It Ain't So Tragic

Some wars you lose are those you walk out of feeling stronger.

You wake up one morning after a heavy battle the night before, losing more ground yet stubborn with control. You brush off the dust and count the casualties, hoping you didn’t lose more than you bargained for. The night that seemed so cold and lonesome when you went to bed turned into a morning of opportunities to grow. Standing in front of your mirror, stark naked and bare for you to see, you count the scars on your soul that weren’t there before. You won’t do it anymore.

Peacetime and a whole lot of love spent lies on the back of your mind, cuddled up with the pillows of support and affection that seems so alien today. You know that room in the back of your conscience was a safe room, against the world and all the hurt people gave. You wonder, as you stare into your eyes, what was it about the pain that you once craved? Was the cocoon of unreality keeping you safe from the way you would behave? Was it a burden shared, between two souls, so that you may be saved? You rub away the sleep from your eyes and to yourself you say.

Enough of being this way, no more burning nights. No more firing houses and burning love letters out of spite. No more shivering bodies when the cold seems to wrap you tight. No more feeling lost when things could have been alright. No more lashing out when those around couldn’t handle the blight. No more depending on love to keep you warm at night. No more guns at your hip with barrels bright. No more wondering why when the end is in sight. No more waking in a cold sweat with dreams of fright. No more demons of trauma hiding behind the night light. No more losing to yourself in a fight.

The day goes long and contrite only if you let it, you know this to be true. You let the water wash away the sins of yesterday, cold and harsh, as you set your hair right and put on your best shoes. Today would be a day unlike all others, where along pockmarked streets and through puddles of spent shells you shall walk as you should. Tall and proud, able to reach the sky blue right above you. You unwrap the bandages on your soul where the blood has clotted, scars only showing through. You cover them up and celebrate them with black and white tattoos. You smile like your world finally makes sense to you, if it doesn’t you don’t care, it’s all the same to you.

When the parley is called, you give your best shot and tell the truth as it is. You explain the bombing runs were in defence, not to cause harmful ends. You tell them all your life you’ve been trying your best. You hear them say it’s worse than it seems. You ask them if their decision is final, and if it is, then you would learn to unlove the comfort of bliss. You step back, take a bow and make your amends. You smile them off as they fly off on the winds. There is nothing more than to rebuild what was to what is, and you’re all you need to be at peace.

You see, sometimes parley leaves you feeling destroyed. It’s unfair at times, only if your logic is left unemployed. Life goes on, wars are lost and won by the virtue of choice. A time in recluse feels like walking through war-torn Hanoi. Left to your own devices, your mind feels like a wind-up toy, unwound and forgotten and devout of joy. Yet, today would be unlike all others, the product of your ploy. You would find within the tiniest crevices of your soul, some joy, the joy you would use to build yourself anew and make a man out of the boy.


Today, I wake up feeling like there’s a world out there for me to explore, and just because she won’t be there with me it ain’t so tragic. 

Dirt to Dirt

His doctor once told him that the unhealthiest thing he could do was scratch his eyes dry. Obviously, he begged to differ. Before him was death.

It was a bright sunny Tuesday at the track and work was nearly complete. The sounds of engines roaring, screaming and whining was like music to his ears, as so many other people ripped the dirt to shreds on their own tracks. This complex had been his home for the better part of a decade, that wily mistress with a whip that scared his socks off but he just couldn't get enough of. He found it natural to breathe through the helmet he wore, his trusty O’Neal snug, tight, and not too warm, the goggles in place over his eyes too. The glass stayed dust-free as he observed the abyss before him.

Although the landing strip had foam cubes lining the approach and lip of the ramp, he ignored the safety precaution. He was always explicit with his disdain for training safety; what was the point? On the day you jumped, the foam wouldn’t be there, nothing to catch you in loving arms if fate decided to twist and turn and object. That was what he intended to do, though, to challenge fate’s obvious intentions and to challenge his old friend. The friend that was his biggest fan and biggest critic.

The foreman gave him the green flag, so the rider gazed one more time over the precipice before walking down the runway to the bottom. Emily waited for him patiently, basking in the sun as her two-stroke engine was being checked by a mechanic. She was ready, the gleaming Honda logo polished bright, making it stand out the most amongst his various stickers. She was his trusty dirt bike, having taken as many beatings as he had over the course of his career. Softly caressing the handlebars, he got himself on board, knowing that once the engine started screaming, Emily and he were one. 

With a satisfying first kick, she breathed into life, purring in neutral before he clutched and pushed the gear. The runway was a down ramp itself, so he took his time driving her to the top via a service ramp. On the official night, he’d be meeting her on the top directly, but for now, he used his freedom to full measure. 

When he reached the top, he felt a slight itch in his right eye that made him pull the goggles off to scratch it. Remembering his doctor’s words he refrained from a third scratch, blinking hard instead to chase the imitation away. Looking down the ramp at the dirt take off and landing, he remembered further back. There was a time when his late mother would turn off the television if he was being featured, her reason being that she could not bring herself to watch her son die. She refused to watch reruns of his jumps, all of which were obviously successful, citing her weak heart and kidney stones. He didn’t bother correcting her. He knew deep inside she was proud of him, being able to do what he wanted with his life even though it scared her to death. For the record, he reminded himself, she passed away from old age, peacefully in her sleep. He knew now she would always be watching him.

After a minute of slow breathing, he knew he was ready.

Pushing himself into a rolling start, he let Emily’s engine roar itself into the second gear, and as he reached the bottom of the first ramp, into third. Fourth came easily as soon as he levelled off, Emily feeling like a dragon on wheels. The ground was clear, flat, and like a dream, so he made a mental note to give due appreciation to the foreman’s team. 

Fifth gear and the clutch slid smoothly back into position. He was edging close to the one-forty mark on the kilometre per hour reading, thanks to the slight modifications on his beast of a bike. Emily was like a collision in a star; small but packing one hell of a punch, clearing the runway strip in seconds before taking him onto to the lift off. Throttle secure, legs locked in tight, elbows braced, he was ready.

With a final push, the man and the bike flew.

The pinpoint accuracy of the track builders meant he did not feel even an iota of excessive force other than what was necessary to get him airborne. Just before the rear wheels left the dirt he pushed down, giving him further lift, his stomach flying up and hitting the back of his throat. The weightlessness was timeless, the moment stretching out and becoming forever, becoming one with the wind that roared past his helmet. He lived for this moment, this freedom to challenge every limitation, every rule of physics, to look his closest friend square in the eye and defy him. He lived so he can choose to not die.

The ground rushed at him as he neared the landing ramp, the journey of an eternity coming to an end. He braced himself for the impact, pulling the handlebars down just so he could land both wheels at the same time. Emily was still screaming in her shrill as voice as he accommodated the drop in speed from the jump into the amount of throttle he kept her at. Having done this for years, he knew how to estimate, so when the wheels hit the dirt he’d smoothly pull away and then slow down. If he had landed short, Emily would have been wrecked and he slid down the ramp at breakneck speed. Further back, he would have landed heavily on the foam cubes, which he would’ve counted as a shameful failure. Injuries were not disregarded in this situation either.

Like a lover’s arms, the ground welcomed him softly, just barely. He was bare inches from the lip of the ramp. At a hundred kilometres per hour, he sped down the ramp, softly squeezing the brakes and easing Emily to a stop. The adrenaline started fading away and the fear of the jump finally hit him. Breathless, his heart racing and goosebumps from head to toe, he managed to come to a stop after a lazy circle at the base of the ramp.

He slipped off his helmet off as soon as he shut Emily down, deep heaving breaths to help him calm down again. The slight applause from his team slowly died down as each member went on with their responsibilities. A mechanic came and helped him off the bike, taking away Emily to double check on her suspensions and to make adjustments if necessary. The biker walked around, and then back to the top of the landing ramp. He needed to see for himself exactly how far he had come. At the top, he looked across the abyss, smiled to himself, and then walked back down again. He was satisfied.


His doctor once told him that the unhealthiest thing he could do was scratch his eyes dry. Obviously, he begged to differ. Behind him was death.

Waves

As the water gently lapped against his feet, he felt frustrated.

The storm had blown over them earlier in the morning, leaving behind a slightly electrically charged air, crisp with the smell of rain and sea mixed together. The waves over the reef at the end of the lagoon were still adamant, the whitewater shining brighter than the clouds above as they caught the sunlight over the barrel. The sunlight, however, did little to diminish the anger that was boiling inside him.

She was back in their bungalow, crying softly into her hands as she sat at the edge of the bed. He knew this because he left her there when he couldn’t handle her tears anymore. He was a caring, loving man, never raising his voice nor hand against anyone, and especially not at his wife, and when anger did take control, he always chose to walk away and ponder it himself until he calmed down and thought rationally. Today was slightly different, though; today he didn’t want to calm down.

He wanted to stay here on the beach, his feet kissed by the water and his face slightly warmed in the cold air by the sun that peeked past forlorn clouds drifting westward. He wanted to bury himself in the white sand, drown in the shallow pools surrounded by corals left dull in daylight, be carried off by the sea breeze that always had somewhere else to be. He just didn’t want to walk back to the bungalow, rather, he wanted to walk past it as the road twisted towards the town and… where would he go? The ocean gave him a false promise of always being on the move, running from shore to shore, rivers coming in through streams, meanders and kissing the ocean at the mouth as the waters of the world got mixed and taken away. The ocean gave him the idea that day by day he can find himself as a wanderer, starting all over again every time, but how would he, a mere mortal with two legs and a scarred heart, emulate the ideals of an entire sea?

Was this really the lesson left by the vast, dark, wine-colored world that lay before him? He looked down at his feet, observing the waves going and then approaching, a certain discipline to the movement, a dance to a different beat. The repetition spoke to him, something between the washy sounds and inhaling receding water felt like a breathing pattern to him now, and inevitably his breathing levelled out, following the ocean. A sense of calm settled over him like a blanket, wrapping around him and making him feel relaxed and safe. He looked around in his new-found peace and then began noticing something previously disregarded. 

There were branches, leaves, and debris blown on to the beach by the storm that morning, a war zone of nature, the fight between the ocean and the air now resolved and the collateral left behind. The branches seemed, at first glance, out of place and savaged, but those closest to the waterline were slowly being tugged away. Leaves, haphazard in their arrangement, now seemed to get coaxed by the breezes to gather and congregate, becoming residents at the base of the coastal trees, mangroves and other flora. Debris just seemed to get absorbed by both the water and the sand, finding permanent homes and to be permanent homes for the fauna that thrived around it. 

He could see how the world around him wasn’t all about turmoil and being on the move; it had more to do with healing. The storm was a temporary reset, a shuddering force that brought out half truths and made them bare; when the stagnation of life reached a peak the waters unsettled and began a purification of sorts. Sometimes the damage seemed like years in the repair but when things healed, the scars were outgrown by the beauty of rebirth. Death was inevitable, he realised, seeing how a tree was split in half by lightning, the sand surrounding it turned to glass in a mosaic so beautiful, but life was equally inevitable too. After every storm, the crabs came out, repairing their homes, and birds came a-calling. The air seemed to be thicker with oxygen, every breath deep and full and invigorating. The world seemed to be coming to life, blink by blink, the gloom of the clouds being replaced by an afterglow. 

He realised that the beauty of life was in how it was lived, thriving against all odds, a constant dance between birth and demise. There was no need to run from the storms that came and went, the nights that came and went, the gloomy mornings that came and went. Every wave was a breath, the world breathing with him, around him, making him see that irrefutable magic of handwork and determination. He wasn’t going to be mistaken, though, as he saw the burnt tree slowly fall into the water when the ground around it gave wave under the insistent tide. Somethings do need to be cleared away, to make way for better things, but all in all, it was all to do with living, being, growing. Besides, he thought as the charred trunk got slowly pulled out to the sea, sometimes what’s broken needed to be somewhere else, to give life where life was needed. He could imagine already, how the ocean would house it’s children on the wood, how the hardened driftwood would end up being a piece of art to liven up another man’s home, years later. Life was inevitable.

In a bungalow behind him was a woman who meant the world to him, crying broken trails of tears as a result of not only a conflict but the differences between the both of them. They had found each other, fallen in love and made their own little world out of the universe they found themselves in and now they were at a crossroads. Loving never came easy, he knew, but the beauty was in choosing to keep loving. She gave him so much to celebrate, and he knew he gave her as much too. The ocean taught him the truth in life, and it was to love and keep on loving as long as breath remained. He decided to sit for just a moment more before he went back to her.


As the water gently lapped against his feet, he felt thankful.

Gardener

The dirt felt like life to him; rich, full of texture, and slipping through his fingers.

He was years younger the first time she made him scoop up the black soil and fill pots with it. He would be given a small handful of seeds and told to slip his finger into the wet soil and drop them in, space them around so those that reach for the sun would be unhindered. The watering can oblige some water to the dark earth, leaving it damp and secure as the two of them moved onto the second pot. 

She loved gardening, and for the life of her, she couldn’t fully explain why. Her house, which he called home despite how far he went, was one full of life, wonderment, and the smell of fresh leaves and trimmed trees. Pots were stacked on steel racks made specially for her, racks with three steps bowing under the weight of over thirty different plants on each of them. He remembered fondly how she would point out each individual one and name them, telling him about how long it takes to blossom, how much water it needs and if it needed constant care. She would sing to them softly, urging him to join her as they watched them grow bit by bit every day. He found so much peace in the garden, watching her walk around and give her blessings to each plant. There was a cactus his family claimed she planted, and knowing what little he knew about said plant, he always wondered how in the world it grew to the impressive eight feet height it last stood at. Patience, he thought to himself, and a whole lotta love.

She was stern at times, her usually loving eyes becoming search lights of fault if she could find one, but reprimands weren’t what she dished out. There was a lot of love carried across when she told him what he did wrong, so much so that he would swear to himself he would never do her wrong ever again, as much as he can. When it came to her garden, he was the one she would seek out from all other members of the family just so he could learn something new and in the process cement the beautiful bond they had. It was an enviable bond, the cause of a lot of frustrations from without, yet she nurtured him, teaching him the way she lived her life. There was a certain grace to the way her guiding hand taught him everything he knew, the wrinkles of her smile making tracks on her aged, beautiful face every time he got anything right. Yes, she was firm, but she always had a warm embrace in store.

Hardships didn’t avoid their family. When she had to leave the country and stay in another state, he was worried about her garden. Obviously, she couldn’t take it with her, so the whole family helped her stay in a large house with a beautiful lawn and as big as a gardening space as she would need. He saw her at times few and far between, but their bond never wavered. However, his tendency to tend the earth waned and was replaced by the more pressing matters of superficial living that plagued the patrons of his generation. Soon, he even forgot the smell of fresh leaves and trimmed trees, and through hard times and not, he kept on growing, learning a new lesson whenever he talked to her or spent time with her. Yet, he saw her at times few and far between. 

The family never managed to stop mourning her passing completely. They held strong, held fast, living her legacy to the best of their individual abilities and he was one of them. He still might shed a tear or two at her fond memory, whenever the scores of young people she had raised to adulthood came together to remember and celebrate her. They had learned so much from her with the biggest lesson of it all being humility, a quiet sense of purpose in a world that had so much urgency. They lived through whatever the world around them put them through, keeping in mind how she would advise them, how she would tend to them like the little plants she used to raise. She taught them perseverance, the power to be vigilant in times of trouble, and now he had to use her lessons to get through the cold winter left behind as her warm summer came to an end.

She was his grandmother, his hero, and his mentor, a woman who stood the test of time and left a legacy of love matched by few. He walked among flora with a new perspective on them, a more prominent sense of awe and respect, wondering which of these leaves held an essence of her reborn. She was a gardener in all aspects; she sowed seeds of wisdom in the hearts and minds of everyone who called her mother, and of it, there was more than a few. She spread love and respect across households the way pollen flies to create more life. She tended and loved those who were near her, showing them the light when there was nothing but darkness in the soil of life they were born in. Finally, she gave life even in her passing, bringing people together in celebration of the good the world had to offer.

Now, he walked through an overgrown garden, his hand brushing against the leaves of those that reached for the sun, feeling life coursing through his airways with every breath. There he saw it, the sentinel that seemed to mark time by its mortality. It lay dead, broken at the middle and hanging by mere fibers, making his heart break by what he saw. Sniffling and resisting tears, he approached the pot and saw a small cactus already sprouting, looking healthier than ever for a lifetime of growing. He reached to it, and then moved it to another pot of its own, patting the soil down. He smiled, a thought waltzing in unbidden.

The dirt felt like life to him; rich, full of texture, and slipping through his fingers.

Horizon Blue

There was something truly magical about the horizon blue.

The breeze kissed his lips and left him wanting more. The water softly slapped the hull as the boat cleaved through open ocean, sails furled and the engine running. The course was true, the waves were gentle and the wind was light, leaving him with little to do but wait for the craft to take them where they needed to go. The wood was old and tested, having crossed atolls day and night for a few years shy of two decades, his father once the helmsman. He knew every nook and cranny, every barnacle-free plank and splintered board his dear friend and companion. The thought of splintered boards made him cringe slightly, not at the cost of the refurbishing, but the loss of a dear friend. Even though be it with new repairs or old parts, they were still going forward, forever traveling yet that horizon never seemed to get closer.

There was something truly daunting about the ocean dark.

The helmsman stood at the stern, his foot holding the tiller in place, his arms placed loosely on the aft mast upon which lay the sail jib, his eyes gazing lazily ahead. He didn’t seem like he had a worry in the world, just a need to keep the rudder true until they reached home. The captain of the small boat exchanged a tired smile with him, both of them knowing full well they enjoyed the silence deafened by the sounds of the mighty dark blue as it raced by them. The ocean was once described as being a ‘dark, wine color’ in the times when the word blue was not invented, and the man at the bow could see why. The darkness below him felt so pregnant with life yet so devoid of movement that he felt so truly alone, so alone.

There was something truly menacing about the clouds gray.

A sudden breeze made him look towards the port side and beyond, where once there was the wide, expansive blue of the sky now existed a patch of darkness. It was a storm, just above the horizon, coming their way without heed of who was in its way. He admired the tenacity of the weather, how it threw the sun and sky into the mix with storm clouds and lightning, the unplanned contrasts of it all. The breeze grew slightly stronger, the harbinger of heavenly devastation, but the captain was not new to this, and neither was the helmsman. They were veterans of storms, within and beyond the atolls they called home, but only a man with a death wish would underestimate a storm rumbling towards them in the middle of the ocean. They had nowhere to take shelter.

There was something truly liberating about the lightning white.

When the rain hit, they were ready. They had judged the direction of the waves and shifted their course slightly to both prevent the boat from rolling over as well as not to be blown off course. Not much being spoken between them, the helmsman stayed at his post while the captain stood at the bow, holding tight. They had a little signaling system between them, using his arms the man at the bow would advise against the waves, so as to maintain stability, whenever they hit a crest and before they dropped into a trough. With tried and tested nerves they braved the storm, the winds whipping their clothes against their toughened, tanned bodies, the rain hitting them horizontally, stinging their eyes but they didn’t pay heed. His right arm, and then his left, helped the captain signal his partner, and they hit each wave with determination. Colossal walls of water were nigh invisible in the darkness of the storm, the lightning streaking and flashing the ocean in an angry blue. The lightning brought with it the drums of thunder, a heavenly drum-line beating their journey forward. Yet they paid no heed. They braved the storm through to the end.

There was something truly wonderful about the people brave.

The storm left them drenched only for a while; the returning sun took out the moisture from their clothes and rewarded them with the warmth of a lover. Both men traded smiles as they returned to the state of mind they were at before the storm came by, a relaxed sense of purpose, a timeless moment of serenity on the open ocean. They were voyagers, travelers like any other, and the sea was their terrain, their realm. Countless people had made this journey before, countless storms braved and a multitude of worlds discovered over ages of humanity. Both of them upheld the courage of the best of them, regardless of the intention of the destination, the sacredness of the journey an age-old custom. Before long, they saw land in the distance, a mere disruption in the smooth horizontal line that circled them. They had made yet another successful trip so far, with more to follow, so this was an achievement, albeit a small one. An achievement, all the same. As they cut the waters with the polished, barnacle-free hull of their trusty craft, both of them stared into the distance, a sense of wonderment in their eyes.

There was something truly magical about the horizon blue.

Flying

Alone in a row of six people, he looked outside the tiny window. There wasn’t much to see.

It was shocking how easily people entrusted their lives to these bullets with wings. He didn’t hate flying per se, but he always felt like he thought about it more than other people did. Encapsulated in aluminium, hurling across the sky at a height of more than thirty thousand feet, navigated by hands of a stranger tapping, pulling, twisting and flipping switches, knobs, sticks and gears in a room he couldn’t even see; that’s what he thought of flying.

A frequent flyer, he planned to fall asleep even before the plane taxied to the runway. He knew the security and safety procedures enough to not give a damn, but not so much that he would blatantly ignore the stewardess. Oh, it was a steward for today’s flight, he thought as he saw the man in the middle of the cabin, gesticulating and berating the passengers without a word being said. By the time the passenger put on his headphones, the near-arcane ritual that was the safety briefing came to a close. He turned his attention to the screen in front of him.

Finding equally obsessive boredom, he shuffled and adjusted himself against the young man that sat next to him, most probably with his lover in the aisle seat. They were whispering loud enough for him to hear their little jibes, giggles and sugary words, which the man smiled at. Young love was so naive, he thought, imagining how his family would be waiting for him back home, a mere four hours of flying time away. A nap would get him there faster, he chuckled at the thought. A stretch here, a blanket adjusted there, sleep was welcome any minute now.

Thundering down the tarmac, the 737 spared no time in climbing into the night sky. It was half past a healthy 2 am, when boogie people would alight and create havoc under the beds of children. A childhood memory stirred, so he let it grow, capturing him in a moment that would hopefully lead him into that elusive land of sleep. Yet, by the time the plane levelled out at cruising altitude, he was still awake. A sense of panic settled over him, being forced out of his usual routine by a force he found extremely annoying. What happened on transoceanic flights during cruising time anyway?

An hour passed. The couple next to him were softly snoring away, as they had done for the past half an hour. There passed a slight turbulence that made him grip his seat slightly tighter, his face a mask of impassiveness forced over anxiety. The turbulence passed within moments, the captain assuring the fellow passengers who were awake that the minor episode was the only one expected over the duration of the trip. The man’s grip loosened, a sense of embarrassment settling over him like a slow fever, wondering what the other passengers would be thinking of him now. Even this passed within moments, and once again he wrestled with the need for sleep. 

He jolted awake.

Damn it!

He looked around for the culprit that disturbed his much sought after forty winks, and then noticed that the window shade was pulled up; he had forgotten to drag it down earlier. There was light peeking at him, a cheeky ray cutting across the vast sky and through clouds and right onto his face. He frowned, annoyed to the point where he shifted his weight around, waking the innocent man sleeping beside him. The man stirred, opening his eyes slowly, taking a deep breath in as he also gazed outside the tiny porthole. A smile came to his face, full and joyous, his eyes slightly glistening too. The first man wondered at the sudden transformation, wondered why brought such wonderment to the stranger for him to shake awake his partner in the seat next to him. The man watched the couple get excited, and then release a collective sigh as they gazed out the window that rudely woke him up. Curiosity getting the better of him, he decided to look outside too.

It was shocking how easily people ignored the wonders of the world around us. He didn’t hate flying per se, he just never appreciated it enough. Encapsulated in aluminum, he saw shades of purple, blue, red, orange, yellow, colors he never dreamt of and shadows where the light was brightest, pictures painted across the sky, just outside his window. This part of the world was coming awake, as they glided across the sky at thirty thousand feet, piloted by wizards at the helm, and he saw everything. He saw birds in the distance, the coast below them, clouds lazily wafting through the atmosphere carrying bane and bounty to distant lands he had never seen. His breath caught short, he watched as the sun majestically rose beyond the horizon blue, the magnificent blip of life-inspiring fire lighting up the world in a flood of yellow. He heard sounds behind him, around him, as people stirred and came awake, children squealing in the excited voices he used to religiously avoid. He heard the captain’s announcement over the intercom, the garbled voice talking about his it was a new morning over the land they were flying, describing the weather’s benevolence and the smooth ride ahead. The man didn’t listen, though, he didn’t care about what was happening around him at that moment. The magic of the view took him, as it took everyone else on the flight along with him, to that awe-inspiring well of imagination in their mind.

Together in a row of six people, he looked outside the tiny window. There was so much to see.

Absent

I wish I was there with you, as you sit on your bed, propped up against the wall, the computer on your lap as you streamed Jane The Virgin. I never thought I’d ever enjoy the show, but I already love it, can’t wait to know more. Is it ironic that I haven’t seen a single episode yet? Here I am, though, away from you where I will stay, anchored to where my reality will find me.

I saw you at the cafĂ© today, but for some reason, you seemed so far away. I guess sometimes the more you need to hold something, or someone, the more distant they seem when the circumstances aren’t right. Your mind wandered on plains I didn’t fully appreciate or see, a little worry here and another question there, but my mind was drowning in thoughts of you. The milkshake we shared was the closest I could come to tasting you again and even that made it worse; it left me craving for so much more, while I stay anchored to where my reality should find me.

I wish I was there with you, as you scroll through your phone, reading the angst and joys of the populace mundane. Sure, they may all be amazing people, with lives so vast, so different and so vital to the turning of the world yet their existence paled beside the light I saw you in. Tonight, especially, I felt the heat of your halo with renewed ferocity, as if your aura itself threw lassos around me, dragging me towards you but here I stay anchored to where my reality finds me. 

I heard your voice today, the connexion was stable and the timing was right, but for some reason, I seemed so far away. I guess sometimes when you can’t figure out where your sadness stems from, you just feel like you’re adrift on a plank in the middle of the ocean, alone, however much someone tries to reach out to you. You did what you could, methods tried and tested yet not up to the job, even though I do admit my happiness did return when you told me about your day, about the things that made you smile. It made me crave that smile so much more, so much that I felt hollow being unable to see your beaming face before me, as I stayed anchored to where my reality found me.

I wish I was there with you, as you quietly slipped into the comfortable shirt that hugged your figure through the cold night. Beneath the fabric was a body I worshiped, day in, day out, within which was a soul that put flame to the embers that were my passions. There was so much about you that transcended your physical presence, a certain magic to your mind and all its processes. I am fascinated by the trove of lessons held inside your heart, as you taught me something new every day, as I stay anchored to where my reality could find me.

I dreamt of you tonight, as I thought of you wrapped in your covers, safe from the horrors of the world awake, but I guess sometimes the horrors do cross over and tap your peaceful sleep. I hope that doesn’t happen to you, and that your sleep goes undisturbed until the morning light brings back safety from the prowlers of darkness. You wished me goodnight, tokens of your love sent over texts as your eyes slowly blinked to a close, or so I dreamt. I dreamt of how we held hands as we crossed a bridge over a narrow, tamed river, as we walked around a marshy lake that was teeming with life. It was more a memory than a dream, a place we both had been, a place I yearn for as I stay where my reality must find me.

I wish I was there with you, as your body curled up, sorely missing the big spoon that I always was. I remember the warmth we shared on that single bed, never complaining about the space because we always melted into each other anyway. Sure, there were times when your helix would protest as my arm would carelessly hinder its healing process, but you still loved me through all of that pain too. With the pain receded into the background, I could have slept the night unencumbered yet here I stay where my reality might find me.

I wake up breathless, my dreams leaving me running and running through tunnels just to find you. I guess sometimes missing someone so much makes your mind chase them through the darkness it knows so well, leaving you dying on the outside too. You really weren’t further than a few clicks away, a few hours before I saw you again, a few days before you’d be in my arms again. Time was just the bookmark that kept track of how far we’ve come and how fast we were going, so I never blamed the cruel entity for keeping me from you. My nightmares sometimes felt timeless, endless, yet time saves me by leading me to another morning, another call from you, another text spinning me a sentence of love and devotion from you. Time was what we had between us, what we will have again, even if I stay where my reality keeps finding me.

I wish I was there with you, as you wait for me to write you words of love and stanzas of hope. You are my well of inspiration, and when you’re absent I fall back to being that old man devoid of motivation and ready to lay to rest. You revive the passions in me when the rains of emotion pat the flames down, never once demanding a form of return for all you’ve done for me. Yet here I choose to go find you and be with you, where you are and where you will be, where you want and where you’ll need me. To hell with what should be, the devil can take my place and stay where my reality hopes to find me.