Ikigai

Ikigai (Japanese): A reason to get up in the morning, a reason to live.

It can be anything really. Nothing big needs to be had, just, at least, have something. For example: feeding your kids. Okay, maybe that’s jumping the gun. If you’re here, and you don’t know how to get there, maybe you don’t have kids. Maybe you never will. That’s fine. So if you don’t have someone else to provide for, why not, choose yourself? That’s too hard for you? Okay, what about saving up for a new…car or phone, or that interesting book that you know you’ll never read, but will keep your desk warm. Anything really. Something that can make you more than just the letters sprawled out in your name. Really, nothing big needs to be had, just anything. Something. Everyone needs something. Otherwise, can you really say you’re living? I mean, sure you can, but there’s a difference between living and being alive. And there’s a difference between being happy from the thought of going from today to tomorrow and being happy from forgetting that today eventually becomes tomorrow. Unless you really want to live mechanically, ticking away with rusted gears, until oil stops fueling you, then don’t have anything, but when you decide to find something, life will always be there waiting.

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Curhat

Curhat(Indonesian): To share one’s story, the pouring of one’s heart, a casual act of opening up.

“And so, there we were, on the edge of knowing what a life together would be like, and you know what?”

What?

“That’s when he starts talking about some lady he’d been eyeing ever since we got out of the store!”

Was there something on her face?

“No.”

Was she… Wearing some strange outfit, or talking to herself, or is he a medium? Maybe she was possessed by the ghost of her grandmother, or father, or, just a ghost. Maybe he was worried that she’d be sucked into –

“I called to give you a story.”

It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be pleasant.

“It isn’t.”

Well, if it’s going to be like that, then I’m going to try my best to lighten the mood. I don’t want to sit here and give you a pity party.

“That’s not what I’m asking for.”

Well if it’s not, then let’s have some fun.

“But–“

What? Not serious enough for you? If he’s going to be eyeing other women when he’s got you, then you’ve got to lighten up too. If he’s not serious, then why should you?

“That’s…something I figured you’d come up with.”

I’m not sure what kind of impression you have of me.

“Well, you’re the type of person I’d call.”

Fair enough. So, it was a ghost right?

“How do you think it died?”

Jayus

Jayus (Indonesian): When a joke is so terrible that you can’t help but laugh.

What’s green and has wheels? Grass, I lied about the wheels.

I bought the world’s worst thesaurus yesterday. Not only is it terrible, it’s terrible.

  • How do you put a Giraffe into a refrigerator? Open the door, put the Giraffe in, and close the door.
  • How do you put an Elephant into a refrigerator? Open the door, take out the Giraffe and put the Elephant in.
  • The Lion King is hosting an animal conference, which animal does not attend? The Elephant.
  • You come across a river with knowledge that it’s inhabited by crocodiles, what do you do? Just swim, all the crocodiles are at the conference.

A group of friends walk into a bar.

What’s red and smells like blue paint? Red paint.

I’m sorry if this joke was anticlimactic.

Te Quiero

Te Quiero(Spanish): More than “I like you,” but not “I love you”

The course of our parallel lines break in half, a wedge created to divert our movements, such that, we may never meet. In that sense, we were never parallel lines, but, congruent shapes, fusing in the way atoms do. Energy is released when we meet, and that energy is placed in a cycle, advancing life. But not our lives. Not ours. Our energy is absorbed by others, they watch and they match every smile we have, but it’s theirs. Not with you. Not with me. We’re congruent, in the same way that we meet in the same places, think the same things, and know exactly what words to finish each other’s – Of course we’re congruent shapes, meant to fit in the mold that we hold dear to our time, but not parallel lines. We won’t meet in the same place. Nor move in the same way that you want me to move. Not like this. Not like that. Not yet. That’s exactly it. Of course we’re congruent shapes, and of course I’ll find that we’re exactly the same in a whole since that’s why I’m still smiling. But that’s only it. Energy flows when we fuse like atoms, it’s hard to break us apart, molecular bonds are like that. But let’s leave it at that. For now. That’s all I can offer.

Aturdir

Aturdir (Spanish): The feeling of being overwhelmed, bewildered, or stunned to the point of being unable to focus or think straight.

The end of the world happens in one hour. It’s honestly great. You might think that when the world ends, people would riot on the streets, go crazy, purge. But that’s not the case at all. The city is riding on by just like always. The winds caress my skin like dull blades, and the same shoulders tackle me on their way to the station. The same panhandler, the same street artist, the same girl who sits by the window at the Tim’s waiting for… What is she waiting for? I’m not sure. But she’s been waiting there for the past few years. It’s these past few years that I’ve lived in the city, and no matter what, she was there. And beyond her, is the man who walks like everyone he knows has a knife and a gun and is ready to nab at whatever it is that’s hiding in his duffel bag. He slings it again today, and I hear the ruffle of whatever is inside. It sounds heavy. Like the bikes that roll down the bike lane, hovering over the cars that are using their horns way too much. Relax. Seriously. We’re down town. It’s okay if it’s slow. Construction is like that. Cranes been here since… Since I got here. What are they building? I live in a building not too far from the station. Every once in a while I like to go to the edges of the city, where I can breathe a little easier, and see my feet among the crowd. Other than that, the city isn’t all that bad. The nights are full. Right. That’s right. The world is ending. That means, there won’t be a night.

Quincena

Quincena(Spanish): A period of 15 days, usually attributed to wage payments.

“I’ll see you in a fortnight and a bit.”

That sure is a mouthful, isn’t there a better way to word that? I mean, who even uses fortnight anymore?

“I’m sure someone out there does. It’s convenient, right?”

A fortnight is fourteen days. Which is also two weeks. I’d wager most people don’t know what a fortnight is.

            “But isn’t that something we’ve all encountered before? I mean, it’s Shakespearean, right? That’s like, mandatory reading.”

Mandatory if you went to school. If you say two weeks, and you don’t know what a week is, then I’d have trouble speaking to you. Isn’t that just the natural go-to? Why start with fortnight?

             “But doesn’t saying fortnight just sound –”

Pretentious? Yeah, it does.

            “Not pretentious, just, a bit better than ‘I’ll see you in two weeks’, doesn’t roll off the tongue.”

I’ll see you in a fortnight and a bit doesn’t either.

“Well, I don’t want to be factually inaccurate and say two weeks when in fact its fifteen days.”

Who cares.

             “You should. You were late today because I said we were meeting again at noon. You didn’t know what noon actually meant and –”

Okay buddy, I get it. We’re meeting in a fortnight and a bit. Happy?

             “Splendid.”

Allora

Allora (Italian) : A filler word most of the time (well, so, then, in that case, at that time)

His mouth had moved, and I watched every muscle make the motion to open and close, but the words that sprang forth was nothing but empty space.

 

He smiled thinking I could hear his words, and so I smiled to help him think that I heard his words. Our smiles filled the room, the only other noise, the clock. The clock ticked slowly, filling my mind, and eventually, I smiled for the clock, and he smiled back, thinking I was smiling for him, for the words I couldn’t hear.

And he talked again, his mouth making the motions to speak, but the words clasped into his lap, leaving the air between us to find the lull in the clock, ticking away. The way his eyes blinked matched with the ticking, until his face became the clock, his eyes the hands, the numbers his skin, the white blending perfectly.

He opened his mouth again, the words spilling out appearing in my ears as nothing but wind, the ticking continued. We sat like this for as long as the clock kept ticking. He stared back, watching my eyes as I watched his, trying to find his words hidden within. The sun cut through the glass of the window surrounding our room, grazing my face in a warm balm, wrapping around towards my ears. The dust in the room settled against our eyes, our lashes protecting our retinas, his lashes slowly ticking away. I tried to find a word in my mind that would escape my mouth and enter his ears.  I tried to find a word to fill the space.

I opened my mouth, and spoke.

Meriggiare

Meriggiare (Italian): Resting in the shade on a very hot day

My body trudged in the sludge that formed as my feet transfixed into the earth. The sun wrapped around my skin in waves as if it had always belonged there. Even if I did turn into a pool, no one would take notice. A pool of blood soaked bones with too many dreams to hold would be swept into the sewers, mixing with the mold beneath. The cicadas rung loud in my ears. They always do, reminding me to feel as if the weight of the world was on my shoulders, as if it was just like any other day. The city bathes in streams of light cutting through the sky, a man half blind from the reflection on his phone, another burning his skin to show his yearning of self indulged worth to women who glow in the warmth that showers their touch. Glass becomes dangerous, any shine capable of burning eyes. Protecting the eyes does no good as the winds come to scorch skin. The only solace comes in the quiet whispers that follow the wind. The whispers lead to a pocket of exposed tubes and steel garters. The high rise scrapes the rays, leaving a touch of dark.

Resol

Resol (Spanish): The reflection of the sun off of a surface or the glare of the sun.

I’m pretty sure I blacked out from drinking last night. My head’s spinning, I can barely stand. I reach around in the dark of the room, trying to find a ledge. The only thing I find is more empty bottles. I’m not sure how my hands grasped those bottles, but I did anyway. Don’t need them if they’re empty though. Waste of my time. Damn. I can see colors. Like blinking colors. Too many. Out of the way. Okay, I’m good now. I think. Found the wall. This room is too damn dark. The curtains are killing me. Where did everyone go? I thought I was at a party. Drinking till my lights are out. Oh. That’s right. I wasn’t invited. So I drank myself to sleep. Was that it? Or did everyone just leave? I mean, I have way too many empty bottles here if it was just me. I don’t even recognize the room. Too damn dark. I reach my hand out, trying to find the light switch that I think is on the other side.

Nope.

Landing head first into a wall is no fun. My insides want to escape. That’s not a good sign, is it? No, it’s not. I try to hold myself together, walking to the curtains. I trip on a bottle, it rolls over to the carpet. Face first into the floor is no fun either. I roll over on my back, staring at the ceiling. Too many damn stars. I close my eyes, and listen to my breath. The draft catches me awake. The window’s are open. Sheesh. I open my eyes to see the slight of light hitting the doorframe of the kitchen. I crawl my way up. The window was cracked open, bleeding sunlight. It dripped onto another glass bottle. This one still had some booze. Jackpot.