This Is How You Haunt Me | creative nonfiction by K. Degala-Paraíso

One year after you witness them filling your grave, come find me. 

Please — come find me.

But first, jump off the Staten Island pier where you used to take me fishing. Beware the dangling hooks; you wouldn’t want to get snared again. 

Ask the water to stuff the wrinkles of your spirit-body with grainy salt until your skin is young once more. Grow your hair back with the tide. 

Catch some dilis in your mouth. I’d tell you to make sure you have enough to feed the village, but you were the one who taught me that. Pinch your lips together so the water doesn’t leak out. Let the dilis swim around in your toothless cavern. 

When you find me, nudge the dilis with your tongue into the shallow pan of oil that I will keep on the stove until you find me. If I’m sleeping, knock on the bedroom door three times. Don’t worry —  I promise I won’t be afraid.

Fetch your dentures from the bathroom drawer while I mix the sukang sawsawan. Fit them over your gums as I warm the rice in butter and garlic. You can make the coffee; we both know you don’t like how I do it. 

Everything is ready. Stand at the kitchen counter with me — or float, I guess. Start eating without grace; I don’t pray these days. Don’t say much as we sip our coffee and lick the oil off our fingers. Please don’t ask me how your horses are doing. I can’t go to the tracks without you.

I will tell you, though, that she misses you. That she still can’t sleep alone. That she tells me your stories through the night until we can hear the birds. 

Tell me that you know. You know. 

You must leave me once our mugs are empty — even if you don’t want to go. Don’t worry about washing the dishes. Gather what you need from your drawers, the closets, the garden. 

I will make baon for you so you have something to eat on your travels. Pat my back when I kiss your cheek. Tell me to be safe. I’ll ask you to not possess the dog...but know that you can absolutely possess the dog. 

Shh, now. There’s no need to cry. Don’t worry. I’ll see you soon. On my wedding day.

Beeper Peddle is a writer and healer living on the East Coast. She lives with her partner and their beloved soul puppy. Beeper writes about sorrows, lies, and deep loves. When you read her work, you will dip down into her heart and end up in all manner of body parts. Should you find yourself reflected in these words, it is merely coincidence; however, it does not surprise her you share the same heart. Find her at bethpeddle.com and @beeperpeddle on Twitter and Instagram

K. Degala-Paraíso (she/they) is honored to share “This is How You Haunt Me”, an homage to her late grandfather and her debut publication, with miniskirt. K. is a Filipinx-American experimental writer with a B.A. in Creative Writing from Pitzer College. She teaches creative writing virtually through GrubStreet. When she’s not writing, catch K. organizing toward liberation, or sunbathing alongside her Calendula seedlings in Southern California. Direct inquiries welcome at kaparaiso726@gmail.com