Meeting Maddie (Part 2)

I.

II.
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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How zombies are made

Today, I found out how humans become zombies.

First, they fall in love. Then, they get their hearts broken. They cry their eyes out, they burn their hearts out, until that point when their hearts frizzle. With no more eyes and no more hearts to use as guides, they lose their sense of direction. They start to make no sense at all.

They lose their capacity to be coherent in their thoughts and more visibly, in their actions. They start to move but you begin to wonder, are they moving at all? For they may be dragging their way from Point A to Point B but they lack real purpose. The human who once knew love has now become a senseless creature: unresponsive, purposeless, lifeless, lost.

On writing

Very recently, a friend asked if I’ve been doing some writing since I changed jobs at the start of the year.  Truth is, I haven’t. I did write a couple of silly stories early this year, but they sound more like highschool-girl-rants than stories.

I guess I should write again – even if only through blog posts. 🙂

The Last Time We Met
Sometimes I can’t believe it, I’m moving past the feeling
-Arcade Fire

Today, I passed by the corner where you stood during the last time we met. I remember glancing over my shoulder, and upon seeing you, I remember going against the crowd to get to where you are.

I remember your wily smile. I knew what I was about to get myself into, or more appropriately — out of, but the smile made me wonder if you were coming as a friend or as a foe. In that moment, you were at once a trusted ally and a stranger.

I shrugged off the questions running inside my head. It was easy to drown out unstable thoughts in a place as busy as the Grand Central. How funny that we decided to meet in a place of departures and arrivals, where trains easily come and go, where people – friends and strangers alike – disappear with a blink of an eye. It was a place fit for the occasion – for fleeting, fragile things such as time, such as emotions.

I decided to act as nonchalantly as possible but I knew how easy it was for you to read me. But still, I tried albeit helplessly.

As we walked a block or two, my legs loosened up a bit, but inside, I couldn’t shake off the numbing feeling. City noise tried to ram through our awkward silences, which we also tried to fill with off-tangent questions such as “Where and what do you want to eat for dinner?”, “Is pizza ok?”, “I thought you wanted Persian?“

We finally picked a place – half a block away from where we originally planned to eat. We were too lazy to even try.

We settled for what was right in front of us: a run-off-the-mill pizza joint in Manhattan. Had I known, I would have dragged your lazy ass (and mine) to Brooklyn. There we were at the end of the road but my naive heart was still planning would-be dates for the two of us.

Do you remember what we ordered? And do you remember the joke you said about having the bacon to-go? How about the words you didn’t say that broke my heart and the way you said good bye?

What I didn’t tell you – what I wanted to tell you – was that I really wanted to have the bacon to-go – if only to comfort my weary soul long after you’ve gone, or at least fill up my tummy during that cold, cold night.

A void like sadness is, just as much, having a large appetite.

Funny how I remembered all that just by seeing that corner with walls and floors made of marble, leaving me feeling cold and detached. For a split of a second, it felt like time stood still on that seemingly nondescript spot – the very spot where we last met, the starting point of where you broke my heart.

***

Kiss-and-tell
I like things that are different every time.
-Andy Warhol

The television was on. The entire night has been all about sports  – from basketball to MMA to football. You even paused our conversation to say, “Wait for this one!” as one of the stars scored that elusive goal. For a moment, we distracted ourselves. For a moment, I thought I’ve been bro-zoned.

But the very moment you moved next to me, I knew I was wrong.

It was that moment too when the television noise drifted into the background, when the topic shifted from what you like to what I like.

Seeing my shelves lined with books, you started to mention Anne Sexton. I immediately jumped out of my seat to grab her poetry collection and make you read the one I liked best.

There is no one else but us
in this house on the land spit…

It was already past midnight. Poetry turned into lullaby. As your gaze crossed mine, I couldn’t help but lean my head against your shoulder, basking in your happy scent. In that moment, I surrendered my lips for your taking, my heart for your breaking.

Less than perfect

(Sundays will be for flash fiction instead of 100 words. Here’s my first attempt based on the prompt from FlashXer: unfortunate incident.)

burnt popcorn

I can still completely recall that incident when I was running late for a first date. Mortified for my turtle pace, I put on the first dress I spotted inside my closet instead of every girl’s usual this-or-that little black dress dilemma.

“Hey, sorry if I made you wait,” I instantly apologized as I sat down on my date’s car.
“It’s alright,” Rich said while driving away. “We’re still right on time.”

I barely knew Rich but I was well aware that he’s a charmer, a complete ladies man. I knew I had to play the part of a princess. If only it was that easy. I’ve always been a klutz – the worst one in the family, among my friends and even amidst the company of strangers.

When we arrived at the movie house, Rich insisted I get something to eat. I grabbed the popcorn tumbler on the counter as we barely had the time to order snacks and drinks.

As we were seated and the lights were dim, the air of romance didn’t come in. It turns out that I was nibbling on burnt popcorn. Again, I uttered a string of apologies for not caring as much as I should have and as usual, Rich didn’t mind.

But just as things were going better, it turned for the worse.

“Whoa!”

Rich gushed as I accidentally elbowed the soda while tugging on my dress that got stuck on his side of the seat. I got his pants wet even before I meant it.

I was in the worst comedy of the entire human race, I thought to myself as I was on the brink of tears. I was ready to walk out and never ever let him see me again but as I stood up, I remembered how my dress was still stuck to his side of the seat.

“Cass, it’s okay,” he hushed as he grabbed hold of my arm.

He teased me how it could have been worse – how my dress could have fallen off as I rushed out, how I could have choked on those nasty popcorn bits or how I could have rocketed sky-high with my five-inch heels as I made it to the drive way while in a rush earlier.

We both laughed, and that’s when I knew that it was going to be okay.

Looking back, that could have been the first time I said ‘I do.’ to you, Rich. I’m glad I stayed because little did I know, that was the start of our forever.

It was the worst in dating history but I have to say it was the best date of my life.