Monthly Archives: October 2014

On Seeing the Light

When I was young and foolish, I kept falling into ditches, into infinite wells of nothingness, where no one can save and pull me up. From the immeasurable height below I usually saw a faint dot of light, and the occasional figure temporarily plunging me into total darkness. But a few moments later I would see it again, because the figure has moved on, perhaps to more fruitful ventures and important places. Nobody can hear my cries for help, for salvation, for pity, and I cannot blame them. One time nobody heard me over a year, and so I remained there in solitude.

Over time I got used to the darkness, and it kept me company. It showed me what it had to offer, things that have been hiding from the light ever since. I saw untold riches, immense power, and talents. A voice cloaked in inky blackness told me that all will be mine if only I embraced the darkness and remained where I was, and then said that he will return the next day for my decision. Of course, I thought about it. Getting everything for merely doing nothing seems like a deal is incredibly skewed in my favour. I would be stupid, I thought, if I refused it. And so I stayed there, turning the offer over and over in my head. Nothing seemed to be wrong, and it did not seem to me like a Faustian bargain. I began waiting for the figure’s arrival to tell him my acceptance of his offer.

However, something made me look up.

I saw the faint dot of light vanish for a few moments, and gradually it grew larger. Hands – were those hands? – were shoveling away dirt, and I was momentarily blinded by the light. When I had recovered, I looked around me, and I saw nothing but dirt. The stones I thought were precious were in reality sharp splinters. The figure was nowhere to be found at the appointed time, but I swear that I saw two eyes of fiery sulfur in the darkness. I looked up, and found that the pit of despair was not as deep as I thought. The light showed me the folly and deceit of darkness and ignorance.

With the help of a few hands that reached out I pulled myself up and out, finally ridding myself of the ditch. When I had adjusted to the light I have not seen for a year, I saw the people behind the hands that saved me – family, friends, and strangers who were kind enough to help. I could not thank them enough. Without them, I would have been wallowing in filth and darkness today, and I would not have seen the light and its beauty.


a happy post

After my final exam I walked around the campus, moving and wandering aimlessly. Something about the night, something about the coldness of the air, and perhaps something about the fact that this will be the last night I will be experiencing in Ateneo (till the next semester) made it really special. It felt like freedom, like responsibilities that have been accomplished and submitted. It felt cold in a nice way. To be honest, words would only do the ambiance injustice.

Freedom. Freedom and nothingness and everything-ness.


So somehow we wound up talking about each other’s work. We exchanged copies of our portfolios and read them in silence, scrutinizing every minor detail, every implication, and every intention behind the specific order and arrangements of the words. We analyzed them as if they were major historical writings that changed the way people thought and wrote, even though they were for all intents and purposes unoriginal and banal. Afterwards we faced each other and returned the portfolios.

“I like the way you write,” I said. It was true; she made good use of literary tropes and conventions to create interesting discourses. If she ever became an author, I’d buy her paperback novels. They were that good.

“Well, I like yours too,” she replied. I kidded her, noting that she didn’t even bother reading anything I wrote during the year. This was the first opportunity we had to share each other’s stories. But despite my remark, I felt butterflies inside. Damn, this is something else.

She blushed a little and said, “Well, maybe, but it’s never too late to change? Am I not right?”

“Well, you’re right,” I said.

She hesitated, and went on. “You know, I’ve been waiting so long to tell you something from the depth of my heart.” She paused, and stared with great conviction into my eyes. I could never forget the way she looked at me.

“I love you,” she muttered.

Wow. I was so taken aback that I could not say anything for ten seconds. I just stood there, staring, my mouth agape in shock as the words finally started to sink in. Damn, was that surprising.

And before I could say anything she had me in her arms, wrapped in the tightest of embraces. So this is what love and being loved feels like. I hugged her back, trying to match the intensity of her emotion. We remained there, clutched in each other, for ten minutes that seemed like an eternity to both of us. We embraced as if the world would take one if the other let go for even a brief second.

“I love you,” I said, tears welling in my eyes. My dreams have come true, and I would have liked to remain in this utopia for two.

And then I woke up.