Here, on this fragile place we call home, we stay. Its walls promise us shelter, warmth, safety. Somewhere to run to when the days go bad, somewhere we can never truly run away from. Because no matter how broken it is: the doors, the windows, the picture frames — they’re all easy to rebuild, replace, restore. As long as that fragile home inside you stays, you’ll always have a place in this world full of empty space. Continue reading
Do you like her, they ask. And we balk, torn on how to respond. How do I explain it, we think, in such a way that I won’t be misunderstood, that my words won’t be mistaken for what I truly mean? How often do others listen for what they want to hear in the things we said that wasn’t what we mean?
Do you love her, they ask. And we hesitate, cautious on how to reply. How do I explain it, we ask ourselves, when I’m still trying to understand it, that my heart won’t mistake what I feel for what it truly is? How often do we look for what we want to see in the things we find that wasn’t what we’re searching for?
Is it for fear of rejection, of ridicule, or mere criticism? Why do we hide behind our justifications — these elaborate excuses masking our truest thoughts, even when they remain untrue?
And so we hide this fragile, vulnerable heart of ours.
We protect it, defend it, in the best way we can. For isn’t that how it should be: for us to fight for the weak — including these weak and helpless hearts?
But is it weak at all, this heart of ours — even if it easily breaks?
Lub-dub. Lub-dub! LUB-DUB!
My legs were shaking. My knees were shaking. I barely finished 10 hops of ‘frog suburi,’ but I was already panting hard, and part of me wanted to just give up and call it a day. But a couple of strangers behind me snickered, and I could barely hear a girl’s mocking voice say: “See, he can’t do it anymore.”
I was tempted to whirl around, snarl at them to try doing my exercise routine. But I did not. Instead, I took a deep breath, stood up, and proceeded with the next routines. Faster. Sharper. Stronger.
By the time I was done with my second round, it was quiet again. I didn’t even notice them leave. Part of me wanted to feel smug. Part of me wondered, hoped, if in some way, they learned something from me that night.
The grass was moist, but the ground was dry and cool. For the first time in a very long while, I hugged the earth without a care or thought. I smelled the sweet aroma of the soil mixed with organic decay. I listened at the sounds: of footsteps from various joggers and strollers, of distant honks and beeps from cars whizzing outside the park, of children squealing as they try to chase after the resident cats and parents yelling after them. And slowly, I gazed around me: at the artificial lights diffused by the rustling leaves of trees, at the ever-unreachable dark sky pimpled by stars where the luminescent clouds couldn’t hide them. And for a moment, I was filled again with the same longing, heartbreaking joyfulness that I’ve always felt at nights like this during my youth.
Oh God, I’m already 36 years old. I’m too old for this.
Why am I even doing this? Continue reading
At first, when OMF Literature called for contributions on the topic of justice, I was excited. Then, I hesitated.
First, I don’t really get along with everyone’s idea of justice — especially with my fellow Christians.
Next, what’s the point? Sure, some might agree with me, and some will disagree — and so it goes again: this cycle of division.
And lastly, what do I really know about justice?
Who am I to write about it?
I was enjoying my cheap meal at the nearby jollijeep when someone stood beside me and casually asked the tindera if they have cigarettes. She calmly replied, “Ay, hindi na po. Baka kasi hulihin kami.” (Oh, not anymore. We might get penalized.)
I tried to hide my smile as the disappointed guy walked away. It was too soon to smile, anyway. Just a few feet behind us, a long line of lunchtime smokers stood right beside a soggy printed NO SMOKING sign. Cigarette butts littered the otherwise-clean sidewalk.
As I left the food stall, I saw a tired traffic aide resting on one of the sidewalk rails. I couldn’t help but approach her, and note: “Guess the NO SMOKING sign is just for show, huh?”
She looked at me, smiled weakly, and replied. “Oh, there are roving security guards. But they (the smokers) always come back after.” Part of me wanted to ask why she couldn’t do it herself; but her frail form and tired eyes behind her uniform told me more than enough.
I gave one last look at the smokers, and sighed. Even if I said anything to them, would they actually listen? Continue reading
It had been a tiring, yet good day. I had fun, both during the kendo practice, as well as the club dinner afterwards with our guest teachers. I headed home, giddy from the freebies, my thoughts drifting to the manuscript I need to work on when I get home.
A stray kitten mewed in the night.
I stopped. You don’t really have the time for this, don’t you? I told myself.
So I spent the next 15-20 minutes coaxing the kitten from its hiding place. Save for some minor scratches, I felt happy. But now what? Continue reading
Thanks to OMF Literature, I got a chance to attend a book launch at Glorietta last Friday (16 June 2017). I got some freebies, too! But as much as I hate going to public events, getting to hear the authors talk about their books in person was worth it.
Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio shared with us the story behind her first book, Better than Jewels, while Isa Garcia talked about the inspirations which led her to compile Found: Letters on Love, Life, and God for publication.
Now, here’s what I think about the books: