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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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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Life, Personal, writing

A Fighter Worth Everything

A loving wife, a mother of four, and a sister to six others.

She is a strong willed woman, stubborn against all oddities of cancer. She fought relentlessly and held on to her Faith – unfazed by all circumstances cancer threw her way.

She remained strong, smiled through tough times, cried, and a few times (or more) got angry and frustrated with all the pain she feels. Nevertheless, she proved that it takes more than her illness to bring her down, to lose her faith, and bring destruction upon her family.

She might not be here physically but her memories, her legacy, her stories will always stay and be remembered by people who surround her.

A tough woman in her early sixties – feisty and loud, sometimes even a nagger – not only to her husband or children, but to all of us – pamangkin, kapatid, kaibigan. Selfless, dedicated, sincere, and caring, a stage mother supportive of her children’s dream.

She fought a long time and now she’s finally in a better place. In her own paradise where no illness, hardship, or pain will come her way. A place where she can – we can finally, truly say she is Home.

You see even in this situation, she never succumbed to the harshness of her illness. Rather, she gained the Mercy of the One above and His Kingdom.

Her chapter on Earth may have ended; nevertheless, her journey was not in vain as she had laughed lots of times, loved a long time, and lived life to the fullest.

And just like how I heard one person say, I quote, “my grandfather did not die. He did not die because he is such a good man and a good man does not die. He just stopped breathing.”

Thus, in the same light, our Tita did not die. She did not die because she is a good person and a good person does not die. She just stopped breathing.

Tita Edith, tulad nga ng sinabi ng marami, Maraming maraming salamat – sa lahat ng tulong, sa lahat ng alaala at suporta, at higit sa lahat, salamat sa pagkakataon na ibinigay mo sa aming lahat na makilala ka’t maging parte ng buhay mo at mapagsilbihan ka kahit sa huling pagkakataon.

Watch over everyone Tita. We love you.

Hanggang sa muli nating pagkikita.

 

 

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Personal, writing

One Fateful Night

May 2016, a day before the National Election.

I was on preparing things I had with me as I was about to head back home when my phone rang, notifying me of a call. I answered immediately to be greeted by my mom’s voice and a vague background noise.

“Where is she?” I wondered.

Then she tells me to head to the munisipyo, saying they (pertaining to my titas and cousins) are there. Agreeing to what she said, I remembered that that day was the last campaign day for all politicians running for government positions.

The night was cold, a slight breeze blowing across my clammy skin. With thoughts of what transpired within the day and what was about to happen, the trip to the munisipyo seemed to have happened in just a blink of an eye.

Upon reaching my destination, I was greeted by a throng of loud people, blaring music, orange, pink, and blue t-shirts, flags, and a re-routed traffic manned by San Juan’s blue boys (traffic enforcer a.k.a. Blue Boys). The event was in full swing, I guessed.

I do not remember much of what transpired that night. But I do remember the line of tents in white beside the stage, the huge monitor serving as a backdrop, police patrolling the area, and the four LED flood lights blinking shades of red, blue, and yellow.

And of course, I remember the reason why we were all there – to show our support to that one person who supported us all the same in one ways or another.

She is a mother of four, a sister to six other siblings, a Tita to all of us, a fighter, a survivor.

At first glance you’ll probably see a daunting woman in her early 60’s – but mind you, her looks will tell you otherwise. She maybe loud and easily agitated – like the rest of us (her relatives) but above all, she is a loving mother and wife ready to do anything and everything for her family and a sister willing to help out in possible ways she can.

Then, suddenly as if in a trance, I snapped out of my thoughts our dear Tita.

That’s when I noticed people milling around the area, claps echoing in the starless night, my mother eagerly listening to the current speaker, children laughing and running about, and mostly, flood lights and spot lights coloring up the stage.

I walked a bit further from the stage, exhausted from the many noises of the night and seated myself on the grass with my mother in tow, another Tita, and a French Bulldog.

I glanced up at the sky and nodded to myself, this indeed is one fateful night. A night I ought to remember as I see my Tita seated on the stage, doing everything in her power to protect and serve her family in all that they need.

As I look at her and her family seated just right behind the stage where she is, I sent a silent prayer to Heaven.

Wishing her to stay stronger and better, healthier even, to soar higher and stay a fierce fighter – a stubborn one against all oddity of the Big C. And let her know that no matter what, she’ll always be with her family – though thick and thin.

And that, the stars and the moon will always keep a watch over her.

Happy Birthday, Tita Edith.

 

 

All the best,

H.

 

 

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Life, Personal, writing

Memories of July

For most of us, July’s just part of the 12 months in a year. The 7th one to be exact.

Others would call for a celebration – baptism, birthday, wedding/ wedding anniversary. Basically anything.

But still it’s July, the same 7th month of each year.

For us, it’s a different kind of anniversary. Because it’s an anniversary that marks the final chapter of one person’s life. Continue reading

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Personal, writing

A Dedicated Note

A few nights back, I was talking to my special ‘person’ when he mentioned a particular place where we could go out. I was familiar with it and mentioned to him that it was there that I met the one who inspired me to write “That Girl Crush.” He jokingly said that when it comes to pretty ladies and guys I tend to write stuff with so much amazement while I don’t when when it’s about him. Laughingly I answered him in the negative saying I do not not write to him in such way, that I already wrote two letters to him and for him.

Of course, we were just messing around with each other. But then, I ended up promising that I’ll write some stuff soon for him. And that’s how I got started with a particular note that same night but not getting around it.

Maybe it was the pressure of actually writing good stuff but genuine enough that I could convince myself and my readers about it that I never finished a coherent paragraph.

And so after a few minutes of struggling I gave up but not totally without insights and series of realizations

  1. Words do injustice to how I could express my everything for you
  2. Some thought, feelings, and memories are beyond immeasurable for me to grasp
  3.  With you, I can never truly put into words the moments we share together and feel content about it.
  4. That getting one sentence out of my mind to fully comprehend all that I feel towards you will never get done simply because you literally take my words away. haha I know it’s cliche or corny if you want. But maybe you could ask some few writers and they’ll now how it feels.
  5. I may not be able to tell you words that could fully describe what amazement, awe, love, and everything I have for you, but know that when you look into my eyes, you’ll see unspoken wonders and promises for the both of us just like how I see through you when I look into yours.
  6. I can and will always be able to tell you what I love about you – about us.
  7. And last but not the least, someday I’ll be able to tell you the words I want to say without feeling injustice to what I feel. And I promise, it’ll be so much better than everything I’ve written for the longest time.

Maybe it’s all just my excuses. But know that deep down I want to write you the best and not a notch lower. It’ll take time. But I’ll be glad to take my time in writing the best of what’s to come.

Remember, like I always tell you, I love you to the moon and back.

 

And so I end my rambling here, hoping that finally I get to have the inspiration I need to move along with that unfinished note.

Yours (always),

H.

 

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