I cycled through my neighborhood under the scorching sun. Why would I do that? Surely, I was not silly enough to think that the heat would be enough to burn away my memories? I turned right and set my sight on an abandoned piece of land.
The place where my school used to be was covered with wild greeneries. What remained of the building was still there the last time I visited. It had turned into beds of greens, sleeping peacefully. A year was all it took.
I parked my bicycle on what used to be the gate. A few steps into the place, I found overgrown bushes of the very same white flowers someone gave to me a long time ago. The air carried that nostalgic scent.
No one likes saying goodbye to what they love. Sometimes they just leave silently. As long as they left enough footsteps inside me, it will be alright. I will always have a place to go next.
And a place to come home to.
It was a short visit to your place. After a long time, no less.
Maybe I just wanted to remember how it felt to stand beside you.
It was a perfect day, despite the sun being too shy to smile. Slow wind, young trees, light green. The color reminded me of your favorite sweater. Although I did not quite remember if it was yours or mine. At least, this place had finally become alive again. Cold, but alive. I listened to the sound of my shoes against the stone steps. This was the only place where my shoes produced such melody. A song mine, but not quite ours.
“You’re still here.” It was the only greeting I could think of for you. As if stating the obvious was any help. You would never change. Not anymore.
I saw someone across, a boy around my age. Maybe he was visiting someone too. A while after our eyes met, he approached me with some flowers in his arms. The boy silently offered those flowers for you, small white blooms arranged in circle. At that point of time, I did not feel the need to say anything and I got the impression that he felt the same. We exchanged quiet smiles.
“Look, a stranger was being kind to you.”
I wish I was kinder to you.
The streetlights were all lit up at six, turning the pavement color into something closer to the past.
Tonight felt murky, like when the electricity at home was cut off for a few hours, just me sitting down doing nothing and remembering everything. After a tiring day at work, I wanted a little bit of comfort but had no idea what to do or where to go. But for tonight, for once, chance was being generous to me. You were there, right across the road, window rolling down and hand waving.
My taxi driver friend drove me home.
I watched your features, draped in dim colorful night lights. Those lines, I never was familiar with. I leaned on your shoulder and mumbled, “Just for tonight”. You never took your eyes off the road. I closed mine and pretended to look inside myself. The radio was playing a song about heaven. I did not know its title.
“If you ever find the road to heaven, please drive me there.”
“Are you drunk or sleep-talking?” You chuckled. It had been such a long time.
A breath of smile escaped me, “Both.”
“Drunk of joy and daydreams?”
“If you think so.”
I let the radio lull the silence until we reached my place. I knew I had to wave you goodbye for tonight, without knowing when we’d see each other again. I watched the pair of red lights getting smaller and smaller as the car drove off to the distance. When I looked up, the moon was smiling at me. It’s time to say goodnight.
Tomorrow’s going to be a long day again, but it’s alright.
Coffee. Love its scent, not a huge fan of its taste unless it’s mixed with milk, could indulge in its aromatic bitterness if paired with a good conversation.
Nearby my workplace is a charming tiny cafe. I wave them hello whenever I pass them by.
I’m just a regular nine-to-five worker, doing an ordinary job many can do as well. Whether the job is done out of necessity or indulgence, I refuse to give myself an answer, for I’m scared it might become stagnant water that evaporates painfully slowly even in the heights of summer. What is it?
A curtain to protect my mind
A net to catch the sediments of my escaping will
A lens to focus my freedom
A mirror for my family to reflect a semblance of their transparent hopes
A seed I planted out of curiosity about how the bloom would look like
My life is mine, and it is also never just mine.
I thought, I don’t mind doing this as long as I still can scrape a few tiny joys out of it.
I’m deeply grateful for a space the cafe provided to share tiny joys. I could see they put a lot of effort and care in everything. It was such a beautiful sight. I stood just right outside the edge and painted that scenery from a distance.
Now I can approximate how it could be like, the curves and edges, a strange shape some people would call “happiness”
Here, it’s always felt like summer, even if there is no real season. I don’t think it’s an ideal place to be in, yet I don’t feel like living anywhere else.
Here, I have bitter coffee on a blue summer.
We all experience this differently.
During a hard time in life, my “space” became limited. Most days, going through the motion of living was all I could accomplish. When everything seemed like a lie, I suddenly found my five senses giving me raw, powerful honesty, almost like cruelty. I became much more porous in absorbing sensory experiences. The sky looked bluer, the breeze more pleasant, the greeneries more fragrant. Yet, I knew something drained away from the “heart”, and I could do nothing but to indulge.
What used to be a scent, now a redolence.
What used to be a flavor, now an indulgence.
What used to be a sound, now a persuasion.
What used to be a touch, now a caress.
What used to be a sight, now a dream.
The senses do deceive at times, but there was never any sliver of betrayal. Perhaps just a shift in focus.
I drew to express love, but under certain condition, that too is changeable. The intention I cling strongly to is now evaporating into a different form. Perhaps the fact that it has failed and not simply vanished, has meaning.
I always have some affection reserved for those little things which bridge the gap between us, simply because they remind us of each other. They pave the trails of our connections, even if we are just friendly strangers to each other. We can throw those things away if we choose to, but we are all going to walk away slightly changed.
I will never be you and you will never be me. We simply tried to put ourselves in each other’s shoes. They might be unfamiliar and less comfortable, but at least we sensed each other’s warmth for a while.
Just a little.
So I thought, even if I’m going to meet a lot of new people from now on, I’d love to see you again if possible, even if it’s not you in a physical sense.