Category Archives: Short Stories & Essays

Writing of Pain

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Today I’m feeling blue. I don’t know if it’s because of the weather but most probably it’s because of the weather. This cold and gloomy sky just make the depression inside of me come out. Plus I’m thinking so much. Lately, I always find myself in a turmoil inside my head. So, I decided to do that thing that always help me clear the cobwebs of thoughts that won’t go away… cleaning my closet. I don’t know about you but cleaning and doing the laundry always help me think more clearly. In the middle of cleaning my closet I came to this box that I haven’t opened in ages. In contains all those sentimental stuff that I can’t find in my heart to throw away. And inside of that box is a journal that contains my thoughts when I am feeling gloomy just like I did today. It kind of make me think that my wisdom was better when I was younger – another thought that is quite depressing. But well, thanks to those moments of self reflection, I felt a little better. I decided to encode what was in the journal and share it here…

 

 

 

            “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”

            These words were both a line and a title of a book by Robert Schuller; words that had left a mark at me.

            Time and again, I would come to remember my experiences and be delighted on how I was able to manage all of them. Well, maybe not everything with flying colors but everything with success. Yes; on going back at those moments I could remember how in those times I’ve been clouded with so much despair, disappointments and questions. How on times I was so desperate to resolved them and realizing later on that those trials have their purpose of coming my way.

            I could remember the painful times when someone in the family died, had my plan went out of the way, and times when I failed on something that I wanted so bad to succeed. It brought me so much hurting that I thought nothing could ease it anymore. But when I take a pause, I remembered that I am not alone. I have a God up there that is waiting for me to call on Him and ask for guidance and assistance. Through all those hurting, the greatest lesson I’ve learned is that, amidst all the troubles and pains, my prayer – the communion I have with my Lord; is by far the greatest help I could have to carry it all and later comprehend His mighty purpose for letting all of those events take place.

            Upon the pains that I went through, God helped me understand that life is much more than what you think of it. So as long as you do not let yourself be consumed by all the hindrance that blocks the way and let not yourself be wallowed in self pity and disappointments; there’s no reason for you to not come out of the dark tunnel with success. Sometimes, you might get bruised and scarred but don’t despair for those will help you stand firmer the next time around. With that, you won’t stumble down on the same block of hindrance over again.

            There are still moments that I get depressed and disappointed. Circumstances sometimes hid us the good things that we could still be thankful for despite the trials; but at least, I know better now than get carried away with my unfortunate experiences. Life like what they say is a matter of perspective. I could get hurt and let depression rule over, or I could get hurt and use it as a steeping stone to stand up again.

            One of God’s greatest gift to humanities is the gift of choice. With that gift comes the choice of choosing the better perspective and look at things positively now matter how everything around you seems to work negatively. After all, happiness comes when we stop complaining about the troubles we have and offer thanks for the troubles that we don’t have. Life is hard, that’s a given, but then it is also happy, depending on how we look at it.

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October 12, 2009

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And that folks was some of my thoughts during my best “lucid” intervals.  Writing always makes me feel better and today I’m just glad that I was able to do that.

Why Be Thankful

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This message was written when I was asked to give a message in our church years ago. Half of what’s in the message was inspired by Pastor Doug Batchelor…. my life and faith coach even if he doesn’t know it. I come across the document today looking for something else and I think it is a really good reminder for myself do I decided to share it….

THE HOW, WHY AND WHEN OF THANKS

The Why, How and When of Thanks

The more you recognized and acknowledge what you have to be thankful for, the more you’ll find that you have to be thankful for, the more thankful you’ll be, the happier you’ll be.

I’ll be talking about giving “thanks” in lot of different angles.
In some countries, they have this we call “thanksgiving day” unfortunately, the fact that we sat aside a day to celebrate something sort of indicates that it is not normal. It must be highlighted and recognized.

There was this story of a two friends who bumped each other one day. One of them was looking so sad and extremely forlorn. Then, the other said, “Bill, you look so sad what’s the matter?” and Bill said, well you know my cousin died three weeks ago and he left me ten thousand dollars. He said, oh! That’s a lot of money. Bill said, yeah! But two weeks ago another relative died and left me 25 thousand dollars. Really? And he said yes, but last week my great aunt died and she left me 75 thousand dollars. And his friend said, I still don’t understand. Why are you so sad? That’s a lot of money. And Bill said, because nobody died this week.

It sort of says or explains that we missed all the blessings we have, when we tend to focus on what we don’t have.

Even in God’s people during the last days it is foretold in the Bible that one of the characteristics of the people on the last day is ingratitude.

2 Timothy 3:1-2
You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lover of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy.

Sometimes, we receive a lot of blessings and yet we still tend to complain. I am not excluding myself. It is human nature. Sometimes our neighbor would kindly give us something and yet we could still find fault to what they gave us.

Ungratefulness. We all have done it, but have we ever wonder what the angels must think about this attitude of ours?

Unthankfulness darkens the heart. Would you like your heart to be darkened? We must be more thankful. We must remember that it was murmuring and complaining that postponed the children of Israel getting into the promise land.

One of the things I think that prepare us for the return of Christ is the attitude of gratitude, recognizing all that we have to be thankful for. After all, it is part of real worship – Being thankful.

Sometimes because of our temperament, we could always think of what is missing. We tend to focus on the negative side of things. Just like Homer, the potato farmer. He is the most complaining man in town. One time, he had a bounty crop with big and really good potatoes, and one said, “hey Homer that’s a good harvest.” And Homer said, ‘YEAH! But I am not happy at all. I don’t have bad ones so I don’t have any seed.

I wonder if our church today is much different than that? Or is it the other way? Despite all that we have to be thankful for, do we sometimes still focus on what’s missing?

Luke 17:15
It tells about the story of the ten lepers, one of which is a Samaritan. And this Samaritan having been healed by Jesus could not contain his happiness and decided to return and thank Him. And if we could go back to its story Jesus said, “Weren’t there 10 cleansed? But where are the other nine?”

If percentage is the same today, that is 10% only came back to give thanks, does it goes the same for us that we are able to thank God for about 10% percent only of all the things that He has blessed us out of a hundred?

We don’t remember all the things and God is not asking us to remember everything. In Psalms 103: 2 He said, forget not all His benefits. He is not asking us to remember everything just don’t forget them all.

Sometime ago in the US there was not a single drop of rain for a long time. I think it happened in the Philippines too during the El nino phenomenon. And there was scarcity of water. And because of that the people declare a day of prayer, they held a prayer vigil for God to send them rain. And within 24 hours an intensive rain in the form a storm came. Does God answers prayer? I think He does. But do you think these people would call for another meeting to thank Him for the rain, or would they complain for experiencing the storm?

Someone said that when you thank God, you pave the way for future benefits.

Statistically, it shows that when you thank people, they are a lot more willing and likely to help when a need arises. Let’s just consider our selves, isn’t it that we like to give more to those who know how to appreciate what we are giving them in spite of how big or small we have given them. I believe that God is more inclined to bless us when we show gratitude for all His blessings.

One thing that parents teach their children is that when nice things are done for them or are given to them they should give thanks or at least send a thank you letter. Someone said that no gift is really ours until we have thanked the giver.

Why be thankful?

1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks to all the circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

• in the good times, and in the bad times no matter how your week has been. I have good days this week, I have difficult days this week, we should thank God on both kinds of days.
• We should thank God that we are alive.
• Thank Him that you don’t get what you deserve. Now, what do I mean by that?
– most of the time we think of ourselves as truly deserving of all the good and the best things. But when we think about it, what do we really deserve? Jesus was nailed on the cross and was persecuted but does he deserve that? Or was it us who deserve that?
– every good thing that we have is a blessing from God and we ought to thank Him for that.
– Even the life we have, even if it is a difficult life, it is always better than the alternative.

• We should be thankful because those who don’t know the language of gratitude can ever be on speaking terms with happiness. That is synonymous to saying we can’t be truly happy if we don’t know how to be thankful.
• Thank Him for His loving kindness. Psalms36:1 it says ”Oh give thanks to the Lord for he is good. We must remember that in the beginning God has made everything and pronounced them good. Every good thing is a blessing from God.
• Thank Him for His long suffering
• Thank Him for everything. Going back to Psalms 103:1-5
– Bless the Lord o my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord o my soul and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

One of the devils job is to conceal God’s blessings that we might not recognize them. He hides them from us and grabs us the happiness that comes from gratitude. Part of being thankful is really being thinkful and remembering all that he has done for us. So often we are not happy because we are not focusing on the good that the devil is hiding from us. What he does is highlight the inconveniences that we have so that instead of being thankful we murmur and complain.

Just look at Israel, God delivers them from the plagues, divide the red sea for them, gave them water from the rock, and gave them bread from heaven and what did they do? They complain about the bread, manna, manna, manna; bread, bread bread, can’t we have anything else? The devil conceals all God’s miracles so that all that we see is what’s missing.

Another reason why man is not happy is the dynamics of comparison.
There was a kid; she is studying in an exclusive school. Her classmates have signature tennis shoes and so she asks her mom to buy her new tennis shoes, the signature kind. Her mother told her that she would when her current tennis shoes are already worn and when their budget permits them to do so. The kid, didn’t comment but inside her she is grumbling. One day her mom brings her along with her in a missionary camp. In the camp she saw a lot of kids some are untidy and many of them are barefooted. So when they went back home she said, “Mom I don’t need a new tennis shoes. I am happy with my current tennis shoe.”

That’s the dynamic of comparison. You will always find somebody who you think has more than what you have and if you focus on that, you will always think of yourself as less blessed than another and you’ll just end up miserable.

The Bible told us about comparing ourselves, by ourselves among ourselves; it’s not wise.

On the other hand, you could find somebody who are less fortunate and have so much less than you do and you could just praise the Lord that God has blessed you with so much.

There was a text message I receive sometime ago and it says, “I was complaining for not having shoes, until I saw a man without a feet.”

Most of us have no reason to complain no matter how hard life seems to be because God has blessed us with so much to be thankful for.

Sometimes you feel that you resent being born in this century, in this country were almost everyone in the government is corrupt and poverty is a common sight. Sometimes I am thinking of blaming Adam and Eve, especially Eve. If it weren’t for her we will be living in a paradise. But thinking about it, I just said to myself “its okay. Sooner, I know God will compensate.” Because he is moving the capital of the universe in due time to live with humans. And we’ll be honored above all other creatures made in His image with new bodies in the presence of God for eternity. Yeah, it maybe tough now, but God is going to compensate.

And just keeping this wonderful thought in my mind, I just have to be thankful for such a wonderful promise.

How are we thankful?

• Show your gratitude by generosity.

As a matter of fact, all thanks comes in the form of giving-
– giving time
– giving service
– giving of your means
– giving recognition and appreciation

Parents should teach their children to say thanks, always.

There was this kid who went in a birthday party wherein the mom of the celebrant gave giveaways to all who attended. And when the kid went home, she said to her mom, mom I went to a birthday and showed her what she got. Her mom said I hope you said thanks to Mrs. Carpenter, the child said, I was about to but while I was on the line she kept saying don’t mention it so I didn’t.

We should say it more often than not often enough. Your kids, are influenced by our own words.

-Remembering the story of Nahman – the leper.
He was healed by Elisha the prophet. He was on his back to Damascus but he took a turn to thank Elisha. He went out of his way just to show his appreciation bringing in with him about millions worth of fortune. His reaction was a natural response of a person that has just been healed of a terminal disease. You want to give something to show your appreciation.

When do we give thanks?

Ephesians 1:15
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks to you as I remember you in my prayers.

According to Apostle Paul, you must not cease giving thanks. Notice that Paul is not thankful for stuffs, often times we only took notice of the things that we have but Paul here is different, he is thankful for the people.

Ephesians 5:20
Giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

• We give thanks for our food before eating them.

In the latter part of acts it was told that there was storm and everyone was in panic but Paul asked them to stay calm. The people haven’t eaten anything yet for 14 days and Paul said, the ships going to be wreck I urge you to take some bread that you might survive and after that he took his bread and give thanks to God in the presence of everybody and break his bread and eat them.

One of the things we in our family or even within ourselves is to thanks for the food before eating them. But sometimes we are just too hungry that we forget. If you have ever been hungrier you should be more thankful. We should not only give thanks for the food but also ask the Lord to bless them especially if we didn’t saw how they were prepared.

Sometimes we don’t want to pray when people are around. But if Paul can do that, so much more are we.
In the last supper when he was about to die, before he take the bread he give thanks, before he drink the wine he give thanks. And we all know that these represent Jesus’ body and blood. Shouldn’t we thank the Lord for giving His life for us?

• If you cannot be grateful for all the good things God bless you, you should at least be thankful for the troubles that He doesn’t send.
• There was this text message that says, “Don’t be sad when all your dreams never come true. Just be grateful that your nightmares don’t.”
• If you can’t thank the Lord for the good you have; be thankful for the bad that you don’t have. It could be worse.

Here is an e-mail of a student from college to her parents in the province.

Dear mom and dad,

I’m sorry I haven’t written sooner. It’s been difficult writing with my left hand; I broke my right arm and leg when I jumped off from the second floor of my dorm during the fire. But I was lucky; a young man from the tattoo parlor saw the blazing fire and called the fire department. My books and clothes were burned but they were able to save the room. The fire had nothing to do with the marijuana they found.

Spike, from the tattoo parlor came to see me in the hospital, and he was very helpful. And because it was taking long to get the dorm room livable again he was nice enough to let me moved in with him. It’s better since the baby’s doing’ seven months. Don’t worry, Spike and I plan to get married just as soon as he can get a divorce and find another job.

I hope things are okay at home, I’m doing fine and I’ll write more often when my hand tremors go away.

Love,
Your daughter Susie

P.S.
None of the above is true but I did get a C in sociology and a D in chemistry. I just wanted you to receive the news in its proper perspective.

• Happiness comes when we stop complaining about the troubles we have and offer thanks for the troubles that we don’t have.
• We need to thank the Lord for taking our burdens, most of all for giving his life in order that he might save us.
• On top of all the things that we have to be thankful for, it is the passage in 2 Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for His incredible gift!” and that is His gift of salvation.

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And They Call It VALENTINE’S

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It’s Valentine’s day and I just realized that I don’t really know how Valentine’s day came to be. I have this very vague memory though of a saint called Saint Valentine discussed by my teacher when I was in grade school. But even his reason of being a saint is blurred to me. That’s why I decided to google a few things and, viola! This post was born.

Accroding to Mister Wiki, Valentine’s day also known as The Feast of St. Valentine began as a celebration of an early Christian saint called Valentinus. Further on Google though, it shows that there are three Valentine in the Roman Catholic history associated with the 14th of February. The famous among of which was the Saint Valentine who defied Emperor Claudius. Emperor Claudius outlawed marriage for young men because he believed that unmarried men make better soldiers. Saint Valentine however continued performing weddings for the soldiers that were forbidden to marry and was imprisoned for it. Legend says that during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius and wrote a letter to her before his death with a farewell signature that says; “from your Valentine”.

Tradition of romatic love on v-day however didn’t become popular until the High Middle Ages. In the 14th century England and France, it was believed that birds paired off to mate on February 14. Thus, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls was believed to be the first Valentine’s poem. It was this time that the idea of expressing love though flowers and gift giving flourished.

Looking down at history, there are also a lot of historical event that occurred on February the 14th. A few of them are as follows:
The crowning of Henry of Bavaria king of Germany as a holy emperor I 1014; whereas King Henry IV a holy roman emperor was excommunicated by Pope Gregory VII in 1076. It was in February the 14th of 1778 that US flag was first formally recognized by a foreign
naval vessel when French admiral Toussaint-Guillame Picquet de la Motte performed a 9 gun salute to USS Ranger.

In 1779 the Battle of the Creek, an American Revolutionary war was fought in Georgia. In 1859, Oregon was admitted as 33rd US State. The first voting machines was approved to be use in election by the u.S. Congress in 1899. The Second Boer war in South Africa started on the 14th of February 1924. League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago during 1920. In 1924, The Computing-Tabulating Recording Company change it’s name to International Business Machines (IBM). 1929, A valentine’s massacre killing seven people, six of which was gangster rivals of Al Capone’s gang happened in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1942, the battle if Pair Panjang contributed to the fall of Singapore. In 1943, Russia was liberated from the World War II: Rostovon-Don. 2002, Budapest Open Access Initiative, one of the cornerstones of Open Access movement was made public. In 2005,Lebanese self-made billionaire Rafik Hariri was killed along with 21 others when an explosive was detonated in St. George Hotel in Beirut. In the same year, seven people were killed and 151 others were injured in a series of bombings by suspected militant groups in the Philippines which occurred in Makati Financial District, Davao City and General Santos City. In the year February 14, 2008, a gun-man open-fired at a lecture hall in Northern Illinois University. This resulted to six fatalities and 18 injuries, including the gun man.

There are even more war and killing records in history of February 14 I didn’t include all of which happened on what we sometime’s call “heart’s day”. It kind of makes me think that you need a disaster for history to remember you. Probably, it’s because this kind of events leave deeper scars.

Valentine’s day isn’t all that too as it is viewed differently by different cultures. Let’s take Japan for example. For the Japanese, it is the day for women to give chocolates or gifts to men. I think it is a good chance where women can express their feelings first without the people around taking it against them for making the first move. However, it is also common for women to give chocolates to men they don’t actually “love” such as co-workers and friends. These kinds of chocolates are called obligatory chocolates or “giri-choco” which is mainly given out of gratitude or obligations. Men who receive chocolates on Valentine’s day are suppose to give the women something back on White Day which occurs on March the 14th. White day gifts varies but are mostly sweets and or something white. Many men however, usually only gift their girlfriends.

In China, Valentine’s day is held on the 7th month and 7th day of the Lunar calendar. It is to celebrate the love story between the seventh daughter of the Emperor of Heaven and an orphaned cowherd, who were sent to separate stars and only allowed to see each other on this one day each year. It is also called, the Daughter’s Festival or QIXI festival which will be celebrated on the 13th of August this year.

In India and most middle east and Muslim country, this is not encourage to be celebrated as it originally started from a Christian and western belief.

In our country, and most western country, Valentine ’s Day is about men being romantic on their love ones through gift, flowers and chocolates. Honestly, I used to think that Valentine’s day is nothing but an over-rated tradition. For me, when you love someone, it doesn’t need a special day to show them they are special. But since last year, I think that it wasn’t so bad after all. And no, not’s not because of me joining the tradition but because of the things that I have observed.

It is said that men are real bad in expressing their emotions. But last year, as I make my way to the office, I noticed that it is not so on V-day. And so I thought, if it takes men a “Valentine’s day” to freely express their feelings without feeling awkward then I guess it’s not so bad.

I still remember last year when the same day was around. (I was actually supposed to write this after that day but totally got busy). It was extra difficult to get a ride going to the office. There are many commuters around but very few jeepnies and taxis were around. I got pushed a lot before I was able to get in one. Along the journey, a couple was sitting right in front of me. They were probably around late 20’s or early 30s. They are probably married couple too. I think they came from dating as both of them were dressed up pretty well. The lady was holding a bouquet while the guy holds a pink paper bag which I am guessing contained his gift for her.

I hate people who PDA but somehow, this two caught my attention. As the lady fell asleep, I can’t take my eyes off them as the guy carefully leaned the girl’s back on him and kissed her on the forehead. I don’t know how to describe it but you can clearly see even with just a glance that the guy loves her very much. I think it’s true that true love do emit a kind of aura. Everything he does for the woman, even his smallest action for her was clearly done with love. And I was touched watching them and can’t help but smile. It was such a wonderful view.

It made me think that yes, Valentine’s Day isn’t so bad after all. In addition to that, the news was filled with exceptional stories about love. I think that if even for just a day, or a moment all of us would be filled with thoughts of love, then it’s nice to commemorate Valentine. I could take the cheesiness, after all I love cheese; if it meant that the news and even what surrounds us will be filled with love.

I know that sometimes, we are just compelled to do something because it’s what around us dictates us to. We may not be romantic or very nice or even loving by nature but if for the sake of the so-called valentine’s day we could take a pause from the bad and be good and loving, then I don’t mind. Having a moment of peace is definitely never a bad thing.

And seeing something wonderful and sweet that particular day made me realized that heroes isn’t just in books. I wasn’t even envious, instead I was happy. Somehow it made me believe again that fairytales isn’t just tales and happy endings are still out there. And that even if the world is so bad, it’s also true that people are really good at heart.

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Thank You for Your Love

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It was a sunny Monday morning and almost everyone looks so happy and complete. Well, almost because as I go on my morning routine as a CAT officer, I bumped into this lady whose mind seems to wander. Just at the sight of her, walking along the pathway with tears running down her cheeks, gives me a stirring feeling in my chest. Known as the school’s playboy, the feeling was certainly new to me.

And as I picked her things that fell in the ground when I bumped into her , my heart beats so fast that I even wonder what was happening to me. Maybe it’s because even though I am known as a heartbreaker, I still hate to see a woman cry.

“I am sorry miss; I didn’t mean to bump at you…..” I said as I give her things “I am just in a hurry, I am really very sorry. Did I hurt you?”

“Thank you for picking up my stuff, I’m okay.” And she smiled at me through misty eyes. As I looked at her, I can see that she is hurting, not from the incident we had but because of something else. “Thanks again, I got to go.” And she hurriedly went off.

From that day on, I would wait for her to pass by in that same corridor where I first met her, hoping against hope to see her again. However, that never happened. I know I am just a year ahead of her. I saw in her ID, its red, for junior students. I don’t understand why I wanted to see her again, yet I know that if I do, that will make me very happy. I even planned to look for her. I abandoned my plan; I wouldn’t want to be laughed at by my friends.

At last, my prayers were heard. I was about to go inside the faculty room to submit my report to our CAT commander, when I heard the teachers talking about her. I was glad to have a news about her but so sad to learn that her uncle had died. Then Mr. Santiago, one of our teachers asked me to call Anzene, that’s her name. I was just too happy to oblige.

As Anzene and I walked together towards the Faculty room, I saw her eyes, filled with sadness. Seeing her like that hurt me. It was then that I realized that I love her; I have fallen in love with Anzene.

When we got to the faculty room, I saw Mrs. Flores smiling, and then she told her to sit down. I was about to go when our teacher called me. I saw Mrs. Flores excusing to her co-teachers. She was my adviser when I was in second year. And now, I am wondering why she wanted to talk to me.

“Ma’am why does you want to talk with me? Have I done something wrong?” I asked worriedly. Nevertheless, when she smiled at me, all my nervousness was gone.

“No LJ, you’re a good student. You haven’t done anything wrong. I just heard from your adviser that it seems that you are not yourself lately. Is there anything bothering you?” She asked me with a voice of concern.

“Well, it’s not a problem actually. Don’t worry ma’am I have figured it out a while ago.”

“It’s about Anzene right?”

“Hmm… it’s just that I think…”

‘You are in love with her.” She continued to what I was about to say. “Come on! I was not just your former adviser, I am also your friend remember? And rest assured, your secret is safe with me.”

I have to smile at that. “Yeah right. I could still remember when you were still our adviser. You are the only one who could see me through.”

“Just like when everyone believed you to be problem child? Yet, nobody knows what you really are. That inside that façade is a fine young man; vulnerable yet brave despite the odds. Everyone sees you as a strong and independent young man. They didn’t know that like the man in the song… ‘beneath that armor, the warrior is a child’.” She told me smiling.

“Err, ma’am, how did know about it? While I am not even sure about it myself?”

“Because I can see it in your eyes. And I know you. I used to be your confidant, remember? You used to tell me all your worries and joy.”

I am speechless for a moment. I could remember the days she was talking about. The days were I was in the point that nobody wanted to believe in me even my parents who were always busy. For them it’s always business that should go first. They even forgot they have a son who needs them. All they could think about was that dammed business. Since then, I became a rebellious child. I go for gimmicks and barkadas and my presence at the guidance office for almost always is expectable.

Then we had Ms. Flores as an adviser when I stepped second year. She didn’t judge me the way our former teachers does. And with her, I found a buddy and a friend.

“LJ? Are you still with me?” Ms. Flores asked bringing my memories back to the present. “Well?”

“Oh! I’m sorry ma’am. I just remember those days you were talking about. And I am really thankful for all those things you have done for me.”

“I know son. Like what I have said a while ago, you are still young. You have just turned sixteen while Anzene is just fifteen. However, you are not a child anymore. Do what you think is right. At this point, Anzene is in total distress, but I know you are a man who knows how to take control and when to take actions.”

“Thank you for everything… and for trusting me.” with a grip on my hand and a smile on her face, she walked back to the faculty room.

Thinking back on what my teacher have just told me, I can’t do anything but smile. Her words are enough for me know the exact thing to do.

That night, I hardly went to sleep. I keep on thinking what would happen next to Anzene now that her uncle, her only family left was dead. Although I know that she won’t stop school for she is a scholar and that she works as a cashier in the grocery store nearby. But how about college? Even though she still has a year and a half before stepping college, I don’t want to finish that year without doing anything. That thought was the last thing on my mind when I finally fell asleep.

The next day was a new start for me. With that feeling in my heart that was basically new to me, I feel more enthusiastic and alive. Days went on and just seeing Anzene from afar was enough to make me smile.
Seeing her made me happy, but if only I could bring back the glow in her eyes, it would make me happier. Sometimes I have this urge of walking towards her and introduce myself but I know that it’s not yet the right time.

I spend my break times in the school’s mini- forest. Since I met Anzene, I became more serious with my life. Still, I don’t forget to be gay and joyful sometimes. I learned to balance my time, appreciate the things around me, and see how lucky I am. Now, I also have a good relationship with my parents.

Moreover, since I started hanging out in the mini-forest, the presence of Sapphira “the campus snob” is a common sight at the end part of the mini forest where the biggest tree was planted.

That day was a surprise though. Instead of seeing Sapphira, it’s Anzene I saw under that big tree; and she is crying. I couldn’t watch her just like that. I was about to approach her when I saw Sapphira coming. In no time at all, I saw her extending a handkerchief to Anzene and talked with each other. It was another surprise. I know Anzene don’t talk to anybody just like that. That’s why she was tagged as the “ice lady”. She always has that aloof and cold composure.

Yet, there she was, telling Sapphira everything.  Suddenly I felt relieved. At least now, she got a friend. Although I don’t know Sapphira that much, I can feel that she was exactly what Anzene needed.

Since then, I started to witness how the glow in her eyes started to go back. It was only sad to know that in a month’s time, I’ll be graduating. I wouldn’t have the chance to see her that often anymore. Anyway, the only consolation I’ve got was that I wouldn’t be going that far. I’ll still be around only I will be studying in a different school. But then, I remember that my dad wanted me to take up business administration in the states. Suddenly, I felt so down again. Just thinking about it made me feel bad.

Then suddenly, I got an idea. One week before our graduation, I decided to speak with my dad. He was in the library studying a contract.

“Hey son, what is it? Any problem?” my dad asked as I entered the room.

“No dad, I just want to talk you regarding something.”

“Is that about the states thing again?”

“Do I really have to? There are also good schools here in our country.”

“I know. But you could have better if you study abroad and have your masters there.

I know it would be hard; but we have talked about this right. I know we have not been an ideal parent to you but couldn’t you do this for us?” My dad said looking directly into my eyes.

“Okay dad, we have settled our relationship. Maybe we could settle this too.” I countered

“Which means?”

“Which means I’ll study in the states like what you wanted, take up business administration…”

“But…?” my dad cut. “Come on I know you’re up to something…”

“Well, there’s this woman, I like very much. Actually, I think it’s more than that. I promise to do exactly what you wanted but only if you promise to help her.” I look straight at his eyes. I have to make this successful. I’ll do anything just to help Anzene… anything.

My dad was so silent that it made me nervous. Then he spoke, “Give me one good reason to help her aside from the fact that you like her and you think you’re in love with her.” looking at me with bored amusement in his eyes.

“Oh men! Don’t give me that look dad. You know I don’t really want to go abroad. But if this is the only way then I would. And besides, this girl I am talking about is all alone. He got no father or at least don’t know where he is, her mom died when she was twelve and five months ago, her uncle died because of a hit and run. She is currently studying in the same school I am going as a third year student and is able to go through because of a scholarship. Now dad, what can you say? Isn’t she great?”

“Hmm… quite impressive. But how can I help her huh?”

“Need you ask? You’re a rich man. Please send her into college a year from now and let her take any course she wanted. She’s not just a pretty face… she’s also smart. I assure you, your money and effort would not go to waste. You have a scholarship foundation. You could easily help her.”

“Yes. But LJ, those scholarships are given to those who come to my office and pass the exams and qualifications set by the company.”

“But dad, that is exactly why we are having this conversation. You can send one of your men to her and tell her that you see her potentials and bla bla bla… please dad…”I pleaded. I have to get this done for Anzene before I leave.

“Okay! But promise to finish your studies with flying colors.”

“Sure dad.” I said happily. “I would be doing the best of my best… thanks!”

After I have settled everything with my dad, I really felt great. A week after our graduation I was busy preparing the necessary requirements I’ll need for my admission in the state.

The night before I left for the states, my cousin talked to me.

“Kuya Lj, I’ll be going to miss you.” she said. “Anyway, you don’t have to worry that much. I’ll gonna send you email and faxes about your lovely Anzene.” She teased me.

“Hey pretty head,” I countered, “how did you know that? I don’t remember telling you that…”

“I’m so sorry. I accidentally overheard your conversation with uncle jerry. Just wondering, why didn’t you tell her about your feelings? You didn’t even let her know about your existence.”  I wasn’t able to answer her for I don’t know how to explain things with her. But then she continued…

“Anyway, you don’t have to worry ‘cause I’ll be your eyes.”

“Oh cousin that’s so kind of you. Thanks! Now, I’ll be okay.”

At least now, I really don’t have to worry too much. I believe in Garnet’s words. And after all, Anzene now have Sapphira as a friend. I know she wouldn’t be living a hard life anymore.

And when I reach the states and began my studies, my cousin really let me know everything. The happiness Anzene felt when she became the school organ’s editor-in-chief, and all the staff about her. It made me glad when she’s happy and as much as devastated when my cousin Garnet told about the guy who played with Anzene’s feelings. When she graduated, I was very glad to know that she was the class’ valedictorian.

She took up fashion merchandise in one of the best universities in our country. According to Garnet, daddy was impressed with her credentials and personality, and the determination she have within her. I know that my father would be impressed with her for he is a sucker of determinant people. That’s the reason why he decided to put up a foundation; to help the determined but helpless youth.

Seven years after that, I finish my master’s degree in Business Administration at Princeton University as cum laude. My mom and dad were happy and I could tell by the look in their eyes that they were proud of me…

Now, after eight long years of patience and hard work, I am back. And I could say, it feels really good to be back at home.

Now, I am ready to face Anzene. I couldn’t think of any right time but now. Those eight years I had waited seems to be ages for me. Three years ago, she graduated fashion merchandise at the highest honor, summa cum laude. My cousin told me how Anzene awed everyone with her speech, and I was proud of her even though she doesn’t know about me.

It has now been a couple of months since I came home. Next week will be my mom’s 55th birthday. And as I think of what to give her, I passed by Anzene’s boutique. I couldn’t be wrong about it. It is named “the Fashion Stop” exactly how garnet described it to me. I turned over and parked my car. Nervously, I entered the shop.

As I entered, everyone looked at me as if asking what a man like me is doing in a girl’s fashion boutique.

“Err miss;” I said to the sales lady, “I am looking for something that would suit my mother. Could you give me some suggestions?”

“Well sir, if you are asking for suggestions, the owner of this boutique is also a fashion consultant and she renders her service free of charge for the customers.”

“That’s nice to hear. Is she around?”

“Yes sir, please excuse me for a moment.” And leave only for a while then said, “hope you’ll enjoy shopping in here sir. We have accommodations that you can’t find anywhere else.”

I was just about to answer her when somebody spoke behind me.

“Excuse me sir, what can I do for you?” said the very familiar voice to me…

“Hmm… I am looking for something to give my mother on her birthday. Can you give me an idea?  She’ll be turning 55.” I told her; finding hard to find the words to say.

Then she began giving me suggestions. After a quarter of an hour, I went home satisfied. I could tell that she really is good at her job. The only thing I need to think is the next step to make.

What I didn’t know is when I left, Anzene and Sapphira talked with each other. She thought that I looked familiar and even went to look at the receipt.I didn’t know that more surprise was yet to come.

On my mom’s big night, everyone was so busy especially when the visitors began to come.  I was really shocked to see Anzene and Sapphira among the visitors. She kissed my mom and greeted her happy birthday. I didn’t know that she knows my mom and that they are close.

“Hi tita Clarisse happy birthday.” Said Anzene and Sophie.“Oh! I am glad you both came. By the way girls, this is my son, Lawrence James. He just arrived from the state a month ago.”

“Good evening ladies, you can call me LJ.”I said as shook my hands with them. At least now I don’t have to think of how to let her know of my existence. I guess fate is making things easier for me. I just hope my luck would continue long enough to tell her all I needed to say.

“I- its you…” said Anzene.

“You know my son, hija?” asked my mom.

“I guess so. He brought something in my shop the other day.” She answered.

“Really? That’s nice. Well then, I’ll leave you for a moment. I’ll just see my friends.” My mom had just left when Garnet and her friend came over.

“Hi ‘cuz!” said Garnet. “By the way, this is my friend Kristen.” She introduces her friend.

“Hello! Pretty head. This is Sapphira and Anzene.

“Guys, please excuse me and my cousin for a moment.” Garnet said leaving me a deep thought.

And while we are away, I didn’t know that Kristen warned Anzene. And Anzene not trying to argue further to Kristen’s bitchiness just walk away with her friend.

When we came back all I see was Kristen smiling so sweetly at me and said, “Hey honey, could you get me a drink please.”

“Where’s Sapphira and Anzene?” I asked her.

“I don’t know. Maybe they went around. And I don’t care either.”

“Kristen, I don’t wanna offend you but please don’t honey me. You know you are just like a sister to me.”

“You are so mean!” Kristen said and I thought for a moment that she would cry.

“I don’t want to be mean. But you are asking for it. We grew up together and I don’t wanna cheat you. You are just a dear friend. I am in love with somebody else.” I knew that I have really hurt her with my words. I have to do that. She’s being a pain in the neck the past few days and I can’t stand it anymore. She excused herself to us and I don’t know where she went.

“Kuya, I think you really hurt her. But I guess that’s better. I am also tired of her always asking where you are and what are you doing.”

After a few more minutes of talking with my cousin, I went around to look for Anzene and saw her talking with one of her colleagues. I asked her to dance with me. She looks hesitant for a while but I am glad that she accepted my hand.

“Please don’t look at me that ways. I don’t feel comfortable.” She said to me noticing that I was looking at her lovely face.

“I am sorry,” I answered, “I am dying to have this moment with you since I can’t remember.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t think this is the proper place. But if you trust me, could you please have dinner with me tomorrow night?”

“I don’t know. I have to check my schedule first. I hope you understand.”

Those were her last words towards me that night until she and her friend decided to went home. After my mom’s party, I had a hard time going to sleep. Maybe I am just anxious of what will happen next but I know I have to be confident with myself.

The next morning, I called her at her office to know what her answer on my invitation is. I am heading for a major dismay ‘cause she declined it. And what’s more to it, my cousin Garnet keeps on teasing me that makes me feel more irritated.

“Hey gorgeous, looks like your charms isn’t working anymore huh?” she teased.

“Stop it or else you wouldn’t anymore extra allowance from me brat…”

“Okay… okay… you want me to help you?”

“And how are you gonna do that?”

“Wanna bet? That’s as easy as one two three to me…”

“Is that so… and what would you want in exchange?”

“What could you give me?”

“A boyfriend, what do you think?” I teased.

“Handsome and gorgeous like you? Why not. But I don’t think I am in for that right now. How about a shopping in France for a week?”

“Only if you could give me a result in less than an hour.”

“Deal.” She said and headed for the phone.

After a few minutes, she and Anzene are already talking. I don’t know what they were talking about, then I heard Garnet say: “Oh that? Don’t mind her. That’s not true. So… will you give my cousin a chance?” then handed me the phone. She mouthed something like Anzene want to talk with me and smiled.

“Hi Anzene,” I began, “Can’t you really dine with me tonight…”

“I think I can consider that…” she said in a low voice.

“Does that mean yes?”

“Yup!”

“I’ll fetch you at seven in your shop. Would that be fine?”

“Of course. That would be convenient.”

“Okay then, see you later.” And I hang up.

“Now Kuya do you believe in my convincing power?” said Garnet with a hint of a joke.

“Yeah. By the way what were you talking about?”

“Nothing… really. I just learned that Kristen told her to back off. That is why she rejected your invitation. She really thought Kristen was your girlfriend.

“Anyway, good luck for tonight. Hope you’ll have the courage now to tell her about your feelings.”

“Of course, I wouldn’t waste a single minute.” I told her, “and thanks garnet. You’re really a gem.”

That night was the most unforgettable night. I was so excited and nervous both at the same time. She looks really lovely in her red cocktail dress.

“Anzene, what did you and my cousin talk about this morning? If you don’t mind…”

“Oh! It’s nothing. We just talked about the high school days. Now I know why you look familiar… we’re schoolmates.” I smiled at her and she continued…

“Now I remember, you’re the one I bumped in while I was walking along the hallway.”

“Yeah. But that’s not the only time we’ve met. I was the one you escorted you to the faculty room too.”

“Really? My mind was wandering that time because of my uncle’s death. I didn’t notice.” She said looking surprise.

“I am glad that my father helped you. Look at you now, wherever your dad and mom is, I am sure they are really proud of what you become. You’ve gone a long way Anzene.”

“Yes. And I am really grateful to you and your family.”

“To me?

“The first time I ever talked with your father I remember him saying, ‘my son is right. You really are something; smart and beautiful’ almost in a whisper I hardly hear. It’s only now that I truly understand what those words meant.”

“Yes. But my dad not only helps you because of that but also because you have potentials. I hope you’re not mad at me?”

“Mad? Of course not. I am grateful to you and your father. Hasn’t it been for your help, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I don’t even know how I would support myself during those times. I am just wondering, why did you do all that LJ?”

“It’s because I love you Anzene. For a long time, I have waited patiently for the right time to tell you about my feelings.” She looked so shock with my revelations. And before she could say something I continued…

“I just wanted to tell you how I feel. You don’t have to answer it right now…”

“This is too fast, and I really don’t know what to say.” She said honestly.

“I understand. Just let me prove myself. For now, let’s enjoy the night.”

And then, we had our dinner. After that, we danced. I almost couldn’t believe that things were really happening.

After that night, I began courting her. I went to their house and met his father, Mr. Leandro Martinez. After two months of dating and getting to know each other, we had a date again in the restaurant were we first dine together.

“I talked with your mom and dad,” she told me while we are eating. “Sorry if you had to go to states because of me. I feel really flattered with your parents’ revelation. After being hurt by all the things that happened to me; I never thought I would find someone who will love me the way you do.”

“Because it’s what you deserve Ann.” I told her.

“Thank you. You know what, the first time I saw you, I felt something I couldn’t name. But I wasn’t able to entertain the feeling because I am in total grief. Aside from that, I didn’t see you anymore.” she paused.

“Go on…” I encouraged her.

“Then, I met mark when we are in fourth year. I he was my first boyfriend but I about a month I discovered that he courted me all for a bet. Since then, I was afraid to entertain suitors.”

“Then when I saw you again at the shop, I felt like something hit me. Now I know it’s not because you look familiar, but because of the feeling I felt towards you way back then. And each day I got to know you better, I realized that…that”

“Ann, are you telling me what I have in mind?” I asked nervously.

“Yes LJ. I realized that I have fallen in love with you too…”

That was when it all began. After three weeks, I formally proposed to her. In may seem fast but I guess eight years of waiting is enough. Our parents are both glad for us. Sapphira, Ann’s best friend who is now going out with a suitor is very happy for us too.

I know I did the right thing when I keep this feeling in my heart for eight years. My family loves her very much. You could see how excited my mom was in doing all the necessary preparations.

And after two more months of waiting that seems to be two years for me, here we are at last! In front of the pastor that would bind us together till death do us part. It looks exactly the way I dreamed it to be. The only difference is that it’s not a dream anymore.

After the wedding ceremony, you could see everyone smiling to both of us as if saying a warm congratulations and best wishes.

As we walk the aisle out of the church, where a new beginning awaits us, you can hear a song playing, as if telling that the storms in our life is over…

I saw the world in shade of black and gray

Turning blue with every passing day,

Just when I thought that maybe all was lost

My life took on a new turn

And it’s all because…

It’s because,

 

Now there’s a reason to wake up each day

I thank the Lord, for sending you my way

Now I am whole a lucky soul

I wanna thank you for your love

 

Now looking back to the pain

No more dark clouds, no more rain

Thank you.

Thank you for your love.

 

And I could say that it is really my love for Anzene that changed me and made me stronger. Everything was different since she came. And now that I have here with me, I am stronger to face the battles that would come our way.

 

 

 

≈●≈

February 07, 2005

 

 

Of Friends and Struggles

Standard

 I’ve known her from a couple of years ago but back then until last June we’re still stranger to each other since we know each other before just by the faces. Back then, it never occurred to me that this person will be a big part of my life. I could say that all the troubles I’ve been through wouldn’t be as easy to handle if it weren’t for her being there for me.  And I believe that a “thank you” wouldn’t be enough; I decided to write this story? Or rather a short essay about her… about us. And so here goes the story of a woman who could look really simple but behind lays a woman of a great heart…         

     

 It was our first day of school as fourth year students. It goes the same every year and yet, that morning I feel rather nervous and totally different. Was it because I am not with my usual classmates anymore? Or was it my intuition working again telling me that something is about to happen? I cannot remember the answer anymore but all I can remember is that, that day marks the beginning of a totally different path, environment and a change in almost everything even to myself.            

        As it is, first day run the usual…you got to meet your professors, fill up class cards, do groupings for group reports etc. I call them the first day of school rituals. I would say it went okay though I felt a bit uneasy in the grouping thing since I don’t really know my classmates aside from knowing their names and faces. I never I got to know them before to the real sense of the word because I was with my two friends when I first join their class and back then, it feels like there is no need for me to widen my horizon and make new friends. Or maybe I am just not a very friendly type of person. Well, back to my story, I feel a bit uneasy joining groups with my classmate since I haven’t build a rapport with them yet. Aside from that, I feel really out of place since everyone is chatting about so-so topics I cannot even relate. At last, the first subject was through. We move to our next subject right after and the grouping goes again. Luckily, this time one of the member of the group were I was listed was my seatmate when I first join this class and somehow it made me feel comfortable. And this group made me found home to be with throughout the rest of the semester.       

       

      Even the day before, I was already thinking of whom to have lunch with. Surely, it wouldn’t be nice to eat lunch alone. I’m glad that a group of friends took me in and one of them was my seatmate back then. I wouldn’t want to name names….yet, but I know that whoever will read this would immediately know who I am talking about. I cannot remember how I manage to click with this group, but all I can remember is me sharing all my break times with them until the end of the semester. I would say I had fun with them and it is a memory I will forever treasure. In this group I met the woman whose interest was mostly just like mine. I don’t know how it happened but thinking about it now, it made me feel that I’ve known her all my life and not just last semester.            

  Days passed by and it seems that each day becomes harder to deal with. Projects are everywhere and deadlines are there to meet; a lot of lessons to study plus a thesis that made us all very busy. It feels like each day, I am trying my best to make both ends meet.  

 

            Half of the semester went by and I could say that it went okay. It was tough but I was able to make it. Little did I know that my true struggle would start just right after the first half of the semester ends.             

 

      I don’t know if you will agree with me, but I say it just happened that there are people that you will never be able to feel at ease with; and there are people who would never be satisfied with you no matter how hard you try your best. For them it would never be enough and they will never be able to understand you no matter how hard you try to win them. This was the biggest burden I had in my college life. It was the point that I wake up every morning wishing that everything would be over really soon. But it seems that the more I try to wish it was over, the more it gets longer. This was the time that I even thought of quitting but good thing “she” was there. Next to God she is my arm of strength when I feel like I’ve lost it all. She was the one to push me up when I am feeling down. She was the hope I hold on to when I was ready to give it up yet she wouldn’t give it up for me.  She said that she wouldn’t let me give it up for as long as she can help it.  She was standing right beside me during the greatest confrontation that I have to face. She need not be there, but she was, for she knows even without me saying that I needed someone who would understand. She accompanied me in fighting my battles like a lawyer ready to defend his client any time. I am not very emotional, but every time I remember that particular page of my book (my life) I can’t help but smile and cry; not for the pains but for the joy of being blessed of a friend like her. I could say that I was able to surpass all the trouble I’ve been through because she was there. Maybe I could still make it without her, but I know that the battles I went wouldn’t be as successful if it weren’t for her and her encouragements…

 

   I can’t say I manage all of them with flying colors because I know and even she knows how those struggles affected me as well as my studies but I would say I went through it all successfully because I manage to pick up the fallen pieces of myself  again. Aside from that, I manage to know someone whom I know will forever be there for me. I don’t even have to call her for her to be there. She would just stand right beside you just when she knows you need her. I always know that it feels good to be a comfort of a friend, but now I’ll say that it feels better to be comforted by a friend who truly understands.          

   

     She’s a great woman because behind her lies a great character. I could remember when I learned that (I hate to say this but I need to ) well, I failed. Everybody give me that pity look and I hated it. When you’re miserable, you don’t need people who would make you feel more miserable. It’s disgusting. That’s because they pretend that they understand you when in fact they really don’t. And that is what I like most about her. She wouldn’t tell you “it’s okay” when she knows that it’s not okay. Instead, “she’ll say everything will be all right. I know you can do it. You can handle it.” She won’t give you pity because she knows you don’t need one. She would tell her opinion on you or things about you straightforward and not on your back. Sometimes she can get a little bit tactless but that’s just the way she is. She is someone you get what you see. She would never pretend just to please you. She’s the type that when you are in doubt if what you are what wearing suit you, ask her and she wouldn’t tell you it looks nice just because it is what you wanted to hear; she would say it doesn’t look good if it was what she thinks. I often tell her she’s mean but I know she knows I am just kidding. Sometimes it may look like she’s being mean but I’d say she’s just being real. And knowing the real “her” is a blessing I am yet to be thankful each time I think of all the things that happened.       

       

    I would never forget when on our enrollment when she decided to move to a different section. I was shock, those people were her classmate from the very beginning and I know, because I experienced it too, that it was a tough decision. At first I thought she was bored and just wanted to get the enrollment done but when she told me her reason, I was touched. I don’t know if she still remembers it but that was something I will never forget. I never had a friend who cared for me the way she did. I love my best friend but I’d say we haven’t been through the struggles I went through with her. If soul mates are true, I’d say she is that one for me. I thought I am strong enough, but she showed me that I could be stronger. She made me know what it feels to really “belong”. Sure I have friends too with my former classmates, I can even say that I am close to them but each of us have our own group of friends even though all of us is a big group of friends already. And I hate to admit it here but most of the time I just feel so out of place. Especially when everybody talks about interest mine just seem not to jive with theirs especially when they talk about rock bands, mtvs, shows and stuff – things that may seem simple but still matters because when they start talking about stuffs like this, I just couldn’t relate. Don’t get me wrong, I know they are my friends, I love them and I don’t have anything against them. I know that when I have a problem I can still call on them; it’s just that with her, it is totally different. It feels like I’ve known her all my life and that I don’t have to worry about anything because I know she will be comfortable with whatever I am, whatever I do and whatever I say. And I believe I haven’t thanked her yet for all the things she did for me. And I would like to take this chance to tell her how grateful I am for getting to know her.              


      Before I end this piece, I would like to thank her friends who became my friends too; Bebeth, a very beautiful and sweet lady; I know you cared for me too. And I am thankful. It was you who made it possible for me to get at ease with the new path I threaded. Before,  I said to myself that it’s good to know that at least I am with someone familiar but now, I’d say that it’s good to know that I’m with a friend. Melody, you’re very intelligent. If there are people among you guys that I have no doubt would be successful, you would always be one of them. Thank you for appreciating the effort I exert to accomplish our project and for being a good listener. Also, I would like to thank Mina, and Rose Ann we may not be very close but still I would like to thank you for the times we shared together, and for listening to my unending sentiments.           
  
      Now, to the woman behind the tough character, I hope you like this. This is my appreciation, my token for everything. I could honestly say that the day I met you, “I found a friend, and a friendship I pray will never end.” JUDITH, wherever our roads bring us, you will forever be special to me. Time may pass; leaves may change from green to gold, the sky from blue to grey; there would be sunlight and sunset ahead of us, summers may change to sparkling rainy days but if there’s one thing that would always stay the same, it’s the friendship I have with you. And whatever happened, I hope you will never forget that you have a friend that loves you in everything that you are. And I will always pray that God grant you the success you are aiming for and I wish that someday I will also be able to lend my hands to you…   

                 

         And if in the near future we’ll part ways which probably will, I’d like you to keep this song…. 

 

 THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN


We hardly shared a glance
to greet and know each other
and now the time is up the band is packing up
We’ll find another chance
 to meet again together
and fill each other’s cup
 I feel like breaking up
It’s this time that almost always makes me cry
before we say goodbye
I need to let you know I love you…

Thank you for playing my music
and thank you for singing my song
thank you for sharing a moment
’cause with you I feel I really belong

 Thank you for keeping me company
and thank you for being my friend
and if our paths should cross somewhere someday
 I’d love to sing this song again

 I pray the Lord our God
richly bless and keep you
together let us call
and thank Him most of all
Somehow I’m feeling sad
I know I’m gonna miss you
I know I will recall
this warm and cozy hall

Still there’s one more thing before the day is done
before the lights are gone
before the curtain closes, let me…

 Thank you for playing my music
and thank you for singing my song
thank you for sharing a moment
’cause with you I feel I really belong
Thank you for keeping me company
and thank you for being my friend
and if our paths should cross someday
then I’d really be glad, yes ill really be glad,
I’d like to THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN.

 

 

_SF_VS
november 9, 2007       

Where is Goodness?

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She is a picture of happiness… with her curly hair that matches her fair complexion and a smile on her lips for everyone. By looking at her now, I could say that she had gone a long way. Yes, a long way indeed before having the happy life she has right now. You wouldn’t believe the pain and hardships she had gone through.
She grew up knowing nothing about her father except that he left them even before she was born. She doesn’t even know his name. All Anzene had is her mother, her uncle Tony (her mom’s only sibling) and the poor life they live. She never had a normal childhood because she never experienced the joy and happiness of playing with other kids; not because she doesn’t want to, she just hates it when they teased her of not having a father. Because of that, she became aloof; she made a world of her own where nobody is allowed to enter.
But things began to change when she met Leila during the fourth grade. Leila is the sole daughter of a business tycoon. Like her, Leila is in need of someone who will understand her since her parents are always busy. They became friends, and life for Anzene became different; her world begun to turn wonderful.

But fate couldn’t be less unfair. Her friend was kidnapped! Leila’s parents were able to ransom the money but she wasn’t saved from being raped by the kidnappers. Although the criminals were put behind he bars, life was never the same again for Leila.  At a young age, Leila couldn’t handle such mischief.

Not long after that, her mother suffered from tuberculosis. And because of poverty, they weren’t able to buy sufficient medication. After a year of suffering and pain, her mother died. Leaving Anzene in great mourn. Her life began to fall again. She became more aloof. She hardly talks to anyone. She became known as the “ICE LADY” because of that. The only thing that keeps her moving on was her uncle’s encouragement. She kept on moving although there were times that she felt like quitting. But remembering the dreams her mother left for her, and all the encouragements that her uncle has for her, she was able to hold on.

True to the saying that life isn’t bed of roses, death steals her uncle away from her. I was about to go to my favorite spot in our school’s mini forest when I saw her crying in my “sanctuary”. Sanctuary as I call it because it’s the place where I always find peace of mind. Like her I am always alone. While she was known as the school’s ice lady, I was tagged as the campus snob. And seeing her in total grief, I walked towards her and gave her my handkerchief. I know she won’t talk to me but I still asked her what’s wrong. But to my amazement, she answered, “I am sorry for invading your privacy.” I smiled at her, extending my hand, “I am Sapphire, and you are?” She smiled back and said, “It’s Anzene.”             Then she told me that she just remembers her uncle, her mother and her best friend. “My uncle died just a week ago. A driver who is too drunk hit him and just gets away with it. He didn’t even know what happened on the man he bumped in. And then a Good Samaritan brought my uncle to the hospital but it is too late because his head was badly injured.” She paused for a moment to dry her tears then, “what hurts most is that I am all alone now. I have nobody to turn to. He’s all I have and now he left me too.”

I was horrified by her revelations. I couldn’t even think I could be strong like her if I had a friend that was kidnapped, a father who left us all for inheritance and an uncle who is a victim of hit and run. It even made me ask, “Is there still goodness in this world?”

After telling me everything that had happened to her, she smiled and told me that she felt good. “Thanks for listening; I haven’t cried like that for a long time.”  Then I told her that that it’s good to let go of feelings once in a while. All of us have our share of our dark moments; although mine is not as tragic as yours.” I told her one time when we were eating. “I’ve told you my whole life; I guess it’s time to share yours with me.” She said with a look of encouragement.    “Well, I am glad I didn’t have a family who died. But I grew up being teased for looking so ugly. I could remember our neighbor saying that why am I a member of our family when I don’t even look like them. Of course, I know I am just adopted. My mom told me that they found me at their doorstep one rainy evening. However, I am thankful; they have nourished and love me as if I was their own. Too bad my sisters don’t feel the same they are among those people who teased me for not being so-good-looking like them.

I even thought of quitting school because I am tired of hearing my classmates calling me names. So I decided to make my own world. I let everybody think I am snob. At least, I won’t be hurt by their harsh words. I know I am ugly but do they really have to shout it out in front of my nose? It’s really hard to be alone, alone in the sense that I don’t have anybody to turn to. And when I feel like I can’t handle it anymore, I would watch a sad movie and then I will cry.” She laughed at my idea and said, “Hey that was good. But you don’t have to do that anymore now that we have each other.”
And that was the beginning of a brand new start for both of us. Problems still come along but it’s different now that we have each others back. She was there when my classmate insulted me and told me that I don’t have the right to join the school theater because I don’t have the look. She comforted me the way no one comforted me before. I had witnessed how happy she was when she was appointed as the editor-in-chief of our school paper. I was there when she cried her heart out because she discovered that her boyfriend courted her all for a bet. I was so furious with the guy that I spank him in front of a crowd. Well, serves him right. I could remember telling my friend that I couldn’t blame her if she would hate this world after what happened. But you wouldn’t believe what she said, even though goodness seems to be gone, she said, “I don’t and I won’t hate this world Sophie, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”   She even told me that if her father would come home, she would welcome him with open arms. “I know that there’s a reason for all of these and I also believe that in everything, God has a purpose.” Was her word that really touched my heart. I have learned a lot from her and I know that I am about to learn more as we go along together.

When she stand on the stage to give her speech as the summa cum laude during our college graduation day, she had proven to everyone that she is not just nobody that they could step on. For the first time, they heard the “ice lady” talk, aside of course during class recitations, with full of aspirations and heart touching words that made everyone of us shed a tear.

A week after our graduation, while we were talking of what we are going to do next, my friend had a visitor… her father. He asked for her forgiveness and explained everything why he left them 20 years ago. True to her words, she welcomed him with open arms. I could see how happy she is. I heard her say, “Life is too short. We can’t even be sure if we are still alive tomorrow. That’s why we must make the most of every chance that we have. And we could only do that if we always have a room for forgiveness in our hearts.” Tear-eyed, her father said, “I am lucky, not everyone is given a second chance to correct their mistakes.

Presently, she is managing her business which is a boutique. She has already expanded it to three branches in such a short time. She is now 26 and about to marry Lawrence James. He was our schoolmate way back in high school. They met each other again when LJ bought a gift for her mom at her boutique. And how they end up together is another story. I am indeed lucky for being able to witness how each morning became more beautiful for her.

I know there are still twist and turns in the road of life she is going through and that problems are yet to come. But as of now, all I could ask the Lord is to continue giving her the strength that she needed. As for me, I am living a happy life as one of the stockholders of the country’s top corporation. I may not have a family of my own yet but I believe that God has a plan for me whatever that is.

10-04-04

 

Learning Silence

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Recently, I’ve been pondering on the things that happened to me. Taking a look on the decisions that I have made and realizing that not every single of them turned out the way I planned them to be. Thinking about those days made me realized that my life now sucks because my way of deciding also sucks. I now come to the conclusion that on deciding for your life, no matter how hard a decision is, you should only listen to the silent voice of your heart.
Why?

It’s because later on, all the decisions you have made will reflect back at you. Because it is about you, about your life and eventually about your future too so you only have to listen to your heart. How to do that? Take sometime off for yourself and pray. With your heart as your captain and with God as your compass, for sure nothing will go wrong.
And that was the biggest mistake I did.  Listening to others when I should have listened to what my heart says the day I made a very crucial decision. However, there is no use regretting about the past. The important thing is I learned from them. What matters now is how I pick up the fallen pieces of myself and stand up; with new courage, hope and aspirations.

Now, as I restructure the plans that I made for my future, I know now what to look at and where to listen as I make new decisions. With my captain and my compass I am now more confident to face the battles that would come my way. God is truly wonderful and my thanksgivings are for Him because I know without Him, light will never come my way.
His marvelous love showed me the way that I should thread. In darkness, He is the light that guided me to get back to the right path and continue running the race. He helped me realized that it is never too late to catch up no matter how many I have missed.  In silence, He is the voice that whispers inside my heart that tells me what to do and what things ought to be done in the right way and in the right time. In loneliness, He is the joy that pour gladness inside my very core teaching me to give thanks at every situation I am in; may it be  good one or otherwise because I know that it is His will and it is His way of shaping my character for a better tomorrow. In grief, He is there consoling me. By the rain, and sunshine afterwards He has showed me that every tear is made so that you could better appreciate the laughter that He is sending your way.

Sometimes, things may seem too hard to understand but just listen to your captain and look up at your compass and you’ll see things are working their way little by little to what you wished them to be.       ­­­

signed_v_s060922
January 23, 2009

Battle Over the Fear of Failure

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One of my favorite authors, Bob Ong once said that you learn from your own words. I guess it’s true. When I read some of my essays, sometimes I can’t believe that those words came from. and yes, I learned from them too.
 
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One battle most people lose is the battle over the fear of failure. I believe that every one of us has our own fears…fear of being defeated, fear of losing and the likes. It is fear that discourages a lot of people to take chance of the opportunity that comes their way. However, just like the how saying goes… “If you never face your fears, you will never meet courage.”

It is hard to admit that you are afraid to make decisions because of the fear that the result won’t be what you expect. It is hard to find the courage to take an action fearing that it might fail you in the end. It is fear that fills our mind with lots of questions before doing something.

We take care of lots of fears that do not yet exist. Fears that result on thinking the worst that may come tomorrow not realizing that you already forget to make the most of today.     
 
If you only have a positive outlook through failure, you’ll realize that it is not to be feared because it is but natural for humans to fail sometimes for they are not perfect. That like what is said on a poem, “Failure doesn’t mean you ought to give up, it does mean you must try harder.” Yes, because facing our fears in regards of failure is one of the battles of life everyone undergoes.
You should not think that committing failure means being a loser. What matters is that during the times that you stumble down, you are able to stand up again. That courage is   enough to say that you are not a total failure after all; being able to stand is enough for you to shout into the world that you are a winner.

People, who never had the courage to face their fears, never go anywhere. I believe that we must always take chance, take charge of our fears and take control of our future, our life. Our will of taking a chance every time a door of opportunity opens must not be shadowed by our fears. The result of our every under taking wouldn’t always turn out to be what we expect, but at least you’ll never go through life  full of regrets and wondering “what if “ and “only if” because you know that you did your best. Like what you always hear, “Nobody is a total failure, if he dares to try.”

“So try… start… begin… and you’ll be assured, you won the first round.”

signed_valerie shyne
JANUARY 18, 2004

Just Another Cinderella Story P1

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Thanks to Leng, because of her I remembered I still have something in my chest of old stuffs. hindi po title ung asa taas kasi kahit 5 years ago pa nang isulat ko ito, wala talaga akong maisip na i-title dito.. this is a fantasy fiction.. or maybe just a little fantasy. hehe. hindi ko alam kung paano ko ‘to ika-categorized. this is the first novel i’ve ever written. sinimulan ko ‘to nung 4th year highschool ako. sulat kamay dahil wala pa kaming computer. natapos ko ‘to sometime during my freshmen year at the university at natapos kong i-encode nung second year na ‘ko. since i don’t have all the time right now not to mention tinatamad ako… here is my unedited, untiled novel, fresh with the technical, grammar and other kinds of error that you might find in a newbie writer…

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Chapter 1

The dream

“Hey girl, welcome to our world… ready to meet the prince and princess of our kingdom?”

            “Wow! This place really looks great…i- is that a castle?” she said pointing to a castle not so far from where they were standing.

            “Yes miss, and in here you will surely forget all your worries.I promise. Now, then let’s go…miss…?”

            “Amethyst, you can call me Aimee”

            “Aimee, ok let’s go then Aimee…”

“Aimee, wake up you sleepyhead” said a slightly fat woman in front of her shaking her whole body.

“Mom, it’s only 4 o’ clock. Stop shaking me, I am already awake.” Who wouldn’t wake up with the way you shout at me, anyway. What Aimee couldn’t understand at that early morning was the reason why her mother was so alarmed in waking her up. She almost asked herself, is there a fire? She was having a very nice dream and then out of nowhere her mother was waking her up. What’s the matter this time?

“Mom, what’s the problem?” she asked the question in her mind. “If you haven’t notice, the sun isn’t awake yet.”

“Well then, I don’t care whether the sun is awake or not. Get up in there. You got a lot of things to do. The house maid is on leave and you are to do some of her works.”

Some,”repeated Aimee in her mind. If she hadn’t known, her mother’s some could mean everything; as in everything that their households help does.

“What the heck!” she murmured with a deep sigh. “Here I go again.”

“What did you just say young lady?” said Mrs. Andersen when she saw Aimee murmuring something.

“Nothing mom, I said yes, I’ll do what you told me before leaving for school”. Aimee answered with a hint of sarcasm in her voice as she leaves her bed.

“Good, good… follow me then at the kitchen.”

“Wait, how about my sisters? Are they awake yet?”

“Oh no, you know they went to bed really late last night. Your older sister was busy with her project in the company while your younger sister was off to bed late because of her assignments.”

As if I weren’t off to bed late last night because of my assignments. But of course that was only in Aimee’s mind. She couldn’t tell that to her mother.

Aimee really wonders a lot about her mother. She looks kind and sweet. Well, she is really kind and sweet especially to her daughters whom she loves so much. Except with Aimee, everyone looks up to her with so much respect. Of course Aimee loves their mom. There are just some things that she could not understand. Especially the way their mother treated her after their father died.

And just like what she was told, after fixing her bed she went to the kitchen to prepare their breakfast. And while waiting for the rice to be cooked, she began cleaning the house. At exactly five thirty everything was settled. Her sisters were all in the dining room to have their breakfast.

“Good morning Aimee. You’re up early today. I thought your class for today begins at nine.” Angela, Aimee’s eldest sister said while still yawning. She’s 26 and working as one of the chief engineer of Monte Claro Builders. Unlike other lady engineers who looks like somebody that needs a total make over, Aimee’s sister was a beauty inside and out.

“Well, big sis… it just happened that our helper is not around. That’s why – ”

“You mean, mom woke you up to do the maid’s job again?” interrupted Angela to what Aimee was about to say. And her voice sounded really disgusted. “You should have awakened me so that I was able to help you.”

“You have nothing to worry, sis. It’s no big. And I know you slept late. I know you needed that rest very much after all your day’s work at the company.”

“Thanks for the concern Aimee. Don’t worry I’ll talk to mom about this. Now let’s eat.”

Throughout breakfast, everyone was so quite. But you could see Margaret’s eye looking intently over Aimee wondering why their sister Angela was always on her side when both of them know what she is in the family. But since it was Angela who covers up for all their expenses since their father died two years ago, she couldn’t contradict whatever Angela has to say.

“Go and wash the dishes Garette, Aimee had done enough for this morning.” Angela pointed out to Margaret after breakfast.

“Angel, couldn’t just Aimee do that after all it’s just few plates” said Mrs. Andersen while looking to Margaret who seem to be very pleased with what her mother just said.

“That’s the point. It’s just few. So why can’t Garette do that. Anyway, I want to have a talk with you in the study.” and went towards the door out of the dining.

Sometimes, it really amazes every one of them how Angel manages to have an authority over their mother. Well, maybe because despite the authority, her respect for their mother could still be sensed through the way she speaks. And so, as Mrs. Andersen follows Angela to the study, Margaret began to wash the dishes while Aimee prepared herself for school.

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After Mrs. Andersen locked the door of the study room, she walked towards Angela wondering why her daughter wanted to talk with her. And before she could utter the question in her mind, Angela began to speak.

“Mom, what is this all about?”

“Wha – what?”

“You know what I am talking about mom. You planned it all. I mean this going on vacation of our helper and Aimee doing all the stuff around the house. What’s the meaning of this?” she looked really puzzled while talking to her mother.

“Since dad’s death you were never the same with her. Could you just tell me what’s wrong?”

“Honey, you know what’s wrong. Why are you asking me that? It’s you I don’t understand. Why do you keep favoring her when you know she’s not–”

“No, don’t say that mom. Whatever you say, she’s a part of this family, because she’s…” but before Angela could finish her mother interrupted her.

“No! She’s not a member of this family. She is not!”

“I just don’t understand you mommy. I can’t see any reason why you loathed her. All right, maybe she’s a bit different but she’s still one of us. Dad wouldn’t be happy with this. I know you have your reasons that you doesn’t want to tell me. But please, don’t be too harsh on her. She doesn’t even know anything about this.”

Angela just hoped that her mother would finally listen to her. She doesn’t want Aimee to know anything. Not yet at least. Not now.

“Just let me be Angela. If you don’t want her to know everything, then just let me be. I don’t want to argue with you so please…”and her mother left her in the room.

For the first time in the last two years, the last word was held by her mother. With that, Angela couldn’t do anything but sigh.

≈●≈

“Hey Aimee, let’s go” shouted Angela as she went down the stairs.

“Go where?” asked Aimee with a puzzled voice.

“To school, I’ll drop you by since I am going on the same way.”

“Oh! That would be great but…”

“No more buts. Come on.” and she winked to Aimee who went upstairs to get her school things. Then the two ladies went to the car after waving goodbye to their mother.

“I am sorry,” said Angela to Aimee while driving the car.

“Sorry for what sis? I don’t remember anything you’ve done wrong. In fact, I should be thanking you for saving me this morning.”

“It’s mom I am asking sorry for. I know she’s rude to you.”

“Yeah, and I don’t understand. Before daddy died, she’s not that affectionate with me but she’s not rude either. But now, I don’t really understand this at all.”

“I am sorry to say this, but I also don’t know exactly why. I admit I know something, but I can’t tell you that now. But in due time you’ll know about it, I promise.” Angela knew that Aimee was intently looking at her. Much as Angela wanted to tell Aimee some of the answer to her questions, she couldn’t. For that won’t do any good to any of them right now.

“Well then, I guess I just have to wait for that right moment you are talking about. As for now, thanks for the lift and take care okay?” Aimee smiled sweetly at her as she hurriedly went off the car.

 

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“Hey, a penny for your thoughts,” said a familiar voice then Aimee felt a tap at her shoulder.

“Oh! Belle, hi.”

Annabelle is Aimee’s best friend. She met her during their enrollment at St. Anthony University, both of them is currently taking up Business Administration major in management at second year.

“You seem to be in a slumber of thoughts. Daydreaming again?” her voice was teasing and her right eye brow slightly rose.

“Hmm, not really.” Aimee answered.

“Well then, what were you thinking, if you don’t mind?”

“Of course, it’s nothing big. I am just thinking about the weird dream I had last night and my mom, and my sister’s puzzling word and…”

“Hep, hep, hep best friend you’re thinking too much and you’re telling me it’s nothing?”

“So, then what do you suggest?”

“I can’t order you to stop thinking can I? so why don’t you just tell me about it.”

Aimee took a deep breath then said, “It’s just the usual thing with my mother. The difference was that today my sister seems like she just wanted to tell me something but she couldn’t.”

“You know what best? I can’t understand your mother either. Unless…”

“What it is belle? Unless what?”

“Unless, you are adopted. But that’s quite impossible. You look so much like your father.”

“Yeah, you’re right. And after all mom only started to be that unreasonable only after father died.” Aimee took a deep breath then look at her best friend. “Well maybe, I’ll get used to it soon.”

“In that case, why don’t you just tell me about your dream?” her voice was full of encouragement.

“Oh! Sorry belle but I can’t. I don’t know why. But somehow I have this feeling that I shouldn’t tell you about it. I’m sorry. And besides, it’s weird and I can’t explain it.”

“Not at all. I understand. Even though we are best friends, you are still entitled for privacy. Don’t worry.”

“Thanks. Oh! I think we should go. We’ll be late for our next class.”

And the two of them walk together towards their next subject.

 

 

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