Sunday, August 12, 2007

greatest hits

Here's a collection of some things I wrote for a group called PedXing. Click here to visit our page. Watch out for us! Malaki laki yung mga plano namin sa buhay! Hahahaha I believe the first short story appeared here na before.

Lipad, Puso, Lipad! 02.25.07

Don’t Wear Those Shoes Out When It’s Raining

Today, I looked at my shoe and I realized the sole was broken. I’ve been ignoring it these past few days but deep inside I knew something was wrong. It’s not how my foot should feel. I wasn’t meant to touch the ground with my sock. I traced the hole with my finger, checking the damage, recreating the scene with images in my mind when the rubber finally gave in to the floor. Maybe there is a heaven where shoes go to rest. Sadly though, this pair isn’t going anywhere but the shoe repair store.

Three weeks ago, I knew exactly how it felt. “If we were really meant to be together then I’m sure nothing will change in a couple of years” he wrote on a Post-it stuck on my door. When I went in, all of his things were gone- the records, the books, everything that vaguely resembled him. But I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. Deep down I knew it was bound to happen. I’m not exactly that na├»ve to ignore the signals he sent out when we were still together.

Who was it that once said that everyone has a wound to mend or a void to fill? As time went past, I’ve seen all the faces of love- some remotely forgettable, others harshly unforgivable. And these faces blur in front of me like a speeding train. I felt my feeble hands holding on to each one and wondering if this was the one who could heal that innate wound.

With Coltrane on the background, I started wondering what it was that that Post-it meant. I can imagine that he somehow believed in a force that exists in the world which binds two people together in the end, no matter what. And when the cosmos finally arranges for the two to meet, birds will sing, sonnets will be sung, and the clouds, well, they do whatever it is clouds do when it’s a wonderful day. And maybe, just maybe, a Band-aid begins to close the wound in their proverbial hearts.

But after spending time and effort to see the faces of love, I could feel my wound only growing deeper, wider and with each tear, I felt more and more of my flesh being exposed. This brought about a confusion of sorts for if finding the one could fill that void, how come it only grows deeper and darker with each person I let in?

As I walk up to the busy shop with my broken shoe, I see that many people have broken shoes and broken hearts- each one of us trying desperately to fill that void, to patch up that wound, haplessly like a chicken attempting flight. How easy it would be to just turn my back on everything- to leave the image of the speeding train behind and with any luck reclaim the peace that I felt was stolen from me.

I watch as the craftsman gently takes the old sole from my shoe. It’s time to let the past go.

I see him selecting which sole will fit perfectly. Maybe I should be more careful who I let into my life.

As he puts the shoe and the new sole together, a bead of sweat drops to the floor. When the right one comes, I’ll work hard to keep him there.

He wipes the debris off the side of the shoe and after careful inspection declares his job is done. When I’m whole again, my heart can fly.

He wraps the shoe in a plastic bag and after setting my account, hands them to me. With a smile, he said “It’s a good thing it isn’t raining. You wouldn’t want to be stuck with a broken sole and a wet foot.”

I smiled back and said “If only you knew.” If only he knew.

Gusto Kong... 04.23.07


Mother always loved bridges. Some of my earliest memories of her were spent on bridges, watching cars and ferries pass by. I loved my mother very much, never knowing that the time we had was sparing, the minutes dwindling like sand sifting through my hands.

She once told me that in many ways, she, too was a bridge. Being young and foolish, I dismissed this as grown-up banter, a feeble explanation of her unexplainable fascination with bridges.

Life with Mother was difficult. When I hungered for food, she fed me with wisdom. Mother never could hold on to a job, let alone one that could pay the rent. I had Tolstoy for breakfast and Nietzsche for supper. Perhaps not a lot of people could say that about themselves. While I never resented her for the lack of care she gave me, part of me knew that there had to be something more.

When she passed away at the age of thirty-nine, I was forced to grow up. She was a carefree spirit and perhaps it was inevitable for her to leave the natural world in search for greater things. Mother always had a flair for drama and her death would even leave Shakespeare in the cold. The bridges which she adored so much when she was alive spelled the end for her, of us. After everything, she could not deny the fact that the waters below were her natural environment.

When my father came to get me, I resisted. If only I could stay here, with her books and her lovely bridges. If only there was some way that she and I could live forever, with the cars and the ferries. It was as if my departure from our home meant i would have to forget her. How could i forget her when i could not forgive her?

In many ways, my mother was a bridge. When she was younger and more passionate, she met my father who at that time was still in school. He was five years her junior, not really sure of his place in the world. Together, they built a short-lived life together. She was not a sturdy bridge, however. As soon as the doctor pulled me into the world, my father packed his bags and left town.

Looking back, I didn't know that I wasn't the only one who was forced to grow up. At age thirty-four, my father lived the life of a bachelor. He spent his days working and his nights meandering in clubs and bars, bedding women left and right. When Mother passed however, all this had to end. I sensed that he somehow resented her for that but he knew his responsibilities could no longer be ignored. There I was, thirteen years of age, practically a man who, like my father, was trying to find my place in the world, looking for sturdy bridges that would take me there.

He looked at me with the eyes of a stranger. Perhaps he expected me to be taller, leaner, more like the son he imagined he'd have. He had the image of a dreamed sky, an expanse of black and midnight blue dotted with countless stars. I was the reality of this sky- gray and holding only one or two beacons of light. The day he took me in was the day the two of us crossed my mother's bridge. It was the day we shed our youth for cloaks of manhood.

To this day, I still wonder if my mother's death had to happen for me and my father to cross paths. Maybe, as she stares at the bridge from the river where she lay, a part of her knows she fulfilled her purpose. As I cross my own bridges in my life (with remarkably less fascination with them, of course), I can't help but feel that without them, what would we have left? Nothing but massive amounts of land and water with no clear way of getting across. There are many bridges in our lives, some made of steel and concrete, others of goodwill and love. Someday, I'll be a bridge, too and hopefully, understand why my mother had to sacrifice her life for me to get across.

Fear 08.12.06

I arrive at your doorstep, hair still stringy from the rain and said "I'm better now" as though loving you was a disease to be cured. You let me in and we straddle the line once again of lovers and friends, of pagans and gods. You look into my eyes, I stare at the hopelessness in your pupils. “Moments like this, I know God exists”, you said emptily. I stare at your hands firmly locked with mine. How empty they seemed before tonight! How each finger’s distance seemed to be measured in eternities and not centimeters! One day, you’ll look back at this moment and be filled with such regret. You could’ve had me but you were stuck wishing I’d somehow turn into him or turn into you. Years from now, you will only be a cloud or a shadow of the man you wanted me to be. “I’m better now”, I said, afraid I’ll lose you; lying through my teeth if only to get another taste of you.

Alternative Life 08.12.07

The mistress shares secrets with the night.
The stars her witness, the moon
Her judge and jury
For at night, why is it that all seems right?
Who are we really afraid of? Tell me
Are you afraid she’ll see us?
Am I afraid of the sun
For it casts light on darkened alleyways?
Or are we afraid that underneath
All the bullshit we hand feed each other
There is no love here.
Only empathy
Possibly even apathy
I’ll keep licking your wounds if you promise
To keep salting mine.
The mistress unties the stifled door chimes
Why is it that at night, all seems right?
At night all seems right