Contrast

My niece Lee could not even talk yet the last time I saw her, two years ago. After picking me up at the airport, her dad drives to her playschool where she’s in the middle of “nap time.” He speaks to her teacher and goes into her classroom, carries her out, and has her half-closed eyes meet my face. “This is your Tita Pia,” he says. Within five minutes we are playing, she is hugging me and calling me her best friend, and I am in heaven.

It was my constant failure: Committing to put cookies in my bag so I would always have something for children begging in the streets, yet hardly ever actually doing it. So there I was, stopped at an intersection, and once again a boy knocks on my window. I could only mouth, “Sorry, wala” and avoid his pleading eyes. The light turned green and I drove off, heart heavy, knowing that I could have given, done so much. “Next time,” I muttered, but I myself felt the hollowness of my words.

Scars

I watched as she scanned her legs with hunched brows, seeming to study every inch and pore, caressing one and then the other, ignoring me and the ocean before us.

“Are you looking for something there?” I stopped mid-chuckle when she met my eyes and I saw the seriousness in hers.

“I had stripes, diagonal lines, about a dozen of them, right…here, I think?” and with her left forefinger she drew on her right shin. “I can’t believe I’ve lost them. I’m not even a hundred percent sure now that it was on this leg.”

She continued to tell me how she got those now-begone scars: She was eight, she tripped while running and her shin rammed against the pavement, scraping the skin in such as manner that she ended up with a dozen stripes.

“The worst part was when I got home. Did I mention I was playing with my childhood crush? Oh my goodness. I was with this boy, this neighbor that I really liked, and he accompanied me home after that mishap. And, good heavens, he had to watch as my mom, who had no mercy on me, treated my leg with alcohol, and I bawled like a cow being electrocuted!”

“Oh, poor thing!” I exclaimed, though we were both laughing then. I was trying to form a picture of the weeping eight-year-old version of her in my head.

“I liked those scars, you know?” she said. “Looking at them always reminded me of that story, brought me back to happy days. I mean, that moment was actually terrible, but those days, that summer, I remember quite well how I was just…happy. I mean, to be a child, you know what I mean, right? Wouldn’t you give anything to go back in time?”

“Nah, I didn’t have you back then.”

“Aww.” She rolled her eyes and made a gagging sound, and I knew that was as far as I could go. That is, until the next opportunity comes.

 


A possible snippet for my WIP 🙂

The Guard*

He has eleven hours and forty-six minutes in his hands.

Eleven hours and forty-six minutes left, and he has already paced around the restaurant. Twice.

So much time to kill, but with what? As far as he knows he is only allowed to people-watch, or else stare purposelessly out into space.

Eleven hours and forty-five minutes.

What’s there to defend? The baked mac? There must be a couple thousand pesos at most in the cash register. He has often caught himself questioning, if only in his head, why it’s become standard procedure for even small restaurants to hire security personnel. During peak hours he tries to make himself useful, bussing tables. Once in a while a harried customer trying to find someplace to sit grants him a nod of appreciation, but most times he just gets a nonplussed look or a giggle. A “bus-guard,” and a “guard-in-waiting,” he’s been called. The rest of the day he preoccupies himself with daydreaming, brows pulled down together and eyes squinting in feigned alertness and intense concentration. There really isn’t anything else to do, though he’s never saying that out loud.

He shakes his head almost imperceptibly. “Gotta stop these nonsense thoughts about purpose. This feeds my family, pays the bills. Don’t need any more purpose than that to keep me at my post.”


*Resurrecting this character vignette-in-progress. Still needs a lot of work; I wonder where he will take me 🙂

 

Whimsy waxing poetic

There were countless things I wanted to be:
A doctor, engineer, singer for a fee,

Absolutely nothing that I couldn’t do,
Even feed alligators at the zoo!

I thought I’d be an astronaut and dance ’round the moon,
Or maybe a magician who could eas’ly bend a spoon.

A chef, policeman or pilot perhaps,
Or maybe a nurse who gives babies their naps?

As I became older all these open doors
Got fewer and fewer as I charted my course.

More and more, too, I came to learn
That it’s not about what I could do or earn,

But there is a Master, the One above all,
Whose pleasure truly is my greatest call,

And so here and now it’s plain to me,
As clear as crystal I finally see

That there’s really just one thing I ought to be:
A faithful and humble servant of Thee.

 

Notebooks!

From my other blog — On notebooks…

t a s t e & s e e !

It’s show and tell time!

I just realized that I have quite a lot of notebooks. Here are some that I use for journaling:

My Little Book of Blessings

I started keeping this one in early 2006 (yes, you read that right, it’s more than ten years old!) to note down each day’s blessings. Oh, the things that are written here! It’s amazing how a huge chunk of how God kept me afloat and joy-filled through some of the most difficult years of my life are chronicled in this tiny notebook. Only thing was, I’d always stop after a few weeks or months, and have just recently resumed writing on it again, so half the pages are still waiting to be filled.

My Faith Walk Journal

Now this notebook used to contain the highlights, or the briefest possible summary, of my every day. (See the very old entry above? Yup, this notebook’s been…

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