Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rebecca, Three Scary Stories in Filipino

Friday, September 25, 2009

An Introduction

Rebecca. This story is my first entry to the world of fiction.

I couldn't think of anything more interesting than this one during birthing. This came to me when Sir Isagani Cruz required us to write one fiction story. And so I tried to bleed this during the workshop with Sir Charlson Ong and Sir Medina. Oh --- it did not impress them, but they thought my idea was convincing, and so I tried to improve it. I don't know if Sir Isagani remembers how I conceived this story, but I really told the whole class about it. I was not ashamed and maybe they understood me. I knew I have to polish this story.

Later, Sir Bisa helped me repair this fiction and thanks to him because I was able to decide with the title, "Rebecca." Do you know about the strong woman Rebecca, or Shakespeare's Rosalind? I just had thoughts about this. Then, Rebecca was published in Liwayway - under the authors page (Bagong Manunulat) and Sir Reynaldo Duque helped me with this story again. My story got a lot of bumpy roads without any prize. But then, this was my first fiction and what is important to me is to GET PUBLISHED and READ. Sir Dan Meneses, included it in his anthology titled "30 Piling Kuwento 2003" and was edited by Sir R. Duque. And so, I got to my goal and contentment "My prize was enough here and more than any distinction the world could give me - working with these respected writers and editors was the best prize I could ever have. Truly, it gave me a chance to prove myself in the world of writing and sharing literature.

I thank GOD for this.

Are you ready to see the ghost in me?

Go work the puzzles.

My fiction and stories are for you.

I wrote for you,
Rosalinda Flores - Martinez, 2009

http://iwrotefiction.blogspot.com

http://rfvietnamrose09.blogspot.com

Bolpen, Three Scary Stories in Filipino

2. Bolpen

Masarap mangarap, masarap mabuhay lalo na kung ang lahat ng iyong gusto sa buhay ay natutupad. Karangyaan, kayamanan, kasikatan yan ang pangarap ng lahat… at isa doon si Rosa. Si Rosa ay simpleng manunulat, may 2 anak at 6 na taon sa trabahong ito ngunit wala pa ding nangyayari sa buhay niya. Mahirap pa rin siya…at pawing lalong humihirap.

“Pesteng buhay ‘to! Kelan ba ko aangat sa estado kong ito?” ani ni Rosa. “Lagi na lang ganito, walang gustong tumanggap ng mga isinusulat ko? E napakagaling ko naman!”

“Ano ka ba Rosa? Maging matiyaga ka lang, may awa ang Diyos. Baka di pa dumadating ang tamang oras mo,” sagot ng kaibigan niyang si Leslie. “ Nga pala may opening sa darating na Biyernes sa may Ortigas, naghahanap sila ng mga writers para sa bago nilang ilalabas na libro, pwede ka doon. Bakit di mo subukan? Eto ang numero tawagan mo..”

“O sige, mapuntahan nga yan baka yan na yung matagal ko ng hinihintay na break!,” sagot ni Rosa.

“Oo nga, sige good luck sayo kaya mo yan. Balitaan mo na lang ako.” Sabi ni Leslie.

Purisigidong pursigido si Rosa, naghanda ng mga write-ups, iniwan muna ang mga ibang gawain para makapaghanda para sa job opening na ito. Nangutang pa ng perang pang-parlor at pamasahe. Talagang handing handa na siya.

Dumating ang Biyernes, handa na ang lahat, mula ulo hanggang paa ay ayos na ayos siya. Pagpasok sa building ay kapansin pansin siya: buhok ang nakaplantsa, damit ay mukhang nakahanger pa din at pedicure na kulay ginto.

Sa table, habang pumippirma at nagpapasa ng mga requirements si Rosa… “Aba, hindi ka naman masyadong handa? So ikaw pala si Rosa,” ani ng kanyang katabi. “Oo ako nga, bakit? E sino ka ba?,” sagot ni Rosa sa katabi. “Haha… totoo pala na may pagkamayabang ka…,” sagot kay Rosa ng kausap. “Hindi naman masyado, may ipagmamayabang naman e… dahil magaling ako at alam kong matatanggap ako dito,” sagot ulit ni Rosa. Humalakhak na lang ang kanyang kausap at umalis ng hindi nagpapakilala…

Pagkatapos ng ilang oras ay pinatawag na isa isa ang mga nag-apply.. Si Rosa na… Pag pasok sa kwarto ay nakaupo doon ang kausap niya kanina. Hawak ang kanyang resume at manuscript. “O, Rosa kamusta naman?! Maupo ka muna,” sabi ng lalaki. “Salamat po,, kung gayun kayo pala si Mr. Hernando Baltazar…,” sabi ni Rosa sa boses na nahihiya. “Ako nga, so, nabasa ko na ang iyong resume, at manuscript… napakawalang kwenta… ano to basura?,” sabi Mr. Baltazar. “Excuse me po… anong walang kwenta? Graduate ako sa kilalang unibersidad, may masteral pa ako, at isa pa… yang manuscript ko ay napakaganda,” pasigaw na sagot ni Rosa. “Sinong nagsabing maganda? Ikaw? Bobo ka ba?!” Basura to… Pwede ba wag ka ngang magsulat dahil wala ka ding maaabot… Pinipilit mo lang ang mga bagay na di mo kaya… Magtinda ka na lang ng kendi dyan sa tapat at baka sakaling yumaman ka pa…Hahaha!,” sagot sa kanya ni Mr. Hernando. Mabilis na dinampot ni Rosa ang kanyang gamit…at binantaan si Mr. Hernando… “Titingalain mo din ako baling araw, at sisiguraduhin kong ikaw ang magmamakaawa sa kin,” pasigaw na sinabi ni Rosa sabay binalibag ang pinto ng malakas.

Malungkot na malungkot si Rosa parang buong mundo ay bumagsak sa kanya. Wala siyang nakuhang trabaho. May utang pa siya… “Ano gagawin ko?, Bakit wala bang gustong magbasa ng mga isinusulat ko!” sabi ni Rosa habang lumuluha.

Naabutan na si Rosa ng ulan at gutom na gutom na siya. Bad trip na bad trip na siya. “Psst…!” Tila may tumatawag sa kanya ngunit wala naming tao… “Pssst!”… may simitsit ulit… “Hala sino bay un?!,” ani ni Rosa. Dahil sa sobrang galit lahat ng madadaanan ay pinagbubuntunan ng galit. Pati ang nakakalat na bolpen ay sinipa na lang… kawawang bolpen… “Aray!,” napasigaw si Rosa… “sino ba yung namamato?”… Tinamaan siya nung bolpeng sinipa nya…”Pssst!...Pssst!...Pssst!”… “Sino ka ba… at sitsit ka ng sitsit namamato ka pa?,” Pabalang na sabi ni Rosa… “Ako to ang bolpen!,” sagot ng bolpen sa maliit na boses. “Pulutin mo ko… matutulungan kita!”… biglang natauhan si Rosa. Namutla dahil nagsalita ang bolpen! “Di ba gusto mong yumaman… kailangan mo ko..” ani ng bolpen… “Talaga yayaman ako? Sisiskat?...Pano?,” tanong ni Rosa. “Basta kunin mo ko at tutulungan kita…” sabi ng bolpen. Dinala ni Rosa ang bolpen, nilagay sa bag at umuwi na sa kanyang bahay.

Pagdating sa kanyang bahay ay pinatong ni Rosa ang kanyang bag dumiretso sa kusina at nagluto ng hapunan para sa kanyang mga anak. Pagkatapos maghapunan..ay kitang kita ang kapaguran kay Rosa. Pahiga na si Rosa ng biglang… “Pssst…! Rosa….!” Nagising bigla si Rosa pumunta sa kanyang table at nakita ang bolpen… “Ano bang magagawa mo e bolpen ka lang? Napakapangit… luma…at mukaha pang mumurahin!,” pasigaw na sabi ni Rosa. “Hindi mo alam ang pwede kong magawa. Pwede kitang pasikatin…payamanin…kahit anong gusto mo, mga pangarap mo ay maaabot mo, mga kaaway mo ay magagantihan, mga taong gusto mo ay mapapalapit sayo! Kaya ko yung lahat!..,” sabi ng bolpen sa kanya. “Talaga lang ha…e bolpen ka lang pano mo naman matutulungan si Rosa na isang magaling na manunulat?” pagmamayabang ni Rosa. “Hello? Ikaw magaling? E bobo ka nga e…wala kang katalent talent kaya walang gustong bumasa ng mga sinusulat mo kasi para silang nagbabasa ng basura! Basta tutulungan kita… Pero sa isang kondisyon…” sabi ng bolpen. “Ano naman yun?,” sagot ni Rosa. “Ibibigay ko ang utak ko kapalit ng kaluluwa mo…Hahahaa!,” tuwang tuwang sagot ng bolpen kay Rosa… “Ang kaluluwa ko? Ayoko nga!, ” sagot ni Rosa sabay biglang tinapon ni Rosa ang bolpen… at pumunta na sa kanyang kama at natulog…

Sa kalagitnaan ng gabi biglang nagising si Rosa… Hindi siya makatulog kaya naisipan nyang magsulat na lang. Dinampot niya ang kanyang bolpen at kumuha ng malinis na papel. ”Kaiinis bakit naman walang mga tinta tong mga bolpen dito?,” pasigaw na sabi ni Rosa. Lahat ng bolpen na makuha nita ay walang tinta hanggang may isang pluma na nadampot nya…”Eto buti naman at may sumulat din dito sa mga bolpen dito,” ani ni Rosa. Nakatapos si Rosa ng isang writeup…ng mapansin nya na ang bolpen na hawak nya…”Hahaha… sabi ko na sayo… ako lang ang makakatulong sayo! Hahaha..” ani ng bolpen. “Hala… “Ba’t nandito ka? Tinapon na kita ha?!,” Namumutlang sagot ni Rosa. “Sabi ko naman sayo ako lang ang makakatulong sayo e… tingnan mo nakusaulat ka ngayon. Bukas ipasa mo agad yan at tiyak ko nay an ang magiging umpisa ng kasikatan mo…Hahaha!,” sabi ng bolpen.

Napaiyak si Rosa dahil alam niya ang magiging kapalit ng paggamit niya sa bolpen ay ang kanyang kaluluwa. Di niya alam kung anong gagawin niya. Kahit pilit niyang itapon ang bolpen ay bumabalik pa din sa kanya…

Kinabukasan ay napagisipan na ni Rosa na ipasa ang kanyang nagawa nanginginig na isinilid ni Rosa ang papel sa envelope…At dali dali ng umalis… Naipasa na ni Rosa ang kanyang ginawa… Walang sinabi sa kanya. Ang sabi ay tatawagan na lang daw siya. Pagdating sa bahay biglang ring ng telepono… “Kring…….!” “Hello, Magandang hapon!,”sagot ni Rosa. “Hello, Magandang Hapon po.. nandyan po ba si Rosa?” sabi ng nasa linya ng telepono. “Eto na nga po!,” sagot ni Rosa. “ Eto po si Mr. Erwin Lee, from Maxx Publications, nabasa namin yung mga writeups ninyo at napakaganda. Pwede ba naming ilagay sa libro naming?.. At saka gusto naming na magsubmit ka pa ng marami! Napakagaling mo kasi talaga,” sabi ni Mr. Lee. “Talaga po?.. Sige po bukas na bukas dadalhan ko pa kayo ng maraming writeups at manuscripts!,” Tuwang tuwang sagot ni Rosa. “Sige, pumunta ka dito sa opisina ko bukas ng umaga at gusto din kitang makausap,” sagot ni Mr. Lee. Pagkababa ng telepono ay nagtatalon sa tuwa si Rosa. Nung gabi ay nagsulat pa siya ng marami gamit ang bolpen na napulot niya. Nakalimutan muna ni Rosa ang kapalit na hinihingi ng bolpen… ginamit niya ito ng ginamit hanging sa sumikat na siya.

Sikat na sikat na si Rosa. Lahat ng tao ay iginagalang siya at tinitingala… Napakayaman niya na din… “Salamat sa’yo bolpen… tama ka…ikaw lang nga ang makakatulong s’akin. Kung wala ka siguro…walang wala pa din ako…,” bulong ni Rosa sa bolpen. “ Hindi ako tumatanggap ng salamat. Gaya nga ng sabi ko sayo kaluluwa mo ay akin na,” sagot ng bolpen. Namutla si Rosa. Naalala niyang ang lahat ng kanyang naabot ay may kapalit: ang kanyang kaluluwa… “Pwede ba iba na lang?! Wag lang ang aking kaluluwa…,” nagmamakaawang sagot ni Rosa. “Utak ko para sayo, Kaluluwa mo para sakin… yun ang usapan!,” sagot ng bolpen.

Ilang araw naging balisa si Rosa pilit niyang nilalayo ang bolpen para hindi niya magamit ngunit kahit anong gawin niya ay kusang lumalapit pa din to…Pilit niyang sinisira ngunit di pa din masira… “Hahaha… di mo ko kayang sirain…Hahaha!” sabi ng bolpen. Pilit pa din ni Rosa na sinisira yung bolpen ngunit tila lumalaban ito na parang tao…”Sige kung di kita masisira… di mo din makukuha ang kaluluwa ko!.” Sagot ni Rosa. Sabay biglang itinusok ang bolpen sa kanyang lalamunan. Bumagsak si Rosa sa mesa… Naging pula ang papel sa natahimik na buong paligid… “Matitigil na din ang kasamaan mo… ako na ang huli mong biktima!” sabi ni Rosa hanggang unti unting nawalan na ng hininga…

“Pssst… hahahaha… Walang makakasira sa akin....Hindi ninyo ako kaya… Hahaha!”

–Bolpen
Wenzi Jeanne Flores Martinez, copyright 2009
Edited Rose Flores Martinez, 2009

Sa Aking Silid, 3 Scary Stories in Filipino

1. Sa Aking Silid

Ramdam ko ang pait at pagmamalupit ng panahon sa akin. Sa tuwing ako ay lilisan palabas ng aking silid, may kahalong lungkot at ligaya tarak sa aking puso. Tila ako ay binalutan ng tinik sa dibdib.

Simula noong ako ay bata pa sa pagpasok ng aking silid may kaba at takot na laging umaamba sa paligid, parang usok na lumalaki.

Si Ama ay isang kilalang tao sa lipunan. Mataas ang tingin ng mga taga-bayan sa kanya, maging ang kanyang mga kakompetensya sa San Gabriel. Sa araw araw na ginawa ng Diyos, masaya ang mga taong dumadalaw sa aming bahay na lagging may pagdiriwang na nagaganap. Mahal na mahal si ama mga taga- San Gabriel. Mahal din ni Ama si Ina… at ako. Maraming tao ang natulungan ni Ama. Mahirarap man o mayaman, walang pinipiling tulungan. Maraming krimen din ang nalutas. Maliban lamang sa kaso dito sa aming bahay. Iyan ang lihim.

Sa aking silid, pinid ang durungawan. Ang mga ala-ala ng aking nakaraan ay hindi maungkat. Ayaw kong maungkat muli ang mga ala-ala ng aking Ina. Maging si Ama ay ayaw ding makaalis sa mga alaala ng silid na ito.
Si Inang may mala-rosas na kutis, makintab, maitim at mahabang buhok, mapupulang labi. Hindi maiwasang ang mga kalalakihan dito sa amin ay mabihag ng kanyang kagandahan.
Isang gabi ng Disyembre, ako at si ina, ay bumili sa Quiapo. Pumili kami ng mga parol para sa pasko at pangregalo sa mga kaibigan, kamaganak at mga kasamahan. Marami kaming nabiling mga baso. Tuwang tuwa ako noon. Hindi ko makalimutan ang mga sandaling kapiling ko ang aking ina. Hawak ko ang kanyang palad na parang unan . Maligaya ako kapag magkasama kami ni Ina . Dama ko din ang seguridad na may gumagabay sa akin. Mula sa kanyang mga pangako na “hindi niya ako pababayaan” ay mga salitang nagpapalakas sa akin.

Sa pag-uwi sa aming bahay galling sa Quiapo ay mahigpit pa ang hawak kamay namin ni Ina. Kumalas ako sa napansin kong kaunting liwanag galing sa siwang n pinto na aking silid. Ngunit hindi ko pa rin ito binigyang pansin. Iniwanan ko muna si Ina sa tabi ng pintong my kawang, at hinayaan ni Inang kumalat ang liwanag mula sa ilaw ng maliit na kandila ng aking silid.

Ngunit . . . ano ito? Bigla akong nakarinig ng malakas na sigaw ni Inang, “Tulong, tunlong!” Nakita ko ang anim na kalalakihan sa paligid. Ginapos is Ina. Agad akong tumakbo patungo para magligtas. Ngunit sa aking murang edad, wala akong nagawa sa anim na kalalakihan. Umiyak at sumigaw, “Ama, Ama ... tulungan mo kami…” Walang si Ama. Walang taong sa bahay. Walang nakarinig.
Ang mga haling ang kaluluwa ay tuwang tuwa. At nakita ko isa sa kanila na humawak sa nagpupumiglas kong kamay ay si Emil. “Si Emil! Masama ka, masama ka! “
Si Emil ay kasambahay naming pinagkakatiwalaan ni ama. Si Emil na nakakaalam ng mga secreto ng aming pamilya. Si Emil na itinuring na anak ni Ama at ni Ina. “Ang aking nakatatandang kapatid at tapat na kaibigan?”
Paano ito nangyari sa aming pamilya? Ang akala naming Kuya Emil ay is palang anak ni Hudas! Sa sandali ng aking pagkatulala, may hinampas sa aking batok. Ito ang nagpagpatumba at nagpatigil sa aking hagulhol. Parang nawalan ako ng ulirat at hinang hina.
Pinilit kong tumayo sa pagkakahiga at nakagapos pa rin si Ina. At abot tanaw ko habang nilalapastangan siya – hinuhubaran, hinahalikan, winalang-hiya! Nakita ko kung paano lumaban si Ina at sumigaw at paulit ulit niya kaming tinawag. Nagdasal ako. “Magdasal, magdasal,” naalala kong pangaral niya.
Nakatulog ako sa masamang panaginip at nagising. “Si Ina!” Duguan, walang buhay. Si Ina na aking pinakamamahal, wala na siya. Nandoon din si Ama sa labis na paghihinagpis.
Niyakap kong mahigpit ang aking Ina. Niyakap ko ang malamig na katawan. Pilit ko siyang ginigising sa pagbabakasakaling may milagro at siya ay mabuhay. Hindi gumising si Ina. At marahil, sa pagkamatay ni Ina, itinulak ako ni Ama at sinabing, “Ikaw na lamang sana ang namatay, hindi siya.” Ang pagpanaw ni Ina ay kasabay ang pagpanaw ng aking buhay.

At ngayon, sa tuwing ako ay mapapagawi sa aming bahay, sa aking silid, lahat ng ala-ala ng kahapon ay pilit na nagbabalik. Ang kahapong umiikot sa buhay ko. Ang kahapong maramot sa aking matikman ang ligaya ng kasalukuayan at pagasa ng bukas. Ang kahapong ako ay pinagmalupitan at ginapos. Ang kahapong buhay ang aking Ina!

Parati ko na lang dinatnang mainit ang ulo ni Ama. Walang puwang ang kasiyahan sa akin , at nawala na rin ng puwang ko sa puso ni Ama kasabay ng pagpanaw ni Ina. Pinagbubuntungan niya ako ng galit. Marahil marami siyang problema mula sa pulitika. Marahil hanggang ngayon ay isa pa rin siyang bilanggo ng kahapong hindi marunong magpatawad. “Ako ang kanyang sinisisi sa pagkawala ni Ina!”

Si Emil, na anak ni Hudas ay masayang nakakagala ngayon at tila walang kasalanan. Hindi na siya nagpakita pa sa mga pulis. Ngunit, alam kong siya ay ma-impluensya.

Ang maraming tagapaglingkod naming sa bahay ay pinaalis din ni Ama. Kaya lahat ng gawaing bahay ay ako ang gumagawa. Ako na rin ang pilit na pumupuno sa mga pangangailangan ni Ama. Ako at ako lang. At sa tingin ko ay hindi pa rin sapat ang lahat ng aking pagsisikap. Hindi ko siya masisisi.

Hindi nabigyan ng hustisya ang kaso ni Ina gayong si Ama ay isang kilala at sa lipunan. Bakit kaya?

Mula nang matalo ang kaso ni Ina, sinabi niyang siya ang pinakawalang-kwentang tao sa buong mundo. Pati ang mga mamamayang madalas niyang tulungan kagaya ni Mang Ambit at ni Aling Aurora ay binabale-wala na niya kahit pinagsilbihan kami ng mga matatanda ng buo nilang buhay at katapatan. Hindi nagtagal, nawala siya din siay sa pulitika. Hindi niya ininda. Wala siyang pakialam kung ano ang mga mangyari, mawala man ang lahat. . . mawala man ako.

At ngayon, wala na si Amang pinagkakaabalahan kundi ang alak at sugal. Masaya niyang kanakausap lamang ang litrato ni Ina, na kahit anong milagro, ay hindi hindi babangon.
Wala pinipiling pagkakataon ang init ng ulo ng aking Ama. Kahit maraming tao sa bahay at mga kaibigan sa sugal ay wala sa kanyang pahiyain ako. Pilit niya akong pinapapasok sa silid sabay sabing “Ayaw kitang makita!!!” At pilit niyang iginigiit ang mga katagang ako na lang sana ang nawala at hindi si Ina. Ako naman ay agad-agad na papasok at nanginginig ang mga binti at buong katawan kasabay ng matinding takot. At madalas, kapag ako ay nasa silid na, hindi maiwasan ang pagsunod ni Ama. Ang mga mata niya ay nag-aapoy sa galit. At doon, sa aking silid - ako ay kanyang sinasaktan. At sa silid, pilit bumabalik ang mapait na kahapon. Pilit akong sumisigaw sa sakit habang hinahampas ako ng latigo. Marahil, ang tingin niya sa akin ay ako ang mga kriminal na pumaslang kay Ina. Wala siyang pinipiling tamaan. Buong parte ng aking katawan ay walang kawala sa hagupit ng kanyang latigo. Ako’y nagmamakaawa at isinisigaw ang “Ama, Ama tama na po.” Sana mamatay na nga ako. Madugo ang paligid. Maswerte lamang ako at nakakayanan ko ang mga malulupit na palo. Marahil ito ay dahil sa patnubay ni Ina sa akin kahit anong mangyari ay hindi niya ako pinababayaan.
Salamat sa Diyos at hanggang ngayon ay buhay ang pangako ni Ina. Sa sumunod pang mga araw, patuloy ang pananakit si Ama sa akin. Nakalimutan niya marahil na ako ay kanyang anak, at siya ay aking ama. Puno ang puso niya ng poot na isainasabuhay niya sa kalupitan at lubusang pagkalimot ng pagmamahal sa akin.

Magiisang taon na din ang kamatayan ni Ina mula sa kanyang mapait na sinapit. Patuloy an gaming kalbaryo ni Ama. Totoong hindi niya mapatawad ang kanyang sarili dahil hindi niya nabigyang hustisya ang among kaso.

Isang araw, habang ako ay patuloy na sinasaktan ni Ama, biglang nasanggi ng kanyang latigo ang larawan ni Ina. Bumalik bigla sa aking alaala ang mga pangyayaring naganap kay Ina. At kung saan galling sinabayan ang iyak at paghihinagpis ko ng sigaw at iyak ng ni Ina. Naisip ko ang pagkakataong dapat kong ipagtanggol ang aking naaaping ina. At sa di sinasadyang pangyayari ay naitulak ko si Ama gamit ang aking natitira pang lakas. Tumama ang kanyang ulo sa kanto ng aking kama. Duguan si Ama! Natulala ako… Bigla yatang nabaliktad ang mundo. Nakita ko si Ama. Duguan. Tila gripong bumulwak ang dugo sa kanyang ulo. Nagmakaawa si Ama at humingi ng aking tulong at patawad. Subalit bakit ganon? Tila hindi ko siya ama? Nakita ko ang mukha ni Emil. At kahit konting awa ay wala akong nadama.
Sa pagkakataon ding iyon ang aking pagmamahal kay Ama ay hindi ko naalala o naramdaman man lang. Kinuha ko ang latigo at inisip ko na makaganti. Nagmakaawa si Ama, sigaw sa daing, abot langit ang pagsisisi. Naririnig ko ang hiyaw ng paghihinagpis niya kasabay ng paulit-ulit kong hampas ng latigo. Pili ko lang ang mga parteng aking hampas. Ang kanyang mukha, at ang kanyang dibdib. Iyon lamang. Binigyan ko ng maraming latay si Ama. Madugo ang silid. Kalat ang mga talsik ng dugo sa aking labi, sa aking katawan, sa mga dingding at sulok. Bakit ganoon? Mahal ko si Ama ngunit hindi ko na maramdaman na mahal ko siya? At alam ko, mahal din ako ni Ama ngunit hindi ko din maramdaman na mahal niya ako. Kaya naman, pabilis ng pabilis ang paghagupit ko sa kanya sa paniniwalang maaari ko siyang baguhin sa ganoong paraan. Ilang sandali lamang ay wala nang hinagpis at ungol. Si Ama! Ano ang nangyari kay Ama? Wala na akong narinig na hininga mula kay ama. “Hindi!” Napatay ko siya.
Nabalot ang buong silid ng katahimikan. Ang pawang narinig ko na lamang ay ang mabilis na tibok ng aking dibdib. Patay na si Ama. Wala kahit isang patak na luha ang gusting tumulo. Marahil ay nagalak ako ngayon, sa anibersayo ng pagkamatay ni Ina na, ay araw din ng paglaya namin ni Ama mula sa masamang bangungot na dulot ng tadhana.
Kinuha ko ang larawan ng aking pumanaw na ina at pinagmasdan ko. Bumalik sa mga alaala ko ang mga salitang binitawan ni ina niya noon “Anak, hinding hindi kita pababayaan…” Patnubay ko nga siya.
At ngayon na kanyang anibersaryo ng kamatayan, ramdam ko na inilipat na ni Ina ang mga pangakong iyon kay Ama. Si Ama ay hindi ako pababayaan hanggang kamatayan. Mamahalin ako ni Ama. Simula noon, kami lagi ni Ama ang nasa bahay na iyon. Kaming dalawa sa silid. Nililinisan ko si Ama. Titiyakin kong walang ni isang bahid ng dugo ang dudumi sa katawan niya. Binihisan ko siya ng maayos na pantulog. Inihihiga ko siya sa aking kama para kami ay magkatabi.

Pagkalipas ng isang taon, kasama ko pa rin si Ama, sa aking kama, sa aking silid. At sa mga panahong nagdaan, doon ko naramdaman ang pagmamahal niya sa akin. Hindi na niya ako sinasaktan. Mahal pala ako ni Ama at mahal na mahal ko din siya.


Ma. Riza Flores Martinez, copyright 2009
Edited by Rose Flores - Martinez

Three Scary Stories in Filipino

I will start publishing here in my blog "Stories For You," short stories in Filipino. Two of this set, of Three Scary Stories were authored by Wenzi Jeanne Flores Martinez and Ma. Riza Flores Martinez. I've written one of the three. And so these 3 stories that make this set! Wenzi and Riza wrote these stories while they were in college and they have got a few poems and essays of their own as contributions way back in their school paper. I am happy and I thank GOD that they in themselves have found an expression of life in some form of words. These stories - they, considered as jokes, or practice, or simply an expression, showed part of their talents growing up students. In some way or another, they have done texts that might be helpful, and useful in the study of Filipino literature that shows that part of a culture in their contemporary period of growing up. Three Scary Stories in Filipino, R.W.R, IWROTEFICTION copyright 2009

September 25, 2009, Philippines
http://iwrotefiction.blogspot.com

Saturday, September 19, 2009

4. NET CHAT

NET CHAT


Madness creeps to explore new possibilities. How many men can a woman have in a day? I was curious. It was discovering a feeling I had not the luxury in life. I was in a barred, cemented walls that was almost like a tomb. A core in a crust. So I plunged my fears and swam across depths of time and space. First time.
I would taste the pleasure of emotions in words. It was a trance. A temporary exit to the power-playing people around me in the real-now. I began to find the answers to my complicated ideas, deconstructing and reconstructing every word; trying to separate water and oil. I would like to think, there is a knife on my neck and every wrong move I make would slit a cut on my throbbing throat like killing a helpless chicken.
Maybe, I can become what I dream now. In this development of technology, words and letters are like people talking to me face to face.

Connecting…

“Hello and heller!”
Everyone greeted everyone hello. Well, not hell and below, I suppose. It was a greeting of cheers like “Aloha” in Hawaiian and “Ciao” in Italian. I thought all eyes were on me. Searching me head to foot, undressing me, my heart and my soul. But I was armed and shielded. I was wearing a complete battle gear. I floated with the cursor throbbing systolic and diastolic. The keypads wrote the murmurs in the blue sea of fiber optic cables, wires, and wireless connections of the internet.
“How is everyone?
“I want to join in.”
“Nice and happy to be here!”
“Where are you from?”
I could not pretend. I got recharged by the electronic vibrations, pulling my fingers. My emotions were letting go. I needed someone to talk to - like a friend. Maybe another thrill seeker in a machine, or an android at my bidding. On and off with my PC, I was giggling – to this my net baptism. It seemed like exploring a part of the earth where a star would burst and become another planet.
Well, this is technology.
“Asl please…”
“What is asl?” My ignorance let me ask.
“Age, sex, location.”
“Okay.” I got so excited because these were the things I didn’t know.
“Asian, female, between 35-45 years old.”
I went private. At first, I was scared about these private domains. I was foreign to this idea of being too personal, and afraid of some people who were lewd. But I needed these experiences that could break the walls surrounding my routine and sad life. “ The Edge of Things” by Edith Tiempo, pushed me to “that brink or threshold, none other may enter.” And that “leap of faith,” which Kierkegaard calls, let me jump into the abyss or beyond the abyss.
My fight, mhwhahahahah… I’ll do it in cyberspace – I have to make out of something, or else I’ll just be keeping everything and I would die, too. I had to free these golden butterflies inside my stomach and shreds of heaven-threads in my veins if for moments of releasing my act of faith.
I met Eazymaan, Medicate, Caterpillar, Virgo Woman, Pilot, and Wild Fire while I hid on the pseudo Moon and Stars. I thought I had the whole world right before my eyes. Tasks were done at the same time as I searched for the books of Exupery, the Essays of Montaigne and the Reflection of Solitude by Thoreau. I was in the chatroom, inside my room with only the beating PC.
For hours, unrelenting thoughts fell on the monitor, every letter captured the moment of truth and illusions. I found rooms full of people from different places and different time zones and different clothing. I met them as ants would kiss each other and stop and go. And then I’ve learned tags on this new dimension of Science. A new dictionary on the internet.
“LOL.” LOL means laugh out loud. You say that when someone goes funny.
“BRB” means: Be right back.
“Mwah” means a big kiss. Chatmates offer and receive a bunch of flowers as token of
appreciation, a cup of steaming coffee from Starbucks, munch chocolates – Hersheys, Kisses, and Snickers, or Life Savers candy. Yummy! Pick your choice. It was a room full of everything. Illusions over life. This became not a portion of my reality, but my reality. It was fun.
Deprived of power and feeling destitute that time, I explored possibilities. The big difference was taking Jose Rizal’s “Touch me not.”
I got close connections with some chatmates all over the globe. Some names I couldn’t remember though…BUT there were two of them who became my best of friends. Here I found out that people in the chatrooms were not bad, not bums, not stupid. They were ordinary and loveable people just like you and me. I would like to think a few were machines, or maybe models to promote a product. They could even be members of a cult. I don’t know. But above all, proper rules were observed in the room. We called it “netiquette,” which means internet etiquette.
My first private chat was full of oohs and aahs. I was curious how the conversation would go. My chatmate being a gentleman taught me how to be technologically literate and updated. Adriano, I could recall his name. I couldn’t believe he was a sexy star in Italy. I tried chatting with him and when he asked me about my vital statistics, I boasted a perfect measurement of “36-24-36.” He went gaga over me, while I described the features of a beauty titlist, the softness of Venus de Milo, and the charm of Monalisa. I seduced him to beg for my virginal words, until he told me he was aching. The dialogues were spiels in a movie spinning to manifest desires. Adriano thanked me and I laughed out all my stored energy that almost drove me mad.
And you know what? He owned a villa and a number of cars that bestirred my financial desires. How I wished I could reveal my true identity, but because it was in Italy, and Rome is in Italy, the home base of the Pope – I had second thoughts… The act was disgraceful for a respected woman. Besides, I did not have that Aphrodite figure, I was more huggable like Winnie the Pooh bear than a sexually titillating bold star. We were two different worlds.
Good bye Adriano.
I continued searching for unlimited territories. I tried saying hi to all, baring sweet words. The thin line between words and emotions almost cracked like abyss. A word especially written would crush a heart and rip a soul if not thought of carefully. Yet positive words encouraged dreams, strengthened confidence, and saved lives.
Switching from one site to another searched me the stories told long ago. It reminded me the fairy tales, the narrations, and the poems, that gave hope. The stories chanted me to fairy land. The journals of Virginia Woolf, the Diary of Anne Frank, and the letters of the Philippines’ Bienvenido Santos took my breath away. And because I was Filipino, I also found Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo plus the recommended and popular articles that inspired ambitions and made heroes, and Saints. Of course, I never forgot chapters on the Book of Wisdom, the Koran, and the Holy Bible written through the ages – those that until now introduce the words of the prophets, the words of Yaweh, the words of Allah, the words of Jesus Christ.
Cyberspace gulped me. Here’s the evidence of the evolution of language, communication, and words. From the writings of the Nambikwara, the scribbles in the caves to the cultured populace, for ordinary people and literary gods – words are life.
Each passing day the computer was my pal. In the computer were my friends now, and unlike my first time – I realized these people were people who could be trusted – better than those next to me, better than those next to my house. Some of them better than families. Well done! I had my men and the rendezvous I wanted. It taught me that life could be meaningful and exciting as the night closes and the day begins.
The internet thrilled arid fields of my activities . I didn’t know why. My friends laughed at me because I was really growing mad while I tell them stories about chatting. “Find a boyfriend? Why not? I could do that, I told a friend.” And so did I. I chose names from different sites and tried to match; flaming, crossing out, comparing names I felt were charming. I thought their names suggested something, I thought it meant something. Until, I clicked my mouse to an American chatmate, and got agitated when he shouted at me. “Whore!” I knew he shouted. The texts were in BOLD letters.
My blood rose to my head, “ Be careful of what you say!” I could not fight him to the hilt because I was new in the game. He kicked me out of his domain, and I didn’t expect he’d do that. I tried to get even with this rude character.
I shouted back at him…”You are ugly!” “Ugly!” “Ugly!” The colors of his letters changed in rage. He was so angry. And shouted again “Get out of my private!”
I was shocked, his words got into my nerves. I thought he was in front of me, and he made me feel nervous. I could slap his cheeks. I thought I’d shut down. But no ---
Instead, I chose another name, “Marksman.” I clicked on Marksman. Because I thought he could shoot him. I ran to him.
Marksman was Jake. Jake was an Indian. He was a Muslim. He lived in Kuwait.
“What’s the matter?” I told Jake, the American kicked me out of his domain because he shouted impolite words at me. He told me to relax, and so I calmed down. It was kind of getting instructed. The chatroom was in a commotion. Then Jake popped up to me in his kind words, “ It’s over. Don’t be furious sweety. Take a deep breath.” Jake saved me from the rude limping white mouse who was hiding in a black cloak.
Marksman and I had become the best of friends. We exchanged ideas and he gave me good literature. His words were profound, you know Indians are identified with the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi and Teresa of Calcutta. I learned a lot from his one liners and tried to memorize his evoking thoughts. He told me that I would succeed. This gave me confidence. And from here I knew that there were good people around. It’s not because of ones race, or belief, or sex, or religion, or status in life, or even education, that people become friends but people become friends because they respect each other.
Jake was so amiable. He called me Florentine which means a beautiful flower. Jake was proud to tell me that he had lots of women on the net but he had only one wife. He observed Ramadan and other Muslim holidays.
Yakub was the Muslim name of Jake. I told Yakub “We’d watch the stars together.”
After Yakub, I found another bestfriend. His name was Norman. He was based in the United Kingdom. He lived in a house on top of a hill at Yorkshire. I could imagine his house like a castle. What’s fantastic to me was because the movie “Dracula” was shot on that place. And so I was sort of intrigued about this new friend Norman. “In Yorkshire, at night, the fog was a shade of purple,” Norman told me.
Norman was a paramedic. “My job required most of my time and what’s sad is because people only recognize us during emergencies.” Though he told me, that was okay because it’s a way serving people. He was devoted his work so much and told me stories about his job, his schedules, his promotion, his new car, his favorite things. Then he laughed out loud, typing the keys, “LOL.”
Norman was real romantic. He was the sweetest person, ever in this planet telling me about my possibilities and that I was the most beautiful girl in this world. He said he would move the world if I were ill, and would be devastated if I leave him. I fell in love with him on the net, and revealed my wounded soul. Here, I’ve realized that love is faceless (anonymous). Serving the other as in reciprocal love. No one using the other. It is reflective of the Divine (Carol Wotyla). Days and nights had passed, and I did not miss a day writing him. Sometimes we’d chat, sometimes we’d just leave IM’s (instant messages). I thought he was right in front of me. He was the husband I never had and he called me a wife. I promised him a lot of things. I even swore to him and had the guts of a divorce in my marriage after 3 years and I would fly and live with him in UK. We’ve known each other for more than a year and at the close of each day we’d say good night.
One time we had a fight because I crossed some limitations asking him to come and get me. He let me recognize I was too dependent on him and that we were just living our lives in fiction. That struck my head and split my skull.
The plight made me see that I lived quite a miserable state. It opened my eyes to examine my life. I wanted to deny the facts, but it was evident that my spouse had another family. My miserable marriage would in some time, freeze me alone. Fairy tales can’t come true. And cyberspace is abstract and intangible. Should I want to fulfill something – I have to accept my spouse doesn’t love me anymore. The root of this madness is the marriage problem, not the internet gigs, not my Englishman chatmate. And so for three nights and three days, my tears wouldn’t dry living my fiction.
I acted the protagonist who could not decide how to end the fate given her by the creator of the story. Day by day I constantly went online and was surprised on the fifth day checking my inbox: “I’ve got mail!” Norman was too good to start again our unfinished love story. He said I’m sorry and cheered me up. This time he tried to weave a better story for me. I thought we were Romeo and Juliet.
I felt so loved without exerting much effort, just typing on the keyboard: words, living words. I had that intense and affectionate feeling of being the only woman in Norman’s life, a woman who satisfied a lover, a woman with great power over a man to let her bleed and bloom. Norman made me a woman who exulted her man as the toughest among all men to conquer love at the apex of eternity.
He wrote me a letter:
“I could never chain you to my heart.
That would mean that you would forever be a prisoner of my love.
I want willingly to give your life to me.
Your embrace is my wish.
Your touch is my dream.
Your love my salvation.”
I was mesmerized! He held all my senses, he embedded my heart in his and his in mine. For me, this prose was the best poem of my life.
At 12 o’clock midnight, Philippine time, we would get online for five to ten minutes then he would go. We would communicate about us, about work, and some ideas – a lot more. It was worthwhile as I’ve learned a pattern of how an Englishman speaks, his culture, and how he treats a woman, just by the email exchanges. Norman was kind and unselfish of his time chatting to me, as if I was getting a tutorial online for free. And more than that, he made me feel like a dainty wine glass carved with diamonds. He told me he would kiss me anywhere, and would be so proud to have me in his arms, “And if just holding each other’s hand would still be special,” to make me happy.
I kept a journal of our love stories immersing in my dream fiction. From sunrise to sunset my thoughts would not free me, had I not written something and bled for words for Norman. Here – I regained the dignity I’ve lost. 1440 minutes a day, Norman became my real husband. I forgot my problems. I forgot my husband, his devilish mistress.
Norman’s love conquered space and time. His mwahs taught me about a kiss that breaks the glass of age into pieces. Our hearts became one and had thought if we could make love together. It was impossible! Although at times, I felt my ears red and my body weaker every time he teased me he wished for a release. He told me we could have sons and daughters, and if none, he would still love me. “As long as you are with me.” He promised “We would live in the shelter of our love and we would make love while the sun slides down slowly. Then we would sleep together while the stars watch over us and wake again to make love with the rising sun.” Norman was my dream.
Everyday I felt so excited and so beautiful. I was not the dumped wife. I was then the wife of an Englishman. Mrs. Peri.
For a year again we chatted and lived our perfect love story. Him - my husband, and me - his wife. There was that enchanting feeling of being loved and cared for. And though the oceans parting us from different lands, I could never betray him. “Take care of my heart.” He always reminded me. “My love is for you alone.”
How would one contend with this madness? Of living in books? Of living in fairy tales? Of living a life on the net, without seeing, without knowing, and without real touching. Soulmates should I say, or could he be a creature like me? Dying for words? I knew how to differentiate fiction from nonfiction, but now I’m forgetting the rules. Am I getting crazy?
One day my spouse came home at dawn, and noticed me getting online those sleepy hours. He didn’t care. Neither did I. He often mocked, “Stop imagining things!” He exclaimed that I was a deranged writer who could never be satisfied with reality. I was imperfect and I was almost like a chip in the computer programmed for stories. I couldn’t have flesh, I couldn’t have urges, I couldn’t smack, I couldn’t satisfy. I’m only good at words, and that is all. His friends teased I was not a woman, embarrassed by the thought of accused frigidity, maybe.
While time passed by, my situation became more transparent to Norman. I asked him if we could really be together should I get an annulment. He confused me with a vague answer, “ I could not break your marriage vow, it is sacred.”
What? I turned pale and unbelieving. He was playing up…
“Liar!”
He swooned me, got into my soul, melted my heart – let me believe our love was real now he’s telling me he couldn’t break my marriage vow? He couldn’t fight for me.
“Coward!”
His arrogance showed like his well-chiseled pointed nose, “Don’t you know I was just making you feel good? How could you think I would marry you for real? I thought it was clear we were just making up fiction?”
I wanted to kill myself at his insensitivity. How belittling his strong words went through at me, then leaving me with a blank space. That time, I hoped I would never wake up. My marriage was a failure. And now my love affair is a fake. Love dries up on me. My lovers come and go leaving unexplained memories, drowning me in tears of remembering dreams that would never come true - so my flashes of reverie.
Norman swore to me “I adore you.” He was at my disposal.
“I am yours and you are mine. I think of you and yearn for your touch every waking moment. My heart is yours till the sun fades from the sky for the very last time...”
I lament this lying poetry. He lied to me like Genaro. I am one stupid woman.
For several days I was out of touch. I felt I was one of the most repressed persons on earth where I could not email and chat. I forgot my other friends and denied my global community on the World Wide Web (www).
Still, some friends emailed me but I didn’t email back. “Whats up? Why aren’t you getting online now? Keep in touch and take good care of yourself.”
Yes, my friends cared for me a bit, too. But I wouldn’t tell them anymore. I couldn’t figure out the limits from hereon. I felt so broken for weeks, couldn’t escape what I’ve been through. It would be funny and unreasonable for people to know that a deadly computer virus hit me, maybe a damaging Trojan lurking in my soul, crashing my humanity, feasting on my breath.
“Heaven please give me dignity!”
For months I never emailed. I swore I wouldn’t go back to my inbox, never ever. A guy tricked me again! I curse Adam. How I thirst for the male blood and urging to burn his flesh. But then, the internet isn’t human. They’re just wires. I should never be affected. I should understand…
As I am locked in an inadequate marriage, the romance of my life is only an untouchable fulfilling shadow of an earth of technology under the sky.
If for times I had happiness with this creeping madness, then I would sign in. Chat again. Maybe science would extend Norman, once my haven and a dummy, zoom another Norman in tiles and icons, chips and softwares, around space and time. And sometime, online - we would find each other; or, I would find another him among millions chatting, an offspring perhaps, for the rest of my life.
Signing off.

2nd draft.

Note: The names and identities of persons here are not true. This is a fiction story.

copyright rose flores - martinez 2009
http://roseprayers.blogspot.com
http://rosevoc2.wordpress.com
http://rfvietnamrose09.blogspot.com

3. Waiting

I always waited. For people close to me, I always waited.

I felt the stars in me when you came home at night, the sky shifting, covering us to bed. But sometimes waiting caged me in the gloom of evening shadows. I would not deny my body got affected by the temperature of the earths cycle - its touch to natures order of being. Staying in a room alone made me fearful waking up after daylight without you.

I sought your return. You knew I was waiting for you.Every night I planted the seeds at the backyard. The seeds were given to me by Petunia, my bird friend and pet who would fly to the veranda carrying and lodging the seeds one by one at the slits of the wooden sofa.

Petunia brought me seeds of different shapes and colors. Some green, some brown, some yellow, some black and white. In a week I gathered the seeds and kept them in a little golden box in the kitchen corner. Those who saw the little golden box reminded me of Pandora and her secrets. I kept my secrets in a promise. But the golden box was very different from Pandoras, rather, it was a heaven’s treasure chest, a cure for the woes and wails of Pandoras temptations.

Petunia and I froze long hours growing the garden. The backyard at night was lighted with bright lights like the carousel of a kids dream ride. I tucked every seed with extra care down the earth. It touched the brown clay soil, buried it with my hands, expecting that I would be holding a bloom soon to grow. That was every night before I sleep.

One rainy evening there was a loud knock at the door. It was my stepsister Grisha and my stepbrother Ben. They were crying and almost kneeling in front of me begging if they could stay with me for a while because their mother, the mistress of my father had just died.

“Mama Nena died of dehydration. You know we are poor and our Papa’s business had stopped from the day he died, too,” pleaded Grisha.

“Please sister Jellin, help us. You are our family,” cried Ben. I could see they have prepared their luggage for a vacation in my house, I thought of my father.

“Please get inside now, and fix yourselves.”
I could not say no feeling we both share my fathers blood in some way.I let them stay in one bedroom, on the third floor. I told them strictly they should not sit on and not use the sofa because it was my personal property . They meekly conformed to my request. Unlike before when Papa was still living and they got all of what’s supposed to be mine - the business from the marriage of my father and mother. Their Mama Nena used the money betting and playing cards. She squandered it on parties for her friends.
There was nothing left for them but their 2 bags of old things, things of no value at all. Near midnight, when they got settled in the room. I went to the backyard and tended my plants. Petunia was hovering around some budding flowers and shrubs, humming her sweet chirps. Her hum was not like an owls tweedling in a lonely forest nor a bats puckering, leaving crushed seeds near coconut trees. Her hum was so friendly in the thick of the night like the sound of a small xylophone. It sounded like a hymn from the skies.

The garden was starting to bloom now. I’m having it cleaned every month by a gardener who would remove unwanted growing plants I couldn’t pull and cut. Petunia became my assistant, a trained incredible pet from a jungle in the south.

“Petunia, I have to plant some seeds again. Come with me.”

“Tweet tweet,” Petunia flapped. Tweet tweet means okay. And a loud quack means no.

And then we planted. During halt of work, I hid in my bedroom, thought when you’d return. Soon, you would be coming, and many of you would be coming home. You would be inspecting my garden to see how much the plants grew. My thumbs are not green but it got hardened and blistered because everyday I raked the soil and dug my fingers into the soil. I wanted to handle with care what you left me and what you shared with me the time I had nothing. It was the time when my father left me nibbling my fingers and just the silent walls around. I had no decent place to dwell. Then you took me in your house. Your house became mine because you trusted me for being a caring servant in your house. I told you I would always stay and guard the house, and wait for your dearests who would lodge in.

You had been like a father to me, when my own father left me for another woman.

“Tweet tweet,” it was Petunia again. She always barged in my thoughts. Petunia and I worked diligently. “After this gardening tonight, we have to mark the calendars for our harvest time.”

“Tweet tweet.”

On harvest time the varied seeds would be bearing leaves, flowers, fruits, and all. I dreamed it would bear a golden fruit, a golden flower and another golden leaf. I was a dreamer and my reality was this garden where I devoted my life.

“Jelline, you have an attractive garden!” said Grisha

“Can I help you tend the garden?”

“I’m sorry, but I’m not allowing a stranger tend the garden.”

“Stranger? But I’m your stepsister, and I could help.”
“There are reasons…” I did not entertain Grisha and Bens help. It was too much giving them my trust.

One night a storm hit the town. Darkness fell all over the place and all the lights were out. The wind blew some branches and terribly damaged the house. Petunia stayed with me hiding herself from the wild wind. Ben and Grisha helped me fix the broken windows.

I visited the garden to see the little plants, got some of the pots and put them under the veranda shade. You would come home soon and you would visit the garden. Petunia followed me doing the task while her small beak fixed some damaged leaves.

Later, knocks were heard at the back door. Who could that be knocking at midnight? I did not open the door. But Grisha was quick to unlock it letting 2 men enter the house

“Can we stay for a night?”

“Of course you can!” Grisha interrupted.
I looked at her and could slap her big mouth in her arrogance and ignorance. I looked at the two men. They looked calm but I was not trusting

“You got a nice house and attractive garden!”

“Stupid, don’t mind the garden!” Grisha murmured.

They looked around the house as if their eyes searched every corner and dust. One of them went upstairs and in a while I heard Ben shouting ---

“Yes sir, yes sir!” And then both of them came out, the stranger raising my jewelry box dragging Ben and adorning his head with the golden crown of the statue of the risen Christ.

“No, no, no please!”

“Hey, he’s my brother, please spare his life,” Grisha shouted.

“Your brother would not be hurt if you’ll give us what we get here… this crown, this jewelry… and more….more…….. hahahahha!”

“Let us stay for a night, till the day breaks,” exclaimed one of the robbers.

“Have you something to eat?” One of them barged into the kitchen.

The crown belonged to my ancestors. I took care of it for years, and it was the only thing I got from my father. Grisha and Ben knew about it but didn’t care. If only they knew its value
Grisha was in rage, “Okay get it, get it!”

“No, I want something more, take more with it,” said the thief.
The robbers ran here and there, broke the cabinets while their hungry mouths ate the rice cakes inside the fridge.

If only you were here, this would not happen, I thought. But you have to go somewhere else. I kept my fear locked in my breath so these two men would see my calmness despite their filthy deeds.

They let us seat under the stairway, and I can see Petunia skipping on the wires hiding beneath the big umbrella leaves. Ben was shivering, clothe in his cowardice and sobbing. “Don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me.”

Grisha exposed her white long legs, trying to kiss one robber, trying her luck to bargain herself for freedom. Cowards, I was shouting inside of me. I felt hatred remembering Ben and Grisha under the influence of Mama Nena’s unrefined tutelage. Time Papa got seriously ill, they didn’t bring him to the doctor or let him take some medicines, so he vomited cups of blood because of something he mistakenly ate. Or was it because he was poisoned?

“Jellin, Jellin, offer all your money and your possessions!” Grisha barged into my reminiscence. Now I can see one of the robbers kissing Grisha as she was feeding rice cake into the robber’s mouth. They also got the liquors from the bar. They were gulping the wine, they were feasting. They let Ben drink, too, his mouth looked pale dipped in vinegar. He was burping while singing until he puked. It smelled food and mold together.

“Hahahaha, your brother is stupid, he easily gets drunk!”

“Look at us. We’re enjoying, eating and owning your wealth. This is a party!”

Grisha was getting tipsy and very wild. I was looking at the robbers intensely thinking if I could do something. They didn’t have a gun but their small knife and ice pick could slit a stomach and cut a tongue. They were aiming to target should we have foul moves. Their bodily gesture showed me, they would hurt us, as if they were rehearsing for a savage role

“How much would this crown cost if I sell it?

“I don’t know.” He pulled my arm and motioned the knife touching my face, and then the knife sliding his tongue.

“How much?”

“Maybe 5000, 10000, 20000”
“Huh, cannot buy a house…”

“Your jewelry?” “How much?”

Neither it’s enough to buy a house, they’re only casual”

Grisha winced…”trash.”

“Your cash?”

“You know we aren’t rich. Im only a book trader.”

“I want you juicy mouth? You are a beautiful lady.”

“Please don’t touch me, I would give you everything. And that crown, it will sell a lot of money, that was from my ancestors.”

“Good!”

“Your garden, why do you tend it so beautiful?” Give me some seedlings, so I could grow those plants too. I had my thoughts playing up. Where are you now?

The garden teased the robbers. Ben was almost asleep and Grisha drunk. I was trying to open my eyes widely, to keep watch. The robbers almost gathered the things and supplies, and the valuable crown. I could see they, too were losing strength tired of stealing. And they’re resting in my garden. They were pulling some leaves, crushing the buds and questioning about the fruits. The fruits were golden yellow.

“Let me take some of these.”

“No, please don’t ruin my garden.”

“Why, what’s the value this has to you?” It could not even make you a rich merchant?”
One of them pulled me, maybe thinking I was a threat to them.” I resisted.

“Don’t you ever ever touch me and destroy my garden.”

“Bwahahahahahaha,” the two robbers laughed harshly while Grisha scaredly laughed with them. One of them pulled me again and stripped my shirt, I struggled to free myself from the cruel arm that held my body.. the last time I remembered I got the ice pick from his pocket.

Silenced ensued. The lights in the garden seemed blurred, then later glowing again.
Grisha was telling Ben to stop wailing, after the two robbers left with the stolen st….uff..
Petunia flew coming back to me, his wings flapping on my cheeks. She roamed the garden nibbling on my shirt and telling me to rise I tried to reach out for the fruit, nearest, sought we would eat it together. Our simple but binding lunches which I compared to the Last Supper hanging on the wall was all I remembered

And then my promise. The covenant was to be waiting till your return, and those who would come after you. Please don’t forget the garden, I covered it with my blood while waiting for you.

I waited for you.


Rose Flores – Martinez, November 16, 2007
4:35pm
Revised September 18, 2009

2. Trees

There are several trees around our small house. Every time I look out my little garden, I see the avocado tree. The tree looks so humongous in my sight. Except that the other mango tree at the back of it scares me.

The mango tree spreads its branches all over and they say there’s a white lady in it.

Every time people pass by they ran and make a sign of the cross, driving the devil away.

I close the doors before the sun sets. I thought the trees would be monsters, yet I remember in fairy tales they’re childrens friends.

They would even give shade when the weather’s too hot.

One day I was going around my avocado tree. I thought about the fairies my grandparents told me about who lived in the avocado trees. Most of them say they are wicked, but I don’t like to believe them because God created us all.

Trees surrounded my little house and they were like people bigger than us with many arms like octopus and leaves that swing like stars.

Though people around me were arrogant and the trees don’t talk, they were more friendly. When I water them and seemed to glow with luster and the leaves start to sing and dance.

One day I fought with a bad guy just around the corner because of the noisy pets/ fierce and barking dogs. My dog disturbed their sleep. They didn’t want my pup so I had to give it away.

So it was only the tree and me in the morning and no more pet.

The leaves crowd my house when rainy season comes, and every time I cry I have to close the windows so the trees won't see me.

But the trees are better than the people around. They couldn’t talk and could look scary sometimes, but in the end they’re the one that try to gleam with sunshine and stand by me when I cry.


Copyright roseflores - martinez 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Wrote Fiction


1. Make - up

MAKEUP

My father told me I looked like a beauty queen. He told me that if I tied my hair neatly and walked gracefully, I could put on a crown. He bought me many pairs of shoes – orange, yellow, and black, different colors, and dresses that are charming but out of this world. I’m proud to wear those dresses because glancing eyes followed me that echoed what father said: You are beautiful!
Beauty for me was self-expression. It was the way you carry yourself marvelously neat, and appropriate, sometimes even by simply opening the mouth, tacitly smiling and boastfully laughing, or just by displaying an awkward mannerism. Father told me about these things.
But my classmate, like Elizabeth (how much I envy Elizabeth!) glided like a ballet dancer. And Ara with her long lashes brushed with black mascara, and Sophia with her rosy tinted cheeks and glossy powder patted on her face, formed like buds in the morning. I wanted the same things, too - on my eyes, on my cheeks, on my face. “But no makeup, I wouldn’t like you to put on makeup. You would grow pimples and allergy. Don’t apply nail polish, too. Stay plain. Stick to the name of simplicity. It’s the essence of being a woman,” father said.
Being a woman. It was fun being a woman. My friends said it’s as beautiful as butterflies with transparent wings, the feeling of mist, and sunrise. "A woman blossoms to a full bloom with a fragrance enticing the earth to settle and bow down to the sky."
But not yet, being a woman maybe later …
Everyday when I went out the house, I could observe people’s personality were enhanced by the clothing they wore. They’re wrapped in different packages. Though it’s true I saw how they adorn themselves in a civilized environment, I also wanted to discover how they would differ from animals. How we differ from the cats and dogs, lizards and mosquitoes, boars and wolves.
Oh, the skin and its pores – fine pores and coarse pores. Violy’s skin was flawless and white while Judy’s was dark and shimmering. Violy always shouted in her squeaking voice, “Francia, Francia we have to try all possible ways how to look attractive!” I would just look at her. We worked together with school projects. And then Judy would tell me, too – “You have to go with some boys and Andre so you would know how to feel and be woman.” Judy was our school muse who walked in stiletto like a model. She swayed her hips gracefully like the bamboos that swayed with the wind.
My looks spelled naivety. There were times I felt boys were afraid of me because I was so plain, and maybe like them? But I always remember what father said, “You are beautiful Francia.”
One day father bought me two dresses from Escolta. One dress was a violet quilt that seemed to make me a princess ready to sleep, and the other was a red and blue dress, pleated up to my knees which let me symbolized something worthy of praise like a flag. I wore that blue and red dress during an awarding ceremony. I felt simple and elegant in the red and blue dress. And respectable, too.
I could imagine myself so proud in that dress, while father would hand me the award for my declamation. Awarding day came and made me stand glued near the canteen and small gate. I was waiting for father. He didn’t arrive. I could play jumping jack. It didn’t matter anyway, my teacher just gave me the plaque. By the end of the ceremony, father came with his friends and uttered his sorry. That was okay. I hugged him tight.
“You look like a beauty queen,” he teased me and I smiled.
Such was my father.
College graduation highlighted a change in the way father treated me.
“You have to be responsible of your actions and the work you would soon do, Francia.”
“But of course, father. Don’t you trust me?
‘There are many things in life one has to learn. You would know soon. In the jungle out there, sometimes, you have to be a lion and sometimes you have to be a rat.”
“Opposites? Like day and night?”
That was how we spoke to each other.
“What gift would you like to get from me?”
“Nothing, maybe only a few bucks so I wouldn’t ask for any other expense when I look for a job.
“You have to beg now,” father laughed out loud as if insulting me.
The next day father gave me something. I thought it was strange, because of all the reasonable things he told me, what he gave me was immaterial.
“I thought you didn’t like me to put on makeup?”
“You are an adult now. You could paint your face as you like. Reinvent. Disguise. Express. Color.”
I was engrossed inspecting the big box full with varied cases, bottles, and tubes of makeup. Some brands were expensive, some were cheap, but all in all –the gift was very attractive to me. I knew the big box cost more than my expensive novelty.
Thank GOD not only because father could afford these things but also because he had taste.

That night I tried the different hues that would seem to look good on me. Eye shadows and lipstick – pale and daring colors. Yes, I could model and ramp on graduation day!
Father’s gift was so exciting to me. I knew it did not make any sense but I really liked it. He said that putting on makeup made one prepare for maturity, I answered that it gave me the thrill of being a child. Of being free. To experiment on things I’m not used to find importance. Could I be like Violy, or Elizabeth, or Sophia?
Father peeped in my bedroom good night, noticing how excited I was. Maybe on graduation day, I would feel woman.
“Good night Francia. Just wait for me tomorrow at the auditorium. I will be there and would listen to your graduation speech. Mr. Banong would bring you to school early because I have to see a client. And don’t worry, I wouldn’t be late. I’ll make sure of that, I promise.”
My heart wandered a bit. It throbbed a deep longing for my father. But in a way I was quick to get my words right.
“Tomorrow I would wear all these makeup father,” I laughed and kissed him.
“Good night again, model student.” then father sealed my forehead with a kiss.
The next morning, Mr. Banong brought me to school early. In school everybody wore the best they could to impress. You know teenagers and the would-soon- to be adults, they’re searching for identities. And pushing to be on top. Popularity counted for us.


And so the awaited day right in my hands. The hallway leading to the auditorium was full of spotlights. It was elegant and quiet. But inside me, it looked cold and freezing. There was a tinge of loneliness in my heart I couldn’t explain.
Later, I would be delivering the speech as a model student, and I’d make sure father would be seated in front to listen to the girl, he chanted to be the most beautiful in his life. Father was my mom, too, and I could identify with him - not from what a baby would suck from a mothers breast, but because of his sweat protecting me to become a worthy person. I may not be as gorgeous as my other friends but my breeding is something history would preserve. I owe my father.
“Francia, hurry the program would be starting in 10 minutes,” said Elizabeth. “You have to go in front and remain seated.”
“But..”
“Daddy is late again… hahahaha” Elizabeth laughed. I winced at Elizabeth then she hurried away. I still waited until the emcee called my name and I run through the spotlights going to the stage. The scene was a bit dramatic because I deviated from the procedure, and the sitting arrangements. People glanced at their programs, and maybe questioned, “… the model student?

What mattered to me was father to see me deliver this final and memorable speech. I thought he would glory in my shimmering eye shadow, red full lips and a rosy tint – his baby girl and beauty queen: a real star!

But father was not around…My eyes searched all corners of the auditorium to seek for this robust and gentle man until my speech ended. I got applauded for the model student address.
After the other ceremonies, I ran near the canteen to check had father arrived. Time passed by and I stood waiting, shrunk like a soaked sponge in the shifting afternoon.
My face began to sweat oil and I could feel the sticky mascara and eye shadows smudged all over my eyes. I wiped my face with my bare hands and tried to free it from the colors that blemished my innocence . “Where is my father?”
I seemed lost in the night until Mr. Banong came to get my things.
“Where is father?”
Mr. Banong kept his silence. I asked again.
“We would go to your father.”
I felt a deep mystery inside my heart but I kept my peaceful pace because I was accustomed to father’s business meetings.
I have to let father know he did not keep his promise to me, let him see how an adult wears makeup and how an adult expects a promise. A promise is more than words. More than a ceremony. More than something to compromise for… I have to let him know a promise is sacred like the freedom I get putting on all this make up.
Mr. Banong, what did father say?
The driver didn’t answer me. Instead he repeatedly beeped the car so we could make a turn.
And he stopped in front of a mortuary.

I did not ask Mr. Banong questions anymore but hurriedly went down and run the creepy hallway. I guessed I knew what was happening and I didn’t like to understand it. Father was all I got and never in my dreams had I prepared for this scene of meeting him inside a box topped with a mirror.
They said father suffered three gun shot wounds because of the bad guys who wanted to kill him. Anguish was around me – in the air, in the shadows, in my body and in my face. Now I would be alone. Was this the responsibility father told me about?
I still got some colors on me, and I tried to explore my face in front of father in the coffin, with the little angels that watched on the Cross.

By: ROSE FLORES - MARTINEZ 2008

Mary Magdalene