Coffee Shop 

There is a new shop in front of her usual hangout. “Coffee”,a blinking sign promises 24 hours of fresh brew.

She entered,a little hesitant,but the aroma coax her in.

Her doctor told her not to rely on caffeine anymore,her heart has suffered enough.

He said, “Too much heartbeat ain’t good.” 

“Well,that’s better than having none at all.”,she silently mumbled to herself.

She ordered something light,and went to a quiet corner. After a couple of minutes,she starts to regret coming in.

The problem with coffee shops is that they make you stay and brood over things that should not be remembered anymore. She wonders still of what could have been and what if’s. Waiting for answers from cappuccino and latte’s. 

She looked around.

The shop is full,and some coffees has gone stale. One by one,people started to leave. There were dissapointed look on their faces.

She learned that most people will enjoy a cup over honest conversations. That every sip,comfort floods in,a laugh or smile will make it warmer.

“Just one more cup. Stay. They’re coming.” The coffee is good,I guess the waiting made it cold.

Only 5 of them left,pensively gazing at the window,listening to the shop’s choice of song,or reading a book. One stood up to get a fresh fill.

There was no sense of anxiousness or desperation,no looking at watches every 10 minutes.

“Patient souls.”

She smiled and wrapped her hands around her still warm cup. She’s yet to learn how to be one.

  

Choose Love,Choose Christ 

This past few weeks,I am barely keeping myself afloat in a sea of hate. Every principle and doctrine that I learned is being put to the test,I can only manage to my shake my head or utter a simple reply to questions like “Are you pro or against?”

My mind wanted to choose a side,preferrably the winning one,but my heart knew that there is nothing victorious in a battle of contempt.

I slowly slide into apathy. A non-committal stand to whatever belief I have. I am an Ilocana and I respect my elders,but my views are not bound by my heritage or kinship. I have a strong stand for justice,but an “eye for an eye” has done more damage than good.

To what extent then do I involve myself into a generation clamoring for the right to be heard?

In the outburst of people’s emotions,I failed to see love. If it’s to bury the dead or to bring justice,love must have a bearing in all of this. Is it not the main goal of both parties?

To embody kindness and respect,to teach love. Are we not united by that main goal?

The Lord made all things,knows all things,and is above all things. He holds dominion over us,the King above all kings. Yet He gave us the gift of free will. He has freely given us reign of our emotions,must we waste it in breeding destructive feelings? Why are we participating in a culture that tolerates hate,greed and dissatisfaction?

Slowy,I resurface from my apathy. I chose one path,and that is to follow the Lord’s example of mercy and compassion. I will help pave the way for future generations. It will never be smooth,but I will tell my future kids to always choose the winning side,and that is Jesus and His love.

(Raw and unedited version,pasensiya sa aking grammar inconsistencies 😆✌️)

Remember The Good 

2002,Daddy Bebot passed away. It was the same day,November 1. We were all planning to go and visit the graves of our relatives,but he stayed behind and said he was not feeling well. 

I remember that day. I asked my aunt if we can go home early and not stay overnight in our family house. Something was not right. It was night time when we arrived,Nanay Marlyn,his wife was home. 

She wasn’t crying. She was trying to be brave,but her voice broke down and said,”Awan ni Daddy Bebot mon balasang ko,adda suna ken Apo Diyos’en.”

We rushed to the emergency room of our provincial hospital. Covered in white cloth,he was laid to rest on one of the hospital beds,waiting for the funeral home to take him away. He was declared dead upon arrival at the ER,nothing can be done. 

I was 12 years old,the finality of death to me was not yet fully grasp. But that night,I felt it. It was like a train wreck of feelings. I pulled the cloth covering him,looked at the man who was easy to give praises,kindness and love. How could someone so special,so kind and loving be taken away? Why does it have to be so sudden?

He was our favorite uncle,a father figure to some of us. He was one of the first to say,”Naglaing to balasang mi/baro mi.” 

The day he died,older cousins who was also loved by this man,came. Ate Karen hugged him tightly,as if the love for this man can bring him back to life.

It was a cold November,a sad reunion for all of us.

But it did not stay that way. I remember stories of him,of how he was a good soldier,a loving husband,a patient brother and friend. 

I listened,we cried,we laughed. We celebrated his life.

For a man who survived dangerous mountain excursions and multiple vehicular accidents,dying quietly in his sleep wasn’t how he was expected to go. 

But that is death,unexpected. It creeps out to both young and old. 

Whenever I visit cemeteries,I look at graves of strangers and see how old they were when they died. 12,16,25,30,50,85 years old. Just numbers to me but a lifetime to them and their loveones. Years spent on learning,loving and hating,forgetting and forgiving. 

I was 12,he was 53 when he died. I got 12 years of his life and I can only remember good things. That’s a good way to live I think,to do good,to be someone kind. 

Kapag may Bagyo

May nangyayari sa paligid na kakaiba.

Alas-kwatro pa lang ngunit madilim na ang paligid,haplos ng hangin ay malamig. May kaunting kilabot na nararamdaman.

Nasambit mo,”Mahangin dahil Nobyembre.”Napakabilis ng panahon,na parang ang mga buwan ay hinihila ng mga taong gustong makalimot.

Subalit mali ka kung sa tingin mo ako din ay binago nito.

Mahigit isang taon na pero andito pa din ako. Sinasalanta ng pabago-bagong klima ngunit nanatiling matibay at nakatayo.

Maya’t maya may darating,bugso ng damdamin na parang hanging nag-aalimpuyo sa lakas. Magdamag na iihip at sisipol,kinabukasan ay mang-iiwan ng bakas.

Nasanay na ako. Magwawalis at ililigpit ang mga kalat ng ala-ala,masasaya ngunit nakakasugat.

Subalit hindi ka pa pala tapos. Naala ko,nasa dagat Pacifico tayo,dadaan at dadaan ang bagyo kahit anong ilag mo.

Nagbago ako ng stratehiya. Naglagay ako ng mga panangga,mga pabigat sa bubong. Itinali ko ang mga pwedeng matangay ng hangin,pinutol ko ang mga sanga na pwedeng bumagsak.

Handa na ako ngayon. Marahil hindi na ako matatangay muli.

Akala ko lang pala yun.

Dumating ka,mas malakas pa sa aking iniisip. Mas matagal ka ngayon,na para bang nasa iyo ang lahat ng oras,na para bang ako lang ang pinili mong salantain.

Sumipol ang hangin,nangungusap. Nakiramdam ako sa iyong ibig ipahiwatig. Humina ang ulan,ngunit ramdam ko andiyan ka pa din.

“Ano ang kailangan mo?”,matapang kong tanong.

Unti unting nawala ang malakas na hangin,ang ulan ay tumila.

Lumabas ako at itinaas ang mata sa himpapawid,may malamyos na hangin at konting ambon.

Sa may di kalayuan,ikaw ay nakatayo. Nangingiti at nahihiyang lumapit.

“Ikaw.”

Minsan,simpleng tapang lang pala ang kailangan para harapin ang bagyo. Isang tanong,at isang simpleng sagot.

Tala

Hawak mo ngayon sa isang kamay,libro na kanina pa gustong magbahagi ng kwento.

Ngunit ang diwa at isipan mo ay nasa kalawakan niya,

Bituin at mga planeta sa kanyang mga matang kanina mo pa tinatanaw.

Kamay ay itinaas,hintuturo mo ay dahan dahang sinusundan ang linya ng kanyang konstelasyon,

Nangangarap ka na may mahulog na bulalakaw mula sa kanyang puso.

Pipikit ka,

Hihiling,pangalan niya’y sambit

Matamis na ngiti sa labi ay gumuhit.

Subalit mabilis ang hulog ng bituin,ang apoy nito ay mamamatay din.

Pagbukas ng iyong mga mata,kislap na hanap mo ay wala na.

Ginalugad mo ang kalawakan,nangarap na siya ay dumaan muli.

Ngunit ang isang tala ay minsan lang mahulog,

Ang pagbulusok nito pababa ay mabilis,diretso at sigurado.

“Narinig kaya niya ako?”

Tinalikuran mo ang kalawakan,naglakad ka papalayo,

Ngunit hinabol ka ng bulong ng hangin at sumagot ng,

“Oo.”

Kwentong Tatay

Takot ako dati sa helicopter.

Si daddy lagi akong kinakagalitan kapag may helicopter sa kampo. Tunog pa lang kasi,sobra na akong kinikilabutan. Iiyak ako at magwawala at tatakpan ko yung tenga ko.

Pero isang araw,may ginawang kalokohan ang tatay ko. May sorpresa daw siya sa akin,kailangan ko daw sumama. So ako naman,tiwalang humawak sa kamay niya. Pagdating namin sa grounds,narinig ko na agad yung tunog na nakakabingi. Aatungal na sana ako sa iyak at tatakbo kaso mas mabilis siya sa akin,kinarga,itinakbo,at sinakay niya ako sa helicopter.

I was shaking,my eyes were closed just when we were about to take off. Pero biglang nagbago,the sound was deafening but it wasn’t scary anymore.

Buksan ko daw yung mga mata ko.

“Kitam,nagpintas aya? Haan ka mabutbuteng. Lugan la detoy, haan na ka met a anan-wen.” (Tingnan mo,maganda diba. Huwag kang matakot. Sasakyan lang ito,hindi ka naman niya sasaktan).

It was my first victory over fear,at kasama ko ang tatay ko para pagtagumpayan iyon. 

Sa lahat ng tatay at magiging ama in the future,hawakan niyo lang ang kamay ng mga anak niyo kahit anong mangyari,sabihin niyo sa kanila na kaya nila basta magtiwala lang. 

I’ve never been afraid of helicopters ever since.

Caffeine Heart

You’re like a warm coffee on a cold day. I put my hands around you to stop the shivering.

I smile and say,”This is nice,I could get used to this.”

But then I remember,I don’t drink coffee anymore. I never knew that too much caffeine can kill you.

Or too much “you” but not enough “us” can harm the heart.

So I settled with the next best thing,I put on my cardigan and hugged myself.

“Warm but never cozy.”

Hopefully,I won’t get used to this.