You Could Have

It is a cold, damp morning. We sit beside each other under the canopy. You are looking at your book, trying to remember the little details that seem to be important. Water drips from the drenched canopy roof, hitting your book. You look up, sigh, and rearrange yourself in a position that is now closer to me. I sit silently, watching your face, trying to not let you know about it. Even in my fear, there are too many things about you that just pull me in. You look like you are contemplating on something. I may not know what it is, but I know that I am in love with the way the light shines upon your face, soft and warm even in the gloomiest of days. You mumble things, saying how you don’t understand a heck the book is saying. I laugh. Not because it’s funny (well it is funny), but because I love hearing your voice. Then you look at me and smile. The way you smile, it’s crooked, it’s not perfect, and that makes it beautiful. I look away, pretending to watch the birds soaring above the clouds. You see our friends, close your book, get up and walk, your steps creating muffled squishy sounds as your shoes touch the water-filled pavement. I look back at you, you never realise that. You never realise how I am in love with you. How I long to say things I’ve been safeguarding for years. How I long, but in the end, I just can’t. My mouth won’t ever form the words. But you need to know this: you could have never stopped me from loving you.

Gazans being attacked by Israel. Malaysia Airlines Fight MH17 shot down by separatists. Mosul Christians uprooted from a place they have called home for a thousand years, what is happening to this world?

People have forgotten these simple things: compassion, understanding, love. It seems now we only exist for ourselves. We don’t care about the rest. How long will this continue?

Est Belle

I’ve heard it before
I’ve heard it yesterday
“You’re fat.” they said
Look, look at me
What do I got?
Big fat waist
Large thighs
lumps on my face
“Hideous clothes.” they said
I don’t wear skimpy dresses
I hate pink
Tell me am I wrong
to not be like them?
Wear this, wear that
Don’t be yourself
Be like the rest
Stop enough
Yes I stride like a guy
A proud one at that
Acnes on my face
They won’t stay forever
My teeth are crooked
I still cuss and it feels right
Short hair like a man
I wear it like a crown
“You’re not one of us”
I don’t want to be one of you
I just want to be one of me

The Life of Peter

Peter was born on the third day of the second month in 1981. He was beautiful, he was adored by his parents. Peter played all the time, he had nothing to worry about, except when he lost his toy cars or when his mother forced him to sleep when all he wanted to do was not wanting to sleep late at night. Time passed by and on his fifth year, Peter entered the kindergarten. He was already taller than the other boys his age. The boys, as all young children behaved, did not spare any of their comments.
“Big giraffe!” “Big giraffe!” “Big giraffe!”
Peter wondered why being tall was a bad thing. He asked his mom. Mom answered the question by saying that the boys were just envious of his height. Peter’s mom said that he should be grateful that he was tall, for he could do things that the other kids could not do.
“Like what?” he asked.
Mom said, well washing your hands without having to stand on a stool. Peter stood still. Yes, “it’s good to be tall” he thought, but he still wondered, if being tall was good, why did the boys treat him like he was a fly out of the ointment?
Time passed by and on his tenth year, Peter was in school. He loved playing football, he sure loved it. He kicked the ball and scored many goals, and his teachers liked him for that.
“Peter scored!” “That’s a great goal, Peter!” “What an awesome little guy!”
He loved football, but he loved something else too. Peter adored cycling on his own to his grandmother’s house, which was just nearby, and cooked delicious meals with her. They made mouth-watering tarts and cakes, they made this really big and juicy stuffed turkey, they made everything together. Grandmother loved the boy. One day, grandmother called Peter’s dad. She wanted him to taste the cakes that Peter baked. Peter’s dad came to the grandmother’s house, looked at him and said,
“Boys should not cook. It’s a girl’s job to cook.”
Peter looked at grandmother. Grandmother tried to convince dad that his boy had knack in cooking. Dad remarked, “Boys don’t have a natural talent in cooking. Let’s go back Peter!” He pushed the boy out. On the table, that chocolate cake was left untouched. From that moment on, Peter swore he would not cook again.
Time passed by and on his twelfth year, Peter got into the fight with another boy. The boy took his lucky Kennedy half-dollar, an old coin given by his grandfather. Peter told the boy, one with a fuzzy hair and freckles all over his face, to give it back. The boy feigned ignorance, saying that Peter was wrong to accuse him. So they fought and fought until Peter struck a blow on the boy’s forehead. Blood oozed out. A teacher came and asked the boy about the incident. He said Peter hit him. Peter cried and said “But he…”
“No buts!” the teacher stopped him. She dragged him harshly to the principal. Peter cried. Everyone saw him cried. Everyone teased him saying how a boy should not cry.
“Peter’s a girl!” they said. “Peter’s soft!” they said.
Peter’s eyes only traced the way his feet walked. He did not dare to look up and see the faces of the whole school. He felt distant from those boys and girls now. His parents arrived and, as if the teacher’s anger was not enough or as if the principal’s warning was not enough, they began to scold Peter. Peter stayed silent the whole time. His body was rigid, he still did not look up. “Why do you have to blame me?” he thought.
They walked out from the building, his left arm being pulled by dad. On his way out, he finally looked up and saw the faces of too many people looking back at him. They all blamed him. The worst thing was they said Peter cried like a girl. A boy who cried like a girl, that’s preposterous, laughable, puny. Peter heard them all. Peter would never get his half-dollar again. Peter would vow not to cry again.
Time passed by and on his fifteenth year, Peter was in the library reading books to complete his homework. He was supposed to play football but he just could not do it. He felt different. A few weeks ago, he looked at the other guys in the locker room and his heart thumped like it had never done before. He stared at the boy for what it seemed like a long time. What was happening to him? Peter got up, packed his books, and walked out of the library. Girls look at him, coyly, flirtatiously, with a hidden intent in their minds. Peter had kissed one of them before. He liked the kiss. Peter liked those girls, with all their perfect skins, and long legs, and lipstick-laden lips, so it could not possible that he had feelings for guys too. What if he did? Peter did not want to be that way. He liked girls, he liked girls and girls only.
Two weeks later, on the news, he saw how one man was beaten to death just because he liked another guy. Peter was afraid. He did not want to die like that. In that moment, dad added “Well, we couldn’t have a guy liking another guy on this planet. It’s absurd.” He chuckled. Peter continued watching the television, but when his dad started to give his own opinions on how people like the beaten man should not exist, Peter could not bear it anymore, so he stood up and yelled at him.
“He was still a human!” Peter said. “No one should die that way!”
His father looked at him under an intense gaze, opened his mouth in retaliation, but in the end, chose to say nothing. His father took out a cigarette, lighted it up, and puffed out smoke in the form of a ring. He turned his face back to the news. Peter was fumed. He ran to his room, slammed the door hard, and lay down on the bed. His heart was pumping fast. He was never that furious with his dad before. If only dad found out whom he was. Peter liked girls, Peter also liked boys. Peter would most likely be dead if dad knew that. Peter promised himself not to let his dad discovered that fact.
Time passed by and on his seventeenth year, some boys from the school beat Peter for they knew who he was. Peter liked girls, Peter also liked boys. That was adequate enough as a reason to destroy his body repeatedly. On the left corner of a deserted cul-de-sac, during a dark wintry morning, three boys from his own football team punched him in the gut, kicked his again and again. They shouted the worst of words at him. They forgot who Peter was. Peter was not a human. Peter was a monster. He was a disease that ought to be eliminated. Peter implored them to stop, but the plead fell on deaf ears. He forgot the vow he made five years ago. This time he cried, and cried, and cried, until his voice was heard no more. His body got bluer and bluer, his skin was covered with blood. He closed his eyes, trying to suppress the pain which only got bigger and bigger over time. Then, it stopped.
Peter was not moving.