Thinking about you paralyzes me sometimes. I can actually feel it. From the nape of my neck going down to the small of my back. It’s not like the way you’re thinking about it (I know you’re thinking of the word slither because you always liked the imagery of snakes). No, this one it pounces. Sharp and spiritual.
I feel, at times, you’ve cursed me. A kind of curse that’s indelible.
When I talk to my friends about you, no other word comes to mind but “phenomenon.” Because how else could such a mix of tragedy and mystique be described if not in the word “phenomenon.” In the box of things that cannot be explained.
Did you get the box I mailed to you? From five light years ago? Most nights I forget what’s inside it.
Most nights aren’t tonight.
I don’t give you enough credit for your memory. Because I could spill out every single thing inside that box and you’d correct me on the color. Or the packaging number. Or the little note that I left inside that I told myself when I put it, “In ten years, you’ll forget any of this ever happened.”
Ten years aren’t tonight.
I once dreamt of you (did I ever tell you this?) I think it was just last week actually (I’m so sure that I’ve told you this) And it was one of those meta dreams where you could see yourself from outside your body (I was drunk and holding another girl’s hand when I felt it burn me) I was there, watching myself sleep, and your body was there too beside me (I think I felt your eyes watching me) You weren’t sleeping, at least not yet, but your eyes were fluttering and showing only whites (Like some vulture or, kinder, an owl) But before they closed right shut, you whispered, and I knew I was waking up because I was trying to catch you from where I was standing (You burned me):
“I only act like I care.”
I watched the movie Soul the other day. I found it funny how they depicted the passage of time like a conveyor belt. As if, once our time here is over, the destination continues forward and linear as usual. If this time is like that, I’d try my best to run backward. And if that fails, I’ll scrape the surface trying to dig out a cog that I could pull out to stop its passage. And if that fails, I’ll fall onto the side and hang limply on the edge. Stare down at the bottomless pit
and wonder: If I fall, will I touch the ground?
You always told me philosophy was the weak man’s science.
But if I fall, will I touch the ground?
I always thought you’d give me all the answers. And maybe you will, five or ten or fifteen years from now.
But those aren’t tonight.
(And I need you tonight),
Aidan Reuel A. Bernales
Aidan Bernales is an 18-year-old Filipino writer from Cebu City. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Ateneo de Cebu’s Molave and is a part of the school’s theatre, debate club, and student council. He has songs on Spotify and a poetry account on Instagram.