time to go

“hey.”

she said as he stood up from the bed.

“stay here awhile. can you do that at least?”

he walked over to the window and opened the curtains, painting the walls with an orange glow. she watched his shadow light up a cigarette. it towered over her and partially covered the metal butterflies adorning her room.

“here.” passing her a lit up cigarette. she took it and let the smoke waft upwards. dancing coyly in solid lines and dissipating when it reached a certain height.

they’ve been at it awhile. who knows what he was thinking at that time. they were… as this little story was written-no form. no capitals. a dash and an ellipses here and there. if they were compared to grammar they’d be an ellipses, she thought. a lingering broken sentence. no oxford commas here. a semi-colon could work.

there she was, thinking about parallelisms in punctuations after really good sex. the empty kind where you use one another and just enjoy things as it is. the kind that leaves you empty afterwards, but kind of fills a gap or a void that you couldn’t get away from.

she could only look at him and his shadow as he watched the sun set over the river. it is all too perfect, right? she didn’t want someone she could see herself staying with. one can just drop things and leave things to memory. fucking around with just one person for too long though, and one can’t help but be attached. if one cannot quietly follow the rules of a proper society, how then can one follow the rules of this kind of relationship. not falling in love is bullshit.

this connection, you two share: though words aren’t bountiful enough to remember in your older years. the kind you ponder about while you sip your coffee as the rain knocks on your windows. the conversations both of your bodies exchange have all sorts of feelings mixed within it. you feel like your are making love to their former lovers, thanking them for delevoping technique and cursing them for any bad habits they may have picked up. the anxieties, the pent up frustrations and that simple joy of being accepted. of being wanted. of being loved.

“we are an incomplete sentence.” she says. right after that long drag and smoky release. “a gerund. a phrase. the type your teacher encircles in red, because it is a mistake.” she adds.

“and as the sun sets, I guess it is time to go.” he says. smiling at her. that dark orange glow didn’t really do anything to accentuate his face. she sees his wrinkles though, and bad teeth with his unkept, careless hair.

“so soon? why not stay awhile?”

“I guess this is our sunset, too. the light is fading.” he says, like he preferred the chaos out there against the peace of her condo. her company.

he wasn’t necessarily a keeper. but she will keep in touch anyways.  even if he wasn’t the type stay. 

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Musings on One

‘There’s no such thing as reciprocity in religion’, says the atheist; ‘it’s just take and take then they give a bit. just enough for you to want more.’ he said, lighting up a cigarette.

‘Don’t tell me it’s a lot like love?’ she says. Recognizing the new topic that was coming about.

‘That’s what YOU think.” he says, stirring his now cold coffee. There was something about the way he held the spoon… it was loose and yet, refined.  A little shaky, but with a conviction to stir and not spill any of it on the table.

‘Well, out with it then. Elaborate.” her crooked smile couldn’t help but be more apparent with her facial features. A lone dimple emerged by the her cheeks.  He noticed this, along with several other facial reactions from their talkathon.

‘Well, for starters, it’s the selfish ones that think that. What if, you tell me that you don’t feel like things are equal… but you don’t really take the time to see what you don’t see?’

‘Explain.’ she says, urging him on. This was like their Nth topic now and it was seemingly turning in to a debate.

‘Love isn’t really like how some people write dialogues.  You can’t always take turns in the exchange, take for example… the explanation of points and sides; do you really expect the other person to keep giving verbal queues just to show that they are listening?’

‘No, not really. But who knows? Maybe they are just being polite?’

‘It’s plausible. What I’m saying is that you can’t always expect reciprocation in everything. There is never an equal push and pull as physics would suggest. Love isn’t something you can measure or explain.’

‘Like that infinite integer that loops back to it’s original value? I think you called it Wau.’ she asked, quoting one of their earlier topics.

‘Possibly. That’s a good point though… yes, Wau. it all goes back to the original value. In this topic’s case,’ he paused. It was like his mind was trying to process something he could verbalize, and then continued, ‘the one you love’

‘cheesy bro. cheesy. What does that have to do with the point on equal reciprocity? or lack thereof?’ she mused at him. He talks too much, she thought. He gets lost in translation and in the explanation of multiple points in one sentence most of the times. It was like beginning a sentence without really knowing how it was going to end.

‘I guess it represents an absolute. A theory of entitlement.’

‘How can absolutes remain a theory then?’

‘It’s…’ her cynical question caught him off guard.

she interrupted. ‘No quoting Camus or Sartre. No Bukowski either, please.’

‘Well, the theory is that, when people expect something, they want to get something. It’s an act of reciprocity. You give, you can’t help but expect an equal return of whatever it is you gave in the first place. That, in itself, is an absolute. An endless cycle but it all boils down to that one person you are expecting it from.’ the look on his was a bit confused now, as if he said something he was still piecing together…

‘Point taken, but it’s like you are going around in circles…’ she then remembers referring to that singular number called Wau… ‘A mathematical truth, huh?’  she adds… ‘And yet you seem to say that you can’t really measure something like that.’

‘Not necessarily… maybe it’s not supposed to be measured. In the end, it all boils down to that one.’

He stops.

‘That one person, eh?’ he mutters underneath his breath.

He puts her picture frame, face down on the table as he finishes his coffee.

This is how I feel

“Would you stop sleeping around with other people?” Thursday suddenly asked out of the blue.

“Sure, if you leave your husband.” He quipped, while tracing his finger on the cactus by the dresser.

His phone suddenly flew from the table to the wall beside him, cracking against the wall and made a lifeless thump on the carpet.

“Maybe next time you could throw it on the carpet instead?  A phone is no match for a wall you know.” he moved towards his phone, the screen now displaying a crack by the corner.  The touchscreen was now hopelessly unresponsive.  He put it back in his pocket and approached the door.

“I’m sorry… I’ll get you a new one.” she mumbled.  Obviously, she was still keenly trying to keep her anger in check but the damage was done.

“No worries.  I’m sorry too.” He took one last look at her and closed the door behind him gently.

That was three months ago.

He wasn’t responding to her messages afterwards.  At first because he couldn’t even if he wanted to.  His phone was pretty much useless.  Now, he simply didn’t bother at all.  He was determined to put his life back in order.  That meant not seeing anyone anymore.  Admittedly, he was a bum.  He was with one girl after another, seeking comfort in their arms.  He had left his job in a hurry and the girls he used to date took him in.  They all knew what he was doing, and they didn’t mind.

He would bounce back from this, they all thought.  He didn’t.  He felt worse and he got worse.

“BK”

That was Thursday’s bat-signal.  After three months of silence.  He had a job now and he was creeping back into society.

He found himself going to Burger King after an hour, which was their old arrangement.  It became a habit of hers.

“BK :)” was a booty call.

“BK :(” meant she wanted to talk because she was sad.

and “BK” just meant: “meet me at burger king after an hour.”

He had other bat signals for the others and he didn’t save their names or their numbers on his phonebook. He simply knew who they were.

Thursday was different.  He actually fell in love with her.  The only one who was married, of all people.

He entered the restaurant and saw her at her usual spot.  She was in her usual attire composed of a v-neck, leggings and a pair of running shoes.  Most likely, she had just finished one of her late night runs.

Thursday put down her glasses when she saw him coming.  She tilted her head a bit and smiled.  Her bone structure shined from the lights.  Her skin was glossy from the run.

“Thursday.” he nodded and he sat down beside her.

“You look fat and dirty.” she said. He just shrugged and smiled at her.  He didn’t shower nor make any effort to look good.  He wasn’t used to it anymore.  He also wanted to turn her off, somewhat.  The four-day stubble, the longer hair and comfortable clothes seemed to do the trick.

Thursday hugged him, regardless.  They both smelled like sweat, only Thursday’s was a lot more pleasant to the nose.  He had a more neutral scent that smelled of oatmeal cookies for some reason.  She loved smelling him before and it seems like she still does.

“Stinky and pokey I see.” she sat up straight and sat more comfortably.

“So… what’s up?  How is life?” he said.

“Same same, did you get your phone fixed?”

“I bought a tablet.  It’s my big-ass phone for now.”

She snickered at thought of him answering calls or messages with a 10 inch tablet.  He just looked at her and smiled, snatching some of her fries.  Thoughtfully, she gave him a ketchup packet and watched him.

An hour passed.  They just talked and joked and laughed as if nothing happened.  It was just hard to stay mad or anxious most times.  They were like that.

After laughing at some random topic Thursday suddenly asked if he could come up to the unit.  He hesitated for a bit and agreed.

“Don’t throw the tablet, I just got this okay?” he jokingly said, clutching his backpack tight.  Thursday laughed at him.  She had always loved his humor.

Her condo was still the same.  Neat.  Immaculately clean and organized.  She was a cleanliness-freak which explained a lot about her personality. He was a like a wrench to the whole design.

He set his bag down and plopped on his favorite couch.  She went to the kitchen to get some water.  It had been months since he had been there, he thought.  A lot of good things have happened here.

“I really wanted to talk about what happened last time…” she said.

“I know.  I was just waiting for you to bring it up.”

“You don’t seem angry though… which is helping.”

“You know me.  I don’t really stay mad.”

She took a pillow and sat down on the rug and she just looked at him.

“I missed you.  I know you don’t normally reply but you didn’t show up either.  I was beginning to think you hated me.”

“Well…  I am here now, right?  I was… busy.  Soul-searching crap and all.  When you stopped sending messages I did get lonely too, you know.”

“Why didn’t you send any messages then?”

“No load.”

“Bullshit.”

Silence followed.  He just looked at her now, who was staring back at him.  He wanted to avoid this kind of confrontation, really.  The right thing to do was to end this, but he couldn’t keep away either.

“I feel stupid trying to keep this together.  It feels like I am the only one who wants you.” she took a sip of water and set it back down on the side table. “I understand I was the one who made the rules and all… There; I’ll say it first so you don’t bring that shit up on me anymore…” she paused when she noticed that he was fidgeting now, a hand on the side of the pocket.  She stood up and handed him an ash tray.

“Thank you.  You’ve always been the more considerate one.” he said, asking permission to light up and offered her one.  She took a stick and lit one up.

“Fuck the rules…” she took a deep drag and let it out.

“I can’t say that I understand how you feel really.  You and me together like this escapes me.  I ain’t rich or handsome or anything.  I am messy and vulgar, and I smoke and I seem to have every little thing that irks you.  I laid out my cards about my other women and still, here you are.  It defies logic, really.”

“Do you really want to know how I feel?” she asked.

“Please, enlighten me.  Put me in your shoes.” he replied.

She stood up and put out the cigarette.

“I’m not to good with words… but do you trust me?”

“Yes, I do.” he replied, lighting another cigarette up.

She walked over to her dresser and produced a razor.  Apparently, her husband owned it.  He just looked at her, curious and anxious at the same time.  Thoughts ran through his head on what she might do with it.  Slash her wrists perhaps?  Slit his throat?  His love for the dramatic gave him all sorts of images he didn’t want to think about at the moment. She got some shaving cream and a clean towel and went towards him now.

She knelt down in front of him and unbuckled his belt.

“Seriously?” he asked.

“Trust me, please.” she said.  Her eyes were saying a lot of things now.

Having a girl go after your privates with a razor was very uncomfortable but he obliged, choosing to trust her.

She pulled down his pants and underwear and put them away beside her.  He watched her.  She was looking at it.  “Hairy.  God, you really aren’t as neat as you used to be.” commenting on the growing forest.

“You still smell nice though, oddly enough.” she took his member in to her mouth and sucked on it like she always did.

He moved against the couch in anticipation.  It was awkward sight: she had a razor on the other hand as she was giving him a blowjob. He knows he had hurt this woman, and yet he can prevent his hard on from taking over.

“It is harder to shave it when it is all soft, you know…” she said, looking at him.  Her face was a mix of anxiety and sadness.  She applied the cream and started shaving him carefully.

“How can I put it?  There is this fear that takes over.” close to the skin, the blade went, slicing through his pubes in a delicate fashion.  True enough, he was afraid.  She could cut him if she wanted to, and yet she didn’t.

It was a mix of fear and want. He could feel the slight tug and the cold touch of the blade as he was shaved.  His hard on was very strong as she maneuvered the blade around the stem of his cock.  Catching all the hair, cutting them in the process.

“It is a mix of fear and anxiety.  To know that this person can hurt you in ways that you can’t recover from.”  she kissed the tip.  Their eyes meet.  The blade stopped, the sharp side pointing at the stem now.

“It is like a blade running through the most sensitive regions of your soul and yet… it excites you…” she clutched his penis firmly and let it rest, facing him.  She pulled at the flesh on the ball sack, and applied some more cream and continued shaving him.

“It leaves you wondering when the hatchet will fall.  You wonder what he will do to you next, and yet, you trust this person not to.” he has never shaved his balls before.  Trimmed them to a comfortable length, yes… but never so close to the skin.

“It drives you crazy.  In the end, you don’t get hurt.” there was something about her voice as she said her piece.  It was like halfway in between a whisper and a conversational tone.  A monologue in a radio station like some DJ on her love program.

It was sending shivers all throughout his body.  He tried in vain to stop himself from squirming.  He couldn’t really understand what she was trying to do.

The message was clear though.

She finished with his entire nether-region, including the hair around his ass. It was a bit overboard, but he felt like he could understand her more now.  She gently cleaned him up with the towel and went straight to the kitchen sink.

He was looking at himself now… no wounds. It felt sensitive and nude.  He felt exposed and vulnerable.  He looked at her now in a different light.  There had been times that the knowledge that she was married didn’t matter… many times it did.

This one was one of those moments that it didn’t matter… and his hard-on didn’t go away either.  All he could do was stroke the part where his pubes used to be… and it kind of felt like a cactus.

“Your turn.” she said, handing him the razor, towel and cream.

From the Window

Her idea of breakfast consisted of a half-pack of Marlboro mediums and a diet coke. He found out that much about her when he woke up with a hangover inside an unfamiliar room. The night before was a collage of blurred images and deafening trance music. It all started when the organizer slipped some E in his drink and dared him to drink it straight up.

“Like eff’ dude, you want me to straight a Zombie?” he remembered himself say. That pretty much ended a night of self-control and lucidity.

He shifted his eyes to the girl sitting by the window on a purple lounge chair. She noticed him sit up and looked at him with the brightest smile. She was the girl he was watching last night. The one with the little black dress and white sexy shorts. Sexiest pair of legs he had ever seen.

“Howdy, Champ. Want some coffee?”

“Sure, what time is it?” he smiled back at her.

“10:47 AM.” she tossed the blanket around her and stood up from her chair. She was wearing an over-sized polo shirt that had the color of the morning sky. He watched her waltz to a corner of the flat which appeared to be the kitchen. Judging by the way the fabric sifted as she walked, she probably didn’t have much underneath.

It seemed like he remembered something, but only up to the point that he had to do something or be somewhere and not remember much about the details. He could only scratch his head with a bit of frustration in his hands but the welcoming sight before him alleviated whatever aches he had that morning.

“Oh, bathroom is over there. You can use my towel in the meantime if you need to shower, okay?”

He gave his thanks and left the bed. He didn’t have anything on him either so he looked around to see where his clothes lay.

She came back with the coffee. “I only have instant here, I hope you don’t mind.”

“Oh, I don’t mind.” he covered himself in embarrassment as he wasn’t used to being seen in a Dr. Manhattan get-up.

“Please, I know every nook and cranny of that body since last night so I don’t see why you should cover up.” She laughed at his shyness, which only reddened his cheeks all the more. “I’ll place the coffee here.”

“I’ll go freshen up then.” he said, throwing away the last remnants of his modesty. As he walked towards the shower, he could see her watching him as he walked by. His waking Johnny brought some more laughter from her, which made him hurry to the bathroom.

She lit up another cigarette and took a deep drag.

“Nuts. What the hell was I thinking?” she thought. She could hardly remember how she ended up with the goofball. He wasn’t exactly the shy type last night and she was now wondering if him being shy was just him being coy or something. Still, she thought it was cute and was secretly hoping for him to be a decent guy.

A few minutes later, he came out wrapped with her towel. He sat down on the little chair beside the coffee table and took a sip from the coffee.

“Gotta love crap coffee.” he took another sip, ignoring his headache.

“So, what are you going to do after this?”

“I don’t even know yet. My headache is killing me.”

“You took one too many zombies last night I was thinking you were playing Resident Evil in your head or something.”

“Ah, a gamer. What surprise.” he chuckled, allowing himself a silly smile.

She pointed to the TV and video game console on the floor with her lips. “Her lips are sharp.” he thought, and wondered if her words take the same route.

“Okay, I get it. So what else do you like doing besides clubbing?” he took a cigarette from the open pack on the table and lit one for himself.

“I’d probably be in to lynching if I were male.”

“You’re pun-ny.” he replied.

“It only applies to cigarette snatchers though.” she raised her eyebrow as high as she could and gave him the evil eye.

“I’ll get one, if you don’t mind.” he smiled as he waved the cigarette stick around.

“So… coke and cigarettes for breakfast?” he tried breaking the awkwardness of the situation and took another sip of the coffee.

“Uh-huh.” She directed her attention to the traffic building up in Katipunan. The sun was beaming down on her face and made her pale brown eyes glow. Hints of freckles were on her cheekbones. Her lips were thin which sharpened when they pout. (Or when pointing at something.) Still, she seemed to have a hint of sadness somewhere. Beautiful eyes like that don’t go empty over nothing.

“What are you looking at?” She asked him, her eyes never changed direction.

“Oh nothing. I just never expected you to end up with someone like me.” the freckles on her chest were a welcome sight too.

“Minus fifty points.” she thought.  That’s how losers talk. It also reminded her of someone, and she instantly became upset.

“I’ll go look for my clothes, if you don’t mind.” he said, standing up. Her good mood slowly faded to an irritated one. He didn’t care. He didn’t feel like he was welcome anymore.

“Go look by the front door past the kitchen. I think that’s where it all started.”

He found them by the floor and picked them up, but his boxers were missing. He found them underneath the bed as he looked around. She didn’t move except to take a sip from her soda or to take a puff from her cigarette.

An avid fan of CSI, he quickly deduced that they probably leaned by the coat rack while they undressed because of the way it was tilted. They probably kissed like there was no tomorrow as they made their way to the bedroom to do their thing which was pretty apparent from the numerous articles of clothing that led there. He tried wincing as if that would help in remembering something, but to no avail. Everything was fuzzy.

Now, fully clothed, he sat down to check the messages from his cell phone. Seeing him take no notice of her graciousness, she snatched the phone away from him.

“Dude, no checking on your girlfriend while you’re here. It’s rude. You’re annoying me already.” she looked irritated already. She was bright as a sunflower when he woke up but now she’s something else.

“What’s so annoying about checking my phone? I feel like I forgot something.” he was now wondering where that beautiful and delicate girl he just stared at went.

“Yes, you forgot to thank me for everything.” either she’s young or a she’s a statue. Her angry face didn’t make any creases whatsoever.

“Thanks, now can I have my phone back?” the headache he had seemed to have materialized into something tangible, someone he had touched. Too bad he couldn’t remember how she was or how she tasted.

“Nope. I want to look through your phone.” he allowed her to do so like he didn’t have a choice on the matter. He helped himself to his now-cold coffee and another stick of her cigarettes.

He had 4 missed calls and fourteen messages. She looked through each and every one of those messages and read them as if they were her own. Some came from his friends apparently, and the missed calls came from someone named Miel.

“Hey, who’s this Miel?” she asked. She had a sarcastic look as she faced him.

“Oh, her. She’s my ex.” he answered indifferently with a shrug.

“So what’s the deal with her calling you?” she put the phone in her front pocket. It seemed like he wanted to reach for it, but he didn’t.

“What is this, 21 questions?” he replied, but he didn’t look at her. He seemed to take a bit of interest at what was outside the window now. The view was great and it was lulling him into dreaming about a vacation somewhere.

“Just answer the question. I don’t see why it’s so hard to answer that one.”

He looked at her with a tell-all irritated face. “Who the hell are you anyway?” was the phrase that he wished he could say to her face but didn’t, for politeness’ sake.  He was a guest and she was the gracious host.  Sarcasm was dancing around his mind now.

“We just fell apart. She calls me every now and then to see how I was doing. All my friends know her. My family knows her. Whenever I go missing, they turn to her to get to me.”

“See? That was easy right? You still love her?”

“Maybe. I don’t really know. We still date, we still do it every now and then…” images of his ex went through his mind as he shrugged the thought off.

“Habit syndrome huh? I know how that feels.” she rolled her eyes and looked out the window again.

“What’s with the window anyway? You’ve been at it for quite some time now.” he asked.

“It’s MY habit.” she took another cigarette and lit up with one sweep of her hand.

“So… do you have any stories you might want to share?”

“Be specific, and maybe I’ll be nicer.” she looked at him, only this time it was that bright smile that greeted him earlier. Judging by the way she has reacted so far, he couldn’t guess how she might react to a specific question aimed at probing. She on the other hand, was trying to approximate how he might approach her. All men want a jab at the crotch… or so it seems.

She was wondering if he would ask about what happened last night but he seems to be going around the subject. Either that, or he was preparing to find the right moment to do so.

“What’s with the window then? Why do you keep looking outside?”

“I often wonder why the cars all drive so fast in Katipunan. They’re all pretty to look at. Don’t you go car watching and dream about having one of your own someday?” she replied non-nonchalantly.

“I already have one. Specific questions get specific answers, huh?”

“That’s pretty much how it works. You’re in my house so it’s my rules.” a sheepishly evil grin replaced her thin lips that were almost pouting previously. It had an enticing effect on him and he can’t help but comply to what she wanted.

“Seriously, most men just walk out after waking up. What’s your deal?”

“I don’t know either.” he was actually thinking about how to exit properly, without hurting her feelings… if there were any. Since he didn’t know what happened, he wanted at least to know something before leaving.

“Really now? You want a second round I suppose?” she took a sip from the soda can this time after replying. She shifted a bit to face him. Her ruffled shirt allowing a peek at more skin.

“I’ll be honest, yes. I want you because I feel cheated for not knowing… but my brain talks louder than junior so I guess I want to know you a bit more.”

“Liar. Junior didn’t seem to mind when we did it last night.”

“That wasn’t me. It was purely a subconscious act on my end which isn’t fair. Ever heard of the movie ‘Click?'”

“Yeah, sure, but I was the one that was ravaged and violated. What makes that fair?” she crossed her arms. Although she was merely implying; a little girly lie seemed to be in order.

“Huh? What did I do?” he didn’t see that one coming.

“Ah, now you’re fishing.” she laughed heartily this time. She wasn’t really sure if the whole act was just a routine. She was thinking that maybe he was looking for something like; “You were awesome” or “You were great”. No budging til she was satisfied that he wasn’t a prick.

He fell silent for being baited to respond the way she wants him to. He was getting tired of the old cat and mouse routine. The way she put it though, he was also feeling a bit of guilt for how he might have acted last night.  Yet still, it was hard to make a sincere apology if you don’t know what happened.

“Ok then, I guess I’ll be going now.” she could feel his irritation in the way he stood up. He let out a heavy sigh and thanked her for her hospitality.

“Giving up so soon?” she wanted to tease him even more.

He paused and took a long hard look. Thus was the power of puppy eyes, a girlish pout and a peek-a-boo.

“Look, I don’t want to sound like some loser who gives up easily nor do I want to look like a desperate freak trying to get another one for the road but I can’t take it anymore.” he was slowly losing his composure, poor guy. She often used this to her advantage on several occasions. She didn’t really want anything from him, but it entertained her immensely.

“So which one is it?”

He was holding his forehead now like it was just about to burst from the huge amount of blood pumping in to his head. Never has he encountered anybody so difficult. If it were a cartoon, he’d probably have steam coming out of his ears.

“Relax, I’m just playing. Stay with me a little longer will you?” a hint of that lovely face resurfaced. It melted his wavering demeanor.

“Sorry… I’m just cranky. Maybe I’m just hungry. Want to go grab a bite to eat?”

“I’m fine with this. You know what? I grew up watching my parents fight over breakfast.”

He let out a little smile and agreed to sit down again. She shared something about herself. Maybe this was what he needed. Someone to talk to. Maybe it was what she needed too.

A few hours later, when they had their fill of talking about themselves, they parted ways. He found out that she watched her boyfriend walk away from that window after a really bad fight. She could see the street from her vantage point and she watched him get run over by an ambulance as he tried to catch a cab.

She told him about what happened last night and she gave him a 6 out of 10. He just laughed at himself and told her that it was fine as it was his first time in this particular situation. He wasn’t the promiscuous type. Neither was she.

He told her about how he had been trying to escape from the shadow of his past relationship. Everyone just seemed to think that it will still be ‘them’ in the long run. There were things he couldn’t tolerate anymore and just wanted to live his own life for now.

Before he left, she told him that her boyfriend died a few days ago and she really needed some company. She thanked him for his time, even though it wasn’t really what they had expected. She was beginning to like him, even though they didn’t exchange names. She thanked him from the bottom of her heart.

He smiled his best smile and told her to keep her chin up. He paused, and wanted to ask her name but he didn’t. Maybe it was better to leave things as they are.

As he walked away from her building, he looked back and tried to squint against the sun. He could only see her partially, looking on from the window.

She waved goodbye.

He waved back.

She watched him get run over by a speeding pickup.

His phone started to ring from her front pocket, startling her back to reality. She looked again and saw him hailing a cab. She sighed a deep breath and smiled.

~END~

5 Seconds…

5 Seconds.

Anything over 5 seconds is awkward.  You can’t take it back.  You can make attempts to, but… it’ll be awkward.

I was looking at the hand tugging me along.   We decided to stop this a long time ago and stay friends.  I have refused to go up to her place on the 17th floor on numerous occasions and opted to have a salad or burger instead at the fast-food place downstairs.  Even the Starbucks at the ground floor of her condo building was refused.  I simply didn’t want to be in a position where I can no longer let her go.

But there I was…

…Letting this hand drag me.  This trusting hand.  The kind of trust that believes that it shouldn’t require much strength for the other hand to follow.

We crossed the street.  She didn’t look at me.  It was as if she was expecting me to follow.  I was a whole head taller than her.  I can see that slender neck arching to support the head that was watching out for oncoming traffic.

I could smell her hair.  Faintly of strawberries; her favorite shampoo.  That hand and nail lotion I recognize that she uses… the one that smelled of almonds.  “The wind is tricky”, I thought.  As if it were urging me to follow.

I see the tiny hairs of her arm glimmer underneath the afternoon sun.  My eyes wandered from her hand to the length of her arms.  That tiny scar on her elbow, was the one that got when she tried to stop me from leaving.  I returned her keys that day.  So many memories insisted themselves on me.  Her birthmarks.  That tiny g-clef tattoo at the back of her ear.

“Starbucks?”  I asked.  Not a word escaped her lips.  The entrance to the lobby was the direction her head was facing.  I understood what she was trying to do.  She looked at me for the first time since she tugged at my hand.

I couldn’t resist…  Not this time.  I knew that when I passed the 5 second mark.

Chew It

Dave took it to heart.  Normally, he would walk around like he doesn’t really care about whatever happens just as long as she stays with him.  He’ll stick to what he thinks he deserves…in a sense.

“hey… why so quiet?” Faith asked him.  They were sitting beside each other, quietly eating their popcorn while watching a movie they’ve seen dozens of times.

“oh, nothing.  I’m fine.  Just watching the movie… who knows?  We might find an Easter egg of sorts.” 

Liar.  A tiny voice told him.  He was still mulling over the guy he saw by the elevator.  He faintly smelled of Faith’s perfume.  He wouldn’t really mind it if it were some other scent… but Faith has peculiar tastes.  Alyssa Ashley’s Musk.  Not too easy to come by around these parts.

That guy is familiar, he thought.  He has seen him more than a few times in the building.  Probably a tenant, too.  It is really hard to say since their schedules are so far apart.  He worked nights and she worked in the mornings.  They barely even had enough time to say hello because when he gets home, she is prepping to leave.  Does he visit her whenever he is at work?

“I never get tired of this movie…” she was stuffing popcorn in her mouth.  This casual habit of hers where she holds a half a mouthful on one cheek and chews with the other made her look like a hamster. He smiled and rubbed her chin.  “That’s a nice hamster…”

“This is our movie!  Be serious!” she was cross-eyed and was making a kooky face while she was saying this. 
A deep sigh escaped his mouth.  “Are you still mine?” he thought.  He pinched her nose as she nibbled on some more popcorn.

Her phone on the table started to vibrate.  He paid it no mind.  She gave her a loving headbutt and took the phone.  “Aren’t you gonna answer that?” Dave asked.

She shrugged.

“chewing.” 

The faint light from her phone was giving her face a pinkish glow.  At that moment her face changed.  It could’ve been a contemplating look… or something else.  Her eyes moved from the phone and then over to him.  A weak smile peeked from the side of her face.

He lit up a cigarette and walked over to the porch.  “Tonight won’t make a difference”, he thought.  As long as she stays here with him.

She didn’t move an inch and just sat there looking at the phone ring… chewing slower.