Pub St.

I take the last train every night. The cityscape changed by the blanket of night and lighted billboards. From the train car window, rolling grilles are pulled down. I imagine hearing the drag and screech of the unfolding metal. This city is crumbling, way past its heydays. It had seen better days.

Abandoned mid-rise buildings that became the dwelling of untouchables, the out of caste, the lumpen, the low lives. Sometimes you will see light flickering from the broken windows – druggies. Was it muffled screams from the condemned buildings or was it just the bombinating sound of a passing jeep at this witching hour? It will be a dogging question until tomorrows headline.

It hasn’t rained for about a month now. Looking at the puddles on the street and wrinkling my nose from the awful stench. Leachate or excreta? Could be both. You will almost find it in every gutter. Scum creeping out of the sewer. Seems the city’s septic tank is starting to spill to the streets, like a bad wound festering. Everywhere you will see and smell decay. Soon as the Sun goes down, its a different territory. The night people emerges. I call them “Nightcrawlers”. They burrow in the ground at day, never letting the Sun see them. From their holes they squirm out at night; the prostitutes, the hustlers. They hang out at the edges of town, nibbling their way to the center, until nothing is left of this city but decomposing pulp.

It is a bad neighborhood, but I am drawn to it; like a lady with a story to tell. Each night I see them. The Lolita’s with their platform shoes and manicured nails. They smile while they hand me their fake I.D’s.

“A room for two”, “Only for the night”. A different companion and a different name each night. They came from different provinces. It is the same story for everyone. The promise of a good life. That the grass is always green at the other side of the fence. And then things turn sour.





My Boyish Days

My Boyish Days

Half past 3’ in the afternoon, when I decided to grab my trusted pack of poison, borrowed a friend’s cheap disposable lighter and head downstairs for a quick nicotine fix.

I was feeling a bit off since early morning, not helped by the fact that I am drilled down with deliverables and could not think straight or get myself in the zone for most part of the day.

With black clouds hovering above my head, and my two trusted companion in my chest pocket; I looked for a strategic spot outside the building’s entrance were none of my bosses could see me, and where no one could spoil my alone time.

Settled in, pulled out a cig and lit it – its bright ember glowed as I teased it.

Breathe in and breathe out. Huffed and puffed. More than a vice, smoking is a self understood ritual for me. It exorcises my everyday anxieties and helps me get that semi crabby – semi focused state.

Watching the fumes hang gracefully in the humid air, my mind floated and bend. Recollections exhumed from the inner sanctum of my mind, were forcefully dragged into my consciousness; disappointments and mistakes in their lovely guise – gyrated and contort with fierceness, the message both beautiful and sad, persuading me to look back.

* Common knowledge views memories as events that had unfolded and came to pass. However, I would like to think that memories are realities that still exist outside of us. Although we believe that these events had concluded, it is still actually happening simultaneous with our conscious reality. It may very well be, that life as we know it and as we experience it, is already a concluded affair. Though still to be proven, we may just be ghost’s re-enacting series of events or a humble character in a collective reality.

Somehow, in between my musing and smoking; I found my right foot holding its ground to what I regard as apparent reality, while my left foot was caught over stepping in another reality – a hypothetical threshold to a vivid recollection, a parallel reality where an earlier version of me unknowingly participates his part without any idea that he is bound to repeat the same event, action and situation ad infinitum.

Inside that recollection, I had taken the role of a silent observer, and maintained my lucidity and balance while watching in retrospect how things had played out. Watching from the vantage of a trussed window of my former elementary classroom; Ms. Miranda popped the question “What’s in a name?” to her 5th grade class on the first day of school. Innocuous as the question is, my good teacher failed to think that the underlying existential connotation of her question would be haphazard to the mental health of my mop topped, chubby cheeked, boyish days version.

I am one of those that believes that everyone can’t be on the same page all the time, as factoids are subjective to our biases and interpretation; we find ourselves not more than once; confused, perplexed or simply having a different take and understanding on certain matters and concerns.

Following this train of thought, my teacher could just be simply trying to get a different message across to her student, which unfortunately was far from what my handy cerebral cortex had received and interpreted.

The question she had dished out had tipped me off, and although it was a slow dragging progression before I came to realize this; the inquiry Ms. Miranda had posited that morning had posed as the central conflict and theme of my growing years. Actually, the weary it gave me is comparable to a festering wound which refuses to heal or an accursed folk hagridden by an evil eyes’ curse, and it is only fitting that in a series of hazy serendipitous events, I was able to visit my former self from a former time. With the benefit of hindsight this time, I was able to digest the presented situation not with singularity and traced its connection to other events in my life

Where to go? Where did I come from? What will I amount to?

It seems finding meaning in a cause and effect world is futile, and any attempts to understand and give meaning to our situation and quandary will only result to further confusion and exasperation.  But like Sisyphus, we find meaning not in the world but in our day to day struggle and toil. Pushing our own boulders up that hill everyday would seem pointless at times, and we are left without choice but find passion to what we view as absurd – rage even if it is in vain, rage even if the lights had been put out.

For someone who is devoted to romantic ideals, accepting that the world is Absurd is a hard and difficult resolution, but one that is necessary in order to survive and remain existing. Though some may regard this approach as Philosophical Suicide, it would really depend on your perspective of things. At this point, I am still a work in progress, trying hard to impose my will and motivation to a world without reason. But I am no different than anyone, and that my only consolation is the thought that in an alternate reality; a version of me is living in a more congenial time.

For now, only 3 things are eminent; I have to quit my smoking habit, I had exceeded the allotted time for my Yosi break, and I need to get back to my station and quit day dreaming before my boss fires me.


“I am Adrian’s short-circuiting Brain”. Sounds familiar? It is, if you happen to sit through the big screen adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s anti-establishment novel, Fight Club.

What’s with the retrospective episode? Pretty much nothing. Probably my proclivity to quote absurd movie lines is kicking in once more. I have tons of it neatly tucked somewhere between the ridges and wrinkles of my Brain. It does come in handy on certain occasions, like that conversational centerpiece in your yuppie Yin Yang coffee table. Just the right timing to squeeze it in your banter and people would think your high browed, interesting, and complex – much more effective than the borrowed Facebook status you post in your virtual wall.

On second thought, everything is at least inspired by something. In this case, that stimulus might be the movie’s closing scene. Tyler Durden watches in a vantage the choreographed demolition of financial buildings, his back at the camera with a big probability of a trip hop song drilling in his head. Actions conveys a certain depth of emotion and it was sheer brilliance letting the camera fade to capture in full screen a man watching the collapse of an idea in high definition.

So, what is the point elaborating camera focus and scene attack? Snob appeal and the opportune to rub into people’s psyche that you know things that they don’t, and that you can churn a narrative of concepts they babble trying to express.

Coherence and progression has been my itch these past months and that speaks a lot about the state of my mental health.

With a Zippo in my right hand, I flicked it in true Hollywood style. “I am Adrian’s dried well of originality,” said a tired whisper.

In front of me is what seems to be a representation of a thing my hand and heart created, doused and soaking in Gas, ready for the first kiss of tinder.

I was just waiting for the perfect angle, the same zoom out effect for y’all to see how my creation jumps into fire, while you watch to see my nefarious silhouette doing my jiggy.

An afterthought walloped me off guard. What sway or command do I have on what I had created? Can I cast my mind and heart work to ashen oblivion without a tinge of conscience or longing? Would it be arousing to hear the cursive wails while I stare down the beauty of combustion, reducing beauty to soot – pure disillusion.

Now that it has life of its own, what steadfast will must I have to neglect it and take away what I had given? Did I really give a part of me or am I just a mere effort to birth it? Would I miss that part of me, possibly haunt my sleep or manifest itself in the form of unbearable nostalgia? Must I shut my eyes and see forever its wanted visage? Oh my cruel spectre!

My fascination now has turned into the sourest of feelings. This creation of mine had just turned into an object I could look at without seeing. A mere shadow of its former self, the former self I am having trouble perceiving.

That 80’s Show


It was but another scorching lazy afternoon, and I am itching and begging for something to do. My loooong college soiree’ is over and no more Childs play for me (sadly) and its time to do my own spring cleaning. Two months had already elapsed since I graduated from school (sigh of relief!) that fateful October day, still I can’t find anyone willing enough to compensate me for the labor I am selling (the lamest salesman of the world).

Most day’s I’m fine being an inutile frame, a gourmand tagged with a yellow neon sticker at my back, which says ‘NOT OPERATIONAL’ – passing time without a purpose, inactive and shiftless just like a breathing wallpaper. But today just doesn’t count, my Brain is ranting for recreation!

It’s amazing what dog days can do to you; first, you’ll hate the wearisome sameness, develop a liking for it (monotony), before you even knew it you’re a nutcase spending time at the Cuckoo’s nest. Being counter productive kinda grows on you; I just wanna do away with social circles and pointless chit-chats of gobbledygook, unlearn my own ethos and credos – and just shy away from Babylon. Come to think of it, nothing is wrong with laziness and boredom, it is after all an artists gift and an inventors inspiration (or am I just justifying my present quandary?), and besides being stationary I found out is a good way to conserve energy.

Can you blame me? Nothing is new and there is no alternative. I have already exhausted my means and dulled my thoughts. I ran out of stories to write and Kafkaesque plot to make – perhaps diagnosed suffering from imagery drought.

I’m down with my last cigarette and ineffably on my usual pensive and bored self, languidly staring at the blankness of our white ceiling – not in the mood for my existential qualms nor for metaphysical reasoning’s, no point sublimating my predicament. I was in this oblivious state, sitting on a reclusive repose while having an earful of Jeff Buckley’s lament, when something at the corner of my eye picked my attention. Turning my head sideways, I saw it innocuously silent, staring back at me. I was instantly enlightened (only thing missing is the Boddhi tree), under the spell of a century old mantra.

Then I turned on the Television. Pandora’s Box was opened.

Click. Noontime show. Click. Another Noontime show. Click. Home T.V shopping.

These days Television has sold out to banality and looking for something fresh and informative at the same time is nearing impossible – dull entertainment is not even entertaining anymore. Still unfazed in my relentless channel surfing (at this point I would even gladly settle for an African telenobela!), when I stumbled upon a local UHF station which airs Pinoy movies at Siesta time.

Click. They are playing a teenage adventure/thriller flick from the 80’s. It starred the young Herbert Bautista, in his typecast role as a high school student wearing his big round glasses in an anorak fashion – it also featured Lea Salonga (before the Miss Saigon fame). Inexplicably, it tickled my fancy and for reasons that elude me, the movie amused me. I was suddenly drawn to what I was watching, that is ‘POPCORN LITERATURE’ and in an idiosyncratic sense I was enamored with this visual stimulus.

‘I loved the idea, that what you see was taking place somewhere else at the same time’, me and Jim Henson share the same fascination and dumbfounded air with the Boob tube – how it capture moments in millimeter and perpetuate periwinkle skies thru negatives. Then, happening without a warning, I found myself lost in a reverie of bazooka bubblegum and flying Love Buses, falling into a hypnotic swirl of black, white, and nostalgia – I ended up waking in the 80’s.


I practically grew up in suburban Manila and had a relatively normal childhood living with relatives, in our vivid community teeming with low and medium, shady and colorful characters – not a day passes without the hullabaloos of kibitzers and cheerful din of topless children running around, beating their sticks to a rolling tire. It’s a Wonderland! A wacky symbiosis of people subjecting one another to endless vexation.

Back then, I wake up everyday to the crackling sound of Lola’s A.M radio. Groping in the near darkness of our dim lighted den, I start my descend while being accompanied by the aroma of Kapeng Barako. Down the staircase is an idyllic picture of simple living, smorgasbord of scrambled eggs, Tuyo , and smoldering Sinangag (fried rice) under the faint light of an old Capiz lamp shade. I always find Lola sitting at the dinning table and reading scriptures, while she waits for my sleepyhead to and buy her ‘from-the- Pugon Pandesal’. Normally, I’m not fond of eating breakfast and being up at 4 in the morning! But I always get a lofty feeling whenever I think about the forthcoming buzz of the day ahead , of people suiting up for the rat race, and of lives existing in sync with mine.

The bakery (known for their Pandesal) is a good 3-4 blocks of cold walk. Tiring? Yes! But I won’t pass up the opportunity to see the first red streaks manifesting, slowly breaking thru the darkness – my version of a hand painted sky. It’s a Sociology class out there, a kaleidoscope of personalities, many are already working on their dream, some still asleep, perhaps still dreaming?

After heading back from my salted bread escapade, I would be listening to the morning news in anticipation of class cancellation – a good way to spoil your day is to wish for the improbable to happen, like a presidential decree suspending class to eternity or a signal no.5 storm on a Summer Day. After the agonizing wait, chances are these kinds of announcements never come, and it is a heart wrenching thing to pack my sesame street lunch box and be heading for school.

My naïf summer vacations are spattered and littered with tarnished photographic recollections of acid wash jeans, spray nets, topsiders, and banana yellow wardrobe – a cheerful reminiscent of things that had passed. During the length of the Summer Break, our uncles and aunties used to take us out (me and my cousins) for the scheduled weekdays ‘Pasyal’. The whole Luneta milieu was a big hit for kids at that time, as we spend the whole afternoon picnicking, eating dirty ice cream, frolicking in the fields, and watching balloons – awed by their freedom from the ground. At night we would take a glimpse of scenic Manila, the glimmer of the traffic and the glistening city lights, atop the Metro Co.Tour bus (a bus which only has seats on its rooftop). On serene and breezy evenings, we visit local movie houses in Paco and watch comedic B-movies (baduy movies, no pun intended) just for the fun of it. After the occasional late night story telling sessions, we would be heading to the nearest ‘Panciteria’ (for no reason at all) to satisfy our whims or just pig-out.

Shhhhhhh.The sound of the White noise crept into my consciousness, like water pouring into the drain, it seems that the network is having some technical difficulty – the Then was fast forwarded to the Now in a jiffy, 80’ to 2006. For hours I was transfixed to nothingness, apparently a vis-à-vis with that rectangular vacuum.

I found out that 80’s poop culture was just used to pigeonhole the market, and that era is just a Betamax tape lying in some novelty store. But I like to believe that the past is happening simultaneous to the present that in some time and space concurrent to ours, Herbert and Lea are still teenagers baffled with adolescent problems, dancing in the disco to a Kylie Minogue tune.

South Town

My wandering has led me south of Manila, in search of a temporary rural base. Far from the unforgiving heat and noise of the city’s busy quarters.

I like the gentle ease that is this town. The early morning and late afternoon drizzle and the moss that grows on the walls of small back alley houses. An old town where you take it easy. It is not uncommon to see children looking after small stalls and family stores. Sometimes going around town peddling rice cakes and garden picked vegetables. Sunday is a busy day. It is where you see folks sweeping fallen leaves from their yards at the crack of dawn. The weekly market fair opens early in the morning and it is where you get to see a wide variety of goods in the morning  haze; be it exotic honey combs taken from the mountains or your choice of air dried or smoked fish.

I am thinking of something to write home about. Life on the road is not hard as they say it is. I am no longer that dog who chases his tail around. Going in circles until it gets dizzy. I meant to talk about where I am at the moment. The solace I found. Where my tired feet led me this time. A curious place where the grass don’t grown high and the locals nibble Beetle nut that induces a state of idle stupor; making their eyes heavy – thoughts wandering.

The decision to nestle in the countryside was a step back. A retreat from the buzz of the inner city. A constant squally sweeping the metropolis, deluding it’s dwellers with a constant barrage of information and overbearing sound. Every patch of real estate, mounted with billboards – unmarked spaces are covered overnight with propaganda.

I had taken a job at a local radio station and holed in a studio like apartment, just above the owner’s place. A nice lady retired from teaching in one of the town’s school.


The Blue Note

jazz_trumpet_by_uraszz-d4ojw61The Blue Note

The Blue Note. A rustic bar reminiscent of Parisian street-side cafe’s and nooks covering glossy lifestyle magazines. A water hole for mid-earners with discriminating music taste; with just enough dough to spend on a weekend jam and booze. Endeared to its regular patrons for its old charm and liquid selection which a true blue Bon vivant would fancy. Rhum, Whiskey, Brandy, Beer and brewed coffee for the gentleman connoisseur.

A billing in the chalkboard with the featured performer of the night stands at the entrance.

“Performing Tonight!”

Pablo Comandante

Comandante is a sleeper. Always floating under the radar. His name is proverbial in the small circle of Jazz enthusiast in Manila. Seldom performs crowds and prefers hole in the wall joints where he can retire in an obscure corner after his set to watch the next musician; before quietly dissipating and leaving an emptied glass of brandy behind and water rings on the table.

He rarely sticks to a place, blitzing from one hub to the next in his vintage cream colored Italian Vespa. Cris-crossing traffic and making a bee line from gig to gig at his whim, and not without yelps and curses from irked drivers.

The enigmatic Comandante. A true boss. The face of a drifter. The chairman of the board. Just over the age of 30 but acknowledged by the old firm like he belonged to the same era of pride and glam. Of men wearing Fedora’s and brandishing varnished cane, fat Ilocos cigar and preened mustache. He plays wherever he likes, busking at busy streets and train stations or to wherever place he can park Rudy (his moped);  touting his Sax like it is a the mother of all Barrel Machine Guns.

Pablo is a regular at the Blue Note. A performance slot is open every-time he drops for a visit. Tonight, Rudy is at the usual allotted parking slot near the entrance; while Comandante takes center stage.

Eyes fixed and ears dusted.Glasses rested in coasters and clever fingers playfully circled whiskey tinged mouth. Lights were dimmed and the tepid stage light scrutinized Pablo’s every move. He only knows his own time and follows his tempo.That mechanical ticking he only hears, that off beat tiempo.

He start to play an improvised tune. His Sax transitioning from weep to moan.

A hedgehog’s dilemma

Entranced. Another memory blackout episode.

“Hi!” her voice drowned all sound inside the room. It was for Ino the only sound that mattered, his senses shutting everything out.

“Sorry to keep you waiting.” her eyes squinted, giving away a made up smile.

Ino’s heart jumped many places and his eyes widened involuntarily.

“Even if it is just a made up smile.” he told himself.

“May I ask why you seem to be all smiles today?” Joey curiously asked sounding cutely reprimanding.

“Nothing. I was just wondering how it would feel to hold your hand.”

Silence fell. It was the blanket they use to cover emotions they have yet to explore and feelings afraid to admit. For a moment, he was lost in her blank stare. She knows he is sitting in the quiet corner, beside the open window rushed by the light of the setting Sun, but somehow she fails to see.

She took her small steps pass the door to where Ino was sitting. Joey extended her small hands to Ino, smiling.

“My classes are over.”

“Let’s walk home?”

Ino reached for her hand touching her fingers first, and the divide between them closed in. Her small hand was warm to the touch, her skin smell nicely sweet.

He was happy as an empty glass being poured wine. A sucker for her sad puppy eyes and Ino felt it happening again, falling such great height and ending lost in her eyes.

“Is this too close to boundaries?” said Ino.

Joey turned her head away, her hands still held by Ino.

“I don’t know?” “What are the boundaries?” were the words uttered by her curved shy lips, before she let go of his hand. Again, it was silence that became their refuge from vague feelings. Knowing that the other is just close beside seem consoling and side by side they start to walk.

Eye candy billboards, industrial edifices and the occasional trees lined and littered the road as they pass by; Ino giving infrequent glances to Joey who is preoccupied with her own thoughts, her hands wrapped in tight to two bulky textbooks.

“There used to be more trees in this area.” said Ino as they come by an old church road arched by tall aged Acacia’s.

A light breath drift by, clearing fallen leaves and bringing an earthly aroma. Ray of light filtered by the canopy managed to pass through the leafy roof, reflecting in many directions.

“I thought so too.” replied Joey as she looked back to Ino.

“I caught them as they fall.” There were three buds of sunshine in Ino’s open palms.

“I know you love flowers.” “They maybe small and simple, but I think they are beautiful.” Ino’s words seem to make the small Acacia blossoms glow.

“For you.”

And it was certainly a meaningful smile. It became the definition of happiness. Maybe it was a dream and he is no longer sure if it was a mirage or just an imagined event he keeps to assure himself that he can still feel.

It was just the right amount of afternoon light falling in her face. It was the first time in a long time he existed in a perfect plane helplessly surrendered to unassuming beauty.

“Can you wait for me?” said Ino.

“I don’t know?” “Can you wait for me?” Joey asked back.

“You really look wonderful today.” replied Ino. It was not the answer she wanted to hear.

He saw a hint of disappointment in her eyes and only if they could stop pushing each other away.

It was the motions and the unsure conversation of that afternoon he would choose to keep and let eat the matter of his sanity, like a mold to bread. It is what’s playing in his head some years later while he walked the same old church road after the lost years; hoping to rekindle fragments of nostalgia, looking for the same fallen leaves of that day remembered.

They had now reached the end of their walk; the attachment was almost unbearable to both souls.

“This is my dormitory, remember?”

“So I guess this is goodbye for us?” Joey said plainly.

“Not goodbye for us, only goodbye for now.” Ino reassuringly smiled.

She saw the honesty in Ino’s eyes and how he meant the words he freed. The back of their hands are brushing, tips of their fingers almost touching. She remembered the warm security of Ino’s hands and how she turned off her defenses at the lightest press of his fingers to her soft palm.

“I don’t know what to say Ino?”

“I don’t know what your problem is?”

He reached for her hand, unable to contain meandering kept feelings that annexed his mind and moved him to have her hands.

“Sorry Joey if I don’t say much.”

It took enduring restraint to feign indifference and hide helplessness. To hold confessing insecurities and refrain from talking about little seedy creatures niching in the recess of his mind, abhorring the sunshine.

A wanting stare showing no apprehension. A quiet undertone of desire and hushed agreement. His fingers moved and in the slightest touch, traced her lips. Their stare closed in and their lips finally grazing. Both found a moment of honesty and for one brief instance became true to their sensibilities. He watched her close her eyes.

“Say it would always be like this.” said Ino.

She happily smiled and pinched his nose.

“You always seem to have the right words.” said Joey.

“All for your kiss!” and it was the naughtiest boyish grin that followed. A rehearsed line he always imagined to say.

The months have fallen of the calendar and they are on their last days. He wondered how the afternoon Sun got cold?

Picture cut outs of places they wish to get lost. Lazy days pretending to walk a somber beach side. Spending midsummer’s day looking out at shining mountains of golden hay.

The door creaked. Last glance and maybe the last goodbye. Last appeal to emotion and forgo binding apprehensions. Last chance to save their unsure and fibbing hearts from complications.

It did not happen as they say it would. It is the end of something beautiful and the beginning of limbo and of dog gone days thinking of fates and of things that could have been, but would never know. Of morning spent staring at the ceiling.

The door had closed and the barrel clicked in place. And such is the predicament of them whose tragedy is a celebrated romance.



“Here is something from an 80’s seminal band we haven’t heard for a while.”

The driver tuned to a station that plays songs from his generation. He adjusted the volume to gentler decibel. Just right to hear the jangling of fares being handed and passed around.

“Here is New Order playing “Leave me alone” right here in your all music station that plays the greatest and the latest.”

Entered the drum machine in unlikely intervals and builds up to the intro.

“On a thousand islands in the sea, I see a thousand people just like me.”

The Jeepney moved at a steady phase. Road lines appearing and disappearing in routine fashion. Impressive linear symmetry.

“A hundred unions in the snow, I watch them walking, falling in a row.”


The Jeep pulled to a stop at a curbside, whilst the song seemed to claw its way out of the old shackled transistor and manifest with ghoulish omnipresence.

“We live always underground, it’s going to be so quiet in here tonight.”

“The only exercise I would be getting.” Ino thought to himself opening the doors to his dormitory.

“This staircase and the usual nods and hello to acquaintances.”

So it began the labored climb and the forced nods and hello on his way to his 3rd floor room. The stairs as well as the halls were occupied in some parts by pails, reminding of last night’s downpour and the repairs needed to patch up the roof.

Whiff of Nicotine leaks out of open doors. The kasera is not happy of the tenants smoking habit considering the dated wooden furnishing the dormitory has. But it gave the place a Greenwich – Bohemian kick.

Next door to Ino is Karlo, a budding painter who always finds his pastel and charcoal best with a friendly bottle of Cerveza. Across is Pedro, a Philosophy Major with left leaning ideals, a friendly mien, and a reserve countenance.

He placed his key and turned the knob. He had forgotten to reset his radio alarm.

“Every time I watched the sky, for these past few days leave me alone.”

It was still the song from the Jeepney and the road side karaoke that was playing, possibly haunting him.

He unplugged the radio, closed the door, and pulled up the blinds. Darkness had encroached the city and on a night like this, one wonders what unsettling questions it would bring.

The train station is seen from a distance and tired eyes sees depth in things. Jovial shrieks of children playing in the streets can be heard. Running to and fro as if chasing their dreams or fleeing from the bondage of time. The Sun had sighed and beings of different perspectives had woken and emerged.

He sank deep in his only couch inside the sleepy room; listless while trying to make something out of ambient noises. A floating Orb fiery Orange burned in the room. Smoke hangs in the empty air, filling the room with the smell of dried burning leaves.

This room had been his altar and his lighted cigarette – an incense burning to obscurity. He chuckled thinking of Tita, his kasera and what she may say if she finds out about Ino’s combustible venerating ritual.

His room is his retreat to the center, Ino’s ethereal sanctum.

He felt the poison in his veins pass through the valves of his heart; riddling it once more with insecurities, worry and longing. A cavity moved into his chest, a rift developed. Ino’s feeling heart almost succumbing and failing to beat. He finished his cigarette and stood up, approaching a door that was not there before.

Through a glint of light passing through the window, he saw his name etched roughly in the door’s surface. The wooden door opened and a vast troubled ocean beckoned. A gust blew a salty mist to his face. A small stony isle was waiting for him and invited him in isolation. He dipped his feet in the damp sandy ground, mindless of the roaring tides and bellowing winds.

Just then, the door closed behind.

“I’ll be gone for a while.” Joey saw Ino walking away, his footsteps hushed and his silhouette fading. Half awake, she tried to ask where he was going. But all she can muster to say was, “I can’t wait for you Ino.” in that waking dream.

She saw him put up his sad smile as he always does, while trying to say something hushed she did not understand. Then he was gone.