Girl in the mirror

We stared at each other in silence.

Tears stain her cheeks and I wipe them. I smile, hoping to comfort her. She returns an empty smile. She sees the lie in my eyes.

She cries and I can’t stop her. For we’re alone, the girl in the mirror and me.


To 16-Year-Old Me

Dear 16-year-old me,

Drop that razor down.

You have a great life ahead of you. Don’t you ever think of wasting it. But if you must cry, go on then. Tears don’t hurt. Let them heal you, at least for the time being.

Honestly, I am not sure how great life will be. I am still trying to figure it out. But don’t you worry because I’m doing everything I can to make it a happy life. But I will need you to cooperate. So can you promise me you will never ever think about doing that again?

I won’t lie to you — life is still pretty tough. I am still clueless of what and who I should be. But life is beautiful. Sometimes, witnessing its beauty is enough to sustain you. There is so much beauty in the world that you can’t afford not to see enough of it. So hold on to whatever scrap of hope is left in you. That hope will sustain you until the world reveals its sheer magnificence to you. Then that will give you something to love and look forward to, something to live for.

I know you have a lot of questions about your identity and your future. I know some of the answers now but I can’t tell you. You will find the answers yourself in due time. They may not come easily and they may sometimes hurt but I know you have enough courage in your poor heart to deal with it. Trust me because I should know — I made it this far. So hold on, will you? It will be okay. You will be okay.

Happy birthday, dear. There will be many more to come.

With so much love,
21-year-old you

P.S. Enjoy that ube cake. That might be your last.

Cruel April

I should have bought an ice cream. It occurred to me just now that coffee is not a good idea with this weather. Or at least, I should have bought iced coffee. Hot coffee and April just do not go together. I wish April is over soon.

In this part of the world, April is literally the cruellest month. I hate April.

But I used to love April though, it being the good half of summer vacation. April was basically a month-long feast of childhood. It was all about long hours of play uninterrupted by homework — playing outdoor games in pajamas because Mommy did not want us to scrape our knees, swimming in the pink inflatable pool with my siblings and my brother’s plastic toy animals, playing water tag while Daddy washes the car, soaking up the rare April showers in a pink one-piece bathing suit, dance-offs against my sister to Britney Spears’ and Spice Girls’ hits, and Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and Animax. April was when Mommy was almost always in a good mood, when she was not hovering over us about schoolwork and when we spent many afternoons turning the kitchen into a sweet-smelling chaos with her baking experiments. And best of all, April is my birth month. Blowing candles is the best way to end the month, don’t you think?

Now, April sucks. With the extreme heat you can no longer expect kids to play outside. That would be self-inflicted punishment. Maybe this is why Earth Day is on April — it is when we can actually feel that climate change is real. Plus, what summer vacation? The academic calendar shift has ruined that. April has become the dreaded cramming month instead of being graduation month. And worst of all, April is my birth month. I just can’t celebrate when April is being too depressing.

I am twenty-one today. The number is so odd. I feel ridiculous in my body — I look sixteen but feel twenty-six. I hope I were eleven again, though. At least then I would have had a cake and candles to blow. Now it’s just me and this cup of coffee.

It is interesting how even in a hot, humid day like this, coffee can still provide comforting warmth.

Heartbroken bibliophile

I hear them beckoning to me.

I caressed them, lust burning within me. Still I said, I can’t take you with me.

With painful struggle, I finally managed to walk away. I could still hear them pleading.

Heartbreak is being in a bookstore, seeing all the books I cannot have.


He used to write to her

He used to send her love notes every day — letters and poems, long and short.

Not once did she reply. Religiously still, he wrote of her chocolate eyes, her rosebud lips, her angel’s hair. He wrote of love.

He could have written more but the ink has run dry.


And she danced with him

I want a man who can dance.

I met many but not one danced with me. Then, here he comes.

His timing is bad and he steps on me. Yet, he is the only one who dared to ask me dance.

A new song begins. “Let’s try again, shall we?”


He with two left feet

What was I thinking asking her to dance?

Me with two left feet. She with feline grace.

Yet she smiled. “Let’s try again, shall we?”

I will a hundred times, if only to get enough of those crescent eyes to last me a lifetime of her, dancing in my dreams.