Musings of the Heart Pt. 22: Lavender Beginnings

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

And he stood right in front of a crossroads. He needed to choose from two decisions that would ultimately lead him onto two totally different paths. On one side, he found every reason to stay. If he stayed, he was guaranteed a daily morning wake up call with kisses on his cheek. He would be provided with constant reassurance that he would never be alone. There would be a shoulder to lean on at all times of the day. This and so much more were waiting for him, if he chose it. However, on the other hand, there was just one reason to leave. Only one. And that one reason was the uncertainty of his love.

Since the very first day that they started dating, he bought her lavender flowers once a week. He bought them spontaneously and on different days in hopes that this would keep their love fresh and alive. Until one week he just simply forgot. He focused on everything but her for the entire week and did not realize his shortcomings until much later on. He apologized and bought them shortly after, but since then, things began to change. Their relationship became stagnant, a shell of what it once was. Silence started to fill the spaces between them, where conversation once flowed like a coursing river. In those moments, he started to question his love for her. He began to view her as just another face in the crowd and not the person that he fell in love with. His love started to falter and he believed that she felt it, too. It was obvious in his actions and in his words, however, they remained together and tried endlessly to reignite the flame between them. They tried time and time again, until the answer was clear and certain. With a bouquet of lavenders in his hand, he stood at the center of the crossroads, staring at the two outcomes that could be seen in the distance. The beginning or the end. Those were his two choices. He closed his eyes and breathed in deep. Then, with all his might, he gathered up some courage and valiantly took a step forward.


Musings of the Heart Pt. 21: Findings

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

I tend to forget things easily, whether it be memories or personally owned items. I would misplace my belongings constantly, causing me to go on a rampant fifteen to thirty minute search. The bigger the item, the longer it would remain lost. But by some twist of fate, it would show up in the most obvious of places or in an area that I had already searched. Sometimes they showed up in the backseat of my car, at the bottom of my underwear drawer, sometimes on the edge of the counter, half-covered by a roll of tape or pack of batteries. Despite being lost or forgotten, they always found a way back at the right times.

It was a week before Christmas and I was tearing apart my room, in search of my car keys. I had yet to finish my Christmas shopping and was in a rush to head to the mall. I had finally made the time and commitment to look for appropriate presents, other than a gift card or self-help books. But the first step was getting out of the house. After my room proved to be key-less, I decided to look in the living room. I checked in all the usual places: on the table, underneath the table, on the key rack (for the fifth time), but to no avail. I dug in between the cracks of the sofa, praying to God that my keys would be there. My hands brushed across something flat and glossy. I wondered what could it be. It hadn’t been there the last time I lost something.

After thoroughly searching the couch and coming up empty-handed, I went back to the glossy sheet of paper and pulled it out. I stared at it for a minute before my mind could finally process what it was. It was a photograph of myself, standing hand in hand with my first love. I sat on the floor and propped myself against the sofa. I looked at the photograph again in detail. We both wore a black shirt with blue jeans, white sneakers, and a maroon hat. There was a crease on the upper right corner and the picture had faded quite a bit. But the smiles and stares filled with love were still there.

It had been over two years since I last saw her, maybe three since we broke up. All of our memories started to flood my mind, my heart yearning for another’s embrace. But I didn’t yearn for her. Our love had died long before our final farewell. However, we stayed with each other out of routine and familiarity. We had gotten to the age where it was difficult to go back into the dating market, so it was easier to stay together, although there were no visible sparks to be seen. At least not like the beginning. When we finally did decide to end things, it was on a mutual front. There were no ill feelings or sharp words that could ruin our friendship. But when I woke up to an empty side of the bed the very next day, I felt cold and empty. She must have felt something similar, because she called me two days later asking if we had made a mistake. We tried to work things out with sincere honesty. However, after a few months of bliss, we would always end up at the door to the end. It took a while to get used to being single again. A long while, coupled with a few drunken nights and unsent messages, but we got used to it. got used to it. But seeing this picture, seeing how in love we were, makes me think that maybe we could give it a shot again. That maybe our love was lost somewhere obvious, like in between the cracks of a sofa, and it is just patiently waiting to be found again. The corners of my mouth curled slightly upwards at the thought, however, I knew the truth. I got up to my feet and placed the photograph face down on the counter. I closed my eyes and reeled back the memories that had poured out, one by one, until they were safely sealed in a vault somewhere in my mind. I opened my eyes, looked towards the door, and saw my keys hanging from the lock. Found it, finally.

Musings of the Heart Pt. 20: Transparency

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

For him, he had high highs and low lows. There was no such thing as an in between. He would have streaks of being over the moon happy, filled with so much excitement and life that he had the confidence to jump over mountains and lakes. Then during other weeks he had a crippling sadness that sank so deep, it prevented him from getting out of bed for days on end. It was so easy to show that he was happy, but ten times more difficult to hide his sadness. That’s why most of the time, he wished to feel nothing. All he wanted to be was completely and utterly numb. Ever since he realized this pattern, he developed a fear for elongated periods of happiness and calm. Because that only meant that a storm would soon follow. He wouldn’t know when or how, but something catastrophic would happen, something that would break him into small, sharp pieces and it would take him a millennia to put himself back together again. That’s how it’s always been. But this was one thing that didn’t get easier with experience.

With experience, he knew what to expect, close to the exact duration each period would last, and even how situations would play out. He became calculated in his decisions and cautious with his words. It was like he was a one-legged ballerina on stage, trying his damn best not to draw attention to himself. But as if the spotlight were drawn to him, there were always one or two sets of eyes watching at a time. He always escaped at the last minute, however, and found opportunities to be alone, overcome with the complexity of his emotions. He was able to skillfully navigate between groups of people at a party and find the bathroom vacant, as if waiting for his use. Then, he would turn on the faucet, allowing the sound of running water to mask the dry heaves and heavy sobs that would come out of his mouth. Then, after a suitable amount of time had passed, he would make his way back to being the life of the party. This was his burden and his burden alone. He could not share this with anyone, nor did he want to. He decided to stand up to these demons alone and promised himself that he would conquer them with his own strength. Unless they devour him first.

Musings of the Heart Pt. 19: Reminders

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

It had been months since they had last met. She had gotten past the stage of constant longing and days spent wasting away in bed. At first, she was not able to move her body the way that she wanted. She would remain in her room, closed off from the world, allowing the heartache to have complete and total control. This went on for a few weeks until her mother visited. After seeing the state that she was in, her mother quickly put her magic to work and brought everything to working order. Her fridge became restocked with fresh ingredients, the piles of rubbish bags no longer littered her floor, her clothes were once again clean and ready to wear. In a matter of one day, the small studio apartment once again showed life, although the owner felt like she was dying inside. However, her mother’s visit seemed to ignite a flame, it seemed to push her back onto her feet and convince her to move forward once again. After what seemed like an eternity, she made contact with her friends. Her job happily welcomed her back from sick leave, a pile of half-finished paperwork waiting to be completed on her desk. Over time she healed and became a human once again.

However, the same couldn’t be said for him. From the beginning until now, he missed her terribly. Although he continued to go outside and commute to and from work, it took a toll on his mental state. Where ever he went, all he could see was her. He saw her in the empty seats that surrounded him in the movie theaters. He saw her reflection in the bathroom mirror as he prepared himself to sleep every night. He saw her in his workplace computer screen background, although he changed it at least three times a week. Her presence lingered even in the most unlikely of places. But he couldn’t help feeling like the entire world was collapsing all around him, imprisoning him underneath a pile of despair and rubble. But he knew that he could not go back on his lie. He did not have the courage to reveal the secret that he held in his heart.

One night, as he was thinking about her, he remembered the first day that they became a couple. It was a summer afternoon and they had just finished a late lunch. Afterwards, they decided to take a stroll in a park, located a block away.  Their conversations were a jumbled mess, jumping from one topic to the next. They lost track of time and spent hours walking through the park. Then, the stopped to rest on park bench underneath a willow tree. They sat there in silence and watched the world pass by, until he gathered up the courage to hold her hand. When he did, they looked at each and slowly leaned in to begin their relationship with a kiss. He fondly remembered all of it and was not able to push this memory from his mind. One hour and a trip to the hardware store later, he was laying down a tarp and painting a willow tree on a wall of his apartment. He stayed up the whole night to finish, but when he took a step back to look at it, he smiled with pride. It was a reminder of their beautiful beginnings, but it also served as a reminder of their eventual end.

Musings of the Heart Pt. 18: Sounds of the Heart

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Since her adolescence, she didn’t know how to express herself properly. Although she had a group of people that she could call ‘friends’, she found it difficult to string together an appropriate combination of words and phrases. So every thought that crossed her mind, remained hidden from the outside world. Although she wanted to tell everyone how she felt, she did not have the courage to invite anyone to see things through her eyes. Each day was difficult, however, she managed to go through it by putting on a mask and relaying that everything was ‘fine’, even when it obviously wasn’t. Even though other people could see through her facade, they were afraid to ask the big questions. They were afraid to ask if she was really okay. And she was fine with that. She was fine with keeping everything bottled up inside of her heart, allowing it to pile sky high and weigh her down.

Even though she struggled, even though she felt like the whole world was against her, she still managed to become a light to others, a light that she was unable to see in herself. She reminded every soul that she came in contact with that it was perfectly acceptable to cry, that their difficult days could be expressed in a small sigh. She would never ask for an explanation, sometimes she wouldn’t even ask if anything was wrong. Just by hearing them breath, she could tell. And then, as if it served as a cue, she would tightly hold them in her arms. She would remind them that it was okay and to hold on for another day. ‘You’ve done well. What you are doing is enough,’ she would often whisper into their ears. And that alone would be enough to comfort them, to remind them to keep living. But when she arrived home later at night, she would be greeted by her white pillow and bed sheets. She could not trust anyone else to shoulder the burden that she carried. Or rather, she did not want anyone else to feel her pain. She felt that she was a little, dull speck among the bright shining stars that stood around her. She would constantly feel that her best was never enough. That the expectations held by others would always outweigh her own. But she still held onto the tiny hope that one day, someone would stop trying to understand her thoughts and instead, they would choose to listen to her heart.

Musings of the Heart Pt. 17: Dark

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Black. That was all I saw when I opened my eyes. I was surrounded by a darkness that took me into it’s embrace. When people think of darkness, they usually associate it with a type of sinister evil that they are unable to understand. People look at the dark and become afraid of what they are unable to see in it. Some say that there are demons or monsters lurking in it’s depths, waiting to pounce when given the chance.

However, in this darkness I felt an unusual warmth. As if it was made specifically for me. I reached out my hand and grasped at the air, checking if it was safe. There was no imminent danger, no raging beast that stood in front of me. At least to my immediate knowledge. I decided to take a few steps forward. The ground was flat and smooth, for the moment nothing seemed to be in my path. I continued to move forward, my legs becoming lighter with each step. Growing up, I was afraid of being alone in the dark. To me, it was something that I couldn’t control. But here, I felt comfortable and free.

I started to run deeper into this unknown plane of nothingness, until an unseen force compelled me to stop. I went around in circles, blinking rapidly so my eyes could become accustomed to the darkness. When I stopped, my vision returned and I saw a little boy standing alone in the distance. His back was facing towards me, so I had no way to know how he looked like. I threw caution to the wind and made my way towards the boy until we were only a foot apart. I called out to him several times, but received no response. I decided to wait for him to notice my presence. What felt like an hour later, the little boy finally turned around. I stepped back in shock. It was me. A younger version of me. Although I couldn’t hear sound coming from either direction, I could see that he was crying. My younger version had his face scrunched up with tears streaming down his cheek. I took a step forward and held out my hand and waited for him to grab it. One minute turned into five, and that five eventually turned into an hour. But I continued to wait for him, I continued to hold out my hand. Finally, he stopped crying and looked up at me confused. I smiled and took a small step forward. Then, he smiled back and took my hand.

I blinked once and when I opened my eyes, I found myself under the covers of my bed. I sat up and looked around. A younger version of me was nowhere to be found. I touched my cheek and felt a dried streak of tears. But I knew that they were tears of happiness, tears of joy. I was reminded that the version of me that I missed so much was still there. That I hadn’t changed as much as I thought. I just needed to acknowledge the darkness that resided in my soul to see the shining light that still resided in my heart.

Musings of the Heart Pt. 16: The Fall

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

I sat in the corner of the cafe at a table against the window. My cup of cinnamon milk tea remained untouched as I watched crowds of people pass by. Some made eye contact while others walked on, wrapped up in a conversation between friends or their eyes focused on a small bright screen held between their hands. I didn’t mind either way. I enjoyed creating backstories and making up their conversations in my head. It was a type of therapy for me, a way to unwind at the end of a tiring week. I grabbed the back of my chair and stretched my body by fully turning side to side. When I faced forward again, a stranger was seated across from me.

“Hello?” I said in confusion.

“Sorry, is this seat taken? Are you expecting anyone?” she asked, crossing her arms on the table.

“No, I’m not expecting anyone,” I replied, still trying to grasp the situation.

Before I could say another word, a waiter came to take her order. She quickly glanced over at my cup and said that she would have the same. The waiter nodded and left towards the kitchen. Silence began to fill the space between us while she turned her attention towards the window and began to look at the people outside. I brought my cup to my lips but continued to look straight at her. She had big, round almond colored eyes and her skin was milky white. Her hair was black and stopped just below her chin. She wore what appeared to be a plain, white one-piece over a teal shirt underneath. A thin silver necklace with a crescent moon pendant rested on her chest. She was pretty, that much I was sure, however, I was certain we had not met until today. I decided to break the silence.

“Who are you?” I asked, slightly afraid to hear the answer.

“Nobody really,” she replied, continuing to look out the window. “Just another pretty face looking for a free meal.”

My face scrunched up in slight anger. She turned to look at me and softly giggled, covering her mouth with her hand. She smiled at me and shook her head.

“I’m kidding silly,” she laughed. “But I really am nobody. Just think of me as a passing shower. I’ll be gone before you know it.”

The waiter came back and set her drink on the table. She thanked him and immediately took a sip from her cup.

“This is amazing!” she exclaimed in excitement. “I can’t believe you’re just letting it go to waste like that! I think I might be in love.”

She took a longer sip than the last and set the cup down on the table. She reached behind her (probably a bag that she had placed there but I had not seen), took out her phone, and snapped a few pictures.

“It’s a shame that I didn’t think to take a photo beforehand. It looked as amazing as it tasted.”

She set aside her phone face down on the table before she spoke again, “Now where were we?”

“You still haven’t answered my question: who in the world are you?” I asked again, this time with determination to find out her identity.

“Hmph. I already told you, I’m nobody. Isn’t it enough that a pretty girl like me wants your company?”

She put her hands into both of her hands and fluttered her eyelashes. I kept my face blank and emotionless until she finally gave up. Seeing my resolve, she let out an audible sigh and pouted her lips.

“I guess it doesn’t work on everyone,” she started, putting her hair behind her ears. “I was outside on the bench right in front and I noticed you here at this table. At first, it seemed like you were staring right at me and I thought ‘How could he lust after my body! The audacity!’ Then, I realized that you weren’t looking at anyone or anything in particular. It seemed like you were off exploring a different universe in your head. Ten minutes of staring later, I decided to come and join you.”

She smiled at me while I mindlessly blinked at her, unsure of what to say. I awkwardly smiled back, looked down at the table, and held my cup in both hands. I became lost in thought and searched for the right combination of words to say.

“Can I ask you something?”

I looked up to see her leaning forward and staring right at me, her face filled with pure curiosity. Taken aback, I nodded without saying a word.

“Do you believe in aliens?” she asked.

I took a moment to consider her question before answering.

“There’s no physical evidence, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually are real.”

“Hm. I wonder,” she said, turning back towards the window. “A lot of people tell me that seeing is believing. And I think that’s utter bullshit. There are a lot of things that can’t be seen but are just as real. We’re unable to see the air around us, a person’s thoughts, their mental health. We can’t see these things, but that doesn’t make it all the less real. Even though the entire world hasn’t seen aliens, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t real. So people who say ‘seeing is believing’ are just full of crap.”

She paused for a second and brought her drink to her lips. Then after she set it down, she continued talking.

“I mean, I can’t even be sure of what I’m thinking sometimes or what I personally feel, but I know that it’s real. Why? Because I’m right here, living and breathing right in front of you. And sometimes all you need is a little leap of faith to make fiction into reality. And whether it’s physical or mental, with that leap of faith, it becomes real.”

“Honestly, I’m not good at words and I’m probably rambling on but I want to take a leap of faith right now and make the invisible visible,” she turned her entire body towards me and looked at me straight in my eyes. “I want my thoughts to be seen by the whole world and when I say the whole world, I mean just by you. So, what I’m trying to say is: I’m going to kiss you.”

Without waiting for my response she got up from her chair, walked towards me, and grabbed my face. Then, she closed her eyes and kissed me. Her lips were sweet and tasted like a mixture of peach and cinnamon. My eyes became enlarged in shock and I made a mental attempt to break away. However, my body wouldn’t listen and I began to kiss her back. Unknowingly, I had fallen head over heels with her and to be quite honest, I didn’t intend on stopping.