Sometimes, I forget to stop being a writer once in a while.
As a writer, I tend to be an observer.
Someone who doesn’t interact with the world around him.
Instead, I take it in, soak it up, bathe in its beauty.
Sometimes, I forget to stop being a writer.
It’s a habit that tends to get me in trouble.
I always just want to sit there and watch.
Watch reality unfurl.
Recently, I took a trip across Big Blue.
It was beautifully terrible,
The people, the streets, the food.
The poverty, the love, the ruin.
The language, the family, the hopes, the dreams.
The drugs, the beer, the rot, the sick.
Usually, my (extended) family would bring me to the supermalls.
Mini-cities that thrived on entrepreneurship.
Enough stories to make a history textbook.
Around my second or third visit, after about four hours,
my family decided that some grub might do us good.
I’d do so much as to write about my starvation before
I complained about it.
So I waltz into the restaurant,
hands stuck to my sides
after a long session of shopping—
I’m still grinning like an idiot.
I’m looking through rows of family members
enough to clog every southeastern airport,
and to my far right behind one of my three-hundred aunts
was a girl.
She sat with her own family,
a meager set of five
counting the voracious eater sitting next to her.
Her thick-rimmed glasses
and short and smoldering ember-red hair
and perfect blend of Filipina and Japanese
made me stare longer than usual.
The “love of my life” was sitting
barely fifteen feet away from me,
barely eating and smiling through
whatever might be festering in her head.
When I couldn’t breathe,
I knew then that
never wanted to breathe alone again.
I wanted to feel her
embrace as the inky blue twilight
coated the bay to
keep us warm in the dark.
Listen to the roar of the sea and of
the white caps and waves crashing against
the rugged man-made inlet and
take Instagram selfies.
Watch the painted pastel yellow stars
just fall around us,
never giving a damn because
we’re too distracted by each other.
Tell her how “damaged” I am,
how many things I’ve managed to get wrong,
how many things I’ve broken and bent.
Walk the endless Disney halls with
hands clinging onto one another,
planning of a future we’d never get to see.
Polish her glasses and make fun of her eyesight, then
polish mine too because I abuse my eyes
playing video games like a drinker and his liver.
Glue our attention to TV shows with
one-hundred seasons and one-hundred episodes and
feel betrayal if she watches while I’m gone.
Ignore the planet burning around us because
there’s (usually) nothing else to care about,
even if the universe crumbles.
Laugh after kissing her a little too intimately since
we just ate dinner and her breath tastes like garlic bread but
we’re still hungry for each other.
Break the rules and the bed now that
we can’t wait any longer to feel each other and
hormone filled teenagers will do anything to
fulfill that primeval craving (I know you didn’t want to hear that).
Rest afterward in some awkward feeling of
embarrassment and fear because neither one of us has done this before and
we’re still afraid of what our friends would think if they found out and
what our families would do if they heard.
Reassure her that whatever anyone says
shouldn’t and doesn’t matter as long as
we still don’t care if the Earth burns and…
Then I see her get up,
out of her chair with her family and
brother or boyfriend because I can’t tell and
she walks out the door of the restaurant and…
I still sit there dumbfounded,
high on the million poems I’d write about her,
dancing with a billion thoughts of what we wouldn’t do.