinking but then somehow different.
All I can see is you looking away from me while I try to make eye contact since I want you to come back to me.
Numb to what I’ve done to make you feel like we’re not worth it.
I don’t get where you’re coming from or how it got there and I’m stuck trying to guess, and guess, and guess.
When you’re sad I’m angry because I could’ve been better.
Something got me blinded from thinking about whatever.
I couldn’t have done this, I couldn’t have said that. I could’ve made this possible, I could’ve asked that.
All the fucking possibilities that I was supposed to think of before I would eventually fuck up.
I’m really sorry.
I apologize all the time because I can’t fucking change me. I say sorry on repeat because I can’t seem to hit it.
When you’re sad I’m angry because now I’m all alone.
Without you smiling, laughing, and telling me that you’re home.
You’re not there anymore because you’re thinking of what just happened and why it had to be you.
And I don’t know where to begin with…
When you’re sad I’m angry because I lose everything we’ve been fighting for.