Promenade

When beautiful moments begin to make us feel that time almost doesn’t exist, the spaced words could make stories of joys and sorrows. In little promenades in life, we always take our separate ways at the end. Maybe no one can really walk together forever, but we can always ride the night with morsel of memories and cherish them until we get to the forked road. There on that same path where moments end and we let go, some just drive us back to where we start to hope that things last, even for another day or so. But the path we thread will never wither away nor fade.  The night hears our heartbeats; the road is always free. And at times when life bids people to walk away, let us be those with courageous hearts who know how to hold on and stay.

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Third World Wheels

 

 

Fast-rolling, art-tattered, colorful four-wheeled stainless steel box—a galvanized-sheet-made road monster as ubiquitous as the diesel exhaust fumes it spews. While it dazes mad in a Grand Prix class of speed, it can stop at will like a sudden outburst of rage, screeching loud as it scratches rough asphalts or smooth road cement. Inside this rickety proletarian transport, masses of all types huddle hard for a nauseous cramped space as it turns, swerve, and swirl to and fro huge or narrow avenues of trade. Don’t even expect sidewalks to be spared if the traffic push comes to metallic riotous shove. Imagine the rage if autobots and decepticons get stuck in traffic in a one way street—the picture’s more like it minus the fiction. This is Philippine jeepney—the country’s “king of the road”—probably the unheralded Third World Road Wonder of the World.

EVANESCENCE

 

He watched as she barged her way in, rushed to the queue, and bumped her knee on a “wet floor” sign. “Are you okay?” he asked, and instinctively held her hand as she took her place on the line. “Yap bud, thank you,” she replied, “just poor eyesight!” She quickly steadied herself and returned furtive glances with droll nonchalance. He got his coffee a few minutes later and settled on his usual spot. When she too received her macchiato, she strode towards him and asked, “Would you mind if I sit here?” He gladly obliged.

A stretch of awkward silence passed. He tried his best to appear uninterested, but he can’t help but glance. He observed that the girl has a beautiful forlorn face. She was staring through the glass wall now. Outside, drizzles started to pour and mushrooming umbrellas suddenly blocked her view. “The sky is about to tear up,” she muttered. Her words roused him back.

He looked at her and saw her watery eyes. Her shoulder sagged; her lips slightly quivered, but gave away the sweetest smile he ever saw. He smiled back and casually asked what she does.She’s a poet, she told him, and apologized that she can’t tell her name. “You don’t need to tell me yours, either,” she wryly added. Befuddled, he just nodded. She smiled again, acknowledging his curious look. “Ah, forgive my nonsense. Let’s talk, but in metaphor!” she exclaimed. “I like that,” he replied. “It’s easier to understand things in a metaphorical sense, isn’t it?” And they both laugh.

As the place began to swell, uncongested, and crowded again, they just sat there and killed time—two strangers in deep chatter about the fooleries in life. Amidst the endless fleeting moments that occurred around them, it seemed like the whole world converged in that single spot. There they were two wounded souls laying their hearts bare without fear.

“Indeed, we can’t know heartache until it comes and the pain lingers on,” she told him. He listened with utmost sincerity. Her every word stabbed his heart. “At some point we have to face life in its unbearably painful façade,” he managed to respond. “We can’t avoid getting hurt. We just have to rise up and live.” She nodded and looked at his eyes. He veered away, and then met her gaze. “I’ve never been as candid as now, but I didn’t realize I would be pouring my heart out to a complete stranger,” she said.

He wanted to say how special he thinks she is, but he held back. A lady staff wiping a table nearby abandoned her chore, approached them, and asked if they needed anything. Their cups had long been emptied and other patrons were gone. They’re being shooed, and they heartily laughed. “Will I see you again?” he asked, hoping that she would say yes. “I don’t know,” she answered. “Let’s let things be.”They halfheartedly parted—both felt they had to stay but just can’t.

A Speck of Universe in Your Heart

 

There’s a speck of universe in your heart. As you wish for the kismet from afar, freely embrace the void, the cold dark space, and the cruel distance. Believe in the gravity of your own faith. Rely on the strength of your love. Trust the power of hope. Take comfort in the bliss of longing. Defy such cosmic heartache. Build a compass from what you’ve lost and begin with a careful stride. When wounds heal, take pride from the scars. The crumbs of painful memories always crumble on their own time. You can be lonely but not alone. Feel broken but unbreakable. Let things unfold even if your trodden dreams drift afloat. The pain often melts into a stream of tears, so let them ebb as they flow. The heaven smiles fast on us when our heart does. Wish from within. There’s a speck of universe in your heart.

Random Musings

 

Each of us has a story—muted tales of madness, fear, and uncertainty. Everything splinters, gets crushed, and gets broken. Life doesn’t go round in circles. Like an unfamiliar road, it has bends, curvatures, and edges—nothing ever goes straight. There are even nightmares inside a dream. I once comforted a lost child in a crowd and felt lost myself. I witnessed old people shedding tears for wounded doves in a park and kids laughing at tearful crocs inside a cage. Even a reflective solitary man in a white-tiled room will scream of darkness. Life’s humor simply throws out plenty of scary metaphors. Most of the time, we are just like wood shavings in the air bound to hurt visions or feathers blown by the wind unsure of direction. A good percentage of humanity subsists on hope; but the greater tragedy is simpler: we live our lives just too afraid to take life on its head and go out screaming. When we want something bad and it takes a bold sacrifice to achieve, should our minds be supple to fear or our hearts disincline to what they feel? Is it living when each day we die from within? I’ve once known a man who lost everything but still had these words to share: “Don’t wait for the hardest fall. Take charge of your life like there’s nobody else out there who cares at all.”

 

The Masterpiece

 

Every visit at my father’s workshop, I stared at that blank, mottled canvass in the wall. My old man, who has had a little amount of success in his days as an artist, wouldn’t utter a word nor speak more about it, except the usual, “That’s the best painting I ever made son.” That prided masterpiece sparked my curiosity for many years.  I often muttered, “It’s odd. There’s really nothing there but that dappled piece of cloth and wooden board. Beside it are the real works which I thought have greater worth. “No,” he said, “that will always be my source of joy.” So I just often let it go and didn’t push further. After my father succumbed to an illness sometime in 2005, our family was totally wrecked apart. He virtually withdrew from real family connection. He started to hate everything. I suspected that it included the fact that his only son cannot even draw some good stick figures. So life hated him back, too. I’ve never set foot in his workshop anymore. He died a few years later—frustrated, sad, and hateful. After he was laid to rest, I found myself in his workshop once more. There, at its usual place was that blank canvass, staring back; taunting me to unhinge it from the wall. So I snatched it out and ripped it open. Inside the thick layer of cloth I saw my first drawings—some doodles on top of my father’s painting wasted by my innocent artwork.

The Stranger

 

It was a typical provincial sight—small shacks with clotheslines, farmlands from all sides, dusty streets, a skinny dog napping in a shade, chickens picking around the backyards, and local old folks grinding trivial tales in a bamboo bench. If not for an old, lacquered poster of a smiling politico, this typical mountain village was in a time warp. He knew he finally reached the place by the time he limply stepped down onto the waiting shade. Gripping hard the relic of his soul entombed into that old locket in his shaky hands, he let a funeral pass by. Some thoughts loped and scampered around his brain. It took him twenty years to muster courage. It felt like a damaged dream, but he had to be here. “Life is a big bluff,” he surmised. Then the humid air blew and touched his forlorn face. It chilled his spine and roused him back. The sun-dappled ground is gone and the night wind started to whisper. Semi-darkness embraced him like an old friend. Then he felt curious eyes staring at his back, watching his steps, sizing up an aged outsider. As the dim light from a solitary lamp post flickered and puffed out, he slowly strode down to a familiar road. From afar, an old hut waited empty for a stranger coming home.