She sings herself to sleep, watching closely the sleek silhouette of the night. Darkness swallowed her eyes. She sees no more.
The wind whispers in her ears but the great heart chose not to listen. It was not her. She was not her.
Enveloped in a sheet of euphoric wretchedness, she laughs. Her laughs, empty. Her mouth, dry. Hear her laugh.
And then, she weeps. Her tears, cold. Her eyes, frozen. Hear her cry.
She makes her way out of bed, out of the uncomfortable smoothness of the satin sheets. She walks out. Never does she want to come back.
She is on her own.
*created one rainy night of 2002
Blank untitled notepad, leaving nothing saved,
Unused sheets of paper, too precious to be stained,
Collecting ink pens, scribbling on a coffee house planner,
The glory of a writer.
I woke up one cold night to the sound of the alarm clock. “Hi there Pal,” I murmured. Pal is actually the name of my clock. I like giving names to the inanimate. It’s an addiction. My room, for instance, is named Soñar, which is the Spanish term for “dream.” It’s crazy, I know. But it’s fun. And fun is something I don’t really get to have these days.
Several months ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I didn’t really understand what the doctor was trying to say right after I heard “You have cancer” out of her thin, cracked lips. I know what that meant: Death’s making its way towards me.
The weeks following that miserable day were weird. My parents gave me what I wanted: food, gadgets, posters, CDs of my favorite bands, you name it. Yet nobody stayed with me to listen to my death wish, my thoughts about life, and my messages of love. They went on, doing what they used to. I didn’t understand that. Maybe if I dropped dead, they’d just pick me up, burn me, and go to work the next day. Maybe they’d forget about me in an instant. That’d be sad. Or maybe that’s how it has always been. Maybe dying means being forgotten unless you made a difference like Martin Luther King, Jr, or you’re just extremely famous like Elvis Presley. I don’t really know. I don’t know any relative who died. I don’t even know if any of my friends lost a relative. Who am I kidding, anyway. I don’t have a friend.
I was home-schooled. I never got to step inside a school campus. I have never even entered another kid’s house before. I was always inside our house. The only time I get to leave is when I’d go to a hospital. As a kid, I thought that was how every child’s life was like. Growing up, television shows taught me what normal kids do. “Honey, what you see on television are fake events. They’re fiction,” dad said. I never believed him, though.
I love my dad. He’s always so funny. Whenever we’d spend time with each other, which is about 15 minutes everyday, he’d always tell me a good, funny story. Mom’s not like him. One time, I wanted to tell her what dad told me. I was really excited, but she just whisked me away and continued stitching what looked like a sweater. An ugly one, mind you. From then on, the only time I’d speak with mom was during our four-hour lessons, which ended when we found out about my cancer. Since then, life’s been pretty dull. No more time to speak with mom, dad’s always running in and out of the house. It’s just me, my books, and the tellybox. Sometimes, I wish I had other things to do. What those things are is the question I tried to answer.
Much to my delight, my mom spoke to me one afternoon (while stitching another disgusting-looking sweater). She said she’d take me out on my birthday if I promised not to tell dad. I said yes, of course. I was so excited. “Two weeks,” I counted in my head.
Up until the eve of my birthday, mom kept telling me a lot of things about her childhood. She told me about parks, malls, ponds, hiking, bicycles, the ice cream man, and many other things that sounded so fun. But the best part, for me, was seeing mom look so cheerful.
I looked forward to my birthday like I’ve never looked forward to anything else at all. I’ve never felt so excited in my life. My excitement even drove me to setting Pal, my clock, to wake me at 11:50pm, moments away from my birthday.
“10 more minutes,” I happily whispered.
I thought about getting an ice cream from the ice cream man, or riding a bicycle with mom. That’d be totally fun. I continued to wait, imagining what my day would be like. I could feel my facial muscles moving. I was grinning, I knew it.
Four minutes to go.
I planned on rushing to my mom’s side right when the clock strikes midnight. I wanted to give her an early thank you hug. Maybe I could spend the rest of the night beside her, so I would wake up when she does.
Less than a minute.
I felt my heart jump a little. I was so excited. But I felt kind of sleepy. My eyes were giving up on me. It’s all good, though. Just a few more seconds and I’d be sleeping beside my mom.
10, 9, 8…
Why was I so sleepy?
Everything became a blur. I was so tired and sleepy. I tried looking at the clock again: midnight.
“I made it, Pal. I’m free.”