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Thinking of Baler

Five more days. Can’t wait! After a year of making up for that Baler trip which I so sadly had to pass up, finally, I’ll be going. Another place soon-to-be checked on my map of interest.

Somehow, it looks like I can fulfill my resolve to visit 12 new places this year. And hopefully, Batanes will be one of them. Oops, why am I thinking of B’s?

I should Better go to Bed.


Crazily Normal

Think about something that drives you crazy. Now, think about something that makes you happy.
Does it change your perspective on the former?

I started getting blog inspirations from WP’s Daily Post two days ago. Yesterday, on my second try, no matter what I did, I couldn’t see my post on the Trackback list of Fright Night when my first attempt was a breeze. Next, my internet connection went crazy going turtle-paced on me. Then, one of the potential projects that I was desperately keeping my fingers crossed on was dropped. That hit it. Three in a row. Murphy’s Law. Someone, please bail me out!

But I do believe in sunshines and rainbows. Murphy could have driven me crazy, but my Mom came to the rescue. She was cooking dinner and the smell of chicken adobo did something to revive the crazily downcast me into a crazily hungry jolly me.

Meet My Fear

Daily Prompt: Fright Night
| What’s the thing you’re most scared to do? What would it take to get you to do it?

I was never scared of frogs. Not until one dark eerie night, a cold clammy little frog jumped out of nowhere and clung at my thighs for Zeus-knows-how-long. I panicked, of course. The long shrilly cry for help didn’t help because I was numbed with fright that no voice came out.

I got rid of it with a branch hanging loosely a few meters from where I initially did my frantic jumps and kicks which I thought would loosen its clingy hold on my leg.

The next day, I got laid down with fever. It lasted for two more days. They said my fever was because of too much fright, of the scary ordeal I had with battling the tiny clingy frog.

My friends were sympathetic.

My close friends were way beyond sympathetic that they would comb tiendesitas and shopping malls for a perfect reminder of my fear: Kerokeroppi items, goods made of frog skin, frog figurines, or any frog-like anything that would make me scream of fright.

Kerokeroppi is fine. But a purse bullfrog with a mouth made to look like it would also swallow your fingers and not just your coins is way too much! And yes, I screamed my head off when I saw it, and ran as far away from it as I could!

They say there’s no point in being frightened of a frog. Should I be afraid of simply walking passed it? I say yes, definitely!

They ask, why be frightened? What if the next one that I will meet is a prince?

Puppy Tale

Oh, antsy antelope! Why do I have to choose today to start the Daily Prompt? Why didn’t I start it yesterday when the topic’s about love?!

I promised myself no one will know except Wiwi. But Wiwi’s already gone.

I remember it was a not so particularly sunny or cloudy day when I got home from school for the weekend. Wiwi, my very first puppy, didn’t come running towards me with its wiggly tail. I could almost see the two big brown spots on her body, the one on her left eye, and those on each of her ears.

Two weeks before that, I brought Wiwi at our in-campus boarding house. It was a 4-bedroom house. I shared one of the rooms with my eldest sister, and she was okay with me bringing Wiwi, “as long as you pick up after her”. I remember my four other housemates happily taking Wiwi in as part of the household.

I bought Wiwi a leash but she didn’t like it, and she never wanted to go for any walks either. I never knew Cesar Millan back then so I didn’t think it was a big deal. I would stay at the veranda instead, strumming my guitar, while Wiwi snuggled at my feet. I remember telling Wiwi about how nervous I was when I took the written exam for the school paper. I told her why I used a pseudonym and what it stood for (which eventually stuck and became my nickname).

Wiwi was like a potty-trained toddler. Although she loved peeing on the bright waxed red tiled floor, she littered outside just behind the fence where the green bushes were. She loved running around the house and we’d laugh when she slipped on the slippery shiny red floor, and she’d get up again, run again, slip again until I put her on my lap and give her a belly rub. At night, she slept just inches away from the foot of the bed. In the morning, she was more anxious than I to go to school. I felt that if I gave her my class schedule, she would readily sit in for me while I stay in bed and dream about her writing my papers, taking my exams, and receiving my diploma!

But I couldn’t take her to my classes. Hmm, I never really tried though. I wonder if I did, would I still…

Anyway, one of the boarders didn’t find Wiwi amusing. In fact, she (the other boarder) finds her (Wiwi) irritating and I didn’t even know until the landlady told me. She (the boarder) said she (Wiwi) was whining most of the mornings after I left for school.

So I brought Wiwi back home, left for school, and came back the very next weekend. But Wiwi didn’t greet me with her wiggly tail and funny dancing paws.

Wiwi was not there at all to greet me.

My mother said that Wiwi was gone. That they had not seen Wiwi for three days. She was gone two days after I brought her home. They tried looking for her. They tried asking around, called and shouted her name.

I thought how funny it would have sounded when my parents tried looking for Wiwi and shouting her name. Wiwi, in Tagalog, is a kid’s term or childtalk for pee. I named her such because the first time I saw her, her tiny cuddly self wiggled away from the other puppies and tried to sneak out for a pee.

I smiled at the thought, but bitterly. No one had seen my lively lovely Wiwi. Did she somehow try to find me instead? Did she somehow change her mind and would have promised that she’ll wear the leash if she could stay with me in the campus?

Three days had passed. My father said my cousin was still giving away some of the pups and I could have my pick again.

It was the very first time, and the only time I should add, that I felt out of place at the very place I call home. I couldn’t join in the conversation. They were spirited, my family. I was so low and downcast then. But I felt ashamed at that time to let my feelings show… not in front of my chatty cheery sister and brother who would tease me no end if I burst into tears because I miss Wiwi and want to find her very desperately.

I remember myself walking aimlessly through the thicket of trees at the back of our house. I wanted to be as far away as possible from the usual story-filled boisterous weekend. I felt I should be out looking for Wiwi, but three days for a puppy to go missing is already a long time.

We never saw Wiwi again, nor did we find out what happened to her. Whenever I remember Wiwi, I feel an aching thug in me still. Maybe because I kept the longing and the sadness bottled inside me. It didn’t occur to me to mourn for her loss. I guess I was hoping that Wiwi found another home instead.

We had lots of puppies after Wiwi, who eventually became dogs, loyal dogs of the household. We weren’t very imaginative when it comes to names but those that stood out were Puppy, Brownie and Blackie.

And, Juju. I named her after me (Jaja). She’s turning 10 next year, and I feel she’s going to outlive me.

The Game Changers

There is something enriching about being in a team, especially a team that is more like a family.

This family, TeamBuktu as we call ourselves, recently got the championship trophy for the women’s volleyball league in our barangay. TeamBuktu was a dark horse. We submitted our lineup, though a bit forced, on the day of the parade of colors. The members playing for TeamBuktu were a bunch of had-beens whose only freetime is a rest from house chores after a day in their places of work. So busy that one of our teammates was not able to see any coin toss at all.

There were seven teams in all. It was a single round robin with the two teams in highest standing being assured to play in the finals. One of those two was our team with a 5-1 on the score card.

On October 24, the championship game, three couldn’t make it. We were a team of 10 players. That left seven of us.

Our opponent had been practicing day in and day out. They had a trainer coach. They had 15 players, enough to last them five sets, if we win two mission impossible sets.

All seven of us took the half court and started warming up. The first few minutes before each game was our practice and warm up session rolled into one. That was also the time when we say our hellos and how-have-you-beens.

For the first time, someone stood in as our coach. We were thankful. Now we were seven players and a coach.

We lost the first set.

We thought there was no way we could win the game anyway. The other team was the one who gave us the 1 loss on our score card. Being in the championship was already a dream come true. Winning it would be dreaming for more. But hey, we said let’s get on with it. We’re already there. We’re in the Finals, so Play!

Our coach said, “Get the ball, give them back the ball, and enjoy the game!”

The second set was a game changer. Millet’s arm, weary from writing on the blackboard or wielding a pointing stick, hours before the game was a power server piling points after another. Osang, bleary-eyed from the night shift with barely a wink’s sleep, was still so adamant in blocking the ball and doing near-net saves. Rizel whose only been let go of measles was on her best receiving self. Grace had just came back from a party that she couldn’t miss but rode in a hurry to play for the win. Venis, quiet and alert in her stance never wavered a bit. And, Gigay who’s all too willing to give everything she got to show everyone she got game.

We won the second set, and the third.

During the fourth set, the other team was still fumbling. Somehow, the coordination that they were used to weakened that night. Players got switched, substituted, benched.

I was waiting for the ball to be set in play when the referee blew his whistle and called the team captains to his side. I was lost. I was the team captain and I didn’t even know what the whistle was for.

“I don’t want to hear any badmouthing from any of your supporters. Keep them at bay or I will call an end to this game.” Ah, the adrenalin that beset not only the players but those who cheered the teams on till the end.

We were ahead by almost a dozen points. One unforced error from the other team would end the game and declare us champions.

And it happened. Millet, gasping for breath muttered, “I’m tired, I want to go home!” did another one of her now infamous fast swerving underhand serves. She was sweaty exhausted. Her arms were botched red.

The ball wheezed past the net. The first receiver got the ball but was unable to pass it nicely for a good stop to her intended tosser. The tosser set it up a few inches above the net. Their spiker, heeled toward the ball, unsure, but took a stab at it. The ball barely made it across the net and dropped on their side of the court.

We won. There was little pandemonium. Most of those watching were rooting for the other team. Seeing the little crowd that jumped and shouted and cheered for us was invigorating to my ebbing energy.

TeamBuktu prevailed. Winning six out of the seven games was a feat for the bunch of us. Seven games and looking back, we were there to enjoy and support the league, not to grab the tallest and proudest trophy.

But we did.


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