Posted in short story

The Conclusion

The morning she left me, I knew she intended to break the engagement without any explanation. The seminar ended earlier, unexpectedly, so I was home by Tuesday, not Wednesday. I called her on the phone.

“Please, let’s talk about this…” I pleaded, then.

Nothing, no word from her, but she was breathing. At least she gave me a hint she was still alive, though I wasn’t sure about myself.

“I’m coming over, and we’re going to talk,” I pleaded, again. The rain has just stopped but on my radar, a storm was afoot.

If I knew the ending of our story, I would have changed the plot. My friends laud me for the conclusion I gave to my last novel. It was satisfying, they said, though unconventional. One can only tell if a reader is satisfied with the story if he reads up to the end. Endings are for peace of mind.

When I saw her on the porch of their house, she was texting. It wasn’t me, I supposed. The whole time I was away, I didn’t receive any message from her.

“Can we talk?” I said.

“I already told you before… it’s not going to work,” she whispered. Tears fell from her eyes. I tried to hold her hand but she evaded my touch.

“But, at least say something. Give me something to think about. Give me a clue, a resolution to this,” I begged.

The silence that followed was unbearable. It’s like having ten thousand copies of your scheduled to be released book, only to find out that the publisher made a mistake — the last chapter is gone. But I waited, with pen poised to jotting, as one waits for any manifestation of his muse…

“Goodbye…” she muttered, finally, her shoulders relaxing with the utterance. I must have been cruel to her, I thought. Having nothing in common except love — it wasn’t enough for her.

I looked at my hands, and put them together, as if to pray. The word did not stir me to question. I felt her puzzled gaze.

I stood up, and recognized that a weight had been lifted off from my shoulder, too. I had an ending. It was satisfying enough and I wrote it down in my heart. I walked slowly towards the road.

ruth v. mostrales
august 19, 2010

Posted in short story

Some Other Day

There is something in nothing.

xxx

“Hey Jupe, I’ll meet you some other day, okay?”

“Okay. Bye.”

xxx

For the longest time, I’ve had a crush on him. And 5 ex-boyfriends after (which includes Wentworth Miller, Wentworth Miller and Wentworth Miller), I still have that childish excitement when reading his seasonal messages as they come. I remember, way back “way back”, he texted me and said, “I just wanna tell you how pretty you look these past days,” but that was it.

We saw each other everyday: the same guard checked our IDs, we walked the same corridors, we loathed the same subjects and admired the same profs, but never did he ever say that to me personally or ever repeated it. I had hoped it opened doors but it seemed back then that he didn’t hold the needed keys. Do guys remember such monumental remarks that a female heart will refuse to forget? He might disown it as an innocuous comment when I make him accountable for such remark one day, and that would only dampen my spirits. Stupid people are supposed to forget things easily, but the stupid heart does the opposite. Why is that?

I keep telling myself this phenomenon is perfectly normal, although I can’t explain it at the moment. And so it goes that I still wish we became more than friends, although I have no regrets whatsoever about anything (or nothing) that has happened in my life in reference to our ill-fated love affair. Come to think of it, I didn’t exactly want him to be my boyfriend, ’cause it would end the dream, the beautiful blooming of an ethereal flower that’s just, like that, on the process, but will never come to be and like a flower that keeps on blooming, it will never die. My friends think I have lost some marbles to be thinking this way, for they say, “When you meet a guy and you fall in love with him, it’s unnatural not to want to be his girlfriend!”

It turns out that I was holding on to a lie. I fell in love, and I wanted to be with him. It was I who held the door shut when he tried to turn the key… The mind can transform lies to become truths, but a heart cannot tolerate falsehood.

I fell in love with a a sensitive, smart, deep, and melancholic guy. He’s the type of guy you don’t meet everyday you’d almost think he’s an aberration of nature of some sort. He’s poetic, romantic, and has this facility with words. I remember talking to him and time stood still. He’s the guy whose mind you’d also love to marry!

Before meeting with him for coffee, I had this story tucked up in the recesses of my brain:

We talked, just like before. He told me about his dreams, his woes, his feelings. He talked about himself and before I knew it, he began to talk about US! He told me he’s loved me all along, and that he can’t get me out of his system. He then asked me if I saw him in my future. He looked into my eyes, held my hand gently, and his eyes became all dreamy and glassy, as if to look at a ship arriving on the horizon, though we are at that moment in a coffee shop somewhere at the mall. At that point, I spilled coffee on his pants and he uttered a cuss word. He discovers that all along I was staring at the guy, Wentworth Miller, who was at the next table. I spoiled it all by saying, “Sorry about that! I’ll get the cute waiter!” He politely stood up, and said “Gnyt” at 5 P.M.

Of course in reality, things could go a lot better and a lot worse. Something tells me it’s the latter one, unless it happens that nothing will happen. A day before the scheduled coffee date, he texted me and said:

Hey, Jupe, sorry I can’t make it to our rendezvous. I’ll meet you some other day, okay?”

I said: “Oh, okay then. Ingat. Bye.” I cried.

It really was goodbye, for “some other day” never came. He forgot what day it was.

.

Ruth V. Mostrales
October 2, 2008 – 4:31pm

http://www.filipinowriter.com/an-ill-fated-love-affair-0

Posted in short story, Uncategorized

The Dead Snake

The Dead Snake

By Ruth Mostrales

 

He did not attempt to inch his feet away from the sanctuary where he discovered a recourse so perfect he became oblivious to the passing cars and the intermittent grumbling of a water pump nearby. Terrorized elsewhere but there, he hid himself below an artificial canopy of light which swathed his filthiness with a life he never appreciated he had. Inside it, he saw no reason to harbor a grudge against God anymore — there was only submission. The moon is nowhere to be found, and elsewhere without the halogens the night was too dark to be bearable, so he decided to remain. In the past, he consciously wore the veil of nocturnity to accomplish his crimes, because in the void, he could easily escape.

That night, he did not walk or run away as he always did after a mission; there was no mission accomplished. He knelt below the crucifix post and cried. In increasing degrees, there grew in him a slackening of resolve which gave him peace. For the first time in the hollow years that passed, he heard himself singing to comfort his soul. Worse, he was singing with them, and his heart recalled the lyrics by rote. And he didn’t run, for it is said that a boy who loves his mother never runs away from home.

One moonlit night, they tried to kiss. He knew Cecille had been preparing for it, so his hands tingled from the cool, summer wind. The shadow cast by the bamboo above them made drawings on her pretty face. She closed her eyes. Just then, not so far away in his memory, a door swung open before him, sucking him in. So he ran away. As fast as he could, he ran away again like a crazed maniac deep into the folds of that April night where he successfully found shelter.

“But it’s been sixteen years, pare,” his friends had joked, for they did not hear the whole story. Nobody knew the significance of what has grown wings to fly, and never to return, or even, to look back.

“Sixteen…” he whispered to himself, “…I have not seen her for God knows how long,” he said contemplatively, as he aimed his S & W at the moon. Under it, the weapon shone like a toy.

“Man, didn’t we just say it’s sixteen years?” his friend pointed out as he flashed a sideways glance at him, then to the others, and back at him as if to insinuate a lapse in his mental faculties. The boys rolled.

Those years saw the death of tenderness, warmth and feeling in his central muscle — such collateral damage. He was a sight to behold — the remainder of a man who is beyond repair. Time and again when he was able, he would fill his mind with fragments of her pretty face and her graceful, virginal body, and then a feeling of tenderness mimicking love would grow on him, but to die again after. In those pathetic moments, he would hope to consummate his existence, to no avail.

“Son, among men, there’s one who is the filthiest…” his mother used to say. Nonetheless, a few years later, he found himself killing men for a fee.

“You see, son, in history, men kill to protect the weak, and they are called heroes. Soldiers maim, plunder and ravage in accordance with the rules of engagement, and they go home with the glory. Garlands drape their necks. Bands grace their arrival. Flags are raised in their honor. A man who kills someone who did him wrong out of passion is better off than a thief, they say. But a hired killer is worse than a thief, for he steals people’s lives from those who have not wronged him. He doesn’t kill for money alone, no. There is a twisted thrill that makes him live with the face of death and each time he sends one to the grave, he goes deeper down the rut where he must await judgment, with the slightest hope of resurrection after his lingering death…”

“What then can save such a man?” he asked his mother.

“Grace, dear. God must strike him down in an act of benediction,” she said.

It was the end of his childhood when he saw a man ravishing a helpless woman. It happened on another dark but moonlit night. What the light above showed him still rewinds itself in his mind, along with the audible torment that plays with each scene, silenced only when he kills with his gun. His innocence, coupled with ignorance constituted the moist earth that was to receive the seeds of filth. He was the audience to a tragic play and was accursed to witness the violation of his own innocence.

Since then, the desire to kill was sown upon his fertile consciousness, but he was not able to lift a finger to help that woman. He picked up a rock, but it was too heavy for him to throw. The feeling inside him then was that of a grown man, but his hands trembled like that of a child feeding a rabid dog. At last, the rock reunited with the ground.

His lungs could not muster a lion’s growl to match his anger, so the poor woman did the screaming for him. Hers started with high pitched cries for help, of shock, then fear, then dread which culminated in the wail of one who is damned, bereft of physical redemption and deprived of any prospect of vindication. As if in harmony, the crescendo of her suffering was matched by a noise that is heard from hungry animals whose appetites are sated, or thirsts, quenched.

His mind returns to that event to justify his commerce, and if there is anything that his job has taught him, it is this: at the point of a gun, all are stripped naked like babies. Some would beg and would try to fight for the last drop of blood pulsating in them. Some would curse him with their eyes, eager to verbalize a name they will never, ever know, a name which they will perhaps accuse in the court up there.

His mother sang to him when he was a boy; they went to church together. The melodies of the songs catch up with him sometimes, but sadly, he has long forgotten the words. Sometimes, just to relish each memory with her, he has tried infusing his own lyrics to them, but they never sounded good enough. Unfortunately, his mother was silenced long ago so he will never, ever more be instructed by her hymns.

It was a fairly easy job. Mr. ____ is a teacher with a wife, three children (the youngest of which is in kindergarten at St. ___ School) and a fierce looking pit bull named Morgan. He lives at ___ Street along ___ Avenue, the middle house in a row of bungalows. It was not difficult to miss.

Mr. ____ stood outside his abode like an accommodating sentinel at around 8:10 in the evening. It has been appointed that death shall knock on his flaccid belly at 9:00. His time was near.

By 8:30, many of Mr. ____’s friends have already settled down inside. Some have started to eat. The observer rubbed his stomach. The flavorful aroma of the laurel leaves mixed with potatoes and chicken escaped the house to entice him. The chit-chat of the middle class who are living very comfortable lives seemed too foreign to him, as if they were spoken in another language — work, anniversary, despedida, christening, birthdays… He bit his lip and blinked his eyes, three, four times. But then, a couple caught his attention, again. They were hugging each other sweetly at one corner of the cramped room, below a cheap portrait hanging on the wall behind them. Just then, a boy ran into their arms. Must be their son, he thought, as he breathed in some more adobo from the air. At that point, the host and the hostess have just welcomed in the last guest who looked like a policeman. The killer stepped back one bit. Spit. When everyone was inside, the music started. But the host remained outside, still waiting for someone. Morgan howled.

“All of the stages must be executed with the fluidity of criminal connoisseur,” the voice in his mind briefed him, and he listened. He reached for his revolver and distinguished his target who was surveying the yard. 8:53. It was too early, he thought, so he waited a little while, but while waiting, he listened to the singing.

Not long after the first line was sung, and the guitarist struck the next chord, he immediately recognized the song his mother used to sing with him. The people, they were singing the song! He collapsed on the coarse pavement and heard the weight of all those crazy years crash to the ground. His feet trembled in fear and in unspeakable tiredness, but amazingly, there was rest likewise. The song! He shivered and tears fell down his throbbing cheeks. All of a sudden, he found himself wishing for his mother’s touch. In the darkness, he felt his heart longing for his father’s wrath. His soul ached for that girl’s kiss sixteen years ago.

5:49 A.M. A nosy crowd began to hover above what remained of the man. Hushed petitions mixed with cursing went for the notorious gun-for-hire. Others covered their faces in fear.  But to the policemen who found him sprawled on the concrete after the hit-and-run, he was just a dead snake who will bite no more. They laughed at how his journey ended the way it did, and cursed the day for passing by that road and finding the thing there. For them, it meant another police report, and they didn’t want that.#

August 14, 2008 – 3:24pm

http://www.filipinowriter.com/the-dead-snake