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I sipped on a Daiquiri and listened to him joke with his friends. They were haughty – branded from head-to-toe in designer clothes, raced around the streets of L.A. in 7-series beamers and trophied silicone bimbos.

He was wasted, his speech was slurring, and his advances were getting bolder.

I peeled his sweaty palm off my bare knee, and stood up.

He stopped me. “Where are you going?”

“Bathroom,” I lied.

Instead, I snuck out of the bar and strolled down the Hollywood Blvd. The air was warm and thick, polluted with pungent scents of weed, cigarettes and greasy food.

My nose bleeding heels walked across the stars, and I dodged the lecherous stares my black, skintight dress earned from the guys that guzzled beer and smoked cigarettes in the nearby bars, and searched for a drunken conquest to take home.

I ignored the salacious invitations, and frowned at the loud whistles.

The man I ditched at the bar was a rebound. He was not you. He was just an aftermath of your nonchalance.

You were right.

I lost myself amidst the bright lights, phony glamour life and pretentious prima donnas. I stabbed you in the back by craving the spotlight – but all I ever wanted was your attention. Not sure where I went wrong.

You got angry; called me an attention whore and marched out of my life.

But, she’s not me.

You blocked my number – was that really necessary? Yet, my name is still on your lips. You still ask about me. If you don’t give a damn anymore then why bother wondering if I’m still alive or dead? Doesn’t make sense.

Yes, I was playing a role, but you were being a coward.

You said I hurt you, but you hurt me first. I bruised your ego a couple of times, but you wounded my pride. You can’t just kiss me and feign ignorance to the feelings that surfaced in the pit of your stomach.

You didn’t want to talk about it then, but what about now? Don’t say it’s complicated. It’s not. I hate that word.

Now be a man, own up to your mistakes. Stop playing games and call me out on mine. Let’s face each other, fist fight through our differences and walk away like grown-ups, not churlish kids.

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The Beginning of a Sinister Love Affair


You are not Prince Charming.

Your heart is the shade of charcoal, and it is filled with hatred against the world that has never taken the time to recognize the ingenious thoughts inside of your sinister mind.

No, not sinister – your brilliant mind.

Once upon a time, under a starry night, our lips touched for the first time and the poison you harbored in your black, little heart infested mine.

Slowly and quietly, I have fallen in love with the Dark Knight.

He has good intentions, even though he is riddled with insecurities, pain and sorrow. He is not perfect – in fact, he is ugly and far from the picture perfect guys that the modern society fantasizes about.

He fears intimacy.

Past love affairs have left him vulnerable, cold and guarded. He fears unknown – especially if it’s in a form of a fiercely independent woman.

But, whenever our gazes align, I can smell the lustful thoughts that brew in his head.

He is intrigued by the cloak of mystery I wear and although he cannot decipher the nonchalance in the tone of my voice, he tries. To him, a puzzle needs to be solved and a riddle needs be answered; uncertainty is not an option.

And, although he fears love, he will have to learn to accept it.

For the Dark Knight needs the Queen of Hearts.

It is simply inevitable.

The Beginning of a Sinister Love Affair

Bullies, Be Gone

Once upon a time, in a green kingdom by the endless sea, lived a child that learned to escape bullying by imagining a beautiful world inside of her young and innocent mind. She drew inspiration from tattered books, Disney movies and the cotton-candy clouds that used to glide across the blue sky outside of her window.

Whenever she closed her eyes, her mind would travel to places that rivaled those of the middle-earth kingdoms; places of enchanted beauty and ethereal grace.

There, she discovered inner peace; a sliver of herself that no bully could ever take away, and there she gained strength to battle endless jeers, malicious torment and pain.

This child got bullied.

A pack of young girls – angelic on the outside but rotten on the inside – found pleasure in tormenting her and sought out sadistic ways of bringing tears to her eyes. Traveling in a pack of five, they’d stalk her after school, throw dirt in her face, call her nasty names and even accuse her of theft.

Once, the leader of the pack hit her on the back of her head because she refused to share her ice cream.

The child fell in love for the first time in second grade. His name was Vanya; he had blonde, cherub-like curls, cornflower-blue eyes and full, pouty lips.

She presented him with a handmade card as a token of her admiration for him, but he ripped it in half and spit in her face. Then, he called her ugly and ran away.

Years passed by and the child became a teenage girl.

With physical changes came hormonal outbursts and bouts of insecurities. The teenage girl gained weight and with extra pounds came insults and self-hate. Every sliver of her body was disgusting in her eyes, especially when compared to the slim and tanned models in the glossy pages of the prestigious fashion magazines.

Fitting room sessions would often end in tears, complaints and angry shouting. The reflection in the mirror was an undesirable, grotesque monster that the teenage girl couldn’t stomach.

She cried herself to sleep every night; she wanted to be thin, pretty and popular.

But, with every attempt to change her appearance, she lost a sliver of her true self. She became obsessed with opinions of those who were never her friends, she sought out ways to impress boys whose hearts drowned in vanity and conceit, and while she tried to fit in with the popular crowd in school, she lost her own identity.

And worse, she became a bully herself.

Her heart became infested with hatred, venom and pride. She spread malicious rumors, wreaked havoc and spawned heartache. The outcome of the cruel game she enjoyed to play trickled into an ocean of tears, agony and pain.

Those years of selfishness, conceit and arrogance had barred the entrance to the enchanted world she had imagined as a child to escape the torment and pain. She never thought she’d find her way back there again until one day.

More years drifted by and the teenage girl became a young woman.

Karma had taught her important lessons: honesty, respect and confidence. After years of wandering aimlessly through a fog of confusion, her heart no longer ached to be accepted by society. Instead, she yearned to travel down the road that no one else had dared to take.

The young woman embarked on a journey to regain her inner peace, but once again she faced harsh criticism. Bitter tongues deemed her originality as blasphemy and instead of showing support, spread malicious rumors and wished her pain.

This time however, the young woman finally found her way back to the enchanted kingdom she had imagined as a child. There, awaiting her safe return was the inner peace that fueled her strength.

The young woman sailed through the hatred, bitterness and criticism with grace. For she learned that she was invincible because she believed in herself and no one but her had the power to tear down her dreams.

The moral of the story is simple, my friends. Remain true to yourself despite the constant jeers, insults and criticism that might get thrown in your face. Remember, bullies thrive on weakness, uncertainty and fear, but have the strength to stand up to those pathetic jerks and fight for your beliefs.

But, remember to speak words of kindness and your heart will always be at peace.

Bullies, Be Gone

Impossible Friendship

I sat across from a man that I swore I would never see again. Yet, fate has a mysterious – if not a cruel – way of bringing us together, and under rather interesting circumstances too.

My heart is sore.

Your friendship has been impossible to obtain and I want to bury these memories into the cold, damp soil in hopes that they will never see the golden sunlight again.

Someday, perhaps, these tainted memories will blossom into a scarlet rose.

My mind was riddled with these thoughts and even though we picked out a small, private table outside, I still couldn’t breathe.

He was leaving the country in a couple of days and the thought of his feet touching a different continent gave me a nauseating feeling.

Suddenly, I pushed away the dainty cup – while he was in the middle of divulging details of his upcoming trip – and slammed a scrunched up five dollar bill on the round, metal table.

He paused, unsure of what I was trying to accomplish. He never liked my spontaneity because he always thought he had me figured out.

“Good luck. I have to go. I forgot that I have to work on a presentation,” I lied and gave him a polite smile.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, his green eyes searching for mine.

I didn’t answer.

Instead, I hurried out of the café before he bombarded me with questions that I couldn’t answer. I slipped my arms into the pleather sleeves of my bomber jacket and melted into the faceless crowd of strangers that rushed down the sidewalk.

I shoved my clenched fists into the pockets and gritted my teeth.

I left my sunglasses in the car, back in Chinatown, and I couldn’t help but feel stupid as I started crying in public. My tears earned a couple of concerned stares but I kept my eyes pinned to the cracked asphalt as I slipped by the eager tourists that dotted Little Tokyo and hurried down Hope St.

My heart felt like an open piñata, and all of its content was out in the open for him to analyze. I knew it was a mistake to see him and I knew that he’d win this fight – he always knew what to do and say in these situations.

He’d always come out a victor.

And at that moment, I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs and share the pain that coursed through me with the innocent bystanders that stood at the cross section with me and waited for the green light.

I was being selfish and yet, I didn’t care.

I jogged up the stairs to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion when I heard him call out my name. He reached the top, panting slightly, and the sight of him completely out of breath with beads of perspiration on his forehead made me laugh.

He failed to see the humor in the situation. “What the hell was that all about? Why did you run out on me like that?”

He was angry.

“There’s nothing else for me to say. I wished you good luck. That’s all. End of story.”

“Oh, come on! I wanted to leave this country on good terms. Why are you acting like I still owe you an apology? You were warned. You have always been warned about my reputation!”

“I remember. I just—” there were so many words that I wanted to yell in his face but just like the school of silver fish in the ocean, I couldn’t grab a hold of any of them. And, there was an array of emotions that I wanted to run through but I couldn’t identify which one of them I wanted to display first.

Anger? Sorrow? Confusion? Nonchalance? Happiness?

I started to cry again – he had an uncanny gift of bringing tears to my eyes and twisting my emotions into a cherry knot. I stood a few inches away from him and it literally felt as though we were the only two people on Earth.

No one else mattered.

“I’ll miss you, homie. Despite the pain you put me through, I still wish you the best.”

He took a deep, exasperated breath and raked his fingers through his hair. For the first time, I saw a hint of sorrow in his green eyes and that’s when I realized he was hurting too.

He pulled me into a warm embrace. “I’ll miss you too.”

Impossible Friendship

Crossroads

Nicholas sat still, his eyes were plagued with sadness, and a rueful smile touched his thin lips when he took hold of her delicate hand. His thumb gently brushed the surface of her smooth, soft skin before he gave her fingers a light kiss.

Izabel blinked back the tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks, and looked away.

The sky outside the tall, glass windows of LAX was a blanket of midnight blue, with a cluster of diamond stars, and occasional airplane in sight.

It was four o’clock in the morning, and her heart was ripping apart at the seams.

Izabel scheduled an early flight to escape the memories that perfumed her life in California, and desperately yearned to begin anew on a foreign land, across the Atlantic Ocean. There, she built a grand, Baroque-inspired mansion and there, awaiting her safe return, was her fiancé, Evan.

He was a handsome man, with eyes that matched the color of the turquoise waters around the Caribbean islands, a headful of dark, disheveled curls and strong, cleft chin. He was every inch of a man any woman could have wanted for a husband: astute, sophisticated and charming, but he couldn’t ignite the flame in the pit of her stomach the way Nicholas had.

The man across from her was destined to run free, like a wild horse, never to be domesticated, and Izabel learned that lesson the hard way. His heart was buried deep within his broad chest, in a vault that guarded it from love, affection and possibly, heartache.

He was never destined to be a husband, or a father.

“I never meant to hurt you, and I’m sorry if I did.”

She nodded her head slowly, gazing absentmindedly out of the windows, and growing immune to the excruciating pain that threatened to tear her limbs apart. Her soul was massacred as a result from his careless lies and calloused actions, and at times, she wondered if she was still alive.

It took all of the courage in her heart to forgive his dirty deeds and sail out of his greedy reach.

She rose to her feet, with a nonchalant smile on her red lips, and cast one last glance at his mournful face. He looked small and helpless, almost childlike, but Izabel knew that it was just a façade.

Nicholas was a psychotic mélange of selfishness, jealousy, rage and rancor. But, he only let the monster loose after the victim was tangled up in his golden web of lies.

Izabel freed her hand out of his iron grip and said, “Goodbye, Nicholas. May we never cross paths.”

 

 

Crossroads

Departure

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We parted ways. Forever.

Your leaving sliced through my inner peace, robbed my lungs of the cool, crisp air they desperately needed when the lethal words reached my ears, and vanquished the last sliver of happiness and joy in my heart. You were ripped away from the golden sunlight, the green mountaintops and the turbulent seas, only to be hidden six feet under, in a cold, wet ground.

You were infected, I remember. Your mind had been poisoned and in return, your body grew sick and frail.

And while I stood amidst the sea of burning candles, intoxicated by an overwhelming sense of guilt and sorrow, I begged the celestial figures above to send you back. The selfish, lonely side of my bleeding heart yearned to catch a glimpse of your warm, sympathetic smile again. Denial stayed by my side for a few weeks, like a loyal dog, and even accompanied my shattered soul to bed every night.

And, although you were near my pillow, you never entered my dreams.

Come, wish me farewell in my sleep, restore a fragment of serenity back into my troubled mind and then, embark on a heavenly journey to your new abode. I beg you not to leave my heart hanging by a thread, above the shards of hopelessness and gloom. Accept my sincere invitation and visit me one last time.

I shall wait for you among a sea of wild flowers. There, I will hold your hand. There, I will kiss your cheek. There, I will tell you I love you.

Departure

Tough Love

Evelína Arakari was tough.

Only a tragedy could rattle her nerves and squeeze a tear out of her hazel eyes. As the first rays of sunlight speared the gloomy darkness she couldn’t suppress the tears that streamed down her cheeks.

She cradled her face in her trembling hands and sobbed hysterically as her mind became infested with thoughts of her boyfriend lying in a sterile hospital room, underneath a white, linen sheet.

He was dead.

His body, once strong and healthy, was stabbed four times in the chest. He fell into a coma, and died at the hospital.

His mother cried and screamed like a wounded animal when the doctor pronounced his death, while his father stared silently at the wall with a blank expression on his wrinkly, sallow face.

Evelína rushed out of the hospital and burst into the dark and chilly morning. She fell down on her knees, balled up her fists so tight that her fingernails left bloody marks in her palms, and screamed at the top of her lungs until she lost her voice.

It was now past midnight and the wind howled like a lonely wolf.

She wandered aimlessly down the empty streets of Prague, swayed gently on her feet, and mourned the death of her boyfriend with a quarter bottle of Grey Goose.

Andrei was the one that introduced her to alcohol. He was what the neighborhood called ghetto.

Parents distrusted him, kids in the neighborhood feared him and the police hated his guts. He was sixteen when he died, and spent the last five years of his life in and out of juvenile delinquency. His father was an alcoholic, his mother was a prostitute and his friends were bad news.

Evelína met him by accident.

He sat on the curb, outside of a small souvenir shop. His face was bruised, his knuckles were torn and his nose bled into the palms of his hands.

He got jumped by a group of guys, but he never shared the details.

She offered to buy him a warm sandwich and walk him to the nearest medical center. He accepted the food, but cleaned his wounds with a bottle of vodka instead.

Since that chilly November evening the two of them became inseparable. But now, his body lay six inches under the ground and she had never felt so alone before.

Tough Love