Snippet Series #19: Sweetness Challenge

Wrote this back in high school. I’ve always known that I was a sap, and everyone says I can be really sweet, so I decided to max it out. I prompted myself to write the most excruciatingly sugary love-struck adulation I could come up with. It’s ridiculously cringe-worthy, but similar to my Nightmare poem (which is also part of the Snippet Series), it was a landmark piece in helping me develop my writing style.

 


 

I try to find the words to describe you, but I just can’t. A soul as breath-taking as yours can’t be captured by anything as human and erroneous as a word, a humble sound that means absolutely nothing at all. A sound which once uttered is lost forever in the winds, a throng of lines that fade and disappear with age. No, your splendor is more long-lasting compared to shape-shifting language, in fact it is eternal. Your beauty exceeds what can be explained and what can be comprehended. Your wonderfulness isn’t comparable to the greatest of gems, or to the sweetest of luxuries. You awe and you enchant, you pause time and move my stone heart, and you warm my cold soul and embrace my thorny being. I melt before you, but you hold on and it keeps me in one solid piece.

How can one smile kill me and yet take away all the hurt? How can one glance cut me up and yet make me whole? Here I am falling, but I feel like I’m flying higher than the clouds, past the stars, and into heaven. Every single atom of my being thinks of you and cries out for how absolutely gorgeous you are. You make me so happy I’m on the verge of insanity. Everything you do, every single miniscule action you make, makes me sing and dance and rejoice to the Creator for so blessing the Earth with an angel like you.

The one second I met you is the only second I need. And I’m the luckiest human in the world just because I saw you. Now, since I’ve met you, I can say I’ve lived my life. I can die happy, but you keep me breathing even when you take my breath away. The simple memory of our first encounter will immediately heal any wound; the silent thought of your sweetness will fix all my problems. Everything’s beautiful because you are beautiful. Everything’s amazing because you are amazing. I am more than overflowing with ecstasy: one human being cannot contain the earth-turning memory of something as marvelous as you, not even all of the libraries and taverns and treasure chests of the world can hold a memory as grand and majestic as yours. Your memory is so deeply engraved it exists in everything I see and everything I do and everything I imagine and everything I dream about. It makes my heart beat and it flows through my veins and nourishes every inch of me and gives me strength to face this merciless world and be a champion, even though all I am is a slave to your wondrous brilliance.

My heart swells as it tries to keep this love for you, but every second it feels like it’ll burst, and I’m afraid that my poor heart is just too small for a love as humungous and outrageous as this love I have for you. I try to find the words to describe you – I go through all the dictionaries of all the languages and yet it still isn’t enough. I desperately try to make words that would be worthy to describe you, but your sweetness is more awe-inspiring than anything I can even dare to imagine; all the hairs would fall off my head, and I still wouldn’t find anything that comes close to you.

And then I’d try to paint you or take pictures and videos, but all of these infantile, try-hard copies are like dust compared to gold. I try fervently to compose the symphonies that I hear when the gates of heaven open whenever I see you, but even that shrivels in comparison to the drowning loveliness of your voice. Passionately I exert all my efforts to feed my need to love you, but nothing on Earth or in space will help me fill it except the thirst-quenching, enrapturing delight that is you.

 


 

No, I didn’t have anyone in mind when I wrote this. In fact, this was originally written from a guy’s perspective.

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Cold

“Your hands are freezing!”

Just another one of the many times I had shocked someone with my icy fingers. I knew my hands were cold today, and I had hesitated to reach for my phone, lest I shock her. But I was hoping she wouldn’t notice.

“Yeah. Sometimes I tell my friends that I must be a vampire,” I joke around, smiling, retracting my phone and cold hand into my bag, trying to ease the worry growing in her eyes.

“You know, in my country, they say that those with cold hands love only for a day.”

We all looked at my other friend, who was sipping coffee from behind her laptop. “Something like they can’t commit.”

I grinned to myself. Well, the Bolivian folk people were natural intuitives. I couldn’t.

I always thought my hands were too cold to be held.

And I always thought my heart was the same.


 

This literally just happened today, LOL. 

Also OMG I don’t mean to be so emo all the time, it’s literally just because inspiration only ever seems to hit me when things are melodramatic.

This is also probably one of the fastest things I’ve written. But it was honestly a very straightforward observation.

Snippet Series #18: Arrival

Wrote this probs sometime in late August, before I arrived in Valencia.


 

Yesterday was one of the happiest days of my life. All the obstacles for the next stage of my life had officially been removed, and the future was wide, open, and beautiful. My family and friends wanted to celebrate with me, and some of them even said they were willing to take a leave from work if only to see me one more time. Also, I was able to fulfill a promise to a friend that I knew meant the world to him. On top of that, my favorite artists and author released something that really made me excited. I couldn’t help but dance out of joy.

And somehow, I remembered you. I think it was because of the story I was reading. In any case, somehow, the story made me realize that I really had loved you, back then. In a way, I still do. But I understand what I feel better now.

I remember how I used to be so scared of letting you go, of losing you, of forgetting you, of you one day meaning nothing to me. I was scared that you’d be replaced, that all the crazy things I felt and moments I lived when you were still such a big part of my life would be invalidated, somehow. I was scared that all this investment was for nothing, and that maybe on top of wasting my time and emotion, it would all just bite me in the end.

It was painful, the inevitable journey of getting over you. I was awash with shame and guilt and regret and loneliness and loss. It took me close to ten months just to stop thinking about you. And then after that, I thought I’d be free.

But when the anniversary of the last time we talked came around, it still haunted me. I had forgotten about the exact date in my consciousness, but as it waned closer, there was an anxious cloud hovering over me even if I couldn’t explain why it was happening. And then when I woke up on that day, the realization came crashing down like a storm. I almost broke down in tears in the camp room that I shared with twelve other girls.

And it still hurt that you didn’t congratulate me for passing my board exam, or for getting a scholarship abroad. It hurt that you didn’t greet me happy birthday. It hurt that you didn’t contact me again even if I would be leaving for a good two years.

My friends went through break ups, and even if we technically didn’t break up, they asked me for advice. I didn’t know why they were asking. I didn’t even know if what I would say would make sense. But… I could talk about how I had felt for the most part. I could finally talk about you openly, without being shy or ashamed. And somehow, they were able to find comfort in my experiences. Still… it always caught me by surprise whenever my voice would break and tears would threaten to fall.

It’s funny, because there would always be moments when I would feel like I was over you – like it didn’t hurt anymore, and that I had forgiven both you and myself. And I felt like maybe I really had forgiven both of us, and maybe I could talk about things without some sort of sting in my chest. But there was this sense of “what’s past is past” to it. Like yeah, it happened, but that was then, and this is now.

Was that really what moving on felt like?

Probably not. Not if I was still running away from our memories. Not if the things that reminded me of you had no spark left in them.

After remembering you yesterday, I dreamt of you last night.

You were in your uniform. Both of us had awkwardly been keeping distance from each other in the dream, but when I finally made eye contact with you, you relented and went over to me.

You hugged me more closely than you ever had in real life. But it felt like it had all those times in the past – complete, somehow. Full. Pure.

You asked me how I was, and I updated you. You updated me. I admitted that I missed you. I asked if you had forgiven me.

You said you did.

I hugged you again and thanked you. I asked if I could kiss you, just on the cheek. Honestly, it was something I had always wanted to do. Even after everything and all the denied emotions and buried thoughts, if you would let me, I felt like it would give me closure.

You said yes, in a confused way, but ultimately fine with it. So I went ahead and did it.

When I pulled away, you were looking at me, a little bewildered that I actually did it. But you smiled. You hugged me again and joked that you wouldn’t ever do something like that to me, unless it was like this – and then you quickly brushed your lips against my own cheek. Then you stepped back and we both just looked at each other, smiling.

I can’t remember what happened next. I think maybe I was called by someone to go somewhere, and you were too. We went our separate ways.

And I know it was just a dream. But it meant a lot. And it made me realize something.

I finally understand what people mean when they say someone is always going to be a part of them. It’s not just objectively accepting that they changed you as a person, or that they were part of your past. And it’s not some sort of sappy, emotionally hung-over hope that one day you two would be reunited.

There was something I said before, “One day I’d only see your shortcomings. One day I’d laugh at your face and laugh at how I had felt. And that is the natural order of things. How many other times had my perception of a boy undergone that same process? Countless. And I remember how all those times before, I had longed for the day when I’d forget them. When the pain of not having them would go mute, and the distraction from work would disappear.”

But the truth is… the other boys in my life… after I had healed enough from them, I had always looked back on the memories with fond thoughts. I remember their good sides more than their shortcomings. I laughed at how I had once been attracted to them, sure, but it was still something precious to me, the same way you are endeared to a child for being silly. And though I had hated acting out of character before… I’m a lot more merciful now. There’s a liberation to being in love. It’s okay to be stupid happy for a while.

And I still miss those boys. And I still think about them every now and then. And I would always want to spend an afternoon hanging out with them and being kids again. I wouldn’t undo things – I’m happy where I am right now, and I’m happy for them, wherever they are. But they still make me smile, when I think of them.

And now you’re like that, too. I smile when I remember you. I’m finally here. I’m thankful.

Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for being you. And I’m thankful God put you in my life, even for the short period that you were in it. I still love you. Not in a soulmate kind of way, but I love you, and I love them, and I love all these people who I have shared a part of myself with. I hope that doesn’t change.

Wishing you all the best. May your story make everyone’s hearts soar.

Spanish Rain

When it rains like this in Valencia, the world stops. She said she dreams of driving through the American deserts in a Cadillac.

Ask.

There would be a house facing the western sea.

The car inched past a dog and his man playing fetch in the November rain. Her friend said she’d drive alongside her in a Porsche, with a large golden retriever in the passenger seat.

Ask.

There would be French windows opening up to an ocean front balcony.

The wipers’ beats interspersed with the tick of the standby blinker. He said he wanted a house by the Dutch canals, with a garden in front. A rarity, he mused.

Ask.

There would be a stained-glass window on the east wall, over my bed.

And what about you? The question was directed at him. As he pressed the car forward, he said he wanted to help the world somehow.

Any selfish dream? They were joking.

He wanted to get laid every day.

They were laughing.

He turned the wheel. But, he said, he wanted to have a family all his own.

And then, they continued to chatter. The traffic jam the car was stuck in extended for miles more.

I grinned, looking at him. “That’s nice,” my smile murmured. I turned to face the window and the grey skies. I watched the cold water pour as their babbling flowed.

In the summers, our glorious sunset would lull me to sleep, and I would wake up surrounded by colors.

I closed my eyes and slept.

You

Experimenting with something new.


 

The lights turn on and you step out from behind the screen, the audience welcoming you with applause. You check the settings on your effects pedal one last time while the drums tickle the excitement in the crowd. You look up and your confident eyes sweep over the eager crowd. You say, “Welcome to the Summer Festival!” unleashing your audience’s squeals.

You glance at your bandmates, and a ready smile spreads on your face. You were born for this.

Your hands rise over your head and you clap, the fans joining you before you even tell them to. A quick look to your right tells you it’s time. You throw your hand like you pulled a trigger, “Bass.”

The low notes spill over the percussion like a warm touch. You nod your head to the beat, and it takes your whole form with you. You wait to extend your arm and sing in scale, “Piano.”

The keyboard’s first sweet note collides with the cymbals like the splash of the ocean. You grin as the sound blooms and blue lights wash over you. Your gaze floats up and you breathe in, as if you were overlooking the open sea. You call out, “Fast acoustic.”

The music builds up and a swing from your arm heralds in the guitar. The audience aahs. A mic from across the stage whines, so you answer, “Hey!” the echo hanging over your shredding on the lead guitar. The crowd screams, enraptured, but all your focus is on the six electric strings vibrating under your fingertips.

You move like you are the guitar’s timbre. Like you are the pulse. The music swells and you give one final strum before the music cools and you relax. You stride back toward the mic, and the audience takes the opening line from you. Your eyes twinkle, as if welcoming in a friend. You motion, “Come on,” and more voices add to the richness of the verse.

Your arms mill at the elbows to their singing; your head bobs to the beat. They know all the words. Your gentle hands fall over the mic and you duet the next lyrics with the crowd, pulling them in to listen with the twist of your wrist. Every time the second voice comes on, you pull back just enough for a grin to peek through and the rhythm to course through you.

Your every gesture keeps the crowd’s attention rapt. Feeling a little mischievous, you turn away from the mic, and, with a finger up in the air, cue the audience. You mouth the words, they fill in the blanks. Satisfied, you get right back in and complete the verse.

“Whoo!” you cry, ending your turn in time to hop back to strumming your guitar at the crash of the cymbals. The canorous pre-chorus has taken over you, and you’re almost unsteady on your feet, dizzy with delight.

Your forehead knots as the guitar soars, and you bite your lip until the cymbals clap and the music cools again. Ecstasy-drunk steps whisk you away to the corner of the stage, but the dancing lights still find you. You aren’t even the one singing, but you’re a show all your own. Nothing stops the grand harmony from sweeping you away to another planet.

You orbit back to your spot, drawn by the crescendoing music. When you jump into the chorus, you take the whole audience with you. Your lips move along to a line that isn’t yours, and your eyes close, feeling every chord and syncopation. It’s your song, but its beauty still overwhelms you enough to push you a few steps back. The cadence ripples through your limbs as you sing along. The rhythm breathes through your whole body. You lean your head back as you bask in white light and musical revelry.

Your eyes open and you smile, remembering where you are. The lights color you yellow as you nod and speak something inaudible to the crowd, but everyone just understands. This was it. You were going to let it all out. The last chorus explodes over the speakers and everyone leaps into the air. It’s nothing but lightness and freedom, dancing and emotion, sunny hues and song. 

And just like that, the piece ends with the last stroke and the audience erupts in cheers. You look down at your pedals, preparing for the next set – completely unaware that for four minutes and twenty-five seconds, you had become everything Joy looked like.

 


 

Most of the things I’ve written are based on something internal or imagined, and I wanted to try writing about something that I observed outside of myself. When I saw the video this was based on, I immediately felt like I needed to write. There was just something so contagious about it (of course, I took some artistic liberties in how it flowed, but it’s mostly faithful to the video).

I wrote this song in such a way that I hoped the reader would maybe feel the same kind of excitement and joy of doing what you love and living every moment of it. I kinda want to use this as a reminder to go through more and more of my days like that.

288 Days

I lost the necklace you gave me.

It must still be somewhere around the house, because I can feel its haunting presence reassure me that it lies waiting for the accident of its rediscovery. If that moment comes, would I celebrate? Would I cry? Would I not care? … Would everything come crashing back?

How long until I stop missing you?

The question was my good night and I always knew the answer by morning. When it rained, I wondered when it would stop making me remember the scratch of your sweater. When the sun cast its rays on the earth, I asked myself when it would finish reminding me of your dappled skin under the acacia tree. When would my heart no longer cry each time melodies gave me goosebumps? When could I look up from my feet without hoping you’d pass me by? When was I going to feel the world again, when you were the vigor of my senses?

It was never a question of how. There was no how. I could run a borderless plane and still be nowhere. No matter what I could have done, it would have been either a temporary fix or a futile escape, and all roads would circle back to you. Forgetting you would have been like trying to lose the tune to a mother’s lullaby. There was no how.

There was only when. Like the end of our time, the withering of our memories will be inevitable. There was nothing to do but suffer through until time had run its course. There were no questions of inefficiencies, no viral life-hacks. No one to convince, no standard to meet. No deadline. There were no honest shortcuts. It was humbling, the powerlessness I was subjected to. I was forced to just… be.

How long until I stop missing you?

The question was solemn and quiet and at the back of my mind through day and night, in the undertones of every hangout, weekly plan, checked-off to-do list. It was like a spool of thread falling off a cliff, irreversibly undoing itself until it was spent. It was like watching cut blossoms dry with no vase to put them in. It was like an autumn of the soul.

The memories have gathered dust. They sit like snow globes on the hearth of my heart. Curious mice and sentimental fingers stir them up sometimes – but they’re just little towns and little lives from an idyllic past I’m not living anymore; a rose shard that broke off from my glasses.

Everything is faded and filtered with your grey colors. I work and learn and play, and all the world continues to turn. But I don’t see gold in the sunshine anymore.

Maybe the prick of the heat will come soon enough. Maybe the ice will thaw into paths worn under treading feet. Maybe the sky will not be overcast. But when will the lights stop looking fluorescent? When would water no longer taste distilled? When will the air fill with open fields and garden scents?

If the chips fall and chance leads your necklace back to me, would I feel the spring?


 

The necklace has yet to be found, but the spring sun shines through my open window.

The Impossible

Another thesis on Levinas’ Infinite Other.


 

What magnetism – the impossible. The flipside of reality.

I am fascinated by what exists apart from me, like the cold, milky galaxies – and how awe-striking, that I see those bright stars in the eyes of another, another with hands like me, lips like me, hopes and dreams and pains like me.

How could it be that you and I exist – move, breathe, are – in the same space? How did the rules of Things permit this? How have the seas not halved and the skies not raptured? How is it possible for such magnitude to fit a frail human heart? You and I are a question to the universe.

I see the tenderness of mellow twilight in you. I see the coy lapping of the shores in you. I see the invisible embrace of the wind in you. I see the crimson vein that goes on flowing with happiness and sorrow in you. You are the horizon of what I know and understand and am. You are the World’s Edge.

You are the beautiful impossible.