Fiction

The town where nothing ever happened

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“As soon as I’m old enough, I’ll leave this town. I’ll leave it so fast, people wouldn’t even know I’m already left.”

I remembered you told me so when you were 14. I remembered you saying that while cleaning your dad’s truck. He was so strong, so healthy back then. He was the typical ranch dad that you both loved and hated. He was tought but he loved you. You knew that. But him loving you wasn’t enough to keep you from wanting to leave. Because living with him was a pain. Trust me, I knew! I was your neighbor anyway.

I remembered you were so excited for your 18th birthday. It was in June right? School just ended. You had your high school diploma in your hand. You waved it at me while riding on the back of you buddy’s truck. You told me you were leaving this town next week. You were going to a big city. I forgot which one now, but I guessed it didn’t matter anymore. You never got to go.

That day when that tree branch dropped on your dad and hit his head, it killed both your dreams and lives. A man who used to be tough, strong was then paralyzed from the waist down. What were you going to do? Leave him alone in this goddamn town while you left to go somewhere for yourself? You couldn’t do that.

He loved you. You were everything he had. And you knew you were everything he had. All the money you saved up to get away was then used to pay for his hospital bills in the city. Thanks to that, he was only paralyzed from the waist down. Our local “hospital” said he wouldn’t make it. But you were there and made sure he would make it. You always loved him more than you gave yourself credit for.

You never got a chance to go to college in the big city like you wanted. You never lived the life you deserved and I wondered how that felt. Every time I visited home, seeing you smoking your good old Camel alone next to the fence, my heart always ached a little. Knowing you could have so much more but life was hard on you.

You were good at what you do. You made good money. Your dad taught you well. Everyone in town was jealous. But they didn’t know the dream you left behind. What’s money for if you never could leave this town? Not until you still have your dad anyway.

But when you dad passed, will you still able to go? Are you still brave enough to leave everything behind and leave? When you were 18 and had nothing to your name, things weren’t so scary then wasn’t it? But you had a daughter now, you would stay for her as well wouldn’t you?

My oh my, I will never forget you that day on your 18th birthday. Young, brave with your blond hair shinning under the sunset waving your diploma at me, telling me you were leaving for forever. That was the happiest I have ever seen you.

Fiction · Life

When the time comes

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I’m very afraid of falling out of love with you. But I know it will happen one day, and I’m dreading that day. It’s probably not you and it’s probably not me. It’s just that I don’t believe in ever lasting love. And when things are not ever lasting, they will have to end one day.

When it ends, my heart will break to pieces. And maybe yours as well. I will have to pick up the pieces I have left and glued them together with my memory. I will have to tell myself that it wasn’t for nothing. I spent a big part of my life with you. We couldn’t go the whole way together but that doesn’t make you any less important. It was all for something. At that time, at that moment, everything was worth it.

But one day, maybe you or I will wake up and realize that our love has ran out. We’ll have no children to worry about. We’ll have no estate to trouble. When you no longer love me, can you let me know? It won’t be easy because you can’t make up your mind. You will still need me, but you probably don’t want me anymore. And that’s when you should let me go. And if it’s me who realizes that moment, please give me a moment to gather my courage. You used to be my everything. So please give me some time to gather enough courage to let you go. I will do it, I’ll just need some time. Because we both know it isn’t easy.

Please don’t think I’m cold hearted. When the time comes and we’ll have to split, I’ll spend days afterwards crying my heart out. I won’t be able to find joy in anything for weeks to come. But it’s the kind of necessary pain. I loved you enough to let you go, because at that time, I knew you deserved someone better than me who no longer love you.

I talked about letting you go. But I want you to know I will only let you go when I no longer love you. There will be days I love you less than others. I won’t let you go for silly reasons like that. I’ll let us go when I try my best and can’t find anything more to give. I’ll let us go when I dig deep in my heart and realize there’s no reason to continue moving on. Only then, and only then, I’ll let us go.

Fiction

Before this moment

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Before this moment

I thought I knew it all:

How it felt to hit a wall

                And having to crawl back,

how to cry when the joy was eminent,

how to be silent when the pain was rough

Before this moment

I thought my body could contain bliss,

                And handle agony

Before this moment

Before you cried and said goodbye

                While throwing your body off the bridge

Before I saw your little face disappeared into the December water

Before this moment

I thought I knew

what pain felt like











This poem is a response to the usual wonderful Tuesday Writing Prompt by Go dog Go cafe.

Life

I only have me

I used to date guys that are ashamed of me. Each of them did for a different reason.

One was ashamed of me because I didn’t speak flawless English. Sometimes, when I didn’t know the right words, I substituted or tried to explain or just simply waved my hands around. And he was ashamed of me for that, for the lack of knowledge when speaking in a non-mother tongue language. Nobody found that was a big problem but my then-boyfriend thought it was.

There was a time one of his friends from his hometown visited. We were walking and talking about TV shows. His friend was talking about the show called Scrubs. I said I never watched it before but I was wondering out loud why would a show about doctors called Scrubs? I thought Scrubs was as in scrubbing the floor. I still remembered my then boyfriend’s face of “how could you not know this?” disgust and confusion. Meanwhile, his friend just simply said “Ah, the uniform thingy that doctors and nurses wear, they were called Scrubs.” My then boyfriend asked me if I could go home first so he could hang out with his friend alone.

There was another one that thought I was too fat for an Asian girl. I wasn’t even 130 lbs. He was ashamed of me for not being skinny enough.

There was a time I was jokingly asked whether or not I was pretty, and he said “no.” Just a straight up no with nothing else following up. That was the first time ever in my life, someone I cared about told me I wasn’t pretty. And I always remembered that deeply because I believed I was pretty, then and now.

I broke up with all of the exes that was ashamed of me. Because the whole time, I always liked myself. My little tweaks of language here and there was the proof of me being fluent in two languages, enough to even have a college degree in a language that wasn’t even my mother tongue.

My little ‘chubby’ body was not at all unhealthy since my BMI was completely normal. I made all my meals. I worked out. I took good care of myself.

Despite all the strange point of views my then boyfriends had of me, I had never not loved myself. I had never not believed in myself. I was comfortable with who I was and I’m enjoying who I am. I hated the moments they made me wondered whether or not I was enough. It wasn’t like me to doubt myself, and I hated that somebody made me do that to me. I only have myself to carry with me through the rest of my life so I wanted to treat myself the best that I can.

Fiction · Life

She who married young

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Rose came from a rich family. Ever since I met here in college, I already knew that she was rich. Not because she was showing off but because she didn’t care much for money. And as a college student, you always care about money.

She was a romantic. She majored in psychology and then later in arts. She drew. She created things. She mad beautiful doodles that made people smiled. She fell in love multiple times. Every time as hard as the first time. And finally she found her one true love.

I never liked the ‘ultimate’ guy, but I also never truly knew why. He also came from money. He went to our same college, majoring in Political Sciences. I heard a few sketchy rumors about him but I always thought those were only rumors. The guy did great for himself. Right after college, he got into the PhD program at Yale. She didn’t even attend her own graduation, just so she could go to Yale to see him. All the things she did for him and because of him. All the times she ignored her own life so she could be on Skype with him. All those times. And she married him, when she was only 21.

She moved to the small town of Yale, so she could be with him while he was getting his career on the rise. She was only 21, and already stepping down for her husband. She got a part time job at a little retail store, and days by days just like that in the small town.

It took her a few years to get her arts mojo back. When she did, she tutored kids arts. She had a few cats and gods. She was a little pet mum that posted pictures of her pets online all the time. I always wondered if she hadn’t moved to that small town, what she would be doing now? Would she be doing something ambitious? Would she be doing something grand? She could have been the next Picasso. We’d never know.

But who I am to say? She found her one true love when she was 19 and that love came true. How many people ever got that lucky? How many feel in love as a teenager and had the gut to put it all in and received it back? What’s a little few years living in a small town in exchange for that? What’s a quite life to exchange for being happy? Some days, I just wished I was brave enough to choose the simple happiness in life. The pictures of her cats chasing each other online brought me so much joy and I could tell they did for her too. Her husband, who I always thought monopolizing her, seemed to treat her right. So I guess, what else could a girl want?

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 · 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

Season ticket

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I was sitting in the front desk at the box office. I always had a mixed feelings about working on show nights. I got to dressed up very nicely. It was an unspoken rule for the theater people. It was not a movie cinema, it was a theater. And show nights were always the special nights that everyone put all their best efforts in to make happen. To show respect, you at least look decent at the theater. That was the good side. On the other hand, I had to work nights. Nobody wanted to work nights, but I was ok with the extra cash. So I ended up working quite a bit of show nights.

If you thought all the people that came to the theater were rich and well-behaved, you were wrong. Theater was a little pickier of a hobby because it did require some extra money to afford the tickets. But all the people who showed up to only watch one shows, all the rich people that thought they were better than others, all the weird people, they were still everywhere. The two things I dreaded most about working show nights were: before we let people into the auditorium/the actual theater and right after we turned off the lights. Just like many other theaters, we didn’t let people come into the auditorium when the lights were already off and the show was about to begin. Having to keep denying people their “rights” to come see the show when they had their tickets was never an easy thing to do. So much yelling. On the other hand, many people came to the shows early, sometimes because they had to pick up tickets from the box offices or because they had to wait to their friends to come in together. That was also a problem. We kept them all waiting near the box office area, in the lobby because the auditorium wasn’t opened. And they always came up to the box office, constantly asking for when they could get in. “Why can’t you just let us in now?” was a constant. Again, did I mention they were rich?

I was in the box office, sitting in the front desk. I was politely taking care of a line of people trying to pick up their tickets. It wasn’t anything bad. I was having a decent night. Then it was an old gentleman’s turn. He was so tiny. His curved back made him look even smaller in the faded light of the theater. He came to the counter and he greeted me with a smile. I always liked a polite customer. He said he hasn’t seen me around. I said I worked show nights sometimes and may be we just missed each other. He said he came for every show, he had a season ticket. And I knew immediately why he was in line waiting for me. Season ticket holder often had their tickets with us so they didn’t have to keep a big stack of tickets with them. I asked him was that what he needed help with. And he said yes.

“But…,” he called for me while I started turning away to look for his tickets. I stopped and asked him what he needed.

“Uhm…I won’t need both the tickets,” I said, “our…my season ticket had a pair and I only need one today.”

I found his envelope with his season ticket. There were always two tickets for every show. I asked him if he would like me to keep that ticket for someone else that would come in later.

“No…,” his voice got so quiet, “it was for my wife but she passed away recently, and I don’t need that ticket anymore.”

I got quiet. He knew he said something that made the atmosphere awkward. He quickly added “But don’t throw it away. Please give it to the next person that come in and need a ticket. My wife would like that.”

He was still smiling but my heart ached. I gave him his ticket. I watched him walked away into the darkness of the auditorium. His little body seemed even smaller and my heart was heavier. I thought about all the things I complained about in my life and all seemed so trivial.

Fiction · Life

Love runs out

If one day, when we are done,

Will you know to let me go?

Will I think about the past,

And also let you go?


Some days, when there are no mistake,

No betrayal and no heartbreak,

But we know our love runs out…

Actually, will we know?


From getting lost in your eyes,

To waking up numb by your side

From loving you under the moonlight,

To knowing something is no longer right.

When our love runs out,

We are no longer young, I hope

We know the price of love, and the cost for passion

Do we still have enough to pay?