How comfortable it feels to be in a room with a hundred unfamiliar faces and notice, among the various congregations of friends and social-gatherers, a handful of lone souls unbound to any other - how detached, physically, from the lot of established and cozy social circles apparent. In each one of them I find myself.
Let’s busy ourselves pretending to be completely engrossed with our cell phones together! Let us occasionally exchange fleeting eye contacts, only to avert bashfully our gazes, as though it were an accident that we were casting pining glances across the room as we ache to speak with certain anybodies. We can pretend not to acknowledge the unspoken yearning written on each other’s faces, masked well behind a bored, nonchalant facade (mastered by people like us, see, the ones who often find themselves wandering aimlessly by the punch bowl wondering whether to have thirds or fourths, then go home), to close the distance between two strangers and spark sweet small talks.
We are on opposite sides of the room, but I don’t mind that you never take the initiative to approach me. Your reason is perhaps your lack of interest - I don’t blame you - and mine the absence of courage. But that’s okay, let’s stay this way, I take comfort in imagining that we are alone, but we are alone together.
One girl in kindergarten used to treat me as a treasured guest when we played houses. She cooked me fried eggs and served me tea and complimented my dress (which was identical to hers, as we both wore green skorts and white tees). The next day on the turf she stomped on the puzzle I was working on and I didn’t say anything as she scattered the pieces asunder.
(I usually don’t say anything being drawn into these kinds of scenarios - a detrimental habit of mine I’d cultivate as I grow.)
I was quaking in my knee-high socks. If I can recall, that was the first time anyone has ever revealed to me their second nature in the most brutally honest way possible. I thought I would cry, but then again, maybe she was just as distraught as I was. In her own way. But when she made a motion for my wrist I crawled off and sprinted to the slides and the small complex of plastic houses. I left her alone. She stood in the distance for a while looking at the puzzle pieces at her feet. I busied myself at the dumb phony stove and pretended I did not hear her wailing for someone - anyone - to come play with her.
I am a coward. I am a coward.
Somehow I managed to avoid her until the end of the year. In the closing of our end-of-year concert I caught her staring at me. So I braved a smile. Her lips were stone, her gaze hollow. She looked away and my knees buckled as I descended the stage.
I am a coward. I am a coward.
Before he left, he promised Hanai he would write to him at least once a week.
(Hanai was reading his last letter from Tajima, which had been buried deep in the bottom of his desk drawer and carried with it the stench of last winter’s frost.)
i’m gonna frickin do that thing where you write a sentence with a new vocabulary in it (because i direly need to expand my vocab + i’m inspired to write stuff but have no substantial tale to tell, and my english is poor):
Sakaeguchi; mother prompt.
also a reference made to this precious gem
“What do you remember about mother?”
Sakaeguchi looked up from his homework. His brother sat across the table from him, nonchalantly tossing a baseball into the air and catching it repeatedly with his left hand, which was fit into a well-worn glove. It was a question he rarely asked since mother passed, Sakaeguchi noted. But being the youngest out of three, Sakaeguchi figured he would be the most curious, with the scarce memories he retained of their mother, now long gone, and whose existence may have seemed fabricated to the tune of a fable – and how he burned with the feeling of knowing, but not quite grasping.
like lightning bolts
and ember glow,
your little cousin
on grandma’s porch,
like flying kites
and winter naps,
the taste of sea salt
with toes in sand
1. Chocolate brown eyes steel under furrowed brows, lips tight, jaw square. Broad shoulders held rigid in a soldier stance, and chest wide as river banks under your freshly pressed uniform. Your name fell from your mouth in a sturdy alto – a little deep for kids our age, then – and to me it rang like gold. It sounded like Laurel wreaths and marble carvings, and you told how it bore the meaning of the grand first son; the earth. I thought it suited you well. You looked my way, smiling. I dropped my gaze to my well-worn sneakers.
Tie a rubber band around your wrist and snap at it under your sleeves until red adorns your skin; until the burning, raw etchings are to you like how stars are engraved in the sky, and you act as though it were a birthmark. Do this every time you remember how the band had taken the place of the wristwatch your father gave you the birthday before he passed.
Avoid your gaze on every mirror you pass. When, by accident, you chance to meet your own eyes, you imagine pummeling the glass with your bare fists. Your knuckles sear with the ghosts of lacerations, the stinging traces, the paper cuts. You flinch when others would look you in the eye. You are afraid of seeing a little bit of yourself in them.
And how many porcelain pieces have you stowed away in the box in the broom closet? The shards you have counted would never make up the parts of your own mangled heart. They’re not enough. They would never be enough. A bolt of electricity singes your spine and pulls out your nerves like thread – porcelain pieces smash against the walls once more, and on the floor, and the cold walls would only answer back with coarse snarls, the piercing, pitiful wails of an animal falling pathetically to the traps of a sniper (how dare they). The ceilings of the cavern are crumbling because of a mere crack, and you are trapped on all four sides.
Your throat hitches.
Your hand trembles.
The floor glitters with dusts of porcelain. For a moment, you thought it looked pretty.
A rattling breath fills your ribcage; take it as a single gift you deserve. Remember to leave with your shell in one piece, only for the insides to be bruised and scarred. Wait with breathless ache for your heart to grow callous (though it will break tomorrow, and the day after, and after that). Remember that your mother kissed you and told you to take care of yourself the same day she left you. Remember that you are all you have.
tajima; To Nobody In Particular
You’re always like this.
Shoulders squared and breathing level, there’s something in the way you pitch, catch, and bat, and yell about orders, that adds two feet to the six you already are. A poised giant. A human Swiss-knife.
But the stones at the top of a mountain would never see themselves as any more superior than the rocks that form the base.
Listen - this is what I’m trying to say:
Wait on him - but the longer you wait the drier the seasons grow. The cracks across the parched ground gape thirstily at the stretches of empty sky, and it would neither be rain nor Sun that would eventually penetrate the blacks of these crevasses. You wait for the monsoon, but the winds will not shake you. You drown yourself a little, but the water spits you back up.
The drought arrives with the still smell of dust, of Sun; of hunger. A last lick of salt from the floor of the drained watering-hole - then you let your bones become the sand that blow into the paper-thin slips of the gaps between our memories.