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THESPECTRUM
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SCRIBE
Volume 12, March 2008 The Literary Folio of The Spectrum Published by the Students of the University of St. La Salle - Bacolod The Spectrum is the Official Student Publication of the University of St. La Salle - Bacolod

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved
including the right of reproduction in whole or in any part of form

Jamie F. Bentinganan Literary Editor Jumpee P. Tipon Layout Editor Timothy A. Escopete Mark Romulo C. Tumbagahan Layout Artists

Set in ITC Legacy Sans and Flyer LT Std Cover Layout by Jumpee P. Tipon Concept by Manuel Jeffrey O. Sistoso and Arjay D. Solitario
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ConTEnTs
Foreword PoeTrY
Dalawang Dekadang Pamasyal Patrick Pangilinan Three little pigs Vincent Paul Pido Jailbird Vincent Paul Pido Two Poems Jhon Mikhail Leong A Collection of Wells Jhon Mikhail Leong Epithet Jhon Mikhail Leong Come, Man-child, Come! H.P. Atilano Ang Kabiguan ni Jose n. Jonathan Davila The skull Jonathan Davila The Clan of somnambulists Anton Dominic Magbanua on Leaving Chateau D’IF Anton Dominic Magbanua The Crab Jeprox Lingamen soul Talk Judy Garrucha A Realist’s Admonition Evangeline Meg Soledad
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12 14 17 19 21 22 26 28 29 30 32 33 36 38

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Dream Day Patrick Jay Pangilinan Uwian na Patrick Jay Pangilinan second coming H.P Atilano The Moth R. Torres Pandan A Way to save Books R. Torres Pandan Periwinkle nook Ellen May Carmona Progression Regression Ellen May Carmona Ang Bagyo Lois Stephanie Cruz Good Morning Jamie Bentinganan In the silence Chuvic Monserate Goodnight Hugs and Kisses Marcelina Victoria Yandall stolen Manuel Jeffrey Sistoso Monotony Arthur Jason Javellana All is not well Jeprox Lingamen Chill spider Jamie Bentinganan

39 40 41 42 44 45 47 49 51 52 53 55 57 59 60

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Metamorphosis Andrea Paz Derecho GonE... Diana Grace Consolado Miss shell Anton Dominic Magbanua W16 Rene Sedonio laughter Nadjie Danielle Magsumbol ‘Til the morning comes John Patrick Cabuguason

61 63 64 66 68 69

ShorT STorieS
Bittersweet Erika Aiza Gotel The Boy Rolen Espera over A Cup of Coffee Andrea Paz Derecho Mr. and Mrs. God’s Domestic Dilemma Vincent Paul Pido July 11 Ralph Pancho sly Arthur Jason Javellana Damien Sheila May Guerrero The Clean-up (A Wife’s Tale) H.P. Atilano 72 76 83 89 98 108 116 120

The SCriBeS: Contributor’s Page
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FoREWoRD

This issue of the scribe has been long overdue. It’s been so long overdue that the contents have almost given up and conceded to rot while the file lay dormant in the archives of the wonderful chaos that is the student publications office. It was not until earlier this year that everything was unearthed, dusted off and pieced together into the book that you are holding now. The contents have matured and after a long time, they are finally ready for your consumption. The cover reflects the ageing that this issue has gone through. It was purposely made to look like something you might dig out of your lola’s baul. Kumbaga vintage. We’d like to think that it’s that bit of ageing that makes it extra special. Not to be totally stale, we have inserted some fresh new compositions to liven things up. It’s a good mix of the more mature contributions and the fresher, more recently acquired pieces. We are all familiar with the concept of waiting. Some of us are better at it than others but we’ve all been there before and the experience is usually one that tests the mettle of our sweet patience. We know you’ve been waiting, some of you more patiently than others. Maybe if we’d released this a little sooner, our characters would not have expired the way that they did. Intrigued? You’ve waited long enough. We can’t possibly let you wait any longer. Start reading.

Jamie B.

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Dalawang Dekadang Pamamasyal
Patrick Jay P. Pangilinan

Ibig ko na pong umuwi. Ang mga payaso’y hindi na nakakatawa. Ayokong ngumiti sa kanilang pag-uulayaw Dahil alam kong ako’y mapapahalakhak. At kakambal ng pagtawa ng hubad ang Inyo pong sumpa.

Hindi rin naman po ako makalapit sa mga prinsesa – Balot sila ng limahid At ayaw ko na pong madungisan Dahil Kayo’y galit sa mga marungis.

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Dalawang dekada na po akong namamasyal. Minsan po’y nabibitiwan ko ang baong pagtitimpi – Nakikisaya ako sa mga hubong payaso At yumayakap sa mga gusgusing prinsesa.

Batid ko pong hindi pa ako makakauwi Hanggang sa ako’y Inyo pong ipasundo. Akin pong hiling Na pagdatal ng yaong araw, Nawa’y ‘wag N’yo po akong paluin.

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Three little pigs
Vincent Paul S. Pido

Three little pigs are playing in the pen, running, and jumping all around the den.

Three little pigs are cuddling to the sow suckling, and huddling safe from any foe.

Three little pigs are loaded in the truck, farewell to the mother bathing in the muck.

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Three little pigs are in the slaughterhouse, filthy, and scary all around dead cows.

Three little pigs are pounded on the head electrocuted, stabbed, soon they’ll be dead.

Three little pigs are down on the floor, bleeding, and screaming, and bleeding some more.

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Three little pigs are pounded on the head, disoriented and in pain of course they’ll be dead.

Three little pigs are down on the floor, happiness, happiness, There’ll be pork chop in the stores!

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Jailbird
Vincent Paul S. Pido

Once again, like every other cold night, she peeps through the rusty steel bars hoping to escape the now barren fright within her old heart that has seen much too many wars.

She feels that her time is drawing near, and is saddened that she has not been free. Almost all her life she was a captive in fear while the rest of the world was blind to her plea.

Her instincts tell her of a distant memory that beckons her to run, flap her wings and fly, pursue the life she was born to live, flee from the lustful hands of those who watch her nearby.

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Wrongfully sentenced to a cruel imprisonment for a crime that was never thought, never done, her days crawl on, but she never forgets she is innocent although those before her, she knew, found death in this unjust condemnation.

As the night grew darker and her inner stirrings deeper, a loud conversation of sorts is overheard, a negotiation. The gates to the crowded cell is opened to the buyer, that he may select the one to suffer execution.

It was her, she was not wrong. She struggled and clucked and cackled and pecked, until she found her way back into the safety of the throng only to be once more seen and grabbed by her feathery neck.

If only they understood her worry. If only they understood her cries that told the horrible story of a chicken that was soon to be fried.

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Two Poems
Jhon Mikhail Leong

I. The Afternoon Plague

The afternoon is sickened by sentimentality—. The golden daylight cramps itself and the sandy rifts of clouds inhabit skies with their dull unveiling; as If streaks of God’s bodily hair, they scatter and ramble; rumbling and clashing against each other in a silent frenzy, having their shares of vulgar whispers. A war, perhaps: the nim, the cumu and the strat over the us. I hadn’t an idea. I can only witness, as they turn redder by the hour. Nonetheless they are simply lingering ghosts of yesterdays Nameless and rootless they are anonymous as shadows. And though they are partly malignant, I cannot complain about their airs, for I have yet to master the art of being God, and direction has gone off someplace else.

The orange fluctuates in a sudden descending— and in his cape of stars, the moon appears fat and golden in his milk-bathed skin.

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II. Disfiguring Changes

Unstable as chemistry, I am altered into an array of shapes: From a stiff triangle, to a faulty o; to the dishonest square— Unhinged, I am now in my stubborn form, and life cannot mould me into exceptionality; perchance this is fate, to face the latter verdict of being Neurotic: My digression of wit; the Conscious apprehensions and dark cessation: to cut, to cut, and to turn on and off artlessly like a switch, or a bulb or a sun— O disinterest, I am simply too good and submissive—my Heart, not a muscle nor a mass of reddened shreds but a puzzle of silver screws! Veins turn into blue and red wires and my head is the bell; mechanic as a clock

I tick and tock and shut into a rock. I ring and I ring and everything else stirs From their manic exorcizing.

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A Collection Of Wells
Jhon Mikhail Leong

Die well, No one can tell, Of The tragedy On your sad life in Hell.

Yell well, To the Cordial Well To its lowered pail So sell your soul well.

And of course…

Speak to Him well. Or He’ll mail you straight back to Hell.

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Epithet

Jhon Mikhail Leong

The sea crashes over and you are under it. And the hills fold themselves on your temple like a black turban.

Would you evade? Or just fade Into the blackness and end like a love song?

Your heart is a numb thing, in stupor. You are alive because it is your penalty.

Why not be the lethal nightshade? With no one to touch you thus you feel resolute, god-like

With your pickled lips: dim, red, and fat With poison that paralyzes the wit?

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The mind is a plane of suppression: tyranny of memories And they empty infinitely thus like ants in a single black procession.

The Oblivion brings dissonance: The sound of failure: the hum of obstruction:

Pounding, pounding On the door like Father, with non-sterile needle,

Killing you in the fever. And your mother, with white gloves and mouth shelled by something white,

Is smiling at your nakedness. “As if you’ve turned back to fetus state.”

A din of irony lies within her mouth; don’t you hear it? Hissing sounds as she talks to you, and the ether drools

Decaying lips as sun burnt synthetic, With smoke for soporific gas?

What proceeds? A surgery of fate? Let them take your organs—you are the cavity full of nonentity now.

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Silent as the moon and her salts scattered like pollen Ever gaping at the golden light behind with infinite curbing:

You are a shadow, ensnared within the light of life. A multitude of faces: a superlative mimicker.

The golden egg with shell wilting, unpeeling A round matter curling, slowly, surely

Into looming thing That wolfs mirth for meals thrice daily—

Nothing satisfies you, Only the negative and you memorize it so well.

Nothing satiates you, Only taste of gluttony and how you savor the spices.

What dullness is this you bear? You turn into the horizontal substance.

“I am the Dying Bird I am the parallel thing.” You say.

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A withering hemlock, With his petals shrinking into the dissolute blackness

Thus his poison is of no use, Until he brings it to Hell and kills Lusifur with juice.

Don’t grin: If you smile the lips hiss And the muscles rasp into putrefied state.

What will these bring you? Pretensions— The world is an oval and you are beneath it

—Are saddling like the purple atlas. And the burden comes with such mass that you must slouch, head on heels. Your veins, at peak of plumping into the blueness When the soon comes, the world will have to hear:

Such sound you will bear. It will be the sound of resurrection. And the wit will stir with the brilliance of ascension.

What is that white light behind the Veil? I see the Face—and the Face wears a mask of thorns.

Nothing so pure as the Virgin in white.

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Come, Man-child, Come!
H.P. Atilano
Come, man-child, come! Come closer, look deeper. Ignore my inadequate bosom, my enormous hips; Forget about the torn veil of chastity and its Promise of orgasmic bliss. Look at me and see in me the Woman Who nourished you with her soggy breasts. Mine are still firm and plump and erect. Feel them. Suck them like you sucked your Mother’s Back in the days when your universe was just A Pair of Nipples Overflowing with Maternal Kindness. Know that I, too, am Masculine: Provider. Preserver. Protector. Penetrate me with the force you spend When you thrust the nail into hardwood And know that I, too, am

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Tough. Strong. Virile. Go into me deeper, deeper, deeper... Till you reach my abyss: Your Climax; your Peak! And when you get there don’t drift away; Don’t conclude the Moment in haste with your clumsy Ejaculation! Stay with me and wait for me to Come, too! Be just. Be considerate. Be a Man. Take time to fathom the depth of the womb Which molded you and nurtured you And excites you and delights you Which you enter and re-enter And know not yet!

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Ang Kabiguan ni Jose N.
Jonathan Davila

Nadulas siya Sa bahaghari Nang minsang Umulan sa tanghali.

Tuloy-tuloy Siya sa lupa.

Ang dala niyang Karpet na bigay Ni Aladdin Ay hindi lumipad.

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The Skull
Jonathan Davila

The gravediggers put the skull on the top of the tomb and painted it white.

Then they asked it loudly: “Your wife has remarried a month after your death. Why are you silent?”

But the skull only grinned, and with stained teeth, it seemed to laugh from a far universe.

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The Clan of Somnambulists
Anton Dominic Magbanua

(Upon seeing my maternal family dancing)

What made your pride, Somnambulists Clan To wke me from uterine sleep, Tear the fabrics of my dreams And cruelly deny me the chromosomes Of your name?

What graces the steps, Somnambulists Clan Of your raving poetry dances, And do they measure the heart’s True strength and will, to blame Me for my heart and soul unskilled?

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These wings you fly with, Somnambulists Clan, Are they scarred demonic hides Or glorious angelic wings? For in your dispute with the sun’s height I am earth-bound and too mesmerized.

Will you kill, Somnambulists Clan, The one your looking mirror tells To be the fairest among you?

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On Leaving Chateau D’IF
Anton Dominic Magbanua

What hope remains to one deported to a grave Unworthy to contain an animal’s death? All the names of God are shouted in this place In calls for pity, justice, deliverance Or a glance of the accuser who condemns Without trial, as fate bluntly guillotines.

All hopes are extinguished and replaced By the cold fire of vengeance When remembrances in the stone coffin Rush and remind of the shipwreck of youth And the cries for God are no more.

There is this vow of vengeance unconfined By prison and sees beyond the long years The calloused pain to point out The exact moment when the dispenser of revenge Yields his place to this promise.

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The Crab
Jeprox G. Lingamen

It’s been like this always— Me coming here to watch the waves Roll pebbles and shells onto this wide

White stretch of sand forming Constellations that glitter beneath Daylight’s golden touch.

And always I wonder if Some secret message from you Lies encrypted in the way those jewels

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Are strewn on Earth’s fairest Skin, or snatched away by the imperious Sea as if begrudging me of such beauty and

The day when I’d figure out the Secret, and find a new direction to pursue Other than this realm of sun, sand, and sea—

And you: elusive but within reach Like brine in the breeze, the moon spilled Over liquid darkness, or the foamy tongue

Of the sea kissing the beach. But I’m trapped in your silence, like A crab sentenced to a shell, and I shall bear

The weight of this lover Solitude, Of this protection and incarceration, Of forever wishing those crimson shards

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Would never again form the sun, As leaving me to myself in this place fills Me with nothing but darkness and space

And chasms falling into themselves. I shall dwell in the tales spun of what could Have been us, written by a grieving hand

And a dreaming heart on this wide White stretch of sand, roused by words that Outlast the breath of wind teasing the palm trees, And outscream even the wild geese Searching for home—so as always I am The script that scars this shore, that calls

And cries and whimpers and whispers And sobs and sighs and sleeps—I am tired, Draw over me this heavy blanket of sea, again.

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Soul Talk
Judy L. Garrucha

Writer’s block attacks, and I can no longer scribble Splendid phrases that speak

Of the enchanted rapture Whenever I absorb the spot Spawned by your lazy hand

What fingers wish to clutch, What senses long to savor, I cannot hunt the words for

Been swallowed, my eloquence By a brutish, swirling black hole Spinning, grinding up reflections

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Of you and me together Talking, yet the words are Adrift and the thought subsides

And what’s left of me— Pen, paper, and soul, swimming The depth of your core

With my eloquence gone, Pen and paper meet to engage In a dance of tranquil romance

Aided by the other thing That’s left of me—the soul. And the words flow by…

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A Realist’s Admonition
Evangeline Meg Soledad

Sweet nothings to tell grant airs to the wind, Naught deeming troubles the unconquered fear. Locked chambers of oceans wild, yet you grin, The stakes are lofty to all you hold dear.

Taste freedom of chance with a minding eye, Wanderings of life budding more than your dreams, Bends are fickle and its endings do sigh, False friends are flowers, temporal though sweet Take care not to burn fire those lovely wings, The wolves are many more than the eye can see.

Carry not a blossom but a sincere smile, The world watches you grow with gleaming dark eyes. Thou art a pearl of naivety so grave You heed cries of terror but whom can you save?

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Dream Day
Patrick Jay P. Pangilinan

Daydream. Morning breeze. Maple leaves. Your head on my chest. My hand on your hair. Cookies. Chocolates. Dream day.

for Polly

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Uwian Na
Patrick Jay P. Pangilinan

Alam ko ‘pag uwian na. Tatamlay na ang hiyawan. Babagal na ang habulan. Magkakamot na si Boy. Hihikab na si Jeje. Wala nang latang Gugulung-gulong sa kanto. Wala nang traysikel Na biglang bubusina’t pipreno. Uwian na. Uuwi na sila.

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second coming
H.P Atilano

i Came Again to see Fireworks go off inside your pupils, dilating into a cosmic Orb, Expanding like the primordial nebula on the verge of a cataclysmic Big Bang.

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The Moth
R. Torres Pandan

The moth isn’t flattered By the light But by the darkness beyond The flame, so it floats, With clear wings, Into the dark place Behind the lamp.

It is flattered by terror Of blazing wings But more the terror Of floating in nothingness, Not the glory of bursting From fire but the glory

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Of being lost In the darkness Without possibility Of ever having wings, Whole in what It can never Hope to be.

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A Way to Save Books
R. Torres A. Pandan

Dust, like moth, is harmful to books. In old China, the traditional way To keep off dust and moth Was to wrap the books twice in silk, The books then set with care In camphor chests, the chests Themselves cast in bronze. When setting them in chests, One had to be attentive to leave Space between the books So if some books decayed, the others Would stay. Books twice in silk, Silk in camphor, camphor in bronze. Then if needed, words to remind us. This is how it has been practiced For hundreds of years, another way To save books from moth or dust.

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Periwinkle Nook
Ellen May Carmona

flamboyantly clad of fragrance and blooms, life sparkled in this once forgotten room… life filled in all its crannies and nooks, what a fmarvelous sight… oh how elegant it looks!

hyacinth, gerberas and lilies in a bundle on the coffee table placed too fragile to cuddle… a grand array of red and mauve roses enlightening the mood there by the window solemnly it stood.

the floor is intricately made of wood parquet, complementing the arrangements of the lovely bouquets… marble statues placed every here and there, while the curtain’s detail is worth the eager stares.

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soft and supple is the white linen covered couch, as clumps of Chinese lantern blooms beside it are in a pouch… by the grand piano lilies like angels with trumpet sing, and palms beside it suggest their flapping wings.

as audience of this blooms concert awed and struck, by the magnanimous display of fortune and luck… with all the gargantuan description of the place, one continues to stare and be amazed…

and amidst all the hassle and buzzle however, in the far corner of the room they noticed never… not even the keenest of all crooks, there stood the modest periwinkle nook.

oh unnoticed little blooms bare no fault or disdain… follow your heart and let not your hopes die in vain.

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Progression Regression
Ellen May Carmona

oh unquenched ardors of inner strife, enigmatic is your game in one’s ordinary life. likened to a tumultuous tempest, in an uproared lambasting of one’s chest.

what a shenanigan’s bliss you start to play, in a once placid mindset gradually you plagues. onward an armada marching that shouts what ought, forward gnawed a squadron of what naught.

on a plateau of emotions one is left stranded, too good for bad, too bad for good… grounded. in an interplay of dictated norms foretold, one is left safely rooted not warm but cold.

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how multi-faceted are the creatures in this world contained, captured in the complexity to let go or be maintained. better yet to remain on the safe side, away from the capricious shifts of emotional tides.

but until when can the silence hold? outgrown one has of its youthful mold… time is of the essence… yet do not fear, but for now hush, or the zephyrs might hear.

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Ang Bagyo
Lois Stephanie Cruz

At ang mayayaman, nananaginip, Magandang kapalaran ng tadhanang ihip. Nagpapakasarap sa kanilang malambot, sutlang bata, Sa mga nagiginawang paa’y naaaba. Malakas ang ihip ng bagyong habagat, Sa kanilang makaharing palasyo sa tabi ng dagat.

Habang malakas na kumukulog ang mga alon, Nagliliparang bulaklak at mga dahon. Nakabibingaw na hiyaw ng hangin, “Magpakita ka! Kapatid kong si Buhangin!” Hindi pa nakuntentp’y tinatak pa sa balat, Mukha ng magpinsang sina kulog at kidlat.

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Samantalang ang mahihirap, mga walang tahanan— Kanilang mga pangarap ay nilamo’t sinugatan. Nadama ang galit ng hangin at bangis ng ulan, Walang tinatanto si Inang Kalikasan. Masakit ma’y buhay ng iba’y sadyang kintil, Hindi matutumbasan ng sanlibong gintong butyl.

At ang mga sanga ng kaho’y marahas na nagsisisayawan, Sunud-sunod na patak sa bahang putik na daanan.

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Good Morning
Jamie F. Bentinganan

I wanna wake up to the smell Of you and chocolate With my hair in my face And spread across your arms The longest strands Laced in your fingers Adorning your chest that I’ve Claimed with my hand Coffee for you, chocolate for me Everything smelling delicious At our bedside, beneath the lamp That we almost broke last night Our clothes in a heap on the floor My toes on your ankles You touch my arm to wake me And I wake up to a kiss That deepens as you pull down Our crumpled sheets And I laugh; everything is Getting cold, the coffee and eggs But not us

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In the Silence
Chuvic Monserate

In the quiet room Where silence is broken With just the songs of waves Breaking on the shore I touch your smile And embrace the memory Of holding your hands yesterday. I hear the silent songs inside me, Like the piano being played By your gentle hands. And the music reverberates In the silence, Where only I could tread, Till my emotions break, Like sea waves Crushing and breaking, Knowing they can hold The weight no more.

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Goodnight Hugs and Kisses
Marcelina Victoria Yandall

Every night as your door is left ajar with the light streaming through the screen i hear your rocking chair’s melodic rhythm and i just know you have a book in hand the bed is empty and the covers still made up you wont go to sleep for awhile yet sometimes you have a cup nearby; sometimes you dont i am not sure about tonight, but it doesnt really matter i feel secure knowing that you are there and even if you never say anything,with the light shining, the slow rocking, the assurance that you are in control i can lie in my own bed and thank God for such a person in my life and each night when our family prays together before bedtime and each night as we exchange goodnight hugs and kisses each night i love being embraced tightly in those arms

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strong enough to keep the bad dreams and bad things away big enough to cover me when im scared and wise enough to know when to let go and when to hang on and tonight as i pass by your door on the way to my own i blow you a kiss through that screen with the light shining through and i smile, basking in the fact that i have someone like you who loves me.

Goodnight Daddy

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Stolen
Manuel Jeffrey Sistoso

In the far horizon where You met the wind that Blew you to nakedness

Rose the sun which Clothed you again and Warmth was all over

In the night sky where Darkness kept you as A cloaked diamond

Flourished a daybreak that Brightened your soul and Light came, they saw you

In the lush seabed where The water secured you Soaked to last

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Came the low tide which Dried you with the breeze and Concealed no more one revealed

But you were not pleased…

You wanted Freedom

You were once A treasure

You lived Forever

Now you are Stolen.

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Monotony
Arthur Jason Javellana

I wake up, brush my teeth and comb my hair Run out the door and go through it again I go through it again and again

Eat, sleep No longer Mandatory I bury myself in my work I kill myself with my work Life is a wheel A real busted piece of scrap All rusted and its axles coming loose Busted with no spare

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Again and again life goes Showing no sign of slowing Repetitive and redundant Happiness seldom abundant

Anger, Depression, Sorrow Joy, Triumph, Success Interwoven and intertwined Nothing stays forever

I wake up, brush my teeth and comb my hair Run out the door and go through it again I go through it again and again

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All is not well
Jeprox Lingamen

i am a well of Night

you don’t want to come near me

the stars, all the bright things had

left me wailing soundlessly

even my tears won’t come to fill me up

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Chill Spider
Jamie Bentinganan

Under my sweater, little chills like little spiders on my skin, I feel the mother spider creeping down my spine

I twiddle my fingers like they have sticky webs stuck between the spaces Like sticky threads netting flecks of feelings on my cheeks I tuck back escaping strands of black hair behind my ears I am the spider queen

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Metamorphosis
Andrea Paz Derecho

I was but a girl By the river bank, I sat, Content with what My life had to offer But the world said,

“This is enough”

So i took my things And sought out my fortune In a world I knew not of But I thought I had made it Until the world said,

“This is not enough”

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So i took my makeup And colored my lips crimson And weaved fantasies Into the minds of preying men But the world said,

“This is not enough”

So I returned to the riverbank And became the girl I was Before the world told me That I needed more So I told myself.

"Yes, this is enough."

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GONE...
Diana Grace L. Consolado

The shelf stands still full of memories In the white pages of old diaries Like a scene away from a lovely season Buried in time and oblivion...

A dried rose, a coupled-photo of ours Hearty moments behind those golden hours Forgotten in evenings of dying moons Wishing a spring will herald soon.

Fading ink pens in those rainy nights Seeking your face in the spectra of lights While sketching your name between the lines Gazing at the stars, waiting for your signs.

Hoping that one day you'll find your way Behind those pebbles, back to me Searching through the meadow under the sun Because for now you're gone...

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Miss Shell
Anton Dominic Magbanua

You can be nothing more- just the face I painted With my mind inspired by my childhood gods While running in the beach and trying To hold slipping sand in my palms As if to keep innocence from drying away. You are the single grain saved From turbulence of wind and waves.

You can be nothing more- just a lullaby Heard while I sleep in the lap of dreams And the rain whistles at the glass leaf Lulling the sound heard only once To the senses of that passing day And then render me blind, mute and deaf.

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You can be nothing more- just the ship Of dreams I wait for in the harbor Of the limping years. When I come to sleep At last with my enemies, Time and Hope. And though, my slip of dream shall never Come to port, but you sleeping at my side Is sufficient, the most wonderful dream enough.

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W16
Rene Sedonio

The instant silence Connotes the readiness of each one As the prayer started ahead by several ticks And down to business each one As supercharged minds ready to lunge and devour Whatever’s on the board That titillates the adrenaline That had been suppressed for some time Readying its release For the ultimate moment has come, expressing those words So powerful enough That the prayer is brought to life As if a dance floor to the dancing pen

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Whose marks relay the message Whose wellspring is the intelligence As interplayed by the audience Conducive to learning Only disturbed by rustling of papers Whose owners are through and in haste To get out from the room Full of spent residual energy And the shoesoles noisily engage the floor To an exit that never again One could duplicate

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laughter
Nadjie Danielle M. Magsumbol

the rain falls down and a soft cloud of mist rises up from the drenched green grass the spiky leaves bent with the weight of heaven-blessed moisture

raindrops cease the heavy grey clouds blown away by the sweet summer winds coming in from nowhere the sun shone out warmth bringing memories of joy

and a child steps out a little footprint on the wet wet grass a musical peal of laughter floats across the wide expanse of beauty. of beauty.

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‘Til the morning comes
John Patrick F. Cabuguason

‘Til the morning comes we spend the night in sleep; And we wait that the shadow would pass That light could penetrate and rekindle the flame That once was our daylight.

It will not be long, short is time when there is no count; Daybreak will come too soon, no such as endless nights But mornings, the mornings with you, they are infinite.

Infinite bliss and forever day Awaits us by morrow’s fray A promise only time betrayed By our sunrise delayed

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Bittersweet
Erika Aiza Gotel

I don’t want him to get married. Or at least I don’t want him to get married just yet. I want to tell him that but I don’t have the guts.

Upon learning the news that he wanted to get married, my heart crashed. I was planning to spend some time with him when I get back, just him and me. But now I heard he wants to marry her and I’m at odds.

I wish I had never left. Maybe I could have done something to prevent him from falling for someone else. I might have done something so he won’t be thinking about settling down with someone I barely even know. I could have done something about this, but I didn’t.

I have always been afraid that this day would come, the day when he would finally declare he fell in love with someone so great and that he wants her to be his wife. But the inevitable always happens. He fell in love. In fact, he fell real hard. I was used to being the special girl for him. I was so used to having his time and attention. But now, it vanished in just one blink of an eye. I figured if I tell him these, he might change his mind about the wedding.

When we were kids, I considered him my knight, even though he didn’t have shining armor. He would defend me from those bullies who would make me cry. He was my cornerstone, my shield, that one great superhero that manages to appear when I am in trouble. He has taught me to be strong, to stand up for myself because no one else will, to always believe I can do whatever I want if I put my heart to it. He has always been there for me. He was always saving me. Since the day I realized that, I’ve always told myself I wanted to walk down the aisle with a guy like him.

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If anyone would ask me who influenced me the most, I wouldn’t think twice about saying it was him. I tried my best to be good in writing because he was good at it. I tried to be familiar with every basketball team because I know how much he loves this game. I learned to love the game because he does. When I learned he was once in a band, I dreamt of being in one too. I liked eating the food he loves eating, and loved the food he cooks. I listened to every song he listens to, liked every band he likes. He introduced me to music. I would take time to watch his favorite movies. I wear clothes he picks for me; tie my shoelace the way he taught me how. Better yet, I became his little shadow, a copycat. I wanted so much to please him. I wanted to be the kind of girl he taught me to be. He influenced me this much but he doesn’t have any idea he did. He’s totally clueless.

But then, everything changed just because. We used to cuddle. He used to tickle me until I cried and ran out of breath. He used to buy albums for me, used to like surprising me with gifts on my wish list. We used to sleep beside each other, used to talk about my crushes and how to handle those boys he calls “jerks”. He used to share his dreams with me, the latest music he’s in to, the bands he currently listens to, the latest basketball chikas. We used to eat fish balls together on afternoons; we used to watch cartoons together, used to go to the mall. We always used to have those just-you-and-me moments. At least he used to. At least we used to. Everything changed.

I would like to think everything was because of his work, the stress and pressure it gives him. I would like to think it was my fault because I had to go away and thus we had to spend not as much of time together. But somehow, if we really dig a little deeper, there’s a SHE involved in the picture. She came and everything changed. Yes, I don’t like her. I know he knows that. But it isn’t because she’s not good enough for him. I don’t like her because she’s taking him away from me. I would always look for reasons not to like her because I know how much he loves her and I get jealous. I get jealous by the fact that the time he spends with her was the time he used to spend with me, that we used to be together every Saturday, but now we don’t even get to see each other for months. Those things we do are now things we used to do. And it sucks. He does not have time for me anymore because he’s always with her.

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Everyone is trying to tell me that I should try and learn to accept that fact. But I can’t. I just can’t. I’m afraid that when he gets married, the chances of him spending time with me would be vague. I don’t want that to happen. It would surely tear me apart. It has been 1 month and 8 days since I first heard the news. One month and eight days and I still can’t believe it. ***** Is it so selfish of me that I can’t totally let go of my big brother? Would it be so terrible to say I miss spending time with my big brother?

I just miss my big brother.

My big brother.

I used to call him this because he practically screams I’m his baby sister. And I used to hate it. I used to hate my brother calling me different names, names that only he and I understand. But when we parted, because I had to go to college and he has to work (not to mention that where he works and where I study are miles apart), I never heard him call me such again.

How can I tell him I don’t want him to get married just yet because I miss spending time with him? How can I tell him I miss him calling me with those annoying pet names? And if ever he’d call me with those again, he would never ever hear me complain about that I promise.

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The Boy
By Rolen J. Espera

Philip never had headaches. It was a trait from a scrupulous father whose sole obsession was penalizing his only son for a limped wrist; whose homophobic tendencies due to Baptist beliefs had driven Philip to become the loser that he is now: a gay Physics teacher in his mid-40s with no sexual exploits whatsoever, whose existence became the example of a perfectly wasted life space.

That he never had headaches however wasn’t what even made him a bit special or extraordinary. As a kid, he stared at the sun till his eyes hurt (always hoping he would develop some special powers to strike down his father every time he sacks and beats him up); but his head never hurt.

Bah! He read books in poor lighting till his eyes hurt (he read Nancy Drew); but his head never
did. Baaaaahh! He dared coursing through Applied Physics in the Academy and studied the most mind-boggling of math problems. But it was always to no avail. It was as if his headaches were somewhat connected to his sexual preference, a strange and unusual occurrence.

He lived a life of boredom, in utter mediocrity, until one day, he gave up his ventures with headaches (and his gay-hood) and had completely forgotten about them—until that day he showed up.

His name was Jonas. Quite a shy boy at nineteen, Philip thought. Messy hair, tearful eyes, pale skin, poor posture, cute nonetheless. He knew the boy wasn’t from around.

Jonas unfolded a crumpled paper from his backpack and gave it to Philip. “Still have the room?” he asked him. Philip gave it a thought. He was supposed to ask him if he had work to pay the rent, if he was schooling; but he didn’t. The boy seemed harmless. “Five hundred just for this
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month. I don’t accept payments in advance.”

Philip was anxious of letting anyone enter his house (probably because he did not have friends or refused to have some or that to him bringing someone, especially a boy, to his home felt like going inside a motel with a callboy—probably because the gay community denied him for being an ultra-fag in the closet. Everyone including his students knew he was gay, but they never dared ask or even implied they knew).

The house was a small one with two bedrooms, a sala and a dining area; barely enough for a decent home. He was not particular with furniture and other fixtures, so much that the house looked as bland and boring as Goldilock’s porridge. If he was unsure of his desires, he was pretty sure his house was an anti-thesis to the word “gay.”

His study table was pushed to the wall near the sofa. On top of it were books and exam papers, cream-colored Post-Its that labeled every stack of paper, a white mug with a red cartoon hero known as “Super Dad!” printed on the side. The boy was amazed on how organized he was, to which he replied with a faint smile.

He showed Jonas the room where he should stay. The boy thought the room was just enough for him: a bed just about his size, a lamp, and a side table. (Philip was saving the room to be his love nest. But he abandoned the thought ages ago.) He lent him an electric fan for fifty pesos a month. Everything was a bargain for Philip’s first boarder. He wasn’t quite sure though why he sent out flyers for “Available bed space” a week ago. Anyway, he thought, someone had come

(come, hmmm…), so he never again gave it a thought.

The first week was particularly awkward for Philip. He sometimes forgot he had a boarder and would freak out to find a stranger sitting on the sofa, staring at him. The boy did not talk much, Philip did not ask much himself despite the urges to know everything about the boy. But that was going to be the least of his problems.

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On one night, while he was entranced in taking notes for his class the next day, he heard something grumbling behind him. A slobbering breath. He thought it came from a large animal with padded feet, running around behind him. When he turned his back, he saw nothing but the main door slowly closing and what seemed to be a bushy grey tail disappearing in a blip. He went back to note-taking and dismissed the thought.

The next day after class, he went to the library to check on some titles and read the periodicals. A book with a wolf for a cover illustration grabbed his attention. It lay alone on the table beside him. “My Roommate, the Werewolf ” was written by some unpopular Italian author. The blurbs on the back cover did not say much of the book. He checked it out anyway.

When he got home, the boy was standing at the dining area boiling water. He was shirtless. Philip was completely dumbfounded to have seen the body of a god—that one he only saw in underwear models and construction workers; that his IQ dropped to abysmal feats; that he threw his things to the floor, rushed for the boy, drove him on top of the dining table, and kissed—more like licked—his well-contoured body until—“Phil?” The boy was staring across him from the dining area, with a confused look. “Anything wrong? You look flushed.” He told him he was sick and then quickly went inside his room, locked the door, and continued his newly-found fantasies while touching himself.

Weeks passed. Philip had mustered the strength to actually start a conversation with the boy. He learned he was not as dim-witted as he used to think. The boy was an old soul, a deep, mysterious presence in front of him; a Dalai Lama trapped in Victor Basa’s body. At times he would wear short shorts and would “accidentally” drop something in front of the boy while showing off his pear-shaped (hideous) ass, all in the name of seduction. The boy though did not even budge, much to his dismay.

One night, he planned a dinner-for-two, disguised as his birthday party with heart-shaped balloons and candles all over. It was past midnight and the boy had not yet come home.

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Giving up on his attempts, he retired to bed and found the newspaper for that day. He read the headlines: “Boy dies unusual death.” It was a news item detailing the bizarre incidence of a four-year-old’s death. His head was found a few meters away from his body, chest ravaged, internal organs missing, thigh muscles scraped to the bone. The report said the kid was attacked by a large animal the size of an adult carabao. Err… Philip dropped the newspaper. Eww…

Disgusting. He found a book on the bedside table. It was the wolf book he borrowed weeks
ago. He did not remember placing it there, however, he browsed through it. He was looking for the “good parts” as he was not that interested to finishing the novel anyway. One particular paragraph caught his eye though.

“Jose lay in bed reading a book Amarula lent him. She bet him it was the ‘scariest shit’ she’s ever read. But Jose was someone who couldn’t get frightened so easily. And so he read on without minding the empty bed across his—Ryan must have roamed the streets to find himself a good fuck. Horny bastard!

“Time passed by so slow. Jose paused for awhile to look at the night sky. It was a full moon, orange and odd, with rings of light—”

Philip opened the curtains, surprised to see the moon had waxed to its fullness.

“—He turned to the side table adjacent to his bed to check what time it was—”

Two o’clock in the morning, Philip had checked. Funny book, he mused.

“—Jose was about to stand up when he heard a rustling noise outside his window. Someone or something was moving among the bushes—”

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He peered outside. Nothing. Relieved, he continued reading and actually told himself that he was beginning to enjoy the book. On the next page, there was an illustration of Jose reading a book in his bed. Beside him was a window, the moon could be seen in it. However, one part of the illustration had struck Philip dead in terror. Outside the window near Jose, among the bushes, was a familiar pair of horrors one could only discern as monstrous. They were a pair of yellow eyes watching eagerly on Jose.

Philip threw the book and fumbled to close the curtains when the same hungry eyes met his. He didn’t move, not a muscle, for fear the beast might lunge towards him. And the thing came out of the shadowy bushes, coming at him face to face with only the thin sheet of glass between them. The devil. It opened its huge mouth with its yellow, sharp teeth; stuck out its tongue, and licked the glass. But Philip knew it was he the beast wanted to lick. The devil has come to eat

me.

That morning, Philip woke up from the glaring sun’s rays that entered his room. He did not remember what happened last night. Every time he tried, all he could gather were dark, blurry images of him reading a book and looking outside the window. He felt tight and wanting to pee. It was a Saturday.

Moving listlessly towards the bathroom door, he noticed Jonas’ door was open. He slowly opened it to take a peek if he was inside sleeping—wishing he was in his boxers, that sort that covered almost nothing. He stuck his face inside and was appalled by the reeking smell. A dead rat lay on the floor. Immediately he closed the door. When he turned around, Jonas was there looking at him intently as if he wanted to eat Philip with his sinister eyes. He was paler than usual, an eerie lightness in skin color that nearly resembled a vampire’s.

He gathered every bit of himself and told Jonas about the stinking rat. But the boy seemed as if he was not listening. Slowly Jonas took small steps towards Philip who in shock of Jonas’ sudden change in attitude walked backwards, to find himself cornered near the door. The boy stood

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inches from him, his face far enough from his. Then, without him suspecting Jonas kissed him, torridly—sucking the air from lungs, pushing his tongue inside his. Philip pushed him away only to tell him that “I’m still a virgin.”

But Jonas did not seem to mind. Rather, like what Philip saw in his face, he seemed to be glad about it. Jonas’s hand snaked down Philip’s trembling body, down to his waist, and went for the door to open. Philip had completely forgotten about the stinking rat. He quickly rolled down his underpants and kneeled beside the bed. “Not too fast. It might hurt.” Jonas remained silent behind him.

Philip was too proud of what he was going to do. Rather, what was going to be done to him. He pictured the face of his father in his mind, cursing him, calling him an envious faggot—that he envied him because he could not accept his son was more beautiful than him. He was laughing so loud in his thoughts. He laughed like a girl.

And as Jonas towered over his body, Philip felt his head hurt as if a power drill was driving through his temple. It was for the first time his head hurt. Does it mean I have finally embraced

my true nature? I’m gay! I’m out! Bah!

He turned his head to look at Jonas, congratulating himself for getting such a prized trophy. But what he saw struck him down with fear. He shouted. Father was right all along. He screamed like a girl, but it was not really for very long.

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Over A Cup of Coffee
Andrea Derecho

I cannot believe that here I am, sitting in a coffee shop armed with a bouquet of fresh roses. I know I look silly, and that I conclude not from merely my own intuition, but from the countless number of stares that random passerby’s have been throwing my way. The smell of freshly brewed coffee beans wafted in the air, but it proved no comfort to me as I felt cold beads of sweat forming on my forehead. This was it. I told myself. This was the day I had prepared myself for. I took a sip from my already tepid cup of coffee. It had been sitting there for quite a while now but I had just stared at it, as if oblivious to the fact that coffee was intended to be hot in the first place. It tasted strong, but it was just the way I liked it, though I must admit it would’ve tasted better if I had drank it earlier on. One sip was all it took to bring back all the memories I had created in the four walls of this quaint little coffee shop across my pad. I remember that this was the same kind of coffee (tall Espresso Americano), and this was the same table (a twoseater with a small round table at the far right of the room) on that day that I had first laid my eyes on her. It was raining hard that day, roughly three months ago. I was walking home from the office when the weather took a turn for the worse. I had tuned in to the weather report the night before and the quirky newscaster had forecasted a tropical depression in the area, but I neglected the warning, firmly believing that weather reports were wrong seventy-percent of the time, anyway. Yeah, maybe on other days, and that day was definitely not part of that seventypercent. Smart move, Alex. You just had an extremely fucked-up day at work, and now here you

are, soaking wet to your underwear! I had no choice but to run for cover at this coffee shop
since it was the nearest place I could run to at the moment, lest I brave the rain that poured like crazy. The warmed interior of the coffee shop and the familiar smell of brewing coffee was a welcoming invitation.

“Pretty bad weather out there.” Marco, the barista commented.

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Yeah, as if me and my soaked underpants couldn’t attest to that.

“Yeah sucks.” I nonchalantly replied,” Just give me a tall cup of Espresso Americano, Marco.”

I gave him a hundred peso bill and took my seat, here, in this same table. I looked around to see if there were any familiar faces that I could possibly talk to and lament about the day’s mishaps; maybe even bum a cigarette because mine were obviously soaked. There weren’t a lot of people there, and none of them were the least bit familiar to me. Crammed in the center of the room; occupying the longest table, were a bunch of five students, obviously cramming for their exams. I could see that they had only ordered one soda, maybe only to have the right to sit in the coffee shop and stuff whatever knowledge they could in their brains at that time. They were a rowdy bunch and their antics filled the entire room, even competing with the sound of rain pouring on the roof. I started to feel annoyed, I had the shortest temper that day, and I could have went home if it wasn’t for this stupid rain. But it was then that I saw her. Sitting just two tables from the group of students sat the woman who practically changed my life. I must have stared at her for the longest time, but in that moment I didn’t hear the rain, I didn’t hear the frantic noise of exam-crazed students; I only noticed her. She was beautiful. She had the eyes of hazel, a bit petite, and had short, dark pixie cut hair. She crossed her legs and occasionally tapped on the floor with her left foot as she flipped through the pages of the novel she was so engrossed in. I squinted to see the title of the book she held in her hand, Veronika Decides to Die was written on the cover of the blue paperback novel. I had read that book myself, I had read almost every book by Paulo Coelho to be exact and thought that it would make an interesting conversation starter. We could talk about anything from The Alchemist to The Valkyries.

“Her name is Cheska.”

Suddenly I was pulled out from my momentary trance as Marco put down my steaming cup of coffee and winked at me.

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“What are you talking about, dude?” I abruptly replied, putting together my best I-don-knowwhat-you’re-talking-about look.

“Oh come on Alex!” Marco nudged “you were ogling the girl for crying out loud. She’s pretty, I’d go talk to her if it wasn’t against company policy.”

Cheska. That was a pretty name.

“Well, does she come around often?”

Marco scratched his head.

“Yeah. Almost everyday for a week now.”

I thought for a while and looked at her. How I wished that I could just muster up the guts to sit beside her, act casual and start up a conversation. Maybe, even buy her a cup of coffee.

“Well, I’ll talk to her… maybe tomorrow then.” I replied a bit embarrassed.

“Chicken!” Marco scoffed in the loudest voice, laughed and turned away.

My clothes were still soaked and now clung to my bare skin. But none of that mattered anymore, even the constant cajoling of the extremely loud group of students didn’t bother me at all. Cheska. I repeated to myself as I took a sip from my cup and felt the coffee warm me.

I found myself returning to the coffee shop the day after that. I had thought that maybe she was not there anymore, but my heart leapt when I found her there still. She was still in the same corner, clad in a green dress and holding up another book. I was beside myself with unexplainable joy. I had countless times tried to think up of conversation starters; from “Hey, I am such a fan

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of Paulo Coelho.” to the simpler “Hey is this seat taken?” cliché. But none of them seemed to fit, and none of them felt quite right at that moment. I will never know why I passed up the chance to talk to her that day, but what I do know is that I found myself returning to the coffee shop each and every day after that, promising to myself over and over that I’d talk to her and conjuring up excuses not to afterwards. I think I basically ordered everything there was on the menu, from cheap brews to the pricier paninis just so I could stay there, look at her, and maybe finally muster up enough courage to even just say a simple, “Hi!” This kept up for two months and Marco was always there to see me in my failed trials and pick at my self-esteem. I also started to think that Cheska was getting freaked that I was there staring at her and pretending to be busy with whatever, when the truth is that I wasted all my time picturing out how we would go about with our conversation. But then one day, it happened. She didn’t return.

Did I scare her? Did she finally notice that I was there every freakin’ day, staring at her? Did she think that I was some raging stalker who would jump at any chance to corner her in a dark alley? Or maybe it was because she had known that I secretly kept track of all the books she read in the coffee shop, from the uber thin ones to the ones that resembled almanacs? Oh my god, was she going to sue me for all those things?!

At first I convinced myself that maybe she was busy now, that one day she will return. But I waited for her still, and I saw not even a shadow of her. Although she stopped coming to the coffee shop, I still waited for her every single day. I started to hate myself for not talking to her when I had all the chances to. Maybe things would have been different. I promised myself that the moment she returns, I wouldn’t put off ‘till tomorrow that chance to talk to her. I may freak her out if I told her that I knew all the novels she read by heart now. Or maybe she’s make a beeline for the exit id I told her that I watched her here everyday and had studied her facial expressions and I found it cute how she sometimes crinkles her nose when she reads something she doesn’t like. Maybe she’d even laugh at my face of I told her that I loved her; when the only

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things I knew about her were her novels and her first name. but I didn’t care anymore if she would freak out, run or even laugh at me. I just needed to talk to her because everyday I pass up the chance to talk to her feels like torture.

Those happened nearly three months ago. And now, here I am again in this coffee shop. Yes I waited until today, but now I’ll wait no more. I know that this is the day, I had prepared myself immensely for it. I paid my bill, bade Marco goodbye and he smiled at me. I made my way into my car, with my bouquet of roses in hand, dodging all the curious stares. For a moment I hesitated to turn the key of my car, I knew that there was no turning back now. Cold beads of sweat were again dripping from my forehead as I finally reached for the key and revved the car. I glanced at the passenger seat where a pile of books were scattered. Books that Cheska had once read, and I had reads myself, in a futile effort to impress her. The drive seemed to take forever, and I felt that the closer I got to her, the more I felt my heart pound against my chest. I had never felt this nervous in my entire life! But then I came to a stop. I was finally there. This is really it. I got out of the car and still clutched the flowers. I heard the sound of dry leaves crackle underneath my feet as I took every step. My heart was racing wildly and I didn’t know exactly what to do. i didn’t know if I was ecstatic or just plain nervous, but I was just glad that I could finally say a few words to her after agonizing months of silence. I stopped in my tracks after realizing that I was at the foot of the gate. I opened it and it made a creaking sound. I immediately saw a small table and lay the flowers there for a while. It was then I felt like my heart was about to pop out. It was immensely silent and it felt as if the only noise I could hear was the beating of my heart resonating in my ears. I took one deep breath and gathered my thoughts, I could feel the sweat on my palms as I rubbed them together.

“Hi.” I told her, quivering.

And again there was silence. But it was an unusual silence, because now I could hear the birds sing and the rustling of the trees. The only thing silent now was my heart that felt like it just dropped.

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“Hi. I’m Alex.” I repeated, louder this time.

It was then I realized how much time I had wasted by not talking to her in the past. Everything now was silent. No more rustling, no more chirping, and most especially no more beating of my heart. For all I know, it must have already stopped. There, at the foot of her grave, I laid down the roses I had carefully picked out for her. Maybe if I had given her those flowers a bit earlier, she would have felt like one of the heroines in her romance novels. Yeah, maybe. I felt warm tears streaming down my cheeks, as I talked to her about Paulo Coelho, the coffee shop, and how much I adored her. I wanted to tell her anything and everything that I could think about. This was my chance of a lifeteime, because now, tomorrow would be far too late.

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Mr. and Mrs. God’s Domestic Dilemma
Vincent Paul S. Pido

The city was dark, cold and soaking wet. Rain was furiously pouring down from the pitch black heavens, as if the clouds were gravely offended by the unceasingly growing sky scrapers that have become so tall they had pierced the very firmament humans were never meant to reach, only look up to in awe. The waters fell unrelentingly, as if ready to purge and cleanse the streets of the many sins and diseases they have incurred in the last few weeks, ready to rid the dirty earth of its unfortunate miseries, draining the filth down the condemned sewers.

The streets were flooded by an unmoving pilgrimage of vehicles stuck in the late-afternoon traffic, all struggling to reach their destinations in anxious haste. While most people were now indoors, waiting for the storm to calm, sipping warm soup, watching the weather report on TV and drying themselves comfortably in blankets of fleece and wool (which they had stripped casually from the now bare animal owners), a man was left sitting on the pavement, his back against the hard wall of a concrete building. With his thin dog shivering by his side, whimpering in painful hunger, seeking comfort and warmth from his master’s equally frail body, his hand was still patiently outstretched, his palm open and facing the sky, as if begging for whatever mercy he could be spared. The tin can, ravaged by rust and resting in retirement at his feet, was empty. Even the rain water simply flowed through its many holes.

A fat woman who had just come out of the nearby opera house, clad in a fur coat (which must have kept her guarded from the rampaging elements) and wearing a pearl necklace, hurriedly passed by, ignoring the man and his dog. She clumsily unfolded and held out her umbrella against the angry wind that set a bright orange, withered leaf and a torn piece of paper flying

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to her face. She uttered a curse, wiped the mess off her face with her gloved hand, and crossed the street.

When she reached the other side, she felt the unmistakable poke of a metal object, a gun, on her back (she had felt this so many times before), and her plump purse was brusquely taken from her by a man in a leather jacket. Trembling in fear, she gave the man all she had, even her pearl necklace, and begged for her dear life to be spared. Even that, he took away. After a sound that sent the drenched pigeons on the rooftops flying off in panic, the woman laid limp and lifeless on the street, a bullet through her head, her blood, diluted by the rain, flowing like a fiery red river down the dirty sewers.

The man sitting on the other side paid no attention to the harrowing murder. He didn’t even pray for he didn’t know how to. The cold air and the downpour that wasn’t waning were becoming much too gripping, crushing the very air from his aged and disease-perforated lungs that the man finally decided to move elsewhere. He could see his own breath transforming into mist before his very eyes. Gathering his prized possessions (his old tin can and his mangy dog), he set off to look for refuge deeper into the heart of the city. Perhaps, he thought, he could also find a few wet crumbs of bread from a nearby dumpster as he could already feel his stomach revolting for being empty and deprived of food in the last few days. He walked on.

Meanwhile, on another side of the world, a woman, her skin baked to a golden brown by the sun, was sitting underneath a thin, colorful cloth set up like a tent on the barren, sandy earth with her three-month old child. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she was forcing her weakened child, dying of an inheritable venereal disease that had killed all her family and threatened to disperse not only her clan but her entire tribe, to suck her succulent breast for they had not had anything to eat since the day before. He would not. She cried to her pagan gods to save her son from the sweeping epidemic (a punishment, she believed, for sins she was not aware she had done) for they had already taken her grandparents, the elders of their family, her mother, father, sisters, brothers, husband, daughter, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces and countless other relatives and friends from her. He was all she had left. The bitter concoctions they had given her

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son at the health center, several miles and a day’s walk away by foot, were supposed to keep him alive and drive the evil spirits away. If only, she thought, the community’s witch doctor didn’t die from the sickness, overcome by the same spirits he was trying to appease and vanquish with his voodoo magic, he would surely have known what to do. She was desperate. The murky water she had fetched from an almost dried up oasis down the valley (where the ferocious lions, the demons that stole and ate her first born before her eyes, came to drink) was running out, with only a few drops left to grace her dry, cracking lips. Even the ripe berries she had picked the day before from the shrubs had now shriveled up, desiccated and puckered by the vicious sun.

Lost in her thoughts, she did not notice her son breathing his last, labored breath. He was quiet, too weak to even mutter a cry, much less bid his mother goodbye. When she had realized her son had left her, she let out a cry that could only come from the deepest recesses of a mother’s heart, a mother blessed and then cursed, a mother in anguish that she was now to return to the gods the son she had so recently been lent. She removed the yellow, black, and indigo cloth wrapped like a turban around her head and covered her son’s small body with it. She then stood up and walked on the hot trail towards the burial grounds where she had reluctantly ushered so many of her kin to their eternal rest. She herself was sick, suffering from the devastating effects of malnutrition and disease, not to mention living in such a hostile environment. But her soul was in so much greater agony compared to her aching body. She was now grieving quietly, her silence punctuated only by her sporadic sobs and gasps for air that kept her from suffocating in her all-too-often mourning. On the way she picked up a stick with which she was to dig her now estranged son’s grave. She walked on.

Still, elsewhere, a young man was sitting half-naked in his room, with broken tubes of lipstick (in a variety of hues) all over his bed, shards of broken glass all over the floor. His face was smeared with bright, pastel colors, signature make-up he had bought from the department store with a month’s savings. The same department store where he earlier saw his lover, the boy he sat next to in otherwise boring Geometry class, strolling with his hands holding those of a girl. He was deep in thought, asking himself what he lacked, what he could not give to that boy for him to cheat on him. He gave him his allowance all the time. Perhaps it was not enough. And so he

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thought maybe he could give his life to this deceitful boy as well. He thought that a love letter written in the guise of a suicide note would allow him to express his feelings more freely and without shame after he was gone. But that would be for later. He took out a pink and black shirt, put it on even if it were a size meant for a child, turned off the radio playing chaotic noise he claimed was music, made his way out of the mess strewn across the floor, and went out.

He was going back to the department store, where they sold insecticides, corrosive acids and other toxic chemicals so cheaply he could afford it with his lunch money. He didn’t want to cut his wrists with a sharp blade or hang himself by a piece of string (both of which, he thought, were rather unglamorous ways of dying) so he had decided this would be the best thing to do. He saw it carried out so effortlessly and efficiently in the movies. He was sure he could pull it off, too. He deliberately ignored the tempting smell coming from a hotdog cart he passed in front of, even if he had not had breakfast or lunch. He had put himself on this special diet since he entered the turbulent phase of puberty. At eighty-seven pounds, he believed he was fat. And his new tongue ring wouldn’t have made it easy for him to eat, anyway. He walked on.

“The fruits of our divine labor are truly rotten. Do you think we should wipe them out now?” He asked, His voice thundering all throughout the purely white palace. His hands folded across His chest, He was watching, from a distance, everything that was happening, all at once. A ship, a luxury liner promising rest and relaxation to the elitist thousands on board, was burning in the middle of the ocean and sinking quickly. A man was wondering if his early baldness would make it difficult for him to find a mate. A woman was trying on a feisty brassiere she could not afford in a lingerie shop’s fitting room. A man was mauled by an elephant that ran amok because she was starved and forced to do stunts. A boy was cheating on his exams because he spent the whole night playing video games. A wealthy family was plummeting to their deaths as the chartered plane they were on lost control in mid-air. A man was eating (quite amorously) a hamburger with molds and bacterial colonies thriving in it. A woman was harboring a secret admiration for her sister’s husband. A monkey was in arboreal play atop the lush canopies of a tropical jungle. He saw it all, and many other things both exposed and hidden, as He watched.

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He stroked His white beard, contemplating. “Oh, come on, give them another chance. A few more generations, a few more centuries, perhaps. We may still see some good come out of this wretched lot yet,” She replied, removing Her apron and taking His mighty arms into Hers. He pulled them back, agitated.

They were an old, lonely couple. And not very much in love anymore. She was infertile. He was disappointed. They could not divorce, of course, because there was only the two of Them and no one else left to marry. Even Their powers could not give Them a child. Perhaps the endless feasting on ambrosia and nectar had stripped Them of this privilege. And so this was how They entertained Themselves since time immemorial (though They were older than time itself, in fact), by building an entire universe (and a few other smaller ones as well) and watching, like the eternal voyeurs and eavesdrops that They were, the thing come to life all on its own. This particular universe, however, the one inside a big glass tank (sort of like an ant farm) draped with a dark cloth in the center of their palace, was the one that always captured Their interest. It had a small galaxy on it, the one with the bright star its minute inhabitants called, with such allknowing self confidence, the sun. It was always noisy and disordered, entertaining Them both and making Them forget Their coldness towards each other.

“Hmmm. Don’t you think we’ve given them enough time? Perhaps we’ve given them too much time. Perhaps we have made a mistake in allowing them to dominate the rest of the world. The dinosaurs did so much better a job in maintaining the way things were, as beautiful as we had made them, stupid and cumbersome as they may have been, those poor, thick-skinned giants,” He replied, thinking aloud. He was aware that a child was uttering his first words while a day old fly got caught in a black widow’s meticulously spun web. “Nonsense! You and I both know we are beyond such pitiful misjudgments even the cleverest of humans so ordinarily make every second of their wretched lives,” She said, one eyebrow raised. She saw an alarm clock fail to ring because it had old batteries while a sandstorm from an arid desert was brewing just outside a city with its people unaware.

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“Stop saying wretched. We made them,”

“From black, dirty mud. Truly wretched, that’s what they are,”

“It was sacred clay,”

“Still. It was dirty. Filthy as hell,” She insisted.

“So, should I obliterate them now? Remove the sun and let them freeze to their cold deaths? Or maybe move the sun close enough to burn them off the face of the planet? Or maybe I should just drown them all in the deep waters of the oceans and seas they’ve so unrelentingly and nonchalantly corrupted with their so called industrial wastes? Or send a huge rock from the abyss hurling down upon them so that they will all be crushed, like their dumb reptilian ancestors, buried beneath their proudly built cities? So many options, so little time,” He said. Just then a philanthropist died in a car crash while a girl was wondering why her parents were not living in the same house together. “No, no, no! Leave them be for now. What would you rather toy with after they’re gone? Those hideous green monstrosities we’ve exiled in Mars? It would be such a waste. They’re the closest we’ve come towards replicating our image and likeness,” She said, looking down the tank and seeing the ensuing pandemonium. With the blink of Her eye, She sent a politician falling down from a stage and broke his neck after he proclaimed he was his country’s redeemer and that the people should worship him and him alone.

“Sadly, not our wisdom. Another failed experiment,”

“No they’re not. In fact I think we made them too wise. Too smart for their own good. Do you remember, a few million years ago…?”

“You mean yesterday,” He interrupted.

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“Yes, in our time. But for them, it was a few million years ago when it all began. We made them a bit prettier and less hairy, so unlike those ugly, primitive hominids that they used to be, and tolerated their early intuitive dabblings in tool-making,” She said, almost realizing and implying They were the ones at fault.

“I remember that. In fact, I remember it so well, so clearly, that I remember you telling me to leave them be, just as you are now, for it was just their ever-growing interest in the things we’ve made, a flattering appreciation and testament of our beautiful handiwork,”

“Yes, I did tell you that. But who would have thought they’d end up so perverted, unlike those innocent creatures, their brothers and sisters, which they’ve decided to call animals and enslave simply because they could not understand them the way we had intended them to?” She said, finally acknowledging They may have, in fact, made a mistake.

“Sigh. Don’t you think maybe it is time to end this folly? They’ve messed up our creation in ways we can never remedy. Everything is so damaged it would be easier for us to just destroy it than to fix it,” He said. He watched as a toilet was used horribly and left unflushed while a rare exotic flower was blossoming in a conservatory.

“Nothing’s impossible for us,”

“Come to think of it, they’re intelligent creatures. Intelligent enough to know we exist, although they sometimes forget to greet you in the same humble and venerating way as they do me. Intelligent enough to realize we are their true parents, that we made them. If they had made use of that intelligence, think about how beautiful our little tank would have been. Instead, they’ve ruined it all. Then they pray to me, to us, I mean, insincerely asking for forgiveness, when we terrify them a little with a small typhoon or a volcanic eruption or an earthquake to remind them of their grave abuse. I don’t think I can forgive their sins anymore,”

“Yes you can, you’re Mr. God. A bit more patience, my husband. The worst that can happen is

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they drive themselves towards their own disastrous demise, as have the rest of the now extinct freaks we’ve erroneously made,” She said. She saw an old woman with nothing but an equally old cat and a pair of slippers win the lottery while a child who would grow up to be a worldchanging creative artist and free thinker was born.

“But how long…”

“As long as it takes. Let’s wait until tomorrow. As for now, let’s just give them another lesson, another wake-up call. Hmmm. What you say we rattle their big simian brains by making a solar eclipse occur a few decades earlier than they expect?”

“Good idea. I don’t think their most scholarly astronomers could calculate or predict that. That seems scary enough. But I’m afraid they still won’t get the message. What if we just talk to them?”

“Are you kidding me? Since when did you get a sense of humor? Celestial beings such as you and I should never stoop down to their wretchedness,”

“You really love the word wretched, don’t you? All I’m saying is, we’ve been trying to talk to them through signs and symbols, omens and every natural catastrophe and phenomenal calamity our hands could create. And they still are not listening. They hear, but they do not listen,” He said. He looked down the down again and saw a tumor growing inside a woman’s womb without her knowing it while a young pig suffered the terror of being forcibly separated from his soon to be slaughtered mother.

“You know what, I give up. Let’s just toss a big, cosmic coin, and let’s let that make the decision for us. What do you say?”

“This isn’t the time for your maternal indecisiveness,”

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“Well then make a decision yourself, oh great and omnipotent, all-knowing one,” She snapped, finally revealing Her long-standing insecurity over Her husband’s stature. Her husband was always the one the humans called to, always the one they thought of as powerful. They even offered Him bloody sacrifices and composed monotonous prayers for Him. As for Her, she was merely called “Mother Nature” and regarded as a lesser being in charge of such menial tasks as watering the plants with early morning dew, controlling the tides, and making the birds chirp their sonatas for spring. Still, She was on their side.

“Maybe you’re right. Let’s give them more time. They’re a young, naïve bunch. A few more millennia would be sufficient for any change. Tomorrow will be judgment day. Today, however, let’s give them that wake-up call you suggested.”

He then reached into the tank, pushed a few comets and stars away, and put the moon in front of the fiery ball they called the sun. A shadow was cast and the earth was consumed by a darkness so pure, an ebon so ancient, the inhabitants clamored in terror. And prayed for redemption. The learned scientists scampered off into their laboratories and libraries to discuss this discrepancy. Governments prepared their military defenses in anticipation of warfare, destabilization attempts, coup d’états, or terrorism. They couldn’t care less about the clueless and tax-paying citizens. Churches warned the believers to repent for the apocalypse had come.

He shook his head, smiled and moved to the next tank, His latest project and hobby, the perfect world He called utopia. It was a small garden, fresh and devoid of the smoke that perpetually lingered over and clouded the human settlements. Its inhabitants understood each other, loved one another, and never grew sick or died. It was much more peaceful. And rather boring. He walked on.

As for Her, She walked to the kitchen in suppressed worry, the ambrosia She had left cooking in the holy oven starting to smell like burnt rubber. She was still to water the blessed plants and sweep the immaculately white floor as well. She walked on.

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July 11
Ralph Pancho

I sit here in this corner of a four-walled classroom. I look out the window, and I can absorb the cold of the gloomy July sky. The gray light outside could not enter the darkened room as if it were meant to be that way. How melancholic…the death of this place. I thought to myself.

The hard pouring rain was undefeatable. A storm…it was becoming more likely. How sadistic…

the gods of rain. Now, I could compose a poem.

The writings on the blackboard were all scattered – numbers and equations in a mess. There! I

spotted the Pythagorean Theorem! I never hated Math. I gave an inward sigh. This classroom
seems so haunting. If one could experience going back to one of his past classrooms, he would see past those walls, the blackboard, and the empty chairs. One could go back to the joys, student blues, the cheats, and the different pains and stories unfolded thereon. You could

always leave the structure, but memories you got from there are lasting. Nostalgic. I miss this
classroom. Room A36.

From that start, I felt like I didn’t want to leave that room though the hurt I felt there still lingered inside me. I was built a sturdy guy. I was an athlete – star of the basketball team. I was president of the Architecture student government. I had lots of A’s and only 2 A-minuses. I didn’t have to brag about looks, though. I had many admirers (and stalkers too.) My family was well known in the city. My father owned tracks of land in the rural areas, and my mother ran restaurants and food chains. I had many friends, but I can only count those who were loyal to me.

All these, I have. But I couldn’t have something I always wanted – that one true love. Cheesy,

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corny, and creepy. For a guy who is capable of playing with lots of girls, I wouldn’t need that one true love. For a guy this sturdy…this strong…this superior to other’s eyes…love wouldn’t matter.

With the reputation you carry, that wouldn’t matter at all, I told myself.

But it is true. One could not stand alone. Everyone needs someone to love, though love is my breaking point. Give me Math. Give me sports. Give me leadership. Hand me all that. I could take it all, but not love. Just like Achilles had his heel as a weakness, my waterloo is my heart. I was afraid to take risks. The pressure of having it all and not having the love of my life is driving me nonchalant. I had that view of losing myself and giving it all for someone. From this point, I have revealed the loser in me. Be shocked because I never had a real girlfriend. Maybe flings, but nothing serious. My kabarkadas would tease me that I’m torpe, but I had to stick with my principles.

Love is not a game because it could not be played with. When love comes, that’s the time you take it, but you can never search for love. In life, when we search for something intentionally, you get tired of looking. But when something is given to you as a gift, at that moment when you never expected it, you would feel that you could never let that gift go…just like love.

Call me torpe, but I was the kind who waited for that “gift.” I knew how to wait.

I’m just human. There were points in my life that I was at my lowest. Those were the moments when I felt so weak… so vulnerable and alone. My relationships did not work. My family was falling apart. And it was sad to realize that I had no friends to run to when I encounter problems. At those times, I wanted to know what it felt like to die. I imagined what it was like to lie in a coffin and wondered whose tears would fall on the glass. Who would care? Whose life did I

touch? Who was I?

Last last year, my father had lung cancer. It was hard to accept. I had to quit the basketball team, the student government, and I had no time for barkada. My father needed me. But how ironic

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life could be…when you’ve given up your all to achieve something and still you gain nothing. I prayed so hard, yet…my father died.

In those spots of my life, I had my heroine. She was the one I cried to. My life was an open book to her. She planted my seed and brought me back to life. She taught me how to feel happiness again. That happiness wherein you feel complete and content in times where you never thought you would be. Who she was? My best friend.

Jill was a smart and bubbly lady. She was an artist who had a deeper perspective of life. Jill would help you with problems; give you advice just like a ten-year old but with point and sense. She was a decided Architecture student like me. Jill was my confidant.

One time, she told me she needed to talk to me. “Room A36. Very important,” she said. I skipped class because I knew it was maybe urgent or she just needed me. But it was the first time she called for me like this.

“Hey, Nic!” She said while she sat on the arm of the chair.

“You wanted to talk to me?” I asked.

“Umm,” she started obviously with no direction what to say. “I just wanted to know if you’re okay.”

“What!?” I questioned, “You called me here just to know if I’m OKAY? As if we had not talked in years!”

She didn’t answer, but she started to tremble as beads of tears, one by one, dripped down her eyes.

“Jill,” I said gently though surprised why she cried. “Why are you crying? Tell me.”

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“Do you really want to know?” She asked unclearly and leaving me with no choice.

“Yeah. I do. Why?”

“But promise me you’d never run away from me after you hear this. Tell me everything would be okay.”

I did not say anything. I had no words to match her statements. I just nodded. Why do

confrontations happen like this? So awkward. It seems like she’s making me blind – making me ready for something I’ve never even faced yet.

“Are you ready?” She asked.

I just signaled one single nod. A “yes” without conviction…without strength.

“All this time that we were bestfriends, I never felt more complete. I felt like I was part of something. I was safe with you. You were a good friend, Nic. You put sense in that word ‘friend,’ You made me feel important – that I mattered.”

Having listened to her, I did not know where that talk was heading. I swallowed hard and continued listening. She talked still crying – a flow of tears that made me guilty.

“You had no clue what your impact on me was. Being the guy that you are…I was in awe of what you have become. You were a man that was never afraid to cry. You can feel. You have emotions; you know how to express. You know how to care. Most of all, you know how to love. You showed me love that I never knew. You were stereotyped as this all-masculine playboy jock, but you let me see through you. I judged you wrong. I know who you really are, Nic.”

I closed my eyes because I can feel the tingling pain reaching my eyes. That bitter sensation of

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tears rushing through. Her words of affection made me cry. For the nth time, I cried to her – not because of my own pains but because of hers this time. Jill was the only person I cried to. And she was right. I let her see who I really was after so many years of friendship.

“Nic, I don’t know how to say this. But all this time, I was carrying this weight in my heart. You shared with me all your problems. You shout your rage and anger to me! Your life was hell and I comforted you. But was there ever a time that you thought of what your effect on me was!?” She continued as she shifted her position in the chair.

She kept talking to me with anguish while turning her back on me, “That every time we shared each other’s pains, I’m starting to think that my life would be perfect with you. Your life was hell and I saved you. I did not predict my life would be much more than hell because of you! You did not intend this to happen, but I have fallen for you.”

At that moment, I did not know what to react. My mouth swallowed my tongue. I cried. My body felt numb stuck on that chair. I’ve fallen for you. I’ve fallen for you. Those words of hers were striking and kept swirling around in my head. Those words were a stab to the heart. A stab to the soul. She wiped her tears, and walked away. And as the view of her started to fade away, step after step, I recalled how I found her.

Jill was my brother’s ex-girlfriend. My brother was her type. He was a bad boy-slash-artist. My parents did not want me to pattern my life after his. He was stubborn and dry. He was a problematic and would express his laments through paintings. Jill was the one more in love with him. She would give more to him – a love not given back. My brother was a spoiled selfish guy. He crashed cars, stole money, and was addicted to cocaine. For all we knew, my brother was jealous of me. He turned into a monster out of competition. The worst he did was to cheat on Jill. My brother did not love her – not even once. My brother impregnated a girl behind Jill’s back. Jill was too late. The girl was already two months pregnant when she found out.

And in all this turmoil was a roller coaster ride. For she pre-judged me as an airhead and a

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know-it-all. She pointed me out as the reason why my brother became a rebellious spirit. Jill, who hated me, turned to me at her lowest points. I became her listener. I became her friend- her hero.

That afternoon was crushing. It was a beautiful afternoon with a five o’clock blessing from the sky – a purple-orange sky was as if it rained because of my sadness. I was shaking afraid of what will happen next. Perplexed by anger and guilt. Confused by friendship and love. After all, loving someone out of many reasons is not love. Loving someone out of pity…out of how he accepted you or out of friendship would just complicate things. If you love someone because of a reason, what if that reason would be gone? The most important thing when it comes to loving is that you love that person. Plain as that, and not by any cause. My worry that day was the friend–to– lover dilemma. The problem of not expecting someone to fall for you and the doubt if you also feel the same way…In this case, I was wrong about my principle. There are gifts that you never

have foreseen to be given to you. When that gift comes along, you question if you deserved to take it. Just like love…I waited for it, but right when it came, I don’t know if I’d take it.

I felt guilty. All that time, she was carrying a burden – a dark secret. She was hurting while I was innocent to see that. She hid her feelings just to be safe from risking our friendship. And when did love become so awful when love is defined as blissful? In the first place, that’s what I thought I wanted. Now, it just led to disappointment…to pain. I was unsure if this was all I ever wished for. Who would save me, now?

Weeks passed. That afternoon remained as it was – untouched. I never talked to her after that. Deep under our pride is a scar waiting to be mended. All we needed was clarity.

One day, I met my brother carrying his one-year-old baby girl.

“Hey, bro!”

“How are you?” I asked.

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“Sure, I missed you. Let’s sit.” He invited me to a café to have a cup of espresso.

“Do you remember when we were kids?” He asked, “Do you recall how we used to believe that when there are white doves flying in the sky, someone celebrates his birthday?”

I could not believe he still remembered that! Even I forgot about that already. “Yes! Yes!” I exclaimed seemingly happy to have a glimpse of our childhood. Age erases youth and builds in complexity to everything.

“And how silly were we to believe that! Anyone in the world could celebrate his birthday when doves fly in the sky,” I added with a chuckle.

Just so suddenly, when we looked out the glass window, a group of birds hovered the sky. It was so amazing to see because it seldom happened.

“Just like that?” My brother wittingly asked pointing to the sky.

He continued, “You forgot something, Nic. Today is July 11.”

“And so?”

“It’s Jill’s birthday.”

That conversation with my brother made me forget our conflict. We were too old for that. I congratulated him for having drunk coffee while carrying beside him his daughter.

I did not tell my brother what I felt about what happened between Jill and me, but I knew he wanted the problem to be solved.

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Twenty-first Street. Jill is going to have a celebration in a seafood restaurant. I knew I was not invited. Will I crash to the party or just let this unfinished business pass?

7:55 PM. I drank one beer after another. Alcohol was therapeutic at that point. All that was keeping me safe was the thought that her party starts at eight.

I drove my Civic drunk. I swerved to 21st Street. I lost control of the breaks. The circling thoughts around my head were distracting. I was out of the zone. My body was disconnected. I was out of mind and did not know what I was doing. I lost hold of my car.

I did not know how to face Jill – to tell her that I love her too. To realize that I may be too late was hard. That I was a coward. I was a wimp to not take risks. I loved her. Past tense.

Twenty-first street. July 11. Drinking while driving. Bright white light. Crash!

Here I am in A36. And if only I had my journal, I’d write my thoughts right here.

July 11: The pitch-black room was never this quiet. Is this room haunted or am I the one haunting

it? It could go both ways. I lost everything. My friends could not take my condition and kept
ignoring me. My mother did not know what to do. I could not continue basketball. I lost Jill. Now, I knew what it felt like to be under the coffin glass and be cried on. I knew who really cared.

I knew whose life I touched. I knew who I was – a guy who loved but never fought for that love.
I died.

Now, this room is the one I am haunting. After exactly one year, I have become a lost soul.

Jill entered A36…maybe to reminisce or to haunt this room with me. She had that same look as I did when I looked out the window like all the happiness was sucked out of her. She was still the girl I loved, but it was hard to see her while she can’t see me. I can’t even touch her. The sight of her reminded me of the remorse I felt. She looked so alone and yet still so beautiful.

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She cried. She cried because the room was the last time we talked in. The room was the symbol of our love that died so tragically. I miss her. There’s no turning back now. I am a ghost of regret who never risked and became nothing.

Jill was called for greatness. She will be a great woman. She will be a brilliant architect. She will find the right man to fight for her and love her.

“Today is July 11, Jill.” I whispered to her ear, “You can’t hear me, but I’ll watch over you. Let me greet you a happy birthday.”

She picked from her pocket a thick leather wallet, and inside it, she took a picture. She looked at that picture and kissed it. The picture looked familiar. I gave her that picture years before. It was a picture of us with these words written:

July 11

Jill,

Happy Birthday! Bestfriends Forever!

Love, Nic.

This is my story.

Love is not just a feeling. Love is something that we do. In my case, I loved her. I was just too scared of the future. We all have a fear of what’s next. And if we face it brave, we win. But if we don’t, we lose. Moments are fleeting. To risk is to take a chance. Love is a choice armed with courage. Regret is a consequence.

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Sly
Arthur Jason Javellana

“People are either your asset or your liability; sorry bastards are that expendable,”
snorted Harry after his shot of tequila. I just sat there mouth agape at the confession that ran through the horse’s mouth. I suppose after you have had a few rounds of strong beer, half a dozen margaritas and Mexican sunrise to finish off your spree you feel like your soul is jumping out.

“It’s nothing personal anyway…..just business.”

“It’s your funeral Har,” I muttered under my breath.

“Lemme tell you, death ish nothing but an end reward to the stupidity that ish life….”
Harry said, “We do whatever meansh necessary to get by and enjoy …Tis what I learned in this

jungle.”

“When you step into the real world,” Harry paused as he gulped another one, “don’t ekshpect dat bitch to be all sunshine and butterflies.”

Harry added in a slurred tone, “Point of all this is to get an ED-U-KA-SHOON, which I alwaysh

consider to be an unpleasant experience… specially when young.”

But all the horseshit you ever did---

“We all want our cut at happiness in our college days which to say at a real sense involves,”
drunken, hazed Harry pulled out the digits of his fingers

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“Getting a good rep…. getting a superior GPA…getting a life…..”

Such small fingers and hands for a twenty something; it was evident the guy seldom used physicality in his dealings

“getting laid…. getting wasted….You get my point.”

Always about the three G’s wasn’t it, Goons, Gold, and Go screw somebody up.

My mind reminisced towards everything the man had ever done: Taking me farther back to his succession of scams.

For starters, Harry sold examination answers every end term (at extraordinary fees), he always targeted the clients with the extremely difficult majors

He’d then tell them to the dean and the unfortunate souls that bargained with the devil could not pin the blame on Harry since he always left the confrontation unscathed, smoothly denying the allegations pinned on him and directing the blame towards somebody else.

The dean knew of Harry’s operations yet was left with no choice but to side with him and deliver sanctions. Rumor has it that Harry blackmailed the dean. Harry promised the dean media mileage for an affair that his ruffian son had with the daughter of a business tycoon enrolled in that same school. It was an affair that led to the woman being impregnated.

What would prompt Harry to do such a noble act of denouncing cheating on campus? He needed a good rep to get into his father’s insurance company. So daddy would not just think of him as a rotten seed. It was a ploy to get the community to kiss up to his backside as a morally upright citizen.

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Harry was also the suave negotiator. Who would forget that during college holidays, Harry would buy out the nearby competing kiosks. Sure, he’d lure them in with cash for full control of their booth and all its operations. Failure to do so would mean a visit from Ramon and who was Ramon?

Ramon is Harry’s muscle as well as his cousin. The 5’7 stocky man walks with glare and gait telling all lower life forms to get out of the way. Harry helped his cuz and his goons gain control of some ground outside campus enabling them to sell their stock of crack. Ramon’s loyalties and services were all Harry sought.

“All hail the don”. I remember Harry saying, “where would we be without Puzo?”

Yet what made Despicable Harry the epitome of what he was occurred when Harry became entangled in a love triangle. A triangle wherein he needed to be at the top.

Harry at one time had a friend in Oliver, and Oliver once had a lover in Lucia and who were they both?

Dirty Harry tore them apart….

Oliver never met his father and lost his mother at a young age. He was brought up by his deadbeat uncle who had a stay at home job but lost it eventually. The sloth then fell hard on the pills. The absence of affection from both parents left Oliver to grow up incomplete. Ollie had no social life but made up for it by being the bookworm type. This led him to be top of the class since elementary. Harry scouted him well since first year. Oliver was easy to befriend and the man was Harry’s ticket to making the grade every time. All he had to do was throw his arm around the insecure Oliver, invite him over for a drink with Ramon and his booze jockey friends just to make Ollie feel important and --boom instant friend.

While Oliver had a knack for being an academic wizard, Lucia was an exuberant artist. Her

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artistic grandeur in poetry, and painting complemented her beauty well. The lady fell for Ollie being the outcast with a lot of potential within. Like most relationships it started as a friendship that later blossomed into romance. The more intimate the two became the more Harry lurked in the shadows captivated by Lucia’s grace and beauty.

She was too good for Oliver

Harry never had a love life………and Harry wanted her to himself.

It was after the end term examinations prior to summer that Harry revealed his true colors. He and Oliver were just finishing up the week and it was at that point Harry no longer was in need of Oliver’s services. Harry was done with all of his science and math minors.

He invited Ollie for that shoting spree at the end of a grueling week. When Harry’s victim passed his limit which was the fifth round of whiskey, it was Lucia all night long and Oliver couldn’t let go of the subject. The more he mentioned the name, the more it vented Harry’s ire. It was Lucy this and Lucy that and how they would stay happily ever after. Harry would make sure it would not be for long. As Oliver was busy seeing all sorts of swirling colors, Harry placed a tablet in Oliver’s shot glass, the poured liquor dissolving it with ease. Oliver took a swig from the spiked drink and did not seem to mind the change in taste.

“Har,” said Oliver, “I’m glad I met you as a friend. You made everything worth my while.”

“Just another lamb for the sacrifice, another brick in the wall.” said Harry in the back of his mind. “I’ve heard it all before… …. thank you for the score… I made you my little whore….. I don’t need you anymore.”

“Anytime mon ami,” Harry replied as he patted Ollie on the shoulder which was more of a farewell gesture.

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In a matter of moments Oliver fell hard on the ground clutching his midsection. It was a pain so excruciating that he felt that his stomach was set ablaze. Gurgling noises emanated from deep within his bowels. The feeling was like a 10 point diarrhea on the scale. The sensation worked itself in spasms until it reached the buttocks. Oliver lay there squirming and wincing in pain and he ended up taking a shit in his pants.

“Har..rry….” he said in a frail tone that dictated bewilderment. Yet Harry was long gone.
Oliver was hospitalized for months. Lucia never heard from him ever since and it allowed Harry to make a move on her

He first sent Lucia a barrage of poetry from Emerson, Milton, all in the form of text messages. He’d forward to her paintings of Cezanne, Van Gogh and Monet via multiply. To make her see that he was as real as possible, he’d send her flowers with more poetry attached to it and signed it off with an H. The same charade was done for weeks; Lucia on her behalf did her own artwork as she threw the bouquets into the trash bin.

Lucia knew that it was Harry

A man with an ego such as his would not hesitate to flaunt his stature. Lucia felt a chill running down the side of her shoulder while she was still with Oliver. She had that sense Harry was always nearby. Every time she was introduced by Oliver to him there was that uneasy aura. The man just kept gawking at her up close and glaring at her from afar with shifty eyes. The more she threw away Harry’s flowers the more he kept sending her almost in a relentless state.

Months later a friend of Lucia opened an art exhibit that featured local artists. Lucia being the afficianado that she is took charge of the evening’s guests. When the exhibit ended, Lucia took liberty to lock the place up while every one else had left. She was on her way out………. when she found Harry at the door.

“Can I help you with something?” She asked.

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“You locking up for the night thought I’d just stop by and help you out with it.”

“No, I can manage on my own.”

“It’s one hell of a place, you might need help……keeping the place peaceful and people out.”

“I insist that I’m fine on my own thank you,” Lucia said in a demanding tone nearly closing the door on Harry. But Harry flung it back wide open with such a force that it resulted to a bang.

“What the hell do you want!” She said almost reaching a scream.

“They serve you the best French wine in this exhibit, I could not help but take an entire bottle well let’s make it two.

“You see all I’ve ever wanted was some affection from you; I’m not the kind to take No for an answer especially if the fruit of your labor winds up getting recycled in a heap.”

Harry slowly advanced towards her

“Step back please…Harry you are scaring me”

“You regard me too much of a lowlife who scams his way to every guilty pleasure. Please understand that what I do is an art form in its own right. I study the symmetric carefully, I mold every detail, and I get creative applying a style that is mine alone.”

“Please leave me alone…..”

“Truth be told I sometimes tire of these games that I play just to screw other people around

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and I don’t want to play any of them with someone like you. For Christ sake I’m madly in love with you……..Now please say you love me back, please show that at least you care…Love me…. dammit bitch…… LOVE MEEEEEEEE.”

“Harry you’re drunk….Go home. LEAVE”

“You know this place has so much of a magical atmosphere to it,” said Harry as he cornered her to a wall with a safari painting a few meters above them. “They say that art is but an expression

of life. All these exhibits appear before us sullen, untalkative, and stale. I say we breathe a little life into it.”

In one swift grasp, Harry circled his arms around her body, pinned her to the wall and pressed his lips on hers.

A tiger in the safari painting was glancing ferociously upon them with fangs open.

Harry caressed her long flowing hair and soon worked his way to her nape. His hands then reached the collar of her shirt and he started to unbutton her.

Harry kept kissing then dug his hands underneath her shirt but before he could get any further, Harry fell to the ground as he got kicked hard in the kneecaps. This enabled Lucia to break free and escape.

“HELP ME, PLEASE SOMEBODY!”

“Who’s there,” a voice replied, “what the devil is going on?”

Harry ducked out at the back door as two security guards entered the premises just several seconds late. The guards caught Lucia slumped and sobbing from the ordeal.

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I just sat there trying to shake off the cobwebs from what I’ve heard. With a glass of scotch in hand, I was making circles with my fingers dipped

“Hey you,” slurred Harry said. “You asked me bout what I’ve done in college so far an I gave it to yoush. I ‘m lucky to have lain low for thees pasht months. I know you’re bout to enter that shaym world. Just don’t forget about what I’ve said cosh I’m a guy who looksh out for his lil brother.”

Harry then got up from the counter, gave me an embrace and walked out of the tavern. I don’t know if I feel any genuine affection from that man any longer

“Jesus Christ Harry, what has gotten into you? “

I was about to go back to drinking when I heard the loud whir of a car engine speeding by and the impact of it smacking what sounded like human flesh.

And then it happened unexpectedly. From the corner of my eye, I saw in amazement and horror what appeared to be Harry’s limp body being shot ten feet into the air. I immediately snapped out of it as I rushed out into the door. The people in that tavern gasped in terror as Harry bounced off the pavement neck first. Screams and panic soon followed as other clients broke out of their haze. Harry’s remains just lay in a bright red pool of blood, WITH HIS NECK TWISTED LIKE A PRETZEL AND HIS BODY BENT IN SO MANY PLACES. I caught glimpse of the vehicle that rammed Harry; it was a Mercedes fashioned into a funeral car.

“Those joyriding idiots at the memorial home are fucking drunk again,” somebody cried from among the crowd.

It appeared on that night Sly Harry was not the only one who got away with his intoxicated deeds.

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Damien
Sheila May B. Guerrero
27/09/07. Thursday. 11.19pm. Almost full moon. Almost making it, lost it anyways.

Curse away my day. “Never felt the most unloved.”

Damien, you made me promise not to tell. So I’m writing it anyways. This has been haunting me, yes. Feed the hungry eyes of those that refused to listen, but I won’t speak anyways. I won’t speak. So I’m writing it anyways…

For all the memories, Damien, you presented yourself to be my memories for time lapses. My heart never understood; it had someone else. I don’t think you knew this before but I’m glad if you didn’t and glad that you still befriended me if you knew the details. And I still vaguely recall the “incidence”…

Damien, you sat beside me, beside that beer bottle. Drank it all for me, you knew I couldn’t count the stars anymore. You knew. You counted them after that one last gulp. You told me things that he never did. Things that made me happy, temporarily, like he did, but you stayed. In silence, we sat. But, I told you things I never told him, so I can leave you.

Damien, remember when I told you that you will never hold my hand because they belonged to someone else, and I have to cut them off first if you forced me to? Well, you hid the beer I reserved under my seat, creepily, stealthily, sincerely, and drank it as your own. I would’ve hated you if I’ve known, beers have been way too special to me, way too sacred, way too memorable that I have to endure its harshness, its soothing invite for dependence. I have to learn to fight it, the memories that come with it, at least. I need to learn. I hate you Damien, for stealing my thoughts, piloting it away from the brilliance of being alive to die, for fleeing myself away from thoughts of mortality, for telling me the stars are there. They’re watching me, eagerly. In silence, we sat. I still told you things I never told him, except “ok” for a change.

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Damien, if you only knew…

I need that beer, yes, that one beside you, half-full. You corrected half-empty, sync with a stare at me. Whatever, I needed that. Please. Thank you. I know you hated me too, for this, but I don’t really care, all I need is just a good night’s sleep. And maybe that’s what I need you here for; you need to take me home when I had too much. Damien, you stayed close. You listened. In silence, we sat. “Thank you” I told him before, and now it belongs to you.

Damien? You know, I would have wanted you here, instead of anybody else. You asked me what I want; you’re the only one at that. I would have fallen for that but I didn’t. I’ve learned lessons enough for me to understand that not everything’s value is proportional to its meaning. You meant everything, I perceived, Damien. If things would have been better, I wouldn’t have been found sitting here. I wouldn’t have been found by you sitting here. I wouldn’t have been found by you sitting here, binging. I wouldn’t have been found by you sitting here binging here all alone. I don’t really believe in destiny. And this was never destiny. I believe that you found me here because I was sitting here because of what happened, logical sequence of events. I believe in randomizations. So here, in silence, we sat. “Thank you, Damien.” So you’d be convinced those words belong to you now.

Damien, it’s getting a little late now. You sure you don’t have to rush back home to rest? I’ve been aware; I’m not the most comforting companion you can ever have now… I’m less the satisfaction on your table tonight, nor the best in beating boredom against your computer machine, much more the best chat person one can exchange flaws and flattery with. You sure, Damien?

Hand over the lighter then, will you? Thank you.

Damien, you remember how you saved me before? Told me you’d never leave me, when things are awfully difficult around? I would have fallen for that Damien, I could’ve fallen for you.

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Everything had been me. I was vulnerable, but my heart pieces remained on the floor sprawled, sprinkled everywhere. Meant. You still stayed. I still have never felt so alone, maybe I’ll always be. In silence, unchanged settings, we still sat. “You don’t have to prove anything.” I said.

Damien, I’m crashing again. Remember when you’ve been rejecting people’s hearts? Someone’s rejected mine too. Soon I’ll send yours crashing just as conformists to heartbreak would want everyone else’s heart to break. If he only said what I needed to be… I wouldn’t have belonged to you. If I listened to my heart and changed his mind… curse heavens, I won’t even talk to you. Damien, if he ever looked back, only if he had and watched me cross the street to see me perfectly safe, I wouldn’t have heard your sweetest voice. I hate you, Damien. I would have fallen into sweet slumber if you hadn’t sat here. I wouldn’t have woken up the next morning as if nothing happened. Now, I have to stay awake and guard you too. Damien, you’re downing bottles one by one.

One by one…

This conversation’s just maybe too much for two full persons. You were singing, and keeping it up for hours now, you and your bottle. I stayed silent, berating every one of your mouth’s words. It does describe you, it does well enough… but I still won’t fall for that, still won’t fall for that. For one thing’s been, I’ve always been his and I couldn’t care if you brought me roses he never showed, or quoted phrases of this fucking life that belonged to me as if it were me. If only he told me lies of how I make him real.

Damien, I know this had been hard for you. Saving this heroine who can’t even save you this.

Let’s drink to this as you turn crimson to dawning. Ohayo. [uncontinued.]

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The Clean-up
(A Wife’s Tale)
H.P. Atilano

For the first time in her life, she feels proud of herself.

“Why, I did something good today!” she thinks, smiling to herself, as she leans over the sink to wash her face. Her face. “My face…”

She looks in the mirror above the sink and sees a bitter truth in it. It’s the reflection of a broken woman staring back at her; a face she can never feel proud about; a face she ought to hide under layers of gauze bandages. “Who’s this bruised yellow chick?”

Her reflection looks a lot like one of those paintings by Picasso: her right eye shifts slightly above the left one; half of her mouth moves down a bit so that it becomes part of her chin; her nose splits into two grotesque halves. “What’s this Miss Homecoming Queen? Picasso’s fucking cubism?”

For a while she can’t remember who the owner of that battered face is. But she remembers so well who put all those cracks on the mirror with his rock-hard fist. Then, she remembers it was the same rock-hard fist that shattered her face into a cubist’s masterpiece the other night.

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“Your face…” she recalls some guy telling her in her teens, “…is something I’d gladly die for. I can spend my entire life just staring at it.” Isn’t he the guy she married a couple of years ago? And now, looking at her face (if you can still call that swollen, black-and-blue mess a face), she thought, “You married the

worst vermin in the world, stupid.”

She remembers lying in a stretcher the other night. That was to be her eighth trip to the ER in two years, half of which she can dimly recall having been totally knocked out. The lady doctor who examines her grasps in utter horror at the sight of the bloody mess that is her face.

“Holy mongrel! What kind of creature attacked you, Miss?”

She calls her Miss. Suddenly she feels a burning desire to be single again. Unbound. Unmarried. Unmarred.

“I fell off the roof while hanging the laundry. Sheer carelessness, that’s all.”

“Let me see… a lacerated lip… contusions on the forehead… bleeding nose… swollen eyes. Boy, what a fall! What about those belt marks? Did you also get these out of the great fall?”

“Could you just please do your thing? You’re a doctor, not a coroner.”

“I believe you’re so close to being examined by one, post-mortem, Miss. And I can give you statistics. Six out of ten female patients we treat here are happily married and badly battered. Every now and then, one of them is wheeled into the ICU and at least two of them usually end up at the mortuary. Now this may be none of my damn business, but it really pains me to see women taking regular trips to the ER, courtesy of their legal bedmates!”

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Tears come racing down her cheeks. Crying, to her, is a rare phenomenon. She may pass out during severe beatings, but she never cries. Crying is a no-no in a wonderful marriage, her mother once said. Crying and complaining may ruin the marriage.

“My mistakes. I forgot to wash his favorite slacks. I misplaced his socks. I overcooked the bacon. But my worst mistake, I guess, is marrying that sadistic swine.”

“The marriage contract doesn’t include tolerance of sadistic acts, Miss. Here. Worse comes to worst, call this number. It’s a help line for abused women. That’s the least I can do or now. And take this pain killer.”

“Abused women…”

She takes the number and puts it in one of her pockets. Later, she wouldn’t remember where she placed it.

She remembers crying in the washroom. Realization hurts. Now, what she sees in the mirror is a weeping battered woman. But these are to be her last drops of tears.

In a few moments, her loving husband will be off to work, after sticking a note on the fridge with his favorite magnetic note holder – a gaping bulldog – while she works on something at the garage. Of course, her husband would think she’s in the bathroom replacing the mirror he broke the other night after missing his actual target, or cleaning up the john as she always does when he’s done with his morning habit. And before he’s done writing his Will – food stuffs to be brought for dinner, clothes to be washed and hung to dry before tomorrow, parts of the house to be cleaned, part of the lawn to be mowed, etc. – she will have cleaned up the worst mess she’s ever made in her life.

“Will you check the freakin’ brakes of that damn car? I wanna die a good-looking guy, for god’s sakes!” her husband told his mechanic once, after narrowly missing a car crash.

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She heard that, all right.
“Hey! Did you die in there? Get your ass over here and check out the note on the fridge. It’s gonna be a busy day and you don’t wanna spend eternity in the garage!”

“I’ll be there in a minute! Don’t leave yet, homey! You forgot something!” she hollered from the garage.

“Well, hurry up or I’ll be sure!”

“Honey…”

He turns toward the door and sees his wife smiling sweetly at him; careful enough not to tear open the healing laceration in her lower lip. In her hand she holds a glittering object and – Oh good Lord – she looks so sexy to him that morning he feels like dragging her to the bathroom for a quickie.

“You left your key.”

“I’m late for work. Give me that and clean up the table. And don’t put leftovers in the fridge. You know darn well that I hate it when you do that when you do that. Got it?”

Got it all covered, honey.”

She gives him the key, kisses him goodbye, and looks out of the kitchen window to watch him pull out of the garage. Then, she puts away her husband’s coffee mug and pours herself a cup of tea, while humming her favorite song.

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THE sCRIBEs

Jamie F. Bentinganan is an aspiring writer. She has been known to talk to her food and
occasionally makes conversation with household appliances... sober.

Patrick Jay P. Pangilinan is a frustrated IYAS Creative Writing Workshop fellow. He dreams
of replacing Time’s Richard Corliss – in his dreams. For now he plays Peter Parker sans the superhero alter-ego at the Visayan Daily Star.

Jonathan Davila was a fellow in the National Writers Workshop, the IYAS National Writers
Workshop, the Panagsugat Writers Workshop, and the University of San Agustin Regional Writers Workshop. He is also a member of the Santermo Writers’ Circle in Bacolod City.

R. Torres Pandan is the dean of the USLS College of Law. His poem entitled “An Explanation”
recently gained honorable mention at the 2007 Meritage Press Holiday Poetry contest. On a shallower note, he’s lost some weight.

Ellen May Carmona teaches Humanities at the University of St. LaSalle. She lives by the rule
that “Everybody is a walking artwork.”

Jhon Mikhail Leong dedicates nearly most of his free time reading and writing poetry and
prose. He gets inspiration from Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, and Virginia Woolf.

Vincent Paul s. Pido is a licensed nurse who hasn’t worked in a hospital just yet and prefers
to stay away from all those needles and scalpels for now. As the former Newspaper Editor for The Spectrum, he used his position to run animal rights awareness ads in the paper. Presently, while waiting to take other exams, he works as a call center agent, something he never thought he would do. He spends his spare time reading, doodling, daydreaming, writing and fighting for animal rights while reluctantly eating sumptuous chicken inasal.

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On “Three Little Pigs”: “I finished writing the poem within minutes after watching a highly graphic and disturbing documentary film about how some slaughterhouses in the country (especially in the city) actually operate under such horrendous, primitive and murderous conditions despite modern technology and animal welfare legislations that are supposed to dictate and facilitate humane treatment and a painless, quick death for these unfortunate animals. I felt like watching a massacre before my very eyes. The poem sounds more like a nursery rhyme and uses simple words, showing how most of us take such abuse lightly, as if it were nothing serious, something to laugh about. Again, as in many of my other works, I hope the poem opens new doors, offers new insights and persuades people to act on things that must be changed. And make them pray before meals.”

H.P. Atilano was a fellow in the 2002 IYAS National Writers Workshop, where she “unsettled”
(meaning scandalized) one conservative critic with her erotic poetry. She draws inspiration from Socrates, her 11-month-old miniature pinscher.

Jeffrey Gil G. Lingamen is a full time research assistant and student of peace. He still visits
his Alma Mater and imparts his vast knowledge of the world to the people who are almost always hardly ever ready for it.

Judy L. Garrucha was former Assistant Magazine Editor of the Spectrum. She is now a first
year Law Student. The statuesque “Judicracious” loves soccer and dancing. She has been trying to quit smoking since… the last time she smoked.

Evangeline Meg soledad was a naïve girl when she entered college; she didn’t even know
how to ride a jeepney. Now a third year Nursing student, she has a flourishing love life and has greatly improved her public commuting skills. She is inspired by her parents.

Rolen J. Espera was the former Editor-in-Chief of the Spectrum. His hobbies include
photography/graphics, print design management and sound. He sets his occupation as Social Theorist.

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Anton Dominic Arrazola Magbanua is a graduating nursing student who was on a
path of self- destruction but has now found a measure of peace of mind. Love has smiled on him today for he has gone fishing for true love that lasts and has caught the most beautiful mermaid.

Rene sedonio is a Marketing professor in the College of Business and Accountancy. He is a
natural entrepreneur who loves to write poems. His penchant for wordplay, coupled with his charm and easy attitude are helping him corner the market in sinamak and charcoal.

Manuel Jeffrey ordaniel sistoso or Jepoi is the laserboy, whatever that means. He is
probably the 51st Editor-in-Chief of The Spectrum. He wants to travel and tell the world’s untold stories through his crafts. He hates it when people alter the natural environment. He shouts but he’s only a little kid. On “Stolen”: I still don’t know if it is a literary piece, but if it is, then it’s my first. It’s so abstract for some and so vague. But it only describes how we are all ruled by a world of compliance and conformity. Sometimes, we do things simply because it’s what the world dictates but we end up unhappy.

sheila May B. Guerrero is a third year nursing student. Donna Grace L. Consolado is a first year psychology student. “I am inspired by God,”
says this former editor of a high school paper.

Erika Aiza Gotel is a fourth year Management Accountancy student. Ralph Pancho is inspired by his life experiences. He doesn’t go to Lasalle anymore but he
used to… a long , long time ago.

Arthur Jason Javellana reads too much Stephen King and has seen too much of the darker
side of life. Weathering it out in 20 years of snow, his writings lean toward the macabre and the real. Not to be totally pessimistic, he believes in the silver lining (for killing werewolves?) and
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hopes to get out of the blizzard that is his current life experience soon.

Chuvic A. Monserate is from BEEN-2 (Secondary Education major in English).
She writes mostly for herself and doesn’t usually think of publishing his work. His pen is his very close friend and he is inspired by a lot of things. Like being in love and being broken hearted.

Marcelina Victoria Yandall is a Jesus freak. She is also a volleybelle as well as a magazine
writer. Uber organized, she keeps a study schedule and sticks to it. She is a tall American girl with an even taller American father. With a father who stands at 6’4”, Marcy is not a girl to be messed with.

Andrea Paz Derecho is a second year Nursing student. She is a magazine writer for the
Spectrum and is an active participant in the Spectrum’s Bodega Forums on Life and Love. She hasn’t lived too long of a life just yet, but she sure has a lot of love.

nadjie Danielle Magsumbol fell in love with writing at age eleven. She used to write
only when she felt like it or when she needed to vent, but eventually the dragon-addiction sank tooth, claw and spiked tail and now she writes whenever she can hold a pen (which is a great part of each day). She can leave the house without cologne and all that, but not without pen and notebook. Her inspiration comes through 'ordinary', everyday things seen in different perspectives- the jeepney ride to school, the sun melting and turning into rain, teardrops of a rainbow dying. It's how we see things that transform them into poetry, still or in motion.”

Lois stephanie Cruz is a former Specter. John Patrick F. Cabuguason no longer has a class schedule registered in the University of
St. Lasalle. We assume that he is male and that he no longer attends school here.

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THE SPECTRUM
FOUNDED 1956 www.thespectrum.ph

Editor-in-Chief Manuel Jeffrey o. sistoso Managing Editor Arjay D. solitario Magazine Editor Janela Joy R. Libo-on Newspaper Editor Aries D. Cariño Literary Editor Jamie F. Bentinganan Asst. Magazine Editor neslie Faith V. sianson Asst. Newspaper Editor Allen Gabriel M. Iñigo Layout & Graphics Editor Rigil Kent B. Ariola Asst. Layout Editor Timothy A. Escopete

Newspaper Writers
Arthur Jason I. Javellana Kathreen Joyce I. Tubid John Alexander M. Cuyoca Epi Ma. Kassandra A. Dajao Randell T. Aranza

Magazine Writers Andrea Y. Derecho Marcelina Yandall Celine Chua Photojournalists Hector Gregory A. Benedicto Krazelle M. Escarrilla Paolo Adonis B. Trio Editorial Assistants Regi Joseph B. Arguelles Mervin G. Vera Charmae Labao

Layout Artists Mark Romulo C. Tumbagahan Jumpee P. Tipon Illustrators Patrick U. Ellaga Jobelle G. Vallega

Moderator Ms. Hannah Papasin-Mariveles

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ACKnoWLEDGMEnTs
Mr. Roger Marapo for approving our overnight stays and being our great
guardian and defender

Dr. Gloria Fuentes for signing our requests

Ms. Hannah Papasin-Mariveles for the pep talks and constructive
criticism. We are most grateful to her for supplying us with chips and icecream.

Ms. H.P. Atilano for looking over the Scribe articles and giving her
approval

Jepoi sistoso and Arjay solitario for their creative input and good
advice. And to all the contributors, whether they made it or not, for their contributions. Writing is a way of baring your self for people to see and it is never an easy thing to stand naked in front of others. Thank you for the time and the effort. This is for all of you.

CrediTS: Burma (on page 75) Spinning (on page 107) by Gringo Benedicto Waiting (on page 82) Abandoned (on page 119) by Krazelle Escarilla

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