You have not known what you are.
You have slumbered upon yourself all your life.
Your eyes have been as much as closed most of the time.
What you have done is already in mockeries.

The mockeries are not you.
Underneath them
And within them,
I see you lurk...

-Walt Whitman



THERE IS AN ONGOING CHICKENPOX OUTBREAK in our home. Almost half of our family is sick. It was my little sister who suffered the viral infection first. She acquired it from a classmate inflicted by the disease. Since varicella or chickenpox is a highly contagious viral disease, it didn’t take long before other susceptible household members got infected. Two weeks after (average incubation period for chicken pox or the time from the acquisition of the virus to the onset of early symptoms), my younger brother Andrew and our house help manifested the symptoms.

Chickenpox usually starts with fever and eventually the appearance of vesicles throughout the body surface. (In my brother’s case, they’re so numerous that I got quite alarmed. It was unlike the other cases I have encountered before. It reminded me of the traditional smallpox.). Like other viral infections, varicella is self-limiting, which means it will automatically terminate, depending upon the carrier’s immune system. Nursing management is symptomatic which basically involves maintenance of body temperature to normal levels since fever is expected through out the course of the disease process. Some medications are taken to decrease the number of vesicles, minimize itching, and for faster healing.

Three days ago, John, my other younger brother, complained of fever, headache, and tenderness on the right side of his neck. At first I thought he got infected too but I eventually ruled it out since he’s already immune to the disease like me. It turned out; he’s just suffering from pharyngitis. The pain is caused by the enlarged lymph nodes of his neck—a normal immune response to prevent the spread of bacterial infection. Antibiotics would do the trick.

Having said that, my week has been all about shoving medications, sticking thermometers, and administering tepid sponge baths—a good thing in the sense that I am able to apply my nursing skills, which I feel is rusting away as time goes by.

Enough of chickenpox and pharyngitis and let me just talk about last week’s ‘Idol’. Hehe! Adam blew me away and caught me by surprise. I’m now eating the words I said a week ago. I deserve a big fat I-TOLD-YOU-SO from Kris Jasper. Hehe! But what I don’t understand is why Matt landed on the bottom three last week. He’s good but obviously America doesn’t see that. Perhaps he lacks charisma compared to the other front-runners. I think it’s the song choice. I hope he’d do well this week. I feel sorry for Michael. I think Megan deserves the boot. But I understand why people chose her to stay. She’s freakin’ beautiful!

[Who will be the next ‘Idol’? Feel free to vote on the side bar :)]

If you’re an avid fan of the Ellen Degeneres Show, you probably know her already. Let me introduce Cambria Detken. This is her entry to Ellen’s Bathroom Concert Series. And she won! :)

I would sing with this girl in a bathroom anytime. :P


washed away

NCE UPON A TIME, a young lady talked to the sea. And it listened.

They say when your heart desires to free itself from any burden that wears it and when nobody or anything could seem to lighten the load, you’ll just have to do one thing—scream. And the best way to do this is by venting it all out to the open sea for it is a very good listener. Its waters just take anything. No protests. Without any reply. It’s just there. Ready to listen.

It was still midday but a gray sky and dark clouds churned above everything else. Everything was gray. And cold. She stood by the shore, eyes closed, tasting the salty chill of the air against her face. The beautiful waves of her hair billowed towards the direction of the wind. Along with it the length of her tattered dress and her spirit she wished was as free as the sea gulls fleeing away from the brewing storm.

I watched the motionless figure standing against that wide open space of dull canvas, adorned by a teal-colored sea, an eternal stretch of fine sand, and a murky sky. I wondered what thoughts dwelled in her mind. But I was more curious on what was going on inside her heart. What brought her to the sea?

She suddenly raised her hands and threw stones at the sea. Rain started to spill out from the gates of the heavens, enveloping the world in a thin sheet of ghostly fabric. And then I heard her scream. Her bellows echoed in the air, bouncing off the nearby cliffs. Her beautiful face was twisted in rage. Bulging veins revealed themselves on her neck like small roots as eyes finally let go of the tears, camouflaged by the rain water as they flowed. Every shout she gave was palpable human pain. The kind of agony you can hear and that pierces through a heart. She screamed at the sea, as tongues of frothy water licked her feet, as if trying to give her comfort by washing away sand and bitter memories.

A fork of lightning tore the sky into two and stabbed the endless abyss of the sea. But she didn’t flinch. The skies roared like lions trying to break closed doors. Like trying to break her. But the truth is, they are nothing but amplified woes, mimicking the contents of a heart that once was whole. I watched helpless, rooted on the place where I stood, hidden from her sight behind a dead tree. But I couldn’t bear to hear her cries anymore. I struggled to fill my lungs with air and started to uproot myself and dragged my stubborn feet.

As I wade my way towards her I suddenly froze. I heard my name. She was bellowing it in a way that was filled with hate and love at the same time; torn between a curse and a plea. Every word from her mouth stung, paralyzing, constricting my breaths. But like the sea, I felt that I had no reason to complain. I was willing to take the stones I knew were for me. I just had to take it all in because she speaks of the truth; an ugly truth that stripped me off of rights to any forms of absolution. There was no turning back for there were such wounds that even time couldn’t mend. I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t speak. All I could do was weep. My hands on my face as my knees grazed the sand, my heart laid full of guilt, buried underneath its grains.

And then, I couldn’t hear her anymore, just the rain pounding in my ears, the surging waves colliding against the shores and the transient sounds of thunder. I looked up and I could no longer see her. She was gone. I walked forward to where the sand met the sea. And when the waters rolled back, all I found was a pair of blue slippers enduring the waves to stay.

The storm soon passed, leaving the place in an eerie silence as a soft wind blew, carrying fallen leaves, a sleepless unrest, and lost whispers.

The next day, a young man talked to the sea. But this time, its waters chose not to listen.

. . .

This is written for Dhianz tag. I hope you still remember. I apologize because it took me so long to do this. Slipper-inspired stories don’t come by my doorstep very often.

A new poll is open at my side bar. Please feel free to speak your mind. :P


red light

PEOPLE ALWAYS LEAVE. Sometimes I wonder what’s the essence of it all. Why do we have to let people to be part of our lives even though we know that separation is inevitable?

Some people would sometimes come into our lives like thieves in the night, unexpected. They would sneak their way into our hearts like snakes; silent and slithering smoothly, unnoticed against the green shades of grass and weeds. They would walk in through a back door and leave through a window. They’d come in stealth and would leave in stealth usually carrying with them our hearts, bleeding in their fanged mouths.

In other times they would come as friendly-faced strangers at your doorstep. After letting them in, you would find yourself disappointed for suddenly seeing empty seats or your bed. Sometimes they would leave a note, but most of the time with nothing at all. Either way you feel robbed and betrayed, formulating answers to questions they could only give.

But there are some who would enter your life and decide to linger. But in the back of your head it’s only a matter of time before they’d go adios; either by choice or a twisted turn of events caused a predetermined course of destiny. They’d just vanish in thin air, as if sucked into a black hole, leaving the face of the earth, through a voluntary act of alienation placing you into oblivion; by a tragic fate or slow decay of time.

Some would say goodbye, some wouldn’t. To determine which hurts more is an ordeal. Some would decide to walk away, just a few paces, enough for you see them and not really leaving. They’d just stand there, pretending to not know you. They are those you’d want to disappear completely from your life.

But there are some who’d complain and whine about people leaving them, unaware of the fact that they are the ones drifting away.

It’s hard to trust someone to stay when reason tells you that nothing is bound to be certain except for change and goodbyes. Trust is a tricky thing and because most human souls suffer from a disease caused by lack of love, letting someone in seems much easier than letting someone out. Separation is incontrovertible, so is pain, but so is the choice of what we can do between the beginning and the end of every human connection we engage ourselves in.

It is wise to choose happiness in every second that counts. Risking it for the sake of happiness may not be so bad afterall.

. . .
A once unpublished draft.


r stands for random

I AM NOT INSPIRED to write anything as of the moment. Besides, there is nothing significant to write, but strangely enough there’s still the urge to write. And writing this post just reinforces the fact that I am an impulsive person. I remember an anonymous commenter labeling me as a ‘psycho blogger’. He probably got it right. :P

I enjoyed this week’s performances in American Idol. But only one really blew me away. It was Matt Giraud.
His rendition of Carrie’s So Small was nothing short of amazing. I loved Matt’s blues-y tone in his voice and the fact that he’s a piano player. Add the superb dynamics and arrangement of a beautiful song—it’s almost perfect. I see a resemblance between him and Gavin Degraw, which is one of my favorite current artists. His music is on the loop in my mp3 player including Jay Brannan’s.

I was really disappointed when Alexis got voted out. It should’ve been Adam in my opinion. I just don’t get him and his performance. It was really strange and creepy. He sure hits unimaginable notes but he sounds like he’s singing through his throat.


I love Kristin Kreuk. Everyone who knows me knows that. But I just hated her movie. It was so disappointing. I mean everything sucked. I couldn’t even appreciate the fight scenes. They seemed so slow and poorly choreographed. They made Vega looked so hideous. He should be handsome, right? But at least there was still a reason to wear the mask.

It was very shallow movie. There’s almost no point of watching it. And guess what? There's a sequel! The producer's thought of this beforehand because they knew 'Chun-Li' would be a flop.

I finished reading Para Kay B just recently. And just to clarify, the letter from the previous post was not for
me. It’s for Lucas who wrote the stories in the book. It was mere coincidence that we share the same ‘name’. I mean why would I write to myself? Haha! :P

I am currently rereading Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress. I already forgot the story so I thought why not read it again. I had to put aside The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari just to dwell in its pages again. Sorry Steph! :P I want to become a code-breaker first before being a homicide detective.

My allergies came back but this time, they chose to attack face. I was thinking I might be suffering from allergic rhinitis which I have, but I didn’t expect it to last this long. It usually lasts for only a day or two. As usual I’m bombarding myself with antihistamines yet again.

Since I do not know exactly the causative agent for my condition (I even changed my bed sheets and pillow cases just to be sure), I decided to blame it on the very hot weather. I am so missing the rainy season. I had to stay in my room for most part of the day just to savor the heaven that only my air-conditioning unit could give. (I’m in my room right now, enjoying a chocolate ice cream with nips :P) It’s not a surprise that my parents blame me for the sky-rocketing electric bills. I say: Blame it on the weatherman! Haha!


They say you can have a glimpse of one’s personality through his penmanship. What does this make me?

1. Write the name of the blogger who tagged you.

2. Write the answers to the following:
-your name/ username / pseudo
-right- handed? or left-handed?
-your favorite letters to write

-your least favorite letters to write

-write " the quick brown fox jumps over the l
azy dog "

3. Tag five of your blogger friends.

I am wondering what I can do to make my summer worthwhile. Hmmm… Any ideas?


para kay lucas


I finally pulled my nose out from the pages of your stories last night. I was trying to find myself in one of your characters but I couldn’t, instead I found myself in you. I thought they were about how those women got crippled by love, but in the end, it was all about you--the only and sole casualty in your own story.

Amazing are the words that gushes out from a broken heart. I understand why your characters were so miserable, and lost, and unhappy. It is because you were. The bitterness in your heart contorted your version of love that made your book an omnibus of tragedies instead. I love tragedies. I think that’s one reason why I easily got lost in those tales written by your frozen fingertips.

I know the feeling of writing for someone you love. It’s like immortalizing a sublime feeling into words that screams through the edge of time; an endless and echoing gesture of love printed on paper; a bottled scent of passion and affection sprayed, lasting in the air. But sometimes I wonder if the words that I breathe are the same ones that are holding me back, choking me.

I agree in what you said. Writers are powerful. They can do anything they want. They could reveal every dark secret, raise the dead to life, or even make time machines so that one could undo things, revise sad endings and replace them with happy ones. We love wide and blank spaces so that we could fill them with anything we want. But everything is not fiction. Imagination is proven lacking and insufficient. We are powerful but only to a world standing opposite the realm of reality. To the real world, we’re helpless and ordinary. Vulnerable. And as a way of coping with this fact, we write, hide ourselves in letters, poetry, and make-believe stories of what could’ve been and alternate endings to melancholic conclusions in our lives. We revise and twist things in a world where revisions are not allowed.

I want to ask why you gave up on love. Why did you drop your pen and walked away? Is it her still? If that’s the case, then I would understand. Perhaps you were just not able to let go of her. I can’t tell you the right thing to do. Most right decisions that we could make are not necessarily easy and most often, love is more than a choice between what is right and what is wrong. I just wish that you would’ve been able to love again and change the end of your story, not of the Lucas in your works, but you. Because that is what I am trying to do right now. Loving and writing in the hope that when the right person comes, my words would lift me from the floor, not a care on what the end would bring.

I give you thanks for inspiring me. How I wish there’d be still hope for you. I wish you well, Luke.


. . .

I’m done reading “Para Kay B” by Ricky Lee. I had fun reading it. You might enjoy it too. Let me give a shout out to my friend Steph, the very reliable bookworm who recommended this pink-colored book.


alternate ending

Clammy fingers punched keys

Against naked jaundiced paper

Smeared by words to eyes once concealed

Heard as toothed-steel bite

Parchments that screamed then killed.

A lost story told turned immortal

Breathing breath to your breathless lungs

Bloody ink bold and black

Against the daylight white

And papers’ hue in color lacked.

Type-written truths were twisted lies

Bottled, fermented which I drank

Intoxicating as false ecstasy

Converted into these words I type

Of an almost reality that you’re alive.

Filled parchments piled up and sing

Whispering unbroken hearts and fields so green

Like the color of young love growing

Not of thorn-pierced fingers and skin

And throats slit by weeds slithering.



Fingers persisted to play the keys

As papers flew, torn, and stained

Telling a tale, a chronicle almost lost

A novel of would’ve been if you stayed

A version of your love I just made.

And as you lie under the ground

Beneath cold earth and stone

I forge these words for you alone

An alternate account of a story we once wrote

Ending with a blissful period instead

In the name of your bones I quote.




Caps Lock.


Inspired by the movie,


long way down, long way home

I SAT THERE eyes fixed on the blood-red floor. Random numbers and letters still crammed my head, mocking my broken ego. Anxiety was welling from within, preparing to lunge and eat me whole from the inside. I looked at the faces of those around me and I saw myself; desperately trying to look smart and to give off an aura of a different color that would speak of confidence and brilliance. The only thing that separated me from them was my inability to laugh. I couldn’t. Not just yet.

My hand was tight holding a pen, trying to answer questions on a form. But my mind just went blank. I couldn’t process any thoughts anymore. The numbers and letters were still taunting me, telling me I was not good enough. Then a man stood in front and started to read names. My eyes still fixed on the floor, aiming to amplify every syllable that he spoke in the hope that I would hear a very familiar name. My name. Those who were called walked out of the room, with glints of triumph in their eyes. Every name called was a prayer that the next would be mine. But I didn’t hear my name. I wasn’t called. And then he uttered mumbling sounds. I heard the word ‘reapply’ and ‘six’. The rest turned into a long buzz. The numbers and letters in my head were jumping up and down, rejoicing to a noise of an indiscernible beat.

I heaved a deep breath filling my lungs with oxygen that powered my hesitant leg muscles to stand up. I walked out of the room. Moments later I was inside an elevator with the rest who failed the examination. An awkward silence hanged over us like a swarm of bees. No one dared to speak. Except for one.

“Jessica passed because the set of exams given to them were different. Much easier I bet.” A young woman behind me whispered.

I felt a sudden urge to stab her with a pen, wondering how she could find such words be comforting, when in fact they were just figments of an attempt to nurse a torn ego and a pathetic way of seeking lost redemption.

Once again, I saw my self in their faces reflected on the elevator’s gleaming walls. Defeated. Inflicted by emotional rabies. Mouth frothing with self-doubt likes a dog ready to die. It was a long way down. Jumping out through a window would’ve been a faster and easier way--straight to the ground.

I suddenly found myself wading E. Rodriguez. The afternoon sun was angry on my skin while gastric acid devoured the lining of my stomach. A perfect condition for a miserable person that I was. Few minutes later, I was sitting comfortably inside an air-conditioned bus, almost heaven compared to the blistering hell outside. I was heading home at last. As I sat there watching blurred images of people and places that passed by, I contemplated on what just happened.

I failed. I thought I could easily accept it but I was surprised that I couldn’t. It was hard to accept the fact that I was defeated by number series, scrambled letters, word analogies, word meanings, and common sense. My ego was desperately trying to reason out.

Could these things really measure what’s inside my head? The capabilities and the skills that I have honed through fifteen years of learning? There’s not even a single question about my profession! Does failing this prove that I am not good enough? But they’re not going to use this type of test for nothing, right? They’re not stupid. Perhaps I am. I feel like I am.

I felt nauseated. There was a building desire to vomit the ugly feeling of doubt and despair in the pit of my stomach. I wished that I could. It would’ve been easy to stick a finger in my throat and just let it all out. But it was a long way home.

. . . . .

After nine hours, I was inside an emergency room filled with patients whimpering in pain, which unfortunately included my mother. I wished I was the one lying on that bed, crying, wearing needle-pieced skin, and suffering the intolerable pain caused by urolithiasis. It wouldn’t matter I figured. It was a fucked up day after all for me.

“How was your exam, Ron?” My mom asked, forcing a smile, looking up to her son. She looked so proud and optimistic. My expression was the total opposite. She was looking at the person that fulfilled her dream to become a nurse. But not quite. I just felt sad as I entertained the shadows whispering from the white walls.

“They said they will call me if I pass.” I lied and faked a grin. I couldn’t tell the truth. A disappointment wouldn’t anesthetize the pain, would it? She gave a smile and closed her eyes. She fell asleep and I sat on a foot stool by the bed. I opened a pink-colored book and started to read, thinking a few pages might carry me through the night.

Failures and tribulations come and go like a dark night. And twilight would draw closer and life would be once again renewed by the sparks of a new sun.


a pianist's monologue

IT WAS ONE OF THOSE DAYS AGAIN. The kind of days when blinding daylight magnifies every shadow of an almost forgotten memory. And once again, I was helpless against your ghost that should’ve departed to the afterlife many moons ago. But still you managed to linger in the air I breathe, stuck to my lungs, exhaled through my skin. You just won’t let go.

I suddenly found myself sitting by my withered piano, a side of my face on the keys, while I lazily played a tune with one hand. It was our song. I remembered every note. It’s the meaning behind them that I couldn’t remember. It didn’t make sense anymore. No matter how beautifully the notes aligned themselves, and how perfectly I struck the keys, the outcome was nothing but noise; just a series of unintelligible constellation of sounds that screamed of despair and regret. It was once the most beautiful song, and now it’s like hearing fingernails wailing against a chalk board. And yet, the search for meaning beyond the sounds kept me going, hoping that if I found something that made sense, like happiness, then all the bitterness that was tormenting my spirit would fade just like how I vanished from your heart.

The sun was angry and my room was overflowing with its light, almost scalding me. The humid air invoked the sweat out of my pores, flowing like small salty rivers. I continued playing the song I once loved and now hated so much as blades of the fan whirred, sending dust and air that played with the locks of my hair, warming my face. But I couldn’t get myself to stop as tears ran away from these eyes that knew every inch of your face so well. Pain comes with every chord, penetrating knives sliding through me. But a couple more songs wouldn’t hurt as much as they did before.

I languidly continued to play the melancholic notes, hanging over me like falling flies desperate to fly. As the inferno within the four walls of my room consumed me I remembered you and your broken voice that broke my heart, hoping the noise I was making could obscure the endless echo in my head of the ugliest truth you spat on my face turning into a lasting ugly mask. Just a couple more songs and I will no longer wish the air kissing my face is not your lips but just air; cool and invigorating, the way it’s supposed to be and total opposite of your existence had caused my life.

The sun will set soon. And when the darkness takes over, every light will at last be amplified, along with silence, and hope that will struggle to kindle its own fire against the coldness of the night.

. . .

I woke up very late one day, the sun peeking through my window. The heat woke me up. And then this image of a man sitting by piano flashed in my head. The gears turned, reeling words in my head. It’s curious how inspiration hits you. It was very unpredictable. I tried to establish a contrast between light and dark. The room filled with daylight against the darkness the man was battling inside.

There are places in a man’s heart that even light couldn’t touch.


route 22

IT WAS MAY 15th just past midnight. I was the one on the driver seat, one hand on the steering wheel and the other intertwined with hers. We took Route 22--a long stretch of concrete that divides a vast and empty wilderness. Only few take that road but I am not sure why. Once a year something magical happens in that lonely and forsaken path. I have witnessed it a few times and that night was when I decided to share that magical moment with her.

The night was wrapped in deep darkness. The moon and the stars were veiled by thunderclouds and our headlights were the only sources of light. Cool air brushed against our faces that smelled of fresh grass. I could see her savoring the wind with eyes closed. Her long hair waved, dancing as free as her soul as we both listened to alternative music on the radio.

“Where are we going?” she asked.

“Home.” I answered.

“Really? But how come I don’t know this place.” Suspicion etched on her expression.

“I’m not surprised. Only few take this road. It’s almost forgotten, actually.” I answered taking a quick glance of her curious face.

“But how come?” She said throwing me a quizzical look.

“Do you really want to know?” I asked.

She nodded.

“They say this road is haunted. Look out there.” I said, trying to sound scary and convincing as much as I could.

“You’re kidding, right?” She said, obviously scared.

“Yep.” And she gave a jab on an arm before our laughter echoed across the empty grassy fields around us.

“I just want to show you something first before we head home.” My eyes lingered on hers. It was time.

“And what is it?” Her eyes suddenly filled with wonder. I almost couldn’t contain my excitement.

“A surprise.” I said, eyes on the road ahead. She instantly fell silent. She thought I have forgotten what that day stood for.

“Close your eyes.” And I turned off the headlights after I saw her eyelids cover her beautiful eyes.

The moment the lights went out came a moment bathed in complete and palpable darkness. And there it was. I had witnessed it once more, triumphant that I had finally shared it with her.

I kissed her soft lips and whispered, “And now, open them.”

We’re like floating in space as a million winged-lights hovered ahead of us; tiny lights conjured by a million fireflies that had found safe haven by that path of concrete we traversed. Our car gained speed as if we’re about to fly. The lights were flying passed us in a blur of long thin lines of golden light in every direction, each magnified by the night’s shroud in the deepest of black. Words were not enough to illustrate the majesty of what we had witnessed.

“It’s beautiful.” She whispered. I could see every light reflected on her eyes.

“Yes, it is.” I said, wondering if we could together pave all the paths set before us till the end.

She suddenly stood up and raised her hands to the heavens. My heart seemed to slow down when I saw her, arms outstretched trying to catch the lights in her tiny hands, looking as if embracing the moment that was transpiring before her.

We were still accelerating. Speeding ominously fast. Something was definitely wrong.

Excitement is altered in to fear and bliss into an ugly sense of panic. And suddenly all the tiny lights went out. Then came a moment soaked in total darkness. I turned the headlights on and pulled the breaks. It was too late. We hit a dead end. She was the last image i saw. Standing with hands outstretched to the lights she’s trying to catch.

. . .

It’s been three years. I go back there often to see the lights. But they never came back. Not anymore. The lights seemed to have died with her. It was weeks after the incident before I could make sense of what had happened that night. We crashed against a stranded car. I was the one who get the second chance to live. And yet I feel so dead.

This wheelchair that carries me will be my prison; atonement for what I had done until the time comes when I could finally forgive myself. I’ll wait for an absolution that may never come while I remember her, hands outstretched; catching lights she could no longer see.

I bestowed upon her the worst gift a person can give. And now I am wingless. void of light. Aimed to walk through the years of my life without her. Alone.

. . .

Inspired by the movie, The Look-Out. The 'firefly' image is already redundant, I know. Hehe. I'll use glow-in-the-dark sea cucumbers next time :P



THIRD YEAR HIGH SCHOOL. Dalawang araw bago mag-JS Prom

“Mr. Berania. Samahan mo nga to si Ms. Duma sa kabilang building.” Malakas na bulalas ni Ma’am Gadingan habang nagkaklase siya ng Advanced Biology.

Mukhang bored ang buong klase ngunit ang mga salitang ito ni Ma’am ay tila gumising sa ulirat ng lahat at nawala naman ang concentration ko sa inaaral na chart—The Difference Between the Cycles of Mitosis and Meiosis in Eukaryotic Cells. Napahiling ako na sana’y isa na lang akong eukaryotic cell sa isa sa mga glass slides ni Ma’am.

Nakaupo ako sa silya. Nakanganga. Petrified. Dama ang bawat matang punong-puno ng malisya at mga patagong ngisian. Nakaka-pressure. Para akong magkakaroon ng anxiety attack. Alam ng buong klase at alam ko na it’s now or never. Bakit pa kasi nauso ang mga love team sa hayskul or ang JS Prom? Nalaman ko na mahirap magka-crush kapag ang crush mo ay kaklase mo lalo na kapag saksakan ka ng katorpehan.

Dahan-dahan akong tumayo sa upuan ko. Walang galaw at tunog na lumipas na hindi napansin. Sinundan ko siya.

Mga limang yapak ang pagitan sa bawat isa. Hindi ko alam kung narinig niya ang sinabi ni Ma’am Gadingan pero wala na akong pakialam. Ni hindi ko alam kung saan kami papunta. Bawat yapak ay naging pakikipagbuno sa sarili habang naninigas ang mga kamao at nanlalamig ang mga kamay. Isa akong naglalakad na ‘torpedo’.

It’s now or never! Bigla akong napaubo ako. Pekeng ubo.

“Ehem! Ehem!” Shoot! Hindi niya yata narinig. Hindi siya lumingon. Basa na ang kili-kili ko. No choice. Kailangan ko nang magsalita.

“Ei! Nat!” nagulat ako sa matinis na boses na lumabas sa aking bibig.

“Ui, bakit?” Lumingon na siya sa wakas. Inugatan ako sa pagkakatayo ko. Nanganganib na bumigay ang mga tuhod.

“Uhhm…Sabi ni Ma’am Gadingan samahan daw kita.” Halatang pinilit ang mababang boses.

“Ah okey.” Nagpatuloy siya sa paglalakad. Ang bagal niya maglakad pero isa yun sa mga nagustuhan ko sa kanya. Para siyang pelikula—in slow-motion. Huminga ako ng malalim. Sinabayan ko siya sa paglalakad. Nasa likod ang mga kamay. It’s now or never. Waaa!

“Uhm... Nat.” Pareho kaming napatigil sa paglalakad. Magkaharap. Naghahabulan ang mga matang hindi magkatagpo.

Ano yun?

“Uhmm…May ka-date ka na ba sa Prom?” Sabay lunok. Ang sakit sa lalamunan. Para akong lumunok ng buto ng santol.

“Wala pa.” Sabay cartwheel ako.

“Uhm…pwede ka bang maka-date sa Prom?” Muntik na akong pumiyok. Nagpatuloy siyang maglakad. Tahimik. Nalintikan na. I blew it.

“Kailangan ba talaga may ganun? ‘Di ba pwedeng group?” tinanong niya habang nakatingin sa nagdidilim na langit habang ako’y sumusunod sa kanya parang basang ibong tinamaan ng kidlat.

“Oo naman.” Mahina kong sinabi. Sabay bulong sa hangin.

“So…would you like to go to the Prom with me?” Oo. Napa-English ako.

Nasabi ko na. Bahala na. And I just let it hang there. Isang malaking awkwardness na palutang-lutang sa hangin na parang nakakairitang bangaw. May dumaan na mga anghel. Naikiki-usyoso. Nakakabingi ang katahimikan maliban sa tunog ng umiihip na hangin. Naglakad kami. Nakatingala sa langit. Mabilis ang pagkabog ng mga pusong puno ng takot. Nang biglang…

“Sige, Bok.” At nasilayan ko ang mahiyain niyang ngiti. Nakakainis. Hindi ko na maitago ang aking malalaking ngipin at gilagid.

. . .

Pabalik na kami sa class room. Sa unang tingin ay mukhang tahimik ang lahat. Nagpapanggap na nakikinig sa mga sinasabi ni Ma’am Gadingan. Ngunit ang totoo’y nakikiramdam sa mag-love team na magbabalik.

“Ready ka na, Nat?”

“Kanina pa.” Natatawa niyang sinagot.

Pagbukas pa lang nang pinto ay ramdam na namin ang mga malisyosong mga mata at mga mapanuksong ngisian. Pinilit kong itago ang saya at kilig, pero tinraydor ako ng mga gilagid kong nagpupumilit na lumabas.

“O bakit hanggang tenga ‘yang ngiti mo,” tukso ng seatmate ko.

Napalingon ako kay Poknat. Kinukuyog ng mga classmates kong tsismosa. At sa pagitan ng paghinga’y nagtagpo sa wakas ang nagkakahiyaang mga mata.

“Wala.” Tuluyan nang nawala sa isip ko ang mga phases ng cell cycle. Napalitan ng hindi mapaniwalaang katotohanang ka-date ko ang crush ko sa JS Prom.