Ticia is a seventeen-year-old girl who is currently in love with Hip-Hop music, drinking water, and cheap t-shirts. She is currently on the pursuit to finding the perfect green pants, and also considers herself Manila’s Sleepiest Writer.
The evening is curiously still,
And the moon looks odd from my window.I note that it’s a waxing crescent,
Because majority of the moon has slipped into darkness.
I stare at it for a few moments,
And it becomes apparent to me
How like this phase of the moon,
The hollowness in meIs faintly illuminated by the light that is you.
I think color orange is the most atrocious color there is.
This is what I always said,
Whenever you told me that it was your favorite.
We were opposites in every way,
Both important and trivial,
And this is why were never compatible.
I used to think it was nothing,
Our disagreement to almost everything.
I liked white and you liked black,
I liked night and you liked day,
I was fond of aloneness while you loathed it,You disliked uncertainty,
And I was full of it.
I willed myself to believeThat our differences were what made us strong;
That sameness was what was dangerous
And it was what lead to nothingness.
But we eventually figured out
That our weakness lied in our lack of similarities.
So like the opposites we were,
I went right and you went left,
And this is how we stayed.
But perhaps this is how we are destined to remain;
Because I think orange is the most atrocious color there is,
And it’s your favorite.
Cement and Light Bulbs
I love talking. A conversation with me can begin with my utter frustration over a math quiz and end with my desire for black, thigh high, faux leather boots. And so the moments in which I fail to speak are moments I remember so vividly, sometimes solely because of their rarity. I was thirteen when I first experienced being speechless; and to this day, nothing comes close to the immense amount of emotion I felt when I came face to face with New York City.
It was the third week of our family trip to the United States and we had been staying in a hotel in Lower Manhattan. We had woken up a little earlier that day to catch the subway to Times Square, and although I was partly swallowed by irritation (any hour before 6 AM is not my best friend), the excitement I felt was enough for me to force everybody to get dressed a little quicker.
The twenty-minute subway ride was only slightly unbearable. Despite the nasty floors, vandalized seats, and half-torn posters stuck on the walls, my mind was occupied with fantasies of what Times Square might really look like. I tried to recall the films which were set in New York and I was in the middle of deciding whether or not Enchanted occurred there when I felt something, or shall I say somebody, hit my leg. I turned around and found a man—whose nose was bleeding furiously—glaring at another man who appeared to have punched him. I was shocked and frankly a little frightened but I remember telling myself that a visit to New York is not a visit to New York until insane things occur.
We got off two stops after and then my mind was suddenly void of any fantasies I had made up on the train earlier. My vision turned hazy as I started walking up the stairs out of the subway and into the city.
I felt the coldness on my upper back first, where the holes in my sweater resembled three teardrops beside each other. The first thing I saw was a Sephora which was positioned just right in front on the stairwell. Then, I began noticing the amalgamation of all sorts of sounds; my ears were immediately filled with the sounds of horns coming from yellow taxis, the construction workers banging hammers on strange metal rods, and thousands and thousands of simultaneous conversations.
And like the tourists we were, we headed straight for Times Square. On the walk there I observed the tall, brown buildings the sun hid behind, and the people whose stories I was keen to hear. There were a million of them I suppose, and the tourists and New Yorkers were not difficult to distinguish. The New Yorkers blended in perfectly with the fast-paced city as compared to the tourists who were wearing a look of slight confusion and obvious feigned confidence that was almost funny. Tourists would take photos of everything including the street signs and I know this because that was exactly what I did (I have a photo of the sign that reads “Fifth Avenue” and I don’t know why), and might I say, rather unabashedly. I was too busy taking photos of the street before I noticed where I was standing.
There I was, pathetically still in contrast to the people who never stopped moving, gaping at the lights and the people and the screens. I probably looked stupid compared to everyone there who was already accustomed to the energy and technicolor but I didn’t care. Times Square looked all too magnificent.
I thought I stopped breathing. Looking back on it now, I am actually surprised I didn’t fall to the ground right then and there. I know this is going to sound very cliché but I kid you not, it was exactly like it looked like in films. When you come face to face with a place you have been watching and hearing and dreaming about all your life, the moment you see it feels incredibly surreal—almost as if you are in a film or even a music video. Lights were scattered on almost every inch of every building and buildings filled every inch of the city. I remember Times Square being small enough in the sense that the buildings were cramped just the right way to make you feel as if you were separated from the rest of the world. As I was being taken photos of by my mother I did not resent the fact that I was thirteen, speechless, and so blissfully drunk on the vibe New York had handed over to me in a tall glass.
After a million photographs and unbelievable amounts of walking, we were back in our hotel rooms. I had just finished editing and posting my photos on Instagram, still a little dazed from the day I had, when it occurred to me that I had been speechless for the first time. Words come to me almost instantly when I feel such a strong surge of emotion and I was surprised I ran out of words when I did. Perhaps the breath is knocked out from us because we tend to forget to just appreciate. I reckon my first experience at Times Square would not have been as great if I hadn’t stood there practically drooling over a bunch of cement and light bulbs. So as I relived the day in my head, marveling still at the brilliance of the city, it dawned on me that New York City is not merely a place, but an experience.