Week #7: Knock Knock

Was it a knock that had woken her?

A knock on the door? A knock on her head? A knock on her heart?

She lay still for a moment, not wanting to get up. How long had she been asleep? An hour? A day? A month? A year? More?

She wanted to move her fingers, her toes. But her muscles, her blood vessels — they didn’t seem to be fully awake yet.

What had caused her slumber? She didn’t remember. One moment she had been up, living her dreams. The next …

A prince, a peasant, a knight, an ogre — someone had kissed her. It must have been then when she was sent to a land of lullabies.

Funny. Weren’t kisses supposed to wake you up? But yet there she was. Recovering.

Was it a knock that had woken her up?


Week #6: Lola Lota

Subject: Write about the oldest person you know.

She really isn’t the oldest person I know, but she is the oldest person I am somewhat close to: my fellow dragon, Lola Lota.

We were both born on the year of the dragon. My father often attributes Lola’s fierceness and my own stubbornness to that. She was born in 1928; I, in 1988. She’s turning 86 this month while I’m turning 26 in two months’ time. A quick consultation with Wikipedia reveals we are both earth dragons. Not that I really believe all those astrology stuff, but it’s nice to think that we actually have that in common.

I was out jogging one crisp morning last May when I saw Lola Lota doing Tai Chi at my school’s Lover’s Park. I didn’t notice her immediately. I just thought it would be a funny coincidence if she’d also happen to be there swaying with the elderly group. How cool would that be? Well, I looked closer, and omigash, there she was!

She’s really strong and active that way. She has to be, to keep ruling our compound with an iron fist. But tough as she is, she — in truth — is very tender in a lot of ways.

When I was in the fifth grade, she flew all the way to Australia by herself to visit our family (we were keeping my Dad company that time). My brother and I took turns sleeping next to her. I think she read us bedtime stories, but I’m not entirely sure of the details of that memory. I am sure, however, of the evening walks we took with her around the neighborhood and how she’d randomly pick a leaf or a flower from somewhere, preserving the foliage later by pressing them within the pages of an album or a book. Sometimes when I visit her now, she’d show me those leaves and ask, “Naalala mo ba noong tayo’y nasa Australia..?” (Do you remember when we were in Australia…?)

I always make sure to say goodbye to her when I leave the Philippines, before I head back to Malaysia. She’d usually have a pabaon — a blouse, a handbag, a scarf — something she’d want me to bring along. Lola Lota is sweet and thoughtful that way.

She gave me three greeting cards (one during my college graduation, one on my master’s graduation, and another for Christmas 2012) wherein she commended me for being good, for being kind, for being a person who achieves so well, etc. They were nice thoughts, nice messages from a caring woman who takes all her grandkids’ concerns to heart. At the end of each card, she lovingly reminded me to be open to love (I was a proud member of the NBSB — No Boyfriend Since Birth — club). I think it made her happy when I finally introduced her to the man who makes me swoon.

We had ice cream while she grilled him about the details of his job, about his hometown, about those stuff grandmothers usually ask their grandchildren’s significant others. It could be my imagination, but I believe she left our house smiling.

I hope she’d still be alive when the time comes that I’d get married, have kids, have a family of my own. I won’t mind it if she gives one of her lengthy speeches at the reception. And it would be great, perhaps, if she’d have a great-granddaughter who’d be born in the year of the dragon, too.

I love you, Lola Lota. This one’s for you. Happy Birthday in advance!


For the Next Five…

6. Subject: Write about the oldest person you know.
7. First Line: Was it a knock that had woken her?
8. Dialogue: “Have you read the newspaper stories about my wife?”
9. Scenario: You are going to be invisible for the next three hours. How would you make the most of this time?
10. Title: The Abandoned Bike

Stay tuned for Week #6 this Friday. In the meantime, let me cuddle up with a good book.


Week #5: What Lies Beyond The Garden Fence

Someone once told me
The grass is much greener
On the other side
And I paid a visit
(Well, it’s possible I missed it)
It seemed different,
Yet exactly the same
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
‘Til further notice,
I’m in-between
From where I’m standing,
My grass is green
Someone once told me
The grass is much greener
On the other side.

As Told As Ginger

We human beings are such strange, strange creatures. We can’t seem to get much satisfaction.  We look over the garden fence, into somebody’s yard, and sigh as we compare their shrubs and bushes with ours.

It’s Valentine’s week. Come Friday, you’ll have a newsfeed populated by posts ending with #content, #happy, #bestboyfriend/girlfriendever, #singleandlovingit, #bawalangbitter, #ilovemyhubby/ilovemywifey, #truelovewaits, #missingyousomuch etc. Some people will hop over to the other side of the garden fence with a basket of homemade pie and smile cheerily at their lovey-dovey neighbors. Others will bar their doors shut and vow not to step out of their yards until February ends. Others will just grit their teeth and put a brave face while trying to keep the flowers in their carefully tended plots radiant and alive.

Till further notice, I’m in between. From where I’m standing, my grass is green. Maybe we should just quit comparing and learn to love and make do with what we have. Or maybe more than that. Maybe we should learn to fully embrace the truth that wherever we are standing, the grass is already green.

Sure it could get greener. Sure more flowers could sprout up some day. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what’s inside your garden fence right now, right?

I have to tell myself this everyday. I have to tell myself to enjoy the beauty of where I am now. I’ll be looking forward to lots of lovely things, but while I dream, I mustn’t let the loveliness that is already all around me, pass me by.

Someone once told me the grass is much greener, on the other side.


Week #4: Hello

Oh hey. There you are. Again. Same spot, same stance. Predictable, as always.

There are days when I think I know you, like from a dream, a memory, a past life if such a thing existed. Then there are days that I’m positive, absolutely positive, that I know nothing — not even one single thing — about you.

Well, I do know that you habitually run your hands through your perpetually messy hair. And I do know that you carry a hand sanitizer with you everywhere. And, oh, did you know sometimes, when you nod off while the train is running, your mouth hangs open ever so slightly — but, gosh, what if I told you that I — embarrassingly enough — find that somewhat… cute?

You get off exactly one station before me. That should make us almost neighbors but then again it takes 20 minutes to get from your station to mine.

Sometimes I want to get off that stop and follow you. Maybe even say hi. But then that would be somewhat weird and stalker-ish, wouldn’t it?

Perhaps I should just love you from a distance. Perhaps I should just wait at the station at a different time and maybe — just maybe — I won’t have to see you there. Or perhaps —

“Oh. Hey there. Hello.”


Scenario: Every day at the station, you see someone you’re attracted to, How would you go about getting yourself noticed?