Meeting Maddie (Part 2)


I can’t believe this is all happening. I can’t believe the changes happening right in front of me.

Just a day ago I was in Davao, surrounded by former colleagues, roommates and friends. Today, I’m here – alone in my old, tiny box of a room in Makati. Well, not really alone. I’m with this guy I randomly met almost a year ago and weirdly enough, kept in touch with.

Dave, yes his name is Dave.

Now he’s here. Now, I’m here. Now, what?

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Meeting Maddie

“I looked you up and it said you were…” Maddie paused trying to confine a fit of giggles before finishing her sentence.

“A secret agent?”

I couldn’t contain my laughter. My eyes turned glassy – as if wanting to say “Yes, I like you that day we met.” I struggled to find words to cover up my excitement of finally meeting her a second time.

“That was a joke, obviously. At this day and age, everyone can easily be a secret agent,” I said, assuring her that what’s on my online portfolio she must have found through Google was a college joke I never outgrew.

I wanted to ask her “You googled me?” but I didn’t have the gall – not yet. Maybe I’ll save that for later, I told myself. We have only seen each other face to face for the second time but it felt like we’ve know each other for years.

The first time we met, we were pitted against each other during a quiz night at a bar somewhere in Davao. Unlike me, Maddie felt it necessary to bring out her A game. I spent the night just killing time in a city far from home.

I didn’t notice her at first. Yes, she looked pretty but not the kind that would take total control of your mind. She was a nice-gal kind of pretty – the one you build long-term relationships with and I was not interested in that the moment we first met.

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A good day

Time after time, I ask myself what I want to do with my life?

I get stumped by life’s big questions and I begin to question life. What do I do now? What should I focus on? Should I follow what I want or do what I need? What’s in store for me?

There is just too much noise, too much pressure and not a lot of strength to succeed and determination to carry on with the task I intended to do.

Luckily, I stumbled upon these two gems amid the social media clutter. I hope these two poems inspire you too:



A Good Day by Kait Rorowski

Yesterday, I spent 60 dollars on groceries,

took the bus home,
carried both bags with two good arms back to my studio apartment
and cooked myself dinner.
You and I may have different definitions of a good day.
This week, I paid my rent and my credit card bill,
worked 60 hours between my two jobs,
only saw the sun on my cigarette breaks
and slept like a rock.
Flossed in the morning,
locked my door,
and remembered to buy eggs.
My mother is proud of me.
It is not the kind of pride she brags about at the golf course.
She doesn’t combat topics like, ”My daughter got into Yale”
with, ”Oh yeah, my daughter remembered to buy eggs”
But she is proud.
See, she remembers what came before this.
The weeks where I forgot how to use my muscles,
how I would stay as silent as a thick fog for weeks.
She thought each phone call from an unknown number was the notice of my suicide.
These were the bad days.
My life was a gift that I wanted to return.
My head was a house of leaking faucets and burnt-out lightbulbs.
Depression, is a good lover.
So attentive; has this innate way of making everything about you.
And it is easy to forget that your bedroom is not the world,
That the dark shadows your pain casts is not mood-lighting.
It is easier to stay in this abusive relationship than fix the problems it has created.
Today, I slept in until 10,
cleaned every dish I own,
fought with the bank,
took care of paperwork.
You and I might have different definitions of adulthood.
I don’t work for salary, I didn’t graduate from college,
but I don’t speak for others anymore,
and I don’t regret anything I can’t genuinely apologize for.
And my mother is proud of me.
I burned down a house of depression,
I painted over murals of greyscale,
and it was hard to rewrite my life into one I wanted to live
But today, I want to live.
I didn’t salivate over sharp knives,
or envy the boy who tossed himself off the Brooklyn bridge.
I just cleaned my bathroom,
did the laundry,
called my brother.
Told him, “it was a good day.”

Ten Ways to Sadness

Being happy is easy. You smile, and the world smiles with you. It’s as if the entire universe celebrates with you in your victory, in your joyous celebration, in your heartfelt experience.

Even when you’re in the most uncomfortable situation – let’s say a jam-packed MRT car during rush hour – you feel like the world is ready to break in a song, celebrate your happiness with a flash mob, and serenade you as you squeeze yourself to the exit doors.

With sadness, it’s a different case.

The sadness is yours and yours alone. No matter how many times you tell the story, how many ways you re-shape it trying to convince others (Who are you fooling? You’re just convincing yourself) of your point, no one else will be in touch with your pain.

Your deepest, most haunting, most human experience is yours alone for the taking.

That throbbing nerve that has been stepped on, smashed repeatedly and left alone? It will need to recuperate on its own with no quick relief medications, no shortcuts on hand.

They say when you’re going through hell, just go through it. But they also say forever seems such a long time when you’re lonely – and going through hell always seems to take forever.

There are so many reasons to be happy, but often, one reason is enough to cause us an overflowing sense of grief. A familiar scent, a marked corner, a nearby cafe – can remind you of things you’d rather erase from your memory, or if at all possible, from Earth.

I can recount all of the things that remind me of you. I can even list them down, but not at this moment when loneliness has come to eat me alive and bury me with piercing images of you, memories of when you still loved me.

I am sorry but right now, I don’t have the heart to keep count. You must have taken it with you.

Hello, sadness


It has been a long time since we last met. It’s nice to see you again – and I say that with utmost sincerity and not even a hint of sarcasm, although that may be hard to believe.

I can’t remember the last time we had such close encounter. It must have been a really long time ago and I’m glad you dropped by to say hello again. I know you have a thing or two to teach me, important things to say, and an experience I could learn from.

I, too, have something to tell you in return. I am happy you are here. July has been the cruelest month but I can’t help but be thankful for all the pain it has brought me. I know I need this more than anything right now and I’m glad you’re there to help.

Your presence, although rare, always leads to a meaningful encounter – always a stepping stone to a greater happiness.

To The Wonder by Adrian Tomine

I know you won’t be here for long so I’m here to relish this moment, to cherish this pain, to remember all that you are going to say. I might not remember everything – I apologize in advance for my faulty memory – but I know I will keep everything you’ve taught me in my heart. Someday, I hope to remember them when the necessity arises, when I need to be reminded that I am human after all and susceptible to great amounts of pain.

I know you mean well, and I know I will come out of this all the better. For now, I say hello again and thank you, old friend, for teaching me how to leave live.