Red and Black

Just because I wear black

doesn’t mean that I hate

pinker hues: I simply lack

the knack for social cues. Dates

 

passed by, times swim past, but

I still stand behind my fort

of mortification, hidden as I cut

with wit and jests, my cohorts,

 

that painted me as emotionless,

strong, independent, borderline

arrogant, who wants to be peerless,

Fearless. Who could care less? Fine!

 

I shall retain the fact that I eyed

the bouquets of pinks and reds,

feel the envy rose and bloomed.

A childish, seasonal wrath, be read.

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Grayish Blue

Getting up was hard,

and Nature nodded, too, at

me: “the sun forgot, too, so hid, it did

behind the clouds, mellow.”

 

The bell tolled, hard,

and I paused, marveled at

the skies so grey. Sang, it did

with breeze so dull, leaves flapped, hollow.

 

They sang, “ ‘twas treacherous, too hard,

and calloused. A fool laughed at

A star so far.” Think, I bid

my pen to write some verse, ever so hollow.

 

To cry, is pointless: ‘tis too hard

a task for one who sat

around in selfish lights, a bid

for those words become more hollow.

 

I tried, regardless, with no regard

of the hard, harsh wind. I sat

by the window to think, to bid

the breeze and dust goodbye, hollowed.

Learned

She met him at what should have been a culmination of her series of bad decisions.

He looked slicked by the bar counter sipping contemplatively on his glass, and she was numb enough to venture a rejection.

When they got over the trivialities, he started, “So what brought you here? You don’t seem like a regular.”

“Just, you know, learning how to forget,” she felt silly that she was still trying to sound profound. “Ah…what a coincidence,” his charming smile soured to a smirk. She could only trace the delectable curve of his lips, wondered how good it would taste.

Before she knew it, she was answering that inquiry. And, as soon as she caught her breath, she tried to recall who leaned in first and her own damn name. “Shall we?” After a way-too-casual car ride and a way-too-clumsy fumble of keys, she pressed herself into him. But there was no urgency but a slow burn igniting every futile touch and kiss to deny the agony and assumptions that they were worthless.

She forgot how many hours she spent scrolling through a woeful combination of whatever social media she wanted to torture herself with before he texted her two days later. She somehow agreed to meet again later that week. And, maybe again the week after…or maybe twice of thrice each week that followed. But, it wasn’t just for the thrill anymore: the series of clichés continued through chats in cafes and strolls by scenic places or a good drink or two. Some may even mistaken her for being in a relationship again, and she would laugh and contemplate the possibilities of two people both so recently broken being happy together. Naturally, she came to know more about him, that he had a happily engaged twin brother who live a couple of hours away, that he was a little too unsuspectingly talented to be human, and that he was only foul-mouthed when he was in a good mood. And whenever she watch him stubbornly bang pots and pans about despite his exhaustion to conjure some ridiculously delicious dinner just because she complained about the onsets of a cold or something, she wondered, perhaps this is what love is supposed to be. But, she was too afraid to bring up the concept: after all, they were supposed to learn how to forget.

It wasn’t until at least a few months later, on one of their typical weekend nights did he suddenly speak into the darkness of the bedroom. It was a quiet statement, “she tried to kill me,” she measured the silence ringing back and the comfort of his warmth that assured her that the bitch didn’t succeed. She felt like she should have more questions and things to say, but the moment demanded that she just wait. “She said that I wasn’t normal, and that it was only natural that it happened this way,” his voice lacked their usual resonance as he recited from a stone tablet locked away in the mausoleum of memories. The silence that followed was necessary, and she turned about in his arms so she could face him. “Funny thing is, I was fucking convinced by that for the longest time,” he finally met her eyes, those piercing greys softened by tender passion and profound fatigue. “That is, until…you. And whatever this is.” She felt bad for being happy because of his painful past, but she was. As morbid as this should be, she knew this was the moment she could start saying, “we.” As she leaned in to seal the promise, she could only try to stop the butterflies from escaping. And when he whispered the three words she thought she could never believe again, she did against her better judgement. She closed her eyes against his touch, and together, they learned instead to trust.

Homesick

He knew she had been homesick ever since she crash landed into this world. There are some obvious habits she developed, too: she would always curl up by the window to stare at the sunset, casually holding her owl like a dog as she can’t decide between ruffling and smoothing the feathers until the last ray of orange fade into purple bruises in the inkling skies, then she will sigh and get up to wreak havoc or ask him stupid questions. Or she would take over the kitchen in lame attempts to imitate a dish she claimed her father always make before effectively setting the pan she wasn’t even using on fire. Or she would randomly assault him with a string of her language before she realized he was confused, then she would try to laugh off the deep sorrow in her eyes.

The point is, he knew, and she probably knew that he knew.

He always didn’t know what he could do. It wasn’t that she was completely alone: she consults Saphira or talks gibberish to her owl, but sometimes, when he was brave enough to be quiet with his thoughts, he wished he could help. So, when he woke up in the middle of the night to the luminescent amber eyes of that feathered piece of shit on his bedstead, he fought the instinct to crush it and asked instead.

“What are you doing here?”

“Hoot.”

“Well, I am going back to sleep,” As soon as he turned his back to the fluffball to seek warmth and sleep again, he heard the scuttling movement followed by a sharp sting to the back of his head. “What the fuck?!”

It made to peck again, but he threw it off his bed with a wave of his hand.

“Okay, what do you want?”

It started scuttling for the door, pausing only to stare at him; of course, it wanted him to follow, so he did.

As he expected, it led him to the guest room downstairs where Vega had taken over for the past couple of months. After congratulating himself for his patience as he stupidly waited for the bird to slowly hop down each step as it fended off his help with angry squawks and pecks at his toes, he listened to find slight shuffles of movements and decided to knock on the door.

“Is everything alright?” He ventured, only to be met by silence; the shuffles behind the door paused before they drew closer, he waited.

The door opened by a sliver, but that didn’t stop him from noting how red and puffy her eyes were as she stared at the floor to help her efforts of shepherding her wayward owl back into her room with her foot, “Apologies, I didn’t notice he’s escaped.” Her voice sounded so small, he could hear something break within him. “Good night.”

“Hey,” The door paused, she was still avoiding eye contact as though she didn’t know how obvious that she had been crying for hours. “You can talk to me.”

“No, it’s fine. You’ve been kind enough to me already.”

“What’s wrong?” Perhaps he was being a prying asshole, perhaps he should have just leave her alone, but the idea of her being so upset would have deprived him of any sleep anyway, he might as well be nosy even though he was no good at that either.

But when she finally managed to raise her head and look at him, he knew it was right for him to have pried: fresh tears were already streaming down her cheeks and she choked out a word or two before sobs wrecked all semblance of control she had left.

“What if…what if they are dead? I will never see them…I am so selfish…” While she wiped at her face, he tugged her into a tight embrace and tried to piece together her incoherent torrent of jumbled words with information he already learned from Saphira — it’s strange to think that he knew so little of this naive child, that she could talk and ask so much without him knowing more about her family and what ‘they’ entailed in the first place.

“It’s alright,” He felt dumb and awkward, but he tried. “We will find him soon. We will find a way.”

He relocated them to the living room in hopes that she would calm down enough to rant or something, but instead she was content with slowly washing his nightshirt with her tears and — he tried to not think about it — snot as he just held her, this special, little girl with more emotions than her petite little frame can contain, wasting away her energy crying until she was too tired to care or be embarrassed that she fell asleep right there in his arms.

“What the fuck am I supposed to do with you?” He merely chuckled before giving up on his efforts to move her or himself before he suddenly remembered how tired he was and allowed sleep to claim him.