When In Europe, You Take Pictures And Post Them On Social Media

In the days that followed, the man made a number of posts across all his social media accounts that featured his wife and him posing in various locations in Europe.

The man is in his early 30s. He is always well-groomed with his long straight hair always brushed up to reveal his long face that seemed to excude a constant positive mindset. The man’s wife, who was almost the same age, shared her husband’s cheerful disposition. Her chinky eyes were framed by laugh lines developed through office gossip.

Europe is a big continent the man realized.

“You can only post so much pictures.” He told himself when he reviewed the images captured by his camera and smartphone.

There was a picture of him looking at what appeared to be a meat shop decked with all the processed and sliced meat that you can possibly imagine and devour. In another post, the man and his wife were in what appeared to be a watering hole supported by a number of mahogany beams or some other strong wood that only the Germans can pronounce. There, they shared smiles and beer.

One of the couple’s pictures included a shot of a brown leather bag; a lady’s bag with a familiar insignia that cost thousands of Pesos solely because of its name. The wife’s hand can be seen on the bag; the position strongly suggesting that she was caressing the leather when the picture was taken. Outside the frame, the wife’s smile was irrepresible and apparent.

In a video that the man took, two street performers can be seen, one was juggling four bowling pins and another was a mime with an impressive act. The mime acted out a scene wherein he was trapped inside a glass encasement, seemingly feeling every dimension of his imaginary prison.

The people applauded as they are expected to. They tossed pennies and small change inside a hat the performers placed on the ground. Beside the hat was a white dog that obediently stood to protect his masters’ earnings. The performers showed their gratitude by bowing lower than they should before their street audience.

The video was posted with a short introduction which read:

“It is in the little moments, the simple pleasures, that we find true happiness. Let us remember to step back, take a break from all the drudgery of everyday life, and just appreciate it.”

Days before their departure from the Philippines, the man posted a self-composed aphorism:

What is money but a means to a want? And why do we always want things we don’t need? What is money but paper? Material and therefore temporary.

The man and his wife, upon coming home to Manila, brought smiles and little trinkets for his employees. In turn, the employees took the small packages and smiled back, trying to hide their wild anticipation for the couple’s return.

They had been guessing, creating scenarios in their sleep-deprived heads, as to when another meeting would be held to announce who would be the next ones to be laid-off from the man’s failing post-production company. The investment had led nowhere much like the company’s direction.

And now, the accountant is being pressed for documentation that could not see any justification to the declared company expenses.

Featured image courtesy of http://www.lastminute.com/city-breaks/stockholm.html

Viral

The air-conditioner blew strong as the bus ride dragged along EDSA. The passengers were close to sure hypothermia and neither the driver nor the conductor cared. At the very last row of the passenger seats, a man in his mid 20’s sitting by the bus window can’t help but be bothered by another man two seats apart from him. The other man, appearing to be in his early 30’s, with a remarkable straight, brushed-up hair, thin face, and large sunken round eyes seems to be staring at him with great enthusiasm, and is not shy at being noticed.

The man in his early 20s who is sporting a V-neck body fit blue shirt resorted into ignoring the stranger altogether. He pulls down his black baseball cap to cover his eyes. He rubs his scruffy, square jaw, unzips his military-green knapsack and pulls out a faux leather jacket to cover himself before dozing-off.

When the man wakes after what he felt like an hour, he noticed under the brim of his cap that the bus had not even moved an inch. However, he felt something rather strange. A hand seemed to be trying to finds its way into his inner leg. He jerked to find that the other man, the straight-haired man, is already sitting beside him, his nose to the side of his face and his lips by his ear. He whispered, “Come on, I know you like this.” He then grabs him hard by the balls and squeezes it.

The square-jawed man with the baseball cap, pained and appalled pushed the other man away. His force almost drove the straight-haired man to the opposite side of the row. Although taken aback, the straight-haired man smiled and added, “I noticed you staring earlier handsome.”

Furious at this invasion, the square-jawed man pinned the other man’s left shoulder and started punching his face and then his gut. The other passengers, whose attention was finally caught by the commotion behind, could do nothing but stare. The conductor finally gained the courage to tear the square-jawed man from the now bloodied straight-haired man when he heard a loud crack.

In Facebook, a day after the incident, the straight-haired man posted a picture of him with a bruised face. Regions of his head had stitches. His nose appeared to be broken and blue.

In the post, he claimed that he only professed his honest feelings to a man he chanced upon a long bus ride in EDSA; a man with a beautiful square jaw. He reasoned that he had to feel his flesh against his. He reasoned that he is only human wanting to be loved. And for it, he was inflicted violence.

The comments section were filled with support. The LGBT community were quick to condemn the nameless square-jawed fiend. Terms like, “machismo” and “homophobia” were tossed around. Other netizens reminded the success of gender equality in the US and accused the nameless assailant as someone “backward” and probably dealing with “latent homosexuality”.

The face and the story of attraction and honesty of the straight-haired man went viral over social media.

Bigo

Nanaginip ako nang maidlip kanina. Nasa batuhan daw akong silid na naiilawan lang ng lamparang may mahinang apoy sa kahoy na mesa. Sa harap nito, nandun si Jose Rizal, duguan ang likod at parang may mga hibla ng damo sa chaleco niyang suot. Nilingon niya ako na para bang kanina niya pa ko hinihintay. Kahit malamlam ang mga mata niya, may handa siya sa aking ngiti. Tanong niya, “Kamusta roon?” Ang sagot ko, “Nabigo po kayo. Sa hinaharap, bigo po kayo.” At bigla siyang sumigaw na para bang pito na nakabibingi bago siya sumabog bilang sanlaksang uwak na tumuka-tuka sa mga mata ko.

Lives

She resorted into feeling appalled upon seeing the news of another vigilante execution in the Metro on T.V. But she was quick to correct herself when she thought of the term. She tells herself, “It’s extra-judicial killing”, thus validating her anger at the state; she wouldn’t raise her yet unborn child under a government that does not value human life, regardless of the crime it has committed. She is convinced that a revolution is in order. She loves her child so; the one that she chose to have and to keep. It is her miracle child after her second abortion.

Panata

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He can no longer remember as to when he started frequenting the church in Polo.

In his early 30s, he had made a panata to the image of the Our Lady of Lourdes at the grotto since it had been reported to have been seen dancing on its pedestal. He would wear the same attire: a white linen, short-sleeved polo tucked in a black baggy trousers. His leather shoes had been polished to perfection. His hair greased and combed up which draws attention to his pointed face and high cheek. But despite his devotion, he can’t seem to shake off the feeling of sadness (he had resorted into calling it that for the lack of better terms to stand for what he was feeling)

Years before this, his wife had been sexually assaulted and murdered in their home. The man had been in a state of stupor ever since. So when he had heard of the miracle, he had prayed vigorously to the image, hoping that it could bring the culprit to justice. And that his faith could bring him solace.

Then one night, he dreamt of his wife. She was on the floor with her back on the bloodstained walls of their master’s bedroom. Her wavy hair was disheveled. Her face had bruises as he clearly remembers when he saw her on the metal slab at the Valenzuela Police Morgue. Her undergarment was on her left ankle and her floral bestida raised to the waist. Her thick pubic hair was wet with blood and semen.

He knew that at the night of the murder, she was fixing him dinner. He knew that she was trying to make up for the fight they had that morning about why he refuses to go to her parents’ house whom had resented him since day one. She raised her head and looked towards the window. And there, he saw that the Virgin Mary standing, looking over at the darkening horizon. She turns to him and says, “There is nothing; only your definition endures my son.”

He woke up with his kamiseta heavy with sweat.

Before dawn broke, he was already by the grotto at Polo. In his usual attire, he knelt before the image of the Virgin Mary whose head was raised to the heavens, completely unaware of her worshipper’s presence. In the middle of his third Hail Mary, he suddenly felt a sharp pain on the right hemisphere of his brain. Falling to the ground, he started convulsing uncontrollably. The katiwala maintaining the plants on the church grounds rushed to him but froze even before he could get near him. The katiwala watched as he started floating from the ground.

From the firmament, the Virgin Mary, clothed with a robe that shone like the sun watched expressionless. She turned to Yahweh who was dressed in a brighter, white regalia that resembled a medieval battle armor. He was seated on a throne of gold and chrome situated on a glass floor that seemed to be burning with blue flame.

“Should we tell him now?” She asked Yahweh.

“No. Now we commence Phase 2.” Yahweh replied.

 

Leftovers

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In the election that had just ended, the dictator’s son cries electoral fraud. He learns the functionalities of the vote-counting machine, sifting through them as a good housewife goes over grocery items. He resorts to a campaign and uses adjectives against his opponent.
Somewhere in the city, a boy opens a long-forgotten journal and uncovers notes on a failed dietary plan, research on digital advertising and studies on the supernatural. The notebook isn’t divided effectively; the topics bleed into each other. Additional notes are scribbled indiscriminately across the lines and the margins.
The girl who used to be the boy’s lover sends him a friend request over social media. He deletes it and proceeds planning about the next day’s gym routine. She counts the days to the request’s approval.
Outside, the sun hangs ablaze on what is now an azure sky. The heat is intolerable to normal folk; everyone knows that the evening would only bring heavy rainfall and the heat of the following day could bring about flu.