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It was 12 midnight when I opened my laptop and started typing. After a few start, which happened after deleting and starting and deleting again, I remembered one of my stories I submitted to a publisher making another anthology. Unfortunately my story did not pass the editors qualifications. Since then I continuously edited my story until I could not improve it anymore. And I am bound to submit another story this coming few months which I have been eyeing for quite some time. I was denied twice already, but that did not stop me from writing, now I’m thinking of making my own anthology once I have 16 unwinning stories from contest, and anthology series, I join. Now I share to you my first story in my, hopefully, first anthology someday entitled Unwinning Stories

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“Memories”

Memories, like dead stars, can be seen but can never be touched again. The emotion can never return once we moved on. The feeling we try to remember will always be felt but rather it will be just a memory.

She sat beside me, silently.

I didn’t mind then, but the moment she sat, I thought if there were some other people who would be asking about the vacant sit and that I knew she was the last one, I would have said the seat is taken to all the other who would have asked.

Simple, slender, smart looking, with face perfectly sculpted by whoever made her, eyes with a glow like that of stars. Wearing a yellow dress with flowers that matched the season. Also, she was wearing a hat, and was carrying a handbag that matched her dress. That’s how I remember her, though whatever her footwear then is that I missed, I was always thinking how she would look more perfect if I can remember how she looked with a foot wear.

I felt like I found what I was looking for since I remember I started searching.

“Why do people leave?” She asked minutes later. I was hesitant at first to answer although I know that she was talking to me and not to the other vacant seat beside her, nor to the barista.

I was at an open bar in a resort owned by some rich owner whom I didn’t know. Yet I was thinking of him or her, or whoever tycoon owner they are, of how they managed to win this big, of how much work they must have done, that was what’s on my mind before she asked me about the vacant seat.

“I’m sorry but I’m not the one who leaves people so I don’t have answers for that.”

Very gently she smiled. And our eyes met, and to how our eyes meet seems to be an existence itself that wants to stay yet forbidden to. She stayed silent, and smiled and just stared at me. And that’s what she just did. I noticed she was pretty attractive, and to me, some women are just pretty but they don’t attract me. And the moment she laughed, it was like the spell has been cast upon me.

I fell in love at first sight. But what defines meeting for the first time? I feel like our souls could have been lovers long before we were born into this new world of ours. New world because there was a past, because there was something we like to leave behind.

I smiled at her but I made it to the point that her spell didn’t have any effect on me yet. Maybe through experience that I’ve become like this or maybe through intuition that this woman is the one who’ll break me most so I didn’t want to make myself too much attached to her.

That was how our first meeting went, or that is how I remember it. A love story with no ending, but then how do we define the end, I thought. Probably a story never ends, we just cut it and decide it’s the end, a story always continues, a story like ours with hopes that I might see her again, because I want to.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Whatever it is you’re thinking, I find it too deep.” A woman said as I was staring at the street outside while a drizzle is watering the dry cement of the city. There was no traffic, but what took my attention looking through the glass that divided the world in the café and outside of it, is that I am seeing both – the world inside the café and outside of it; through the reflection and through the glass.

“I’m thinking about death.” I said, not really talking to her.

She sighed and only then I realized that she looked like the woman I met a month before on a bar, less the spell of attraction.

“I’m thinking about you.” I continued.

“You’re thinking I’m death?” She asked with a grin.

“No, no, forget ‘bout death, it was just the rain seems …like death.”

“I don’t think that death is like a rain, I think he’s like a sunny day.” She said, gazing at the street again.

“We run into each other a lot lately, don’t you think it has something to say?”  I asked her.

“We do?” She asked and then she sipped from her drink. I didn’t answer her, I’m not sure. I was shocked at her drinking.

She noticed my reaction then she raised her cup and said, “Oh this?” With her eyebrows raised with sophistication. “We’re not the same.” She continued.

“Does that disappoint you?” She asked after I dropped the conversation. But what would I say, I forgot about people like her with the ability.

“Going back to what we’re talking.” She said, cutting out the silence. “What do you mean by ‘it’?”

“It?” I was quite confused trying to remember what I just said, “Our meetings, fate. Don’t you think it is telling us something?” I said as I look outside the window.

Then turned silent. She just stood and walked out the café. I tried to follow her, though I waited for the sound of the opening door and the bell tinkling before I stood, and when I got out there was no sign of her. It’s the second time she left me.

Right after I sit back to my chair, I thought that she couldn’t be the woman I met a month before. The feeling is just a lot different Then as I was about to stand, I saw a note written on a small paper that was left under the cup of her coffee which was left to get cold.

Wake up ,little star,And look at the world, becauseThe sun is shining

I noticed that the handwriting could only be a woman’s, so I took it, put it on my pocket on my chest and walked my way home.

She really loved sunny days .I thought

I looked for the paper after realizing it could have been more than just a haiku, but its existence is doomed to be found.

Then I promised that the next time we meet she’ll never get away without her telling her name.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Lea.” She said as she was looking at the menu, but I ignored.

I was alone, again, but honestly this past few months being alone seems not to be a problem. Sometimes I find myself in the middle of a crowd but still feel alone.

Now in a five star restaurant at the top floor of one of the buildings around the city, with a lot of people I feel alone. It has been five months since I woke up feeling detached from the world I knew. It has been exactly five months also when I met the lady with no footwear. Could it be, I thought, that she’s from a higher hierarchy?

“You don’t look like one.” I said without ever showing any sign of interest. Even though with the same amount of confidence, I know she’s not the one I met before. We’re both outside the veranda looking at the world.

“So now you’re a name expert?” She said laughing, now she got my attention. It was her laugh probably. I tried to ignore her as there are more like hers that comes to me just to make it through the night, as if my kind are far better than them. I learned how to know in who, of the beings that comes to talk to me, is not my kind. And I know that she’s part of the living.

“Have we met before?” I asked with a poker face.

“What makes you think so?” She asked without looking at me, rather she was looking at the ice in her drink, I noticed as I was looking out the horizon. Seeing the street lights and hearing the sound of the city from below. The city is alive. I thought, then I remembered reading somewhere how the city is described like a living organism, with streets likened to a veins. I came back to the present moment after being in a trance living in a city.

“You seem to act like you’ve met me before.” I said. And she asked me if that’s all the reason I’ve got, I said yes and she laughed the way she laughs, carefree of the attention she gets by doing it.

“My friend met you before.” She said afterwards and then she took a drink from her glass of vodka.

“Your friend?” I asked her. But the next thing I know is she’s gone.

That night, I lost all care for the woman with no footwear, like she doesn’t exist anymore. I remember the thing she asked then I thought Maybe she’s the one who left, and I was wondering why she did?

I tried to get myself some sleep, but I just can’t, I can’t remember how to.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 “You’re Robert.” A girl said as I was sitting alone again in a bar facing the ocean, searching for my memory why I like oceans. To no avail, I can’t remember anything. This was the same place I met the women with no footwear.

“And you’re dead.” She continued.

I was silent the whole time she spoke of how I was so drunk and walked through the waveless sea a year ago. Under the moonlight, under the constellations and to the stars that belonged to none. The way she told it, it seemed like another man’s story, because I can’t recall anything. Only thing I knew for sure was that I’m dead.

Slowly I felt the chill within. Now that somebody is telling me face to face the reality that I tried to escape from, everything seems to be falling down in on me. I remembered the haiku of the girl at the café. Is she telling me then to wake up and accept the truth that I’m dead? It could be, I remembered her metaphor of death as a sunny day. Is it because that I heard it from somebody or because finally I get to hear it telling myself. That I’m dead. It took me a while to compose myself and be able to say something.

“I would like to believe you how you tell me that I died, but my memory tells me nothing.” I said.

“You burned them all when you died. That’s what happens to suicidal cases, that’s why they’re often the lost souls.”

“Then how can you prove yourself true.”

“I don’t know,” She said while looking at me, or past me, through the golden shore probably.

“What’s the point of telling that story then?”  I asked and I felt like there’s something growing inside me. In this bodiless form, I still feel something inside.

“Actually I’m going to ask you a favor.” She said, now I’m sure she was looking at me. “And the story I told you, your own story was supposed to be the exchange for my favor.”

I looked away from her, then asked her how big her favor was, “for,” I said “memory is quite a big price.”

“Not that big, just some bit of information.” She said, looking away from me.

“Ok, I’ll tell you everything I know, everything…but first, answer my questions.”

She stayed silent, so I asked her what happens next, to me. She said that I should find my way to move on or else I’ll be lost forever. “Lost souls goes wild if they stayed too long,” She said. “And to how you will move on, it depends on the soul to figure them out.”

“Some finds forgiveness within them, some find revenge. It’s all up to you.”

I was speechless.

“Unfortunately, for you, you can’t remember your life, and that’s what I was telling you earlier, you should somehow know what holds you here, in this realm.” She continued.

“So why did I kill myself? Why did I walk into that calm sea under the moonlight as you said?”

“Ok, I’ll tell you everything from the beginning, well from the beginning of what you need to know.” She said as she shifted in her seat to look at the rising moon beyond the horizon. It was yellow and the sky was still quite a bit light. “You were about to marry this women named Irene, ‘she was simple, slender, smart looking, with face perfectly sculpted by whoever made her, eyes with a glow like that of stars.’ That’s what you said in that video that was made for your wedding day. She loved summer, and so you decided to do it in summer, the wedding. But then on your wedding day, you left. For some unknown reason. One thing you didn’t know though, was that she abort her baby a week before your marriage. She cut the string that was the reason of your marriage. But then karma comes so fast you don’t have time to prepare for it. In this country abortion is illegal, so she had her abortion unknown and who knows who made the operation. She got ill and then she died, she was poisoned of her own sins. Of course her family never knew about the baby, it was a secret between the two of you. You heard the news, and that upset you, so a week later after she died, that was a day after her funeral – she was cremated as she wanted to.”

The moon was now full lying low just above the horizon.

“I met her.” Were all the words that I was able to say.

She sighed and then she said they were looking for her.

We were again looking at each other’s eyes, as if catching whom of us is not telling the truth.

“Why do you think she can’t bear to let the child live?”

I was speechless, and felt a chill in me.

“Why are you looking for her?” I asked.

“We are looking for her to know where she had her abortion. It’s her family, they wanted to sue whoever made this. And I’m just one of the psychic from a non-government organization. Of course, first we have to talk to her. As for her existence, my friends said she was not being cooperative, that she was quite a hard one to catch.”

“It’s weird,” I say not really talking to her. “It seems like you’re hiding something, I know paranormal experts would let the spirit come rather than them chasing after the dead ones.”

“We’re different, honestly those who stay to call the spirits have a very small chance of being able to contact them, what’s mostly left after death is a strong emotion, an energy that is conscious only of the memory that made the emotion. And what’s worse with that is that there are those who devour emotions, as they are energy. And they aren’t just spirits, they are those who came from other worlds and travel just to please their appetite. Making it worst is that some of them plan to stay, some just a minute old but there are those whose age is thousands of years, and they are the most evil. Just imagine how much of the negative energy they have consumed since they live. And of course once you take in something, you have to excrete, and that is what we call as earthlings, what evil is more evil than the shit of these beings.” She giggled then asked me if I followed her story.

I said yes so she continued, “We chasers, as we call ourselves, follow a lead and make sure we talk to that specific spirit.”

“How do you think I can help you without my memory?”

“Your memory may have been burned but your connection deep within can never be gone, it’s like the path of the soul. Why do you think you keep on coming back on places like this? It’s because deep within, you know this has been a part of you. You may have first met her on that bar on top of the building, and you probably met her to where you were supposed to have the reception, this place could have been your first anniversary being lovers.”

“I understand. But without my memory how do you think I can move on, I feel tired living like this.”

“I’ve never really helped anybody like you who burned their memory, but I think you need to find where everything started, and I’m warning you not to let your emotions grow bigger than what you have now, it’s what you feel growing inside you. Let them grow and you’ll be nothing but a food to evil. Forever you’ll be lost.”

I was again being accompanied by silence, the only friend of mine who stayed beside me. Thinking back on the meetings I had before, her two friends may have been sending a hint on my life, until this day.

“Why haven’t your friends never did this talk with me before, I mean they could have a chance.”

“Your thoughts were far they say, and not until you dropped the thought you were always thinking then, we can never have a talk like this.”

“Last question, and I’ll let you do the asking…”

“No, no please, let us not just assume the end of things, please don’t say last, I just can’t stand how humans assume the end of everything. Let us let everything flow on its course, and let the end come as it will.” She interrupted me and I felt guilty over her words, how I assumed the end of my life.

I tried to relax, for a while it was hard but then slowly I managed to do it. It took a while for me to ask her name.

“I’m sorry but we don’t give our names to beings like you.” She smiled. “Knowing somebody’s name is the start of everything, once you have mine, you can haunt me forever.”

“Ok, sorry, now what do you want to know?”

She sipped from her newly filled drink, with elegance showing how sophisticated her life have been.

“Every place you feel like going, including those that you’ve went to already and don’t feel like going back. Everything you’ve been with her.”

So I told her everything. And then she left me, like her friends whom I met before. Like people who have left before, or as his story of mine, I left them.

That night, she appeared before me, Irene, as she said her name was. The girl I met that captivated my soul.  She was at the window looking outside and just stared there. And the moon light seems to be touching her, very lightly. We’re in the room where I first gained consciousness of my present state.

“You weren’t the father of the child I killed.” She said, and again I felt a chill in me.

“I can’t prove you wrong because of my lack of memory, but I hope you can help me move on with your version of truth. At least also explain to me why.” I said now I was sitting on the side of the bed.

“Why? Why did I abort the child? Why did you leave?” She asked, I think that her emotions are what kept her going. I can tell that she was a lost soul, who can only seek forgiveness from herself.

“I’m sorry.” I said though it was just a set of words, rather than being a line of asking forgiveness. Still I feel luckier than her for I have somebody to ask forgiveness to, for oneself is the hardest to forgive,  I don’t remember, I just know, like how the woman said I know how the places mean to me.

“For leaving?” She asked while still gazing at the window, she looks inviting that at the some point I wanted to stand beside her and look at what she’s looking at.

“Why do people leave?” She said in a rather not question manner.

“Is it because they have something more important to go to; or is it because they can’t find any more reason to stay, that they leave to find a reason?”

“The people you met ever since the first time we met, they have nothing to do with your memory.” She said as if she had just read my thoughts. “They are nothing but humans who thinks they have something to do with us.“

“Some people are just like that,” She continued. “They will come and make you think that they have some important part in your life because you gave them and then one day they will just vanish: like a smoke in the air. That’s how I felt about you, after you used me, after you got what you wanted from our relationship and never returned.”

“I wanted to tell you the day I made it. On why I did such thing, I don’t have the memory of exactly why, the memory that pushed me to not back out in the last minute. Maybe because I don’t want a child bore from lust and anger. Or maybe because I wanted to know if you really love me, if you’ll marry me still without a reason of responsibility. If responsibility is just a second in line of your reason to marrying me.“

“Funny,” She continued, “How I talked of responsibility when in the first place I used the baby to lure you to me. I don’t have plans on telling you, not in a single second a thought came to me of being honest with you who the real father was, but look at how I speak now, maybe death does change ones perspective.”

And then silence took over the room.

“Ghosts,” I finally said after a while of silence, of how much time that while took, it felt like eternity for me, “are reminders of the things that we never finished, I’m your ghost and you’re mine, can’t we at least end all the things we started.”

“You mean to give this love story an ending?” This time she was sitting beside me.

“I don’t know why I would have left? But whatever is the reason I’m asking for forgiveness.”

“I have forgiven you a long time, and all that’s bothering me is your reason that I wished have heard before we became like this. But now that you can’t remember anything, what’s the worth of knowing?”

“I always have this thought of people forgiving but never forgetting, because forgetting somebody’s mistake makes the apology worthless. It’s just the weight is different between real forgiveness and just forgetting.” I said and she fell silent, probably thinking over the words that I have said. “But I guess that this time it’s different, forgiving myself without ever remembering what I did in the first place.”

“I find us disappointing, a waste. We had so much similarity, but maybe that’s what makes us not compatible.” I continued.

And as her silence seems unbreakable I asked her one last thing. “Can you tell me, honestly, what my name is?”

She said nothing, and then slowly she fades into the moonlit room. And everything went dark. With my name, she went away. That night I officially became part of that darkness, of someone else’ memory that they will try to dig but never will.

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