Are We Done Now?

A solitary man stood on the balcony. His scrawny frame could have easily been carried by the strong, cold winds of the night. Fortunately, his stubbornness to stay on God’s green Earth keeps his feet on solid ground.

They say that the world is moved by opposite forces. Matter, antimatter. Thesis, antithesis. Good, evil. Life and death. The old man reflects grimly at the fact that once he reenters the room behind him, all the forces of death will concentrate upon him while he is immediately and ironically immersed in life.

The sounds of the raucous party moves towards the balcony only to be swallowed by the silence of the night. He hated the fact that human existence on Earth could be easily erased by nature. If people abandon the building, you can bet your whole savings that it will be weathered, beaten, grown upon and crushed under the weight of other beings moving on. Existing in that space without you, until every trace of your existence has been eroded.

Suddenly, a figure enters the periphery of the old man’s rheumy vision. Without turning to him, he speaks to the unknown figure, “To what do I owe this pleasure?”

The figure responds clearly, “You have done very well for yourself. You deserve your final reward.”

“Finally.”

A strong gust of wind blew across the balcony, ruffling the curtains inside the room. For the people inside the party who felt the sudden cold believed for one second that Death had brushed by them. Shaking off such ridiculous superstitions, they proceeded to close the doors to the balcony to effectively ward off the cold night.

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Of Sleep and Other Nightmares

I wrote this specifically for this blog. I sometimes get haunted by insomnia and I thought that it might be an interesting theme for me to write about. So these are three different stories, inspired by different day dreams that I’ve had in the past.

Haunted existence

Last night, I was unable to sleep at all. I slept only when the sun started to pour into my window and as I ran out of things to do with my things. Truth is, I avoid waking up as much as I want to avoid sleeping. I avoid sleep because it’s dark out there. I avoid my life because I’m too lazy. I like staying in my room. I don’t like going out. But I would often look out the window and wonder at the lives of other people, then I dream that I am a part of it.

Last night, I was shaken out of my solitary reverie as I heard my neighbor knocking at her house. She was calling for her son and daughter, asking them to open the door. She decided that what she was doing was futile and soon she was knocking everywhere–the windows, the walls, anywhere she could reach.

She kept on knocking and knocking. I wonder why no one answered the door because I could hear scurryings, the noise of comings and goings from the house next door. She kept it up. Again and again. Persistent. Relentless. Bone coated with human flesh beating hard against wood or glass. Her voice carried by the wind. Calling. Jessica. Jason. The door. Please. Open.

The cacophony of the woman next door was oddly one of the most relaxing things I’ve heard in a long while. I finally felt as if it was safe to sleep, knowing that if the lady next door can survive the darkness, I can surely survive the night.

Early warning signs

It was a peaceful night. The night wind was brisk but with the caffeine warming my veins, I braved the cold winds to trudge on home. It was a satisfying feeling to watch the fog wreath the lamplight in a mystical cloak, making the light dreamy and unreal. On the street, I was the only soul moving along its slick path with houses on both sides of me in deep slumber, sheltering its inhabitants by effectively keeping the cold away. Although I wore a warm coat that night, the winds still whistled its cool tunes along my ears–so cold it made my ears uncomfortably warm.

I just got home from a satisfying bout of drinking coffee and chatting with my closest friends. It was the perfect end after a long day of working. Teaching students may have been my choice among other possible career choices, but it was not an easy one. Every single day with those students is a veritable challenge, draining and yet I am always oddly fulfilled. That feeling could be the effect of both caffeine and nicotine as well as the high you get when you get rid of extreme nervousness.

And so I enter my house, energized yet drained. Restless yet tired. After brushing my teeth and other rudimentary nightly rituals, I lay in bed. Sated as if after a hard round with the best of the best. I lay awake thinking about all the great things that happened that day and without warning, I fell asleep.

I suddenly woke to the sound of a sharp bark. Soon, that bark was echoed by all the dogs in the neighborhood. They were barking their heads off but everything in the neighborhood was quiet and still. Then just as suddenly as they started, the dogs stopped but the earth started moving. My walls started making noise. I could hear the wood panels creaking and the cement crumbling.

However, it was all over too soon. It was around 4am.

My secret life

When I was much younger, my room was missing a portion of the ceiling. So at night, I could see the moonlight laying bare the beams that should have been covered. Of course, I also see a mysterious cavern whose shadows the moon cannot penetrate. In the imagination of my young mind, I can see what the shadows protect, hidden just under the roof.

Even as a child, it was never easy for me to go to sleep. Even if I close my eyes, I would imagine myself climbing up to the mysterious space between the ceiling and the roof. In my mind, I knew that there would be a giant spider. A spider so big that it can eat me whole and still hunger for more.

I knew without a doubt that this spider would never do me any harm. In fact, this spider has the magic of wishes. Not the smart aleck kind of wishes that genies have or other obtuse wish-granting magical creatures. This spider can see in your head and make possible the dreams that you conjure. The dreams that the spider grants are not the random dreams that you get during the night…but the dreams that you yearn for during the day when you are wide awake and in full control of what you want to happen in your mind.

When you make your wish to the spider through your mind, it will make your wish come true. However you have to go to the spider to claim your wish but if you have not claimed your wish, they will just simply accumulate in that mysterious space between the ceiling and the roof. Since I was so scared of the dark, every night I would wish for as many things as I could in the hopes that the ceiling will collapse under the weight of my wishes. But the ceiling remained strong…and I couldn’t come up with the courage to venture there during the night.

One day, I climbed up to the ceiling to take a little peak at that mysterious space but the sun would banish it with its light and I never saw my spider. Perhaps my magical spider and my wishes only appear at night. Continuously, I would wish to that magical spider, still hoping that the ceiling will collapse under the weight of my wishes.

Then, I started to forget about magical spiders. I stopped wishing. When our house was demolished so that we could build a new house, I didn’t even remember the spider or my wishes. I guess it was just my imagination and the spider wasn’t real. But that’s just another guess…like my guess that a magical spider exists. Which one is the truth?

Rhyme, Reason and Lies

Deceiver, Dissembler (Liar, liar)

One day, she woke up. The sun was not shining through her curtains and she liked it that way. Her curtains are made of thin nylon-polyester but the dark royal blue color absorbs the light well enough to render the room softly lit, as if the light bulb was blue gray.

She sat up from the left-side of the bed even if she was alone, even if it was a mere single sized one. Beside her in the bed right lay several big pillows that she barely touched. She wonders if that is how it would be like if she did sleep beside a person on a decent-sized bed? Would she stick to her side of the bed, refusing to touch that other person?

Looking down at the covers, the pillows and the myriad other things that litter her bed, she felt dismay at the clutter. Looking all over her room, the clutter on the bed is amplified by the sheer clutter of everything around her. Standing up, she simultaneously shoved her blanket behind her while putting on her indoor slippers. Of course, she had to pause in the act of wearing her slippers because it’s positioned awkwardly because her feet simply tossed them aside when she got into bed the night before.

Today marked the third week from her graduation. Summer greeted her simply with unemployment soon after the triumph of graduation had faded. Still living in the room where she lived off-campus during college, she had not the heart to leave the city where she learned to be herself.

Meet a woman who came into the city as a girl, fell in love and never left her lover. Her lover, the city, never condemned her for the new life that she decided to carve out for herself… Even if it is a life built on lies.

Your trousers are alight (Pants on fire)

She met up with her friend who just flew in from a workshop and conference that she helped out in. Already her friend was embarking on her career… That friend came home, brimming full with stories to amuse and awe–and yes, to envy.

The gears in the mind of our protagonist started grinding and churning. What story should I tell my friend? She knew that the truth was simply too boring and mundane…that she spent several days sleeping at a friend’s house, simply talking and not doing anything more, that they slept on a bed narrower than what she had in her room but never touched. She then recalled her own bed. Untidy, crowded, without rhyme or reason–much like her own life. But even more important than that, it was obviously solitary.

She thought of her bed. The pile of blankets that she used every night because of the cold kisses of her lover. The many insubstantial masses of matter called pillows that surround her each night. Unlike her lover, these pillows turn warm at her touch but get cold once more if abandoned. Then she remembers the other things which do not belong in bed like her books of insipid plots, glasses, clothes among other things. All of which are basically garbage in one form or another.

She suddenly remembered the night she sat in the living room of the house in solitude. Outside the darkness was opaque but inside, the flourescent bulb made the light just as opaque and unforgiving as the darkness beyond the walls. Unfortunately, the cold embrace of her lover can easily permeate both light and dark. That embrace silently comforted her as she cried. That was probably one month prior to the day she met with her friend for coffee. In her mind, she juxtaposed both moments side by side and saw that in some weird way, the time difference was the only difference between that moment and the one she was experiencing in a crowded coffee shop, in front of one of her closest friends and confidante.

Shoving the clouds of distraction, her eyes and ears focused once more on what her friend was saying. Then she blurted out, “I lost my virginity while you were gone!” which caused shock to ripple over her friend and herself for she never said those words before in her entire life.

From what pole or gallows shall they dangle in the night? (Hangin’ on a telephone wire)

Then she saw the envy, hope and unspeakable trust that shone from the eyes of her friend. Her audience was captured, enamored of each word that fell from her lips. While her listener drank up her words, the storyteller got drunk on the attention. Barely functioning from the buzz, she heard a tiny voice in her mind saying, “You’re telling a bare-faced lie!” But she shrugged it off because she would rather burn in hell than disappoint her captive audience….

Soon, their discussion jumped from one topic to another and she forgot to say the most important piece in her narration, “Just kidding!” Until, they left the coffee shop and went their separate ways.  Walking down the stairs, inserting the key in the lock, walking across the living room, opening her door, removing her clothes, getting ready for bed, brushing her teeth–all these actions were done woodenly, automatically.

Then she made a cozy little pocket on her bed, arranging the pillows and other things then lay softly. She stayed awake the whole night, recalling the glory of the story that she told. Then, as if angered, her lover threw a gust of cold wind into her window. She was shivered from her euphoria and was forced to face the stark truth of her lies. Then she swore then and there to do everything possible to make sure that the lies become the truth. So that among all the lies that were said, the only problem would be the time everything took place in. Comforted by the thought, she went to sleep because she had an early morning the next day.

So what’s another lie?