Breathless

I knew I was sickly since childhood. Coughing fits, rashes, bad runny nose — the same kind of  allergic reactions that were common because of  pollen and fur. I knew that and dealt with it for the entirety of my life: breezing through adulthood and was happily employed while keeping my allergic reactions at bay.

What I didn’t prepare myself for was suffering from an allergic reaction because of another human.

Yes, another living, breathing person who – without much knowledge about this circumstance – caused me mild suffocation. It was a pain. I could still remember our interaction back when we were young. And he had that look on his face like it was all my fault that both of us were clutching our chests and that our moms were dead worried.

He and I both had an accident, in a simultaneous, really-weird coincidence and condition. But of course when a small kid like myself accidentally sit on another kid’s body, trying my best to catch my breath, he also thrashed underneath catching his. I remembered him only trying to help because my hard-headed self climbed up the tree to reach a toy balloon and — well, you know how that ended.

My lungs felt constricting and vision blurry. I heard him yelling from the ground and I recognized this reaction from the previous fits I experienced. I was having those things again and before I realized it, I had fallen off. And then him cushioning my weight. Oh, how he groaned.

I was pale. So was he. And we both had our tiny hands on our chests and chills were sending emergency signals in my head. Mom immediately rushed to my aid, so did his won mom.

In the end of the day, when he and his mom were waving good byes, it was the last time I ever saw of him.

Ten years passed. The sensation felt like it was only yesterday. How annoying it was to discover having this condition can be caused by another human. Did it mean I have to avoid certain people if I were to experience the same thing again? Thankfully it only happened once.

In a bizarre sort of way, during a lunch hour between coworkers, what had transpired back then to me seemed to be common to other people as well. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing that I almost dropped the dimsum from my chopstick.

“Like, man. I totally couldn’t breathe! As if the air was gone and was panicking like hell. I thought I was done for!” His male coworker exasperated, spitting a bit of rice as he continued, “But even when I had that reaction, it took a hug from her to make me feel better again. Like, wham! Healed!”

“Say, what??” The third member of the lunch party looked very, very confused.

“Didn’t I say that was how I met my wife? We both experienced the same reactions and she instinctively gave me an embrace. Before I knew it I was breathing fine and felt reciprocated. Like both of us were antidotes towards another. I did hear about this before too. The whole soulmate thing about experiencing The Curse of Breathless.”

Breathless? Wasn’t that a title of a song? I took a long and hard chug on my drink. Goddamit and this peculiar and similar coincidences.

“Yeah, Breathless. They say that when you are near to the person who is meant for you, you’ll feel suffocated. I guess the other person suffers too when they are near you too.”

“Wait, isn’t that ironic? A soulmate reaction but then you’re both killing yourselves because you couldn’t breathe?? The heck is that idea?”

I was mum but in my head I was nodding fiercely. There was no way Breathless could be true! The concept didn’t make any freaking sense, that was for sure.

“Well yeah. But the only way to reverse the reaction is, uh, physical contact, I guess?” The guy who said turned beet red next and the rest of the group started cajoling with lecherous faces that didn’t attempt to hide their reactions.

“Atta boy! Prowling at yer wife eh?? Ya beastly!”

“Hear me ooout,” he coughed in between. “When you meet the one, you’ll know for sure why it has happen. Besides, we are soulmates. She and I. After we kissed, the curse of Breathless was gone. And here we are, much in love.”

If only sparkly, floating hearts were real, it’d be all over that guy, was what I quietly thought.

And my next thoughts wandered at that incident ten years ago. If it wasn’t an allergic reaction… then did I experience Breathless… towards the boy? And if the curse was really true, did it mean I was his soulmate too? All this time?

A ten year gap, with only the fuzzy memory of his face, would I ever meet him again? At this huge, bustling town? I didn’t even know his name. Then again, what was I getting excited for? I finished my meal and went on doing what I usual did. Today was peculiar and any more of weird curses and such were put behind at the recesses my mind.

Until the train back home that I once again clutched my chest and covered my mouth. Shit, shit. An allergy attack? Goddamit, I left my meds back in the office! It had been a while since my last allergic reaction and now I was utterly unprepared. Where was the nearest clinic? I was fumbling for my phone, fishing for it inside my coat pocket. Everything started to looked mosaic and my chest was discomforting me at a whole new level.

“Are you… okay?”

The face I thought I’d never see again so soon looked at me like he was equally having difficulty in breathing too. Features sharper, hair longer and mouth covered with his hand, as if mimicking mine. The stranger and I were experiencing the same thing…?

Shit, this can’t be…!

Apparently it could.

My mind was set for to expect nothing. Not to want. Not to desire. Not to respond at these advances that were too intimate. These behavior meant exactly that: his hand brushing at every part of my skin, intentional or otherwise. His gaze was fixed, intense, on me. As if his looking at me would absorb me entirely. He spoke with such low voice, near my ears. I like you, I like you. And I chose to not reply anything after that. Even when he would corner me against a wall, would force me to gaze straight at his heated stare.

I did not say anything, biting my cheeks and holding my breath. Not again, I thought to myself. How many times would I fall, believing in such words and only to fall so hard, so bad. And then be left to cry through the night and wondering why I was left abandoned.

My disbelief was apparent in my eyes; gaze searching as if trying to look past at those words and trying to decipher the real code behind it. I like you? As if.

You, like everyone else before, would hurt me. You would without fail. And in the recesses of my heart I hoped, I prayed… that the next time would be worth it. I did not know of your intentions. I questioned it more than ten times in my head. You, you. You who were stepping beyond my boundaries, tenaciously breaking down my walls. You, you. Why were you doing this?

I like you, I like you.

As if.

What must I do for you to believe me? What must I say to convince you my affection? I like you. I want you. You make me feel all sorts of emotions that I cannot comprehend any more. You make me… 

My mind was set for to expect nothing. Not to want. Not to desire. But I knew, at one point, I would. Your hand cradled my cheek so dearly; a callous thumb gently on rubbing my cheek. As if you were trying to translate your emotions through these small touches I tried to mentally fight against, after all this time. I cannot, I cannot…

I was afraid. I was shaking, one breath away from crying.

I hope to chase away what frightens your heart. I hope to be that person who won’t make you question anything about yourself. I hope to inspire you, to encourage you. To be equally fitting for you, to be there at your happiest and most worst. I hope to be your other half of this Lifetime. I cannot promise not to hurt you but I can promise to do my best for you to be where you belong. Among so many, among the thousand existing and existences, I choose you. I will choose you. Please believe me…

I cried. And for the first time, for the longest, this one felt real.

Once in a while it will “rain.”
Those soft and gentle glitters that decorate the skies.
From the hour of dusk until the moon’s howl,
the crystal downpour which only happens
when the stars weep for the souls who ail.

The prayer comes like a short chant
told through stories and gossips.
No one knows of its origin
but a few learned of its after effect:
how the pavement was covered with shiny dusts,
how it taste like candy,
and how it warms the chests of those who aches.
It lulls one village into a deep, untroubled slumber
years after years after years.

The rain was called Crystal Tears.
A prayer that shouldn’t be.
A phenomenon dark and surreal.
It hurts to continue living like this
that I clasp my hand and close my eyes
before I say the words,
carefully, clearly and fervently.
Like how my late Grandmother instructed me.
To exit the chapel and head home,
to witness the downpour and how the people rejoiced of its miracle.
No one knew of the grim tale,
until today.

I could write sweet poems of you.
Line after line after line.
Day after day
.
But I could also write
words of a distraught heart
of what you make me feel
day after day.
 
I could write until the stars
fall onto me.
To remind me that
even the beloved skies
cry for me.
 
I hope I could write
without your ghost haunting me.
For when my Soulmate finds me,
I want to write for him.
Properly. Wholeheartedly. Lovingly.
Day after day after day.
Oh, how lovely it would be
to feel important.
Oh, how lovely it would be
to be The One.
Without an ounce of question
if it were real
or just make believe
between you and me.

How painful it is
to think of the many ways I could love you
without also thinking
the many more reasons why I shouldn’t.

The oath came to fruition, as I stand by your side against the tempest up ahead. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, wouldn’t be just a mere companionship between you and me. Despite the would-be hurdles, I knew I have loved you enough to brave it all.

Perhaps it was meant, the you and the me of this lifetime to be. To cast away everything to be yours. My life literally on your hands. The fear did not cripple me. Doubt was not even part of the equation. Because as my life was held by your hands, I held you in my arms in return.

You and I were bounded to be. Whether I was seen standing next to you or that I took in all your gasps and moans inside our room. To everyone who thought our togetherness was shallow, to us it was an anchor. We needed to be. Because if one of us weren’t here, no one would be able make it to be where we were now.

I have loved you this lifetime and perhaps one lifetime was not enough. I have loved you even before we knew each other’s existences. I have loved you previously, where you and I were of different species, race and culture, gender or otherwise. Your body of this lifetime felt so good and familiar. The expanse of skin, every crevices and contours, even the breathing you tried to control as I took you even further were all too natural. Like my hands were made to remember how it knew to make you undone: raw, covered in moist and unbearably sensual.

The future awaits you and me. No storm stronger, darker and harsher than the one we were heading straight to at. And I’d make sure to hold your hand close to mine, to make sure you knew that I was here.

Because when you decide to jump, so would I.