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Orion’s Belt

Tender

Art hated her name. It was a reoccurring thought she had many times, as daydreaming always seemed to lead back to this point. She couldn’t help it; she wasn’t one for attention — especially as a painter.

“You create art, yet hate Art.”

“Is that your real name, or some sort of starving artist alias?”

Once a boy had tried to charm her with, “You are Art.”

Regretfully after, she had let him kiss her.

Ironically, in one of her sketch journals, she had begun writing down all the quotes she had thus far heard from her name. On the cover, she had painted in angry bold blocked letters, “NOT ART.”

*****

Art sat in the bus, nervously. Her glorious yellow chariot seemed to be taking longer than normal to get to her destination. She rolled her eyes, half annoyed at her self, half impatient with the uncooperative weather. The rain drizzled patiently down the window beside her. She leaned her forehead against the cold, damp glass and watched each droplet race downwards. She tried to choose the bead of water that would make it all the way down the window first.

After a few unsuccessful attempts at trying to distract her thoughts, Art wondered what her visit to the doctor’s would entail.

She felt awkward about the situation. It wasn’t like she hadn’t been to the gynecologist before, for her annual checkups. But this was different. She thought further back to two weeks ago. The weather had been the same, it’s the only reason she could recall the memory so vividly. Embarrassingly enough, it had been her twin brother who had convinced her to take a pregnancy test. So there she was, locked up alone in his apartment while he was away at work. He had bought the test for her and had it set on the counter inside the bathroom.

Why the hell am I doing this? She had been repeating the question over and over to her self. But she took the test anyway, because she was sure of her virtue. Above all else, Art loved experience. However, her idea of experience seemed to differ from others. She admired the experience of not experiencing. Defiantly enough, she had initially rejected her brother’s help, claiming her status as a virgin proudly.

But the test came up positive, and her brother became negative about her declaration.

*****

“Nice book you’ve got there, Not Art.”

Art blinked over her dried eyes a few times, so that the person in front of her came to focus.

“Can I sit by you?”

Art nodded nonchalantly, and scooted over for her friend, Hades.

“What’s up Hade?” Art asked automatically, absentmindedly, anxiously.

“Going in for work, actually. This weather is kind of suiting, don’t you think?”

Art thought about it for a silent moment, and began laughing hysterically and uncontrollably.

Hade was a mortician — and he loved his name.

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March 2nd, 2016

“Just sometimes I can only be myself with you.”

We can go months without talking and then — 

sometimes stuff you say really elicits an emotional reaction from me. And isn’t it weird how greatly we can still affect one another after all this time and distance? I can’t be delusional, because I know it’s mutual. 

Perhaps you still dial in to heart station, the secret frequency of hertz waves still transmitting silently. 

Truthfully, I really do miss you. And I only realize it, and understand it completely, when I find I’m missing the person I used to be, too. 

But I like who I am now, better. So while I miss you, I value me. 

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.

“I bet your first time Trinh, you lit candles and were super romantic about it huh?”

 

Your question caught me off guard as my attention was stuck on my computer, going through the mundane routine of daily closing duties of the store; my mind on cruise control.

 

I shifted my thoughts, and geared my attention towards you — your uncanny and intruding habit of presenting hard questions at inopportune times.

 

I smirked at you, and sighed annoyed, “Come again?”

 

How ironic, the girl at work who kept trying to get into my pants now wanted to unzip my mind. I held great distaste for your type; wanting to understand me without my permission, knowing my honesty would persevere past my stubbornness.

 

It’s something I’ve come to dislike immensely about people. Forcing me to reveal information I don’t think someone deserves to know.

 

Oh well, as I described you before: invasive.

 

“The first time you had sex, it was all fireworks and butterflies right?” You repeated again, a twinge of sarcasm in your voice. You were always antagonizing me for my romantic notion of love. Hell, most of my coworkers did.

 

I guess I’ll never understand why it’s so wrong of me to want the entanglement of bodies to mean something more than just a primal desire of human nature — thank god I didn’t give in to my physical impulse with you, as I was still reaping the repercussions of my previous impetuous actions.

 

My face softened recalling my first touch of love – “No, actually. She lit the candles.”

 

Your voice melted into the hazy background as the memory came flooding back to the forefront of my mind, “You really loved her.”

 

“More than you could ever imagine,” came out of my mouth, effortlessly.

 

You wanted to know the story, so I started from the beginning. Well, the beginning for me.

 

———————–

 

Sometime in early December of my senior year in high school, you confessed your love for me after just a couple months of meeting. I sat in my BCIS class, when I saw your name flash across my phone screen. You put it as the subject of your email, “I love you more.” What I thought was an innocent friendship was turning into something I could no more control than my own raging heart. I stopped talking to you for a month after that — you scared me, not because of what you felt, but for all the things I felt for you.

 

It was very confusing then, for my 17-year-old heart. I had just been previously “heartbroken” over a boy I had no physical or sexual attraction to, and there you were, 6312 miles away, and all I wanted was to lay your hand against my chest, over my irrational organ.

 

Two full rotations around the sun later, and I found myself buying plane tickets to finally see you — to finally.. feel you. It had been a little more than 2 years since we met under the Parisian sky. I believed ardently that fate had brought us together.

 

We talked about it, before I boarded my plane. I was nervous, and you knew. The Christian in me back then wanted to wait for marriage.

 

“I love you enough to wait, pretty girl.” And that was how the conversation ended.

 

You didn’t get upset, or berate me. You didn’t make me feel weird for being a virgin. You didn’t argue with me or try and change my mind.

 

I was surprised by your gentleness. You had explained to me earlier, in the stage of our budding friendship, that in your culture it was actually very looked down upon for a girl our age to still be untouched. And yet, you risked your own reputation to be ridiculed for my sake and comfort.

 

I knew then that I would forevermore be changed by your kindness.

 

———————–

 

I could hear the water running, calming and serene. I leaned against the frame of the bathroom door and admired your figure, your back against me, your hand beneath the water, feeling for the right temperature.

 

The counter by the sink had white candles lit, the soft scent of vanilla wafting through the air between us. You turned around and smiled at me, your devastatingly beautiful smile that struck my heart, “I started it for you, relax okay, I will wait for you to finish.”

 

You cupped my cheek in your hand affectionately, and I turned my face to kiss your wrist. I loved the veins on this part of your body, the way they protruded from your porcelain skin in fine patterns like lace, the way I could feel your heartbeat pulse against my lips. I stopped you before you could pass me, and closed the door, “Shower with me, please.”

 

You undressed first, slowly, cautiously — your eyes never leaving mine. I smiled open-mouthed, “Sorry I’m making you bath twice.”

 

Your whiskey eyes glistened in the dim lit bathroom, the reflection of the candles casting shadows over your naked frame. Your fingers ran through my hair, down my body, and to the hem of my shirt — you lifted it over my head, and I turned around, so you could undo the clasps of my bra.

 

I felt the impact of your lips against the back of my shoulder — instant vibrations spiraled throughout my body. I removed the rest of my clothes, impatiently — I heard you stifle laughter.

 

So I grabbed your hand, and dragged you into the small square confines of the bath. The warm water running from our heads, trickling down to the rest of every part of our bodies. And so I mimicked the water, caressing you, not letting any skin go untouched.

 

You let me explore every inch of your body and I returned the gesture. It was innocent and I had never felt more vulnerable — I blame naivety.

 

But the more I touched you, the more my heart felt for you. And I know you felt the same. Maybe that’s the most beautiful part: loving someone who loves you just as much back. It’s rare, and it doesn’t come by often, but my god, when it does happen, the heart keeps its own memory and holds you victim to it. 

 

We were two points destined to collide, the universe always finds a way to make the impossible possible, and certain experiences cannot be avoided. Against time and space, and paths, and journeys, against all my rational logic, if something is meant to happen — the universe will find a way.

 

After our shower, we retired to your room. I wanted you, I didn’t want to wait any longer.

 

You deserved me in this way, my heart decided. I wanted you as my first, and I wanted to be yours, too. It was the one thing I could only ever give one person in my life ever, and I wanted that person to be you. There can be many after, but there can never be multiple firsts. That’s what really matters in the end, the beginning.

 

So I kissed you, passionately, with every ounce of energy I could muster. Very consciously thinking that I wanted to convey all my love to you, and so with every physical move I made against your body, I did it with the upmost respect and love towards you. I became a different lover that night. Much more selfless. It stopped being about me, and more so about you — I wanted you to feel loved above all else. That you would simply wait for me, changed everything; myself, included.

 

We didn’t make love, we made poetry. The story of your hands written all across my body. Touching you was the most religious experience I had ever encountered.

 

Afterwards, we lay naked in each other’s arms. Exhaustion, overtaking you — but I.. I watched you sleep. Something I had done many times over skype, but now in person, just seemed much more intimate. You felt like home, safe and warm. It was the first time in years, I slept a full night without waking.

 

You made me realize that I could only sleep with people I love, and maybe that’s why I’m an insomniac now.

 

————————-

 

“I’ve never been one for romance,” was your conclusion to my story, as you playfully tried to slap my ass.

 

I swatted your hand away, and laughed myself out of the melancholy now enveloping my body, “Maybe it hurts less that way.”

 

————————–

 

I don’t trust fate with my heart anymore. And I know I’m not in love with you any longer either, but it doesn’t mean I have forgotten how it felt to be.

  

Currently: I hat(v)e writer’s block. 

14/1/2013

I have tried to write you down.

Condense you into words and phrases.

And it’s ironic because I want to become a lawyer, but I feel I have not done you enough justice.

Even as a writer, I lack the creativity to capture you in poetry. Perhaps because I am my best when my heart is at its worst, but you.. you make my heart full.

And I would never want to be Shakespeare if it meant not being your lover.

So just know, if I never accomplish anything else in my life, know that I feel so much more successful than I have ever imagined by simply having the honor of calling you mine.