Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The Other Side of the City
(School Project)

                    In the eyes of the youth, reality is relative. The meaning of what we see is the true state of affairs, that is poverty.But whatever it is, we have to gradually accept the world of reality.There are projects to uplift the condition of the poor, some organizations to assists their needs. So far, an organization that tries to address itself to the present needs of the poor people.
                  We are caught up in "cleaning" the image of our country abroad but  we fail to see the filth and the needs of the people."One does not have to look as far out to find dying children. The child of the dump is dying minutes away from home. What we need is commitment and willingness to help our countrymen, the children of God, the children of the world.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The World Is An Apple

        By: Alberto S. Florentino                              


Gloria - Mario - Pablo

                  ( An improvised home behind a portion of the Intramuros walls.Two wooden boxes flank the doorway. At left is an acacia tree with a wooden bench under it.)
                   (MARIO enters from the street at left. He is in his late twenties, shabbily dressed and with hair that seems to have been uncut for weeks. He puts his lunch bag on the bench, sits down, removes his shoes and puts them beside his lunch bag.)

Gloria (Calls from inside)-Mario! Is that you, Mario?
Mario- Yes...
Gloria (A small woman about Mario's age, with long hair, a scrawny body, comes out wiping her hands on her dress.)- I'm glad you're home early.
Mario- How is Tita?(Without waiting for an answer, he enters the dwelling).
 Gloria (Crosses to the bench)- Don't wake her up, Mario. She's tired.
She cried the whole day.
Mario (reappears and crosses to the bench and sits on one end)- Has she been eating well?
Gloria: She wouldn't eat even a mouthful of lugao. But I'll buy her some biscuits. Maybe she'll eat them. (She slips her fingers into his breast pocket) I'll take some of the money.
Mario: (Rises, annoyed)-Gloria! Can't you wait a minute?
Gloria:(Taken aback)- Hey, what's the matter? Why are you suddenly so touchy?
Mario: Who wouldn't be? I'm talking to you about the child and you bother me by ransacking my pockets I wish you'd think more of our daughter.
Gloria (Crosses at the Center) - My God! Wasn't I thinking of her? Why do you think I need some money?
To buy me a pretty dress? Or see a movie?
Mario- Tone down your voice. You'll wake the child up.
Gloria (Low but intense) - All I want is a little money to buy her something to eat!!She hasn't eaten anything all day! That was why I was "bothering" you!
Mario (Repentant)- I'm sorry, Gloria... (Grips her arm and turns away.)
Gloria- It's all right, Mario. Now, may I have some of the money?
Mario (Turns to her)-Money? I ... don't have any... not now.
Gloria- Today is payday, Mario.
Mario- Yes ... but...
Gloria- But what? Where's your pay for the week?
Mario- I don't ... have it.
Gloria - What? I waited for you the whole day and you tell me.
Mario (Angry)- that I have nothing! Nothing! What do you want me to do- steal?
Gloria- I'm not asking you to do a thing like that! All I want to know is what you did with your money.
Mario (Sits on the bench)-Nothing is left of it.
Gloria- Nothing? What happened?
Mario-Oh, I had a few drinks with my friends. Before I knew it, I had spent every centavo of it.
Gloria (Eyeing him intently)-Mario, do you think you can make a fool of me? Haven't I seen you drunk before: crawling home like a wounded snake and reeking of alcohol like a hospital? You don't smell or look drunk.
Mario- All right, so I didn't go drinking.
Gloria - But your pay- what happened to it?
Mario- It's better if you don't know, Gloria
Gloria- Look, Mario I'm your wife. I have the right to half of everything you get. If I can't have my share, I have the right to know at least where it went!
Mario- All right.(Rises.) I spent it all on another woman.
Gloria- Another woman? I don't believe it. I know you wouldn't do such thing.
Mario - I didn't know you had so much faith in me.
Gloria - No, Mario, what I mean  is- you wouldn't spend all your money when you know your daughter may need some of it. You love her too much to do that.
(Mario sits down and buries his head in his hands. Gloria crosses to him and lays a hand on his shoulder.)
Gloria- What's wrong, Mario?
Mario (Turns his face away)- Nothing, Gloria, nothing.
Gloria (Sits beside him) - I know something  is wrong, Mario. I can feel it. Tell me what it is.
Mario (Stares at the ground) - Gloria, I've lost my job.
Gloria (Rises, shocked)- Oh, no'
Mario (Looks up at her)- It's true, Gloria
Gloria- What about your pay for the whole week?
Mario - I lost my job aa week ago.
Gloria- And you never even told me!
Mario - I thought I could get another, without making you worry.
Gloria- Do you think you can get another in five months? It took you that long to get the last one.
Mario- It won't take me as long to get another.
Gloria- But how did you lose it?
Mario (Rises and truns away) - What's the use of talking about it? That won't bring it back.
Gloria (Suddenly, in an agonized voice)- Mario!
Mario (Turns around)-Yes?
Gloria- Have your sinful fingers brought you trouble again?
Mario- Now, now, Gloria! Don't try to accuse me, as they did!
Gloria- What did they accuse you of?
Mario - Just what you meant to say, Pilfering, they call it.
Gloria- What else would you call it? (Pause.) What , according to them, did you steal?
Mario (Low)- It was nothing much, really nothing at all.
Gloria- Wha was it?
Mario- It was an apple.
Gloria- An apple! You mean-
Mario - An apple! Don't you know what an apple is?
Gloria- You mean, you took one apple.
Mario- Yes, and they kicked me out for it: for taking one , single apple. Not a dozen, not a crate.
Gloria- That's what you get for not stopping to think before you do something.
Mario (Sits down ) -Could I have guessed they would do that for one apple? When there were millions of them?(Pause.) We were hauling them to the warehouse. I saw one roll out of a broken crate. It was that big (demonstrates). It looked so delicious. Suddenly, I found myself putting it in my lunch bag.
Gloria- That's the trouble with you; when you think of your own stomach, you think of nothing else!
Mario (Rise)- I was not thinking of myself!
Gloria- Whom were you thinking of- me? Did I ever ask for apples?
Mario- Yes, she did. (pause.) Do you remember that day I took her out for a walk? On our way home we passed a grocery store that sold "delicious" apples at seventy centavos each. She wanted me to buy one for her, but I did not have seventy centavos. What I did was buy her one of  those small green apples they sell on the sidewalk, but she just threw it away, saying it was not a real apple.Then she cried. (Pause.) So... when I saw this apple roll out of the broken crate, I thought that Tita would love to have it.
Gloria- You should have tried to bring home pan-de-sal, or rice, or milk- and not those "delicious" apples. We're not rich. We can live without apples.
Mario- Why? Did God create apple trees to bear fruit for rich alone? Didn't He create the whole world for everyone? That's why I tried to bring the apple home for Tita. When we brought her into this world we sort of promised her everything she had a right to have in life.
Gloria - So, for a measly apple, you lost a job you needed so much.
Mario- I wouldn't mind losing a thousand  jobs for an apple for my daughter!
Gloria- Where was this apple? Did you bring it home to Tita? (Crosses to the bench to get the lunch bag.)
Mario- No, they kept it-as evidence. (Sits down.)
Gloria - See? You lost your job trying to filch an apple and you even lost the apple for which you lost your job.
(Gloria puts away the shoes and the lunch bag. She sits on the steps and they remain silent for a time.)
Gloria (Rising)-Filching an apple that's too small a reason to kick a poor man out of work. You should ask them to give you a second chance , Mario.
Mario- They won't do that.
Gloria- Why not?
Mario (Rises)- Can.t you see they had been waiting for me to make a slip like that? They've wanted to throw me out for any reason, so that they may bring their own men in.
Gloria- You should complain.
Mario - Suppose I did? What would they do?| They would dig up my police record.
Gloria (Crosses to him)- But, Mario that was so long ago! Why would they try to dig that thing up?
Mario- They'll do anything to keep me out . (Holds her arm.) But don't worry, I'll find another job. It isn't really so hard to look for a job nowadays. (From this point he avoids her eyes). You know I've been job-hunting for a week now, and I think I have found a good job.
Gloria- There you go, lying again.
Mario- Believe me, I'm not lying this time.
Gloria (Crosses to the center)- -You're always lying- I can't tell when you're telling the truth or not.
Mario- In fact I'll see someone tonight who knows of a company that needs a night watchman.
Gloria (Holds his arm)- Aren't you only trying to make me feel better, Mario.
Mario- No, Gloria.
Gloria- Honest?
Mario (Avoids her eyes)- Honest! (Sits down.)
Gloria (Sighs happily, looks up)- I knew God wouldn't let us down. He never lets anybody down. I'll pray tonight and ask Him to let you have that job. (Looks at Mario) But, Mario would it mean that you'd have to stay out all night?
Mario- That would be all right. I can always sleep during the day.
Gloria (Brushes against him like a cat)- What I mean is, it will be different when you aren't by my side at night. (Walks away from him.) But, oh, I think I'll get used to it. (Crosses to the center and turns around.) Why don't you go and see this friend of yours right now? Anyway you don't have anything to do tonight. Don't you think it's wise to see him as early as you can?
Mario (After a pause)-Yes, I think I'll do that.
(Gloria crosses to the steps to get his shoes, followed by Mario.)
Gloria (Hands him the shoes.)- Here, Mario, put these on and go I'll step up and wait for you. (Sits on the steps and watches him.) Mario (Putting on the shoes)-No, Gloria, you must not wait for me. I may be back quite late.
Gloria- All right, But doubt if i can sleep a wink until you return.
(Gloria comes up to him after he finishes and tries to huh him, but he pushes her away. Suddenly confused, he sits on the steps. Gloria sits beside him and plays with his hands.)
Gloria- Mother was wrong. You know, before we got married, she used to tell me:"Gloria, you'll commit the greatest mistake of your life if you marry that good-for-nothing loafer! You can't make him any straighter than you could a crooked wire with your bare hands." Oh, I wish she were alive now, She would have seen how much you've changed. (She sees someone behind the tree: Pablo. He has been watching them for a time. He is older than Mario, sinister-looking, and well dressed.)
Pablo (Sarcastic)-Hmmmmmm How romantic!
Mario- Pablo!
(Suddenly unnerved, Mario starts to fidget. There is an uncomfortable silence as Gloria rises and walks to the center, her eyes burning with hate. Pablo lights a cigarette, never taking his eyes burning with hate. Pablo lights a cigarette, never taking his eyes off her.)
Pablo- You're not glad to see me, are you? (Puts a foot on the bench.)
Gloria (Angry)- What are you doing here? What do you want?
Pablo - Saaaay! Is that the right way to receive a friend who has come a visiting?
Gloria- We don't care for your visits!
Pablo- You haven't changed a bit, Gloria... not a bit.
Gloria - Neither have you, I can see!
Pablo- You're still that same woman who cursed me to hell because I happened to be Mario's friend long before you met him. Time has not made you any kinder to me. You still hate me, don't you?
Gloria- Yes! And I wish you'd stay away from us for the rest of our lives!
Pablo- Am I not staying away from you.
Gloria- Then why are you here?
Pablo- God! May I not even come to see you now and then, to see if life has been kind to you? How are you getting along?
Gloria (Scornfully)- We were doing well until you showed up!
Pablo - Your daughter- she was only that high when I saw her last-how is she?
Gloria (Curtly)- She 's all right!
Pablo- Oh! and I thought she had not been very well.
Gloria (Suspicious)-How did you know? (To Mario). Did you tell him?
Mario (Stammering)- I ... how could I? I haven't seen him in a long time ... (Sits down.) until now of course.
Pablo- What is she sick with?
Gloria- (Curtly)- We don't know!
Pablo- Don't you think you should take her to a doctor? (Puts his foot down and pulls out his wallet). Here, I'll loan you a few pesos. It may help your daughter to get well.
Gloria (Scornfully)- We need it all right-but  no, thank you!
Pablo-Why don't you take it!
Gloria - Paying you back will only only mean seeing your face again.
Pablo- Well, if you hate my face so much, you don't have to pay me back. Take it as a gift.
Gloria - The more reason I should refuse it!
Pablo- All right, if that's how you want it.- (Sits down and plays with the wallet.)
Gloria- Mario has stopped depending on you, since the day I took him away from your " clutches"!
Gloria- I have no regrets.
Pablo- How about Mario? Has he no regrets either?
Gloria- He has none.
Pablo- How can you be so sure? When he and I were pals we could go to first-class air-conditioned movie houses every other day. I'll bet all the money I have here now (brandishing his wallet) that he has not been to one since you "liberated" him from me. And that wa almost four years ago.
Gloria- One cannot expect too much from honest money- and we don't.
Pablo (Rises and walks about) - What is honest money? Does it look better than dishonest money? Does it buy more? Or honesty? What is it? Dressing like that? Staying in this dungeon you call a house? Is that what you so beautifully call "honesty"?
Mario (Rises)- Pablo!
Pablo (Derisively) See what happened to your daughter. That is what honesty has done to her. And how can honesty help her now? She's not sick and she needs no medicine. You know that. You know very well what she needs: food. Good food. She's undernourished, isn't she?
Mario- Pablo!
Gloria- I know you have come to lead him back to your dishonest ways, but you can't. He won't listen to you now now! We have gone this far and we can go on living without your help!
Pablo ( Sarcastic) - You call this living? This, Gloria is what you call dying-dying slowly-minute by minute.(Laughs.)
Mario (Crosses to him and shakes him)- Pablo, stop it! (Pablo stops). You shouldn't have come.
Pablo (Brushes him off)- I got tired waiting for you!
Gloria- So you have been seeing each other! I was afraid so!
Pablo- He came to the house yesterday.
Mario- Pablo, don't.
Pablo (Ignoring Mario) He said he would be back this noon. But he didn't show up. I came because I was afraid his conscience was bothering him.
Mario- Pablo, I told you she should not know!
Pablo- It's all right, Mario. You'd better tell her everything. She's bound to know later. Tell her what you told me: that you no longer believe in the way she wanted you to live. Tell her.
(Mario turns his back on them.)
Gloria (Crosses to Mario)-Mario... is this what you meant by another job? Oh Mario ... you promised me you were through with him. You said you'd go straight... and never go back to that kind of life...
Mario (turns around and holds her arms, stammering) - Gloria... you...you must try to understand... I tried... I tried long and hard... but I could not left us out of this kind of life...
Gloria (Crosses to center and shouts at Pablo)- You're to blame for this, you son-of-devil! You've come to him when you know his down.
Pablo- He came to me first-
Gloria - When you know he'll cling to anything and do anything! Even return to the life he hates! (Crosses to him and tries to strike him.) Get out our sight! Get out!
Pablo (Easily warding off her fists)- All right, all right, I'll leave-just as soon as Mario is ready to go.
Gloria- He's not going with you! (Crosses to center.)
Pablo- Is that so! Why don't you ask him?- (sits on the bench, grinning.)
Gloria (Shouts)- I said he's not going!
Pablo( Points to Mario) -Go on, ask him.
Gloria (Turns to Mario)-You're not going with him, are you, Mario? Tell that crook you're not going with him, anywhere! Tell him to leave us and never come back! Tell him to go, please, Mario, please...
Mario( Holds her arm) - Gloria, I ...
Gloria - Mario... I know he has talked to you and tried to poison your mind again... but don't go with him. This is still the better way of life. If things have not been turning out well, you must know that God is not letting us down. He is only trying us.
Mario (Holds her) - Gloria, I...
Gloria (Pulls away from him)- You're going! I can see that you want to go with him. Ohhhhhh... (Cries). You'll leave me here again, wondering whether you'll be shot in the head or sent to jail!
Pablo (Behind the tree) -Don't worry about him, Gloria. He's safe with me. He won't come anywhere near jail. I've got connections.
Gloria (Like a beast gone berserk, she rushes at him and claws his face)- You hideous beast! You... you... Get out! Get out!
Mario ( Pulls her away)- You stay there, Pablo, I'll be with you in a minute. (Leads her to the steps.)
(Pablo fixez his clothes, cursing.)
Mario (Firmly) -Gloria, I'm going with him.
Gloria - Don't Mario, don't...
Mario - You can't make me stop now, I've thought about this since last week.
Gloria- No, no Mario, no ... (Holds fast to him.)
Mario ( loosens her hold)- You take good care of yourself and our child. I'll take good care of myself. Don't wait up for me. I'll come home very late.
(Mario walks away with Pablo. Gloria stares dumbly at them, too spent to run after them. Then she shouts.)
(She covers her face with her dress and cries into it. The daughter, from inside, joins her crying as the curtain closes.)

REFERENCE:GEMS 3 in English and American Literature pages337-344
( good material for mobile theater)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Where Morning Comes

        The gates were thrown open and numerous bad guys  swarmed in and ran in all directions. Their all sweat and handed with guns and sword. Hands were raised high brandishing with the rifle and shouting for fear and vengeance.Some men were arm with bows. It seemed as if all were all yelling and shouting a sound that made the blood run cold and the spirit awake."We declare war!, sounds from the rest of the attackers.Sounds of innocent victims, children were crying out loud! "What we have done?Why we have been neglected? Where is justice? Is there any justice for us"?
        Some of the armies were armed with high powered gun and armor cars for protection and wore bullet proof jacket. Faces were painted with gray lines,dots,and slashes in red , black and white paints.Each officer appeared to have his own colors and design for none looked like the other, those are the sniffers who even put some green and hay leaves to cover themselves.
       Armies captured guns, several militants, supplies and a few people to whom they believe were also a militant.As the battle continued, they slew and maimed with deadly accuracy and speed.The armies were vastly outnumbered and even worse, they were out skilled in warfare, for the militants they fought with a gruesome vengeance and hatred.
       They want to win in the battle no matter what happened, they know where to hide that is there place, they are not afraid of whatever the result of this war. It take many hours and many days run and hide from the place of the war zone.You can see the chaos in the place, the innocent victims, the children run from one place to another, women crying for peace , for justice. "For how long we will be like this?, For how long we will running for our lives"?,shouted by an old woman.
        The shooting and fighting slowly diminished and finally stopped. The only sounds heard now were women crying and screaming and the anguished moans from the still surviving wounded. No one shouts for victorious! No one claimed they won in the battle.Fires burn here and there, destroying months of hard, back-breaking world , new houses and school buildings, market, amusement parks and offices, everywhere what you see is nothing... it's all gone, the effort made by the people who is trying to make their live simple and peaceful. But, because of self interests, power and belief will result and end like this.
         Persia Ashier-ah had never felt such soul-shaking , heart-rending terror, What could be happening?, the shooting, the bombing, had ceased and all she could hear were Militants yells, cries of pain, screams, and speech of an unknown tongue. This can't be happening, she thought again and again. It's all a nightmare and I'll wake up soon. But she knew that it was not and that all were either dead or prisoners.What had happened to her family? She knew that she must remain quiet and still to avoid discovery. She is trembled with nervous and almost shout, to scream to ease her frightened spirit.
          Thoughts of her family, her parents, brothers and sisters had brought tears to her eyes. She trembled in fear and uncertainty. What can I do now? she fretted. What if they burn the house? I smell smoke already! The cupboard where she hides was only a little more than body size and allowed to almost no movement.What if they find me? What would they do to me? Army or militant who ever is coming , I am so frightened.She heard a crash outside the cupboard where she is and chairs and table were flung across the floor. Someone was in the kitchen! Her heart pounded do loud and hard that she feared they would hear it.
           Suddenly, her eyes went wild in panic and she could not suppress the scream in her throat as boards were picked up and thrown aside. Before she could gather her wits as to what is happening, she was roughly yanked up and thrown aside.She turned to fight her attacker, scratching , biting and kicking.She was immediately tied with rope like an animal that was been captured.The smell of fire, sweat and blood filled with her nostrils, terror ruled her senses. She was white-faced and quacking with fear.She stared in believing that this will be the end.Looking for some faces, she wants to see her family, where are they? Still no sign from anyone of them.

            War is over and Persia returned home from five years in prison , accusing her by being a militant. Her education in college was turn into nothing. She stop because of that, her parents wants to help her but even her parents were also one of the suspects. Some of the related stories may fictitious or not but the effect is deteriorating. How can we make our life prosperous if we destroying the essence of it. Why not peace, love and understanding should prevail in this chaos world. If we believe in ourselves then we must believe to our creator. To our God , for only God the powerful who can unite us and bind us as one.As Martin Luther King says, ":Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at the goal". And " to feel the intimacy of brothers is a marvelous thing in  life. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life . But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us-that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites us all", words from Pablo Neruda an author of so many writings.Reminds us to always look forward for peace and harmony.There is no problem that we can't solve no matter how big it is, how difficult we suffer from poverty and sickness of the world. There is always tomorrow and that is if we will be united and understand each other regardless of tradition,customs, race, breeding and belief.-mahaliahscent


A lady Crime Buster

                                                 Cover photograph is Jasmin Gallardo Gallano, 26 years of age from Bicol Region Sorsogon City. She graduated at Philippine College of Criminology where she took up Bachelor of Science in Criminology and now in College of Law at Philippine Law School, Pasay Taft.She is assigned at Eastern Police District under District Safety Batallion. With her kind permission, she allow the author to use her photograph as a cover photo.With join force and salute to our Police Officers."They Strive...They Learn...They Lead!!!"-mahaliahscent

A Lady Crime Buster
by: Emily N. Calicdan(Mahaliahscent)
                                                   Paranaque NationalHigh School (Main),PNHS
Edited by: Christopher Collins, Bedford College
Professor, Khatoum, Sudan

Note from the Author: All Characters in this story have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all the incidents are just invention.

About a part of the novel: "A Lady Crime Buster" is a story consists  of 27 chapters 336 pages with an introduction and Epilogue Unpublished by the author for her collections and passion in writing.Thanks for reading. God is love.

                  Alyssa opened the door to her small, two-room, studio apartment and stepped outside to throw out the garbage. She took the opportunity to take in a few breaths of the marginally fresher air out in the street. She could taste the fetid air of the apartment in the back of her throat. Alyssa gave a jump as a large, grey rat scurried through her legs and out into the street. She aimed a kick at it and almost screamed in her frustration and despair. It was late in the morning ... she had woken up late after a 24 hour shift at work. To be precise: at the three different jobs she was holding down at present. Alyssa was working all the hours God gave her simply to survive and to make ends meet. Still, she reflected bitterly on the state of her home and the run-down neighbourhood in which she lived.
          It was the noise of the garbage truck outside that woke her. The whole area was too noisy but she’d gotten used to it. She could probably sleep through a raging hurricane with the practice she’d had. Despite her inner grumblings the people in the neighbourhood were good to her. They’d made her feel welcome in the area and were willing to offer their help and support in whatever way they could.

            Alyssa turned to go back into her squalid little home. As she did so, she heard a commotion – something was flaring up further down the street. At that moment, shots rang out and Alyssa instinctively crouched down and cowered in the door-frame. Stones, thrown from nowhere, rattled against the pavement and the side of her building, almost hitting her in the face.
More gang trouble, Alyssa thought to herself. Yet what do we expect in a place like this? Her mind added by way of explanation.
           Alyssa scurried inside and hurriedly closed the door, securing the double locks and the security bar. She then rushed to the windows and secured them also. Tell-tale signs of the sort of neighbourhood in which she was forced to eke out her sorry existence. Alyssa then got down on the floor – a position she often adopted at times like these – to avoid stray bullets that might burst through the thin walls of her apartment.

        Alyssa’s solitary occupation of her squalid little home comes as no surprise – such an environment of poverty and violence was no place for decent folk. Her parents and other family members had long since moved to villages outside the sprawling metropolis to avoid the risks. It was almost as if some people in the community were not happy unless there was some sort of feud going on, with violence and injury, even death, frequent consequences of such disagreements.

“Aren’t you afraid? Don’t you fear for your own life?” we asked Alyssa on one visit -  a visit which brought us much closer to the real dangers of the neighbourhood than we wished as Police pursued a group of burglars. The tension was too much to bear and I found myself wondering if I was going to die here. Yet I looked at Alyssa as she sat calmly drinking her morning coffee and reading the newspaper.
“Sit down.  Relax. Let the Police and the military handle it.”
After 3 hours of hiding in that cramped little studio, fearing that the trouble might suddenly burst through the door, we heard only the sirens of Police cars and ambulances. As we raised our heads to peep through the windows, we saw only groups of curious bystanders looking on as the Police and emergency personnel went about their duties. Many of the public were taking up positions and posing for the cameras of the numerous media who had gathered to report on the incident and witness the arrest of the criminals.
           I look again at Alyssa…  “How can you stay here?” I ask. “It’s not safe”
“Where else can I find a rent-free place to stay?” She replies. “I can’t afford to move somewhere else”
“But how can you move on in your life if you stay here?” I press, hoping to convince her to move away…
“Maybe if I got a good job and a good salary, I could move out…” Alyssa said, somewhat sardonically, knowing that that was the end of the discussion.

              That was five years ago. Since that day, I had never returned to see Alyssa.
As I turned to leave my house and attend to my morning schedule, my attention was caught by an item on the local news programme on the television. There had been another Police raid in that very same neighbourhood where Alyssa lived. The face on the screen was suddenly so familiar to me… is that Alyssa? How, when did she become this person I am seeing? She used to be this meek, innocent, passive person. Couldn’t fight, could only hide on the floor in times of trouble. Brave, yes – but only because she could live in that slum for so long.
“Sgt Alyssa M. Mohad – the assault team leader…” the report continued.
So. She never gave up on her studies. Finished her degree in Business Management and now she is a Police Officer, assault team leader, a crime-buster.
“Hmmmm… I hope she’ll tell us how she became a Police Officer and how she changed her character when we all meet up for our grand 25th anniversary High School reunion”.
I need to get a move on and get to my office as it’s a busy day ahead. But at least I can go, confident that I need no longer worry about my best friend who I’d not seen for so long…                        





Sunday, February 21, 2010

Am I to be Blamed...Can't Read but I do Understand

               One day my English teacher called me to read aloud the textbook. When I told her, "No mam, thank you," she came annoyed and blushed. She thought I was acting smart, and told me so. I kept calm, and that got her upset and very much upset. We must have spent ten minutes trying to solve the problem, and finally she got so red in the face I thought she'd blow up. She told me, "I should see you after class, Miel".
Maybe someone like me was a new thing for that teacher. But she wasn't new to me. I've been through scenes like that all my life. You see, even though I'm eighteen and senior high school, I can't read because I have dyslexia. I remember when I was in grade four I was told to read but I was given books to read and leave in the corner, they thought I was reading then, but I am not. Unless you sit with me and guide me I can read but without anyone guide me it takes me sometime to read even a single word or phrase.
             My family began to suspect I was having problems almost from the first day I started school. My father says my early years in school were the worst years of his life. They weren't so good for me, either. As I look back on it now, I can't find the words to express how bad it really was, I wanted to die. I'd come home from school screaming, "I'm dumb. I wish I were dead!"
             I guess I couldn't read anything at all then- not even my own name- and they tell me I didn't talk as good as other kids. But what I remember about those days, is that I couldn't swim, and I wouldn't learn to ride a bike, because no matter what anyone told me, I knew I'd fail.
             Sometimes my teachers would try to be encouraging. When I couldn't read the words on the board they'd say, "Come on, Miel, you know dumb was how the kids treated me. They'd make fun of me every chance they got, asking me to spell my name, my four letters name or something like that. Even if I knew how to spell it, I wouldn't; they'd only give me another word. Anyway, it was awful.because more than anything I wanted friends. On my birthday when I blew out the candles I didn't wish I could learn to read; what I wished for was that the kids would like me.
             With the bad reports coming from school, and with the meaning about wanting to die and how everybody hated me, my parents began looking for help. That's when the testing started. The school tested me; the child-guidance center tested me; private psychiatrists tested me.Everybody knew something was wrong-especially me.
             It didn't help much when they stuck a fancy name onto it. I couldn't pronounce it then; I was only in second grade- and I was ashamed to talk about it. Now it rolls off my tongue, because I've been living with it for a lot of years-dyslexia.
             All through elementary grade it wasn't easy. I was always having to do things that were "different," things the other kids didn't have to do. I had to go to a child psychiatrist, for instance.
One summer my family forced me to go to a center for children with reading problems. I hated and afraid the idea, but center training turned out pretty good, and I had a good time. I met a lot of kids who couldn't read and somehow that helped. The principal of the center said I had a higher I.Q. than 90% of the population. I didn't believe him.
            About the worst thing I had to do in fifth and sixth grade was to go to special education class in another school in our place. A school bus picked me up, and I didn't like that at all. The bus also picked up emotionally disturbed kids and retarded kids. It was like going to school for the retarded. I always worried that someone I knew would see me on that bus. It was a relief to go to the regular senior high school.
Life began to change a little for me then, because I began to feel good about myself. I found the teachers cared; they had meetings about me and I worked harder for them for a while. I began to work on the paper art, draw a painting that the teachers said were pretty good. Also, I got an invitation letter for the debating team. I could speak well without fear and very much confidence with fluency and bright ideas.
                At high school the teachers are good and everyone is trying to help me. I've gotten honors in some marking periods and I've won a letter on the cross-country team. Next quarter I think the school might hold a show of my instance, every time there is writing in the class,I get up and go to the special education room. Kids ask me where I go all the time. Sometimes I say, "to Outerspace."
                Homework is a real problem. During free periods in school I go to  the special room and staff members read assignments to me. When I get home my mother reads to me. Sometimes she reads an assignment into a tape recorder, and then I go to my room and listen to it. If we have a novel or something like that to read she reads it out loud to me. Then I sit down with her and we do the assignment. She'll write, while I talk my answers to her. Lately I've taken to dictating into a tape recorder, and then someone-my father, a private tutor, or my mother-encoded what I've dictated. Whatever homework I do takes someone else's time, too. That makes me feel bad.
                We had a big meeting in school the other day- ten of us, five from the guidance department, my private tutor, my parents, and me. The subject was me. I said I wanted to go to college, and they told about colleges that have facilities and staff to handle people like me. That's nice to hear.
                As for what happens after college, I don't know and I'm worried about that. How can I make a living if I can't read? Who will hire me? How will I fill  up the application form? The only thing that gives me any courage is the fact that I've learned about well-known people who couldn't read or had other problems and still made it. Like Albert Einstein, who didn't talk until he was four and flunked math.Like Leonardo da Vinci, who everyone seems to think had dyslexia.
               I've told this story to my favorite one, who always there when I needed her most. Who always do all my unfinished task, who have no fear and worries about my shortcomings. Who always ease my pain, my worries and tension. She who next to my mom who I love her most. She is the only person who understand me. And I told her to write this for me. I want the whole world to know that I am still pushing myself to read and excel in reading.I've told this story because maybe some teacher will read it and go easy on a student in the classroom who was what I've got. Or maybe some parent will stop nagging their child, and stop calling him lazy and dumb. I remember, when I was in my grandmother's house because my mom was so busy in her work and my dad too. When I can't read she pinch me and get her long stick and stabbed me anywhere she likes and telling me, "your lazy, dumb and Idiot!"I am not lazy or dumb and not even idiot, I am sick and needs help.
               I cherished the moment when I am with Yaassmeen, Thanks to God He send me a person like her as my private tutor, my angel!, I rather say. She who encourage me to be brave and not to be lazy. She is the only person I entrust my story. Never told a child that she or he is lazy or dumb. Maybe he's not lazy or dumb. Maybe he or she can't read and doesn't know what's wrong, maybe he or she's scared, like I was. Maybe... when you're reading this... I am with Him and I know I've done my very best, proving myself that at least I try to excel in reading. When I received the award during the recognition, "best in reading", I was very happy then. I know even I leave in this world I prove to myself and to my parents that I am no longer scared, that I can beat anyone. I have so many dreams to fulfill but life for me is too short. I was diagnosed for brain cancer and any moment my eyes will closed but with her, with Yaassmeen.. I want to tell the whole world... no kids is lazy and dumb.
                Fear and worries that is the reason why sometimes were silent.But this time, I am not scared, I am brave to face my destiny. I hope and pray in the next world life for me is no longer painful. I wish to continue what I have started now that I know I can read but we cannot stop what would be our fate. For one last word, I thank all the people who save and challenge me. Am I to be blamed? maybe not but I prove to myself I can do the task. It is just a matter of belief and confidence.And to the most, to Him who always open to hear and listens to our problems, our God.- mahaliahscent



Saturday, February 20, 2010

Flash of Light...

                         Once I came upon a soul weeping silently by the edge of a whirlwind site. It pained me keenly to see a thing so sad, and so I went up to him and touched him lightly on his broken little wings. He seemed surprised, and when he looked at me, I saw his eyes with a light in him strangely familiar.
                         "Did I disturb you, friend?" I asked.
                         "No, but you touched me when I am weak, alone and lonely."
                         "And why is it your weak, alone and lonely?"
                         "I am looking for a true friend, I came from no where, too far from you, but I came for you fear and bravely, and the strong wind buffered me, and my struggles went off just to see and  near with you.
"And why did you fly so far and bravely, friend?"
                          "I was following the light. I want to be near with you, feel you and touch you. Then suddenly a flare got into my left eye, then to my right eye, and I could not see. All was is darkness, wishing you were here to guide me, accept me though its painful and sorrow acceptance of truth kills me. I cant deny I am lost in the dark. How I wish to see the light, the gleam and you is my life my light and my strength. But my soul search you with all trials and darkness. I beat the void more mightily than before. In my heart was no longer the memory of the gleam, but rebellion against the darkness in my eyes."
                          "And what then did you do?"
                          "I vowed vengeance against the void and the darkness, and I forgot the Gleam. Then I flew into a storm that mocked the daring of my strong belief, of my eagerness to fight and hurled me down beside this whirlwind site. I was looking into the mirror of the site, for now I can see but the light is gone , something  has passed away from me.
                          "Not forever, friend," I assured him, "for there are new friends here, new friends to look after you and guide you. With me, you can follow the light, the path you've been looking for.
                           If you will come with me. I will take you to them where they cure the sick on the steps of the temple. The golden mosque where you can be at peace. No worries, no pain, no struggle. but there you will find peace and happiness. Fulfillment of ones desires, just accept Him. The greatest God , Allah.
                          "I will come with you because I trust you, because you are so kind, " and in scarcely audible whisper, "because I am your own soul."
                          "Then I knew why his eyes had looked so strangely familiar to me. And down the road we walked together, my soul, and I towards the temple whose tall spires gleamed silver bright in the rays of the setting sun.
                          "Yes, I am with you... and no doubt to go with you. With your strength and my belief... we will blessed by our faith  and love. Happiness is  not only here in this world but in paradise too.We should be thankful and praise Him and treasure His love.For  with all our hearts only Him is our savior and our protector.

Somewhere….take my hand in time

                      Zheshkah Lal had grown- in small way-great; and by our sights she had prospered. Her husband was slim and frail and afraid of her. The people in the village pitied her for she had been working so hard for the family. She had to wake up early and prepare everything for her family before she went to work. Her father was the one who encourage her to marry to a man she never been her boyfriend. They had a child, a girl and a boy. There seemed to be a complete family of four. She loved her children so much. That’s why she works very hard. But that is not the issue; she had to work not only for her children but for her husband too who is frail and sickly.
                    Sarah Mashey was a thin petite woman who lived a little beyond Zheshkah on the same road. She lived in a small room condo with her husband and four children. In this stumbling steps that day; she climbed the stairs to Zheshkah’s little office and turned the knob to the office door.
                  Zheshkah said angrily, “Come in! Do you want me to get upset with you? This time what is your business with me?”zheshkah asked Sarah. Sarah shuffled in and closed the door behind her. How are you, Ms. Lal ! Zheshkah said, “What’s your business? You had a lot of things to settle this time.”Sarah nodded. “Yeah, I know, Ms. Lal. But I can settle that all.”
                Lal exclaimed impatiently. “An old story! How will you escape from what you have been through? Everyone knows what is going through, you cannot hide yourself. You need to decide now or maybe you will not be out of the cage you’ve been through all this years. I was about to speak when we heard a tip toe of shoes few meters from the stairs, maybe that’s him. You go back there I don’t want him to see me talking to you. Sarah took a piece of bread she saw in the dining table and sip a little of coffee, she seems very hungry. “He didn’t feed you at all? Alright, take the slices of bread and take some sweet potatoes too. “Sarah nodded and say, “thank you!” She hurriedly runs to her unit and after a while silence was break by a horrible shout of a familiar voice from his monster husband. Why we called him monster? Everyone in the village knows what he is doing to his family. Sarah just doesn’t fight with him for she is afraid with him and because of her children too. She wants complete family and she will sacrifice for her children. I heard how Sarah painfully screaming with pain saying “Please stop, it hurts, the children they will be affected, don’t do this please!”Screaming of pain and tears of children saying… “Stop it papa! Stop it!”I don’t know how it took me sometimes listening and tears of pain feel in to my nerves. Then for a while silence again… I heard no noise but empty cries of Sarah and kids. I peeped in the window and saw him going out with huge bag on his back. I hurriedly came in to the house and I saw my friend Sarah was bleeding, I couldn’t imagine how she suffers this much, for so many years of silence, pretending to be happy, to just save marriage for what? I held her hand and she hold my hands trying to talk but no sounds came out from her bleeding mouth.”Zsssssh, Calm down I’m here for you I’ll take you to the hospital.”I glance once again to her children, the eldest keep busy fixing the broken chairs, second is also sweeping the floor of broken glasses scattered on the floor and the baby twins crying in the crib, an innocent look of reality that brought by misery. I want to cry and clinched my fist, how cruel he is. He is so unfair! He must be punished, a man like him should not be loved. Why Sarah? 

She had been a good wife, a working mother, she work a lot for her family...Why life is so unfair to her. "Hematoma, and she needs surgery, for her CT scan results  of brain damage. She needs surgery at once,” doctor says, a minute from now. Sarah has no family except his strange husband and the kids and I consider her as my family, so I decided to  sign the consent for her surgery to save her life. I don’t know how many hours I spent my time in the chapel, looking for his face asking him once again to give Sarah a chance to live even in this world ,...life for her is so unfair but because of her children, she needed most by her children. “Please, Lord God let her live!” It was almost 2:00 o’clock in the morning when the nurse wake me up." She is now in the ICU, operation was successful", nurse said. I thank God he heard my prayers. I rush into her room and saw her,  tears from my eyes seemingly feel the pain from her swollen face."There will be tomorrow for you my friend, I know God is powerful he will save you and your children".
                After that incident, I heard Sarah went to the province with her kids and we don’t have any news from her except that she work abroad and no news from him too. Ten years had past and I am preparing myself to work when my eldest daughter caught my attention. “Mommy, look at the window! A limousine car park outside, do you expect some visitors?” Lucky said. “No, I said. I don’t have a rich friend maybe that is our neighbor’s visitor.”I went out to see who is there, and with all my surprise... It’s her, Sarah is that you? That face is so familiar to me; you look good and so beautiful. We talk a lot and I am so happy with her. All her children are big now, two of them are now working in the office and the twins are in college now. They all move in Colorado and no news from him, and I didn’t ask her about him. I know she is now free and her freedom brings her success for her and for her children. Tears of joy from her beautiful face, she again hold my hand hug me and say, “Thank you my friend, you never leave me when I needed you most”. I can’t see her car anymore but I am still waiving, I can’t believe it will come true. I held my head up in the sky and offer prayer. Thank you Lord God you save my friend, Thank you for keeping her with you and her children too.
            “Mommy, it’s getting late now. Were going or not?” Yes lucky let’s go. I again look at my watch and took my bag and it’s getting late now. I also work too much for my family but at least my husband afraid of me and never hurt me at all. Because he loves me so much, we help one another for our future.  I go back to the house and give my husband Bill a kiss and bade him goodbye.” take care Janie, I’ll see you tonight. Common, lucky let’s go!

Friday, February 19, 2010


                         Zheshkah Lal closed her eyes as Bill Khan pulled her into his arms for a long passionate kiss. The nighttime sounds of the forest surrounded them, and a soft, pine-scented breeze ruffled through Zheshka's long black hair.
                         "I wish this night could go on forever," Bill whispered, leaving back against the side of the old dilapidated house.
                           Zheshkah sighed and rested her head on his shoulder. She and Bill had just returned from a romantic midnight Jetzy ride on CwC.wake board. An infinite number of stars twinkled in the sky, and a bright crescent moon cart a shimmering silver glow over the sea. It was as if they were in their own special, magical world. Being with Bill seemed so right.
                          But it's not right, a small voice inside her said. Hundreds of miles away, at a training camp Los Angeles, her longtime boyfriend, Corey Partrigde,  believed she was being faithful.Zheshkah wrapped her arms more tightly around Bill's strong back and pushed aside the thought.
                          "Now that were together again, I never want to let you go." Bill whispered.
                          "I know, " She murmured. The past few days have been horrible, seeing you and Irene Galicia together,,,, Who is she?"
                           Bill stopped her words with a soft kiss." A new beginning. Zheshkah, from this moment on Let's agree to start over and make most of the time we have."
                           She gazed longly into his brown gray eyes and nodded. "I rene Galicia Ferrer, I dont even know her. I just saw her name card when i check your wallet, maybe one of your client, a friend... I dont know?" But friend's say they saw you with her sometimes, Bill and Irene going out together. "Hey! a pity thoughts again?", Bill asked, "You jealous?, " "No, just thinking something maybe I was wrong.I trust you, and that trust will always remain, but I will listen to you what ever you say and I smile and hug him. I will never give you up and want to live with you forever. I wont leave you Bill," as I whispered him.
                           "You're so special too," Bill whispered as he ran his fingers through her long black hair. Now, seeing the look of admiration in his eyes, she was glad she hadn't.
                            "At first, spending a month with you, or maybe years with you... but wish it would be lifetime... forever my Zheshkah". Seems we both busy but you have all the time to look after me. I wont be like this if not because of you. Your patience , understanding and love makes my world go round.I feel my importance if I am with you.I am a performing arts and you a busy computer engineer. We don't have the same interests, not the same lifestyles.. but you never give up. you always there to support me and never failed me. Aren't you not tired of me?" Why, am I tired and boring to you? Bill asked. Hmmmmm ...again stupid questions you always like that.. asking me the same questions again and again."
                             "Are you cold?" Bill asked softly. His warm breath tickled Zheshkah's ear.
                             Zheshkah pushed Irene out of her mind." What would you do for me if I was?" She challenged in a flirtatious tone," Bill cocked her head, as if thinking it over carefully, " I'd give you the shirt off my back."
                             Zheshkah laughed softly running her lips softly against his," you're to kind," she teased.
                             He looked down at his dark black university sweatshirt, you're right."
                             She laughed and showed him playfully.
                             "Alright, it's yours," he said. "No, really, Bill, I'm fine, "she protested."
                              " Your arms are covered with goose bumps", he said, slipping his shirt over her head.
                             "It was too big". she said, laughing, " But it's so nice and warm. You may never get it back." she told her playfully as she rolled up the sleeves to her wrists.
                             He cupped her chin in his hands. "I'm sure you can have or many sweatshirts if you want, but mine is one of a kind."
                            Zheshkah felt a rush of pleasure. She knew he was referring to more than just her looks. After all, her looks weren't unique at all, but she seems so very special to Bill. I hope and always hope he would remain the same and wont look for another Irene or any other woman except me. "What about Irene?" I asked. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha... she is nothing, just my friend interest.. not for me of course but for my friend. He held my hand and said, "no one except you in my life in this world and even in paradise we will be together, you and me only... only you my Zheshkah."
                            "You know, "you're a great actress sometimes but like I said, you're one of a kind."
"Hmmmmm. how many more minutes it takes for you to finish your paper works? Would you like to rest now? It's nearly midnight and Bill said, stop what you doin right now.stop writing. We didn't go in CwC wakeboard just writing and finish your work! We came here to relax and we need to rest now!  just continue your work tomorrow , alright!." Bill slipped his finger on my hair and give me a kiss, we sleep now Jani." Bill said.
                           "I stop my work  and we went to bed.

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