Stay

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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Stay

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

Don’t Speak

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Tears streamed down her face and burned the soft, crimson flesh of her cheeks as she pressed the cool bottle of Absolut to her forehead and studied the cotton-candy clouds that floated across the blue sky outside of her windows. She bathed her listless limbs in the warmth of the morning sun as she lay on a shaggy rug, amidst the broken glass that was scattered across the living room, and rested her feet on the velvet cushions of the tufted, turquoise sofa.

A faint, crackling sound pierced the silence as the needle of her antique phonograph scratched the surface of a spinning vinyl record and breathed life to the legendary voice of Nina Simone. The deep, melancholy Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair drifted over the graveyard of massacred paintings piled next to the shattered picture frames, an upturned coffee table with its tapered legs reaching out to the exposed ceiling pipes, two fractured table lamps and a sea of slashed chiffon curtains sprawled across the walnut floor.

Izabel took a swig of vodka and fought back the urge to cough as the clear liquid raped the inside of her throat.

The phone rang.

“Hey, you know what do do after the beep.” Beep!

“IZABEL, what the fuck! Answer your goddamn phone. I know you’re at home, sulking like a lazy cow over this stupid breakup. Try not to commit suicide until after our afternoon meeting with the client -” an angry honk in the background drowned out her sister’s angry voice, “-green means go, you stupid fuck!”

Click.

Izabel closed her eyes and imagined floating atop of a lake. Its placid surface mirrored the steel-grey sky above and matched the rhythm of her deliberate backstrokes to the chirping of the birds that sang among the tall, conifers.

A familiar voice echoed throughout the surrounding boreal forest, spearing the dense fog, and called out her name. It spawned a lonely tear. The crystal drop snaked down her pallid cheeks and melted into her frozen, blue lips. She continued to swim through the cold water. Her lifeless body sailed out of everyone’s reach and drifted towards a place where she could spend the rest of her life in solitude.

Don’t Speak

Pretty, Little Thoughts

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Even though I trembled from head-to-toe, I braved the cold, mid-December wind and followed you close behind. A plume of white air escaped my cherry-red lips as we quietly walked up the dark, damp road towards the old, rustic cottage atop of the hill.

The needle-thin heels of my boots echoed across the eerie silence as I plowed through the sea of orange and yellow leaves on the ground and hoped that you’d speak.

The sky was an ominous shade of grey, and with a promise of a merciless rain.

A blanket of green enveloped the craggy mountains behind the cottage, and fleecy clouds wrapped around the tips like serpents. The arctic air was perfumed with a potpourri of burning fire logs, pine needles and wildflowers.

You finally spoke, your voice deep and masculine.

And, while your dark eyes lingered on the green, weathered roof of the cottage that peeked through the dense trees, I stole a quick glimpse of your face. It was sharp, angular and defined, with high cheekbones, a strong, Roman nose and full lips.

The kind of lips I wanted to taste with mine.

Flushing with embarrassment, I peeled my eyes away from your broad shoulders, strong, muscular body and suppressed the urge to reach out a cold, trembling hand and gently touch your smooth, pale cheeks. Instead, I wrapped my arms around my body to keep warm and continued to listen to your soothing words.

I wondered, with a deep sense of agony, when and if you would ever be mine.

Pretty, Little Thoughts

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

Close My Eyes

PREFACE

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with a heavy tide of painful emotions and in order to escape depression and insomnia, I escape into the darkness of my imaginative mind and breathe life into a world of my own.

When painting pictures with words does not sate my anxiety, anger and sorrow, then I submerge my frantic mind into a world of music.

If the above fail, then I resort to stock media.

I search Shutterstock.com for footages that would liberate my mind of haunting thoughts and piece my newly uncovered treasures with an appropriate song. Sometimes, the song would weasel into the core of my being and dwell inside of my chest until I either match it with a short story or a carefully arranged media collage.

One way or another, these methods guarantee a peaceful slumber.

Credit:
Shutterstock.com
Close My Eyes by Mariah Carey
Close My Eyes

Outside

Essie and Tom stood outside, braving the cold autumn wind and a light drizzle.

Even though dark, ominous clouds stretched across the charcoal sky, Essie felt a rush of warmth sweep through her cold limbs as she stared deep into his dark, fathomless eyes.

A hint of pink stained her cheeks when he curled his soft, plump lips into a knowing smile. A strangely captivating feeling cannonballed into the pit of her stomach and set her insides on fire.

He reached out a strong hand and gently took hold of hers. The touch of his warm, slightly moist, calloused skin triggered fireworks in her brain and filled every nook and cranny of her slender body with desire.

He gave her cold, trembling hand a slight tug and pulled her into a strong embrace.

“I’ve missed you,” he whispered into her disheveled, red hair.

She didn’t answer; her brain couldn’t find the right words to tie into a sentence.

Instead, she rested her head against his chest and marveled at the sound of his steady heartbeat. It felt as though she waited for an eternity for this moment, but it’s only been three months since they’ve met.

She stole a quick glance at the old couple that sat comfortably inside the café and smiled at them.

“Cold?” Tom asked when she shivered from the inexplicable warmth that prickled her skin

He unbuttoned his wool coat, wrapping it around her, and pulled her closer to his chest. The scent of his skin and the warmth of his body sucked the air out of her lungs. She wanted this moment to last a lifetime.

She wanted him to be her sweetheart.

Outside