Life, Personal, writing

Unconditional Love

“Hello,” greeted an unseen voice from over the phone. For a moment, my heart stopped beating as the familiar sound brought back me back to memory lane.

But the magic needed to end as I snap back to reality – the reality that the one person I was currently speaking to was a contractor, asking me details of what I sent them through email a few hours back.

My trip to memory lane was cut short as I snapped back to reality, regaining my exterior composure – calm and calculating against the frantic beating of my heart.

“Ma’am,” he greeted back, “I have my personnel on site who may double check the said concern at the unit,” to which I answered in the negative. Saying that the unit owner was unavailable at the moment.

A few more seconds over the phone and the conversation ended – leaving me still rattled and disoriented from the experience. Because for a moment back there, I thought I was actually hearing the voice of my deceased father for one last time.

That maybe, this was part of my unanswered prayer the following days and weeks of father’s death. That for one last time, we could hear him, hold him, and see him at the very least to finally bid that one bittersweet goodbye.

That maybe he was actually really on the other side of the phone and was going to ask how we were finally doing.

And it was in that few moments after the phone call that I realize how much it means to miss a man as great as he. That here we were, left with memories, with stories, pictures, a few videos, his diary from way back Saudi Arabia days, and a voice recording for one of his seminars or lectures – the one and only thing that would most probably come close to hearing his voice again.

You see, even in the midst of growing up, of having far too many responsibilities and obligations, not once will you truly forget nor stop yearning for the ones you hold dear – no matter the distance, no matter the circumstance.

Your love for them – it never really fades. It just goes stronger. Each and every single day.

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Uncategorized

Of Checks and Balances

via Daily Prompt: Blur

You walk down the fine line of checks and balances, of dreams and reality where you are offered the best (worst) of each world – of beauty and magnificence the right side offers you; of chaos and unorganized thoughts, the left side gives you.

And yet there you stand in between them two. Then one day, you reach a fork down the road.

It asks you like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, which road will you take?

The Left side or the Right side?

Like any other sane person, you reach for that wonderful side of the road, of unicorns and rainbows, dreams and unparalleled beauty.

You said right and you went right.

With no second thought, no whatsoever.

Then as if insanity veered you left, the other side of the road appeared before your eyes offering you a platter of chaos and unorganized thinking.

You were supposed to say no but weirdly, you took the platter and started walking back to the other side of the road.

You’re crazy! Tweedle Dee said,

No! Come back here! Tweedle Dum all but shouted.

But you weren’t hearing any of it. Blindly, unthinkingly, stupidly, you still walked back to the left side of the road.

Cheshire Cat smiling smugly questioning if you are sure.

Then you answer, this has been my reality all the time, not those rainbows and unicorns, nor sunshine and green fields.

 

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Little Notes, Personal

The Charm of a Man

He opens up his arms, asking me
to come to him –
and as if I can resist him, I tried

But my feet seems to have
a mind of its own
as it brings me closer to him

Ah, he’s so warm, like he always does
– smells of fresh laundry, soap,
and something else entirely him
Face buried in his chest
as his hand wraps around my shoulders

Was he always this tall?
Or was I always really just this small?

Are you mad? he asks.

I was before you came knocking on the door,
I wanted to say

Instead I nodded and started to pull away,
– I miss his warmth
& the night suddenly felt very cold

He drops his hand at his sides
and looked at me –
a look that searches my face,
that sees through my soul,
my everything

And he walks away only to come back
An ice cream cup in one hand –
a large one, at that

A peace offering

I reached out and started to eat.
I gave him the look, still.

Inside his car, he reaches for me,
arms wrapped around my waist –
chin resting at my shoulder

Are you still mad, he whispers

I only nodded but really,
I just want the moment to last
a while longer

Then he kisses my shoulder
Arms still wrapped around my waist
Sorry, he says

But all I can think of was his stubble
against my skin as he peppers
me with sweet kisses –

Are you still mad? he reaches out,

I shook my head no –
as if I can really resist him.

He pulls me closer to him,
kisses me on the cheeks
& the forehead – lingering
more than a few seconds, that is.

I basks in the intimacy
& sweetness if it all

Ah, this one’s a precious one
a moment rare and memorable

Perhaps I can do this another time,
– stall when I’m mad and get that
one large ice cream cup,
a dozen of donuts, sweet kisses,
surprise visits, and warm hugs

– All under the night sky,
with the moon and the stars
as witness and audiences.

An hour or so of his presence,
the cold breeze of the night,
a sweet moment all together

A secret satisfaction, a delight
in my heart

And a realization that I can never
truly resist the charm of this man,

– of this man whom I’ve
been with 3 years & 7 months.

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Short Story, writing

A Lore of a Maiden’s Heart

On a one sunny day, in a luscious mountain far away from the city, an old town prosper continuously. In one old creaking house, a wrinkly old lady sits by her rocking chair perched on her wooden porch. She looks at the sky with a twinkle in her eye, a knowing glint hidden in between. Her eyes were the shade of golden brown, her hair silver like the moonlight and curly as the grapes vine. She looks ahead as if longing to belong to the nothingness of the blue sky. And for the nth time of the day, she whispers Saudade.

Many seconds passed, minutes and hours and yet she remains still in her rocking chair with a gaze held up by the blue sky.

As time ticks by, homes started to do its daily business, men and women pacing and passing up and about, children running, squealing, chasing, and goofing around.

A busy day for the townsfolk indeed. But still she remained, unwavering in the busy chatter of the town – a portrait of a still life.

Then as if by some magic, all children turned their heads in her direction and abruptly stopped their businesses. Each of them looking at one another before they smiled and broke into a run towards the old lady. One child, a young lad covered in grass and dirt came to stand by her side pulling on her sleeves relentlessly.

Misty Granny, Misty Granny! Tell us of your story! That story of once upon a time!

All children expectant of the old lady held their breaths as they wait for Misty Granny’s consent of a story telling. Finally, the old wrinkly lady looked upon them, her eyes crinkling in the corners as her lips pulled into a warm smile.

Come little ones, she says. I’ll tell you that one of the maiden’s heart.

Then the children gathered around her – some by her feet, the others by the railing of her porch, and a couple by the armrest of her rocking chair. The old lady smiled a little more while seconds ticked by and with a gentle demeanor, proceeded with her story while she looks up into the sky.

Once upon a time, in a far away land, there existed a thousand year old land floating in the sky. It was ruled by a maiden with a golden heart. And for hundreds of years, she lived alone – ruling the sky, the stars, and the land where she lays her feet. Winged creatures of mythical times fly by over her head always greeting her with a language of their own. She would smile and wave as if those mere gestures are understood by the lots of them creatures.

One day, in a whim of the moment, she walked up to the edge of the island and looked down the land before her where soft music sounds in the air. As if sensing her curiosity, a winged creature the size of a giant lizard and the scales of a dragon swooshed pass her, up and again as if dancing in thin air. The creature flapping its wings looked at her, curiosity painted in it’s face.

The maiden smiled her usual smile, waved, and walked back to where she came from, the winged creature flapping its wings farther from her, too.

Days passed by, weeks, and months. The maiden who once looked to the edge did it another time the day after the first until it became part of her daily routine. Then one day, when she looked down, she heard of festivities, of soft music flowing through the air, of dances choreographed, of laughter, and of unending banters.

Curiosity got the better of her for that day she remained by the edge of her land watching with unwavering focus. Cloths and linen with many colors strung to a central post, men and women milling around with a goal in mind, and many a children running past by tents after tents.

Days passed and nights waned on. Then on one night she just stood up, gathered the hem of her dress and decided to visit the land below hers. And so she ventured into the night life of the town, gathering peculiar things, peering into odd views, and carving precious moments into her memories.

People gaze at her in awe, her mystic glow different from theirs, her eyes shining brightly like the stars watching over them, her hair – golden in the moonlight reaches her back, while her dress – a mix of ethereal blue, green, and white captures her very essence in the dark festivities of the night.

People made way for her, men and women alike smile at her like she had always been someone they respected; young ones would run to her squealing to their hearts desire while she would laugh at their antics. It was a fateful night – that one night she went for a stroll at the land beneath her fortress.

Once a month, she would go down and mingle with the elders, play with the young ones, or simply stroll by the market – a place she finds comfort in for it was a place full of life, of laughter, of banters, of voices devoid of stillness like her place above.

Stories of her golden heart, of her mystified beauty, of the stillness in her, spread out through the country and in her stead, people of the land below her threw her a festivity for her presence of once a month. Then people from all over the country will visit her – to chance upon her rumored beauty, mystic aura, and stillness as they have heard.

An enchantress, some of them would say. Nevertheless, people adored her, young and old, men and women. For years, the maiden and her people lived happily and satisfactorily. Then one night, as the town was sleeping and the maiden was counting the stars shining in the night, a great fire rose east of the town. The fire spread like the wildfire it is, while screams and cries filled the silence of the night.

In her horror, the maiden watched the town burn down, ruins of what used to be homes of her people painted the town. Ashes, broken furniture, dolls, and hallow bodies littered the ground. People from the old town sat by what used to be their homes, weeping and comforting the young ones.

For days and nights, the maiden and her people grieved for the loss while she remained in her island – weeping against the breeze of the cold night. She cried to the stars and pleaded with the moon. Yet both seem oblivious to her pleas.

Then one afternoon, as the sun was about to set, she watched her beloved town and the few people who survived go up and about the remains of the town. Her heart ached at the loneliness – the laughter and squealing of children gone, the festivities and colorful lights of the night rejected, etc.

Then she sung a one song, one song that sent people to look at her from below, one song that pleaded for another chance for her people, a song that utterly changed the view of the cosmos towards her. A song that she knew will never be ignored by the heavens.

And so, the loneliness of that night seeped through the soil. Where the houses once stood, now grew luscious trees, fertile soil, and a new life.

The maiden. She sacrificed her land for a new beginning, her own life for the birth of a new one, her voice for the new smiles, laughter, squealing, and bantering of children – a new hope, a new beginning.

Stories says that she vanish like golden dust into the night while her land found decay and crumbled silently through the waning night.

And so, with the sacrifice of the maiden, the new town by the mountain prospered, eternally protected and guided by her soul, her kindness, her golden heart.

With that, the old lady finished her story leaving the children in awe of the maiden from her once upon a time. Then one child, a young girl with big doe eyes, hair black as the night asked, Misty Granny, did she really die and left the town? Tears threatening to fall from her eyes as she sniffed silently and held on to her ragged doll.

Misty Granny smiled a warm smile and said, No, my dear child. She never really died. Stories says that once every hundred years, the young maiden is reincarnated as a new human being. Born to the people residing in the town and grows to be an old wrinkly lady.

Really Misty Granny?  the young lass asks, hope clearly stated in her eyes. Yes, my child. Truly. And what they say is that, when she reincarnates, she brings her memories with her. Only, she is reborn every hundred years or so, says the old lady – a glow of happiness reflected in her eyes.

The children mesmerized with the old lady’s story as felt their hearts flutter as their eyes shine brighter. Smiles crossed their faces as laughter slowly filled the air.

Now, run along children. Your mothers must be looking for you.

And off they went back to their homes with Misty Granny’s story of once upon a time.

 

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Life, Personal, writing

A Tale of One Christmas Afternoon

While other people are in the comforts of their home, families, and friends on Christmas day, a woman gets out of the car at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. With a matchbox in one hand and a pot of flowers in another.

She asks her son to bring the pot of flower for her as it was heavy and she has no more strength to spare after two days of hard work.

Her son takes it from her as they start to walk the alley leading to her destination. She makes small talks with her children – commenting every now and then to some said stories.

Then, along the way, she meets Boy – the supposed caretaker of the place. Small talks, light laughter, again – side comments about the condition of the alleys every now and then.

Finally she reaches her destination and greets her husband – Hi Pa. Merry Christmas, she would say as she puts her hand on the cold concrete and lay down the matchbox beside the candles she brought.

She sits by the concrete bench a few feet beside his grave while her son puts down the pots and her daughter arrange the remaining bouquet on his flower holder – the suso  as they are called.

Candles are lit and silent prayers are said. Suddenly she says, dalawang Christmas ka na pala, Pa. Only to be corrected by her children that it’s three and not two – 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Her eyes began to water, lips forming in a thin line. He’s always watching you ma, her daughter tells her as she gets a pat on the shoulder.

Still, the wetness in her eyes never seemed to disappear until she stood up and said, let’s go.

She puts her hand one more time on top of his grave as she whisper Merry Christmas, Pa. I love you, before turning on her heel and walked.

While she walks, their children said their own Merry Christmas’ I love yous, and the promise of coming back in the New Year.

With one last glance on this visit, the three of them walked back to the car, a bittersweet recollection of years’ past Christmas celebration and the memory of the man they always thought as their own Superman.

And just like that, their Christmas celebration felt almost complete.

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Daily Post, Life, Personal

A Single Song & A Thousand Thoughts

via Discover Challenge: Song

A story of one night (2 years ago, July 2014)

We were watching a a TV show, The Voice Kids (Ph)– a singing contest aired at nights during the weekends when a particular contestant, Lyca Gairanod, stood in the middle of the ring and started singing Dance with my father in her Tagalog version

I felt body tense as I did not know how to feel about it when I had my father laying in bed beside me watch the same thing.

The song, at that moment, felt like a song for when he is gone and done fighting his battle against cancer. And somehow, it twisted something in my chest as I took a deep breath and exhaled nervously.

Nevertherless, I glanced beside me and saw him just mindlessly watching the show. Or if he is thinking of something else, I do not know. But my mother was another case. She was sobbing beside my father – silent tears streaming down her face. And her expression – God, how can such a strong woman break down silently like that. It broke my heart so much I, too, felt like crying. But I held it in and took another deep breath to steady myself.

Present.

It was a painful thing that night. Well, somehow it is still a painful thing today. But who knew that that same song, the original by Luther Vandross actually, will remain as a remembrance of the father we once have.

Who knew that that song will actually last me a lifetime of wistful thinking and prayers of another moment for my father and mother – just one moment that my mother can actually see him once again. To ease her loneliness, her sorrow, and see her smile that one smile she always has when she’s with him. God, how it still clenches my heart when I think about it.

And yet images and wistful thinking did not end with that wish and prayer for my mother as I, too, had my fair share of wistful thinking for myself and for my brother.

Nights when missing him is the only thing in my mind, I see him in the future I might have had if only he lived through his battle. Nights like tonight I imagine him watching me march as I finish off college and finally get that diploma he worked so hard to provide for, watch me get my first job, watch me finally reach my dream of going abroad, and even more so, watch as finally, my brother – his son, too gets on the stage and finish of college – that maybe, somehow, if fate had permitted, father and son had spent more time together.

My mother and father – they could have had grown old together and fulfilled their life long promises. So many dreams, so many promises.

And yet all we can have at this moment in time are those wistful thinking we had whenever that song plays.

That song, so beautiful yet still so heartbreaking simply because of all the unsaid promises and glimpses of the the future we could have had if he were still with us.

So, as we hear the song, whenever, wherever – there you’ll find us three looking up in the sky, on the road, or somewhere else with longing and distant looks in our eyes, faint smiles, and silent prayers in our head.

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Life, Personal

Once Upon a Time

 

Once upon a time I was a young girl looking up the sky – waiting for the giant bird-like machine to fly by over our heads.

Once upon a time I was a young girl who realized that a waiting taxi with my father and his luggage in it means it’s time for him to go back to work and another year or so without seeing him physically.

Once upon a time I was a young girl pretending to be okay – pretending actually that I am not getting dizzy when my father rocks me to sleep simply because I wanted the moment to last a little longer.

Once upon a time I was a young girl who writes lots of letters for my father and keep all his replies in a box, a plastic bag, cabinet, and basically anywhere I can store it.

Once upon a time I was the young girl who walks up to my father’s other side (left or right) to hold his hand in mine while we stroll in the mall.

Once upon a time I was the young girl who looks forward to Sundays mainly because it means it’s movie day with the ‘whole’ family, too.

And once upon a time I was never the self-proclaimed-writer-at-heart person until it was decided that you are to come back Home – in the Heavens where you really belong.

Then suddenly, as if in a trance or a conspiracy of some sort, all of my thoughts were imprinted through words of black and white on ink and paper.

– As if you were telling me that Once Upon a Times never really ended and dissipated together with you; that our once upon a times as father and daughter never really ended that one night when you held my hand and meant not to let go; that our stories of once upon a times as a whole family have never ended and vanished into thin air the moment you breathed your last.

Because it is in the simple telltales of our once upon a times – of yesteryears, of yesterdays that you live through and through. That our stories live through and through – in memories and in hearts.

So on your 3rd all soul’s day, know that our stories of once upon a times continue to grow to be the happy memories they’re supposed to be. That finally, we’re getting a tidbit better than the last. That finally, somehow, I’m beginning to piece the bigger picture of why we have to lose you early in this life.

So for all our once a upon a time stories, thank you Pa.

Know that you’re still one of our motivators and one of the best source of inspiration.

 

Thank you. Always and Forever.

-A.

 

 

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