“13 Reasons Why” takes me back to high school

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This TV show really spoke to me.

13 Reasons Why brings back some of my memories of high school, both good and bad. Like Hannah, I was bullied in high school. I also had many problems and a very few friends. But because I’m emotionally and spiritually stronger than Hannah, I conquered my problems. In fact, years after high school, I even became Facebook friends with some of my former tormentors.

However, I have to admit that Hannah’s problems are more serious than mine.

I won’t spoil the series for you. But I’ll give you a brief synopsis about Netflix’s hit teen drama show.

Clay Jensen is sad when his crush, classmate and co-worker Hannah Baker committed suicide. He finds a package that contains blank audio tapes. Before her death, Hannah had recorded in those tapes her voice. She narrated her secrets— the 13 reasons why she decided to kill herself. It’s like a suicide note, but in audio form. As he listens to the tapes, Clay acts like a detective that solves a crime. He then talks to Hannah’s tormentors and fake friends, and makes them confess about their wrongdoings and crimes against his beloved friend.

13 Reasons Why gets a mix of positive and negative reviews and reactions all over the internet.

One positive review said that the show teaches us to be responsible for our actions and treat one another better. It also teaches us that anything we say or do can affect a person. So to prevent a suicidal person from killing him/herself, we have to reach out to them. Listen to them, understand them and help them.

One negative review said that Hannah’s negative outlook in life might influence a lot of young people and they might imitate Hannah’s actions. A lot of people are alarmed that some depressed teenagers might think about committing suicide, too.

I think both reviews are correct. That’s why to be safe, I’d recommend this show to mature, prudent and responsible teenagers and grown-ups.

13 Reasons Why is a good show. It’s the kind of show that both entertains the viewers and makes them think. I was hooked when I started binge-watching it. In fact, I finished it in 3 days!

I like the opening credits. It’s appealing, artistic and easy on the eyes. It shows a cartoon of a guy riding a bike at night in his neighborhood. A car passes in front of him. Then a cassette tape shows the number of the episode you’re about to watch.

The actors are really good. They portray their roles well. There’s not a single person in that show who can’t act. My most favorite character is Tony. He is a genuinely nice guy and a good friend to Clay. He also happens to be gay. My least favorite character is Courtney. She reminds me of people who appear to be overly nice, but in reality, are the epitomes of evil. She’s actually worse than Bryce, who did something very bad to Hannah.

A lot of people raved about how great the soundtrack is. I think it’s just good. I only like one song which is The Strangers by St. Vincent. The track has an indie vibe, with a melancholic tune and unique lyrics.

If you like teen TV dramas, you should definitely watch this. Bring a box of tissues and a soft, fluffy pillow for comfort.

Rules for singing during a videoke party

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It’s summertime! I know most of you are having a trip or vacation (or planning to have one). One of the things we like to do during summer, aside from swimming in a sea (or pool) or taking selfies at a beach, is singing at a videoke party with our friends and/or relatives. I know that when you hear the word “videoke,” you feel the urge to sing your favorite songs and let all your feelings out. Hold on! Before you go to that party and sing your heart out, here are a few rules:

  1. Pick a song that matches your singing ability. If you can’t hit high notes, don’t sing hits by great divas like Ariana Grande, Celine Dion, Charice Pempengco, Jordin Sparks, Mariah Carey, Regine Velasquez, and Whitney Houston or other similar artists. Opt for songs that are catchy and easy to sing.

 

  1. Try not to cry when you’re singing a sad love song. Calm yourself down before singing it. You don’t want to let people know you’re still going through a breakup, right?

 

  1. Make a list of your favorite songs a day or days before the party comes. So you’ll know what songs you’re going to sing. During the videoke party, it’s not nice to make people wait for 10 minutes before you choose a song. You’re not the only person in the room who wants to sing. They want to sing, too!

 

  1. Don’t be shy. If you want to sing, just do so!

 

  1. If you’re with someone who can sing, don’t make a lot of song requests. He or she might get annoyed. Plus, it’s a videoke party and not a concert. (This rule depends on every person. Some people don’t mind getting a lot of requests. Just don’t overdo it. You can sing the song yourself.)

 

  1. Try not to wake the neighbors up. This is self-explanatory.

 

  1. Sing, don’t scream! Unless you’re a rock star and it’s a rock song. Otherwise, you’ll scare the birds flying outside the window.

 

*My inspiration for this blog entry: my noisy neighbors who sing 24/7 using their videoke machine like someone’s celebrating their birthday every frickin’ day!

To my foreign readers: We Filipinos like to use the word “videoke” when we’re referring to karaoke.

The Dark Side of Betrayal

My name is Alexander Morales. I’m 18 years old and I live in Sampaloc, Manila. I’m a Fine Arts student in Parker University, one of the prestigious coed universities in Pasay. There’s nothing much to say about me. I guess I’m one of those people who you will see as an easy going, happy-go-lucky and harmless punk. A stud who is constantly being chased by girls in school. An athlete who only cares about winning. A son who just wants to make his parents proud. Perhaps you think you know me because of my reputation in school and the senseless rumors about me. You think you know me, but you don’t have any idea about me. No one really knows me. No, that’s not right. There’s someone who knew me very well. Her name is Daphne Reyes and she was my best friend.

I’m passionately, obsessively and madly in love with Daphne. All I’ve been thinking about was to have her all to myself. I would do everything to get her. I didn’t care if my conscience would bother me. What I did to her was wrong and unforgivable. Even I would never forgive myself for this. No one would think I would do it. Even I couldn’t believe I did it to her. For God’s sake, she’s my best friend since 6th grade! We had been very good friends.

But I did something wrong to my best friend.

I raped Daphne Reyes on March 26, 2009.

Before I tell you how I committed the heinous crime, let me tell you about Daphne.

She was an immensely beautiful girl. But she hid her beauty in the baggy clothes she used to wear. She had an angelic face, long shiny hair, fair skin and a petite figure. She would have looked like a TV actress if only she wore nice clothes.

Daphne was my classmate in the 6th grade. She was a new student, I was an old student. She sat at the back of the classroom; I sat just in front of her. She was very shy and quiet. During break time I decided to talk to her so she would have a friend.

The sun was shining in a blue sky, gilding the grasses, trees and flowers of the courtyard. Teachers and students were milling around the courtyard. Daphne was alone sitting under a tree reading a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

“Hello Daphne,” I said. “I’m Alexander.”

“Hi Alexander,” she said. We shook hands.

“That looks like an interesting book. Can you tell me something about it?”

She told me the synopsis of the novel, without spoiling it for me. She was a good storyteller and I could tell that she was bright. But what really caught my eye was how her eyes shone and her face looked lively as she talked to me about the book. She looked like that when she talked about something she really liked. I couldn’t help but admire her radiant skin as the sun shone on it. I knew from the start that I was attracted to her. But Daphne was someone I just met.

As we talked, I learned a lot of things about her in a short span of time.

She just turned twelve that June (her birthday was on June 4, we were of the same age). She came from an all-girls school. Her father is the owner of a computer shop and her mother is a seamstress. She only had one sibling who was a 10-year-old boy. She lived in Las Pinas. She transferred in my school because her parents couldn’t afford the high tuition fee of the all-girls school. Her little brother was studying in another coed school near their house.

She loved music so much. She could sing and play a guitar. Her taste in music was eclectic. She enjoyed all types of music like rock, jazz, rhythm and blues, hip hop, trance, techno and house. But her favorite type of music was rock. I also like music. We listened to the same bands like Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, A Perfect Circle, Tool, Deftones, U2, Muse, System of a Down, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. We talked about those bands during the break time and dismissal time. We clicked instantly. We started hanging out since that day.

 

As we got to know each other we learned about our other similarities and differences. We both loved music, but she was really into it. Music was her life – it gave her solace in dark times. I only listen and dance to music to be entertained. We both loved reading novels. But she’s a faster reader than me. She could finish a tome in one sitting. I could finish a book in three days. We both loved video games, but she was a better gamer than me. She could beat me in any game, whether it’s a violent mature game or a kiddie game. She was kind of a lone wolf; I have a lot of friends in school. Actually, everybody in school liked me, so I could say that I could get along with anyone. We both loved to go to rock concerts and gigs. I like sports like badminton and tennis; she didn’t like sports. She liked sweets; I don’t like them because they make me fat (I like maintaining my athletic body because I want to always look good.)

I introduced her to my friends. They were athletes, campus crushes and geeks. Daphne tried to get along with all of them. But naturally, she only got along with the geeks. Her new friends were Kathryn and Julio. Kathryn is a Cosplayer, while Julio is a gamer. We hanged out most of the time with those geeks. Daphne and Kathryn joined Cosplay competitions and I simply watched and supported them because I didn’t like to join them in those competitions. Daphne only dressed up in Cosplay competitions. She really looked cute and adorable in those outfits she wore. She looked kawaii. We played various video games on Julio’s Playstation. My favorite games were Mortal Kombat, Tekken, and Marvel vs Capcom. Daphne didn’t like my other friends (Daphne referred to them as the “popular crowd”) so I didn’t bring her when I was with them. My teammates and the campus crushes usually asked me, “Where’s your girlfriend?” I laughed at them and told them Daphne was busy studying at home. My friends always thought Daphne and I were an item.

 

One time I had a fight I can never forget. I was with my athlete friends Matt and Christian. Matt was a point guard in the basketball team, while Christian was a member of the Taekwondo team. We were playing billiards in a bar just a few blocks from the school. We decided to play after the midterm exams were over, so we could have a good time and forget about our midterm exams for just a while. It was midnight and the bar was noisy and full of the stench of beer and smoke. Matt had one attractive girl on each muscular arm, while Christian was smoking a cigarette as he waited for his turn to play. I hit the first ball.

“Where’s your girlfriend?” asked Matt.

“You mean Daphne?” I said. “She’s not my girlfriend. She’s not interested in billiards that’s why she didn’t go with me.” He hit the second ball.

“You know she’s really pretty,” said Matt. Christian tried to hit the third ball, but he failed. It was my turn again. “If she dresses up, she will look like a total babe.” I couldn’t understand why Matt would say things like that with those girls around. He could make each of those attractive girls pea green with envy.

I hit the fourth ball.

“Yeah I know she is pretty.”

“And I know that you like her. Why don’t you ask her out?”

We continued playing.

“It’s not that simple. She likes another guy.”

“Oh that’s a bummer.” Matt snickered. I smiled weakly.

“If I were you, I’d take her to my house, buy her a drink and make sure she’s drunk until she can’t walk. Then I’d carry her drunk ass in my room and we’d fuck in the dark.”

I stopped playing and punched Matt’s ugly face. His face got bruised. And because Matt was stronger than me, he beat me up with his punches and kicks until I saw stars. As Christian and other people from the bar were trying to stop us from hurting each other, Matt said, “Putang ina mo, bakla ka kasi kaya ka ganyan!” (“Your mother is a whore. You’re probably gay that’s why you can’t do it!”)

“Gago, wala kang respeto sa babae! Kaibigan ko yun!” (“You’re a fool! You don’t have respect for women. Daphne is my friend!”)

Matt spat on the ground. His girlfriends (or whatever they were) were trying to calm him down.

The next thing I knew my mother was treating my bruises with ice covered with towel as soon as Christian took me home. My mother asked me what happened. Christian answered her question.

“Loko yung Matt na yun ah, said my mom. “Walang respeto sa babae.” (“Matt was an idiot. He has no respect for women.”) Don’t hang out with him anymore. He’s a bad influence.”

When Daphne saw my bruises, she was shocked and worried. She asked me how I got them. I only told her half the truth. I told her Matt and I fought over a girl with both liked.

“Matt is such a loser,” she said. “Oh my, now that you don’t look so handsome girls will stop checking you out and chasing you for a week or two. You should thank your bruises.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yes, it’s kind of difficult to appreciate a handsome face with all those bruises.” She beamed.

I laughed. I always laughed when she teased me.

 

A few weeks before the incident in the bar, Daphne told me that she had a crush in school.

“Is it me?” I joked. Daphne punched my arm in a friendly manner. “Ow!” I said.

“It’s Lance.” Oh great, she had a crush on one of the best looking guys in school. That guy looked better than me.

“Do you know him?”

“Of course, it’s Lance. The captain of the basketball team.”

“Does he have a girlfriend?”

“Sorry, but I don’t know. But you know what? I can make him notice you.”

“How?” asked my best friend. I touched her hair to fix it. Suddenly, she guessed what I was about to suggest. She smiled excitedly even before I spoke. I smiled, too.

Of course because I’m a guy, I had a little knowledge about girls’ fashion and makeup. So I let the expert to help my best friend in her situation. My gay friend Chris fixed Daphne’s hair and made her up. Then he taught her how to style her hair with a flat iron and a brush, and to use makeup. I bought her beautiful dresses, shoes and accessories. Daphne gasped when she saw the things I bought for her.

“Wow, these are too much!” exclaimed Daphne.

“These stuff will make you feel beautiful,” I said. “Because you are already beautiful. You just don’t know it.” She really looked beautiful when she got dolled up.

Daphne blushed and looked away from me. “Thank you for buying these stuff for me. I appreciate it.” She hugged me.

“Don’t mention it.” I hugged her back.

Since then, Daphne wore natural makeup and nice dresses every time she went to school. Then she made small talks with Lance. Eventually, they got close and their conversations got deep and meaningful. They talked about art, science and life. They exchanged numbers and then texted every night after school. I felt like I suddenly lost my best friend. She got a new best friend.

Daphne and Lance hanged out together in every part of the school. I saw them in the corridors, the canteen, the locker hall, the courtyard, and other places. They looked sweet to each other staring into each other’s eyes, laughing together and holding hands. I let her have beautiful moments with him. I wanted to make her happy all the time. Lance was her crush after all. Who wouldn’t be happy with their crush?

I’d be a fool if I told you I wasn’t sad. No, that wasn’t right. To say I was sad was an understatement. I was down and brokenhearted. But I just busied myself with extracurricular activities like sports and painting just to get her off my mind. I hanged out with my varsity and cheerleader friends (also known as the “popular crowd” as Daphne would call them). So every day it was school, sports, art, and clubbing. It was like a cycle that went on and on. I was surrounded with friends, but my life was empty. I missed Daphne so much.

 

Several months passed. One lazy afternoon, I was playing Playstation at home. The doorbell rang. I paused the game and opened the wood door and the green gate. It was Daphne. She was crying.

We sat in a white sofa in front of a glass table of the living room.

“Why are you crying?” I asked her.

“I saw Lance kissing a girl in a coffee shop.” She was crying heaps. I tried to calm her down, but she kept sobbing.

“Don’t worry, you’ll find a better guy than him.”

I let her cry on my shoulder and hugged her in a friendly manner. She still looked beautiful even when she cried.

“But I don’t want to find a better guy. I just want him.” She complained like a child. But I couldn’t blame her. We were teenagers back then.

“You need to forget about him because obviously he has forgotten about you. He has moved on. Okay?” I almost yelled at her.

She continued crying. “It’s so much easier said than done. What if this were happening to you? Oh, I know it doesn’t happen to you! You never knew what it felt like because you never had problems with girls!”

“That is not true, Daphne.”

“It’s true! Girls chase after you. You have dated them but you never took any one of them seriously.”

“But that’s not the point. My point is you should forget about him no matter how hard it is. You are such a beautiful girl. He is just an ass. He doesn’t deserve you.”

“You were right,” she said in between sobs.

“Look, I have an idea. Let’s go to 7/11.”

We went to 7/11. I bought her lots of ice creams with different flavors. As soon as we got inside my place, we ate them all until we were stuffed.

Daphne was licking a chocolate ice cream. “This is so delicious!” She exclaimed. She finished Cookies and Cream, Banoffee Pie, Blueberry Cheesecake, Capucinno, Mango Graham and Oreo. I ate S’mores and Sea Salt Caramel.

“You are the sweetest guy I know,” she said. She kissed and hugged me in the sofa.

What we did didn’t save the problem Daphne had at the time. She didn’t forget Lance in an instant. But at least, I made her happy for a little while.

 

Fast forward to high school, Daphne and I became lovers. I courted her for almost a year. I drew portraits of her, wrote her poems, and gave her flowers and sweets at her house. Sometimes I would place it inside her locker in school. She had rejected me a lot of times. She said she didn’t want me to be her boyfriend because I was her best friend. But I continued to pursue her until she forgot all about her first love, Lance. When she forgot all about him and got tired of being lonely, she finally said her sweet yes to me. I was the happiest and luckiest lad on earth.

We had so much fun as lovers. We had candlelit dinners in reasonably priced restaurants. We had picnics in our favorite park near our school. We also went to that park at night to gaze at the stars, while holding each other’s hands. We went to the gigs and concerts of our favorite local and international rock bands. We went to museums and libraries. We rode bikes around town. We went to coffee shops and tried delicious coffees and pastries. We played video games together at my place (because I was the only one who had video games at home). We watched movies either at my house or hers, on a couch while cuddling each other. We cooked for each other scrumptious meals (she was a better cook than I am. Her specialty was spaghetti. I loved eating her spaghetti). We went to malls and bought each other gifts. We hiked in mountains. We swam at beautiful beaches. We worked out in a gym at our favorite mall (we went to yoga classes together). We also played badminton in another gym.

When we weren’t outside, she would teach me how to play a guitar in her house and I would teach her how to draw nature and landscapes in my house. We made love a lot of times in my house when my parents were away. I drew her naked. Daphne looked madly beautiful when she’s naked. Her body was delicately slender. Her skin was fair and flawless.

Our relationship was steady even after high school. When we were in college, we still saw each other. We visited each other in our respective universities. My new friends learned that I was dating a pretty girl who wasn’t fashion-conscious like the other girls. But I loved her and I was so proud of her.

I thought things were going out so well between us.

Until one day, she decided to end our relationship.

 

It was a rainy night. We were having a dinner in a nice restaurant. Daphne was wearing a little black dress and a deep red lipstick. She only dressed up when she thought she needed to. Like, on our dates and other occasions. Her skin was glowing and the dress accentuated her shapely figure. She almost looked like one of the models in FHM I fantasized about. She looked smoking hot!

I was eating sushi. She barely touched her food. I asked her what was wrong.

“Nothing,” she said.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. I continued eating my sushi.

“I have something to tell you.”

“Go ahead.”

“I know this is going to be hard for you, as I’ve always been with you almost all your life. But there’s no easy way to say this—”

“Are you breaking up with me?”

“Yes.”

“Why? What did I do wrong? Am I not good enough for you? Am I not making you happy?”

“You did nothing wrong. It’s just that I found someone else who makes me truly happy.”

“Who?”

Daphne looked down at the table. “I don’t need to tell you who it is. It would only make things worse if I told you. I’m sorry.”

Then she left the restaurant. Her plate was unfinished. I didn’t grab her hand and beg her not to leave me, simply because I didn’t want to create a scene in front of many people. I just sat there and cried silently. Like a fool. I didn’t finish my sushi.

 

So after the breakup, I was devastated. But I tried to hide my sadness and loneliness. Whenever I hanged out with my buddies in the bars, I drank tons of vodka until I passed out. But I managed to maintain my athletic figure by working out in the gym. I dated lots of girls, but I never took them seriously. I’ve had flings left and right. Girls wanted me to be their boyfriend, but I couldn’t imagine having a relationship with any of them. I loved Daphne so much. She’s the only person in this planet that could make me happy.

One sunny afternoon while I was walking on the street to buy some school materials in a bookstore near my house, I saw Daphne. She was with an attractive girl. They were holding each other’s hands.

So Daphne was dating a blonde and petite girl whom she called Ash. The bitch replaced me with a femme lesbian.

I tried my best to stay invisible. I tried to ignore them and pretend I didn’t see them. I even wore my shades to somehow hide my face. Or just to hide my sad eyes.

However, Daphne still saw me. She ignored me and pretended like she didn’t know me. Ash kissed Daphne’s lips. My heart sank.

As soon as the cashier gave me the stuff I bought and my change, I left the bookstore.

For several months I dated tons of girls I met online and at parties. I also slept with some of them just to get Daphne off my mind. But when I slept with those girls, I missed Daphne even more.

I missed her lovely scent.

I missed the sound of her laugh.

I missed her gentle hands and the way she touched me.

I missed her sweet smile.

 

I searched these lovely things in every girl I slept with. But none of them got the qualities that Daphne had. None of those girls were as enchanting as my beloved girlfriend, Daphne Reyes. I wanted no other girl but her.

 

Daphne was the only person I talked to when I had problems or situations made me sad. Like when my Beagle, whom I named after the famous cartoon dog Snoopy, died of old age. I was just in grade school that time. Snoopy was one of my best buddies. He was always with me when I jogged in my neighborhood every morning. He was very smart and learned tricks easily. When I was sad, he comforted me by licking my feet. I missed him so badly. Days after he died, I cried and cried silently in my bed. When I buried Snoopy in a pet cemetery, Daphne kissed and hugged me and said, “Don’t be so sad for Snoopy. He is in heaven.” Corny as it sounds but it made me feel a bit better.

But when Daphne and I broke up, I could no longer talk to her. So instead, I talked to Christian. We were in a pub drinking alcohol. He was drinking absinthe, I was drinking vodka.

“Yo, Alex!” he said.

“Yo Christian!” I said.

“How you doin?'”

“I feel great.”

“I see that.”

“So do you have a girlfriend?” he asked me.

“No,” I told him.

“Oh, come on! Chicks dig you a lot.”

“I know, but I still love Daphne.”

“Oh, bro. You should move on. No offense but she has forgotten about you. She even replaced you with a chick.” He laughed.

“Yeah, I know you’d tell me that. But the truth is I want to get her back.”

“That’s impossible, bro. She doesn’t want to be with you anymore. For Christ’s sake she has a girlfriend!” he reiterated. “And she’s very much in love with her!”

I was silent for a few minutes.

Christian changed the topic. “Listen, Alex. I haven’t told you about this yet. The reason I agreed to meet up with you tonight is because I want you to know something.”

“Yes, what is it?”

“Me and my family will be going to Japan. We will stay there for good.”

“Wow, that’s great bro!”

“So I’ll be having a despedida party (farewell party) at my house this coming Saturday night because we’ll be flying next Monday.”

“Wow, that’s so sudden!”

“Yeah, I know. Sorry for the super short notice. You know, we both have been busy for a long, long time.”

“It’s alright. I understand.”

“So I’m inviting you and Daphne to come to my party. I want all my friends to be there. Sounds okay to you?”

“Yeah, sure. I’ll text Daphne.”

“Thanks, bro.”

 

Saturday night arrived. It was Christian’s despedida party in one of his houses in Bacoor, Cavite. It took me an hour and a few minutes to go there. His house was big and white, with a front yard that had flowers and trees. His Ford was parked in an open garage in front of the house. Christian opened the black gate and let me in.

The party was held in the backyard which had a guitar-shaped pool. Christian invited 10 people. All of them were our friends in high school. I spotted Kathryn and Julio. I asked them were Daphne was.

“She’ll be here in a bit. Na-traffic lang. (She was just stuck in traffic),” said Kathryn.

30 minutes later, Daphne came.

Daphne looked so beautiful that night. She was in a red dress and red heels. Her hair was down. It was long and wavy, like the waves of a beach in summer. On her neck was a silver heart necklace. She smiled at everyone, including me. Her smile was enchanting.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hello,” she said.

“Where’s your girlfriend?” Christian butted in. “Why didn’t you bring her with you?”

“She’s studying for her final exam in calculus,” she said.

“Ah,” said Christian. “Too bad she’ll miss out on all the fun.”

Christian invited all of us for dinner. Those people who were swimming in his fancy guitar-shaped pool stopped to join us. We ate pizza, spaghetti, fried chicken, lechon baboypancit palabok, shrimp paella, Sansrival cake and Mango Graham cake. We drank coke, Four Seasons and mango juices.

While we were dining, we talked about our wonderful and funny memories in high school, what we were up to now that we’re in college and our plans after we graduate. Most of us will be working in the office, while some will study postgraduate courses. One guy is cooler than the rest of us. His name is Joe. He is a singer in a rock band who actually has a record deal.

Later at midnight we sang over the videoke machine and drank bottles of San Mig Light and Red Horse beers. I didn’t drink much because I had to drive. Some guys played billiards in the balcony.

After the party, Daphne asked me if I could give her a ride home. Of course, I agreed to give her a ride. We said goodbye to Christian and wished him luck. “Ingat ka lagi haMami-miss ka namin (Take care always. We will miss you),” I told my dear friend.

Oo nga (Yes we will),” said Daphne.

“You can visit me there, if you have time,” said Christian.

We hugged him.

I opened the door of my car for Daphne and let her in first. Then I went inside the car.

“Daphne, is it okay if we go to my place?” I asked her. “I just want to talk to you.”

“Sure,” she replied.

We drove to my house.

 

We were inside my bedroom. It was pitch-dark. I turned on the light.

“What do you want to talk about?” asked Daphne.

“Nothing,” I said. “I just want to be with you tonight.”

She smiled. Her smile was brighter than my light.

“It’s been a long time since we talked,” I said.

“Yeah, it is,” she said. “Can I borrow your guitar? I want to play you a song.”

“Sure.”

She picked up my blue guitar and played a song she wrote herself.

Her voice was ethereal. The melody of the song was sad. The words were dark.

She was ravishingly beautiful and sexy when she sang the song. In that moment I wanted to take off her dress, lay her down the bed and make love to her with all my love, passion and manly strength.

“That song is really beautiful. What’s the title?”

“It’s called ‘The Dark Side of Betrayal.’ It’s about a girl who was betrayed by her friend whom she trusted all her life. It’s called ‘The Dark Side of Betrayal’ because when someone gets betrayed, he or she blames him or herself, instead of blaming the traitor. The girl in my song hides herself in the shadows of shame and never comes out of it and forgives herself for trusting that person.

I began kissing Daphne on the lips. She kissed me back. We kissed passionately for a long time.

But then she stopped and said, “This is wrong. We shouldn’t do this.”

“No, this feels right,” I continued kissing her. But she pushed me gently.

“I have a girlfriend and I love her,” she said. I slapped her right cheek. She opened her mouth in shock.

I kissed her neck and shoulders. She kept saying “no” while I was kissing her.

Then I took off her dress, her bra and underwear. She whimpered as I took them off.

She pushed and kicked me hard. I fell from the bed.

She got out of the bed and ran at the door to open it.

I ran faster, went in front of it and blocked her. Then I closed the door.

She was about to kick me but I punched her stomach. She grunted in pain. I punched her head. She got unconscious.

She was about to fall.

I carried her and then pinned her down the bed. I kissed her breasts and licked her pink nipples. Then I let my tongue travel down her stomach, towards her cunt.

Then I opened her legs and entered her.

I indulged in her fair and slender body. I took pleasure in her feminine scent, her softness, and wetness for a long while.

Afterwards, I slept beside her. She was still unconscious.

The next morning, I woke up and she was gone.

On Monday, I went to school pretending like nothing happened. But deep down, I worried that Daphne’s parents would soon learn about what I did to her and come to my house and confront me. Or that one day the police would arrest me in my house. But that did not happen.

 

Two weeks later, Daphne’s mom phoned me. She was crying hard.

“What’s wrong?” I asked her. Oh no. Maybe she learned what I did to her daughter, I thought. I tried to act innocent. It was easier to do that since I was not face-to-face with her mother.

“Daphne killed herself!” She cried harder.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

 

A few days later, I went to Daphne’s wake and funeral in Las Pinas. Her family, friends, her attractive girlfriend, and her relatives came. They all cried hard for her. Daphne had touched their lives. She treated everyone well. She was an angel on earth.

During the funeral service, a mass was held. The priest told us about our temporary life here on earth and the eternal life that awaits us. He said that after we die, we either go to heaven or hell. God is waiting for us in heaven where we will experience eternal happiness if we are good. But if we are bad, Satan is waiting for us in hell where we will experience the fires of eternal damnation. Our purpose here on earth is to serve the Lord and do good things. If we want to enter heaven – of course all of us want to – we should always praise the Lord, keep our faith in Him, do good things to everyone, renounce Satan and avoid his temptations, and ask for forgiveness from God when we commit sins.

Then the priest said a short prayer.  We bowed down our heads to pray. Later on we said our eulogies.

The priest told us to pour a bottle of holy water in her coffin. Each of us poured the bottle of holy water in her coffin. Daphne looked eerily beautiful in her death. Cliché as it sounds, she looked like an angel.

When it was my turn to pour it in her coffin, I muttered under my breath, “I’m sorry.”

For a fleeting moment, she opened her eyes. I blinked, unsure that it really happened. But her eyes remained closed. She was sleeping like a baby in her coffin.

A few minutes later we buried her six feet under. It rained hard. The sky was crying with us. The people around me opened their umbrellas and they went straight to their cars to go home or somewhere else.

I wore my black hood; my hands were in my pockets. I walked into my car and drove to my house.

I went straight to my bed and thought about what I did to Daphne.

So my best friend and the love of my life killed herself with a knife. She blamed herself after I raped her. Like the girl from her song, she blamed herself for trusting me that night. It was I who drove her to commit suicide.

 

A month after her death passed. Daphne made sure that I felt her presence wherever I went. When she was alive, I chased her. But now that she’s dead, she chased me instead. To be precise, she haunted me.

Usually, a draft entered my house even though the windows were closed. Sometimes windows and doors opened and closed by themselves. Lights flickered at night. My room got cold even though the air conditioner was turned off. When I looked at my reflection in the mirror, my face had blood all over it and a knife was pointed at my neck. I guess that’s what Daphne wanted to do to me if only she had the guts to do it. She wanted to kill me.

I saw her face on the walls, doors and cabinets. She frowned, cried and screamed. But I ignored her hauntings. I told myself that it’s all in the mind.

At midnights, I would hear her strumming the chords of her song “The Dark Side of Betrayal” in my guitar. She sang it quietly. Her voice was like the wind that passed swiftly. It was soft and serene. I could barely hear the words. The next moment, she sang it loudly. It was full of pain and hatred. I could hear the words clearly.

One afternoon I made love to one of my flings Ellen in my room, I saw Daphne’s face instead of Ellen’s. I screamed and pushed Ellen away from me. Daphne’s face disappeared. It was Ellen’s face again.

Startled and disgusted, Ellen said, “Freak!” Then she left me.

When I showered in my bathroom, droplets of blood came from the showerhead instead of clear water.  Since then, I didn’t shower for days.

One chilly night while I was sleeping Daphne appeared in my dream. She was in a red dress and her skin was pale. She was hanging in the air.

“Hi, Alex,” she greeted me.

“Daphne,” I said curtly. Then I asked her, “Why do you keep scaring the shit out of me?”

She laughed a mirthless laugh.

“Have you forgotten what you did to me in this room?” she said. Her face was distorted in anger.

“I’m sorry.”

“Sorry is not enough! How could you do that to me? You were my best friend!”

I didn’t reply.

“What you did to me was cruel and abominable. I suffered in hell because of what you did. That’s the reason why I haunt you. I want to make your life a living hell!”

“What is it that you want me to do so you will stop haunting me? So you’ll be at peace? I’ll do anything you asked me to.”

“Confess to the police about your crime against me. That’s the only way I’ll forgive you and end your suffering.”

Then she was gone. I woke up.

 

The morning after, I went to the police station of my city and told the police that I raped Daphne Reyes, my beloved best friend and the love of my life. I did it because I loved her madly, passionately and dangerously to the point of committing a detestable crime against her. I betrayed my best friend. And she killed herself because of it.

At first I thought the police officers would arrest me and send me to jail right away. But of course, they investigated the matter and searched for evidence. When the police gained knowledge that would lead a reasonable person to believe that I committed rape against Daphne, they arrested me and sent me to jail.

As of this writing, I am in jail. I had nothing to do here, so I wrote this story. It’s a true story. Although some of you would think that I’m crazy for believing that Daphne really haunted me. You’re probably thinking that I just imagined it or that I made this up. But to be honest, I don’t care what you think.

Now I’m waiting for my hearing, which has been set next week. In this country, justice is slow. The judge has to decide my case yet.

But at least I did my part. Daphne will get the justice she greatly deserves.

Finally, her soul will rest in peace.

-Alexander Morales

Manila, February 21, 2010

Die Beautiful

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I was so excited to watch Die Beautiful. It was my first time to watch an indie film in a movie theater (I have already seen tons of indie films at home and also in school). When I watched this film with one of my best friends, I felt like I have unlocked an achievement! Hehe. 😀

Usually, the Metro Manila Film Festival shows hackneyed mainstream movies during Christmas season. But this time, it was different because they showed avant-garde films that were beautifully crafted from the heart and will make us contemplate about the important things in life. They’re not the usual films that were made purely for profit and cheap thrills. These are the types of films which show not only the talents of Filipino movie makers and actors, but also events in real life that we hesitate or rarely talk about. These films show us the real world.

To be honest, before I watched this movie, all I know about gay people is that they are flamboyant and they love fashion and make people laugh. But there’s more to them than meets the eye.

Die Beautiful is a comedy and drama film directed by Jun Robles Lana. It revolves around a transgender woman, Trisha (formerly known as Patrick), who dreams to be a beauty queen someday. She wins the biggest title from one of the prestigious gay beauty pageants in the country. But a few minutes after she is crowned, she faints and dies. It’s later found out that the cause of her death is brain aneurysm.

Before Trisha’s death, she told her best friend Barbs (Christian Bables) that when she dies, she wants to be beautiful. She also told Barbs to turn her into different female celebrities. Using her makeup skills, Barbs fulfills her best friend’s wish.

The film flashbacks on the good and bad times she had and her hardships as a transgender woman: the discrimination she got from people, especially from her dad (who should have supported, or at least understood and loved her, but instead kicked her out of the house.) The film also takes us to the darkest point in her life.  That scene made me shed tears.

Die Beautiful is the most beautiful Filipino movie I have ever watched. The plot is simple yet compelling and thought-provoking. It doesn’t have mind-blowing special effects or gory scenes.  What it has is a fresh concept, an interesting story, great actors (the actors are not “OA,” they speak and act like regular people do. Which is why I prefer indie films over mainstream ones), and a brilliant screenplay.

I believe that everyone should watch this movie, especially the homophobic people. Because it might change their opinion about gay people (it has changed mine).

What I liked about the film:

  • We all know that Paolo Ballesteros and Christian Bables are undeniably talented actors. But I was surprised to know that Albie Casino can act, too. Aside from that, his washboard abs caught my eye. Hehe. The role of a typical annoying (and heartless) jock fits him.
  • We’re used to see Gladys Reyes portraying a matapbore villain in teleseryes. But in this movie, you will see a “new” Gladys Reyes. She portrays the role of a compassionate ate. 
  • Joel Torre has always been one of the most convincing actors. He never ceases to amaze everyone with his spectacular performance. He frightens me each time he scolds and yells at his son Patrick.
  • The makeup transformations of Paolo Ballesteros are exquisite and impressive!
  • The jokes are really funny in an inoffensive way.

My favorite dialogue (non-verbatim):

Trisha: Anong alam mo sa pagmamahal?

Young Shirley Mae: Wala pa po. Pero ang alam ko yung pagmamahal mo sa akin (ang pagmamahal ng isang ina sa isang anak). Sana ganyan din ang pagmamahal sa iyo ng lalaking mamahalin mo.

#Feels

New Zealand- a magical, beautiful country

Last month I went to New Zealand. I was awed by the beauty of this country. It is full of picturesque sceneries. The moment I stepped outside the house, I was greeted by nature. There are many gorgeous tourist spots. No wonder tons of famous films (such as The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia) were shot in this country.

If you love nature and adventure, you’ll definitely love New Zealand. I did a few things which I’ve never done before – like collecting cockles and hiking. I really enjoyed hiking. It’s my new favorite physical activity. My legs were tired, but it was worth it.

New Zealand is known for having a clean and healthy environment. The air is very clean. That’s why it’s adored by many tourists. The Kiwis were friendly. Strangers would greet me each time I passed the streets. Even cashiers in shops and restaurants said hello to the customers. Of course, I greeted them back. It is customary to greet everyone in this country.

My favorite places:

  1. Rotorua- where the Pohutu Geyser is located. You can also see some mud pools which reminded me the video game of Aladdin on Family Computer.
  2. Cathedral Cove- the place where I hiked. It is one of the places where Narnia was shot. It is magnificent.
  3. Hobbiton Movie Set (also known as “The Shire.”)- this would have been first on my list if only it did not rain heavily that I had to hold my umbrella tightly while taking photos of this magical place (I rested the handle of my huge green umbrella on my shoulder while holding it firmly with my neck.)

Here are some of my photos in New Zealand.

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Hamilton Garden
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Crimson roses. Every goth girl’s delight.

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Vision of Sunset.

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Gannet Colony

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Just enjoying the beach.

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Peacocks.

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Gollum

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The Shire

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Honey jars

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My favorite spot in Hobbiton.
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A mug of apple cider.
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Basang basa sa ulan. My unflattering picture.

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Oh yeah, Baron Geyser! #feelingbadass
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Black swans and gannets
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Mudpool. Something you will see in most video games.
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Pumutok siya!
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I’m eating a gluten free friand in a cafe. #healthyeating
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My sis said I look like our mom in this photo. 🙂
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Swingin’ in the backyard. #LanaDelReylyrics
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You probably saw this dreamy place in a movie. 🙂
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Just a selfie in Cathedral Cove.
waterfalls
Don’t go chasing waterfalls.
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The summit of Mt. Maunganui.
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Selfie in the mountain.
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Overlooking the city from the top of the Mt. Maunganui.

magnolias

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Eastern Beach
blue-spring
Blue Spring.

The Other Side of Midnight (a book review)

“It’s interesting how the things that other people do seem so horrible, and yet when you’re doing them they seem so right.” -Sidney Sheldon, The Other Side of Midnight

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The front cover of the book.

It took me about 21 days to finish reading this masterpiece because I was busy digesting cases and studying for graded recitations and a final exam. I only read one chapter a day – except when I reached chapter 17. The book got a lot more interesting from that point on so I finished the last 7 chapters one lazy, sunny day.

I don’t want to spoil the book for the people who haven’t read it yet. So I’ll just give you a quick synopsis about it.

The Other Side of Midnight revolves around two young women: Catherine Douglas and Noelle Page. Catherine is a beautiful, smart and successful career woman who always puts others before herself and admires and loves the people who are close to her – especially her handsome husband Larry Douglas.

On the other hand, Noelle Page is a drop-dead gorgeous film star who is also successful like Catherine. Except Noelle is vindictive and has a heart that is as dark, wicked and ruthless as her past. She is also in love with Larry Douglas. But her love for him is tainted with revenge. She wants to destroy Larry’s life because he broke her heart when she was a young, innocent penniless girl.  Will she succeed with her plan to destroy Larry Douglas’ life with the help of her new lover – the rich, famous and powerful Constantin Demiris? Or will she forget about her revenge when she sees Larry Douglas again and fall in love with him the second time around?

To be honest, it’s the first time I rooted for a villain in a Sidney Sheldon novel. Noelle Page is downright irresistible (I have a weakness for insanely beautiful people and I have to admit I envy them) and interesting. Noelle Page is vindictive and she will stop at nothing to get her revenge. She reminds me of the badass person I secretly want to be. But of course, I know that revenge only looks good in fiction but not in reality.

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In my mind, Noelle Page looks like Audrey Hepburn. I want Noelle Page to look so pretty and innocent despite having an ugly soul. But we all know that Audrey Hepburn was a beautiful person inside and out.
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This was Marie-France Pisier, the actress who portrayed Noelle Page in the film adaptation of The Other Side of Midnight. Not bad.

I never appreciated Catherine. Because while she is beautiful, smart and nice (like Betty from the Archie Comics), she was a desperately love-struck teenage girl who turns into a painfully boring housewife. But in the remaining chapters of this novel, when the twists and turns kick in, I began to loathe Noelle Page and the love of her life.

I enjoyed reading this book because it is set in two exciting countries: Greece and France. I’ve always wanted to go to Paris ever since I was a young girl. I want to visit the famous Eiffel Tower someday. But when this book painted an exquisite picture of the Valley of Butterflies, I realized that I also want to go to Greece – because I love butterflies!

Most parts of this book happen during the Nazi occupation, so it (the book) is a treat for history buffs. The Other Side of Midnight is a novel about love, sex and revenge. I recommend this to people who love suspense.

Dutdutan 2016

“Tattoos have a power and magic all their own. They decorate the body but they also enhance the soul.” ― Michelle Delio

2016-Dutdutan-Tattoo-Convention-min

On August 13, 2016, my friends and I attended the second day of Dutdutan Tattoo Convention (we didn’t make it on the first day due to our conflicting schedules). Dutdutan is a yearly event for people who love tattoos and enjoy rock music. It’s held in World Trade Center, Pasay City. It’s all our first time to go to this event.

Dutdutan did not meet my expectations. In fact, it exceeded my expectations. I didn’t know I would enjoy it so much. This festival was so fun and the crowd was so wild! Valley of Chrome, Butcher Babies, Wilabaliw, Greyhoundz and some other bands rocked the stage. Baron Geisler sang with Mayonnaise. The actor made us laugh with his improvised lyrics and ad libs. Epy Quizon and his co-hosts also cracked funny, dirty jokes.

One of my favorite parts of this event was a tattoo competition in which models showed off their beautiful tattoos done by the best tattooists vying for trophies.

My friends and I took selfies and group pictures. Included in some of our photos are the well-known actor Baron Geisler and my tattoo artist friend Marlon Capuno (who happens to be one of the judges in the tattoo competition).

We had a blast! This was one of the best nights of my life!

None of us got inked there, though. Personally, I prefer setting an appointment with my tattoo artist first before getting a tattoo. It’s not my style to get a tattoo without thinking about it first. One of my friends said she would want to get a tattoo someday. I’ll look forward to it.

 

Love is dead.

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My love is dead because of the terrible and foolish mistake I have made.
It struck his heart like a flaming arrow would strike
A faithful soldier in the middle of a dreadful war.
It killed him – it burned his heart and soul.
Now I am weeping for the pain and damage I caused.
I am inconsolable these days.
I keep blaming myself and despising the whole world.
I hate God and the sun for waking me up.
Oh, Lord! Why won’t You take my pain away and kill me instead?!
I do not have a reason to live for he is forever gone.
My terrible and foolish mistake will never be forgiven.
My conscience keeps knocking on my head.
The ghost of our past will always haunt my dreams.
The memories of happiness, joy and love come back to my mind.
But sorrow, grief and eternal heartache visit my soul’s home.
My lonely heart still beats, the air I breathe is still fresh.
I am alive like a zombie, but my life is dead and dreary.
This is his silent revenge to the weak and powerless  me.
(Written March 9, 2013)

Just a quick rant.

 

world is hard enough.gif

Earlier this day, because I was taking a break from all the school work, I read Haruki Murakami’s The Strange Library. To be honest, I didn’t like it. Not because it was bad. It’s beautifully written. But it’s depressing. I was nearly bawling my eyes out. I won’t go into the details of the book because I don’t want to spoil it to those who want to read it. But let me tell you a little something about the book.

The Strange Library revolves around a boy who returns a book to a library. The boy meets an old man who forces him to stay inside the library. The boy begs the old man to let him out because his mom will be worried sick if he doesn’t go home on time and his pet starling will starve if he doesn’t feed it. I was immersed into the inexplicably weird world of the library. In the library, the boy meets a sheep man and a beautiful girl.

At first it was a good read. The adventures of the boy in the strange library are fun, dark and scary like a Tim Burton movie. I was enjoying the book until the ending ruined it.

Oh God, I hate the ending. I cursed the last page for shredding my heart into pieces.

After two hours of reading (I’m a slow reader and the book is relatively short), I felt the urge to throw that book outside my window and yell, “Stupid f*cking book!!!!” ala Pat Solitano, Jr. of the Silver Linings Playbook. That’s how I hate The Strange Library. Thank God, I was able to control my anger (or else my neighbors will get mad at me if I scream at the top of my lungs to vent out my frustration). That’s why I ended up writing this rant.