I remember a time when I almost burned down our whole house. No one else had been around when I got hungry, got up from my perch by the window and put down my book to cook something.
My Mom had always berated me for being clumsy; for ending up with bruises on my legs and arms; for knocking figurines off the shelf and disarranging furniture.
The thing is, I’m not a very careful person and I tend to take little caution in almost everything in life. For one, I lit the fire below the pan I was going to use to fry the chicken I wanted to cook. I didn’t take note of how high it was, how it had licked the sides of the overused pan like a hand closing over an object until I came back to put some oil and the whole pan was on fire.
Holding the plate with the raw chicken in it, I stared at the fire growing bigger with each second. Panic was not the first thing that I felt. More like curiosity. Is this supposed to happen? As its fingers traced the walls behind it, I immediately turned off the stove.
Nothing happened. It continued to blaze up into the ceiling, on the wall and on the metal stove.
I didn’t scream. I didn’t run. A hundred things ran into my mind. Images of our whole house burning into dust. All our clothes, furniture and money turning into ashes. Significant things that we had worked hard for, grown to love, disappearing into thin air. I thought of my books, my laptop and my journals. Those words I tried so hard to compile vanishing into nothing.
I grabbed the pan, not minding the flames touching my fingers and ran outside, thanking God that it had been raining that morning, then threw the burning pan into a puddle of water. When it didn’t burn out the way I expected it, I began screaming and ran outside our house. My cousin was lounging around on the other side of the street so I yelled for him to help me stop the fire.
He batted the pan a few times until all that was left was a piece of black cooking medium upon which stupid girls left home alone can start a riot on.
Then he began laughing.
“Good God Hazel. That was the funniest thing that I had ever seen. And the stupidest.”
He clutched his stomach and laughed some more.
I walked over the puddle and picked up the pan, my hunger disappearing and my anger resurfacing.
It was not the first time in my life that I wondered why some things that upset me amuse other people.
God bless Adventure Time
Kathryn Bernardo for Bench Denim Collection 2013
God I am so freaking chubby in these pictures. @Fontana, @Subic
Magda is alive, I thought to myself as we passed the busy streets of Olongapo one carefree summer night. Reading Lualhati Bautista’s book about a city of fallen angels with misguided dreams and actually seeing these petite, young women clinging to the arms of old foreign men made me feel nauseous. Even though I never had the misapprehension of thinking Gapo is ficition, I had always considered the events in that book, the ideas and the disappointments as something that has happened decades ago—something that has stopped now. They can’t be real. They can’t possibly feel comfortable in those barely-there tops and short skirts. They can’t possibly like the attention of those soppy looking men who speak the language of Gold. Walking on that street made me feel cheap. They make me feel cheap. They were beautiful, young and attractive. They were also very poor and they happened to live in a city known for its strip bars and hotels.
Those men had something they need and they had something those men want.
I don’t pity them nor do I resent them.
If there’s something I truly want, it would be their story. Because their lustful looks and dopey smiles can’t fool me. Those thick layers of mascara can’t disguise their sad eyes. Their sultry looks and provocative stares can’t hide their roots. Nobody is born to sell their flesh.
I want to know why. I want to approach that woman wearing a bikini top in the middle of the night and ask, ”What kind hell did you replace?”
If falling in love is like drowning in the deepest ocean imaginable, then there’d be a million people dying each day and I’d be one of those people helplessly watching the spectacle—conflicted between helping them out and joining them at last. He stood there and watched me, not caring a bit that I knew he was doing so. It was like he was trying to figure me out. There was this girl who spoke to him with familiarity because she was so nervous, fidgeting with her costume and biting the lipstick off her lips. He lowered the torch he was carrying and looked at her with a dawning realization.
I looked at him and thought, Good god those eyes.
I had no idea taking up NASC10 meant meeting all these awesome people and joining this too-extravagant-for-a-GE fashion show.
The best male model came from our group and we won the Best Performance. If my dancing Gentleman won’t do it, I don’t know what will. (I’m not saying I’m good. I’m saying I suck so badly they had to let us win. Hahahahahaha.) Even though we didn’t get the Best Tribe award, we all felt so incandescently happy with the results and the friendships we built throughout those sleepless nights of sewing costumes and practicing ramp routines. I don’t think I’ll even forget that cute Siberian Husky my groupmate is always bringing with her boyfriend. Or the ridiculous eye make-up the ritual leader of our tribe wore that night. Every detail is still so clear in my head that sometimes I wonder why most of the amazing things in college happen so quickly and disappear fleetingly. These people I met—they all had lives outside that group; that class. They will all get over it once the 1st semester of the next academic years starts. No, they won’t forget about it. I highly doubt that. But it will never be the same. There’s a reason why temporary things last longer in real life. The end is always inevitable but the memories before that goodbye was worth it.