Run

(It’s been a really, really long time. And I promised that I would write hear a lot.

That kind of irritates me.

But a lot of things happened, things that I really can’t say anything about – I will remember them forever. This is good. I think.

Anyway, I need to write something. I need to do something that I don’t have to do. Because, one more errand-slash-job-slash-order, and I will probably go insane if I don’t get to exercise my free will.

So, a yarn.)

 

Run.

Faster.

Tear through the trees, brush those branches aside, and run.

Hear your feet as they pound the pavement, as they step on the fallen leaves. Feel them crunch beneath your feet.

Listen to the frantic beat of your heart, to the breaths you take, as you blur through the park.

Forget the painful feet, the painful tightening of your chest.

Run until you can’t run anymore.

And then, run some more.

Run until you don’t want to run.

Then do what you want to do.

A Few Pieces of Advice, for the Traveler at the End of the World

(This was supposed to be an exercise with some friends. We were walking home one night, wondering why the road home was shorter than the road beyond, and I thought we should write something about the mystery. This didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to – I wanted to write something about Enigma filling in for Mystery at Universe’s office – but most things never do.)

1. You’ll always leave parts of yourself behind.

That much is true.

But you’ll always take things as well.

You will take breaths.

You will take steps.

You will take things apart.

You will take things away.

You will take forever to understand.

But that’s okay.

 

2. Roads going to places are always longer than roads coming from them.

Also, the journey to somewhere is more remembered than the journey back.

You will have to remember that.

Know when to treat a place as a destination or as a starting point.

 

3. People change their minds.

It is normal.

Just remember that you are always free to try and change them back.

Sometimes they do.

 

4. Friendships are not bridges to other people.

They are more like ramps.

You need one at each end to make the thing work.

Or else.

 

5. Sometimes we fall.

People always say that it’s about how we stand up, but sometimes that isn’t the case.

Sometimes we need to fall to get to where we need to be.

 

6. Love too much.

It will hurt like hell.

But it is the only way.

 

7. Most people leave.

Some stay.

 

8. Finish what is on your plate.

You might not be able to feed the children in Africa or whatever they will say, but you can at least have the decency to realize that there is a difference.

Always be grateful.

 

9. Every form of measurement is arbitrary.

 

10. Your choices make the world.

Be careful.

The Girl with the Million Lives

She is the girl with the million lives.

Lives lived, lives half-lived; lives that could have been, and lives that will be – there they all are, quiet behind her eyes, as she stares into space from across the table.

She tells you about some of them sometimes, those lives she keeps inside – the adventurer in the night, the ice queen, the hoper, the dreamer, the non-believer – and you sit, listening as hard as you can, partly to hear her voice, and partly in the hope that maybe you are in one of them.

The Boy with Roots

He is the boy with roots.

From afar, you cannot see them – he hides them behind his forgettable face, his lopsided smile.

He hides them well.

And then, in a moment you would not expect it, you find his arm around you and his head on your shoulder, and while he looks past you, you find you have memorized his face, and you can feel them growing.

He has roots underneath your skin.

The Girl with the Candle

(I am in medical school. Sure, there are so many things to learn, but what strikes me the most is the people I have come to associate with, the people I have tentatively grown to like, possibly even love. In this series I plan to do a story for every one of those 161 people, about a moment when they thought no one was looking at them, and I saw them.)

She is the girl with the candle in the room of the dead.

In that context, she is nothing special – in fact, we were all holding candles then, all 162 of us, standing around bodies half-covered in blue plastic sheets.

But then, as the candles burned down to half of what they were, she did not notice – her eyes were fixed on a point no one could follow. As hot wax spilled on her fingers, she did not make a sound, as others I have known are wont to do. And as the wick glowed hot near her skin, she waited until the service was over, and finally, with a look I cannot even begin to describe, she blew on the candle, and the light flickered and died in her hands.

She is the girl with the candle in the room of the dead.

Kids These Days

I was sitting on the bus, minding my own business, when I noticed that the two kids beside me were munching on a lot of food. The girl used the box on her lap to gain leverage over the last bits of tamarind sugar in the yellow cellophane, while the boy chewing marshmallows while holding the multicolored wrapper. It was otherwise the normal scene when a family boards the bus.

Then, as if in unison, the children beside me held their sweets wrappers, and threw them under the chair in front of us. Underneath the chair, there was also a mound of wafer wrappers and tissue paper, most likely coming from them.

It was saddening to say the least. More so since the kids’ parents were in plain view of whatever their young ones were doing.

Alas, I am nobody’s parent, and I do not look like I have the authority to reprimand anyone – and so I just kept my mouth shut, and transferred seats as quickly as I could.

Check-up #1

I was walking along in National Bookstore when I saw a friend. Being the amiable dolt that I am, I of course greeted her with a “How do you do?” Being the Filipina that she is, my friend promptly replied with an “I’m fine. How do YOU do?” To which I answered, “I’m good.”

Still following me? Thanks.

Then, she looked at me with a look that pretty much was incredulity made into facial expression, and said, “Wait, aren’t you a med student already?”

Before I could respond, she immediately got carried away by a flood of people towards the exit – which I guess was a good thing.

I mean, I was left pretty much speechless. I couldn’t answer her question if I tried.

Because, really, medical school feels, well, weird.

I know I’m not doing anything medical yet, and, quite frankly, I’m not even studying anything medical yet. But everything feels like it is tinged with the aura of medicine (if there’s such a term). Everything feels like I should be better than what I am, and everything I do seems so far from even the slightest notion of ‘enough.’

I don’t know if this state will change anytime soon, but if it does, I’ll tell you.

Current status: Stable but confused.

Pressure: Moderate but increasing.

BMI (Bad Mood Index): 5 out of 10.

Outlook: Positive (?).