He Said, She Said

There’s a new girl at school.

Sasha told me she made out with the entire football team in her old middle school. They last heard she was pregnant, and that was why she had to leave. Where’s the baby, though?

Tony said his boys are already trying to hit her up. She seems to be responding quite well, he told me. In a week or two, one of his boys will start banging her brains out, creating earthquakes that will tear her entire house down. She already told one of his friends that she loved him, so it’s going to happen real soon—that was what he told me.

Milan said her dad is an alcoholic. He would be drinking at the bar all night, wasting away the day’s salary, which is why their family is still stuck in this town. Her mom is sleeping around. She must have taken after her, he said.

Georgia said her skirts were too high, and her cleavage always showed. She usually sees her at the library. Why is she at the library all the time? Oh, I’d rather not know.

“Have you met your new classmate?” asks Ms. Garcia, pointing at the girl with her nose. The new girl was slim. She was wearing a pair of jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, and a pair of Nike kicks. She gives me a smile, the kind that shelter dogs give to visitors at the pound.

I return the smile and choose another seat at the back of the classroom. I already know her well enough.

Over Some Mashed Potatoes

“Do you remember the time when we almost screwed things up?” asks Gina.

Of course, I remember. It was a time, when my raging testosterone levels told me to fall in love with every pretty girl I knew. At that time, summer days were still part of my vocabulary, and I would waste all of them away with her. We would go to all the summer fairs, mix up our summer soundtrack, and drink cherry coke under the blazing sun, while we daydreamed about our lives ten years from then. Every secret I knew and everything she kept from everyone else pulled me into an endless pit of infatuation, or maybe even love, if it existed at that age. I could swear to the high heavens that she was in my life because I was going to marry her someday.

She stops mashing the potatoes for a while, “I bet you’re cringing a little bit in your head right now.”

I slowly drink the water in my glass, raising one of my eyebrows at her.

“Remember that night you tried to kiss me?” She lets out a little laugh. She looks at the orchids outside the window for a while; then, she adds some butter to the big mound of starch. She smiles at me, waiting for an answer.

“Please don’t remind me.”

“We were able to make something great out of that awkward moment, though. Weren’t we?”

I flash her a smile and give her a nod. She knows what that means.

Gina transfers the creamy mash into a bowl, and garnishes it with parsley. She always had the ability to add color to every plain, ordinary thing.

“Imagine how things would be right now if I let you kiss me that night,” she adds.

She accidentally brushes her hand against mine, and for the first time since I saw her crying over a scraped knee when we were five, I feel nothing. Things right now are definitely not like how I thought they would be ten years ago.

[Credits to the photographer for the picture]

Isn’t That What Matters?

He loves you, or at least he told you he did. That wonderful moment kept replaying in your head for a year, while you never really gave him a peek of your heart. He was still there, talking with you on the phone for hours about something he didn’t care about, but he made it clear that he cared about you. Isn’t that what matters?

He still loves you, or at least someone told you he did. It was a puzzle that you tried to solve again and again in your head, while he had no clue about what was going on. He was still there, watching you from a distance, trying to be a part of your life without really cutting himself too deep with a blade. He knew you loved another boy. Still, he was a phone call away, and you knew that. Isn’t that what matters?

He kind of loves you, or at least you thought so. You no longer knew where he was or what he was doing. It’s been years since you’ve last talked, but you knew he was still a phone call away. Out of all the men you’ve dated, known, and loved, you knew he was special by the way his eyes sparkled when he saw you back then. The next time you saw him, you promised yourself that you would never let him go. He said that he would see you soon. Isn’t that what matters?

He doesn’t love you anymore, or at least that’s what he implied. He brought his lovely wife for dinner, because he thought you two would get along. She smiled like you, talked like you, moved like you, except she obviously loved him more than you did. She could have been you, but she wasn’t. You will know this for a fact, when the sun rises tomorrow. Isn’t that what matters?

She Found the Letters

She found the letters.

The big box of letters I never sent to this girl I used to know. She read each and every one of them, stripping my young heart naked and seeing me raw. Seeing every flaw in every vein that formed my whole being. Seeing every tear I shed captured in the loose fibers of paper. Knowing every beat my heart skip through every passionate word and punctuation.

“Whom were these supposed to be for, sweetie?” she asks with the box in hand.

I swallow a big gulp of saliva and answer, “It was for my childhood sweetheart, honey. You know how young love is.”

“I can’t believe that this is still here. We really need to fix this place up.”

She places the box near the trash can.

“Be back in time for dinner, okay? I hope you didn’t forget our anniversary,” she says.

Maybe I will never tell my wife that this day wouldn’t be so special if a damned car didn’t ram through that girl’s skull.

Shoot, I forgot our anniversary.

[Credits to the photographer for the lovely photo]

The Endless Search

I walk the mountains, high and low,

Only to know what it means to live.

I dive the deepest trenches in the sea,

Only to know what it means to be happy.

——–

No matter how far I try to chase,

The answer never fails to elude me.

But why is happiness the youth’s secret?

Does its importance not come with years?

——–

My eyes become blind with new knowledge,

So where do the ignorant hide their bliss?

They hide it behind their limited words,

Behind things they can’t understand.

——-

Oh, I wish I never knew the world,

I wish I could believe in things I thought.

Young ones, keep your eyes open; then,

Tell me if you want to live forever.

[credits to the photographer for the lovely photo]

On This Stain and After

On this stain, my youth undone.

On this stain, I loved someone.

On this stain, I laughed my tears.

On this stain, I thrashed my fears.

On this stain, I risked disgrace.

On this stain, I can’t save face.

On this stain, you loved me more.

On this stain, you left me sore.

On this stain, my youth undone.

On this stain, I loved someone.

—-

—-

After the stain, I loved someone.

After the stain, you were almost gone.

After the stain, my name, disgraced.

After the stain, you’ve lost your taste.

After the stain, I wept my tears.

After the stain, after all these years,

I think of the stain, and think of you,

But after the stain, what did you do?

After the stain, I loved someone.

After this poem, I will be done.

Spilled Milk

I didn’t know it took two weeks to buy a carton of milk. If I did, I would have bought 10 more cartons the last time mum and I went to the grocery store. She isn’t doing anything anymore—no laundry, no cleaning, no cooking. I didn’t know milk played such a big part in our lives! I will have to ask Ms. Young about that when I get to school tomorrow, but it’s like she always scrunches up her eyebrows every time she looks at me. It’s weird. I hope she isn’t mad or anything.

My stomach’s grumblin’. If I had to wait for that milk, I think I’d die of hunger.

Whew! There’s not a lot of food in the fridge, but I guess I can try to make myself a tasty sandwich.

Oh! What do we have here?

You’re so silly, dad. We’ve got an unopened carton of milk in here.

[credits to the photographer for the lovely photo]