Not as hard, at least. The day before was a sunny one. I remembered myself taking photos of the clouds from the bus window, admiring their beauty and serenity.
“Here we go,” she said, rather excitedly. My thought was startled by her loud voice. It’s always been that loud ever since I could remember. Some found it angry-sounding; she’s always thought to be a cruel woman. But she wasn’t. that’s just how she naturally spoke. And people kept on judging her, and not only on the sound of her voice. We disembarked the bus we sat in for almost two hours and headed to her sister’s home where everyone was excitedly waiting for our arrival. It was no ordinary day after all. There were food (lots of them), happy people, and a promise of a good day.
The town was lively. People were everywhere, go to and fro places, busy greeting one another. The air around people celebrating fiestas was refreshing. And her eyes showed excitement she would always have over visiting people she loved. She brought a friend with us. They planned to take a tour to the famous perya and have a little bit of fun. That’s what she’d long for – fun, after long weeks of working in and out of the house in an urban, dirty place she called home.
The day progressed and all went as expected. She was smiling, showing the gaps on her teeth. here eyes had a glow different from what she’d have. She enjoyed her day very much. At night, we had to go home and say so long to the place that brought her joy even for just a day.
The next day, we woke up, at home, and the rain was pouring. The air was cold and was a relief from the humid air we’d normally have. I told her the good news – I got the job I’ve been wanting for so, so long. She put down her cup of coffee to cry tears of happiness. It’s been more of her dream than mine and whatever excitement I felt when my boss officially told me I got it was no match from the immeasurable joy I felt seeing her happy. She kissed me on both cheeks and right then I promised myself that I’d do all I could to keep the job and make her prouder.
No one knew though her cat would die minutes after. A car drove by the font of our house and hit the poor cat while hurried crossing. Scene was disgusting. I gagged when I say the animal’s head crushed and missing an eye ball.
She hurriedly ran to confront the driver who killed the cat. Her tears mixed with rain drops on her face.
“I loved her, didn’t you see she was pregnant?”
I had to pull her off of the driver’s face to have her come back into our house.
I flashed the driver an look that could have killed him. As we walked away I wished him death for what he did – making my mother cry.
Rowena was one of those girls Jonathan admires. Or perhaps, admiration is a little weak; he thinks of her almost every lunch break is over, that’s after Rowena gets off of her table at the corner of the office pantry. He spends his breaks staring at her as she eats her daily Kare-kare; he imagines her walking to his lunch table, grabbing him by the collar, wildly kissing him with her bagoong breath. As she eats, he looks at her lips and takes note of its every move. He could die when she chews. There’s just something about her mouth. He, at times, would find his jaw hanging open, thinking of himself being the meat she puts inside her mouth. He could be in love. Or just salivating. You have to give it to the girl; she’s got the kind of body existent in every guy’s delusion, the kind all the nosy women at the office wanted to strangle her because of. Rowena had just been with the company for less than a month. She left her previous employer for an undisclosed reason and the jealous women, counting Jody, were itching to know what kinds of skeletons were in her closet.
Rowena’s just a little conservative, or to most guys at the office, weird. Every day, even during hot summer afternoon shifts, she would be wearing long-sleeved, turtle necked blouse on top of a pair of black pants barely showing her ankles, and gloves. OK, so the girl dresses like suman, but there’s just something sexy in her, and like the food, you have to peel the covering off of her to have a taste of the sweet, soft surprise inside. Jonathan thinks she could just be the girl he’s been waiting for the past 5 years or so. He had just recovered from a hurtful break up. It was something that scarred him forever and no matter how many tempting girls his best buddy Freddie had introduce to him, he could not find the one that he felt compelled to spend time with. Now that Rowena became a part of the finance team not over a month ago, he felt ready to fall in love once again. Contrary to the image he represents, he’s a sweet romantic guy longing for true love.
Jody was seated opposite Jonathan. On his peripherals, he could see her eyes noticeably fixed at him and it was creepy. Jody was creepy. She’s that girl who buys him food every day and checks on him during breaks to see if he eats it. He had to dump the food as he thinks it’s mixed with gayuma or something. He remembers her professing her love to him by rather embarrassingly asking him if he’d like a night with her in Sogo. He turned him down several times in past year alone and for good reasons. Jody was not his type, nobody else’s. Not because she’s fat and her face was covered with layers of zits, or for any superficially discriminating reasons. The guys just did not find her one-night-stand offers enticing (yes, she asked 8 out of 9 guys to Sogo; she would have asked the ninth guy if it wasn’t the janitor who was diabetic and suspected gay). For the guys at the office, if you had to portray the role of a corporate slut, you must have the physical requirements of being one; otherwise, do not even think about buying micro-minis. Rowena had to present to a group of finance officers in a meeting that afternoon. Getting in the conference room was such a torture. If Jonathan didn’t know Rowena would be gracing the boring meeting, he did not know where to heave out the motivation to come. He just could not stop staring at her, ignoring what she was presenting about. He almost asked for more time when the meeting adjourned after 3 hours. They have been dating for three weeks now and it’s all rainbows and butterflies. He finally had the courage to ask her out, and as it turned out, she likes him too.
Jody approached Jonathan on his cube after the meeting. He’s exhausted, his eyes, all teary from the three butt-bruising hour meeting, but he could see her face all covered with cheap make up and not doing anything to hide her fuzzy zits. “Stay away from her!” was what he could make out of what she said. “The girl is a freak; she’ll do you nothing good!” I know where this would all come to, he said to himself. “Alright, Jody. I have to finish a report tonight and I will potentially stay in front of my computer until at around 2 AM. Go ask Freddie out this time, OK?” he politely said, pointing at Freddie, at the cube opposite his. “You have to be ashamed of yourself, Jonathan. I am not here to ask you out, not that I’m not going to in the next few days, but I was just saying that Rowena is a freak and you have to stay away from her, or at least stop staring at her when I’m around,” Jody blurted out with such emotion. This is one of the many times Jody attempted to talk him out of asking Rowena to a date. She really was pathetic and he felt bad for her. “What do you have against the girl? She’s been nice to everyone and to you especially even after you accidentally poured hot cappuccino to her hair. Leave the girl alone, will you, and please stop asking me out?” “That’s just hurtful, Jonathan. But I’m not quitting until you come to your senses. Rowena is a freak, a monster! I saw her at the washroom with her body all hairy. Stay away from her, she might kill, or worse, eat you alive.” It was just a sad attempt by Jody, Jonathan thought. She really was desperate enough to come up with such absurdity. “Yeah, it’s the rumor you’ve been trying to spread, and it’s ridiculous, not to mention desperately funny.” He could see the hurt in Jody’s eyes and he felt bad from having to say those words to his face. He tried to grab her arm to stop her, but Jody ran away, obviously upset. They did not hear from her since. Everyone barely spoke about her and nobody really showed care. The guys especially enjoyed the peace of not being annoyed every afternoon by sick sexually abusing offers.
Rowena’s laugh echoed in the restaurant as Jonathan sliced his steak.
“A freak? Did she mean it figuratively?”
“I know, can you believe how desperate the girl was? She thought you’re some monster.”
“I would not blame her. What kind of girl would not fall for you and not be as pathetic?”
“I can just imagine you having 8 legs, each with black stockings on. Strangulate me with your web later, will you?”
After the dinner, they went home to Rowena’s pad somewhere in Ortigas. It’s a quarter after 11 PM and they decided to have a drink. The night was beautiful, the moon shone through the windows and the room was washed with such romantic air. The two kissed; it was their first. Jonathan did not expect he’d be as gentle of a man waiting for their first month for their first kiss to happen. He truly was in love, and this time, it’s more than just about screwing another gorgeous office mate, he felt that true love had dawned at him.
And so they kissed for half an hour. Every minute was to cherish. He felt he waited long enough so he started running his hands on Rowena’s chest. He tried unbuttoning her turtle neck but she moved away.
“What’s the matter?”
“I don’t think I’m ready.”
“That’s bull, come on now, honey, I waited long enough.”
“No, Jonathan, please.”
Jonathan became aggressive. He held Rowena’s arms away from her body and kissed her on the neck. Rowena let out a faint cry as he wildly tore her clothes off. Night clouds covered the moon, blocking its light from passing through the windows. The room was dark and cold and Rowena moaned as Jonathan was kissing her on the neck. It was just hard to unbutton her blouse, but when he finally was able to, he was surprised to taste blood on his lips. He had to stop for a minute. His lips were burning, it’s pricked by something on Rowena’s chest. He tried to get up and off of her chest but he couldn’t. Then something seemed to have stabbed him at the back.
He woke up after a few hours. He couldn’t move. His head was light and he felt nauseous. When his eyes fully adjusted to the light, he realized everything was upside down. Then something was approaching him and his vision became wriggly. He looked to his left, and a fat body was covered in white thread-like something. Its head showing and he could recognize the cheap make up and zits. He tried to move but he couldn’t, he looked at his body and he was covered with the same white element and he’s stuck. Then that’s when he heard footsteps coming to him. Pairs of long hairy legs came to him, attached to an abnormally huge segmented body.
“You enjoy your lunch my sweet ones. Mommy will be back in a month with some more.”
With that, Jonathan believed he fainted. He would never find true love.
So he gets up from his bed hurrying, his orange blanket hugging his torso, sweeping the pile of DVDs carelessly placed on the floor. They spread like cards on the ground when he ran over them, one of them has Mary Elizabeth Winstead, flashing her fierce look on the cover of some flick he spent his dateless nights over, and he had just a little too many of those. The last time he had the glossy thing spinning in the player was last night, or perhaps a few hours ago since he remembers himself hearing an old neighbor’s rooster cock-a-doodle-dooing which signaled him to sleep, and it was in fact the reason he had to scurry over the stalk of DVDs, avoiding Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s face, hurrying to the door from where a series of knocks are coming from, early in the morning. You know when you had to get up from bed from a very short sleep and your mind tells you Jesus had just came back, checking report cards for some entrance exam or something? That’s how his rudely awaken subconscious was acting when he heard the knocks – only that, when he finally finds how to go about unlocking the door, the person who stands in front of him is uglier than a 2000 year old dead man, and he had the smell to match.
Song: There is someone, walking behind you by Beegees. I don’t know about the subtitle though. (Some video I found on You Tube Uploaded by GingerOreo on Sep 18, 2009)
OK. So at one point of his life he had to break a promise. Or maybe two. Or several promises. Or perhaps, some out of this world force had driven him to lie or tell something a little different from the truth. But he had reasons, you see. And good ones too. As you may have learned from a worthless hobo, one with a good reason cannot be called a liar. When his mom asked him when his high school graduation would be, he had to skip dinner abruptly as he had a few more really hard logarithm assignments to pass first thing in the morning. After a week, when his mom, now with the dad, and his able 2-inch cop’s belt, came to him and asked when the graduation really was, he just had to cry, breakdown, hug his parents with his trembling arms to basically tell them that he did not find his name on the graduation list and it might have been because Mrs. Candelaria was a forgetful bitch and that he might have lost the tuition money over a bet on Pacquiao vs. Marquez (back then, the Pacman was such a dud from losing to some Guido). But none bought it, not especially his father who, with the help of his mother, decided to send him to his auntie in San Miguel, where he had to help making pandesal for cash every single, hopeless morning. And he did not find bags of flour fun to drag towards terminals to get a decent tricycle ride, neither did he find that preteen attractive, the one who was selling aged coconuts and the same frog-eyed whore who would lower down her neckline every time he had to drop by and buy something. Please, I might just be interested to check you out if you had some real boobs or if someone bribed and/or threatened me, he thought. And after an unsatisfactorily saturating meal of green papayas stewed in coconut milk, he went down to the silongto grab his pre-packed bag with his belongings, haled a tricycle without any intention to pay the driver. How he’d gone off from the tired and furious driver, no one really knew.
The résumé had to be a joke. The writing was totally unreadable. It’s printed in what seemed to have been remains of what used to be a manila envelope, and the questionable white smudge on its lower right hand side could not be hygienic. As the fat guy, who had to read through the résumé, quickly decided to throw it away, he sat carefully on the wooded chair, and internally pep-talked himself to be calm and collected, just the way he remembered one speaker advised in one career seminar he joined for free meal. Thinking about it, he should not have taken the free meal as the knowledge he gained from the seminar was reward enough for bruising his butt down for three hours, listening to some sort of used car salesman talking to a group of teenage hooligans about getting a job after graduation. That level of sophisticated thinking was so not him. “This package has something not even worth your life. If you lost it, used it, ate it, especially, sold it to somebody else other than the person who lives on the address written on the package, I would not need to apologize if I heaved your guts out from your anus, you understand me?” the fat guy said after struggling to get out of his arm-chair. “Yes, yes, I’ll regard it as my penis.” he said, with a used car salesman-esque swagger (again, credits to the seminar). While walking towards the bus stop, he could not stop thinking why the fat guy hired him, let alone entrusted him of something that could only be as important as Kryptonite. But what the heck, I’ll deliver this to the person who lives on the address written on the package,get the job done and excellently, make his fat boss a cup of coffee or two, be his willing BDSM slave (or master) on weekends if the situation asked for it or if he didn’t have enough to watch movies, and perhaps be qualified for a promotion. Now that he’s got himself a job, he could only think of “how do I see myself in five years?” (Yeah, the seminar, I know.) When he got on the bus, he made sure the old woman tripped so that she fell on some guy’s lap, so that he got to sit at the back, where bus conductors rarely goes to inspect tickets. But the sophisticated part of him conquered. The light magically shone on him as he gets his wallet from his butt pocket, get’s twelve pesos and hands it over to the bus conductor. He was so proud of himself. The first step to achieving success in the networking business is honesty (and we’re all like, stop fucking about the seminar already).
He walked towards the door and knocked lightly. Somebody opened up and a hand extended towards him. He was quick enough to hand over the package, and the inexplicable hand slid back towards the inside. When it got back, the hand extended a brown envelope, mysteriously duck taped at the opening. “Have a good day, sir! I protected it all my life…just so you know or you might want to tell my boss about how I delivered that excellently…OK, bye.” he said before walking away and to another bus stop.
The money was one thousand three hundred pesos. The envelope that contained the bills had the scent of newly found freedom and shopping cash. He knew what to buy: an MP3 player. Or perhaps an MP4 player, one of those that can play videos. He’s always been a lover of art and his favorite artist was Maria Osawa. When he got to CD-R King, an MP4 was a bit ambitious for the money he had, so he settled for a yellow MP3. He hated the color, but the sales woman was either untrained or incompetent enough to not be able to look for something that was of guys’ color. But he did not care. A simple music player’s all he wanted and he got it – his first ever investment and he just got to celebrate the accomplishment; he went inside an establishment full of drunk spinsters to get a bottle of beer.
Not having to look closely, you can really see thin clouds of smoke go out of the fat guy’s nose, and the guy quit smoking since he joined this online movement on overcoming global warming. He’s furious alright. The force which has had him land on a counter or something is an undeniable proof of anger. “I’ll pay you back, I promise! Please don’t kill me.” The guy said something that has to be loud, but in his mind he was like, yes I was a dick for taking your money blah blah, mom said that already. He is certainly not somebody who regrets what he does or deprives himself with simple pleasures, but at that point, he said to himself, almost loudly, I should have not stayed all night watching DVDs,I’d otherwise have the muscle strength to knock this fat guys down (he’s naturally weak during mornings, most people are) or I should just promise I’ll pay and beg all the gods to make the fat guy believe me (when the truth really was that he did not think a 40 year old comic writer would have not imagined any of those to have worked against the fat guy’s rage.)
He has this belief that if you’re lucky enough to escape death, then it skips the ‘death cycle’, therefore death escapes you and, you’re basically not dead. Or something to that effect. He recalls that scene where Mary Elizabeth Winstead looks at the pictures and figures it all out – they had to do something to prevent death from happening and people will stop dying. It was so clever he was teary-eyed. So he smiles nodding his head to the beat of Situations thinking how on earth he managed to escape the fat guy’s rage that nearly took his life. Well, the lesson was, if you had a gun, buy something to put inside it, say bullets, and it might jus serve its purpose, otherwise you’ll walk out pissed off having to say “I’ll get back to you, we’re not done yet.” Ha. It was all meant to be, he was meant to live at least long enough to enjoy his new and shiny, ochre MP3 player. Ha. I escaped death, therefore I don’t die. With earplugs on, he walked across the road, nodding his head to the loud scream.
When Nida thinks that tonight was just another night before supper, and without their pesky son, who they kind of miss and think about every day, she receives a call from a San Miguel police officer asking if they knew a boy, relatively skinny, with a birth mark on the face, and earplugs on, and that he had been crushed dead by a 12-wheeler truck while crossing the road. Upon hearing what happened, she had to hung up because Mara-Clara is on and Gary just slapped Susan and Nida was like, “fuck you, asshole. The least you can do is to not hurt your hardworking wife.”
Situations – Escape the Fate (You Tube video uploaded by traulet on Oct 2, 2007)