Monday, July 25, 2011

Three Thousand Days and Nights of You

This is a world where the scent of spring flowers in her midst, flowing freely from her fingertips and fusing itself with the air that nourishes my lungs. Here is where I breathe her, satiating my arteries so that my heart may live a little more and die a little less each day. This is a world where to look at her eyes is to breach the limits of adoration. For she is beauty given flesh and soul, the lifelong search for everything beautiful ends where her smile begins. Here is where I try to find her, hoping that at least for once she has been in the eyes of the many strangers I have met on days either better or worse. Love is the lingua franca of the speechless, so I tried to speak eight lonesome years into a sentence of eight letters. Here is where I realized that the words have always been wherever I went:

I miss her.

Throughout hundreds of quiet evenings, the loneliest boy in the Pacific imagines the taste of all the sweet summers he can drink from the lips of the lady, she whose seed for affection is yet to germinate in her heart. I am the boy and the only music I hear in all of my reveries is her heartbeat. It sings from across a thousand miles of the terra incognita I am more than willing to cross. For three thousand days and nights, the pulses reach my ears like voices in a lullaby bleeding all emotions known to mankind and reciting every familiar word except one—my name.

In all my dreams of her, I kneel before the marquee of her memories floating endlessly on the ebony horizon. I spread my arms wide enough so that my heart may reach out to a star too remote that it is perhaps its own galaxy, like a solitary creature believing that love can only be had in a deserted island. After I build our castle in the sky, the warm earth is my bed and my skin is my blanket. The constellations start to outline all the smiles she has never given in daylight. By dawn and with eyes still shut, the sun will wash my face with the light of a million empty mornings. She and I have never witnessed hand-in-hand those countless lunar explosions in the past, but I love her just the same.

In my sleep, she hides behind an immutable smokescreen. It diffuses her scent and reduces her into a hundred silhouettes until she is both everywhere and nowhere. From here to elsewhere, her distance becomes a mathematical illusion, like numbers desperately trying to overcome the impossibility of dividing their selves with zero so that they can finally be real at least for once. By the time I wake up, I relish the flavor of her name as if I own it more than anybody else. I carefully whisper every syllable so that her name will float in the air even if it carries the weight of my dreams.

I can feel her. The taste of forever has never been this good.

Of all the days she has been away, today is unlike the rest. My thoughts travel beyond the corners of my bed and the edge of all my desires, wandering through lands of strange tongues in search of the lady. They embrace her halfway around the world where she sits alone, waiting for her feet to take her to another journey where this boy is not needed. If only she is willing to heed my plea and bless my lips with one, her kiss is enough to bail my heart from this injunction of perpetual solitude. Freedom will be had at the cost of losing her for the rest of my life.

Time zones are too strange for someone who has never really been anywhere except the places she once has been. I am where she was in the past and she is where I will be in the future. For the universe is infinite and it is infinitely nothing, she and I own hearts twice the size of our lives combined.

For the last three thousand days and nights, my thoughts were yours and yours alone. Tell me if I am still not worthy and I will spare the next three thousand for you and I.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Prayer

He wields in his hands the curse of famine. Flesh and spirit dangle on the edge of a precipice where, miles beneath, despair breeds a feral species of hunger and thirst. Bodies more emaciated than any mahatma can dream to have lie at the bottom in wanton disarray. As hours turn into days and days into weeks, his misery swells, dragging him down the slope and making every effort to claw his way back a Sisyphean ordeal. In time, heaven and earth will no longer distinguish the seasons. Everything will be the same, signifying the unity of opposites with neither rhyme nor reason. With an empty wallet to complement the emptiest heart he has ever had, life is at its most unbearable. There is no one to turn to, not even his self. There is nothing, not even a wound to nurse and heal with promises made beyond his deep stupor. It is six in the morning and the dream is real as soon as it is over.

The wooden ceiling was his first field of vision, the filthy walls second, and the door third.

To his far left was a plate empty for the last four daybreaks. At the table, a glass of water refracted the morning light streaming faintly from the window sill, partially illuminating his pale face and lethargic eyes. There was neither coffee nor sugar to greet his lips on that cold Saturday. Still too weak to air curses against the silence, he opened his mouth without saying a word. He turned to his side and wrapped the white blanket around his body, all the while knowing that even three sheets of cloth will never shield him from the penetrating chill of the whiskey fog swirling the small village on that July sunrise. He restrained the pool of liquid gathering at the edge of his eyes from trickling down his face by shutting them for a moment. The room, it seemed, was not spacious enough to house all the emotions wallowing inside his small frame.

Outside, footsteps of increasing intensity signaled the coming of the old keeper. The subsequent calm declared his presence.

Three hard knocks after and the door swung open. His landlord pried a bit inside the room for a good five seconds as if to interrogate an innocent convict lying lifeless in a wooden coffin for whatever the effort is worth, only to leave a small note by the table before brandishing a clout of arrogance with the thump of strides. Yesterday, today and tomorrow will never be good mornings for the jobless, he thought, unmoved by the unannounced arrival and abrupt exit of the apartment proprietor, the lone avatar of power in that little patch of feudal lot. Slowly, he got on his feet and fetched the bill with his bony fingers, glorifying the paper as if it is a divine edict decreed to liberate all tenants in the universe, some paying less religiously than others, him most of all.

Four thousand five hundred pesos, apart from a mouthful of apologies for the delayed payment, must come from him within the next five days. Otherwise, he will need to haul his ass out in a crate or the landlord will have to do it himself minus the procedural courtesies. It has happened before, grist and grime and all, and it can happen again.

Standing in front of the mirror, he forced a grin he has not seen in years. Endless bouts of caffeine on previous months have stained his teeth with a deep shade of ochre while tar seemed to have already clung to his gums. Other than the small cut on his forehead and a broken nose bridge to remind him of a drunken fistfight several nights back, nothing else was new. He was perpetually miserable.

He stepped closer. After mustering what little is left of his strength, he removed the mirror from its mount and raised it high with both hands. The drop was brief but the sound of shattered glass permanently broke the morning peace. Shards littered the floor and tiny reflections of light filled the opposite walls.

The familiar thump of footsteps drew nearer until finally the old man found himself standing before the door, gesturing his confusion and anxiety with little control, for there he was making a return that was not intended. Poised to proffer a visceral litany while hunching against the light, the keeper’s vexations ended as swift as they began. The first stab came unseen, with nary a shrill whimper from his final breaths. After six stabs on the neck, the man bathed in crimson. The old man lay lifeless, belly slit open from left to right like the earth sliced in half, innards spouting amid blood and juice. Then he knelt beside the fallen elderly, clasped his hands and began to say the prayer of the godless as red and light glimmered from the broken pieces.

Breakfast, he mumbled at the end.