Wednesday, June 17, 2009



(Short story by Boots Tirol. Part of "VERMILLION and other ‘colorful’ stories")


It is incorrect to say that when David saw her again, he choked.


He was sipping his martini, watching the sea breeze play with the white cloth draped on the cabana, his elbow casually resting on the table, when Amina sat down across him and smilingly announced her arrival with a “Tada!”

He was not so surprised to see her to elicit the gasp that made him choke on his drink. It was just that her eyes were so beautiful.

What surprised him was why he didn’t really notice them before. It was usually her smile—the smile she was wearing now – that captured his attention.

It was forty past four. The afternoon sunlight made her brown eyes so much lighter that he could clearly see her irises had dark brown streaks and tiny specks of yellow in them.

Her eyes were looking at him now, waiting for him to say something. He stared back at them. Are they hazel? No, they’re almost orange.

No, amber. He decided. Amber like sweet dark honey

“It’s impolite to stare, Dave” she said, her smile widening.

“I know... But your beauty renders me helpless,” David said, regaining his composure. He reached out for a table napkin and wiped his mouth.

She laughed gleefully. “You haven’t changed one bit! God, I missed you!” she playfully slapped his arm. “I’m so glad Dally organized this whole reunion thing. Ang galing no?”

You have not changed too. You still think I’m joking all the time. “Yeah… And you haven’t changed. The beautiful Amina... Late as usual.” David hid his smile, pausing to see her reaction.

Oi, I’m early for the dinner party naman.” She pouted.

David chuckled. “Don’t worry, I was also late. When I got here, most of the guys were already drunk.” He grinned, pointing to the empty liquor bottles at the side of the table.

“Well, better late than never.” She shrugged.

“Yeah… that’s a good motto” He teased. “Thirsty?”

“No, thanks. I had coffee on the plane.”

Naks. The jet-setter. Where did you go this time, again– Vietnam?”

Hoy, Vietnam was two years ago – was that the last time we saw each other?— Anyway, I just came back from Gibraltar.”

“Sorry I couldn’t keep track, Miss World Traveler,” he leaned towards her and lightly pinched her nose. “Gibraltar, huh? Isn’t that a rock?”

She laughed out loud. He felt a gust of fresh air swirl around his neck and under his ears. Her amber eyes sparkled when she laughed. They reminded him of refreshing iced tea on a hot summer day. God, she’s so beautiful. Was she always this beautiful?

“Earth to David!” she waved her right hand. Her eyes grew serious. “I know geography isn’t your thing, but am I as boring as Professor Quinto?”

“Sorry… It’s just that… um…” David stammered.


“Uh… uh…” Damnit. Say something David. He cleared his throat. “Um. Are you wearing colored contact lenses?”

She chuckled. “No, oi. Why would I wear lenses when I have such beautiful eyes?” she good-humoredly batted her eyelashes.

“Oh… It’s just that I didn’t notice before that they were so uh…” Beautiful… Pretty… Captivating… “…uh… light colored.” He raised his glass to hide his reddening face.

“Well, that’s because you don’t see things under your nose!” she teasingly accused him.

He laughed. Witty. That was what she always said when he would tease her for being small and called her “little woman”. She said his being tall was a disadvantage because he was always losing his stuff. He was five foot ten. That would make a lot of things under his nose. She had been the one to remind him of his keys, his wallet, his phone, his books. She was always the one to… She was always the… He shook his head, stopping his thoughts.

He took a long sip, and he slowly put down his drink. “Not all things. Not all things,” he managed to defend himself while he absent-mindedly circled his finger around the rim of his glass.

“Yeah… not all, but you don’t notice most things…” she softly countered “… or some people… some little people,” she mumbled. She narrowed her eyes and looked away.

David looked up, sensing the change of mood. He silently followed her gaze. The tide had risen and began to destroy a few sandcastles on the beach. Three of their friends were chatting by the water’s edge while their toddlers splashed near them. The breeze was getting colder. The sun was beginning to set.

Then he looked back at her. The sunset illuminated her tanned skin, creating a reddish glow that made her look fragile yet strong. Her lips were slightly frowning, reminding him that she can be really stubborn. He smiled as he recalled their many all-night debates. Wisps of her long wavy hair escaped her ponytail. He half-expected that she would fix them up, a movement so natural which he found so elegant -- her slender arms gracefully raised to her head, her neck bend down, her fingers dexterously twisting and tying.

He felt giddy as if he had just consumed a whole bottle of champagne. He remembered feeling like this before. He remembered he had reasons why he had brushed it aside. But he could not recall any of it now. He took a deep breath and exhaled. He let his unfinished thoughts go... She was always the one. God. She was always the one.

He hesitantly reached out to gently touch her arm. “Y’know, once in a while I do notice important things,” he whispered.

She glanced back at him. Her eyes matched the approaching sunset— intense but melancholic.

She smiled weakly, “You didn’t notice the engagement ring on my finger.”


It is thus incorrect to say that when David saw her again, he choked. He simply could not breathe.


He did not move. He did not look down at her hand. He could not dare.

“Dan followed me to Gibraltar. We got back together.” She explained. “Well, you could say I came back from the ‘Rock’ with a rock” she quietly joked.

David did not laugh. His pulse was racing. Blood was drumming in his ears. What will happen if I tell her now? What if I’ll tell her now…Tell her now. “It’s now or never,” he murmured. He paused to take a deep breath…

“Huh? Well, yes. You’re right. That’s what I told myself. It’s now or never” She spoke softly and slowly. “I realized that I wasn’t getting any younger… That I should get silly fantasies out of my head…”

She looked at him and continued when he didn’t respond. “I don’t know why I’m explaining myself. But you see, getting married is always a risk... There’ll always be questions. Don’t get me wrong, Dan is a great guy and what we have is special. It’s just that… I was waiting for… I don’t know… something.” She paused. “Then I realized I can’t wait all my life. I should just go ahead and plunge, y’know…and just commit to what I have with Dan… for the rest of my life.”

David froze in his seat. Oh God. She’s the one… she’s the one… the one who’ll get away.

“Congratulations” David managed to say.

“Thank you.” She said smiling. “Though it took you more than ten minutes to say that. It’s better late than never.”

Not if it’s too late. Not if it’s too late. David sighed to himself.

He fixed his eyes on her pretty amber eyes.

She held his gaze.

David did not blink until his eyes hurt.


(P.S. This is a work in progress. Please do leave your comments/corrections. Thanks!)

"Reformatted": Ready to Move On (Part 2 of 2)

I have the same password for almost all my internet accounts. It makes it easier to remember, and less confusing.

My password (now old password) had something to do with my previous relationship.
I didn't bother to change it because I found it a daunting task to change all my passwords.
I have accounts in Yahoo!, Gmail, UP Webmail and CRS, Ateneo mail, Ateneo's aisis (where we input grades, etc), Flixter, Multiply, Blogger, Youtube, Esnips, and in a lot more sites (my Facebook and Friendster have different passwords though).
Besides, I had that password for years now and my fingers have acquired muscle memory.

I also didn't see it as such a big deal. Yes, I remember some things everytime I log in, but I have accepted the fact that there are just things in the past that have become a part of me and would be hard to forget.

But again, another technological glitch intervened.

The other day, I had trouble signing into Yahoo! Messenger.
After a few more tries, a prompt popped up that said "Sign in problems."
I clicked it and found out it was a password resetting mechanism.

Yahoo! presented me with the opportunity to change my password.
I took that opportunity.
This time, I made a password that didn't have anything to do with anyone else.

After changing my password, Yahoo! asked "Ready to move on?"

I laughed.

And clicked Yes.


I have since changed my password in most of my accounts, and my fingers have adapted quite well.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Reformatted: A fresh start (part 1 of 2)

How are you? My teammates asked me last Tuesday.

"Reformatted" I answered.

They laughed and cheered.

I was serious though.

Indeed, this year have been a year of changes.

My 5-yr-plus relationship with someone I loved ended last August. I am longer studying in law school this semester. Even my computer and my phone were reformatted.

But with losing, I have gained a lot more... I gained...

A lot of blank spaces, and more storage capacity.

My cellphone's system was corrupted and had to be reformatted. I lost my schedules, my notes, my codes, my messages and my numbers.

Now, I have a lot of space in my phone memory.

I feel a little lost. I feel a little disoriented. All that I store in my phone are important. There were ideas, topics that I want to write about, list of stuff that people borrowed from me, etc that I had put in my Notes. There were schedules and birthdays that I haven't copied to my planner. There are important numbers that weren't saved in the SIM (but thank God I had a copy of family members' numbers).

But then, I guess there are things that I need to let go, like the messages that I could not erase...

Now, I can get new heartwarming and funny messages from other people, and store them in my now freed-up memory space.

Translating it to the non-gadget world, I can make new memories, and have a lot of space in my mind and heart to store them.

As it is said, you have to let go of what you are holding, in order to receive more gifts.

A lot of free time, and freedom.

I am on a "break" from my law studies. When the disappointment waned, the feeling of excitement of the things I can do with my "free" time set in. However, I have to get used to the feeling of not feeling "burdened". I had to admit that feeling "stressed" over cases and provisions gave me a sense that I am doing something important. The trouble of feeling light is that you can feel you're "floating." Lightness can be unbearable.

But I am excited to do all of the things I want to do. Travel. Write. Sing.Dance. Learn to play an instrument. Learn a new language. Swim. Run. Laugh. Breathe.

Of course, I still dream of becoming a lawyer. I would still be willing to grasp the thorns to hold the rose. But now, I need a break to get a new perspective. Now, I can see that I can do what I enjoy and be all that I can be. This break can actually bring me a step closer to my dream, since now I am no longer afraid of failing. And I can reach for the sky, without the fear of falling.

And now I can dream bigger dreams. Sky's the limit.

A lot of learning.

When my 5-year-plus serious relationship ended, I had to remind myself of who I was without this person, and tweak my life plans. It seemed that I had to start from scratch. The good thing about starting from scratch is that you can make anything you want. But then, I'm not starting from scratch. I have learned a lot from this relationship.

I learned how to love, how to let go, and how to heal.

I have experienced the feeling of real happiness, and now I know how real heartbreak feels.

I have learned to let go of bad things, and now I know how to let go of good things that are not meant for me.

I have experienced how to be loved, and now I learned to love enough to set someone free.

I have learned how to give of myself, and now I have learned how to love myself more.

A fresh start.

A few weeks ago, I was explaining to my colleague that my computer was reformatted by my "ex", so I lost my files in my Windows Media Library.

Other colleagues overheard and teased me. "Who? Who?"

I said "My ex"

And they continued teasing, "What did he do?"

Without batting an eyelash, I said "He reformatted my life"

He didn't really reformat my life.

But he gave me an opportunity to get to know myself more. The opportunity to unlearn and relearn things. And learn new ones. Build and rebuild. He gave me an opportunity to grow.

Now, I have a fresh start.

I can spread my wings some more.

Love some more.

And live some more.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Funny Moments

During our office evaluation, everybody was already tired when it was the Resource Generation Team's turn to present their report.
The first slide of their presentation indicated "1 of 22" slides.
Everybody groaned.
After explaining the data in the 2nd slide,however, my colleague said "So that's it. That's our report"
"What about the other 20 slides?" we asked.
He smiled. "Oh. It's the same slide duplicated over and over."


In my law class, the professor asked, "Is there anyone from Ilo-ilo here?"
Nobody answered.
The professor repeated the question.
Then, a classmate raised her hand.
Delighted, the professor said, "Oh, so you're from Ilo-ilo?"
My classmate answered, "No sir. I just want to go to the bathroom"


In another law class, the professor was grilling me because I could not remember the provision he asked for.
He asked "Miss Tirol. When was the last time you watched TV?"
I answered, "Last week sir"
"Do you remember what you watched?" he continued, trying to make his point clear
"Yes sir"
"What did you watch?"
"The news regarding the suspension of classes sir"
The professor chuckled and said "In all my years of teaching, I never had an answer like that. That is sui generis! I'll always remember your answer."

Vintage Bluebook

It was past 9pm. I was one of the last few students still puzzled over the final exam questions, when the professor asked everyone to submit their papers.

I hurriedly went to his table and folded my questionnaire so I can insert it into my exam bluebook, as instructed. Suddenly, the professor shouted "Why are you doing that in front of me, why on my table? Do that somewhere else!"

Surprised, I apologized, went to one of the desks in front, fixed my papers, stood near the professor and waited for him to finish ranting.

Then he asked "So, is there anyone else who want to submit?"

"Sir..." I said, raising my bluebook.

"Well, are you going to submit that or not?"

Like a child who was being scolded, I said quietly, "I'm going to submit it sir..."

"Then submit it now!" he shouted again.

I gave him my bluebook as quickly as I could.

When he received it, he saw that I used a bluebook of lower quality than the rest (I used the one for the undergraduate students). He said "Your bluebook is so vintage! Grabe ka..."

I managed a weak smile and hurried to get my things.

I wanted to cry. I thought, "What did I do wrong? I just took that freakin exam, and I got shouted at? I deserve better"

I loved that professor the whole semester. He's brilliant. But I don't think that gives him the right to shout at people.

Well, no one has the right to shout at people. But many of the "gods" in law school do.

I remembered what my former blockmate said to me "Law school makes us think and think that we forget to feel. Crying is a crime. Smirking is punished. We lose our hearts. We forget our faces..."

That is why I went back to work and transferred to the evening section, because the more I struggled in law school, the more I forgot my reasons why I was there in the first place.
Working in the office I am now, and having the opportunity to work with students and communities, made me remember why I wanted to be a lawyer.

But that night after my exam, When I got out from the building, I felt I had enough of law school.

This law school, anyway.


"Maybe I rub professors the wrong way" my good friend and former blocmkate* said to me the other day at Starbucks. "Because you know, the female professors never liked me"

She proceeded to recount her horror stories. To which I laughed, not because the stories are funny, but because they become funny when shared with a friend.
(Which was the purpose of the Starbucks date -- to share what was bothering us and hopefully laugh about it together. and of course, catch up).

"Maybe because you're pretty" I suggested to my friend, who is one of the most gorgeous people I have ever met/known**.

She made a face.

"Well, maybe I rub the professors the wrong way too" I said. She smiled, knowing that I have had a lot of "moments" with professors.

Take for instance, during one of our final exams, I was sitting in front, so the professor gave me the test papers. I stood up and distributed the papers to my classmates. The professor approached me and said "Miss Tirol, this is not a singing contest. You don't have to stand up."

I got upset, since I was just trying to help! (By singing contest, he was referring to my being part of the champion choir. To which he also commented in class that we were "better singers than students".)

I now smile when I recall this incident (no use sweating over small stuff).

My friend and I talked some more why she was worried, and why I was sad.

Then I told her "You could always pursue your other dream. Just go to New York and sing in Broadway."

She made a funny face again. "I want to write music, and make a musical" she said.

I said "I want to write, and join a musical too. Cast me in your musical"

She said "Let's just finish what we started"

When we parted ways, she said "Tell me the results, ok?"

"I just hope that he won't grade me based on my vintage bluebook."

I sighed, and waved goodbye.


* awww. I miss you Block A! I love you all.
** if you're reading this... yes, you are! don't be shy! haha

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


How do you not run out of new things to say? James Ingram asked.

I have a million thoughts running in my head.

A thousand words to say. A hundred stories to tell.

I have an infinite string of feelings to express.

An ocean of dreams to share.

I have a million questions to ask.

A thousand things to discover. A hundred stories to hear.

I have a lifetime.

So I take my time.

Or I may only have a few seconds.

So I utter everything in one breath.

I can write a novel for everything I want to convey

or I can say it in a word.

Or I can say nothing.

Be silent.

Since I have a million things to say,

I run out of things to.

But I know I don't have to say anything,

and it's still ok.

I'll just listen.

Be quiet.

Sometimes, Ronan Keating is right.

You say it best when you say nothing at all.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Filipino Pride

The Pangkat Alab of the Ship for South East Asia Youth Program 2008 (SSEAYP) had their National Day Presentation at Bahay Tsinoy, Intramuros last night (Oct 12).

The 27 Youth Ambassadors, who will be joining other young people from different asian countries, presented to officials, families and friends, what they will be showing during their designated cultural night in their 2-month long trip around asian countries.

They presented dances and music that showcased Filipino culture, tradition and memories of 500 years.

They also had their version of the "Byahe Tayo" MTV (which features everything that's beautiful in and about the Philippines), and they presented video clips on how they know they're Pinoy ("I point with my lips", and the like), and why they are proud to be one (one said, "because Filipinos are resilient", another said "Filipinos made the jeepney from garbage and surplus materials, while another said "we are the sms capital of the world!" and another said "there's no reason not be proud").

I was amazed that these young leaders -chosen from different regions- were very talented and put up a very good performance. And they had a lot of heart.

Further, I was awed at how beautiful and ingenious our dances were. I mean-- like, how many things can you do with a piece of cloth? In one Luzon dance, cloth was twisted and put on top of the head for the "jar dance". The "padango sa ilaw" used cloth to carry lighted candles and wave it around. And of course there's the Malong dance from Mindanao. Amazing.

I was also amused that one part of the show seemed "dedicated" to E-heads songs! I guess the Eraserheads had become Pinoy pop icons.

The show made me feel so proud of the Filipino youth, of the Filipino talent, and of being Pinoy!And of course, I am so proud of my cousin Ivy (who was the best dancer there!)

Congratulations and Bon Voyage Pangkat Alab.

We are very proud of you. Raise the banner high!

After the show though, I walked through the cobble-stone streets of Intramuros with Kuya Butch, hoping to hail a cab home.

Lining the side of the street were dozens of homeless families. Most of them already sleeping.

My heart made a dip like in a roller-coaster ride.

Just a few minutes ago, I was filled with Filipino pride. Then suddenly I was faced with the harsh reality of the situation of most Filipino people.

I swallowed hard, and allowed my heart to silently cry out to God.

The scene reminded me again, that there is still much that needs to be done. As a young person, who believes in social justice and hopes to create positive changes in society, I tend to get frustrated because there is only so much we can do.

But again, with the passion and the hope that I saw in the young leaders that night, I know that there is also much that can be done.

I shared these thoughts with a friend and she said, "We all hope that the Philippines will rise like the phoenix."

Yes, a phoenix. Burning with fire of hope. Making the Filipino talent, ingeniuty, and goodness radiate brightly for the world to see. Go Pinoy!

*ok. Gotta back to the NSTP evaluation now... haha