MRI

“Mam, are you okay mam? Mam?”

That left me out of trance. I take deep breathes, and say, “yes.. please continue.”

Again, after a few minutes, the nurse asks me. “Mam, are you okay? Are you sure you are okay? Press the button if you need us. We’re right here. Just a few more minutes.. relax.. think of something that will make you happy.”

The nurse plays music for me. I take deep breathes, and close my eyes. I imagine.

Hey Soul sister by Train. I smile. You’re not much of singer, but you like to pretend you are. You sing along, off tune, and it makes me smile because you do this for me.

All of Me by John Legend. A tear falls down from my face.

I imagine you, like how you are, lip syncing to the song while we dance poorly, I am not much of a dancer. You hold me close, and say “baby, it’s okay..”

I breath heavier, your face fades away. My head starts to hurt. The nurse is telling me, just a few more minutes to get a clear scan, but I am shaking. I can hear you, “it’s okay, it’s okay, I’m here.. calm down. I’m here..” slowly, your voice becomes quiet. I panic. I don’t want to be alone.

The MRI scan is over. The nurse takes me out, slowly and gently. He sighs. “Are you okay? Please sit down for a while, it’s going to be fine..” I can’t hear his voice, my head starts to hurt, and I vomit.

I sit and look around. I am alone. You are not here. You never were. You never came to any of my sessions.

I cry silently, as my attacks overcome me. I tell myself to be brave. I tell myself it’s okay.

Because you know, but you never came anyway.

– you keep me going even after you’ve left. // hrh

Rain

The sky is dark and the rain starts to pour, and I am not bothered because I am prepared. In this country, it is a must to always have an umbrella with you- rain or shine.

But I curse myself as the bus stops and I realize that I have left mine just when I need it.

I tell myself it’s no matter. I can probably hail a taxi as soon as I get off the bus, and I hope it doesn’t rain harder. I am already feeling light headed because of the flu, and the usual Manila traffic isn’t helping either.

“Miss! Wait!”

I pretend not to hear, but the footsteps behind me catches up and I am suddenly shielded from the rain. I look up and see a smiling face, holding an umbrella on both of our heads.

“Hi.. Sorry, but maybe I can help you get a cab? Or walk you to where you’ll go? You might get sick if you get caught in the rain..”

Same scenario of how we met before, and today is your fifth year death anniversary. He has the same eyes as you, warm and kind, and I’ve noticed the law books he was carrying. You’ve always wanted to be a lawyer.

I thought I’ve forgotten you, but here you are again, reminding me of your last words.

I’ll always be there when you need me.

// hrh

 

 

Wanted: Hell Torturer

Satan gives you a personal tour of the place. You didn’t have much choice when he captured you for the job as the new torturer. You had been in the hospital, brain dead after a car accident. You aren’t religious, and never believed in an afterlife, so you screamed when he came for you, in all his glory, a demon who was a human dragon. You are crying, begging for mercy, but Satan doesn’t want to deal with your petty begging- although it is acknowledged by the law of the divine that as an average human being, you were offered the job.

Hell is terrifying to behold. All the books that described it were right, even ten times more. You never liked horror movies, so it is quite a shock for you to see the ways all souls are being tortured. Wailing souls, oh the sound of it isn’t like anything you’ve heard before- the cries of people who have realized that they are submitted to Hell for eternity.

Satan turns to you, and your heart stops upon seeing his face. “Do you not see why we are running out of ideas? Souls here have been around since mankind sinned, this is the end, and yet when punishment comes to you everyday, the souls have learned to expect it.”

He brings you to the section where the oldest of them were punished. Their wails are not like the new ones, as their cries have only turned to anguish, the way people sob when the same things happen to them over and over again. You see how much they welcome torture more; their bodies bleed and they are fixed again.

You finally understand.

“You measure their tolerance of physical pain.. and that is the pain that is easiest to accept. Especially when it comes to you everyday and you are fixed after. A wound only hurts when it bleeds.”

“You question me, human?” His voice is something that will make you shake, and so you do.

“I… I.. you have hired me…” you stutter, but you continue. “I am speaking as a human myself. Physical pain is expected, our lives are short- we are frail, weak.. but their heart.. our hearts.. that is the punishment we all avoid, because we always expect the best. Break their spirits.. look back into their lives and see their regrets, their feelings.. and take it from there.. we.. we have enough of that within our lifetime. then.. then.. you can alternate between physical torture and that..”

You tell him your ideas in a blabber. How you can reenact the way a father rejected his daughter, how a boy you trusted most leave. How friends stab you in the back. How you missed to tell people you love them because you were too stubborn to do so, and you regretted it.

The devil walks to you, his size changing according to the average, and little by little, you notice his features. For in the beginning, the devil was the most beloved, the Morning Star- Lucifer, the most beautiful of all angels, God’s favorite.

In a flash, you see the hurt in his eyes, now turning as gold as the sun. You see him as Lucifer.

You gather courage to ask. “…do.. do you have regrets?”

He doesn’t answer, and return to his former form. For a moment it is as if Hell had gone quiet under the powers of its master.

“You’re hired.”

// hrh

photo: Lucifer

Icarus and the Sun

I’ve tried to understand how our story went
and now I know
that our love is that of Icarus and the Sun
too blinding, too risky, too deadly-
it was meant to end as fast as it started.

I am the blinding Sun you’ve yearned for years
but you’ve forgotten you’re made of wax
so on the day you finally flew near me
you find yourself melting away slowly

Your promises
Your secrets
Your sincerity
At the end, you walk away like they’re nothing

As I have loved you more, you suffocate
because you become less day by day
While I burn brighter than anything else

I am the Sun
You are Icarus
No matter how much I hold on
I’ll just kill you.

And you have killed me, too
by telling me that those short days
meant nothing to you
and by letting me pretend
that we haven’t shared
a few days of passion
a few days of ecstasy

But on the days after you’ve left
I find myself no longer wishing to be with someone else
And I envy how you seem to be okay
better, even, without me
while I’m getting dimmer
and dimmer
until I fade eventually.

— for the Sun is meant to be alone // hrh

art by: Gabriel Picolo