First Introductions

I haven’t been writing stories much recently, which is such a shame. It’s not like I’ve been doing this on purpose, but I haven’t been inspired by anything recently. It fell out of habit. So anyway, I figured if I want to make it a habit again, I might as well “exercise” my creativity muscles. Hence, this happened:

Rain flooded from the skies with a melodic stomp. A figure stood in the middle of the square; quite still, quite alone, and very much deep in thought. It was mid-afternoon, yet the typical English weather had turned the usually bright college campus into a dull and dreary location. The occasional student passed by, late for their class and none bothered to spare the figure a second glance. That is, none bothered until —

“Tea or coffee?” the man asked, propping open an umbrella in the garish shade of orange.

There was a snort, either of derision or amusement, the man could not tell. “I’m more of a hot chocolate kind of person, myself.”

“Is that a yes?”

A pause.

“You’re late.”

The man smiled despite himself. “Ah, yes. Terribly sorry about that. My name’s Ian, by the way.”

“Pleasure. Now, how about that hot beverage you offered me…?”

It was raining on and off yesterday and the clouds were very grey, the wind very cold, and the company very cheerful. I was waiting outside a college campus with my friend and her cousin after an orientation we had to attend, which was quite interesting but overall quite dull (the orientation, not the company), when this inspiration slammed into my mind like a freight train. It’s just an exercise, so I’m afraid I’m still rough around the edges. But better a drabble than nothing at all, yeah?

Over and out.


Regrets, Aspirations and Chocolate Smoothies

While not exactly the first of January any more, I’m still pretty much hyped up over the “new year” because I’m weird like that. There’s nothing like the prospect of a fresh start to make my mind wander, and throughout the past couple of days I’ve found myself contemplating my life.

Have I done anything at all that I could be proud of twenty years from now?

What am I going to do for the rest of the year?

That chocolate smoothie I had this afternoon was really nice. When can I have another one?

a Ferrero Rocher flavoured smoothie from Blendini... I swear I'm in love

If I tally up all the things I did in 2011 and assess them one by one by my personal standards, I would have only a few things to be really proud of, a couple of things I’m sorta proud of, and one helluva pile of what was I thinking?! moments.

Thinking about my achievements led to me thinking about what I could have done if I had not quit so easily on some things — because yeah, I’m a quitter. Not in the sense that I just quit on that exact moment I feel like quitting, but it’s more of a gradual thing. Say I’m starting a new project… The first few weeks — months, maybe — I’d be super thrilled. Then as the excitement wears off, I’d begin to get bored before finally I’d decide to quit. That’s what happened to the violin lessons I was taking a couple of years ago, and now I’m getting this itching feeling that I should take it up again.

Maybe it’s fate, or perhaps I’m just inspired by these videos I’ve seen on YouTube today:

(You can’t really tell, but I’m a big fan of Adele’s music.)

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A Peek into the Life of Tim

In a family of six where anything went as long as nobody got hurt, Timothy — or just Tim to his friends — voluntarily chose to live by a set of rules. It was a mystery to his parents, and even more so to his siblings whose lives, being teenagers, were the epitome of indifference to rules. (Who needed them, anyway?)

Despite having the same upbringing, Tim had a different viewpoint. Ever since his late grandfather had gifted him the rule book on his twelfth birthday, he had taken to bringing it everywhere with him. That was two years ago. Now, he had it memorized by heart. Rule fifteen, for example, says to own a great stereo system. Unfortunately for Tim, it was his sister older Sadie who managed to satisfy that rule. Avril Lavigne was blasting through the wall their rooms shared.

And Avril Lavigne annoyed him.

“Ate*!” Tim shouted, throwing a school textbook at the wall. It resounded with a loud thud. “Keep that down, will you!”

“I can’t hear you, Timmy!” Sadie shouted back. It was all Tim could do to rein his temper in – after all, rule forty eight specifically said to do that, even if the recipient completely deserved it. Besides, he was due for rule number one hundred and four: take a brisk thirty-minute walk every day.

The rules organized Tim’s life. They were the reason why he flosses his teeth every morning (number twenty-three), why he always remembers to put the cap back on the toothpaste (number fifty), and why he was tackling The Easy Guide to Guitar Playing despite the instrument’s obvious distaste of him, courtesy of rule number ten.

Tim pulled on his rubber shoes, carefully looking away from his polished school shoes – that would be rule twenty-two’s doing. When he was ready, he rushed out of his room, slid down the stairs banister and grabbed his iPod from the table by the door as he sped out. It was an everyday routine, and all members of his family knew well enough to never remove his iPod from its designated position on the desk. Even Vince, the family’s youngest, knew better.

With one of the modern songs pulsating hypnotically into his eardrum, Tim began his daily walk. The walk served three purposes. One was to follow the rules. Two was to get out of the house and to get as far away as possible from Sadie, and three – well, three was just coming round the corner.

April Summers. She was an entire year older than him and only lived a street over. The only thing that discouraged him from talking to her was her brawny older brother. He was supposed to be away at college, but had decided to “take a year off to consider his choices.” That was the official reason, anyway. Everyone knew that he was taking remedial high school courses.

Tim sighed to himself and shook his head, grudgingly tearing his eyes away from April. To admire from afar was all he was able to do, not that it mattered. He was only fourteen and had a lot of things to do before he felt like doing anything beyond admiring from afar. Rule number thirty-one, for instance. Buy whatever kids are selling on card tables in their front yards.

“Hello there.” Tim greeted a group of kids selling ice candy on the street. They were perched directly in front of their house, in perfect view whenever any anxious mothers would peep out through the windows. “What are you little guys selling, huh?”

One of the kids rolled their eyes at Tim’s baby voice, while another beamed happily at the prospect of having a customer. “Ice candy,po*!” she said eagerly. “Four pesos lang* for one bar, or ten for three!”

Tim laughed and paid for eight bars, one for each member of his family and two each for him and Vince. After all, there was no sense in walking all the way home, carrying bars of ice candies without eating one on the way. What’s more, that candy bar will be one more he’d have eaten than Sadie. She would be furious.

It was with a cheeky smile that Tim walked through the front gates of his house.


Some notes:

  • Ate is a Tagalog term for “older sister”, though it can also be used as a polite way to address any female — it can be a cousin or even a new acquaintance — who is older than the speaker. The boy version is kuya.
  • Po is just what you say to be respectful, such as when talking to a person of authority (a parent, teacher).
  • Lang, short for the Tagalog word lamang, can either mean ‘only’ or ‘just’ or ‘simply’.
© the.Luigi


I felt lethargic as the teacher talked in front of the class about something I couldn’t bring myself to care much about. My eyes were heavy, my mouth dry and my mind sluggish. I made a conscious effort of shaking the sleepiness away, but the combination of the dreary topic and the wonderful, relaxing feeling of actually letting my eyes drape close were too much to resist. I knew that I would regret letting my concentration slip like this – I was already regretting not falling asleep in a decent hour last night, or should I say earlier this morning? – however this moment’s pleasure was worth the detention I was sure to receive if the teacher caught me like this.

Slipping in and out of consciousness, my hand traced a pattern on my open book so that the teacher would think I was awake and paying attention. It wasn’t until I was well on my way into dream land, my hand resting on a diagram about inverse functions, when I felt a weight on my shoulder.

“Ms. Hollander,” the teacher said softly but sternly. “Why are you not working on your assignment?”

My entire body jerked up, and I desperately plastered a look of attentiveness of my face, wishing that my heavy eyes, the dark bags under them and the drool that was touring down my chin would just disappear. Blushing at the teacher’s attention, I surreptitiously wiped the small drip of saliva away with the back of my hand.

“S-sir?” I stuttered, my voice cracking from the lack of use. Actually, this would be the very first time that I spoke for the day. It was an achievement in and of itself. I was a chatterbox, to put things lightly. I would talk to fast and so eagerly that even Superman with his enhanced hearing would find it challenging to comprehend my words.

“The seatwork, Ms. Hollander,” the teacher tapped the long list of numbers on my book, followed by a jumbled numbers and letters and symbols that frankly, did not make one least bit of sense. “Please don’t tell me you haven’t been paying attention.”

“I’ve been paying attention, sir,” I told him honestly. Just not at your lecture, I thought wryly. The idea of sleep was by far a more deserving topic for my attention to be focused on – in my opinion, at least.

I watched as the teacher’s eyes narrowed and his lips thinned into a line. I steeled myself to not balk under his gaze, but instead meet his eyes head on. I wasn’t lying to him, per se… perhaps just misleading him by not telling him the entire truth. But not lying. Definitely not that.

“All right,” he said. “I shouldn’t keep you from your work, then.”

Nodding, one hand reached into my bag for a piece of paper to work on while another reached for my pen, which incidentally was lodged in my hair, holding it up in a makeshift bun. I heard a sigh from somewhere and, perking up at the thought of procrastinating, I searched the room for the person who made the noise. Everyone was bent over their tables, intently working on their assignment. Perhaps I was just imagining it.

I twisted back to face the front and saw the teacher looking at me, and my eyes widened at being caught out in not doing the assigned work. He was glaring at me. The look was so intense that I had to flinch against my will.

“Ms. Hollander, stop being a distraction to others. Work – now,” he intoned.

I didn’t need to be told twice. I uncapped the lid of my pen and began working. I had no idea what to do, but I think I can trudge along. All I was asking for was a passing grade, not high honours. Besides, it wasn’t as if I was planning a career in anything that would require any skills that this subject was teaching. Who needs school anyway?

© the.Luigi