To know me, you have to read me. Otherwise, I'm just like everybody else. Without identity. Choose well.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Short story: THE MAN WHO MOVED part 2

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
"Cinth!" She jerked as Caterina suddenly whisked her out of the turmoil brimming in her mind. "Snap out of it! Just figure it out. You still have until afternoon to weigh all of it anyway." Cat continued with a consoling smile. "If you really can't decide, just follow your heart okay?" She patted her back as she got up and head back to her desk. "I'll get back with you later. Mr. Grumpy is heading this way. You know how he loves working! Hahaha." Cat snorted and smirked as she walked away.

She looked down and tried to preoccupy herself with her workload. It did help. It took her mind off what's bothering her at the moment. The people she know would always say she's a workaholic.  Because she tends to do more work when she has a lot to think about. At least that's how she understood the term. Which she never really admitted. She just really love her work. They say, when you choose a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life. And she never did. Cinth graduated in Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from NYU (New York University). Now she is working in LY Enterprises as one of the assistant accountants to the Chief Financing Officer Shadler Simmons. She started as rank and file clerk and worked her way up in the 2 years she's been in the company. You could really say she is a hard worker. She was already immersed in numbers and figures when Allen or you can say Mr. Grumpy loomed on her from the back. She jerked away, surprised by the sudden close proximity of their anti-social boss. "Miss Claiborne, it's already lunch. You're the only one left here if you haven't noticed. I don't want my employees getting sick when we have deadlines coming up."

"Ow! It's already 12nn? Thanks boss! Did you already have lunch? Wanna have lunch with us at the cafeteria?" That's how casual she is with Allen. He doesn't seem to mind. Even if all the other employees could not even strike up a conversation with him. "Hmmm... I haven't. Yeah, sure. Take the lead." Cinth was gathering her purse, tumbler, and mobile phone when she quickly looked at him. Surprised that he actually accepted the offer for interpersonal relations. He usually just turns them down whenever they try to invite him at anything. The rest of the employees already got tired of inviting him at all.

Cinth walked towards the lobby door while Allen trails behind her. She asked him about the progress of the latest proposition submitted by their team, his thoughts about the financial analysis she handed over yesterday, and what happened with their client meeting with Chad earlier today. They were discussing business as usual when suddenly she noticed the group of chitchatting female co-workers staring maliciously at her and Allen. She rolled her eyes at the inefficient, attention deprived, unassured spectacle of pseudo-professionals clad in perpetual zest to appear noteworthy. In a way, they were successful... in a not so preferable way to get noticed. Because people heard about them. How they seem to leave traces of bile wherever they go. Transferring from departments because they seem to get involved in all matters of conflict with co-workers. You couldn't count how many times they've visited the Human Resources department. Whether they are the ones complaining or getting a complaint. But you have to give them credit for always being able to worm themselves out of it. They might have memorized the entire employee handbook to find the loopholes every time. What a bunch of fiascos.

They both ignored the unspoken clamor being ignited by the said groupie and continued walking towards the cafeteria. The rest of the department is already halfway to their salads, sandwiches, and fruits. Their food committee is always creating ways to promote healthy living. Thus, every other day is a "healthy diet" day at the cafeteria. Whether they like it or not. All heads turned, gaped, and some food spilt as they see the miracle before them- Mr. Grumpy joining them for lunch. In that awkward moment, Cinth caught Cat's eye as if she was saying, "Why the hell did you bring him here???" Gulp. Because women love to do the telepathic conversations, she replied with her eyes saying, "Ow c'mon, this isn't so bad." And seated herself in the nearest vacant seat beside Seraphina. Allen seated across her. The initial awkward pauses turned back into the normal riot an hour break could indulge to update one another on the intricacies of regular lives. Which brought her back to the time, about almost a year ago, when she had something going on for this mysterious, poker-faced, new boss.

"Meeting in 5 minutes! Conference room 1." Shadler shouted over heads cooped up in deadlines.

There was so much tension in the air you can actually taste it. Today was when we are supposed to meet the new boss. Shad has worked us down the entire week just to get the deliverables early to impress the rumored master of ferocity. Doesn't really seem like good news to the rest of them. Especially Cinth who still have some bandages from a very nasty fall the other day. Everyone was busy picking up their reports and cleaning up their desks as they wade their way to the conference room.

"Where were you? And what happened to those gashes??" Queenie who was the one who had to take over her workload after she had to take almost 2 days off to recover, asked with concern.

"Ow this is nothing, Shad was just overly generous to let me get 2 days off. For some unexplainable reason. But..." She had to give her the details of her fateful encounter with her dashing debonair in shining armor. Queenie is one of her confidantes at work. They share all their boy troubles when they have one. They were laughing so hard as she retold the story while opening the conference room door.

The first thing she saw was the enigmatic stare from the 6 foot, blonde hair, brown-eyed, fair-skinned man with Apollo's build standing at the end of the rectangular, solid wood, board room table with mahogany finish. Cinth suddenly stopped dead on her tracks. Causing the people walking behind her to bump into each other, crashed to the floor, and brought tumultuous laughter inside the conference room.

"Settle down! Everyone, settle down!" Shad was shouting over the noise while hardly containing his own laughter. "What an unforgettable way to introduce yourselves to our new boss. Especially you, Cinth." he said, with a slightly disapproving look.

As the meeting progressed, Cinth could not stop eyeing the stranger who she accidentally bumped with, caused her gashes, brought her to the clinic, and took her home a few days ago. Which as if by divine intervention, now the mysterious, infamously ferocious boss standing before them. Who on the other hand she swore gave her a hint of a mischievous smile before he started to introduce himself. Queenie, who was sitting beside her, nudged, "You look like you saw a ghost," she whispered. Cinth mouthed, "That's him!" For a moment Queenie was confused, "Who?"  then realized, "Oh! That guy from the other day?!" She exclaimed which got her a hush from Shad. "OMG! Let's talk. Later!" she mouthed.

True enough, after the 2-hour meeting, everybody was convinced that Allen Fitzgerald is not someone to be trifled with. As everyone were picking up their things and filed out of the room, Allen called her out to stay. Everybody immediately turned their heads toward her with their eyes saying, "What's going on???" Cinth just smiled and waved them away.

"How are your wounds?" he asked once the room was already clear.
"They're healing pretty fine."
Long pause.
"You didn't say you were going to be my future boss." she smiled accusingly.
"About that, it didn't come to mind. Are you feeling better?"
"Never been better."
Long pause.
"Is that all?" Cinth, smirking, was already getting used to this awkward silence.
"Yes, you can go." he smiled.

She went out first and was surprised that all her workmates were trying to eavesdrop just outside the door. They barraged her with unending questions like there's no tomorrow. They only went back to their respective cubicles after getting a decent explanation that she and Allen knew each other from way back. Leaving out the detail of way back 3 days ago. Cinth was not fond of being specific. She isn't good at lying either, so she'd rather do half-truths. She is somewhat of a private person when it comes to things like this. Whatever "this" meant.

With a beautiful face and a sexy body, you can say at first glance "this girl must have never been single since she started dating." Cinth, however, was actually a one-of-the-boys type in her younger days. Which got her more male friends than female friends. But never really stopped the opposite sex to still pursue her. Even lesbian friends couldn't resist her. Cinth, on the other hand, was more concerned about studies and hanging out than getting involved in relationships. She would reminisce and wince at her cruelty every time she remembers the struggle her suitors had to put up with. There was this relentless childhood suitor from grade school until college that had always come up with ways to pursue her. That she tried to politely ignore at first which eventually turned into quite a laughable incident where he proclaimed his undying feelings in front of the whole neighborhood. Hitherto meant, a zero-tolerance policy for him and other guys thereafter. There was also a time when she gets love letters from boys that she tears them up on the spot. Along with whatever gifts included. How she never shows up when she gets invited by a guy to meet him someplace at school after classes are over. It scared the hell out of her. She was running away from what she referred to as "awkward situations". It was only later in life that she fully realized her potential as a woman.

Cinth had never actually fallen in love with anyone. It's true that her heart had been broken a lot of times. But you can't really say it was unless you have truly loved someone, right? For her, love is time. Love is allowing yourself to fall freely. Without restrictions. Like bungee jumping into the abyss.  Love is no fear. It is putting yourself out there for that one single person. Giving your entire being without asking for anything in return. Love is involvement. Being part of each other's lives. Sharing joys, events, laughters, achievements, as well as pains, suffering, and anxieties. Caring for your partner's opinion. Trying out what they like. Avoiding what they don't. Love is intimacy. The desire to be with the person you love even for the littlest things. Hugs, kisses, making love. Love is romance. Silly love notes. Holding hands while walking. Sitting by a bench in each other's arms. Candles, flowers, chocolates. Love is remembering. The sweet little things. Conversations, dates, history. Love is patient. That there is joy in waiting for love. And once it has arrived, nothing can ever go wrong. "Love does not boast. It is not proud. It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." Above all, she believes, "that love has to be possible. Even if it is not returned right away, love can only survive when the hope exists that you will be able to win over the person you desire. Anything else is fantasy."

Cinth has never had that with anyone. Sure she has had relationships. But time wasn't on her side. Everything else indeed, became fantasy. It didn't mean though that she never had her heart hurt. In fact, the opposite happened. She had more heartaches than happy moments. Considering, her heartaches was mostly brought about by unrequited love interests. Yes, someone as hot as she, can still have unrequited feelings. Why? First, because she wasn't always beautiful. She was a late bloomer. A sickly, stick-figured, brainiac in grade school. A one-of-the-boys, nerdy, rowdy teenager in high school. And a serious, but not goal-oriented, lazy college student. However, that hasn't stopped men from noticing the beauty within. She had suitors. But never liked them. Even if they were decent boys. Which brings us to the second reason why she had unrequited feelings. She used to be drawn to guys that "friendzoned" her. Because she was blessed with great friends, who later on became great people in their respective fields, she met too-good-to-be-true men as well. Cinth wasn't the type to like men just by their looks. Even back then, that was never how it worked for her. She doesn't understand the concept of being head over heels for someone at first sight. Sure enough she admires good looking men, even women. But she doesn't blindly get infatuated by them like some favorite celebrity. She only liked guys that she became close with as time goes. Guys that she had a lot in common. The tall, chinky-eyed, lean, young-harry-potter-look-a-like psychology student wouldn't have captured her attention had it not been for the school's ministry they were both in. The literally tall, dark, and taylor-lautner-look-a-like education student wouldn't have entranced her had it not been for being in the same school's publication staff where she used to be an editorial writer for. The lists goes on. But the common denominator is that, they were long time friends before they were someone special.

The problem with liking friends in secret is that, it remains a secret. Until one of them spills the beans. Which in her case, neither of them did. On her defense, she says, due to pride. She thought confessing first was a bad idea. On the guys end, she never really knew. Whether or not the feeling was mutual, was gone with the wind. Because she wasn't much of a risk-taker back then. The shame it might bring far outweighs the probability of a happy ending. This was her love cycle. Countless of times. Nothing changed. Until finally, being fed up with hurting alone, she vowed never to play the friend or lover game anymore. Gradually she learned how to differentiate between love and friendship the hard way. There were no tears shed but sometimes, not crying it out makes it bleed more inside. The tears could have had cleansed the negativity brought by one-sided longings, wasted emotions, and the pain after hearing your friend finally found "the one".

However, the love cycle was brewing up again. To her, and this freakishly good looking boss. Like a teenager, she secretly swoons while feigning a nonchalant smile as he passes by her cubicle. Then hides behind her monitor while hardly containing a giggle as he smiles back before getting inside his office. Everyday she struggles whenever Mr. Grumpy comes up to her to get some of the reports needed for the day. The actress, from an acting workshop/club, that she once was back in high school days had paid off in order for her to remain calm and composed whenever he's around. At some point she believed the feeling was mutual. What with all the unnecessary approaches, small talks, and not to mention, she was the only one who can talk to him as if he's not the boss. To the extent everyone had thought there was something going on between them too. Especially the women. Because indeed it is true, that women are the discerning ones when it comes to interpersonal relationship. It went on for months. But nothing happened. She became unhappy with her work. Stuck in the misery of ignored affections. She knew she gave the right signals so she kept thinking and dwelling on what's holding him up. Until finally, Cinth gave up her hopes that he will ask her out on a date one day. She had come to a resolution that this shy-on-the-inside guy will never come out of his shell. And as her belief was that, if a guy is not even manly enough to ask her out, he will never be manly enough to fight for her. To her, that is very crucial. But then of course, everything could have just been false hopes. She could have just over-analyzed little things like all women do. For all she know, he might even be gay. Again, another way women console themselves with. In her defense, the guy was never rumored to have been with any girlfriends since he started working for LYEnt 3 years ago.

Just like that, she turned from the swooning teenager to the fun, comic, cheery girl that she really is towards Mr. Grumpy. To her he became a friend. Any other feelings was buried someplace where she dumps all her unrequited love interests with. Being with Allen was already so natural to her that even jests on their status comes off as an old joke to her now. Smiling with the thoughts from the past, Seraphina nudged her with confusion written on her face as to what she was smiling about and dazing out for. Remembering they were eating lunch, Cinth got back to her food.

♫♪ Munja Washong! Munja Washong! ♪♫ Her text message ringtone never fails to put a stop to any conversation her workmates has. As they find it so strange that she had to use a Korean ringtone. So all eyes were on her for a fraction of a minute and then not anymore. Cinth quickly checked her phone only to be left speechless again.

The message read:
I didn't receive a reply, please don't let this be a no. :( -- Oliver
With the panic registering on her face, Cat came up to Cinth's side and pulled her away from earshot. "Was that Oliver again?" Cat asked. Cinth almost crying while handing Cat the phone's message said, "Yes... And I still don't know what to say to him..."

"Okay, calm down... It seems you'll need to decide as soon as possible. So lets go back to our desks and sort this out." Cat said while leading her out of the cafeteria. She chanced a quick look back at her workmates and saw Allen's eyes on her with a curious expression. She ignored it and went back to the office with Cat.

"What do we know about this mysterious guy?" Cat immediately asked even before her voluptuous behind hit Cinth's dark gray swivel chair.
"That he was in love with me for a long time?"
"But why come out now?"
"I don't know... I really don't."
"If you ask me, I don't think you need to choose him over Oliver. Oliver is sure. Right from the start. No drama. Isn't that what you like? A guy who knows what he wants and goes for it?"
"Yes, yes, I keep saying that. But this mysterious guy is making me really curious. I mean, if it's you, wouldn't you want to know who your secret admirer is? From the same office??"
"Ahmmm... yeah.... you have a point. But this is Valentines day Cinth! And Oliver is asking you out! You obviously like him. And this mysterious guy, can't he wait? He apparently waited long enough. What's another day?"
"The problem is, I don't have a way of telling him that. Remembeeerrrr?" Cinth laughed. Some of the anxiety leaving her. This is what she likes about talking to her friend Caterina. She thinks out of the box. Being the oldest and wisest among the group.
"Seriously, if you decline Oliver today, he'd think you're not really into him. He'd think you'd probably be in a date with someone else. Are you willing to mess it up? What you and Oliver have? For a mysterious guy that for all you know, you don't have any history with?"
"What do you mean history?"
"What if he's that fat hairy guy from the Loans department that has been crushing on you? Or that ridiculously tall bearded guy from the Insurance team that keeps eyeing you every time we go to lunch? Do you see the difference here?"
"Yes ma'am! I know. I know. But... he just sounded so dignified and perfect." Cinth pouted with her romantic notions visibly potent.
"Cinntthhh! You should seriously stop reading those romance novels! This is real life. Fantasies are not real." Cat exasperated, heaved a sigh. Then suddenly, "Wait wait wait. Don't tell me... Oh no you don't! Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"What?" she feigned ignorance.
"You are vaguely hoping it's your dashing debonair in shining armor huh? Oh c'mon Cinth!"
"I didn't say that. You did!"
"Riigghhtt. Oh girl, this is proving harder than I expected. Tut tut." she sighed. Caterina was also one of her confidantes at work. She also tells her of her boy troubles whenever they have the time to catch up.

Cinth deflated to the chair next to her. "I know I shouldn't be hoping it's him. I shouldn't even be thinking it at all. I thought... I buried those hopes months ago. But the romantic in me, I guess, is still waiting for that grand moment."
"I can't take that away from you Cinth. I knew how much you liked him. I just thought you already got over it.'"
"I did. I think I did. But this hope is still there. For some reason. I can't shake it off."
"I don't even understand why you like him anyway. Being grumpy and all."
"Haha. For the nth time, he's not! He's just not a people person. When you get to know him more, he's this gentle, funny, beautiful person who gives me that stare. That stare that I thought meant something. But I guess, didn't." She sighed. "But, I know what to do now. Thanks Cat. This really helps." She smiled, then hugged her friend.

The rest of the employees were already coming back from the cafeteria. Cat gave her a reassuring nod as she went back to her desk. Cinth dazed out for a while before finally picking her phone from her table and composing a reply to Oliver. It took her 15 minutes to organize her thoughts.

The message read:

Hi Oliver. I'm sorry for the late response. Was caught up with work. Yes, I'd be glad to have dinner with you tonight. :)
Which he replied:

Great! See you tonight then. I'll pick you up from your place at 6:30pm? I'll get reservations for Le Bernardin. I can't wait to see you! Later then. ;)
She flipped her phone shut and turned right to get some stacked papers from the right side of the table when she realized she's face to face with Allen. Apparently he was looming in from the back again. She wasn't sure if he was able to read the text Oliver sent. With just one inch distance, she couldn't think straight. She gulped and blinked repeatedly. Stared at his deep-seated eyes, high cheekbones, red kissable lips. She gasped, then remembered to closed her mouth. Swore that even Allen can hear her drumming heartbeat. She didn't know how long it lasted. All she remembers was how good he smelled. How hard he stared. And how it seemed he was also lost in thought. Then suddenly, "Ms. Claiborne, it's time to get back to work." he said with his jaws clenching. Cinth just blinked while staring at him walking back to his office. Something's really going on with Allen today, she mused. He's behaving really strange. She shrugged it off and cleared her head. Calmed herself and started working.

At 3pm, the sun rays peeking out from the window's blinds were reflecting the scorching hot weather outside. At home, air conditioners are working double to beat the now normal high temperature of 28°C. It's July and the summer has just begun. Cinth, almost done with work, was now remotely accessing her wardrobe mentally. Going over possible good outfit matches for tonight through her mind. She normally does this while showering to save her time in dressing up for work because she is kind of a late-comer. But during dates, she thinks of what to wear even days before. If it's short notice, at least hours before. Cinth is popular at work for being the corporate girl at the catwalk. She dresses to kill. Probably the reason why some men find it difficult to come up to her and strike a conversation. She is all-out-intimidating until you see her smile. Just like the messenger in a blue overall and a black NY sports cap who seems to be hesitating to come up to her to hand over a package. It was an 18' x 13' x 3' brown rectangular box with a blue ribbon and a note attached. Cinth gaped at it while mindlessly affixing her signature for the recipient's confirmation form. All eyes are on her again as the ladies and ladies at heart are slowly waddling their way to her desk to see what's inside the box.

"OH MY GOSH! Twice today! I mean, TWICE Cinth! Whoah. You're the man! I mean, woman! Haha." Japed Bristol the boisterous bisexual co-worker.

"This guy is serious! Where have you hidden him for so long girl?" Rose teased with her usual swag.

"Read the card! C'mon! Whoah, this is so like the movies!" Seraphina couldn't contain her excitement and looked as if she'd read the card herself.

Laughing, Cinth pulled out the envelope with the card inside.

The message read:

I know this will look great on you. Because in my eyes, I only see you. Everyday you make my heart skip a beat when you pass by. Everyday I'm at a loss for words when we talk. Even for just a little time. So please give me tonight. I will be expecting you 7pm at the same place inside the envelope. I'll be waiting. For as long as it will take. Always. Love, Me.
 "Oh my... This guy is loaded! Cinth, you should definitely meet him tonight." Stella the boobsy, songstress, hottie approved without further ado.

"Yes girl! This guy is like, Mr. Grey of LYEnt! I'm pretty sure you'll nail this later. Haha." Arwin laughed with a glint of malice.

She however, met Cat's eye. Caterina herself was at a loss for words. And then she mouthed, "Your life. Your choice." then finished it with a wink.

Cinth got more confused than ever. Almost the same time, at an even almost same block, two guys will be waiting to be with her for a very special day of the year for lovers and lovers to be. Two seemingly great guys vying for that special spot in her heart. One guy who offers a love that's sure. No uncertainties. Someone he can freely fall for. Without restrictions. Someone who she has amazing chemistry with. Who she shares a lot in common. She can envision life with him as a couple. But this mysterious guy, who offers a love so devoted. Who's willing to wait for as long as it takes. Without fear. She's wavering and torn. Torn between two lovers. Torn between what is. And what can be. Should she go for a sweet soulful boat ride at the lake? Or will her adventurous streak to try the rollercoaster ride get the better of her?


To be continued...



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Quoted Phrases part 16

No matter how hard I try. I can't stay away from you. -- Pretty Little Liars S02E25

Pretending not to love you is the hardest thing I've ever done. -- Pretty Little Liars S02E25

It’s not okay. It’s absurd and outrageous and crazy, but I like you. I don’t like you because it’s okay to like you — it’s that because I like you, everything’s okay. -- My Girlfriend is a Gumiho Ep12 

I like you so much that now, I can’t stop there. I can’t pretend I don’t like you, either. All I can do is not show you that I like you. All I can do is keep from begging you to like me. If I’m going to slowly distance myself from you, I think I’ll have to run really hard. -- My Girlfriend is a Gumiho Ep12

Don’t come back! Are you doing this because I didn't say that I missed you? Last time you left without saying a word, and now you’re going to make nothing but a phone call and disappear? You go ahead and TRY to disappear like this. Where are you? Did you follow me all the way to the hospital for my check-up? And how is someone like that going to disappear from my side? Don’t move a muscle and wait right there! I’ll come find you. -- My Girlfriend is a Gumiho Ep12

Giving such false hopes. It's almost an assault. The most powerful venom in love is false hope. -- Dating Agency Cyrano Ep1

You're already prepared to accept your death. What are you afraid of? Focus in the present. Be happy in the present. Love in the present. That's the most important thing for you as the person alive at this moment. -- Dating Agency Cyrano Ep11

To live, do you have to have a grand reason? I live because my eyes open in the morning, because I still breathe. Why? If a person doesn't have a reason to live, does that mean he can't?  -- That Winter The Wind Blows Ep2

I'm in love with you. If you stay, I promise.. There's no safer place in the world than right here with me. -- Safe Haven (film)

When I first got the brain tumor, what I wanted was to be comforted. But they didn't console me. Forget comfort. They forced the 6 year old to be brave. So cruel. It's alright. The surgery won't be scary. You can beat it. Chemotherapy is nothing. (Instead of) It's okay to not be okay. Its okay to be scared. It's okay to cry. If people had said that to me, I probably would've cried a day or two and been fine. Maybe because I didn't get to cry then. Even now when I think about then, at age 6, the tears keep coming out. -- That Winter The Wind Blows Ep7

Sorcery is the sauce fools spoon over failure to hide the flavor of their own incompetence. -- Tyrion of A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

If we're gonna fight a disease, let's fight one of the most terrible diseases of all. INDIFFERENCE. I've been sent to your schools and heard people lecture on transference and professional distance. Transference is inevitable. Every human being has an impact on another. -- Patch Adams (film)

No man is a failure who has friends. -- It's A Wonderful Life (film)

It's not fun receiving a present that you've already known about. The most important aspect of a present is it's surprise and unexpectedness. The present that appeared at an amazing timing, as if it were a lie... was more touching than a miracle. -- Reply 1994 (tv series)

The unseen enemy is always the most fearsome. -- A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (book)

That's not a house. That's termites holding hands. -- Epic (film)

Bakit nga ba nawawasak ang mga tao dahil sa pag-ibig? Simple lang yan. Dahil meron tayong tatlong deciding bodies. Utak, puso, at bird. Dapat balanse. Pero minsan nagsasanib pwersa ang puso at ang bird. At nagkukudeta sa utak. Dun nagkakaleche-leche. -- Bakit Di Ka Crush ng Crush Mo (film)

You consider playing around with someone as you go out with them a good memory? Do you consider not knowing that you're being played a fool and liking someone like an idiot... A good MEMORY? -- Orange Marmalade (manga)

The people that are the most giving, hard working, and capable of making this world better, usually don't have the ego and ambition to be a leader. They don't see any interest in superficial rewards. They don't care if their names ever appear in the press. They actually enjoy the process of helping others. -- Before Sunset (film)

Not wanting anything, isn't that, a symptom of depression? It's healthy to desire. -- Before Sunset (film)

Be nice to your parents while you still can. Don't regret it like I do. I was too busy getting used to working in Seoul. Do you know what he said before he passed away? He couldn't even breathe well.. but he told me to go. He said he was fine so I should go back to work. He was afraid I was going to be fired. How could he say that.. -- Reply 1997 Ep13 (tv series)

I never should have let you... let me go. -- Gossip Girl S01E10

Many things that seem threatening in the dark, become welcoming, when we shine a light at them. -- The Legend of Korra S02E10 (tv series)

Things you own, end up owning you. -- Fight Club (film)

Is this your first day doing business? Public sentiment is meant to be turned. One incident covers another (previous) incident. If there is another more major incident, public sentiment will lean towards it. It's the eternal truth. -- My Love From Another Star Ep5 (tv series)

That kiss, whom did you do it to? Was it to me, or did you kiss the girl that looks like me? Do you know what's the most complicated three way relationship in the world? The third party being a girl from the past.. How does one win against the beautiful memory of a girl from the past? -- My Love From Another Star Ep16 (tv series) 

Weird girl: Why are you being so nice to me?
Popular girl: Because you're letting me? -- The Breakfast Club (film)

Yung hope na yan lason yan. Parang drugs, nakaka-addict. -- Starting Over Again (film)

Wala na akong ibang mahanap na libangan bukod sa anime simula nung maghiwalay kami. Maski computer halos wala nang epekto. Ang totoo, halos lahat ng mga nakaugalian kong gawin lahat nagpapaalala sa akin sa kanya. Madalas sisnasabi ko na walang panahon para malungkot. Pero nagsusumigaw ako sa alahat ng tao para tulungan ako makalimot sa sakit na nararamdaman ko. -- Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan by Bob Ong (book)

Walang tigil ang tao sa paggamit ng enerhiya. Lahat ng maaaring pagkagastusan ng kuryente, gagawin nila. Nabubuhay sila sa sistema ng pag-aani ng mga kayamanan ng mundo upang gawing lason at basura. -- Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan by Bob Ong (book)

Sibilisado, pero hindi ayon sa sibilisasyon ng ganid na mundo. Hindi kami gumagamit ng teknolohiya; hindi kami nagagamit ng teknolohiya. Oo nga't napapadali nito ang buhay. Pero hindi kami nagmamadali. -- -- Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan by Bob Ong (book)

Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying. (Cancer is also a side effect of dying. Almost everything is, really.) -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

What do you mean by meant? Given the final futility of our struggle, is the fleeting jolt of meaning that art gives us valuable? Or is the only value in passing the time as comfortably as possible? -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

What should a story seek to emulate? A ringing alarm? A call to arms? A morphine drip? Like all interrogation of the universe, this line of inquiry inevitably reduces us to asking what it means to be human and whether, to borrow a phrase from the angst-encumbered sixteen-year-olds you no doubt revile, there is a point to it all-- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

He called it preemptive dumping. So maybe you have this premonition that there is something fundamentally incompatible and you're preempting the preemption. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

I'm like a grenade. I'm a grenade and at some point I'm going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

You are not a grenade, not to us. Thinking about you dying makes us sad, but you are not a grenade. You are amazing. You can't know, because you've never had a baby become a brilliant young reader with a side interest in horrible television shows, but the joy you bring us is so much greater than the sadness we feel about your illness. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

Everyone in this tale has a rock-solid hamartia: hers, that she is so sick; yours, that you are so well. Were she better or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross.. The fault, is not in our stars. But in ourselves. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

What a slut time is. She screws everybody. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

Witness also that when we talk about literature, we do so in the present tense. When we speak of the dead, we are not so kind. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

You do not immortalize the lost by writing about them. Language buries, but does not resurrect. The dead are visible only in the terrible lidless eye of memory. The living, retain the ability to surprise and to disappoint. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

I tried to tell myself that it could be worse, that the world was not a wish-granting factory. That I was living with cancer not dying of it. That I mustn't let it kill me before it kills me. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

That's why I like you. Do you realize how rare it is to come across a hot girl who creates an adjectival version of the word pedophile? You are so busy being you that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives. I wondered if that was sort of the point of architecture. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

Contemporaneity specializes in the kind of battles wherein no one loses anything of any value, except arguably their lives. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

I cannot indulge your childish whims, but I refuse to pity you in the manner to which you are well accustomed. Sick children inevitably become arrested: You are fated to live out your days as the child you were when diagnosed.. You are a side effect, of an evolutionary process that cares little for individual lives. You are a failed experiment in mutation. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

The marks humans leave are too often scars. You build a hideous minimall or start a coup or try to become a rock star and you think, "They'll remember me now." But They don't remember you, and all you leave behind are more scars. Your coup becomes a dictatorship. Your minimall becomes a lesion. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

Okay, maybe I'm not such a shitty writer. But I can't pull my ideas together. My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

We are like a bunch of dogs squirting on fire hydrants. We poison the groundwater with our toxic piss, marking everything MINE in a ridiculous attempt to survive our deaths. I can't stop pissing on fire hydrants. I know it's silly and useless but I am an animal like any other. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

She is so beautiful. You don't get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you; You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)

You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers. -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (book)



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I'm a SURVIVOR.

"Where I come from, almost everyone is a hero."

I've read somewhere in Africa there are different forms of rituals many indigenous tribe do, in order for their men to cross manhood. Torture. Scarring. Mutilation. Revolting ways to prove one's worth. Not to mention excruciatingly painful. Although that can be voluntary or coerced. Nowadays, men of stature have different ways to showcase their manliness. Pseudo-benevolence glorified by media. Indomitable strength veiling the puppeteer strings. Eloquent bravery from the stands of their comfort zones. As much as I don't want to admit, but even my fellow women have succumb to the hunger that eats up our society. I really have no intention in delving into the many ways people around the world exhibit unnecessary battles in order to feed their ego, protect their authority, and hold on to power. There are far better things to share.

"Where I come from, almost everyone is a hero." I read this from one of the circulating posts in Facebook about the recent calamities that befall our country. And oddly enough, I found that statement true to its roots. Dating back when we fought for our freedom countless of times against colonization and tyranny. Now, the modern day heroes are those who give their all in service to their fellowmen. The nurses, firefighters, rescue units, volunteers, and even the ordinary citizens. The underpaid. In a country run by leaders who leech off the citizen's taxes in millions, and yet, the first people who you'll see helping out are the underpaid. Neighbors help out neighbors. Orphans look after other orphans. Because, we can't rely on the magnanimous nature of the people we put or not, in power.

Everywhere you look in the news, or on the streets, people have in more ways than one, been affected by the calamities which changed their lives momentarily or forever. Many have lost their homes, livelihood, and people they love. It breaks my heart to read and hear about the misfortunes one has to endure on top of the others. I can't begin to attest which stories changed me more, but my own. I myself had suffered losses but I am still very grateful that the most important of them all is safe and secure, my family.

This isn't the first time I have experienced a calamity. Hardly. But the 7.2 quake that hit our neighboring island Bohol on October 15, was the first natural calamity I've ever had in that magnitude level. As all the others were hardly noticeable. This time around though, roads cracked, buildings collapsed, people died. Catastrophic. Fortunately, that day was a holiday. Schools and offices were closed. And the time it hit was around 8am where malls weren't even open yet. And as if by God's grace, it didn't happen on a Sunday or weekend where churches and tourist's spots would have been full. Because, most of the edifices that collapsed were centuries-old Catholic Churches that were built by our ancestors using crushed corals and beach sand which probably is the reason why it collapsed easily. Had it been any other day, one can't seem to fathom the tragedy it would have become. Everyone was just really thankful that most of us were safe. There were also homes that got destroyed especially that these are provincial areas where concrete houses are not a trend. And even the concrete ones wasn't spared either.

At exactly 8:12am, I was already in my dorm room at the 3rd floor in a 3-storey bldg wearing a green towel, while buffering a TV series on my laptop. I was about to take a shower before hitting the sack when suddenly I felt the floor shaking. I couldn't understand what was happening. I mean, I didn't know that was an earthquake, as I never (as far as I am aware of) had experienced one. It took me a few seconds to realize that I needed to get to safety. My initial instinct was to get out of the building as soon as possible. (Not really a wise move. Something I wouldn't recommend. I guess I forgot all my earthquake drill training.) I couldn't even remember to think about any of my possessions. Like my phone or even wearing a slipper. I went out with just my towel on. Jumping two steps at a time while dust and debris were falling on me but I didn't care. All I know is, I have to get out. It's as if, I felt that the building would collapse due to the intensity of the swaying that I could hardly even keep standing and running. As I got to the 1st floor, I saw some dorm mates squeezing in one plastic table and I remember, TABLE! But as I got out of the gate while the streets were full of barefooted people and some with just their robes and towels on too, I realized, my table was made of glass. Theirs was plastic. Not a great idea either. Even so, the shaking still hasn't stopped. People were panicking because we were surrounded by apartment buildings. Debris were falling as if there was endless supply of dust. Cars were jumping like they're weightless. Electric posts were in danger of falling over had it not been for the wires. It was pandemonium. Nowhere near to go where nothing will collapse on you. It won't be long until a stampede will break out. Fortunately, after a few minutes, mother earth's wrath finally subsided. However, it did not end there. No, far from it.

After it was over, people waited in silence. Like maybe a tidal wave will come or something. It was long before the mass settled down. But nobody went back to their respective buildings yet. Because they know, aftershocks will follow. And by golly, it did. Another one almost as strong as the first one. This time, I saw for myself how our dorm were swaying to the dance of mother nature. Trembling from the aftermath of running and adrenaline rush, I couldn't go back to my room to at least change into presentable clothing and get my phone to call my family. Breathing laboriously and getting chest pains, I needed my medicine. So I thought, it's now or never. I had to go back to my room. After that first aftershock, I hurriedly went back, changed clothes, picked up my laptop, phone, and medicine and went out as fast as I could muster. Called my parents, checked on everyone, asked my 21 year old niece to come over (as my apartment was just a walking distance from my family's area) because I felt like I might collapse anytime soon. We headed to my parent's place as I couldn't bear to sleep in my apartment knowing a multitude of aftershocks still awaits. Which in turn, lead me to move out from there and move back in with the rest of the fam. So much for going independent.
cracks in our dorm
debris on the stairs





Everyday for a couple of weeks, more than 5 aftershocks a day scares the living wits out of us thinking it might eventually become an earthquake itself. A month after, aftershocks are still being felt. And you can imagine how jumpy the working half of the population of Cebu had become. Consider working at the 11th floor of your building with magnitude 5 aftershocks everyday. Man, it's a miracle I didn't get a heart attack. And I couldn't even get a leave off work. It was as hard as it could get. But then, it doesn't stop there. No, again, far from it. Just a few weeks after the earthquake, we got a low pressure brewing which eventually became a tornado that ravaged the northern part of Cebu. Houses were damaged. Trees fell. Livelihoods in the provincial areas were affected. My brother and his family who lived in the north didn't expect it would turn out like that but fortunately they were all safe. Only had some roofs flying and surrounding trees fell to the opposite direction of their house. God is still good.

However, for the 3rd time, it did not stop there. Something far worse was brewing from the pacific sea, super typhoon Yolanda. Just a month after the earthquake and a few weeks after the tornado, an initially cited as a low pressure was slowly becoming a super typhoon. Most of us really didn't understand the gravity of the situation. The news reminders was as how they normally were. In a country where around 19 tropical cyclones or storms enter in a typical year and of these usually 6 to 9 make landfall, we are kind of used to the typhoons. As the storm was fast approaching, the news however were finally sinking in. But details as to the preparedness of the government doesn't seem to make sense. They keep saying it's a very strong storm which could destroy homes but the local government units (LGUs) in our area were not even giving instructions as to evacuations or rescue teams in the event of severe flooding. Our island was at signal number 4 so you would expect there would be rescue units on standby. But there wasn't. I guess you could say most of us didn't really know what to do as the last super typhoon that passed through our island was back in 1990. I was roughly 3 years old then. I vaguely remember a memory of me being shepherded to the 2nd floor of our 2-storey-house as the water level went up to 5 feet high. In our region we don't get too much super typhoons nor severe flooding as we are in the middle of the country so mostly, storms disperse as they hit the land. I felt it in my veins that this wasn't a normal typhoon. I knew that it will be cataclysmic. So I was anxious of the calm. Why no evacuations? Why are the other provinces not evacuating? Why are we storing food, batteries, water in homes if this was going to sweep it all anyway? It didn't make any sense. It was like waiting for an impending doom.

As the live telecast of Leyte was being forecast on the day typhoon Yolanda started to make landfall, the 30-minute difference it made to Tacloban's storm surge was the worst news you would like to see before power lines were cut as the typhoon started to make landfall in Cebu by 10am on November 8, 2013. The news of the 10feet water level in Leyte sent the rest of the provinces to be engulfed in panic. This was when people evacuated to schools and gymnasiums. Which also did not make any sense as schools were not considered that safe yet due to the prior earthquake and gymnasiums doesn't have floors. So if there will be flood, what now? Torn between staying home or evacuating. Both didn't sound safe anymore. You couldn't help but get consumed by the deadliest immobilizer of them all, FEAR. As they say, fear cripples faster than any implement of war. But what can you do, but face the storm.

The winds started howling. Houses shivered trying to hold ground. Rain splattered like there were hooves on the roof. It was scary. The sound was like something out of a horror movie. As we were gathered up inside the nearest gymnasium, because we finally decided to evacuate, I heard cries from children who apparently weren't as oblivious no matter how their parents try to soothe them. Even adults hide their anxieties and fear in shawls and hoods. As I stare at my family gathered and squeezing in with the others, I couldn't help but wonder how we are going to survive, again, if our house will be swept away. Our gymnasium becomes our temporary home. And I couldn't begin to think that it will be again. No. Not again.

It went on for almost 2 hrs. But the good thing on our end is that, there wasn't much rain water. It was mostly wind so there wasn't any flooding at all. Only flying roofs and blown down trees. There weren't any casualties on our area. We were waiting for news on the provinces who got directly hit by the typhoon. But there were no power. Radio wasn't much of a help too as they couldn't get any news from the other provinces. Until by the end of the day, when power went back, we got news that there still wasn't news especially in Tacloban where the typhoon first landed. Wow. So much talk Mr. President about preparedness. We had relatives in Ormoc that we were trying to get a hold of but it's as futile as getting proper news on TV. The anxiety of waiting, and waiting, and waiting about what happened to your love ones in the most affected area was something I couldn't even bear to dwell.

It was after 3 days when we finally heard news about my Aunt and cousins. They were able to evacuate just in time. I was particularly worried about my 82-year-old aunt as she is frail and sickly. I was glad they were all safe and sound. Their concrete house didn't suffer as much damage except for the flooding. But they needed medicine for my Aunt as she keeps getting chest pains, and no pharmacies were open, as well as water and food. I had to do donation drives for both them and the rest of the Yolanda victims. It wasn't much. But I know it can make a difference. Because no matter how small your help is, if everyone helps, it would be a multitude of relief goods that can save many. Because the more you spread the necessity to be involved, the more people GET INVOLVED. It's like paying it forward. A matter of awareness. During this time you'll realize that everyone can be a hero. Stories broke out about courageous civilians helping neighbors. Local and national artists launch donation drives. Almost everywhere you can see drop off stations for relief goods. Media campaigns were made to report the gravity in damages and the lack of help the victims are getting. There was no way the world could not get involved. The response was overwhelming.

And the rest is history.

It has been 3 months since then, where are we now? Back to the old routines. Back to day to day struggles. Back to old political debates. Some houses have already been rebuilt. Buildings have been reconstructed. Roads have been repaired. But how about our lives? What we've lost? Livelihood, livestock, jobs, shelter, belongings, and most especially loved ones? Who do we wake up for? That remains to be seen. Because no matter what, life moves on for the rest of the world. It doesn't stop for us. We have to get back up to survive. And we are definitely SURVIVORS.