Hinata (part 1)

Yui was sitting at her dining table again with a glass of wine clutched in her hand. She stared blankly at it and traced her dead gaze to the rest of the arid apartment. It was quite spacious and could easily house four people. The furniture and appliances were all meticulously chosen to be functional yet aesthetically pleasing if they weren’t being used like an Ikea showroom. With enough light, you’d feel like you were modelling in the latest home décor magazine. Yet, the room was pitch-black save for the sliver of sunlight cracking through the living room curtains thus creating a thin bright line stretched across the white marble floor. It’s been four years since Yui last switched on the light. In fact, it’s been months since she last took a shower. The smell didn’t bother her and pretty much nothing could. The numbness had taken over her.

She looked back at her wine glass and inspected its curvature. The wine glass was a part of a six-piece collection. They were imported straight from an Italian dinnerware company that have been existing for over 200 years. The company garnered such a reputation over the centuries they decided to make certificates of authenticity for their products. Yui loved that idea at first, but now she just saw it as a vessel for her wine. Sometimes, she thought she was one too. She downed the remaining contents, ignored the fact that each serving would normally cost ¥2,000, and embraced the feeling that the alcohol gave her. Her skeleton hand crept over to the wine bottle across the counter. She peered up to see that a good 10 bottles were grouped together with the newly opened one nestled right at the front. She fingered the mouth of the bottle and tipped it towards her wine glass. A stream of seemingly black liquid sloshed out with some drops escaping and landing onto her wine-stained Cherry wood table. She stopped halfway through drinking when she heard a noise in the living room. She licked her lips, put down the glass, and looked for the source of the noise.

“Yui. You need to take a bath. When was the last time you let water touch you? It’s only been wine these past months.” A man in a full business suit was standing in the middle of the living room. Yui could tell who it was even at her state.

“Itsuki. A bath sounds nice, but it doesn’t make me forget our dead child.”

That stabbed him right in the face. He clenched his teeth holding in his pain and anger.

Their child was everything to them. For 10 beautiful and fulfilling years, they had her. She was 10 when she disappeared then 11 when they found her. The man who abducted then raped her for three hundread and sixty five days got bored. He gave her up. She was found naked and lying by the entrance of a police station about 500km away from home. The couple were ecstatic to have her back. They did everything to bring her back, but she remained silent. They didn’t know it, but she had died in that man’s bed. She died in his car. She died in his tent. She died in public bathrooms. All of her dreams were dashed like a single red brush stroke across Mona Lisa’s smile.

She hung herself with the doorknob of her room when she was 12. It took Itsuki and Yui two days to find out that she was sitting lifelessly in her Sailor Moon infested room. They had thought that she had lost her appetite, and that was pretty frequent. Little did they know that they were living with the body of their dead daughter for two days with note on her lap saying ごめ. He cried his soul out for days, but after a few months, he got a hold of himself. However, something happened to Yui. She was the life in their group of friends, the fresh spring breeze, and the bright bell that would toll during Christmas. Her laugh was like a music that birds would fly to. Now, she was a dark gaping hole without a bottom. The glimmer in her eyes had completely extinguished like a frozen oil lamp abandoned in the tundra. The only things that came out of her were words so sharp they could slice your soul if you weren’t careful.

“Yes. A bath won’t bring her back. But not everything must be about her.”

“I gave her my everything!” Yui slammed her free hand on the table. The sound rang across the room like a film slate being slapped at the end of a take. “You can’t tell me that everything can’t be about her. She was everything. Why aren’t you feeling the way I feel? Why aren’t you suffering?!”

“Of course I’m suffering!” He spat back. “I’m not some sort of fucking android! I feel pain! Every bit of it! I’m not programmed to see everything as Hinata!”

He immediately regretted what he said and held his head down. As he was about to apologise, she stood up. He rushed to support her weight as she wobbled to her feet. She took his hand, inched into the kitchen, and fumbled for three medicine bottles then swallowed a pill from each with a swig of wine.

“You’re gonna kill your liver,” he said softly. His tone felt like a father lovingly scolding his daughter.

“Wouldn’t that be better, Itsuki?” She turned to him. He saw nothing in her eyes. There was absolutely nothing left inside. “Are you going on another business trip?”

They both looked into the living room where three large suitcases sat. He guided her back to the dining table, and they both sat down. He looked into her eyes, but she just stared blankly at his suit. He breathed in deep and said, “I’m leaving you, Yui.”

He could see her chest rising and dropping faster, and her eyes were darting around more. He was hoping for any kind of response in the past four years just not through this circumstance. He waited for her to say something but after a while, the silence engulfed them both. He reached out and started stroking her head. He kissed her head and whispered, “I love you, Yui.”

“Why are you leaving me then?” She looked up to him with red eyes. Tears were trickling down her flushed cheeks. After four years, Yui finally showed some emotion. “You love me, but you’re leaving me.”

“Do you still love me, Yui? Even after what happened? Do you still have love inside you?”

Yui raised her palms, and the light from the curtain cut across them. “The love I have for you was in Hinata. When I looked at her, I saw you. When I look at you, you remind me of her. You’re killing her again if you leave me. Don’t you see her when you see me?”

“No. No I don’t. Both of you have died already. I’d tried saving you, Yui. But, now, I have to save myself before you swallow me completely. I can’t save you if you won’t let me.”

“Harsh.”


This short story has been in a WIP for yeeeeeears. I don’t remember when I started this, but it was definitely WAY before the pandemic. I don’t know why I decided to finish it today. But here it is! Part 2 comes… soon?

Don’t Make Me Go Back In There

Three days ago, my girlfriend told me we needed a break. I believe it’s my fault for not being there for her. At the beginning of 2019, I was very hesitant to apply for jobs in China only because I was not sure where she and I were headed. I couldn’t go with her if she went to China because of reasons that are way too long to type out. As the year was coming to a close, that’s when I started applying since we were both sure that she was going. I was successfully hired, but I was never able to leave because my government couldn’t let me leave my own country to pursue my own dreams of living and working abroad. Fantastic.

After a month, I was able to find another job in China, but due to COVID-19, I wasn’t able to go through with it. Fast forward to three days ago, my… girlfriend? told me that we needed a break. I don’t think can even call her that anymore because that’s exactly what she needed a break from. TL:DR her feelings for me have numbed, and she doesn’t want to be called a girlfriend or be in a relationship because this kind of pressure is not good for her emotionally or mentally.

I’m not writing this entry because I want to rant about how shitty I am for not being there for her. No. I just did that in the first paragraph. I’m writing this because I feel like a part of me that came out when she and I were still literally hand-in-hand is either about to die or is about to disappear.

She brought out this inner me who I thought died when I was child. I forgot that I was starry-eyed child who saw nothing but good and hope. Goals have never been clearer and the air has never been cleaner. The more I fell in love with her, the more outward this inner me was becoming. At one one point, I woke up smiling everyday, ready to tackle come what may. But, if I told myself a year ago that this relationship was going to go south, that positive me would have laughed at the me now. No one is laughing now. Everyone’s just bawling.

I don’t know how long this positive me will ever survive. I like this part of myself. I don’t want it to die. I don’t want to be alone again. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Heavy steps forward [short story]

A worn warrior wobbles at his feet. The weight of penetrated arrows hunkers him down as his blood trickles through the feathers. A thousand spears shall thrust into him, but instead of fearing pain, a rush of thrill exhilarates him. For, it is not the death which readies him at a stance, but the process of prevailing the peril is what stamps a grin on his tired face. With a crazed look in his eye, he bravely accepts the challenge.

Denial

Please read Found then Lost before reading this entry. The entry below is a realisation of my current relationship with the people I once thought of as my family.

Have you ever felt so misplaced? Have you ever questioned your reality and wondered why you were birthed unto this spinning mudball? For so long, I felt I never belonged to someone or something. The first time I thought I belonged somewhere was my love for musical theatre. Being on stage gave me solidarity and sureness. I felt strong and confident.

As time went on, people moved forward from the theatre, and I lagged. I could never understand how they could move forward and how they could be so happy. Looking back at it now, I realise that having a strong foundation and support system propels people forward. I never had parents who supported me like that. What I had were two separate parents supporting me like I was their child. I think I was raised as two people by two parents and not by a loving couple.

After years of being alone, I found a new family from that cafe I mentioned in Found then Lost. I was trying to deny the fact that I was losing them as a family by staying at the cafe, ordering drinks, and listening to their conversations like nothing ever happened. The thing is though that something did happen, and I didn’t know what to do about it.

I thought that staying with them would bring myself back to them. The more I visited, the more hurt I felt because I saw how disconnected I was from them. I was once so close with them and seeing them be so friendly and family-like without me hurt. Being with them hurt me more than knowing I lost them.

Imagine a tiny larva wanting to be with a magnificent eagle, so the larva attaches itself to it. The eagle does not care for the larva, for the eagle is magnificent, and the larva is an insect. The wind from the eagle is too strong and too fast for the larva, but the larva sees the beauty of the eagle, so it hangs on more. However, the longer the larva is with the eagle, the more tired it gets. The larva realises that an insect cannot survive by being with a bird, so the larva leaves for good.

It’s been a while since I’ve last seen them. I assume that they’re doing well without me because why wouldn’t they be? Ever since I decided to detach myself from them, I felt so much lighter. I sometimes hear the raucous excitement from the cafe in my room (I live that close), and I feel sad that I’m left out. I tell myself, “It’s okay. I would feel worse if I was there with them.” Then, I’d go back to work. I’d move forward. I will continue to look for another place I could call home because I’m sure it’s no longer with them.

Found then Lost

When I graduated from university in 2014, I was filled with ambitions and goals to destroy a particular person. Being fueled by anger and rage isn’t really a viable source of energy. I burnt out. I had nothing and no one to hang onto, so I fell into a hole. After struggling for a year, I met some interesting people in a café near my place. Since my mother was a pain in the ass (she still is), I kept going back to them. First, they became close acquaintances because we talked about coffee. They got me to convert to speciality coffee rather than drinking shitty Starbucks coffee. From there, we talked about things that you would normally hear in a café in Europe like philosophy, economics, religion, literature, sociology, politics, etc.

From acquaintances, we became friends who asked about each others’ day or life. We gave each other encouragements and laughs. We’d talk for hours and hours about work, family, and university. It was like that for so many months until finally, I thought of them as a family.

Coming from a shitty family with shitty parents and no siblings, they were the closest thing I had to a family. We would care for each other. Truly care for each other. If something bad happened at home, they would come to the café to seek comfort. Heck, that was my reason why I kept going there every day. I would be there from the time they’d open to the time they’d closed. It was then that I realised three things about a family. You are either born into a family, make your own family, or find a new family.

I found a new family, and I was really happy that I did.

Then, something happened. The energy in our group became less and less. And, fewer and fewer people were coming back. Until one day, the café closed. Without a home, the family was cast away like evicted people on the streets. I saw them less not because it was difficult to see them (it was relatively easy) but because I didn’t know where they were hanging out.

After months of hiatus, the old café was declared bankrupt, and a new café would take its place. I was excited to see all of my old friends. I was excited to get that old life back. I was excited to have my family back again. But there was one thing that I didn’t take into account.

Time moves forward and so do the people with it. It was naive of me to think that nothing would change. It was childish to think that people would wait for me. During the hiatus, my friends were still in touch with each other. I, on the other hand, drifted further from them. And to top it all off, I had gotten incredibly ill. I had to stay at home for a month just to regain my strength.

My absence from everyone drove me away from them, and I just didn’t know how to catch up. I couldn’t tell them to wait for me because what kind of a dickbag friend would I be if I did?

I came to the new cafe every day as always. But then, staying there for hours on end became painful and uncomfortable. Everyone was closer with each other, and it felt like I was back at square one.

What really drove a stake through my chest was how friendly everyone was to this new girl. She achieved a level of friendliness that I never could, and she did that in the few months she knew everyone. I knew everyone for two years, and I still felt like an outsider.

As the months passed, my visiting hours at the cafe dwindled. I used to be there every night. The cafe would be packed with the regulars, and they’d share laughs and stories. Now, just being in the same room with all of them makes me feel small.

So, I started to slip away as naturally as I could. From every day to every other day, to every two days, to every five days, to every week. Now, once every two weeks.

I don’t even visit at night because I know everyone would be there, so I go as early as I can. The cafe is practically empty at opening hours save for the barista or the co-owner. Sometimes, I only go there if someone asks me when I’m not busy or if I have no coffee at home.

I feel much better now that I spend less time with them. Having my own bag of beans and coffee making equipment at home saves me tons of money. It’s also a good reason not to visit the cafe. I have lost those friends as my family, but I fell in love with a girl. Those friends of mine can’t give me what my girlfriend gives me, so I’m happy.