on we run

"I don't know. I guess some dreams just stay dreams."

I immediately regret the words as soon as they leave my mouth. I've always strived to be the one who tells him stories about mermaids, who tells him that the moon isn't as far off as it looks, the first person to hand him a magical stone when he says he wants to go on an adventure. But lately I've tasted the bitterness of harsh reality, and the last thing I want is for him to end up like me.

He raises an eyebrow at me as if saying, The hell is wrong with you? but thinks the better of it before saying it out loud. Instead, he looks far off where the Sunken Garden lies before us. We are sitting at its edge, not caring that our bottoms will probably be caked with mud after. I wait for his reply, but when he doesn't, I continue.

"I'm not saying that you should give up now, Miguel. I just don't want you to end up like me, I guess. So just... don't dream too big," I look down and start ripping blades of grass from their roots. Shut up, I think. Shut up.

"So if I make my dreams a bit smaller, they'll come true?" Miguel raises an eyebrow at me again.

"Most likely." A cool rush of wind rustles the leaves of the trees we are sitting under. I feel a bit better and try to change the subject. "So guess what word Luis managed to say yesterday --" 

"Some dreams just stay dreams. You're right. But not all. You remember that dream of mine I've been talking about since first year?" Miguel gets up and starts to remove the red shirt he's wearing.

"Miguel." I try to say his name as sternly as possible but I can't help but suppress a smile. "You can't be serious." I continue protesting and tug on his arm but he's already made up his mind.

"There are some dreams you can do something about, Ate. Like this one!" Off goes his shorts, then brief, and within seconds my nineteen year old brother is running down to the middle of the Sunken Garden, butt naked and jumping and yelling as he does.

I don't care to see the reactions of the people around us because I'm laughing too hard. I laugh until my stomach feels like it's caving in and tears are rolling down my cheeks.

I watch as my brother continues yelling and dancing around the garden wearing only what he wore when he came into this world. All that to tell me that my unwanted pregnancy shouldn't stop me from working to make my dreams a reality.

I can only hope my son Luis will one day be as fearless and kind as his uncle.

I'm snapped out of my daydreaming and emotions by the sharp tug of Miguel on my arm. A policeman is running towards us, yelling for us to stay where we are.

"Run!" Miguel shrieks in delight, clumsily throwing on his clothes as he does. We run and run until the policeman's figure gets smaller and smaller and we keep on running.

"Ate!" Miguel half pants, half shouts. "We made two of my dreams come true in a span of ten minutes!"

I laugh and shove him and we keep running until the policeman, all our fears and worries and mistakes are far behind us. And on we run.

On we run.


CW 10 assignment - Imagine you're in the Sunken Garden and someone suddenly strips naked. Write your experience from the point of view of either a new mother, an alien, a policeman, a taho vendor, or a politician.



It’s not just on sunny days that I thank the saltwaters for bringing you to me. But it was sunny that day I was walking barefoot on the beach, thinking it all looks the same. Sand. Sky. Sea. But then, I saw you.

It could have been anyone else. Do you realize how much you look like the rest from afar? But in my eyes, the light seemed to bounce off you. I could have walked on, but for some reason I stopped. And I’m glad I did stop. Long enough to pick you up, long enough to feel every rise and every fall, long enough to run my fingers over all the places sand somehow found its way into, all the edges that sometimes hurt the hands that hold you, and you sometimes hurt me but

Don’t wish to be washed away just because you have.

I know you get tired of the ocean and how the waters break against your back day after day, but know that each time they do, a piece of your past chips off. A bit of weakness is made strong. The ocean is shaping you and it isn’t done with you just yet.

Don’t forget this.

I hope that you don’t see yourself as leftovers. Who hasn’t had someone leave them before? You are more than something that was left behind. You are not its ghost. There is beauty in the way you’ve kept your shell, in the way you still hold against the currents, in the way you refuse to let wind and weather steal your colors. Maybe you don’t know it, or maybe you’ve been waiting for the right eyes and hands to see it for you.

But I see it. I do. And I hope you’ll let me help you make it through. There are still so many sunny days we’ve yet to walk in.


CW 10 assignment - metaphors


“Do you still remember Russia?”

I remember carpeted floors and eating peanut butter straight out of a jar. I remember dancing in the living room with Sleeping Beauty on repeat. I remember blue-eyed, yellow-haired angels slipping in and out of my door -- creatures whose words I could never quite follow but somehow, always understood.

“Do you still remember Russia?”

I remember that a land covered in ice and trees and sprinkled with grand palaces used to be a place I called home. It still is. And strangely enough, I do remember. I remember it well.

“Do you still remember Russia?”

Ask me and I will give you scenes from a movie. Sledding down a snowy hill. Walking through tables full of matryoshka dolls at the market. Playing with ladybugs in the spring. You know, like a montage. No particular sequence, but full of color and movement.
Today, my floors aren’t carpeted. I don’t (always) eat peanut butter straight out of a jar. I don’t put Sleeping Beauty on repeat, (but I still dance) and angels don’t slip in and out of my door anymore. Much has changed but not the fact that my home used to be where these very memories were birthed, but who knows? Maybe one day, I’ll get to see that land covered in ice and trees and sprinkled with grand palaces, and maybe…

I’ll get to call it home again.


Currently taking a creative writing class in school. Will be filing these assignments under the tag CW 10. 

Assignment - Write about your earliest memory.