Quotes from “By the River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept” by Paulo Coelho

I’ve probably read “By the River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept” by Paulo Coelho at least three times before, and lately I had the urge to re-read it again, but I couldn’t find my paperback book anymore (my guess is someone borrowed it a long time ago and it never made its way back). I checked my options, buying a new paperback, getting an ebook, and trying my very first audiobook. I ended up doing the last one, and it was an interestingly different experience. I might try audiobooks of Coelho’s other books in the coming days.

Anyway, one thing I love doing with Coelho’s (paperback) books are earmarking and listing down my favorite quotes from each book. It’s just almost impossible to do with an audiobook, but I’m lucky that I already did this before on my N-th read of the paperback. Sharing my favorite quotes below:


By the River Piedra I sat down and wept. There is a legend that everything that falls into the waters of this river – insects, the feathers of birds – is transformed into rocks that make the riverbed. If only I could tear out my heart and hurl it into the current, then my pain and longing would be over, and I could finally forget.

By the River Piedra I sat down and wept. The winter air chills the tears on my cheeks, and my tears fall into the cold waters that course past me. Somewhere, the river joins another, then another, until – far from my heart and sight – all of them merge with the sea.

May my tears run just as far, that my love might never know that one day I cried for him. May my tears run just as far, that I might forget the River Piedra, the monastery, the church in the Pyrenees, the mists, and the paths we walked together.

I shall forget the roads, the mountains, and the fields of my dreams – the dreams that will never come true.

I remember my “magic moment” – that instant when a “yes” or a “no” can change one’s life forever. It seems so long ago now. It is hard to believe that it was only last week that I had found my love once again, and then lost him.

I am writing this story on the bank of the River Piedra. My hands are freezing, my legs are numb, and every minute I want to stop.

“Seek to live. Remembrance is for the old,” he said.

Perhaps love makes us old before our time – or young, if youth has passed. But how can I not recall those moments? That is why I write – to try to turn sadness into longing, solitude into remembrance. So that when I finish telling myself the story, I can toss it into the Piedra. That’s what the woman who has given me shelter told me to do. Only then – in the words of one of the saints – will the water extinguish what the flames have written.

All love stories are the same.


Son los locos que inventaron el amor ~ It must have been the lunatics who invented love.


But love is much like a dam: if you allow a tiny crack to form through which only a trickle of water can pass, that trickle will quickly bring down the whole structure, and soon no one will be able to control the force of the current.

For when those walls come down, then love takes over, and it no longer matters what is possible or impossible; it doesn’t even matter whether we can keep the loved one at our side. To love is to lose control.


“It’s risky, falling in love.”

“I know that,” I answered. “I’ve been in love before. It’s like a narcotic. At first it brings the euphoria of complete surrender. The next day, you want more. You’re not addicted yet, but you like the sensation, and you think you can still control things. You think about the person you love for two minutes, and forget them for three hours. But then you get used to that person, and you begin to be completely dependent on them. Now you think about him for three hours and forget him two minutes. If he’s not there, you feel like an addict who can’t get a fix. And just as addicts steal and humiliate themselves to get what they need, you’re willing to do anything for love.”


But love is always new. Regardless whether we love once, twice, or a dozen times in our life, we always face a brand-new situation. Love can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always taks us somewhere. We simply have to accept it, because it is what nourishes our existence. If we reject it, we die of hunger, because we lack the courage to stretch out a hand and pluck the fruit from the branches of the tree of life. We have to take love where we find it, even if that means hours, days, weeks of disappointments and sadness.

The moment we begin to seek love, love begins to seek us.

And to save us.


I also knew that from this moment on I was going to experience heaven and hell, joy and pain, dreams and hopelessness; that I would no longer be capable of containing the winds that blew from the hidden corners of my soul. I knew that from this moment on love would be my guide – and that it had waited to lead me ever since childhood, when I had felt love for the first time. The truth is, I had never forgotten love, even when it had deemed me unworthy of fighting for it. But love had been difficult, and I had been reluctant to cross its frontiers.


If pain must come, may it come quickly. Because I have a life to live, and I need to live it in the best way possible. If he has to make a choice, may he make it now. Then I will either wait for him or forget him.

Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.


Love doesn’t ask many questions, because if we stop to think, we become fearful. It’s an inexplicable fear; it’s difficult even to describe it. Maybe it’s the fear of being scorned, of not being accepted, or of breaking the spell. It’s ridiculous, but that’s the way it is. That’s why you don’t ask – you act. As you’ve said many times, you have to take risks.


I loved him. With every minutes that passed, my love was growing and transforming me. I once again had faith int he future, and little by little, I was recovering my faith in God. All because of love.


If I have to fall, may it be from a high place.


I think that when we look for love courageously, it reveals itself, and we wind up attracting even more love. If one person really wants us, everyone does. But if we’re alone, we become even more alone. Life is strange.


I am going to sit here with you by the river. If you go home to sleep, I will sleep in front of your house. And if you go away, I will follow you – until you tell me to go away. Then I’ll leave. But I have to love you for the rest of my life.


 

A thousand thanks to Paulo Coelho for the endless beautiful quotes  🙂

The art of poetry and forgotten feelings

It sometimes surprises me when I look back at the poetry I’ve written many years ago, and even those I just wrote a few months ago. I have this tendency to write poetry well when I am overcome with emotions, usually of the romantic kind, and most often due to unquenched longing, heartache, and rejection. Break my heart and I will find fuel to string words into poetry.

What surprises me the most is that many years after, the poetry still sound beautiful to me but the emotions that drove me to write them have disappeared completely. Sometimes the titles or the way they were written still remind me of who they are written for and why, but I have completely forgotten the feelings. At times I even completely forget who they were for. The bliss of the forgetful.

I am very optimistic that somehow I will soon forget about him. It has happened before, and I am capable of it I’m sure. He’s not even really worth the time and attention. And truly, he wasn’t worth the poetry.

P.S. The poem in the last post was because of him (whoever he is)

Silence (Poetry)

I have no song for you
Even poetry is hard to do
You appeared out of nowhere
But never really stayed
Never entered my life
But pulled me out of it
Lead me in to the deep end
Let me drown
And left me for dead

I have no song for you
Never really let me love you
And pretended that you cared
I was blind and misled
A willing victim for a while
Until you left me
High and dry
A pocket full of sorrow
A dream that somehow died

How can I sing about you
When I don’t even know
How to feel about you?
I know for sure
I never loved you
But I don’t know,
Why do I keep holding on
To an illusion
That was pure nothingness from the start?

Numbers Game

Finding love is sometimes a numbers game, especially if you’re still playing quite late in the game. When you’re younger, it’s still a game of chance, of luck. Sometimes you get lucky and find your one true love in high school or university and you eventually end up together and live happily ever after. However if you’ve lost your chance when you were still in school, dating and finding a good match when you’re already out in the real world is a tough one.

I’ve honestly been searching for love for more than a decade. My last boyfriend was almost 10 years ago, and I met him at work. We didn’t really last long. But honestly, I’ve met a lot of guys at work. I’ve also met a lot of guys outside of work. I’ve been set up on many blind dates, gone to a number of speed dates, and even back-dated (i.e. dated people from my past). It’s tiring. And I was still unlucky at finding someone. It’s always either the attraction is one-way (i.e. I like him, he doesn’t like me back, or he likes me and I don’t like him back), or the attraction is mutual, but there’s something completely and absolutely complicated about it (and oh, I don’t even want to talk about it).

When I moved to Oz, the search continued. Somehow it was both harder and easier for different reasons. It was more difficult because I had a limited existing social circle, I came unfamiliar with the dating rituals and culture, and it was challenging for me to spark physical attraction because I can’t effing compete with those sexy blonde girls (not sure if this is true, but this is how it feels). I found it a bit more easy for other reasons because of so many ways to meet more people, such as numerous social events, speed dating events, dating apps, and online dating websites.

But alas, the search continues.

I do think that somehow it’s a numbers game. The more people I meet, the better the chances that I’ll find someone. As they say, the more entries you send, the more chances of winning. Of course, I also take quality into consideration. Meet more quality guys. That’s the strategy.

Again

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was right before the very first date ever in my life. Valentines dance in high school and I was only 13 (if I remember correctly). I was with my bestfriend (who went to a different school but I invited over) and we were just enjoying the day of the school fair. But as the evening approached and the inevitability of my date dawned, my insides just went topsy-turvy.

I remember it distinctly. That giddy feeling bordering on nauseous. I tried to eat a slice of pizza and finish a bottle of orange soda (Royal Tru Orange!). For some reason, I couldn’t hold it down and had to throw up everything. Everything. I blamed it on the orange soda and sort of stopped drinking that from then on.

It may have been the first time I ever fell in love. In retrospect, there’s strong supporting evidence to back that up.

Many years after, he could still remember what I wore that day. Many years after, I remember that single pink rose he gave me, the one that I took home and stuck on the ground and lived for a few years more. I still remember the songs that we slow danced to, and how much taller he was that made it a challenge to put my hands on his shoulders and around his neck.

Unfortunately, my first love never really became “us”, although the ghost of our feelings for each other haunted us beyond a decade. I guess it just wasn’t really meant to be.

I just remembered this from long ago, because I was reminded of that giddy, nauseous feeling. Here it comes again.

Old Shorts – “Too Late” (A Short Story)

It was raining quite heavily. A grey Civic drove slowly into the parking area of the airport. A young man came out. He had strong features, fair skin, and round eyes. He ran under his blue jacket through the pouring rain, towards the arrival area. At once he caught glimpse of his friend, sitting next to a pile of baggage.

“Hoy Antonio! It’s time you got here. I’ve been waiting for you for hours!” his friend jerked. His features, weaker than his friend’s, glimmered in the pale lights. He had tan skin, chinky eyes, and pale lips. “Is that the way you are going to greet me after five years we haven’t seen each other? I think the last time I saw you was at my wedding, wasn’t it?” Antonio replied, jokingly.

Yes it was, the other man thought. He remembered it bitterly, but tried not to show it. He tried to remember Andrea’s face. She seemed so happy. Very happy. And he’s giving her away to his very best friend Antonio. He tried to ask her to come back to him, but she refused.

“I’m really sorry I’m late. I got stuck in heavy traffic. So, how was your trip?” Antonio asked.

“It’s okay, but I’m really so tired. I think I’m going to be sick.” he answered.

“Maybe it’s just the weather.” Antonio said.

The rain calmed. They walked towards the car and shoved two big traveling bags and a medium sized box. They both hopped into the car, and started a long drive home. When the car got out of the airport, it began to rain heavily again. The traffic was jammed and the road was flowing with water. It will take some time for them to get home. “Are you alright, Jonathan?” Antonio asked.

“Yep, just resting.” he answered.

Antonio popped a tape into the car stereo, and the air was filled with song.

my lullaby
hung out to dry
what’s up with that
it’s over

Jonathan closed his eyes and tried to sleep. He remembered the song. It was one of the songs Andrea used to sing. He remembered Andrea. He met her back in high school. They were sophomores then. A friend introduced him to her. She was not that attractive. She’s the type that you’ll only appreciate if you look at her more closely. It also goes for her character. You’ll never appreciate her unless you know her really well. As for him, he knew her very well. He became a friend to her. He also appreciated her beauty.

The road became less congested, but the rain continued pouring. Antonio drove his car into a gasoline station, and got fueled up. Jonathan went down to find something to eat at the snack station. After fueling, Antonio parked the car in front of the snack station and got out.

Jonathan got out with a sandwich in both hands. After getting into the car, he handed Antonio the one on his left. Antonio began eating it clumsily, spilling some filling every now and then.

This is my best friend, Jonathan thought, biting into his own sandwich. They have been best friends since their first year in high school. They’re already twenty-seven, but almost nothing has changed. He could not imagine how different they were, yet how they agreed and got along with each other. He also could not imagine how Andrea got to like him. Perhaps everything Andrea couldn’t find in him, she found in his best friend. The way Antonio was so carefree about everything, while he always worried about how things will work out.

my mouth is dry
forgot how to cry
what’s up with that
you’re hurting me

The song continued playing. It lurked into Jonathan’s ears once again. He remembered the day they parted. They didn’t break up because of a terrible fight. They broke up because they realized they wouldn’t work anymore. It was before graduation. Andrea cried, but he didn’t. He was still so in love with her, and was so numb at that time to feel the pain. They broke up as friends. This was the last song that she sang to him.

An hour or so passed, without a word between the two friends. They finally got to Antonio’s house. Nobody was there. The house was so hollow, and their footsteps echoed on the walls of the spacious living room.

Antonio unloaded Jonathan’s bags into the guest room, beside the wide staircase.

“Andy! Andy! Where are you?” Jonathan searched, climbing a few steps of the stairs. Antonio glanced at Jonathan with an uncertain look.

“I really don’t know how to tell you this but,” he stuttered.

“What? Don’t tell me she’s out of town. Didn’t she even wait for me?” Jonathan asked. Long silence.

“No, Jon. She didn’t wait for you… She’s dead.” Antonio sobbed.

“Tony, you’re joking! Andrea can’t be dead! She can’t be!” Jonathan screamed. He pushed Antonio unto a wall. “You never loved her! You stole her from me! Show her to me! Where is she? Stop hiding her!” Jonathan shrieked.

“She’s dead Jonathan, and I can do no more. I loved her, if that’s what you want to know. I loved her. She’s no more now. Not yours. Not mine. Go get dressed and we’ll go to her wake together.” Antonio said.

Jonathan released his hold of his friend, and scampered to his room. Both of them dressed up and got back into the car.

why, bleeding is breathing
you’re hiding underneath the smoke in the room
try, bleeding is believing
I used to

The stereo snickered. Now he understood.

They arrived at the wake. There were many people there, with some familiar faces. Jonathan went directly to the casket. He looked into her face. She still is beautiful, even though her face was now pale and lifeless. He missed her so much. He broke down and cried. It was the first time ever he cried because of her, after the time they broke up. It has been a long time. Now it’s too late.

Antonio patted Jonathan’s back.

Bridget Jones and my raging hormones

bjdThe trailer for ‘Bridget Jones’ Baby’, the newest Bridget Jones movie was very much appealing to me and I’m meaning to watch it soon, but I honestly haven’t seen any of the previous movies yet. That was until two nights ago, when I chanced upon their first movie, ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ showing on TV. Watching it for the first time, I found it to be much of a delight.

I don’t know really. Is it because she’s single and on a challenging search for that elusive love, and it is something I can pretty much relate to? In the movie though, in the craziest way, in a wonderful chance, she found a wonderful gorgeous man who was willing to take a chance on her. Mr. Darcy.

Wait, he sounds familiar. Oh yes, Pride and Prejudice. A little googling told me that Bridget Jones book and movie are actually loosely based on Pride and Prejudice, especially on the BBC series starring Colin Firth. Oh yes, Mr. Darcy. I was also in love with the Mr. Darcy from the 2005 movie version of P&P.

Okay, back to Bridget. And her Mr. Darcy.

Oh, I don’t really know if it was such a good idea to watch the movie while I am hormonal, highly emotional, and all that shiz. Somehow it has uncovered and unearthed all that subconscious longing and that unfulfilled desire for the love of my life, who somehow hasn’t shown himself yet after all these years.

I’ve enjoyed watching Colin Firth, Mr. Darcy. Where do I find myself a real life man like that? So I was pining for my own Mr. Darcy during and after the movie. Then went to bed (alone).

Lo and behold, my dreams may have revealed to me my hidden desires. Wonderful vivid dream about a guy I was in love with from long ago. It was the sweetest dream I’ve ever had for the longest time. I wish it never ended.

Honestly, I don’t really think I want him back, whoever that specific person was in my dream. But how I long for that feeling again. Why has it always been so elusive?

I had to watch the second movie too, ‘Bridget Jones – Edge of Reason’, since it won’t be long until the third movie is available in the cinemas for me to watch. I watched it tonight, and again just fell for Mr. Darcy even harder. Perhaps I did not relate with Bridget in the second movie as much as the first, since I didn’t agree with her reasons for questioning her relationship with Darcy. But Darcy has just been such a delight.

Within the next hour I shall go to sleep, but now I am already wondering what dreams will come this time around.