And so hatches the idea of sending out anonymous bitter-gourd for cash, cash, cash!
Send as many as you like to people you’re bitter about — ’tis a highly confidential matter

like how you borrow library books
and wish you could stamp your name on one
and say, hey,

this belongs to me.
but you’d never dare.

And now you see someone else borrowing the exact same book, book, book.
Complete with all the creases you made, and with coffee stains from staying up all night

it hurt your back from reading over
knowing you’d left your mark on its tired spine
in her hands,

pouring hot caramel.
on vanilla ice cream.

— it’s what you know freedom and victory would taste like —
sweet and cold, sweet and cold.


There’s comfort in knowing that I don’t have to be the one who says, “There’s no reason to start panicking until I start panicking myself,” anymore.

An uneasy, uncertain comfort — mostly because I’ve started learning how to panic for no reason.  Gotta regain my composure.

[30 Jan 14 at 11:29 pm, and I still don’t know what to say — for this one, and for that speech.]

I remember promising each other that we’d have two anniversaries each year — one on your birthday, and one on mine.  So we’d be forced to meet up, one way or another.  Or maybe I just dreamt this up, but no matter.  I’m seeing you in a few hours anyway.

[Insert flashback over here.]

I didn’t take much photos [during graduation], but I still had one with you.  Probably because I knew the two of us weren’t really saying goodbye.  The rest, I could let go without a picture to hold on to.

With the people that we meet, we always try to look for constants — it’s not a collect-and-choose thing, because you can’t really keep anyone.  All you can do is look, and wait for those people who want, and choose, to stay.

They’re not even always the people you choose to let in — eventually, even most of those people leave.

They’re the ones who stick with you, even if you don’t open up.  Even when they don’t understand you.  Even if you don’t listen.  Even when you push them to their limits, or push them away to the point of no return — they’ll always find a way back.

My dear, you are a constant.  The distance between our universities though has, actually, successfully made us closer — but that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss you, which I do.  A lot.

And, my goodness — we are both old, but you are definitely still older than me… by a few months.  But since you are officially legal now, and it’s because it’s Chinese New Year, I wish you a wonderful kick-ass start into a responsible adulthood, without sacrificing your wonderful spite and mirth, and a clear mind, set on what you’re passionate about.

Follow your dreams, my dear.  Fulfill them because where you want to be is where you’re meant to be, sooner or later.  Pray to Him.  Listen to your parents.  Find more constants, and find more people who are worth being constant for, because God knows how lucky I am that you chose to stay with me.

I love you, Nelissa Chua.  To the moon and back. To infinity and beyond.  To Taft from Diliman.

Happy 18th, and Happy Chinese New Year.

Because when you finally see the pattern of how you always seem to ruin every opportunity you get to be genuinely happy,

when you realize that you’ve been stuck in this loophole for











and when you realize that, this time, it’s definitely a game changer,
things will start to change.

And you’ll make sure of that.


Because you’re not letting go of this one.