The tempests of ardor

Love takes on many forms; it can be soft and shy to the touch, but much like a tempest, it can be violent and raw. Here, you will find the many faces of love.

Always more, Angel 

I had never struggled with love before. 

Not until I met you, anyway. Before you, it was second nature; expressed without a second thought through affectionate glances, through teasing smiles. But now, I overthink, I second-guess.

At a loss, I try with all my might to convey it with every touch against your hand and every gentle brush of my thumb across your cheek. I furrow my brow in concentration, hoping you understand that the invisible ink I use to trace my fingertips over your skin draws its potency from how happy I am to be yours.

You tell me you love me with your easy smile, and I believe you. But I will always love you, always more.

Goodbye euphoria, Tia

The bass of your heartbeat sends me shivers. The weight on my shoulders dissipates into the most comfortable bed of clouds every single time I hear it.

I am so in love with you and your neon lights, bright floods, and cigarette smoke mixed in with the smell of brandy. I wake up every now and then in cold sweat after dreams of what it once felt like—or what I imagined it would feel like.

But maybe love can be the morning light and his perfume with the chilly breeze. These days, I wake up to this, yet I still wonder what my life would be like if I never chose to leave euphoria.

A starless sky, Frank

The night began loud. 

First, a play, then, an intimate yet raucous evening with you and friends. We take a quick detour for photos. Rain rushed in unannounced, the two of us drenched, hiding under my jacket because we forgot our umbrellas like fools.

We run back to finish dinner and laugh the hours away. We part in pairs as the lights leave us. We strolled through silent streets as though the buildings had gone to bed. 

No stars out. Well, just one. The most beautiful of them. The one holding my hand. 

Perfection, finally.

Moments of solitude—like this, rare of them they are—I’d exchange for nothing less.

Hell breaks loose, Kim

It took us a while, but we finally changed the sheets and threw out everything we had of you. I wanted to keep them, but it hurts too much to remember you, to still smell your sleepy scent, to still find your brown and white hair on my clothes, because I know if my senses fill with anything of you, I’ll look for you again.

And I crave your presence, your nonchalance as we bother you from your rest. I always do.

But one day, your photos will be the only thing I have left of you. Not even memories—you know how bad my memory is getting, after all.

I promise never to forget. I’ll keep you in the darkest depths of my heart. You will always be the pain lodged in my throat, the empty space beside me on the floor. I will always be yours, Tamara—even if all hell breaks loose.

Close (but not really), Matt

In the thick and thin, I confided in your support. And just as you were there for me, I was there too. We shared little in common, but at least we shared each other’s company. Or so I thought.

As years and months went by, the less we caught up with one another. We only ever talked to one another for favors, the same ones you asked everyone else. 

But I now ponder, why have we drifted apart? Was it something I did? Is it the natural course of life? There is little to provide closure. And yet, as I realize, maybe it was me. Perhaps we never really were close. And it bothers me because I really thought we were.

Metamorphosis, Red

How did I memorize the entirety of you? From the way your hair swoops perfectly only on one side to how much you love eating buffalo wings, even if they give you stomachaches in the morning.

Did time just run by us unnoticed? Did gravity decide to play a trick on us and pull us closer together?

There are many questions that knock on the doors of my mind, but there is one that rings loud and clear: How exactly do two friends fall in love?

A butterfly fluttered by and the answer dawned on me: in the same way a caterpillar goes through the process of metamorphosis, I transformed from being your friend to your lover; like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Off-course, Magz

Cupid might’ve missed me; that’s all I can say.

When the pink hearts and chocolates start to appear, I question their purpose, their relevance. Many dream of getting noticed by crushes during a sunset escapade. Some yearn to grow out of puppy love and venture into mature passion. A slight few draw life maps with their soulmates, the love of their lives. 

But where do I fall under this convoluted, cacophonic, romantic mess? Why haven’t the fates blessed me with intimacy?

And while I lust for love, for someone to hold my hand, all I wish is that my ever-beating heart shall not shatter under Cupid’s arrow. 

For he has never prepared me to piece it back together alone.

Sing me a love song, Tin

The shrill of her voice has gotten dim in my memory, reminiscent of a quivering echo. Some nights, it’s a litany of reproaches—a lilt of plea twisted around the fraying hems of scorn. Some nights, it’s a cradle song that recites choruses of unfaltering reverence. 

She’d always been good at singing. I wish she hadn’t been. That way, I wouldn’t hear her subdued croon in the love songs that play on the car radio. That way, I wouldn’t strain my ears for a soft hum that accompanies the steady trickle of rain against my window. 

One day, the pensive cadence of her haunting melody will become an unfamiliar mumble in the distance. But for now, she is the conductor of the orchestra, and I am her most devout listener.

Muffling the loud, Sam

There’s not much I liked about the city. The streets were always too busy, the sidewalks too crowded. I’m not the biggest fan of long queues, bustling traffic, and the noise—God, the noise.

The count on the crossing light is too much in a hurry. The elevators are too fast. The rides home don’t last that long. There aren’t enough doors to hold open for you. The midnight oil always burns too quickly. 

But with our fingers interlaced and our minds aligned, the city noise fades. All I want to hear are the sounds of our laughs, my how are yous, and your I’ve missed yous.

These sonances are my quiet.

Kim Balasabas

By Kim Balasabas

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