“Oh. It’s me.”

was on the verge of getting mad at him. He’d said something, I now forget what exactly, but at the time I thought it was important to let him know my negative opinion of it. And it was in the middle of my now forgotten rant that he suddenly said, “Wait.”

I stopped talking. But he didn’t say anything. “What?” I prompted. And still, he didn’t respond. His video was backlit so I couldn’t even see his face properly. I couldn’t get a clue as to why he interrupted me. There had been a few seconds of silence already. I was getting impatient.

The next thing that happened was that a message alert popped up on the screen of my phone:

Anton Alvarez sent you a photo.

I furrowed my eyebrows. “Why are you sending me a photo now?” I asked irritably, wondering why he couldn’t just tell me what he wanted. We were already talking. Why send me a picture, too?

I tapped on the message alert.

“Oh. It’s me,” I said as I found myself looking at my face from a few seconds ago.

He’d taken a screenshot of our video call. “You look pretty there,” he said.

I didn’t say anything I was so caught off-guard. A few more seconds of silence passed.

He broke the ice. “So, what were we talking about?” he asked.

“Um…” I started, struggling to remember. I shrugged. “Nothing important.”

12:52:04

There was an audible silence at the other end of the line. Or, it was really from both ends as it wouldn’t have been a silence at all if it weren’t mutual. She didn’t know what to do. She was looking at the timer and so she knew, it had been at least three whole seconds since either of them spoke. She pressed ‘End Call’ as soon as the second timer turned into four. After all, the last statement they exchanged was ‘Good night.’ And for a phone call, that was as good as ‘Goodbye.’ The phone call was over. But she couldn’t ignore the four seconds between the last things they said, and the actual end of the digital connection. It was as though they’d left enough space for each other to say one more thing.

“I love you,” she whispered, staring at the extra four seconds on the timer on her phone.

“I love you,” he whispered, too.

Does He Make You Laugh?

In fact, it had always bothered me that Greg was never able to make me laugh. It wasn’t because he was serious all the time or that he was slow on the uptake. It was just that, whenever we were goofing around, it would always be me who was making the jokes, and him laughing, which didn’t make us a sad couple, but I did worry about it.

In movies, in books, and even in conversations with my friends, the characteristics of the “perfect guy” would vary, except for one thing — that he had to be able to make you laugh. Now, I’m not crazy enough to base my decisions on things I see on TV. I know I shouldn’t be making a big deal of little things like that. But whenever I saw other girls laughing at something their boyfriend said or did, it bothered me somewhat.

“What are you thinking about?” he asked when he noticed that I was staring into space again.

“Nothing,” I said. “I’m just excited about the play.”

We were on our way to the theater to see, I don’t even remember the title. It was his idea to see a play, which is a bit strange, considering neither of us was very fond of plays. But I was happy to be doing something other than our usual dinner-and-a-movie routine, and the fact that it was his suggestion made me all the more intrigued.

It turned out to be a play about the difficulties that come after college life, but the twist was that the characters were puppets, and it was like a parody of Sesame Street. It was hilarious. But that it was great wasn’t my favorite part. Throughout the time we were watching, whenever a character delivered a punch line, Greg would turn and look at my face.

“What? Do I have dirt on my nose?” I asked.

He shook his head. “I just wanted to know what the things are that you find funny,” he said.

I didn’t really understand what he meant, but didn’t think too much about it. We just continued on watching the play.

We were still laughing about something one of the puppets said even after the play was over.

***

“So? Does he?” my friend prompted when she noticed that my mind had drifted during our lunch.

“What were we talking about again?” I asked.

“We were asking if Greg could make you laugh,” another one of my friends explained.

“Oh, well… ” I started, and remembered how much I laughed when we were watching the play, and how Greg looked at me every time I did. “Yes,” I said. “He finds a way to make me laugh.”

END


Reminder: This is FICTION. I don’t know anybody named Greg. That was just the first name that popped in my head when I was writing this. And I actually saw Avenue Q with a bunch of girlfriends, so.

Text Message

And now, it’s time for a short story. For those of you new to my blog (because this blog is kind of new as well), I guess this is as good a time as any to tell you that there will be some literary pieces like these from time to time.

I’m posting this para kunwari productive ako sa mga araw na’tong hindi talaga ako productive dahil kulang ako sa tulog. Sa totoo lang, ‘wag na ‘wag n’yong hahayaan ang sarili ninyong kulangin ng tulog. Masisira ang buhay n’yo. I’m not kidding.

The other reason I’m posting this is because I really haven’t written any stories in a while, and this being my latest attempt, I guess I’d like to know what people think so maybe I’ll have an idea of what people like to read, and I’ll be able to write more.

This is actually a bit experimental. I haven’t written many stories involving somewhat supernatural elements, so I’m not sure if I’m good at it. I hope you like it anyway. 🙂


TEXT MESSAGE

In desperation, Grace got her cellphone from her desk and typed a message:

You said you’d never leave me. You said it many times.
How am I supposed to go on without you?

Tears welled in her eyes as she sat on her bed, and pressed “Send”. She watched until the screen said “Message Sent”, and then unceremoniously dropped her cellphone beside her. She cried, not knowing what to do, or expect. But knowing that no one could help her, not right then, she just kept crying.

Beep!

She jumped, startled. And her tears momentarily paused. It was certainly a coincidence if one of her friends sent her a text message, exactly at that moment. She got her cellphone and pressed the button to read it. When she saw the name of the message sender in her Inbox, she dropped the phone. Had she read it right? Did he actually reply to her message?

Her fingers shaking, she reached again for her cellphone, and opened the message. It must be one of Michael’s sisters telling her that he wasn’t using that phone anymore, she figured. But she was wrong.

I’m sorry.

It said. At first, she didn’t know what to do. She wasn’t even sure if she was going to believe it, but when she thought about how it could be true, she started crying again. And then she replied:

What am I going to do now?

This time, she held on to her phone, looking at the screen closely.

Beep!

The message alert appeared after a few minutes. She opened the message, and read:

You’ll think of something. You’re one of the bravest people I know. You can get through this.

Grace furrowed her eyebrows. With less fear, and more anger, she replied:

If this is your idea of a joke, it’s not funny at all, she sent the message, and waited…

Beep!

If it will take a joke to cheer you up, I’d gladly tell you one, Your Grace. was the response.

She was startled. Your Grace, she read again. Nobody else called her that except Michael. And nobody but the two of them knew about it. It couldn’t have been a joke. It was definitely Michael on the other end. But… how? she wondered. And then asked; How are you doing this?

Beep!

The response came quickly: You wanted to talk to me, and so I replied. That’s all that matters.

Will you always be here, then? she wanted to know.

Beep!

No.

So… this is the last time?

Beep!

Yes.

Grace blinked, several times. She had a hard time reading now, her vision getting more blurred as she read more words. She read the three-letter word again and again. She didn’t want to accept it. It took her a long time to compose another message, she was feeling weaker by the second. But she forced herself to finish and send:

Why did you leave me?

She was heaving as she waited for her phone to beep. It was taking longer than the messages before. She panicked. What if the last one was really the last? Would he really leave her without saying goodbye?

Beep!

The message alert tone finally played. When she saw his name in her Inbox, she couldn’t believe it. He still replied. And his taking a long time to do so made her think that he probably really thought about it before he sent it. It made her think for a moment, that maybe he could still do that.

I didn’t leave. I’ll always be with you. I will never love anyone else. I am forever yours.

She shook head as she finished reading it, still unable to stop the tears in her eyes. “It’s useless, you idiot,” she said as she stared at his name indicated below the message. She read it over and over, so many times that she had no longer noticed when she’d let go of her cellphone, and fell asleep.

****

Beep!

Grace woke up. And immediately remembered that she’d fallen asleep with her cellphone beside her. There was a new message in her phone’s Inbox.

She opened it. It was from one of Michael’s sisters, Anna:

Grace, the memorial service starts in an hour. We know it’s hard, but we really hope you can say a few words to everyone. You, after all, knew him best.

She strained her eyes and read the message again. Right. Michael’s memorial service was today. When she left the hospital the night before, she’d cried until she got home. She only vaguely remembered his sister telling her that she had to give a eulogy in the memorial service today. She also vaguely remembered a strange dream.

She pressed the “Reply” button and told Anna that she would be at the chapel in half an hour. After sending the message, an alert saying her Phone Mailboxes were full appeared on the screen. She opened the Phone Outbox to delete her Sent Messages. When it had finished loading, she gasped. There were several messages in it, most of which were sent to Michael. She opened her Phone Inbox, and sure enough, the messages from him last night were all in there as well.

“It wasn’t a dream…” she whispered to herself.

****

“Michael’s phone?” Anna repeated, when Grace had asked her if they’d sold it or given it to anyone else.

“Yes,” she said. “Do you remember who bought it? Or is it with any of your relatives?”

Anna shook her head. “It came back in pieces. It was ruined in the accident. We… didn’t think of getting it fixed or anything because it was too damaged. We threw it away,” she said. “Did you… want to keep it?”

Grace shook her head. “No, it’s just that, I received this message from his number last night,” she said, and showed her cellphone to her.

“What? Where?” Anna asked, looking at the screen of Grace’s phone.

Grace looked at it. The messages were gone. “Wait,” she said. “They were right here,” she said, and then checked the Sent Messages to see if the messages she’d sent were still there, too. But they were gone as well. “But they were here!” she said, again on the verge of tears.

“Listen,” Anna told her, as she put her hand on her shoulder. “You’re tired, and you’re sad. Maybe you should get some rest. You don’t need to do the eulogy if you don’t want to.”

She shook her head. “No, no. I want to do it,” she said. “I just…” her voice trailed off and she put her cellphone back in her pocket.

“I’ll see you later, then,” Anna said to her as she walked back to greet more guests that have arrived.

Beep!

Grace jumped. She took her phone out, and opened the new text message that had just come. It was from one of her friends, giving her condolences. “I guess it must’ve been a dream after all,” she said softly, although she knew in her heart, that it really wasn’t.

END
10.Mar.2008 21:40