Friday, November 2, 2012

Jasmine Chapter 2

(Author's Note: Are you afraid of the dark? I am. I sleep with the lights on sometimes. - Lee)

Previous: 1

“Hey! Hey! Shhh!”

I felt a cold hand over my mouth, while another was holding my wrist against what appeared to be the wall of the coffee shop’s restroom.

“What the hell? I thought you wanted this?”

It was jasmine-smelling girl, with her hair all ruffled and her bra strap falling off her left shoulder, giving me a rougher kiss than I had expected. I immediately felt my face flush as I realized what had happened. How she came when I was reading her book, how I gave her a smile, a quick chat, and the invitation to the coffee shop’s restroom for a quickie.

She let go of my hand and fixed herself up.

“I was just trying to find a good time, you know. I should have known you were a weirdo the moment you told me you were researching about eggs.”

With that, she left the restroom with me in it, and her lingering jasmine scent. I was still a bit rattled as I turned to the restroom mirror to wash my face. That was when I noticed something on the floor, just beside the toilet bowl. It was the pocketbook that I saw jasmine-smelling girl put on top of the table earlier, opened in the middle, face down on the floor. I picked it up, and was shocked to see that the opened page contained the face of the disfigured man on one side, and mine on the other. I screamed for the second time in that restroom as I saw the mirror reflecting the disfigured man, with his bloody eyes and lopsided mouth, standing behind me.

“Miss, miss, wake up!”

I felt a strong hand shaking my shoulder as I woke up with a  sick sense of disorientation in front of my laptop in a corner of the coffee shop. I saw the coffee shop’s guard looking at me suspiciously.

“We’re about to close up, miss. That must be some heavy article you’re writing for you to doze off like that.”

I apologized and thanked him and shoved my things in my bag as quick as I could. I rushed down the stairs and had my hand on the door when I heard the guard call me.

“Miss! Hey, miss! You left something.”

I turned back and saw him extending his hand, holding the purple pocketbook with the disfigured man on the cover. Without saying a word, I turned my back and rushed out of there as fast as I could. I was sweating bullets, half-running towards the taxi bay.

I was able to breathe more regularly when I finally settled inside the taxi. I gave the taxi driver my address and plugged in my earphones to calm me down. I kicked myself for being too much of a nervous freak. Absolutely no more expensive bitter coffee for me!

I closed my eyes and listened to the upbeat music. After a few moments, I opened my eyes and looked outside that dark street barely illuminated by cheap halogen street lamps. Then, my hairs stood on end as my nostrils caught a whiff of a familiar scent. Jasmine. In slow-motion, I dreadfully looked at the rearview mirror and the cruel disfigured purple face of a man with bloody eyes, lopsided mouth was the last thing I ever saw.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Jasmine Chapter 1

(Author's Note: This is the last time I am writing something like this in the middle of the night during a creepy holiday in a spooky old house located in one of the most mysterious places in the country. Sheeesh. - Lee)

It was one of those days hot and humid days and being cooped up inside my nine square meter room felt almost like a punishment. I had some extra money to spare so I thought now would be a good time to go sip bitter coffee in that expensive coffee shop in the mall. This liberty, I thought, was one of the few perks of being a single twenty-five year old sleep-deprived home-based writer. I bought a tall cup of brewed coffee (the cheapest coffee item on the menu), and found a cozy space in a corner, near the electric sockets. It was a Thursday, 13th of the month, and a day before the mall’s weekend sale would go into full swing. It was only a little after noon so there weren’t too many people inside the coffee shop as I settled into my corner on the second level. I took out my laptop, logged on to the free WiFi service, and after checking out emails and Facebook statuses, proceeded to work.

I was immersed in the 1000 word blog article that I was writing on eggs, half amazed at the things I was finding out on the internet (Like, ‘The egg shell accounts for 9 to 12% of an egg’s total weight. Whaddaya know?) I glance up from my Acer Aspire One to mull over some egg facts when I saw her, a girl of  about my age, walking in a trance-like state towards the direction of the empty table beside mine. She had on a loose red shirt that has seen better days, shorts that barely covered her ass, and a pair of Havaianas slippers. She glanced sideways at me, and I could have sworn I saw her smile for a brief second before looking like a pretty hypnotized zombie. Yes, pretty. So I was a sucker for pale complexioned, frail looking chinitas who appear to be sleepwalking, sue me! She placed her wide Longchamp tote bag on her lap and gazed forward, not looking at anything in particular. She leaned on the cushioned wall and took a long deep breath. Then, she took out what looked like a pocketbook from her bag and laid it on the table top. I was immediately aware of the sweet smell of jasmine that was either on her hair or her skin, and I hoped that she would stay a bit longer, just so I could take in her scent a while more. But just as quick as she had come, she stood up in one graceful motion, slightly grazing my jeans enveloped leg.

So, maybe, I thought, she’d be buying her cup of coffee downstairs and used the book as her own ‘Reserved’ sign. I glanced at the purple colored book and saw a painting of the face of a disfigured man on the cover. Must be a horror novel, I thought. I pushed the thought of the disfigured man and the jasmine-smelling girl to the back of my mind and went back to my egg article. I wasn’t fully aware about how long I’ve been punching my keyboard when a couple of what looked to be nursing students based on their uniform, got my attention and asked me if the book topped table was taken. I smiled and nodded at the same time, and the two moved on to looking for another table. I did a quick survey of the room and realized that there were more people coming in. Jasmine-smelling girl hasn’t come back yet, and once again, the disfigured man on the cover was drawing me in.

I don’t know what came over me. One moment I was just taking the book off the table and looking at its cover. The next instant, I found myself in a dark place that smelled of damp and dirty washcloth. To my horror, I realized that I was tied to the wall, with clamps on my wrists and ankles. I could feel the cold metal eat into my flesh as I hung there, helpless and terrified. I started shouting for help but the stone walls only sent my shouts back to me. I tried to clear my head to remember what happened before I got into this nightmare of a situation. I remembered sitting in a coffee shop and sipping coffee and taking hold of a book, the book that pale, chinita, jasmine-smelling girl left on the table beside mine. I recall opening it up, and then, she… jasmine-smelling girl came and talked with me and… asked me out. I seemed to have been following whatever she told me because I recall taking a taxi with her and ending up in front of a really old ancestral house. I recalled how she immediately ripped my clothes off as we kissed each other like we were starving for each other’s taste on our tongue. We did it on the living room floor of the century-old house and I remember falling asleep in her arms and then, now, here I am, chained like a frog about to be dissected in biology class. After shouting until I was hoarse, I gave up and cried helplessly.

That was when I saw her, jasmine-smelling girl, clad in a silvery silk robe that appeared to have nothing but bare, pale skin underneath. She looked at me with her mesmerizing eyes and all I could think of was that this was the last time I will be duped by a chinita. She approached me without saying a word and I have seen my share of horror movies to know exactly how this would end. I see her smile a wicked smile as she bared her fangs and salivated like an insane dog. I closed my eyes and accepted my fate as the sweet scent of jasmine filled my nostrils before I felt her mouth and teeth on my neck just as I screamed with all the energy that I had left.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Is This the Real Life?

Now, as October ends, I look back to the 40+ posts I made this month and say, "Whew!!!" I am so glad to have put in some writing despite my laslas-pulso schedule this month. Hopefully, I will get to feed this blog with more stories in November.

As mentioned in a previous post, I am doing the NaNoWriMo this year and all hell is supposed to break loose tomorrow, November 1. It will be a gruelling month of putting together the first draft of a novel with at least 50 thousand words. I don't know how I will be able to get some short stories done with this task at hand but maybe I could post some bits and pieces of the novel I'm planning as I write it along. I don't know how you guys would take it as it may not entirely be lesbian-themed. (Full disclosure: I don't have a friggin plot yet. Gaaaaah!) I guess I'll take the story as it comes along. Please don't judge me if I don't even go beyond 10k in this 50k goal.

Also, JOMS Month comes to a close. If you all could recall, I mentioned at the beginning of the month that I would be dedicating October's posts to my Peyups G2G family. Majority of the stories I put out this month were inspired by our girl group (Charoz). And I believe it is only fitting that I end this month via a link to an article written by one of the most well-loved joms in our group. She captured our story best :)

Thank you again for being there for me and with me this October. Love and kisses to you all!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Saved by the Belle

(Author's Note: Last na to. Hahaha! Happy Happy birthday to the sizzlingest single butch on the face of this earth! - Lee)

You gave the bag a jab, a hook, a one-two combination.

You took up boxing to forget her. You channeled all the rage of her mind-jarring betrayal onto your sparring partners. Over the years, you have succeeded.

Then, one day, you catch a glimpse of the newbie.

You furiously shake your head.


Alas, she was a temptress incarnate.

She went for the bag nearest you, but not before hinting that she’d love to spar with you in private. You throw in the towel. Maybe a knockout like her would be worth the battle scars.

Maybe, this time, you’ll win.

Tangina'ng Kwento

(Author's Note: Para pa rin kay @sleazeeee itoooo! - Lee)

Tumawag ka sa ‘kin isang gabi. Umiiyak.

Huy, bakit?

Tangina, ang sakit-sakit na talaga. Tangina. Tangina.

Writer ka. In fact, isa ka sa mga hinahangaan ko pagdating sa pagsusulat. Ibang klase ang gagap at hagod mo sa mga salita. Swak na swak. Swabeng swabe. Pero nang mga oras na yun, bandang ala una nang madaling araw, habang namamaluktot ako sa lamig ng hanging Disyembre ay naubusan ka ng mga salita.

Tangina, ang sakit-sakit na talaga. Tangina. Tangina.

Ano ba’ng nangyari?

Tangina, break na kami.Tangina. Tangina.

O, hindi ka pa ba nasasanay?

Mababa ang EQ ko. Pagpapatawa ang pang-counter ko sa lahat ng emosyon.

Galit? Patawa.

Takot? Patawa.

Pighati? Patawa.

Huy, tama na yan. Tangina siya, kung di ka niya kayang mahalin, maraming pumipila para pumalit sa kanya, gaga.

Tangina, mahal ko siya. Tangina. Tangina.

Ikaw naman kasi, may sa tanga ka rin eh. Alam mo namang kakikilala mo lang sa haliparot na yun, pinatos mo agad. Ayan tuloy napala mo. Nagpa-jerjer ka na ba sa kanya? Ewww.

See? Low EQ.

Tangina, mahal ko siya. Tangina. Tangina.

Kahit noon pa’y di na talaga umuubra sa ‘yo ang pagpapatawa ko.

Huy, gaga. Itigil mo na sabi ang pag-iyak. Kung ako na lang kasi syinota mo, eh di hindi ka sana umiiyak ngayon.

Garbled sounds.

Torri? Huy, Torri, andyan ka pa ba?

Tapos, suminga ka.

Kath naman, heartbroken na nga ako, nagpapatawa ka pa.

Seryoso, tayo na lang! Mamahalin kita. Hindi kita paiiyakin.

Hahaha! Tangina mo.

Finally, napatawa rin kita.

Kung kelan naman seryoso ako.



(Author's Note: First QuickLit Fix para sa hottest butch ever @sleazeeee!)

Dianne was getting dizzy from the smell of aged grapes in Rosa’s breath. Turned-on-dizzy.

“We should do this more often,” Rosa says, words dripping from her lips along with the cheap Happy Lizard.

“Right. You really should get wasted more.”

“You should get drunk. Might grow you the balls to take advantage of me.”

“I don’t need balls or booze for that.”

“Then why don’t you?”

A desperate sigh.

“You really should be going to bed.”

Dianne snatches her backpack and heads towards the door.

“Please. Stay.”

Rosa’s voice works like a goddamn chain every time. Except tonight.

“I’m sorry.”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Trying My Luck (and Short Attention Span)

Just a few hours back, I decided to sign up for the NaNoWriMo challenge. (God bless my poor procrastinating soul.)

NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It's supposed to be this real harrowing experience where you try to come up with the first draft of your novel of at least 50 thousand words in the span of an earth-month. The challenge officially starts on November 1 and ends on November 30. That's 30 days of trying to churn out at least 1667 words a pop.

So, as if I'm not yet neck-deep with my Masters' paper, tutoring responsibilities, and writing jobs, I will once again dive myself into this pool of time consuming uncertainty.

(Ka-drama ah.)

By now, I should at least have a plot in mind. But first, I need to go find a piece of it. My mind, that is.

Meanwhile, I'd love to hear your suggestions for story angle possibilities. Or if you're as much a Gemini as I am (Geminis will get what I mean), come join me as we embark on this challenge together, sink or swim :-)

P. S. Today was not so happy, hence no webseries chapter posted. I'm gonna make bawi tomorrow by posting at least two ;-)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thanking everyone!


Another series done. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one who went along with the journey. Can't Deny ang pag-aappreciate ko ng pagbabasa niyo.

A special shoutout to the awesome peeps from Twitter who never tire of retweeting the links of the series to their legions of followers and even posting links on Facebook! @TanginaTibs, @TomboyTips, @Sapphic_Lounge, @rainbowblooded, @LezConfessions, @OMGTomboy, @OutandaboutMLA, @iheartricaparas, @eseiran. [If I forgot anyone else na nag-RT, please please let me know! Then give me a bonk on the head for forgetting!] Salamat din syempre sa mga followers ko na nagbabasa dito. Lab lab lab!

To my Peyups jomsisses, atin ang buwan na 'to. Nakaka-jirits lang na wala ako sa party bukas. Huhuhu! Ituloy natin ang MRT fieldtrip ha!

Kay @sleazee, hoy babae, kahit di ko alam birthday mo, ikaw ang unang-una kong ginawan ng kwento sa mga joms. Tapos hindi ako true friend? Hmp. Nagtweet pa ako kay @MissIzaCalzado para batiin ka. Hmp. Hmp. Kelan nga uli birthday mo??? Hahahaha!

Kay Syb [at sa iyong multiple personalitiesssss], siguro sa bawat 100 views ng site na 'to, 90 dun eh galing sa 'yo. Hahahaha! Salamat, salamat, salamat! [Isa for every personality. Pag kulang pa, sabihin mo lang, dagdagan natin.] Kelan tayo magkakape? :)

at syempre, Para Kay Aya :) my stories are not worth shit unless you like them.

Again, thank you soooo much sa lahat lahat!

Hihinga lang ako nang konti bago muling sumisid sa pagpo-post ng series, hane? [Chika lang, bukas makalawa may bago na ulit. Haha]

Salamuch sooo much!

- Lee

Friday, October 12, 2012

Diamonds Inside

(Author's Note: This is another story inspired by one of my Peyups friends. Happy birthday, @proudmaroon2!!! - Lee)

Gen uncovers the drawer filled with a decade’s worth of memories with Lucille and surveys its contents like a haciendera sizing up a failed harvest. Yellowed cards and letters mingled with rust-eaten pendants. In a dreary corner, Gen finds a box standing out without distinct markings. She reaches for it, feeling like she was about to pry open the gates of heaven and hell. Inside, the golden band conceals the earth’s hardest creation. Her vision blurs as Gen realizes just how much of Lucille was in the ring, how much she was like it: a treasure concealing a stone-cold heart.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Third Sleepover

(Author's Note: At the start of the month, I mentioned that I was dedicating this month's posts to the friends I've made from the Peyups Girl-to-Girl thread. That is why I am taking a pause from the current web series to make way for this quick lit fix that I am dedicating to two of my very good friends who are celebrating their anniversary as a couple today. This was the microfiction that inspired 'Kung Hindi Man Makatulog.' Enjoy! - Lee)

Four A.M. Slivers of light from the post outside the window were squeezing their way between the curtains like a Peeping Tom. Kei has been lying restlessly still beside Amy for the past three hours.

“Still up?” Amy’s voice cooed like a winding down record.

She turns to face Amy, but does not dare open her eyes. She could feel the warmth and moistness of Amy’s breath on her cheeks. Soon, light will be slaying the pregnant promises of darkness.

Then, without warning, Amy’s lips were on hers.

Kei savors a heartbeat’s span of velvety bliss. Then, contentment. Finally, sleep.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tagpi-tagping Tala Chapter 3

(Author's Note: Hanggang saan mo siya kayang ipaglaban? - Lee)

Previous: 1 2

14 February 2012

            Hotel room.

            Libreng Wi-Fi gamit ang netbook.

            Download ng “Yes or No” torrent. Basa sa PEx ng tungkol sa DivTin loveteam ng Pinoy Big Brother. Punta sa Facebook. Write note.

            Sampung taon rin tayong naging tayo.  Sampung taon ng saya, lungkot, galit, pagdududa, at ligaya.  Sampung taon ng pag-aaway, pagbabati, pag-aaway at pagbabati muli.  Sampung taong hindi lamang minsang binadya ng banta ng paghihiwalayan.

            Hindi ko malilimutan ang mga unang pangyayari sa ating pagsasama.  Unang halik, unang yakap, unang pag-iisa.  Unang aminan ng pagmamahal, unang pagtanggap sa pareho nating nararamdaman.  Kapwa man tayong hindi bihasa sa larangang iyo’y lubos nating nilasap ang bawat pagkakataon. 

Higit na hindi ko malilimutan nang unang mabanggit ang katagang kasal.  Hindi ba’t ikaw pa nga ang nagyaya sa akin?  Tumawa lamang ako’t binalewala ang alok mo apat na taon na ang nakalilipas.  Sa isip-isip ko noo’y nahihibang ka na yata.  Pabiro man o seryoso ang alok mong iyo’y ayoko nang pagtuunan ng pansin.  Basta’t ang mahalaga’y mula noon ay sabay nating hinabi ang ating mga pangarap.  Sabay nating kinulayan ang mga panaginip nang bahagi ang isa’t isa.

Pinangarap natin ang pagkakaroon ng sariling bahay at sasakyan, ang pagtatayo ng negosyo, ang pagkakaroon ng anak.  Noo’y mga pangarap lamang ang mga itong iginuhit sa tubig ng dalawang nilalang na dalawampu’t tatlong taon pa lamang nararanasan ang mabuhay sa mundo.  Libre nga naman ang mangarap, di ba?  At nung mga panahong iyon ay pinapatos natin ang kahit na anong libre.

Sinong mag-aakalang maisasakatuparan natin ang mga pangarap na iyon?  Sinong mag-aakalang darating ang araw na ito --- ang sandaling pagmamasdan kitang papalapit sa dambana, suot ang simpleng puting trahe na may puntas na kulay lila.  Matagal na akong pamilyar sa kariktan mong minsa’y iyong nalilimutan.  Ngunit nang mga oras na iyo’y punong-puno ng hindi maipaliwanag na kagalakan ang aking damdamin habang nililinang ko ang iyong kagandahan.

            Ako na yata ang pinakamaswerteng tao sa mundo nang mga sandaling iyon.  Tumayo ang iilan nating mga bisita at habang ika’y kanilang pinagmamasdan ay ramdam kong kanila ring nasilayan ang iyong karilagang hindi mo sinasadyang ikubli sa karamihan.  Habang naririnig ko sa koro ang himig ng isa sa mga paborito nating awitin ay binaha ng alaala ang aking isipan.  Noon ko naipanalangin na sana’y naroon ang nanay ko upang masaksihan niya ang pag-iisang dibdib ng kanyang panganay.  Sana’y nakita niya ang nag-uumapaw mong pagmamahal para sa akin, at ang walang hanggan kong pag-ibig para sa iyo.  Ayoko mang mabahiran ng lungkot ang napakagandang sandaling iyo’y hindi ko nagawang lunurin ang isang mapait na alaala.

            “Sa Sabado na po ang kasal namin ni Aya, Inay.  Sana po ay makadalo kayo.”

            “At bakit naman ako dadalo sa kasal-kasalan niyo?  Babae’t lalake lang ang pwedeng ikasal sa mata ng tao at sa mata ng Diyos.  Hindi ang mga kagaya niyo.  Hindi niyo na inisip ang sasabihin ng ibang tao.  Hindi mo na ako binigyan ng kahihiyan.  Umalis na kayo’t ayoko na kayong makita kahit kailan.  Wala akong anak na tomboy!”

            May munting kirot akong nadama at ni hindi ko halos namalayan na nariyan ka na pala sa aking tabi.

            “Ok ka lang?”

            Masuyo mong hinawakan ang aking mga kamay at matamang tinitigan ang aking mga mata.  Sandali akong natigilan habang tinitingnan ko ang mamasa-masa mo nang mga pisngi.  Kailan ka nga ba hindi umiyak sa mga sitwasyong kagaya nito?  At tulad ng dati’y naramdaman kong pinipiga ang aking puso habang nanlalambot ang buo kong pagkatao sa bawat pagdaloy ng iyong mga luha.

            “Ikakasal ako sa taong nagpapaligaya sa akin nang lubos at nagmamahal sa akin nang buong-buo.  Ikakasal ako sa taong pinakamamahal ko at pinakaiingatan.  Siguro naman alam mong higit pa sa ok ang nararamdaman ko ngayon.”

            Alam kong hindi magiging paraiso ang buhay nating dalawa, hindi magiging madali ang ating pagsasama lalo na sa kalagayan natin sa mata ng lipunan.  May mga kamag-anak na hindi makakaintindi, may mga kaibigang manghuhusga.  Ngunit sa pagkakataong ito’y walang halaga sa akin ang opinyon nila.  Ikaw ang isinisigaw ng puso at isip ko.  Ikaw ang nais kong maging bahagi ng mga hinahabi kong pangarap.  Ikaw ang nais kong makasama habambuhay.

            Hindi man tayo sa simbahan mag-iisang dibdib ay sa Diyos pa rin ako manunumpa.  Kakayanin ko ang lahat basta’t kasama kita.  Haharapin natin ang bukas nang magkatuwang, sa karamdaman man o kalusugan, sa yaman o kahirapan, hanggang sa paghiwalayin tayo ng kamatayan.

            Basahin ang isinulat. Ctrl A. Delete. Close browser. Kunin ang cellphone at magtext.

            “Ktatapos lng po ng seminar nmn knina. Uwi na po ako bukas.”

            Send to NANAY.

            Humiga sa kama. Yakapin ang katabi.

            Tapusin ang kwento.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tagpi-tagping Tala Chapter 2

(Author's Note: Ang kuwentong Para Kay Aya. Ipino-post para kay Syb. Inaalay sa pagprotesta laban sa RA 10175 o Digital Martial Law. Ipinaglalaban ang karapatang sabihin ang gustong sabihin nang hindi natatakot sa panghuhusga, sa pagkakakulong, o pagmumulta ng wan milyon peysoseysoses. - Lee)

Previous: 1

22 August 2006

            Living room.

            Dial up internet @ 56 kbit/sec.

            Log in sa Peyups website. Punta sa forums. Write post. Simulan ang kwento.

            Ayaw siyang dalawin ng antok.  Ang utak niya’y parang ligaw na hayop na matagal kinahon kaya’t pilit na nagpupumiglas.  Ang kaluluwa niya’y nagliliwaliw sa kung saan at parang wala pang planong lisanin ang entabladong pinagbibidahan.  Ang mga mata niya’y matamang nakapokus sa kawalan --- tumitingin nang hindi nakakakita.

            Sa labas ay animo konsyerto ng iba’t ibang klase ng tunog at awit.  Huni ng kuliglig, ng mga palaka at pati hangin ng gabing malalim ay ayaw magpatalo sa himig na bumabasag sa kung ano mang nakabibinging katahimikan na pilit sumasakop sa nakabubulag na kadiliman.

            Sa loob ng apat na sulok ng maliit na kwarto ay malapot ang hangin. Halo-halong amoy ng pawis at pagnanasa ang humahalimuyak.  Subukan man itong itaboy ng hanging ibinubuga ng maliit na electric fan ay hindi nito makayanan.

            Tumigil saglit. Patayin ang ilaw upang hindi mahalatang nagpupuyat. Magpatuloy.

            Nang mga sandaling iyon naalimpungatan ang balingkinitang katawang nasa kanyang tabi.  Katawang hubad at tanging bumabalot ay ang manipis na kumot na naging saksi sa maalab na pag-iisang naganap ilang oras ang nakararaan.

“Ok ka lang?”

            Tanong ng katabi niya habang pilit nitong minumulat ang namumungay at inaantok na mga mata.  Mga matang madalas ay lagusan ng walang katapusang luha, malimit ay bintana sa wagas na pagmamahal na handa nitong ialay nang walang pagdadalawang-isip.  Mga matang daig pa ang mikroskopyo sa pagdidiskubre ng damdamin --- pighati man o kaligayahan --- na pilit niyang tinatago sa mga mapanuri at mapanghusgang mata ng karamihan.

            “Oo, ok lang ako. Matulog ka na kasi maaga pa ang pasok mo bukas.”

            Dinampian niya ng masuyong halik ang kanyang katabi, hinaplos ang kayumanggi nitong balat at ibinalot ang kayakap sa mga bisig na handang kumupkop, handang magtanggol sa maselang nilalang na payapang nahihimbing roon.

            Paano niya magagawang saktan ang babaeng pinakamamahal niya?  Paano niya magagawang iwanan ang tanging dahilan ng pag-ikot ng kanyang mundo?  Paano niya magagawang talikuran ang nag-iisang pinagmumulan ng katinuang hindi niya mahagilap sa daigdig na ito?

            Muling tumigil. Pakiramdaman ang kaluskos na galing sa kwarto sa ikalawang palapag ng bahay. Basahin ang isinulat mula umpisa. Burahin ang isang pangungusap. Ctrl Z. Burahin ang buong talata. Magpatuloy.

            “Ang tanga-tanga mo!”

            Boses ng ina niya ang lumulunod sa kung anumang ingay na bumabalot sa gabing iyon.  Ito rin ang boses na nagsabing wala siyang ambisyon sa buhay dahil tinanggihan niya ang alok ng kanyang tiyahing magtrabaho sa Canada; boses na buong buhay niyang sinunod nang walang tanong o kibot.  Bakit nga ba ang hirap ipaliwanag sa nanay niya na meron din naman siyang ambisyon?  Na hindi niya kailangang magpaalipin sa dayuhan para maabot ang ambisyong iyon.

            Tanga daw siya.  Hindi bale nang valedictorian siya ng Pisay.  Hindi bale nang Cum Laude siya nung nagtapos ng kolehiyo.  Hindi bale nang mataas na posisyon ang kasalukuyan niyang hinahawakan sa kumpanyang pinapasukan.  Walang saysay ang lahat ng karangalang kanyang natamo dahil tanga siya sa mga mata ng nanay niya.

            “Alam mo ba ang ginagawa mo? Babae ka at babae rin yang kinakalantari mo.  Bigyan mo naman ng kahit konting kahihiyan yang sarili mo!”

            Muli niyang tiningnan ang mala-anghel na mukhang bahagyang tinatago ng nagwawala nitong buhok.  Hinawi niya ang mga masabad na hibla at muli’y dinampian ng masuyong halik ang kanyang katabi.  Isang manipis na ngiti lamang ang sumilay sa labi ng katabi niya.  Ngiting punong-puno ng pananalig, ngiting punong-puno ng pagmamahal.

            Ang ngiting iyon ang huli niyang nakita bago tuluyang pumikit ang kanyang mga mata, bago lumipad ang kanyang kamalayan sa lugar na walang pag-aalinlangan, walang pangamba, at walang panghuhusga.

            Submit post. Logout. Shut down. Pindutin ang cellphone para magkailaw ang madilim na sala. Alas singko y media nang madaling araw. Dahan dahang pumanhik sa kwarto. Tumingin sa aparador bago ipikit ang mga mata. Ipaalala sa sarili ang mga damit na kailangan nang itapon / ipamigay / gawing basahan.

Tagpi-tagping Tala Chapter 1

(Author's Note: Salamat sa mga mambabasa. Salamat sa mga masipag magpasa ng link sa mga kakilala. Salamat, salamat. Narito ang isang kahilingan... - Lee)

21 June 2003

Internet café.

Sixty pesos per hour.

Labinlimang kompyuter sa loob ng isang mainit na silid. Laging punuan. Kinailangan pang maghintay ng tatlumpung minuto bago matawag ang numero at makaupo sa harap ng monitor. Log in muna sa MIRC, bago sa Yahoo. Compose mail. Simulan ang kwento.

            Walang may nakakaalam ng tungkol sa aming dalawa. Kelan din lang namin kapwa nalaman. May mga nag-uumpisa nang magduda, ngunit wala pa kaming pinag-aminan. Minsa’y di namin maamin kahit na sa aming mga sarili.  May mukhang kailangang iharap sa tao, may mga damdaming kailangang takpan ng anino. Kung kaming dalawa lamang ang magkasama’y walang duda sa aming mga puso na kaya naming ipaglaban sa buong mundo ang sa ami’y namamagitan.  Ngunit kapag nariyan na ang kapatid niya, ang nanay ko, o ang barkada namin ay nanghihina ang aming paninindigan. Taas-kamay kaming sumusuko sa laban.

Kapag kami’y nasasakop sa seguridad ng yakap ng isa’t-isa’y makukulay na pangarap ang aming nabubuo, magagandang panaginip ang aming naisasakatuparan.  Nguni’t sa bawat pagkalas ay nahaharap kami sa katotohanang imposibleng magkaroon ng katuparan ang aming mga hangarin.  Ang mga pangarap ay nagiging abo ang kulay, ang mga panaginip ay nauuwi sa bangungot.

Tingin sa katabi na nakikiusyoso. Punta sa MIRC at sumagot sa mga trivia. Balik sa kwento.

Madalas ay naiinggit ako sa mga taong kayang ipaglaban ang kanilang damdamin.  Pinapangarap kong sana’y magkaroon din kami ng lakas ng loob kagaya nila.  Sana’y maipagtanggol din namin ang isa’t-isa sa kabila ng mga mapanuring mata ng publiko.  Sana’y magkaroon kami ng tapang na subuking buuin ang matagal na rin naming kinukulayang mga pangarap.

            Send sa sarili. Log out. Magbayad ng ninety pesos sa counter at lumabas sa maalinsangan na silid upang salubungin ang mas maalinsangang kalye.

Monday, October 1, 2012


(Author's Note: Opening the month with poetry. I am looking for photos that I could use for this piece. Please upload via Twitter and mention @iamcoolwaters. Thank you!)

I see you squeeze
your way through, as
the Cubao station mob
flood the “For Ladies Only”
section of the MRT.

I got in
two stations earlier,
leaning in that space
where the car could easily
fall apart.

Dear God, get me out of here.

Tough luck,
it just had to
happen during the 7am rush.

Our eyes half-bump
into each other;
you look away.


I see your hand
holding on
to the elbow of the Chinita
beside/in-front-of you.


I finger the heart-
shaped locket on my chest,
realizing that our past, like
Magallanes station, is
a lifetime away.

Welcoming October

Almost a decade ago, I stumbled upon the website. Before Bob Ong or Eros Atalia or Lourd de Veyra, some of the country's most promising young writers were being featured on that website. After a couple of years of frequenting the site, I finally got my article published. I still remember how I rushed to Aya's office, showed her the published page (without telling her I wrote it), and halfway through reading the short piece, she was crying her eyes out ("This is me, this story is about me, about us," she mumbled like a blubbering fool.)

That article opened many doors for me, and eventually got published in Lunduyan ng Sining's Literary and Art Folio "What These Hands Can Do."

But more importantly, that article led me to the website's Girl-to-Girl thread. That thread and the wonderful wonderful individuals I met through it is so much a part of what I am now. Many years and many more kilograms later, friendships remain strong and steadfast. I think that other than February (when I met the group for the first time), October is the most special month for the group because of the birthdays, anniversaries, and (araguy.) breakups celebrated during this month.

For that, I am dedicating the entries that I will be posting this month to our small but awesome group. I hope that you enjoy our little stories and watch out for us in a prayer meeting nearest you. :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Series Coming Up!

So I just got back from a few days' stay in a happy place. Hay, LDR blues. The sights and sounds of airports are both warm and cold depending on whether you're coming or leaving. Also, riding a plane is one of the things that really scares me but heck, buwis buhay na 'to!

This constant visits to airports and airplanes inspired the new web series that I will be posting over the next couple of days. I wrote the majority of the story during one of the many grueling one-hour plane rides that I took. Unlike Kung Hindi Man Makatulog which was for young adult readers, this one is rated SPG (Shhh.. Prrr.. Grrr..) and directed towards more mature audiences. Oh, and this one is written in English.

Chapter 1 will be posted later tonight. I hope you all enjoy it! :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Kung Hindi Man Makatulog Chapter 14

(Author's Note: Narito na po ang huling kabanata sa kwento nina Tin at Sophie. Sana ay nasiyahan po kayo kahit paano. Maraming maraming maraming salamat sa lahat nang mga matiyagang nagbasa at nag-RT. Sa mga katulad kong hindi nakakatulog kapag katabi si special friend, para sa inyo ang kwentong ito. - Lee)

Previous Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Marami pa ring katanungan ang kanyang utak. Kagaya nang, ano na ba sila ngayong dalawa? Ipapaalam ba nila ito sa kanilang mga kaklase? Kung ang dalawang points ay magkapareho, bakit ang slope nitong 0 over 0 ay indeterminate? Indeterminate. Parang status nila ngayon ni Sophie. May ganung status ba sa Facebook? Maraming marami pa ring katanungan ang hindi kayang bigyan ng kasagutan ni Tin. Sa ngayon, isa lang ang nasisiguro niya.
Makakatulog na siya, sa wakas.