Post A Week: Seven Days Vacay

You wake up tomorrow morning to find all your plans have been cancelled for the next seven days and $10,000 on your dresser. Tell us about your week.

Dearest Mari,

It has come to our attention that you are in dire need of a vacation. This being so, we have scrapped all your plans for the next seven days. Yes, the guests you are expecting this weekend will be coming on the sixteenth and seventeenth instead. Yes, we have already submitted your leave form. It has already been approved but it will not be deducted from your current number of annual leaves. And yes, you can fetch the laundered blankets and sheets next Saturday instead.

Attached herewith is $10,000 (yes, that’s US Dollars, not Singaporean Dollars) to be used at your disposal.


The Powers That Be

Oh Most Esteemed Powers That Be,

I would like to sincerely thank you for granting me respite for seven days and for even providing the necessary money. I would like to inform you that I have tithed 10% and kept 30% in my savings account. The other 10% I have given to a worthy cause. The remaining 50% I have used for the vacation you have made great pains to acquire for me.

I have opted not to go back to my home country since the political threads between her and my country of employment are currently in a very fragile state. Thus, I have decided to venture into a more peaceful territory. I spent five days in Hanoi. The two days I had to use for travel (thank you, AirAsia).

I shall be sending you a postcard, a key chain, and a T-Shirt soon as tokens of my appreciation.

Again, thank you.

Yours faithfully,




Post a Week: Death to the Alarm Clock

Remember when you wrote down the first thought you had this morning? Great. Now write a post about it.

7:30 AM.

“Hey, hey, dear daughter… I’m so proud to be your father… Each day is like a gift from God…” goes my nameless hot pink Nokia phone.

Ugh. Five more minutes. No make that ten. I hit snooze.

“There’s a million other guys who would leave ya. And when you say that you’re in love they won’t believe ya — ” Stevie Wonder blares out.

No, no, no. Fifteen minutes. I need fifteen minutes more. I hit the snooze icon flashing across my iPad’s screen.

And then Shane and Shane start playing their song again.

Welcome to my daily, one hour battle with my alarm clock — err, clocks, I mean.

In between reaching out for the different snooze buttons, my subconscious drifts back and forth between dreams of a seemingly pagan girl and a Red Tent; between thoughts of my unprepared breakfast and my slowly decreasing bath time; and between expectations of going home, of possibly looking into a pair of deep brown eyes.

I snuggle deeper into my bed. One hand holds my Nokia phone, still.

“Hey, hey, dear daughter…”

“I’m never gonna leave you…”

There they go again. I sigh in resignation. I hit the off buttons, stretch my arms, and let out a cry.

It’s time to get up.



Post a Week: Undo

If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Discuss why, potential repercussions, or a possible alternative.

Thanks for the great idea, rarasaur!

The letters stare at me, cold and emotionless against the glare of my computer screen. “Hello, how are you?” they read. Hello? How are you? Those four cordial words would never be enough to convey all the emotion I’m feeling right now.

Longing. Wistful pining. Heartfelt concern. Love. These deserve more than an email. These deserve more than bytes of pixels sent over secure protocols and SMTP connections. These deserve —

These deserve me seeing you face to face, seeing your reaction as I shakily speak those simple words out. These deserve me hearing how you’d respond, instantly or after a moment or two of thoughtful silence — not after days of Internet muteness.

The next best thing is a real letter, complete with my awkward strokes and tense lettering.

But what can I do? In the end, I realize it’s better not to undo.

I type a few more paragraphs. Hopefully they’ll do me and my heart justice.



Post a Week: Look Forward

It’s Valentine’s Day, so write an ode to someone or something you love. Bonus points for poetry!

Time is transitory
Sadness temporary
All I’m feeling now will soon all pass
Cause I’ve been missing you
But you’ve been missing too
Tell me that this loneliness won’t last

But I’ll
look forward to forever
When time
and distance will barely matter
And you and I will be together forever
And you and I will be together forever

Time is filled with beauty
Joy and love surround me
I know that waiting can still be sweet
So I’ll wait for you
And as you still wait too
I’ll hold on to the promise ‘coz this love’s worth it

Everything will fall in place in its perfect time
Like the way your hand will fit perfectly into mine



Post a Week: Reduced to Ashes

Remember yesterday, when your home was on fire and you got to save five items? That means you left a lot of stuff behind. What are the things you wish you could have taken, but had to leave behind?

Gone. Everything’s gone. Burned down; reduced to miserable, grey, dustlike matter.

Everything, that is, save for Buffy (my external hard drive), Stevie Wonder (my iPad), Danny (my guitar), Decklen (my point and shoot), and Baggy (my office bag, the one stuffed with important files and folders and, yeah, the one whose name I had just made up on the spot).

I’m glad I was able to salvage them. But all my other belongings are nothing but ashes now.

The letters and memorabilia my friends gave me before I left for Malaysia. The police and AH1N1 reports I managed to collect during my first months here. The books and journals I kept to keep me company during my many moments of solitude. I had packed them all inside an ordinary carton box eons ago. I had kept them tucked under my bedroom’s study table so that I could go back to them antime I needed to. Funny how I had managed to bypass them in my frantic effort to save “the top and important five”. There’s nothing I can do to save them now.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Perhaps it’s a sign. Maybe it means I should simply leave the past behind and move on towards the future.

Accidental as it may be, the bridges have been burnt and now there’s nowhere to go but to go forward.

So. Forward I must go.



Post a Week: Fragments

Set a timer for ten minutes. Open a new post. Start the timer, and start writing. When the timer goes off, publish.

Memories. Fragmented dreams. Making their way into my subconscious. Reminding me of moments. Treasured moments, yes. Precious moments with you.

Conversations inside coffee shops. Me, drinking coffee; you drinking none.

Malunggay pesto. You, reading poetry from one of the books by the shelf; me, just listening, silently pondering.

Pizza. Pasta. I’m not sure why, but we usually eat Italian.

FX rides, tricycle rides, me stumbling and bumbling around.

You, in your boat shoes and “ballerina socks” as you call them.

Me, talking into my phone’s speaker, tears leaking out of my eyes.

So I’m waiting for that moment – two months, three months, four months from now. When I’ll get say “hey” to you again in person. When these fragments become real and not mere wistful imagination.



Post a Week: Rain Walker

Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

I’m a rain walker. What I mean to say is that I like walking in the rain.

There’s something about the coolness and the refreshing that faint drops of water bring over weary battle-worn souls. There’s something about the way that it washes out all the pain, all the burdens, all the troubles that heavy shoulders hold.

I am thankful I have a pretty good immune system. Or else, I might have gotten sick a number of times because of this unusual habit of mine.

But sometimes an Inner Voice tells me not to turn to rainwater for respite. Sometimes — well, most of the time — a Still Small voice tells me to go under the Waterfalls, to drink from the Well which shall never run dry.

I like staying under that Waterfall more than I like walking in the rain.

But when I walk under the rain, I know that He walks with me, too.



Post a Week: This is Your Life

If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will ever happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover.

Thanks for the great idea, Tom!


The cover looks more girly than I imagined. Quite dainty. Quite… Pink. Quite flowery, too. But it looks like it’s made of strong, solid material. I could use it as a chopping board, if I wanted to. I could use it to hit an unsuspecting fellow on the head or — to be less brutal and to be more practical — to hit an assaulter of human or animal form as an act of self-defence.

I look at the volume in my hands. Should I open it? Should I not? Oh, to open or not to open, that is the question.

The being (a burly and muscular angel, not a whispy Gandalf-like or Dumbledore-type person as one would expect) who gave it to me gave me a fair enough warning: “If you choose to read it, you must read it from cover to cover.”

Cover to cover, eh? The first few pages I could handle. I’d love to mull over the 24 chapters though I know there’ll be sections I won’t be particularly proud of. But I have mixed thoughts about reading the pages from chapter 25 onwards. What if I won’t like what I’ll read? What if I do? Would knowing my future in any way affect the way I live my now?

Don’t get me wrong. I would love to know about my future, too. But just snippets of it — not the full details. And not so much that I would feel like I’ve already lived through my whole life by reading a book in one sitting.

Oh but it looks so tempting. Oh but the pages seem so rich and inviting. Oh…

I take a deep breath and place my right palm on the back cover and my left on the front.

I raise the book up.

“Hey, angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom His love commits me here — thanks, but no thanks!”

The muscular fellow appears as I say the words aloud. He gives me a wink before he makes off with the pink flowery book.

Sure, the prospect of discovering what’s in store for me was enticing. But I shall live my life unwrapping each day as a present, one day at a time, one page at a time.

How about you? Will you?