“I cut my hair.”

The sun was shining back then. We were sitting together on a bench and talking about how summer was so easy to waste and how the days were so quick at running away from us. The shade of the tree hid our shadows from the world, but it did not hide us from the wrath of the sun. Beads of sweat were on your temples, and you kept on raising your hand to wipe them away. I started searching my pockets for a handkerchief to lend to you. When I found one, I caught you staring at me.

“You cut your hair. Did someone break your heart?”
“No. I just felt like cutting it, that’s all.”

The moon was nowhere to be found that night when we were on the rooftop. We were both disappointed because we had been excited to see the stars bow down to the beauty of the insecure moon who only knew how to make a name for herself using the sun’s guidance. You asked if we could stay a little longer despite the absence we were confronted with. So there we were, lying on the rooftop under the night sky.

“You cut your hair. Did–”
“No. I cut my hair because I just wanted to. It’s not about a guy.”

You were staring at me. When a cheeky grin showed up on your face, I found myself asking you what you were happy about. You looked away, but that proud grin was still present. You held my hand back then, and I watched you breathe while my heart was pounding, deafening me with its own beats.

It was my birthday and we were together in my room. We were sitting on my bed while we were eating slices of the cake my mom bought for me. You were kidding about how I was starting to get old, so I joked about how you were starting to be a jerk. When you were finally finished with your share, you watched me eat. A smile never left your face. When I saw you like that, butterflies fluttered around inside my stomach.

“Your hair got shorter.”
“Yeah, it did.”

You got off of my bed and when I asked you where you’re going, you said that you’re just gonna ask for another slice of the cake. Before you went, you touched my face, whispered “I like you,” and kissed my cheek. I froze and it took me minutes to let what happened sink in. I waited for you to come back. When I got impatient, I went to the kitchen. Mom said that you had gone home already. She also told me that I had icing on my right cheek. That was where you touched me–where my cheek felt your thumb gently press itself against my skin. That night, you were all I could think about.

On our first date, you kissed me by our doorstep when it was time for us to separate. We were both trying to silence ourselves from the happiness that wanted to escape our lips. I was past my curfew, and I joked about blaming you for it. You said that it was also my fault, and that I had no right to complain since I was the one who told you that it was okay. You ruffled my hair, and I playfully slapped your hand.

“Not gonna cut it?”
“I don’t want to.”

I woke up beside you while you were brushing my hair using your fingertips. The light peeking from outside made you look gorgeous. The sudden contrast in colors made you look too good to be true.

“Your hair has gotten longer.”
“It’s been a while since I last had it cut.”

You smiled at me. I asked you if you had been up for a long time. You said that an hour or so had passed and you just watched me as I was sleeping. You pulled me closer to you, and I felt your bare skin meet mine.

It is winter. The two of us are talking on the phone. You are telling me about a girl you couldn’t leave alone. You say that she makes your day, and that she makes you feel things even without doing anything at all. I play around with my hair as I wait for you to stop talking about her. It has been months since we broke up. It has been months since you’ve moved on. Even so, here I am, still bearing feelings for you that I can no longer mention since you sound so happy about someone else. I twirl my hair around my finger as I stare at somewhere far away. Then, suddenly, you ask me about how I have been. I pause for a moment. My mind races with ideas giving fuel to my beating heart. But even so, none of them can really be said. When I realize that I have stopped playing with my hair, I remember the times you asked me about it.

“I cut my hair.”
“Because you felt like it?”
“No. This time, it’s because of a guy.”

Goodbye, Innocence

I used to love being in the arms of my father while my mother would look at us with a gentle smile on her face. I would get that warm and welcoming feeling while I stared back at my mom as I returned the love my father had given me through his embrace. After a moment, my mom would give in and join us. Sometimes, it might be the other way around wherein my mom would start the hugging session, and my dad would be the last one to join.

My happiness existed with them, as well as with silly toys like Barbie dolls, dollhouses, paper dolls, and pretty much any toy that would make me feel like I was in control of the lives of the people I could use as my subject. I was the queen in my own lifeless and tiny kingdom. I was the queen in love with being in control of herself; but with my parents, I would become a princess because the real queen was my mother.

Reality had a different kingdom for me to rule over, though.

Whenever I went to school, I would search for my friends. My friends and I often talked about ridiculous things. We would brag about our toys, clothes, and accessories. But as we grew older, our topics started to involve boys and crushes. We would even guess who was going out with who, as well as who liked who.

I had a crush on a boy back then. I could not help myself from smiling every time I would see him around. Sometimes, my friends would tease me, and I would be annoyed even though I liked being teased about him. But that crush faded along with other girls’ crushes. I would never ever forget the night that I started wishing to be the girl he liked.

There came a day when I went to school and talked to my friends about this girl who was liked by many guys. I was insecure, but I could not admit that. Other girls were insecure, too. A part of us wanted to be liked by guys, as well. Not being liked led us to think that something might be wrong with us.

I started to get aware of my appearance.

My dresses, shirts, and pants became tank tops, skirts, denim shorts, and fit clothes. I started to like showing my curves off even though I got even more insecure when other girls did the same. We were all looking at each other’s bodies. Sometimes, I had a better figure than someone. Sometimes, I was inferior. My body started to crumble under my expectation of being pretty. I was never fit even though I had an okay body. I only felt fit whenever I was around a girl who was inferior of my figure. I just had to be better.

My once powder-kissed face started to get blessed with makeup, too. I liked making myself look beautiful. I would do it for my own satisfaction, but sometimes, I would do it for a guy.

Having a crush was no longer the same. Whenever I had a crush, I got it badly. I knew that having a crush didn’t require me to be on a mission to have to attract the guy, and be in a relationship with him, but it made me feel like that. It was as though I had to be sure that we both belonged to each other.

And because of that feeling, I experienced the joy of being loved back, and the pain of being cheated at. I also experienced being the other girl in the relationship, as well as being the one rejected. I experienced a lot of things. I also got my heart broken.

I started with being happy with meeting someone’s gaze, then that happiness started to get less until I had someone to hold hands with. I started yearning for warm hugs, until I ended up with wanting to be kissed on my lips. But having my lips kissed was the beginning of my yearning for a greater way of being loved. I started liking the feeling that I got whenever someone kissed me on my neck, on the top of my breasts, and in other places of my body. I was once a queen or a princess, but to a man, I would become a land that his lips would want to travel at.

Sex had been a disgusting word for me. But I came to a point where sex was normal, and the phrase “making love” is cheesy and disgusting. That was all until I met another guy.

Time was fast. It danced with me, my father, and my mother; but death took them away, and I was left with him.

I fell in love again, but it was finally a different kind of love. It became one that I could not abandon. I gave birth to a girl, and it reminded me of myself.

This time, I am the queen. I am the queen of my own world, as well as the queen in my own child’s eyes.

But sometimes, I have to remind myself that I am also just a girl who used to love her parents’ arms around her, and is now yearning for them. I was the girl who was confused whether I was a queen or a princess. I was the girl who thought that happiness was with having a prince beside me.

I cannot help but wonder if my mother were the same, and I cannot help but wonder if my child will have the same insecurities I had had. I am afraid because I have met and seen girls who think that men complete their lives, and when they get hurt, it’s as though the universe has played with them.

I want my daughter to be sure of being a queen. I will rather be her servant in her own Kingdom. I do not want her to be unsure of herself. And when I leave this world, I want her to be happy.

Straight and Fast

This is a Looking for Alaska short fanfiction. All characters belong to John Green and his brilliant mind.

I sneaked out of the house that night and I witnessed how his face was glorified by street lights by the moment I saw him right after going out of my walled home. I felt my beating heart against my chest and thought that I was just nervous. I smiled at him and he returned a warm, genuine and boyish grin at me. His eyes were sparkling from the distance that we had and that distance was soon limited when I ran to his side and gave him a playful punch on his shoulder.

“You’ll fall harder, you know,” I joked. Somehow, I was in high spirits. Something seemed really, really magical and I felt like I was glowing with warm light.

After that, we went inside the car. I sat on the seat beside the driver’s where he occupied the said space. We smiled at each other before he started the engine.

The car started and our outside surroundings became faintly distorted as we chased off the distance set to us by roads of questionable yet endless destinations. The roads were the existing infinity of journeys.

A smile graced my lips as I watched the lights become different. They were becoming brighter and more breathtaking. I loved the flickering street lights and how they seemed like they were eyes that were blinking at me. I was so seduced.

Then, I sensed the sudden change of my friend’s movement. My attention was turned to him and I noticed him switch the stereo on. He turned it to different stations yet none of them could satisfy him. Thus, he took his phone out and decided to just use Bluetooth to let us hear the songs of his phone.

The first song that came had the introduction of a faint guitar sound as though the strings were all over the sky and the tugging was just caused by the blow of the wind. I loved how it made everything perfect.

The car drove by the bridge and I could see the lights reflected on the water under it. Only a few cars were around and it felt like we owned everything that we had passed by.

Just then, the song changed into something I was really familiar with.

“Welcome to the sleepless city,” he said. His voice sounded so calm yet so comforting as though he was handling me with care. The lights became brighter than ever when we were finally past the bridge. I could feel my breath being taken away.

“Touché,” I told him as my eyes searched for his and when they found his soul’s windows, I noticed that the light that came from his side touched half of his face. His left eye was the top part of the ocean and his right eye was just as dark as the deep depths of the said body of water. For a moment, my breath hitched and I felt galactic explosions inside me. My beating heart was pounding dandelions – pink and sparkling dandelions that never existed. But that was how I could describe it. It felt so appropriate.

During that moment, that sudden moment, I realized that I wanted more moments like that. I wanted more midnight car trips. I wanted more music heard with him. I wanted more moments with him to remember. And I knew that I’d have more if we continued being nothing but friends. A relationship would ruin my chances of being close to him in the future; that’s why I didn’t want to hear my heartbeats for him and I didn’t want to notice my feelings. I had to pretend that I knew nothing and I had to keep on pretending that I thought of the two of us as nothing but pals.

Besides, I was still in a relationship with Jake. Jake’s enough. I love him.

I let out a sigh, wishing that the feelings came with it. I pursed my lips and clenched my fists. Just for this precious moment, let me see him as nothing but a friend, I repeated to myself over and over inside my mind. Despite my sincere yet sad wish, my heart continued being a treacherous traitor. I looked away, hoping that the darkness could swallow my face. I knew that colors were surfacing my cheeks.

“Hey,” he bothered the silence with a simple word that was accompanied by a soothing voice which gave me goosebumps.

“W-what?” My voice was shaky and was caused by my nervous self. I cleared my throat and repeated my question in a better way.

“Why did you leave me behind?”

His voice was now of sadness and emptiness, and a hint of guilt was trying to let itself be obvious. I looked at him and realized that he hadn’t touched me since we met a while ago. And I wasn’t really the one he was looking at. His eyes were glued to the window. I turned around and saw no reflection of me.

“Pudge, what do you mean?”

I was not dumb and I knew what he meant. I just wanted him to answer me so that I could pretend that what I was thinking wasn’t true.

“To be continued? Where’s the continuation?”

He faced the road again and this time, he looked mad. An angered Pudge, now that’s rare!

“Pudge,” I called out and he wasn’t looking at me.

He was saying something to himself, and I didn’t really care about what the words were.

“Pudge,” I repeated. Still, there was no reply from him.

The distance between us felt like it was the distance of two worlds and I couldn’t accept it. I didn’t want to accept it.


My voice cracked. I wanted to cry, but no tears would approach my eyes. Just as time went on, the beating of my heart got fainter and fainter. And my senses were slowly failing me.


I shouted and he still had his monologue ongoing. He wouldn’t listen to me. He wouldn’t hear me out.

No, Alaska. Pudge wasn’t like that. He would listen. He’s that cute and sweet. Just this moment, he couldn’t.

Out of all the things I could hear him say, the very verification of my horrible idea about my state was the one I heard clearly: “Why did you die?”

“I’m not dead,” I told him.

I reached my hand out and tried to touch his shoulder. But I couldn’t. I stopped. There’s no point in trying to fool myself with a lie.

“Were you that desperate to get out of the labyrinth?”
“Straight and fast.”

Then, my gaze landed on him and the image was no longer clear. Everything was blurred. I couldn’t see well.

“Pudge, I didn’t mean to hurt all of you.”
“The strong and wonderful Alaska Young was actually a weak and frail child.”

I smiled to myself, knowing that he was right.

I had smoked and finished my cigarette in a fast way. Always. My journey had always been forward and straight ahead. That’s why my pranks had been born. Those obstacles in the way were always kicked aside. Even so, I had also experienced being almost blown by the strong and cold wind.

“Straight and fast,” I whispered again.

I was going to disappear just like the not-so-thick smoke that I used to create whenever I was kissing my cigarettes. It was my choice. I could have hit the brake when I was about to hit the car. I could have not let the accident happen. I could have lived for dad, for Jake, for Pudge, for the Colonel, for Takumi, for Lara, for the Eagle, for the crappy and shitty misogynists who deserved my insults and for the people who might miss me. But I didn’t.

I had killed myself before I could even regret it.

“I’m leaving the labyrinth,” I said to no one in particular. He couldn’t hear me, but I could hear him. All I could do was say something he would never ever know.

“I won’t forget you.”
“You will.”
“You could have saved yourself.”
“I’m out of the labyrinth once you forget me. Forget me, Pudge. I have to leave.”
“It will be an offense if I forget you.”
“It will be, but I will forgive you.”

And after that, I could no longer see nor feel. I was disappearing, fading. Straight and fast. Straight and fast. Straight and fast. I died. My memories did, too. But my friends’ memories of me didn’t.

I was selfish during that particular moment. And even now. And just as I was about to disappear, I heard something unexpected.

“I wasn’t even able to tell you that I have loved you all this time.”