Life

Best year of my life

Back when I was 12, people told me 17 would be the best year of my life. Not people exactly, a movie told me 17 would be the best year of my life. It has been so long I don’t remember the title of the movie anymore. All I remember was that it was a movie about the soldiers that were sent to war. They left home at 17, the best year of their life, and many never made it back. The scene of them waving goodbye to their mothers still haunt me till today.

Then when I was 17, people told me 18 would be the best year of my life. I would be starting college and my life would change. I remembered at 18, standing in front of the gate of my new college in a foreign country. I toughed myself up and walked in, carrying with me my parents’ hope and expectations. I was so young then and so brave.

Then people told me I should celebrate my 21 hard, because that would be the best year of my life. I finally got to do everything. I had my first 21-year-old drink at my home country where I was legal since 18. I took that sip of beer in the presence of my whole family and that was enough for me. Throughout the rest of my college days, I got so much cash from all the people that asked me to buy alcohol for them and they paid me back in cash.

And then I graduated from college. I got multiple different jobs. I got a graduate degree. I got a boyfriend, then a husband. I got a promotion. I got a raise. I did many things ever since I was 21, but nobody told me about the age that should be the best year of my life anymore. And I do yearn for that some time. I wanted the days that I didn’t mind getting older, that people told me something about my own future and I believed immediately.

Fiction

Pick it up and put it down

I remembered a Chinese saying: “if you can pick it up then you can put it down.” And I always thought that was probably one of the most dignifying things a person could do.

When I was young, I have always been proud of myself for never giving up. But the older I got, the more I realized it is way harder to let go.

If that year, I had the gut to let him go early, I wouldn’t be so hateful towards him in the end. I no longer loved him. And probably did he me. But I didn’t hate him and that was the problem. I was young and didn’t learn to let go. I was told love was for forever and I believed it. Probably so did he.

We were together for way longer than we should. We stayed because of the memories, instead of the moments. I got annoyed at him. He got annoyed at me. We snapped a little here and there, but we never fought big. So we still stayed together, because who would break up over milk cap not closed probably?

My family got some serious issues and I was upset and stressed. I was looking for him for some support but he turned me away. He basically told me to deal with it myself. Then, we broke up.

I finally did it, but you know what? I would have rather broken up over the milkcap not closed than over my heart breaking into pieces over the feeling of betrayal. I would have taken all those years back. I didn’t regret the relationship, I regretted not letting go. I picked up the relationship easily, but I didn’t have the gut to “put it down”. And it will always stay with me as a lesson from the young naive days.

Fiction

Warm

I slowly dip myself into the water. I always love warm water. Anything warm actually: morning tea, thick blanket, freshly dried laundry.

I remembered my last batch of laundry. It smelled like warm apple cider. I gathered all the clothes in my arms and hugged them tightly right out of the dryer door. I sniffed the cinnamon-apple smell and cried. Not hard, just weeping silently for a little while. I will miss that.


I closed my eyes and sank down further in the bathtub. The sleeping pills should kick in soon. I felt warm.

Life · Travel

The runner

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I had remembered for years the quick 30 minutes I met the Runner. It was indeed not a dramatic story, but I remembered him for some reason. I even remembered what he was wearing, blue soccer shorts, a tank top in the same color with a big obnoxious marathon number tag. He barely had any hair left. The guy was practically bald with a few strings of blonde hair. In his bright blue outfit, he carried a backpack in one arm and a coat in the other. He was trying to squeeze through the aisle and the bunch of people on the train to find a seat. I saw him passing by me, looking left and right. He probably left to another wagon to find an empty bench with both seats empty. The train was getting quieter with the freshly arrived people started to settle down on their seats. I finally could come back to my book.

Then the Runner came back to my wagon. He whispered politely next to me.

“Excuse me, can I sit next to you?”

I put down my book. From the corner of my eye, I quickly glanced all over the wagon real quick. There was no other seat but the one next to me.

“Yeah, sure.” I picked up my backpack on the chair and put it down on the floor right by my feet.

“Thank you, thank you very much.” The Runner said to me while throwing his backpack to the overhead above us. He sat down next to me, getting himself comfortable.

I couldn’t help but stare at him. He caught me staring. I had no choice but to ask.

“Aren’t you cold?”

He was wearing shorts and a tank top. It wasn’t freezing cold but it was still autumn. It was chilly out.

He laughed. “A little, I was still full of adrenaline so I don’t feel much. Maybe I’ll be freezing in a little.”

“Adrenaline from running?” I connected the dots.

“Yeah. I just did the Amsterdam marathon. Amazing event!” He raised his voice in excitement.

“Like today? The marathon was today?” I closed my book completely, wondering “I was there, didn’t see anything.”

“You didn’t know? It was a big thing.” He shifted his legs, trying to stretch them straight “I traveled every year to run that marathon.”

“Oh wow, from where?”

“London,” he pointed at the little English flag on his marathon tank top. “This year, I finally finished the marathon.”

“Oh, I see,” I nodded then I suddenly realized what he just said “You said you finally finished the marathon this year. You didn’t finish before?”

“Nope.” The runner smiled “Never before, but I finally did it this year. I ran all the way to the finish line.”

“Wow. So all the years before you didn’t finish the race? and you still came?”

“Yeah. How else can I know I was better than last year if I didn’t come?”

He was right. My eyes were wide open for a second before they blinked in curiosity. It was that simple. The reason to not come was never as good as the reason to come so he came. Sometimes, that was just it.

“Tell me about the other times you joined the marathon. How far did you get?”

Fiction · Life

Beauty in the eye of the beholder

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What is the line between cheesy and romantic?

What is the nick between bad taste and edgy?

Let me tell you a secret

There’s no line.

I wrote poems and hid them

I created songs and burried them in the dirt

I wrapped my soul in words

so tightly that my heart ached

I was afraid someone would think I was a fake

That all would break under the lightest scrutiny

that the heavy weight of judgement would sorrow me

that…

that…

that…

that it turned out

I didn’t care.

My poems would stay the same

and my words isn’t a shame

You may not like it, but I hope the next person will

I’m here for the thrill of the language

for the twirl of my own voice

It might sound like music, or just a scratching noise

When I find my writing romantic, I wish you won’t find it cheesy

Because the only difference,

is you.

Fiction

When you were gone

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It was the day before sun set

It was the night before moon rised

It was the stiff cold of night

Or the shining brightness of day

I don’t remember the time anymore

But I do remember

How your back looked

when you walked away


Your shadow seemed gray

Your shoulder carried the weight of gravity

that only got heavier as you walked

You said goodbye without looking back

And I was so out of it to reply

When I looked up with my pink eyes

You were gone

And I knew…

Life has taken you


Fiction · Life

Please don’t love me too much

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Please don’t love me too much. I know you like me. I think you love me. I know you stay awake at night thinking about me. I know you kept all my texts. I know you want to spend all your time with me. I know whenever you saw some little things at the store, you couldn’t help but thought of me. But please don’t love me.

I’m not that good of a person. I’m foolish and selfish. I like you enough to stay but don’t love you enough to stay forever. You are probably the best thing that have ever happened to me but I didn’t dare to try. Because I like you. If you are in my hands, I may hurt you. I know I will, because I’m foolish and selfish, and I know you love me. So don’t love me too much.

I feel guilty of your love and your care. It’s like feeling guilty because it suddenly rains. It’s not anyone’s fault but it feels like I create a sin. I’m not that strong of a person, I can’t carry your love. It’s not a burden. It’s a gift. It’s a gift that you wholeheartedly present to me with both of your hands. I don’t deserve that gift. Please keep it for someone that deserves it better than me. Please keep it for someone that isn’t afraid of loving you.

Please don’t love me too much. For I can’t return your love. My heart still skipped a beat when you said you love me. But it wasn’t from joy. That was my heart aching for you. Oh sweet bee, why did you love me? I’m cold and heartless. If I don’t love you, I don’t love you. I can’t try. I don’t fall in love. I’m like a tree. If you didn’t strike me with all your lightning when you landed, then I’d forever be a tree that just stood there. I wouldn’t ever fall.

Please don’t love me too much. I don’t love you but I care. I know who I am and it hurts me to know you love someone like me.

Fiction

If you loved me most

She told me if I had met her during a different time in our lives, we could have been together. I told her I didn’t want to be an asshole but I had to call bullshit on that. We were not Romeo and Juliet. We were not criminals. And even if we were Romeo and Juliet, there were still Romeo and Juliet. And if we were criminals, there were Bonnie and Clyde.

I wasn’t a naive boy who believed love could trump everything. I was a guy who believed in himself. We didn’t live in the ancient times where people got killed over things like this. I made enough money so wherever she was I could always afford a trip. Or even moved there for her. If her parents hated me, I could get us a place for our own. If I met her when I already had a girlfriend but she was the one I loved most, I would choose her. It would be hard but nothing complicated. If I loved her most, I’d do it for her. I expected the same from her.

When we met, she had a boyfriend. It was days of going behind his back for us. I kept it casual until it didn’t feel casual anymore. I asked her what she would like to do now. I told her I would do it for her. She told me if we have met during a different time in our life, then we could have easily been together. But now things were too complicated for her. She didn’t know who to choose. I left. If she did love me most, she would have chosen me. Things were ultimately just that simple. I’d carry the storms of life for her if she loved me. But she didn’t love me enough to choose me so I left.

Then I met you. I waited for you to finish med school in the South. I flew to visit you often. You also came to see me. After school, you moved here to be closer to me. Your parents didn’t like me. They wanted a Southern boy. But we didn’t have to stay with them in the South, I took care of us just fine right here. Loving you was easy. Being with you was not at all complicated. I had to wait for you. I had to fight for you. But that was all the things I was willing to do.

I was a greedy man. I didn’t just want to be loved. I wanted to be loved the most. I wanted every time you thought about me, you didn’t just love me but you also chose me. Between giving up on me and walking the easier path, you chose me. Despite everything in life, you chose me. As long as you still chose me, I’d be there for you. I’d shoulder the burden of life for you. I’d give you my heart to break if you wanted to. Because you were my ultimate choice.

Life

The creek

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I remember the sound of water. The way it slowly crashed through the pebbles and slipped through the rocks calmed me. It wasn’t a waterfall with intensive water falling from miles and miles above. It wasn’t the calm lake that remains so serene too the point of being cold. It was a little creek with water running through, soft enough to calm my mind but lively enough to know it was there.

The creek had no name. There was only one creek in town and everyone knew. Nobody needed to put a name on it. I would climb down the side of the road, and hid from the cops to walk under the bridge to go to a part of the creek that no one ever came by. There was nothing there but trees, the sound of running water and silence. I came there for the silence but the water movement made me still feel alive. I came there to write my poems. I came there to sing alone. I came there to get through my first heart break. I came there to fill myself with homesickness. I came there to take my senior pictures. And sometimes I came there just to be. I wasn’t there to be a great philosopher that trying to be part of nature. I wasn’t there to be anti-social and avoiding people. I was there to be alone with my thoughts. That little creek on the side of the road was when I figured I needed to learn to keep myself company. If there are too many thoughts and too many noises in your head, may be the way to go is to listen to them all. I liked myself because I learn to like how I think.

When I was in high school, I swore to leave that town as soon as I graduated. I did and I never looked back. But sometimes, I still think about the lively silence of that creek, about how my young little teenage years were there.




A quick write on the topic of place that inspired me. A fun prompt from Go Dog Go Cafe.

Life

Hey Dave

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Dave came to the bar late. He said he was busy doing something till 10 pm on a Friday. Right! He was probably fooling around with that girl again. I already told him she was notorious for being kind of a slut. She wasn’t there to stay. But well, Dave was a sweet guy to begin with. It wasn’t really a surprised that he would get tricked.

“Hey Dave, over here!”

“Hey sorry! I’m late!”

“Dude, you’re late to your own Dbirthday party.”

“You can’t say it’s a party when it’s only me and you!”

“Hey hey, it’s because I’m all here for you! I’m the nicest!”

Dave just smiled before pulling a chair out to sit next to me by the bar. It was the Friday before break and the bar in a college town would normally be empty. So at 11:30pm there were still seats at the bar.

“Dave, ok ok. Choose your poison!”

Dave laughed. He shook his head a little.

“You can choose. Choose for both of us too.”

I turned around to grab my wallet from my purse. I took out my credit card and pushed it towards the bartender.

“Two shots of Grey Goose please and keep the tab open.”

“You don’t have to get me Grey Goose.”

The bartender brought out two shots of Grey Goose and he took my credit card. I gave one of the shots to Dave and lift my own shot up in the air.

“Nah. I said I’m buying you your first legal shot. I’m not being cheap”

Dave smiled and lift his shot in the air too. We clinked our glasses loudly.

“Dave, happy 21!”

“Happy 21!”