Letter #6: Letter to that Special Someone

Hello love, how do you do?
I think I’m somewhat missing you
But don’t you worry ’cause I’ll be alright
‘Cause you’re the one who makes me smile at night
And in the morning and the evening and the afternoon
So let’s just chill, relax, we’ll see each other soon
And be together, together, again

(Mari Anjeli, LDR Story)

Here we are, living out this LDR Story. Here we are, connected by the Internet, by cellphone lines, by thoughts and prayers — attempting to bridge the gap. I’m not going to complain any longer. I am grateful for what we have.

Being grateful does wonders. Being grateful and looking forward – these, along with lots of heart-rending prayers are my secrets. They are some of my keys to staying strong. Because when there are too many miles, too many minutes, too many days, too many weeks, too many months between us, it’s far too easy to either be numb or weak. But I choose to be neither.

I look forward to moments your name pops up on screen. To moments my blue Nokia phone buzzes, may it be in the middle of the day or night (as it often does). I look forward to hearing your voice – hyped up at times, crazed out some others, but my favorite is when it’s slow and relaxed. Most of all, I look forward to moments when I’m physically next to you, when we’re holding hands, when all these times we are apart become distant memories we have used to teach us, to strengthen us.

I know we’ll be able to see this through. By the grace of God, we will see this through.

Gift of Lessons: Three Lessons Learned

Three lessons for 2013. Wow. How hard is it to list down three lessons that you learn in a year?

Pretty hard, it seems.

It’s been quite an eventful year and three lessons might not be enough to sum up what I learned from each event. But here goes something — (because I really don’t want to say here goes “nothing”):

Lesson 1: It is important to learn to take care of ourselves holistically. By the first quarter of the year, I made a shocking discovery — my BMI showed that I was overweight, my fat to muscle ratio was very unhealthy, my visceral fat was ugh, and my body age was higher than I expected (my body was apparently forty-plus years old). That was not good. I had to do something about it if I wanted to live a long, healthy life (hey, I have dreams and a future to look forward to). I started exercising. I started eating well. Now, if my March 13, 2013 entry is accurate, it means I have lost a total of 10 kg as of today. Yey!

Lesson 2: Long Distance Relationships are not for the fainthearted. I believe I am blessed to have been able to see my SO three times in person this year, considering that I am in Malaysia and he is back home in the Philippines. But it’s not a walk in the park, you know? You have to be creative, you have to be understanding, you have to have a deep level of trust and commitment, you have to learn how to communicate well — and Skype and the Internet are at times a both a curse and a blessing. If you’re getting into this kind of relationship, be warned that it’s sweet but, realistically speaking, at times hard and bitter. Much like tiramisu. But hey. Anything worth having, anything worth keeping is worth waiting for and worth fighting for.

Lesson 3: It takes time and patience to get a book out. Yes I am still working on my project. I had underestimated the rewriting process. And the proofreading process, too. So… Hang in there, hang in there. We’ll get there soon enough. In the meantime, there are a lot more projects brewing up in my percolator. Maygash. I really have to set aside time to really focus and do these things. Well, 2014 is starting to look exciting!

So how about you guys? What did you learn this 2013?

via https://mariscribbles.com/2013/12/11/gifts/

Cheers from a healthier, happier me. ;)
Oh, that’s a healthier, happier me. ;)

Goodbyes and Tiramisu

You taste like tiramisu — you are bitter and sweet. (Valentine by Wendy Austyn)

Goodbyes are strange. I don’t look forward to them, but sometimes I do.

I hate how a familiar searing pain creeps up to my chest whenever I think about being torn away from you. But I love the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I’m blanketed by that hug you only give out at airport departure areas. I would receive that hug more often but that would mean I should bid you farewell more often, too.

Sigh. Goodbyes taste too much like tiramisu.


Marry Christmas. Again.

(Day 26 – Your dream wedding)

So I’m supposed to be writing about my dream wedding, huh? I guess it’s pretty much in season as wedding bells will be resounding once again this December — A LOT of my friends will be getting married during that festive month, you see. Pity I won’t be able to join in any of the fun. I’m stuck in My because of my passport. Anyway. I’ll just turn into a likebot then and like every single one of my friends’ pictures in Facebook.

But back to this entry’s topic. My “dream wedding”. Well, today’s fanciful story isn’t so much a dream wedding in the sense that this specific wedding is what I want my wedding to be like. In fact, it’s a “dream wedding” because the truth is that I’ve been having recurring fantasies of this specific nuptial since 2008. Lol. Four years ago, I scribbled a little story about a wedding from the point of view of a maid of honour (‘honor’ in these tales because I followed the US spelling) who was struggling because her younger sister was the one getting married while she — the older one — had no suitors in sight. I followed it up with the bride’s side of the story because I wanted to give the younger sister justice. Three years later, the wedding planner came in and put her two cents into the storyline, giving you, dear readers, new insights to learn about lurv and all that jazz. 

So now I’ll throw in another love story into this web of stories.

Twill be quite long. But I hope you’ll enjoy this one anyway. :)

Marry Christmas (Shirley’s Story) 

Mari Anjeli B. Lubrica

08 November 2012

Perfect sunshine. Perfect breeze. Perfect everything. Did everything have to be so perfect? Shirley knew it was wrong, but she couldn’t help but be a very glum attendee of the “wedding of the year”.

She looked around the rooftop garden, around the deep red and forest green scene, and found herself sighing, seeing how everyone there had “somebody to love” with them. There was the exuberant bride who would waltz into the arms of her dashing groom, of course. Then there was Grace with dear old Wilson. There was Sandra, the wedding planner, with David, the photographer. And there was — oh. Laura didn’t have anyone with her. Shirley glanced at the maid of honor who was, at that moment, wearing a disdainful look that was all too very much familiar to her.

It was familiar because she was wearing it as well.

Oh, Marcus. Why can’t you be here, too???

“All right! Everyone marches in at the count of three! One – two — ”

Te-te-te-tennn… te-te-te-tennn… te-te-te-tennn tennn tennnen tennn tenn tennn te-ne-nennn tennn tennn…


Shirley heaved a sigh and willed herself to enjoy the wedding. I will not think about Marcus Reyes. I will not think about Marcus Reyes. I will not — God, what on earth could he be doing right now?

As the flower girls, the bridesmaids, and the maid of honor paraded down the rose strewn pathway, the wedding guests craned their necks towards the rooftop’s door, eagerly anticipating the giddy bride’s grand entrance. Everyone held their breath.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the bride.”

Shirley gave Ashley’s beautiful countenance a quick look over and thought to herself, Wow, Ash is so pretty.

Oh God, what could Marcus be doing now?

* * *

“Bye! Bye, Shirley! Bye, Grace! Thanks for everything! Wilson, take care of those two… Bye! Oh — and Merry Christmas!”

Was it already Christmas? Shirley glanced at her watch and saw that the clock had indeed struck midnight. Well, trust Ashley to set “The Night Before Christmas” as her wedding date. The woman gave Laura a nod goodbye, mouthing out the words, “Merry Christmas to you, too!”

It was very “un-Christmasy”, but Shirley felt her foul mood return when she walked through the parking lot with the mushy Grace and Wilson. The couple promenaded a few steps in front of her with their fingers intertwined and Shirley felt a sigh rising up from her chest yet again. Wilson had been kind enough to offer her a ride home. Now, she wasn’t so sure if she should have accepted the offer. Perhaps it would have been better if she had hitched a ride with Sandra instead.

Her disposition improved, however, once they got into the secondhand Toyota. At least there’ll be less cheesyness here, Shirley thought to herself, knowing that Wilson liked to be focused when he drove. Let’s all have a nice and quiet ride home.

But the engine had barely started to rev up when Grace popped the dreaded question. “So, Shirley. You’ve been very quiet tonight. How’s Marcus?”

“Oh, he’s great.” So much for a nice and quiet ride home.

* * *

Shirley woke up the following morning feeling a thousand hammers hammering through her brain. She wasn’t used to sleeping short hours anymore. But she had a shift at The Bean. She had no choice but to get up at that unmerciful hour that Christmas morn. 7:30 AM. She had an hour. She’d have to shower soon.

She glanced at her phone — set strategically next to Marcus’ picture by her bedside — and peered into the screen. No message. No missed call. No nothing.

Shower, Shirley, she told herself. You have to shower.

The 25-year-old stripped her pajamas off and dragged herself into the bathroom. As she turned the water on, she felt the hot water beat down her back like rain on a hot summer day.

Rain. Marcus is so much like the rain, Shirley thought to herself. You don’t know when he’s going to call or message you. You don’t know if it will be a torrent or a drizzle. All you know is that, sooner or later, he’ll drop by a hello. But you just don’t know when. He really is like the rain. So very, very, very unpredictable.

She turned the water off and wrapped herself in a fluffy light blue towel, the one Marcus gave her last Christmas. It was her favorite color. And her boyfriend knew that she liked anything warm and fluffy, thus the well thought of gift.

The truth was, Marcus was a really sweet fellow. He was an awesome boyfriend. He was an awesome person, really.

But because he was so awesome, he just had to take a couple of months off for himself to go to an art exposure trip to Europe. Right now, Shirley didn’t know whether her boyfriend was in Paris, Nice, London, or Madrid. Well, the last postcard that she got from him had a picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in it. But that was a month — or two months — ago. When they Skyped the previous week, he said that he was in Venice. Well, who knew where he was now. She hadn’t heard anything from him since that voice chat.

Shirley put on her Bean’s brown uniform and glanced at her phone again. Nothing.

Right. It was time to get to work anyway.

* * *

“Hey, Shirley! Wassup? Merry Christmas!” The barista was busy refilling the coffee maker when David Sanchez came in.

“Hello, David! Merry Christmas to you, too! What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at home with your family?”

“Haha. Yes. But I stole a couple of minutes — well maybe it’ll turn into a couple of hours — away from the house. I’m here to meet someone.”

“Oh, okay. Can I get you anything?”

“Just a glass of water for now. Don’t want to get too caffeinated just yet. I’ll place my real order later.”

“Sure thing. A fake order of water, coming right up.”

The photographer laughed as Shirley filled up a glass for him. “Thanks, Shirl. By the way, how’s Marcus doing? Has he called you up to greet you a sweet, sweet Christmas yet?”

Shirley made a face. “No, he hasn’t. Now why does everyone keep asking me about Marcus???”

“Uhh, maybe because he’s your boyfriend?”

The barista scrunched her nose up. “Yeah, maybe that’s it.”

David threw her an understanding look. “Everything going well with the dashing painter?”

The was no other customer inside the coffee shop save for David, so Shirley took the seat in front of him as well as the opportunity to talk to him. “Swell. But to be honest, I don’t really hear that much from him these days. Our last Skype was, like, last week. I miss him.”

“Well, you have to extend your patience and understanding, you know. He’s a busy man. He’s always on the road. He’s always got a paintbrush in his hands. He’s — “

“He’s always got the time for everything except me?”

David smiled. “C’mon, Shirl. Don’t think that way. Marcus loves you very much. You know that.”

“Then why doesn’t he show it???” Shirley was really thankful that nobody else was at the coffee shop to witness her unhappy outburst.

“Well, men have different ways of showing love, I guess. Come on. Think, girl. I’m sure Marcus does show his love for you — in his own Marcus ways.”

“Well, he did give me that towel. Okay, that doesn’t sound so romantic, but that was sweet. He gave me flowers once. Chocolates, too. Paintings. Lots and lots of paintings.”

“You see! He does show his love for you. I think gifts are Marcus’ love language, Shirl.”

“But my receiving language is time! I need him to give me time! Words, too! Though I do love gifts very much…”

“Well, you can’t demand too much of that from him right now.”

“I can’t demand anything from him right now.”

“Patience, dear. Give him time. Give him space. How long is the program going to last, by the way?”

“I really don’t know. It’s still indefinite. Sometimes I get the feeling that he’ll only come back when his money runs out.”

“Again, I tell you — patience. Well, he’s out living his dream. So go and live yours out now. Enjoy life. Enjoy the learnings in this time that you and Marcus are apart. Besides. It’s not like you guys are already “one” right now. You still have your separate lives. But you’ll get there, girl, in time.”

Shirley shook her head and got out of the chair, hearing the entrance bell ring, signalling the arrival of a customer. “Why are you so sensible, David?”

“Because I’m totally awesome. Isn’t that right, Sandy?” David called out to the newcomer.

Sandra rolled her eyes at him. “Yes, you are totally awesome. Hey, Shirley. Can I have a short caramel macchiato, please?” She reached out for some bills from her purse but David stopped her.

“No, no — it’s on me. One short caramel macchiato for the lady. One tall americano for me.”

“One short caramel macchiato and one tall americano coming right up,” Shirley quipped.

David caught the barista’s eye as she headed back to the counter.

“In time, my friend. In time.”

Sandra raised her eyebrows at the photographer who in turn winked at her. The wedding planner rolled her eyes.

Suddenly, Shirley’s phone began to ring. “Hold up, guys. I’ve got an incoming call.”

David and Sandra looked at one another and gave the girl a significant glance. “Merry Christmas, Shirley!”