When my husband left me the house was in disarray.  T-shirts, pairs of jeans and towels on the floor.  Unwashed plates on the sink.  And the nearby closet was yanked open, the fragrance of mothballs was even more apparent in the blistering heat of July.   As I made my way across the cluttered kitchen I caught sight of the boxes of tools hauled out from the lower cabinets.  Some of these boxes were either not labeled or mislabeled unlike the time when Janus would find time to write in his clear-cut, draftsman’s hand the words “shelf nail screws”, “LED flashlight batteries”, or “zinc plated bolts” and organized them as if our kitchen were a hardware store.   Now somehow I pitied myself that out of ignorance I couldn’t even distinguish one screw bolt from other.  He didn’t teach me these things.  I shook my head, feeling a certain tinge of remorse.  It’s all over now.

Jessica and Lennie, my working colleagues at CompWares, called this morning to ask if I needed some help with the cleaning.  I chuckled at their excessive displays of concern about the state that I was in.  “Oh no, I’m fine really,” I countered, holding the phone on my right hand and a strip of wire on the other.  I was trying to disentangle the computer wires using my one hand.  I need to finish the project software soon because the deadline is today.

“Are you sure?” Lennie asked me again, her voice Continue reading

Favorite Writers

I am not a voracious reader, I am picky when it comes to books. Usually I read books if they are highly recommended but I don’t go around reading all kinds of books anytime of the day. When I was in grade school I was encouraged to read books, but when I got hooked into reading (being able to use my school library card and all) my parents would be worried of what I’ve been reading. Even though they didn’t bluntly say “Don’t read that kind of book!” young as I was, I knew back then that there was more in those “You know, you should read the encyclopedia rather than these books” (by these I mean, romance novels and pocketbooks), or my sisters would say, “You should read the classics.” My father would leaf through the pages of the books I borrowed from the library, as if trying to dissect what’s the story’s all about just by flipping the pages. Then he would say, “Tell me about that book after you read it.”

If writers assert that writing often improves with age, I think so does reading. I didn’t appreciate Continue reading

Something About 0.1%

This was my flash fiction finger exercise when I was in my sophomore year.  We were tasked to pick a line from a list of famous first lines in the book Imaginative Writing by Janet Burroway ([Burroway, Janet. Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft. New York: Addison Wesley Longman Inc., 2003, p.282] then finish the rest of the story to fit in a postcard.


Once upon a time I was dissatisfied with how I used my brains and with how Sam used his. “That is not the way how to castrate a rabbit,” he said. “You have to cut the skin above the scrotum, see?” he said, pointing the area with a scalpel. I nodded. “You should remove the testicles this way before you tie it with the spermatic cord. Can you pass the tissue glue please?” he continued. I just observed what my science partner did. After a few minutes, he said that I should give the rabbits some analgesics.

I kept the materials back at the cabinet. Then I went back to sit beside Sam, who was already recording our castration experiment. I overheard my classmate discussing about what she saw in the Discovery channel. “You know, the difference between you and the person sitting beside you is just 0.1 percent. That means that all humans share 99.9 percent similarities in their DNA compositions, whether that’s the color of your skins, the length of your hairs, or even how your brains work.”

I looked at Sam who was now stroking the rabbit gently. Somehow, I couldn’t believe that the difference between us is just 0.1 percent. [204 words]


To view how my other classmates wrote their postcard flash fictions, visit our our blog A Mad Desk. 🙂  They also came up with interesting ones – Kring-Kring, Alpha, Maureen, Edwin, and April.  As far as I remember, we enjoyed the activity much.  It was an exercise to practice how to make a story so condensed with limited words but effective, jam-packed plot.  That was a very challenging writing exercise in preparation for writing the standard flash fiction, which is 300-1000 words.  Hence, we called that postcard flash fiction. 🙂

Curlicues: Thoughts About Adolescence

THE ROAD TO Barangay Kiagot Hills is not easy – it is exhausting, painstaking and a one of a kind uphill ride. The roads are not yet cemented, you’re walking – teetering – literally on the edge of a cliff and it’s hard to even get by aboard the motorcycle. A number of people have been killed by accidents, others, especially women, were molested and raped due to the fact that the place is dangerous at the onslaught of night – no lights along the way, and the place is shadowed by haunting trees and grasses. The place has only a few stores that provide only the barest basic necessities. If you don’t know Continue reading

High School

It was half-past six in the morning and I was walking in the school corridor sometime in March. The air was full of fragrance of freshly bloomed flowers. I stopped for a while and smelled the familiar fragrance of someone quite akin to those flowers.

He caught up with me, and greeted me with a casual good morning. A passing glance – but still I couldn’t find the right words to say straight to his face. I never thought talking to someone like him could be this complicated. I felt desperate to say something in the crucial moment. I saw him clutching his guitar. “You have brought your guitar.” I casually said. He just nodded and Continue reading


Pre Valentine Post

I still don’t understand how love works.

Or whether it works, or just stay stagnant for quite a moment.

What happened between us is something that might happen to all the people in the planet. It’s just that we’re the ones chosen to undergo this kind of painful experience. We both knew it doesn’t work out, we felt love can be an abstraction, it’s a false idea uphold by many. They think love can thrill them to the core – yes, it can – but it doesn’t happen to everybody at least. But there is a certain kind of interconnection that we share with each other, a silent understanding, a touch of hand, a passing glance.

In the riverbank, I’ve decided (along with the rows of acacia trees and santan shrubs) that things between us should be over soon. It was never easy to come to grips with each other, especially if at the first place, we didn’t understand where should we place ourselves in line with the others. We don’t know. We both fear emotional confrontations. We just love being with each other, and dangerously, it breeds the kind of connection that is unstable. Our faults. We were much too young. And that is why I agree with Kahlil Gibran when he said, “Much of our pain is self-chosen.

I don’t know what to do about this. I love him so much. But I think the kind of love that I have for him isn’t enough to save our relationship.