May 30, 2008
By Sophia Aleli Beltran, Sta. Rosa, Laguna, ZZ

A somber angel fell
morose, brooding, one might say,
as sullen as the night sky
on a rainy day.

I saw her walking towards my direction, and my intuition says that something is terribly wrong.

I guess she hardly knows I exist, but I can sense it well. I can see how she’s trying really hard to cover up the pain she’s feeling, and it hurts me to see her like that.

I loved her since we were eleven. I loved everything about her—how her hair flows freely in waves when she dances sweetly with a guy, how her lips quiver just before she kisses him, and how her eyes glisten when she learns that he had been lying to her.
I love her so much that I etched her name with a kitchen knife on my wrist.
Our paths were just about to cross when I held up my wrist to show it to her. A look of pure horror crept on her face, and then she ran away.
I chuckled. It was just too funny.
I turned my head and followed her with my sight, noticing how rigidly she’s walking—probably trying her best not to look back at me.
I know that there’s no future for the two of us, but I’m still hoping.
Everytime she gets hurt, I was always there. I was always with her, watching her every move. But she was never with me.
If only she were mine…
But she wasn’t.
I could only wish there’s something I could do.

She rounded a corner, and disappeared from my sight.
I wonder when I would see her again.

Somehow, I feel I wouldn’t.



He lied to me.

He said he loved me, and I believed him. I thought he really did. I thought I was supposed to trust him, and I did.

I never knew he’s ill.
I wanted to believe that nothing’s wrong, but the pain I’m feeling grows more and more each day. I wanted to believe that I’m going to get better, but I know I’m not.
I’m scared.
I walked as slowly as I could, hoping the ground would swallow me, but I knew it wouldn’t. Mother Nature is too cruel to allow such thing.

For the longest time, I had been successful in hiding signs that I’m ailing. I know that I couldn’t hold on any longer, but I can’t help it. My mother shouldn’t know about this.

I fear so much that people would know I have AIDS. I spend two hours each day in front of the mirror, and it was enough to hide the signs of infection surging through my body, but not enough to conceal the disease I have inside me.

At least no one knew. Or so I thought.

I noticed the strange guy who’s always following me around walking towards my direction. He’s looking at me with so much sympathy that it made me wonder if he knew about my condition.
What gave it away? Was it the mouth sores I can’t rid of?
No. He couldn’t possibly know about it. We never even talk to each other, so how on earth could he know?
I know that his name is Adam, and that he looks like Satan’s love child. I tried to avoid him as much as possible, but no matter what I did, he always ended up being near me. Coincidence? Somehow I feel it wasn’t.

I veered my sight away the moment I saw him, but as our paths are about to cross, he raised his fist. Then I saw it—

And I ran.

Oh my God.

Engraved on his wrist was my name, bordered with what seemed like dried blood.

Adam’s a freak. He scares me.
As my heart rate went back to normal, I resumed walking at a normal pace, trying my best not to look back.

I rounded a corner and welcomed the feeling that Adam’s gaze couldn’t follow me anymore.

All of a sudden, overwhelming pain washed over me. I seized anything I could hold on to so that I could steady myself, but I felt my legs giving way. Blood rushed from my nose, and I could taste blood in my mouth.
I know needed help.
I tried to shout, but I couldn’t. I struggled for breath. I wish someone would do something.
But no one’s there.



She’s my best friend.

I could vividly remember the first time I met her. I remember how her brown eyes shone like diamonds, and how she captivated everyone with her high-voltage smile. She was a transferee, and she got assigned to the seat next to mine. We clicked, and instantly became friends.

I thought she’s really pretty, and I told her so. “You’re not bad, either,” was all she told me back.
It wasn’t just me who noticed her profound loveliness; not long after I did, everyone else became aware of her alluring beauty.
Despite her having numerous suitors, she never showed any interest in males the way most girls our age did.
I had my share of suitors, too. Oddly enough, when I hang out with them, my best friend gets mad. She accused me of preferring the company of men over hers. But that wasn’t true. I valued our friendship very much, and I was very proud to have her as my best friend.
She came crying to me one day.
She wouldn’t even tell me why. I just assumed that it was about something she wanted to have, but couldn’t. It’s always like that for girls like her.
“You wouldn’t want to know how jealous I am of you. But I can’t bring myself to hate you because you’re nice to me. And you’re my best friend,” I tried to comfort her, but it was hard. In the first place, I didn’t have any idea why she was bawling out like that. It’s not like as if she didn’t have everything already.
“I’m different. Oh, you wouldn’t understand… You’re just like the others. Only, you’re different—you’re my only friend. But I’m feeling something else. I can’t take it anymore…” She broke off and stared at her feet.

After what seemed like forever, she looked up straight into my eyes and I saw pure agony in hers.

“I love you…”
My heart started beating faster, and I felt blood rush to my face. I hugged her. I can’t help it.
I love her, too.



He almost killed me.

Clutching my left arm, I fled from the room. I know I’m bleeding, but I can’t let him catch me.

I can’t die.
I ran down the flight of stairs, stumbling down the last two steps, but I ignored the pain surging through my ankles, scared of being caught by my intoxicated husband.

It’s always like this when he gets drunk. He would go home and beat me up for no apparent reason. Sometimes, he would be too drunk to go home, so he would sleep somewhere else. But that’s even worse. When he comes home the next morning, he would batter me so badly that I wouldn’t be able to walk, let alone stand up.

I stayed up late last night waiting for him to come home. The clock on our bedside table read 12:04 am, so I decided to sleep.

I woke up to the sound of glass shattering; I had no idea what was happening. I didn’t know that my forehead’s bleeding—I just realized that my husband’s home, and he’s livid.

He grabbed my hair and yanked hard. It hurt. I cried and tried to pry his hands off my hair, but he wouldn’t let go. “Why? What did I do?” I wanted to ask, but before I could open my mouth, he spat at me and lashed at me with words so slurred they were unintelligible.
He kicked me hard on the shin, and my legs wobbled with pain. I fell to the floor, and he kicked my arm. I flinched but I managed to grab the clock on the table and smash it on his head.
Clutching my left arm, I fled from the room. I know I’m bleeding, but I couldn’t let him catch me.

Like a cat after a mouse, he ran after me—shouting invectives so horrible that it made me cringe.

“B*tch! I know what you had been up to—all the while I had been away, you had been running around with my friends! You sl*t!”

He’s quicker and he’s got longer legs than I do, so he caught up with me easily. He grabbed the neck of my shirt, and he tugged hard. I couldn’t breathe. I gasped for air, and he let go so suddenly that I fell on my back. “That’s what philandering wh*res get!” He leaned close, and I could smell alcohol from his breath. His face was flushed, and I felt fear slithering through my veins.

He seized my hair and I tried to pry his fingers off again, but I can’t. He dragged me to the rails of the stairs and tied me there. I saw him unbuckling his belt, and I prepared for the worst. He coiled the end of his belt around his hand and whacked at me with the other end, the one with the buckle. I screamed with pain—he took no notice, and
whipped me some more.

He left me lying bruised and wounded in a pool of my own blood.
Why I’m being made to suffer like this, I do not know. But I love him, and I trust his judgment; there must’ve been a reason.

The pain he inflicted on me this time is intense—so intense that I feel myself going numb.

It won’t be long, I said to myself. Just a few more…
I know I’m alive, but I’d rather be dead.

I know that hatred should be gnawing on me, but it isn’t. Instead, I feel love and passion surging through my battered body for my husband. No matter how much he hurts me, I can’t leave him. I’d die without him. I’d die with him as well, but we promised—‘til death do us part.
It’s better this way.

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