Archive for November, 2011

A midnight melancholy

Posted in Creative writing on November 19, 2011 by Tales from UPD

“Good night.” she said, and the line went dead. I sagged in my chair. Things haven’t been going well for us lately, and I’m at a loss to find the right thing to think about. It had been another argument, and, as with the other phone calls before this one, another dead end. I thought about calling again, but when I looked at my phone I realized that the battery went dead. Oh well, I thought with some degree of relief. Saved by the battery, I guess. If I called her then, it would almost surely be another argument. And besides, it was already 11:30 pm, so she was probably fast asleep by now. I went to my room and pondered deeply about what happened.

I wanted to sleep, but couldn’t. I tried counting sheep, but my thoughts were someplace else. I gave you the chance, but you didn’t come….bye. That stung. Hello?…so what?. That hurts. But what stung the most is having to listen to almost 10 minutes of silence, when I could not even fully grasp the nature of the quarrel. Trying to apologize, starting a light conversation, and even silencing myself as well- didn’t work. Let’s face it, I’m way in over my head, and have become numb due to the fact that I feel too many emotions at the same moment.

A few minutes, which seemed to me like hours, of thrashing around in my bed made me decide that I should go somewhere, although I knew full well that even if I went someplace far, I can’t and won’t escape the torment inside in my mind, eating away at my rationality. But I had to do something, even a little distraction would do. Finally, I went to the nearest internet cafe and started doing my writing assignment in creative writing, although I admit that I also opened my facebook account for no conscious reason. I was just beginning to finish my blog, so I went and checked who was online at facebook. Somehow, though unsurprisingly, she was there, online, for a brief moment, and I started to type some words to send her when suddenly, poof!, she went offline. I limited myself to deluding that she also couldn’t sleep because of the quarrel, but with women, you never know.

The cafe was crammed with people, some playing and some spectating. But I felt alone. And miserable. And cold, not just because of the airconditioning system installed in the cafe, but because of the feeling that I was just ignored, nothing more, nothing less. After finishing my blog, I went back home, feeling even more depressed than before, because I was back to reality, back to that dismal room where I spent my existence trying to think of something to do for tomorrow. Still, I felt that this time, I could sleep, finally ending a miserable day in the hope of having a fresh start at another miserable day. But then, my phone rang. In a split second, I weighed my chances of having even a glimmer of decent conversation. Considering the day, the choice was simple. I answered the phone. Silence. I tried greeting her. Silence. For 5 more minutes I listened to silence, never daring to cut the line myself, as part of a pledge I made and intend to keep. The line went dead. Finally, I can rest and try again tomorrow. I went straight to bed and as soon as my head hit the pillow, the throbbing headache from 30 minutes of online blogging hit me, although it wasn’t as bad as it sounded, because sleep came rather quickly.

I dreamed. I knew I was dreaming, yet I couldn’t bring myself to wake up. I usually have control over what I do in my dreams, and this dream was no different. But, it was already haunting me for many nights now, recurring again and again and again. In it, I was driving on a road, in a cramped old van with a bunch of people that I don’t know but who apparently know me. After a few “minutes” of driving and horsing around, our van stopped. It was then, I realized, that I came out of the car alone, and the road we were driving on was empty, although I could hear sounds of traffic in the elevated road opposite ours. I followed an apparently seldom-used trail that lead to a small town. Surprisingly, the town, or city, had absolutely no signs of life or activity, and I walked around till my feet “hurt”. I had never felt so earnest to see another soul, anxiously watching every nook and cranny for any signs of life.

I woke up. I felt a little dizzy and a little weirder than usual. I didn’t finish my dream, but I never do anyway, so there’s no sense in fretting over a cryptic hallucination. Looked up at the clock. Damn. It’s  2 am, and I have classes today. I tried whistling myself back to sleep, but it was no use, so I might bas well fix myself up early. I cleaned myself up and got dressed for school. Dressed for school, yeah, right, there’s no such thing as a standard dress code where you study, anyway. I was irked because of everything that happened prior to the midnight bell, with not being able to fix things with her, and more importantly, with myself.

Two long, boring hours later, I turned my radio on, all the stations were broadcasting songs from times past when one song in particular caught my fancy. It was a song I held special to myself, and hearing it helped boost my hopes for the day. I listened intently, feeling the song pierce my heart and reverberate through my mind. I was almost in tears when Ely was singing my favorite lines of the song: Lift your head, baby don’t be scared, of the things that could go wrong along the way…we’ll get by, with a smile, you can never be too happy in this life…

Beautiful. It’s absolutely perfect. After the song was finished, I looked at myself in the mirror. I still hated the person I see looking back at me, but, I was smiling. I looked at the time. Just in time, it’s almost five, I thought. After washing my face, I thought about my dream for a while. Alone. You are, and will always be,alone. Wrong. Time to man up and stop sulking. Pitying myself will never work. I loved the song, but treasured the message it gave me. I was about to look at my watch, but then changed my mind. Stop worrying, idiot, everything’s going to turn out just fine, I promise you. I truly believed myself in thinking that. Five hours later, I went to school and enjoyed the rest of my day, which was a very eventful day indeed.

Later that night, before going to sleep, I washed my face, brushed my teeth and went to bed. It had been a beautiful day, and I was sure that tomorrow would be just as fine. I took out my phone and dialed her number.

“Hello?”, she answered. I loved hearing her voice. Smiling, I answered back: “Hi, love…”.


An author’s introduction, according to himself

Posted in Creative writing with tags on November 18, 2011 by Tales from UPD

They called him Emil. And Alex, Martin, Tristan, Connie, and Gray, among many other misnomers he hides behind. People usually stayed away from him and he usually stayed away from people. He firmly believed that other people were simply too engrossed in the pursuit of fortune and would only look for friends that they need, which, he swore to himself, that he would never be like.

He was a “wonderer”. At least, to himself he was. A few days ago, he was a time-traveler, closely observing the battlefields of Berlin and Manila, and even commanding his own unit in Bastogne. And a few weeks before that, he was a visionary, leading countries and and men to greatness. But that was before. Now, he wonders about everything and anything, spawning ideas to fuel his always-freshly-inspired self. Of friends, he had none, but of enemies, he knew he had many. He always took things very critically, which some people, including some of his friends and family, found annoying. They told him that life wasn’t meant to be analyzed, but he always begged to differ. He liked being different, even if it meant going against others’ principles. And he valued freedom above every other virtue this world had to offer.

They always told him that he was smart, but  will never be able to get anywhere because he was disobedient and unpersonable. He hated that. He never bragged about himself and never wanted to get close to people that he knew weren’t good, but for them to say that he will never get far in this life, that did it. He was doggedly determined to prove to himself and to everyone that he would be, in some degree, having a good life.

His family was, in a way, both a pillar of support and a source of psychological disarray. Growing up without a father, he, along with his 3 siblings, had to discipline themselves in such a way that their mother would at least be able to support them without much cost to herself. Sadly, life isn’t always like that. His two younger brothers were a constant source of chaos, and he himself was schooled very well in the juvenile art of vexing others. Nevertheless, along the way, he learned to behave and grasp the reality of his responsibility, that he was the first in line, and as such had the burden of bringing his dysfunctional family up.

That was years ago. As of now, he is pursuing a degree in Communications Research at the University of the Philippines, as an irregular freshman (talk about luck! I can tell you how he got to this, but that would be a long story for another post.). Despite how mature he thinks he’s grown, the reality remains that he is and wants to grow more, physically, mentally, and individually. He now cherishes his self-proclaimed profession of being a “wonderer”, and revels in his newfound love for Philosophy, a subject he feels is truly for him, a person who loves to ask questions and is never content even upon hearing the answer. In a way, he knows that there is nothing in store for him in the future, save for moving ever-forward in life, pursuing a goal that he knows not yet and at the same time knows very well. In the end, his story will be, as with an overwhelming majority of us, who passed on, is living, and is-going-to-be, a chronicle the world will never know, an existence little noted, and one of the greatest stories never told, written by an outstanding author: the individual himself.