Friday, February 16, 2018

November 30, 2029

(Inspired by Haruki Murakami’s short story, “Birthday Girl”)

She was a short, slender lady who was doing her usual afternoon walk.  She religiously hiked up this hill that overlooks the other side of the valley which gave a glimpse of a peaceful countryside.  A feat for people living in this part of the city; to preserve a beautiful view brought by the bright & lush green trees and the vibrant flowing river.  A remarkable beauty that she was reveling in.

Soon as she reached the top of the hill, she slumped herself under her tree.  She owned that tree because she felt a sort of compatibility with it.  The old roots were like soft arms comforting her, hugging her and slowing down her heartbeat brought by the physical climb up the hill.  She loved the feeling of the wind touching her skin, not too cold and not too humid, which almost felt like a soft hammock covering her and swaying her to sleep.

That afternoon, she was not going to resist the invitation.  She was going to take a nap and enjoy the ground supporting her body.  She was going to take pleasure at the roots of her tree embracing her and the grasses warming her skin like a soft duvet until she falls asleep.

As she was starting to give in to that nap, she was abruptly woken by a strong and sudden surge of wind which urged her to come back to her senses.  She opened her eyes, felt the change of breeze and heard a different kind of sound.  The warm and comforting wind was replaced by a cold breeze and the chirping birds flying and playing above her tree has been taken over by the sound of splashing waves.  She sat up, but was not surprised by the sudden change of setting.  She teleported to a beach and it was as if, she expected this to happen, like a scene from a story she had already written.  She didn’t ask any questions, instead she stood up and started finding her way back.

As she strode at the edge of the beach and enjoyed the sudden change of environment, she stumbled upon a lamp.  A magic lamp.  She picked it up and, like how you would watch it in the movies, blue smoke wafted out of the opening and then came out the magical djinn right after she rubbed it. Surprised? She was not. In fact, she knew exactly what would happen next.

Or, did she?

The djinn spoke, “You have one wish.”

 “Wait, what? One?  I thought there should be three wishes, it should be three, like in all the movies and story books!”  The woman cried out.

Like the djinn did not hear anything, he continued to speak “You have to think about it very carefully because one is only what you will have.”

“But!” she began to argue but the djinn cut her off right away.

“And you can’t change your mind afterwards and take it back” he uttered.

This god-damned, crude genie! Her mind was rushing a mile a minute.  This was absolutely not one of her stories...  Yet for some reason, this djinn had a very soothing power in his words that made her unquestionably abide his order.  ‘Make a wish’ he said, ‘but only one.’

Today she gets to make a wish she knew would definitely come true. ‘It may not have been three wishes, but one was better than nothing,’ her ever thankful heart says.

She stared at the djinn and met him in the eye.  She noticed his eyes were black. His whole body was see-through blue, more like a smoke, his torso was like that of a bodybuilder, muscle-filled.  He had a cute, pointed goatee and had his long hair tied up like -- yeah you guessed it -- the genie in that Aladdin movie we all loved.

He snapped his fingers and said “Hey Lady, you can’t be day-dreaming in a dream.  So do you have a wish or not?”

She couldn’t believe she got distracted. Here was  a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wish for anything in this world but she was looking at his eyes, his skin and if not interrupted, would continue wallowing in her thoughts about what this creature is made of. This just goes to show how her mind could get easily swept away by the trivialities of life. She lacked the mindset to focus on the important matters.

“Well then, why don’t I wish for that?” she thought. “Perhaps I should wish to be strong-willed. To have that wisdom to make the right choices in life. To focus!” she said this with emphasis. “To have the power to know precisely what I want, where to go, what option to choose. To be smart enough to make the right decisions in life. To know exactly what matters and what doesn’t. Oh! this would save me from a lot of over-thinking!  I would be able to know exactly what my one wish would be and for sure I will not live to regret it.”

She bit her lip and with a wrinkled forehead went into a pensive mode further. “But what should that one wish be then?”

“Ugh! Did I just create a loop here?  An Inception kinda thing?” referring to the movie she watched a few years ago that she still did not understand.  Finally, she felt she needed to surrender this idea. “This is going to be complicated,” she said.

For sure, she didn’t want to wish to be rich financially. She was seasoned enough to know that material things ain't worth for a one-time-wish like this. She knew she had just enough wealth to satisfy that superficial feeling for material things being a substitute of happiness.  That’s because she was miserably poor once upon a time in her life but vowed that it will never happen to her again. She knew how it felt to be needy, so she made it a point to have enough money ready to share with other people who were more in-need than her.  Generous enough to change people’s perspectives about giving, being a lot better than receiving.  If this genie would have appeared in her 20's or 30’s, like a baby's first words, 'I want to be rich!' would have been instantly uttered by her lips. 

Okay, then perhaps she should wish for love.

'Uh-oh, now here we go!'

"Wait, did the genie say that? Or me?" she was indeed still talking to herself.

Uhm, but what kind of love? True love? What is true love though? She knew of an unconditional love. The love she has for her two boys. A kind and patient love.  A sacred book adored by most people she knew, further described true love as something that does not keep any records of wrong, it protects, always trusts and always perseveres. That’s the kind of love she has for her children. She was  blessed to have experienced all that.

Alright so, she was resolved with the idea that she should wish for another type of love.  So what about the romantic kind of love?

“Ah, of course! This surely is the one wish I should make!” like a lightbulb, she exclaimed. “I wish for someone to love me unconditionally! Someone who will love me patiently. Accept my flaws, accept my chaotic emotions, who will love the fact that I made mistakes, that I make mistakes! That I am stubborn and crazy and dramatic and...” she was determined to go on but the djinn interrupted her.

“Okay, okay, hang on!” he stretched his hand gesturing for the lady to halt from gabbing.

“This is where I stop you.  You must know that I already heard it all.  I was 101% sure you will come to this.  Let me give you another chance to think this through. It’s not because I can’t grant your wish, but because it just doesn’t work that way.”

The lady was taken aback and started arguing with the djinn. “Why would that be?” she inquired. “Isn’t this what romantic love was all about? To have someone love and accept you, love your flaws, your past, the whole package of you? Then both of you will live happily ever after?  I’ve always wanted that!”

The genie widened his eyes, well actually, he rolled his eyeballs too.  He shook his head in disbelief as to why he had to explain to this human.

“Because you are putting another soul in this mix.  Who is maybe as flawed as you are, who probably makes more mistakes than you do, whose pride is probably as unreachable as Mt. Everest’s summit.  Someone who’s probably as broken as you.  Granted, he will accept the whole of you, you must also ask the question of, are you capable of loving the same kind of person?  If this is your wish, you might as well wish for a programmed robot that feels nothing and will submit to all your whims!”  This djinn sounded like a therapist having a mid-life crisis, he's cranky but he made a lot of sense.

“I just want to feel loved, understood, accepted, protected” she muttered.

Crap!  Choices, choices, choices!  She only had one wish to make and he was definitely not making things easy for her! She scratched her head and looked down at her toes that were buried in sand by now.

“Why don’t you just wish to love yourself instead?” the djinn didn’t speak of this, she was still talking to herself.  She realized she had set up quite a high standard when it comes to relationships with men. She did it to protect her heart, she didn’t want to get hurt again, so she guarded it too well.  Why she felt like she was always loving the wrong men, why nothing ever worked… would be questions she couldn't answer in this lifetime.

With a faint, admitting voice she whispered “Well in fact, I do have this guy who had been putting up with my imperfections. Sure we fight, almost feels like we love hating each other. It’s always bitter-sweet with him, but I know in my heart, I am happy being with him.  He's sort of like my disease, but also my cure.  Come to think of it, it has been 10 years.  Do you think it’s good enough years to accept that we are ‘it’?  Do you think I can finally subject this to true love?”

Silence.  He knew it was a rhetorical question.

“Then maybe I should wish for a time machine instead, so I could go back and correct the mistakes I have done.  Make my experiences a little less painful,” she felt like granting her own wishes and justifying herself through them.

“There are no mistakes in life mon amour, only lessons,” she mumbled.  “Yes, I learned my lessons, I struggled and it was painful, but I found my strength. The pain became a wonderful teacher,” she should have been a guru, she thought as her monologue went on .

She continued surfing in her thoughts. “This time machine shouldn’t only be able to make me go back to the past, it should also be able to stretch time so that I can do the things I’ve always wanted to do. Like, become a lawyer, I’ve always wanted to become a lawyer.  Actually, a photographer-lawyer. Uhm, a writer-photographer-lawyer and a guitarist… a singer-guitarist,” she had to catch her breathe saying all these.

Finally, she admitted to defeat.  “Damn, a time machine is not what I need, I will need another me.”

After a long pause, she went back looking at the djinn’s eyes. Then through his gentle eyes, he spoke to her and said “Are you sure about this? Is that what you are wishing for?”

 “Genie, I know why you showed up on my 50th birthday. I remember now that I made this wish a long time ago.  You're here not to grant it, you're here to tell me I did it.”

The genie gave her a smile, held her hand and said, "But your wish is still my command.”

The two of them walked side by side going to a place only the two of them know.  Suddenly, the djinn’s smoky blue color turned to pure brilliant white. So bright that one would have been blinded looking at it.

Back at the hill, the woman returned, as a plank of wood with the engraved words that said, “Here lies a lady who had lived life to the fullest.”

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I find it funny because most people would love to google stuff like “how to stay happy in a relationship” or are very interested into the “secrets to being super happy couples.”  Or when they are flipping through their Facebook feed, they click articles that would suggest 10 tips to keep their man/woman in love with them.

Today, I am asking the question, how to set-up a break up?

So tell me, how do you actually get away from a relationship?  Is there a peaceful way to do it?  Can you actually go through this process without being hurt or hurting the other party?  Do you think a relationship can die a natural death? 

At the moment, I am only hoping for the latter. 

You might ask me why I am asking such a question.  Let me answer you by another question.  What if I am actually designed to be alone?  What if I am happier if I am just by myself.  What if, I was just majorly influenced by the shouting command of the world, that being alone is depressing?  What if, I was so convinced that the best feeling in this world is to be with someone in your life? Forever?  What if that is actually not true?  That no matter how pathetic you imagine it, there are people who are gifted with just being alone?  

It’s not funny, because I know only of what I feel today.  And today, I want to be out of a relationship. 

It’s not funny because I was in this same situation before and the break-up went horrible.  I became "the monster."  The destroyer of someone else’s life.  I don't say this to many people but the pain caused us both.  It was like a double-edged sword that pierced both our hearts.  But because he was the victim, most people sympathized with him.

I don’t find it funny because I never wanted to be in another relationship after that bad break up.  But I have been swayed into it again and eventually loving another man.  I was hesitant and still am but ended up loving him anyway and I still do.  But our circumstances had changed and I think it’s best that we move on and start living our separate lives.  It’s unfair that I make him believe that we can be together [soon].  He now then tries to build his life for the hope of being with me but in reality, we are looking at years to be together again.  I don’t want to waste his efforts in gearing his life up towards this plan because I lack the faith of seeing it happen.  The agony of waiting wears me thin.  And if I am only being tested of my patience, perhaps it is not my thing. 

Google says, talk to the person like an adult.  Tell him the truth that you want a break-up.  That should be very easy, I suppose?  No.  Not if the feeling is not mutual.  I realized that this man will never let me go because he still loves me.  No matter what I say to convince him that the relationship will no longer lead anywhere, he’ll continue talking to me and will pretend like I said nothing.  Because I still feel for him and moving on is supposed to be a process that starts with a break-up I can’t start it because he doesn’t want to consent with what I want.  So it becomes a cycle that is best illustrated below.

There are only two ways this cycle can be broken.  One, when he stops loving me or two when there is a third party involved.  It is sad.  Because I know he still loves me and I do love him too. But I think there should be an expiration date for this kind of relationship and that time is now. I don’t want to resort to cheating and I want to part ways with him while I still love him.  Is that even possible?  I don’t know.  I don’t know.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Forever (Sinta Isaac & Yien Yanz... A Collab)

No, I need not be the forever you seek
I want to be in the pause before your exhales
The coffee sips that give an aftertaste
The smokes that come out from your ciggy lips
The swift glances you throw at the skies
When you're alone and in daze
This is where I long to stay

No, you need not do anything at all
Enough are our long night calls
Enough are our dark alley strolls
While the heavens we scour 
For falling fairies and trolls

I want to dwell in between the flickers of your eyes
In your silent yawns and in your delicate strides
The beating of my heart would gladly replace
The tapping of your fingers when you are enraged

Truth is, I never wanted to be your forever
Because such thing is a sham
What’s real are in those short-lived chatters
While you look at the moon giving your face a glam

Know that when you leave, there will be storms and chaos
All walls shaken, all hearts broken
Hurt me in such a way that the world will freeze

And then that will be my forever.

Translated from Sinta Isaac's original work of art.  I can never give justice to your artistry my dear friend.

Hindi ko kailangang maging ang habangbuhay na hinahanap mo, ang nais ko lamang ay ang maging maliliit na paghinto sa iyong pagsasalita kapag napapagod ka na, ang after taste na maiiwan sa labi mo pagkatapos mong inumin ang iyong kape sa umaga, ang usok na lumalabas sa bibig mo tuwing naninigarilyo ka, ang saglit na lingon sa bituin kapag nag-iisa ka,

hindi kailangang gawin mo itong panghabangbuhay, sapat na ang mahahabang usapan natin tuwing gabi bago umuwi habang naglalakad tayo sa dilim ng gabi, at ginagalugad ng ating mga mata ang kalangitan at naghahanap ng babagsak na bulalakaw,

siguro'y tama na sa akin ang mga sandaling oras na magkatabi tayo sa bus at pinagmamasdan ko ng palihim ang iyong mukha habang nakatanaw ka sa labas ng bintana, nais kong maging bawat pagkurap ng inaantok mong mga mata, ang mahinang hikab, ang bawat espasyo sa mabagal mong paglalakad, ang pagkilos ng daliri mo tanda ng pagkainip, ang lungkot sa pagitan ng bawat mong ngiti,

hindi ko nais maging ang iyong pang habangbuhay, dahil hindi nito mahihigitan ang mga sandaling magkatabi tayong naninigarilyo at nakatanaw sa buwan, habang paulit-ulit kong sinasabi sa iyo na gusto kong tumalon sa bangin ng mines view sa araw ng aking kaarawan, na kapag tumalon ako, hindi na ako aahon, hindi ko nais na ikaw ang aking maging happy ending, nais kong ikaw ang aking maging bangin...

Ngunit, kung aalis, iwanan mo ako na parang isang lindol o bagyo, salantain mo ang buo kong pagkatao, durugin mo ang puso ko, nais kong magunaw ang buong mundo sa oras nang iyong paglayo, nais kong mabasag ang pader na itinayo ko, nais kong mabitak ang mga sahig at semento, nais kong madapa para sa iyo, saktan mo ako, iwanan mo ako, limutin mo ako, sa paraang titigil ang mga oras at minuto, hihinto ang lahat sa pag galaw, at hayaan mong ito ang aking maging 'habangbuhay'... 

Forever March 28, 2015

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Does it Matter 5 Years from Now?

So I received this email from my colleague saying she's not coming in today because she's not well. And I'm thinking whether I should answer her or not. 

I want to reply saying "oh get well soon" because in doing so, I would be the projection of a nice, friendly colleague. Although for some years now, this is really who I am in the office... The nice, chirpy, helpful, "cute" employee that everyone likes. 

But for this colleauge, I don't really feel like doing it! I would feel plastic and dishonest if I answer her because I know she's just pretending to be sick!

What the h*ck. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Just Tired

Living does get tiring.  I imagine Robin Williams, before he decided to take his own life saying, "I'm just tired to go through this again.  I'm already 63, I think I'm already too old for this.  I am done."

One can never be too old when it comes to battling depression.  Especially if the struggle comes around again and again and again until you have no other option but to just give up, until one just gets tired of fighting.

One of the tweets pertaining to Robin Williams death said, "when you are sad, tell someone."  I guess for a 63 year old like him, he realized that even friends and love ones can get tired too.  Of hearing the same b*shit and of giving the same advice.  After all, they have their own demons to fight so why should they continue putting up with yours?  And then it will not take long until you find the acceptance in your heart that you are absolutely, without any doubt, a hopeless case. So finally you tell yourself, I'm done.

I am no psychologist.  I am no expert about depression.  I am just feeling a little tired too.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Tears are strangely falling
As memories are rewinding
Some sting, mostly inspiring
Here... had been life changing 

Tears still strangely flow
There's no way to tell
If these are for joy...
Or for sorrow
That one thing I know 

I will remain this strength
I will remain this love

I will remain this mirth
I will remain to soar
Till I stop searching
Till I stop changing
Till I stop counting

*6th October 2012, Dubai, UAE

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Coffee, Ciggy and Sympathy

(The title is borrowed from Robbie William’s song, Coffee, Tea and Sympathy)A not-so-close friend of mine had approached me one mid-afternoon and asked me a very strange question. “Hey Beth!” (not my real name), “Have you quit smoking?”

Now, you might want to ask me why I find his question strange.

Two reasons. One, I am sure that I don’t know this guy too well for him to actually know me to be a smoker. Basing from his tone of questioning, it seems like he had actually seen me smoke a lot. (Or perhaps I’m just being paranoid. It could be one of the side-effects of these meds I’m taking these days.) The second reason is that... I have on the contrary, smoked like a chimney for the past few days. So I don’t understand why he would ask me such a thing.

But anyway, I chuckled as a reply to the guy and said, “Dude, I’m trying.”

This had made me remember Dok (not his real name), whom I had phoned just now.

I tilted my head a bit while waiting for him to pick up my call. His ring back tune, (Three Little Birds by Bob Marley) had kept me entertained. And as usual, he did not pick up.

Dok taught me how to smoke. I never smoked my entire life, until I met him. I never knew love, until him.

He laughed at my shippish way of smoking. I never knew that there’s a right way to smoke. Oh gawd, I can still hear his laughter echoing in my head when I coughed so hard, almost making me puke when I attempted to imitate the way he smoked.

“You… young lady are never gonna die young by the way you smoke” he said. He grabbed the stick (Philips, his brand) from my fingers. He made it touch his lips (that I loved kissing,) slightly sucked a bit of it, he looked at me in the eyes and it was the first time I noticed that no smoke is actually coming out from any of the holes in his appealing face. I don’t find Dok handsome. But he’s got charms.

“You have to suck it in, Beth. All the way here” he was pointing at his heart. I don’t know why he was pointing it there but in the midst of my tipsiness out of the whole bottle of wine I drank that night, I still remember how he taught me of the right way to smoke.

Like how he taught me the right way to live life. Of course, there is never the right way. But there is always your own, right way. And according to him, we have to inhale the love of the people until here, (he was again pointing at his heart) and don’t let that come out. Just let it rot you, let it spoil you, because their love is what will make you genuinely happy. Take risks, show people how you love, don’t be afraid to get hurt, and remember to never keep bitterness too long here (this time it’s his whole fist pounding his chest.) “Beth, it is important to die happy, you have to put that in here.” To emphasize his point, he stood up and rubbed my head.

I am never a jealous person and Dok, to be honest has never become my boyfriend… (You know that one with a commitment?) But I had, for a long time been silently mad at him ever since I learned that he had found the girl he will finally love. And that wasn't me. He knew about how I feel, but we never talked about it. He is good at pretending that nothing is wrong, but we love to believe that everything between us is so right. Perhaps, because I am never the sentimental, nagging schmuck who will blubber the littlest detail of my pain and agony, of my jealousy and anger. We survived this complicated relationship without much fight, but I know that there was too much of an emotional battle within.

Dok is five years more matured than me. He died six months ago at the age of 31.

I was driving, I drank too much. He was trying to make me smile by tickling me that night. I got the steering wheel out of control while trying to dodge his tickles that had made our car smash ruthlessly against a speeding truck. He was thrown out of the car because he was so stupid not to put his seatbelt on. Dok, by the way, had always been stupid.

Dok said, "Forgive easy, forgive easy, forgive easy." Believe me, I tried so hard to do that. But it is impossible if you have to do that to yourself.

It is a lot tougher because I survived.  He left me with 2 bruised legs and one arm attached with a few fingers that can barely press Dok's number over and over again…...and a cold, dead heart still waiting for my calls to be answered.

Author’s Notes:1. I write for my pleasure. I find it pleasurable to create characters in my stories who are free to love, free to hate and whom I can kill without feeling any guilt. Stuff I can't do in real life.
2. This is fictional. Any similarities to actual situations or emotions are purely coincidental.
3. This story started, when I realized I might have been smoking too much. And I dedicate this to all smokers especially to Micah, because I am always scared of loving you. So sorry, I have to kill you