Fall for Grace by Anne Plaza
Mabuti na lang at hindi nila kailangang mag-usap habang naglalakad. Mas kailangan nilang pagtuunan ng pansin na hindi masyadong mabasa ng ulan habang sinisigurong hindi liliparin ng hangin ang payong. Sa kahabaan ng kanilang paglalakad ay walang ibang nasa isip si Grace kundi ang pagkakalapit nilang dalawa. Hindi siya gaanong nilamig dahil na rin dito. Kung ganoon lang sana kadali patahanin ang dagundong ng kaniyang dibdib.
Ni minsan ay hindi pa siya pinakitaan ng kagandahang-loob ni Jason. Hindi rin naman niya sinasabi na hindi ito mabait; hindi lang ito naging mabait sa kaniya. Kaya nga medyo hirap siyang intindihin ang mga pangyayari, lalo na ang mga bagong nararamdaman niya sa mga sandaling iyon.
Gaya nga ng sabi nito, hindi malayo ang lakarin. Pag-angat niya ng tingin ay napansin niyang ilang dipa na lang sila mula sa waiting shed. Mabilis nilang tinungo iyon. Nang naroon na ay pinakawalan na siya ni Jason at nanumbalik na siya sa kaniyang katinuan.
“May Bus 5 na dumadaan dito. ‘Di ba malapit na yun sa inyo?” Pinapagpag ni Jason ang payong.
“Oo, pero lalakad pa ako nang kaunti.”
Tamang-tama, naaninag na nila ang ilaw ng paparating na sasakyan. Walang jeep o tricycle sa lugar at serviced vans lang ang nakakaraan doon dahil isang exclusive property ang buong compound ng Luna East pati ang dating subdivision na tinirhan ng pamilya Almeda.
“Heto.” Iniabot ni Jason ang payong sa kaniya. Napatitig lang siya dito na para bang nagsalita ito ng ibang lengguwahe. “Sabi mo maglalakad ka pa papunta sa inyo. Kakailanganin mo ‘yan.”
Nagkibit-balikat ito. “Hindi naman ako mamamatay kung maulanan ako. ‘Tsaka dadaanan ng bus ‘yung bahay ko.”
Hindi na ito nagpatumpik-tumpik at inilagay ang payong sa mga kamay niya. “Ayan na ang bus. Sige na, nang makauwi ka na. Baka hinahanap ka na sa inyo.”
Tumigil ang coaster sa tapat ng shed at sumakay na siya.
Tiyempong may bakante sa tabi ng bintana kaya doon siya naupo. Kinawayan niya si Jason nang umarangkada ang sasakyan.
Kumaway din ito sa kaniya, sabay kindat.
Just the Way You Are by Kat Sales
Homeroom was Erica Valdez’s favorite time of the day. It allowed her to review the assignments she had due for the day, and if there were none, she could read a little of whatever book she had going on at the moment.
Her friends teased her a lot about it, but they knew her well so she didn’t mind. They benefited from it anyway, as Rica would look over their homework too.
The class adviser, Mr. Suarez, was early today. He was sitting at his desk when the students started coming in. It meant something, that was for sure. He never came early. He was always just on time.
When the clock hit 8:00, Mr. Suarez stood up and looked over the students, as if quietly doing a headcount. Once he was done, he started on the roll call. No one was late, for once, and no absent students either. The young teacher grinned, and half of the girls in the class sighed.
“Great to see you all. I hope you had a good weekend. We’ve got a couple of announcements that you might like.” He reached back on the desk and picked up a sheaf of papers. “Ok, first, your quarterly exams will be on February 3 to 7. Your teachers will hand out pointers for review within the week.”
The class groaned, and Rica couldn’t help but grin at that. No one liked quarterly exams, even she who was a pretty ok student.
Mr. Suarez looked over the paper he held in his hands again and read out the other announcements. He answered the questions the students had. Around thirty minutes later, he checked the clock. “That’s it.” He looked at the paper again. “Oh, I almost forgot. The junior-senior prom will be on Friday, February 14.”
Love in the Time of Viral Videos by R. Linea
I – Hurley. Chen. Karim.
Are YOU ready to be famous? This is 15 Seconds of Fame! The show where we give everyone a chance for worldwide popularity and then be forgotten to obscurity. Like all you viewers know, we’re always on the lookout for either the next Ellen DeGeneres discovery or the next evening news exposé. Because here in Fame, fifteen seconds you’re in and the next fifteen, you’re out!
Grab your popcorn my lovely viewers and get your bandwidth ready for a slew of videos that’s worth your miniscule attention. Right off the bat, we’re serving you the nth version of Let It Go sung by an unknown Filipino! And he not only sings it perfectly, he does it without his shirt on, right in the middle of EDSA traffic! Talk about grit! Oh yes, two things Filipinos are infamous for, traffic inefficiency and hitting the high notes, together in just one video! Could he be the next Oprah protégé? Will his face launch the next thousand memes? Only time could tell!
And by time, I mean your fifteen seconds is up, Mr. Half-naked Elsa. We now move on to the sequel of one of the forefathers of viral videos. I present to you, Charlie Bit My Finger Part Toe! Awww…look guys. Charlie’s biting his brother’s toes this time. He’s so cute with his googley eyes…as he tears the entire toe off! Oh my freakin’ G! Oh, I can’t watch this. Too much blood! I’m blacking out! I’m blacking out! Oh this isn’t good. Why does their mom just keep on taking the video? Can somebody please hand over my barf bag? Somebody please report this video immediately! Take it down!
The First Time They Met by Ana Valenzuela
“Can I ask you for something?”
“Sure, anything,” Micah was standing now, on her left, his back on the tree.
“Could we wait for the sunrise?”
He looked down on her as he nodded.
“It’s a photographic cliché, sunrise and sunset,” she said. “For me, the sun rising actually isn’t. It’s a different experience when you see the sun wake up instead of it seeing you get out of bed like everybody else. It’s the start of a new day, and that’s what makes it beautiful.”
“The first day,” he sounded like he just laughed. He folded his knees as he sat next to her. “I’ll wait with you.”
Butterflies flew inside Mayumi’s stomach as she stammered, “great play, by the way.”
The Path of Us by Cassandra Javier
“I’m sorry, okay? But Clara, you’ll do great. You’ll do amazing things because that’s who you are. You’ll manage out there because this is what you’ve always wanted, right?”
He went on, “And you know what’s even better?”
She looked at him and waited for what he had to say next.
“You’ll finally be able to get away with Pink or Purple streaks on your hair or whatever.”
She found herself laughing despite of herself. “Without you ratting me out?”
“It depends.” He quipped, smiling. “I might see you in college.”
“Oh god no.”
They laughed. “See? You look so much better when you smile.”
“I still hate you.”
He laughed. “If you say so.”
She didn’t know what came to her mind right at that moment but she found herself inching towards him. In a span of seconds, she was planting a kiss on his lips. It didn’t last long—just a few seconds or so, and she wanted to bask in that moment, feel the butterflies in her stomach, the warmth of the air, the romance that the light of the fireflies gave, but she remembered that a) she had a boyfriend, and b) she hated Andrew—this shouldn’t be happening.
“I’m sorry.” She said. “I shouldn’t have—“
Please.” She said with finality. “I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.”
She then ran away, leaving him and High School behind.
When Cocoy Became Kikay by C.P. Santi
“Since when did you start having a lablab, Coy?” Dags lifted a brow.
So much for keeping secrets. “So I like someone. Big deal.”
“Is… is it a guy or a girl?” Paulo asked tentatively.
I turned incredulous eyes toward him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Dude, whichever way you roll . . .” Dags shrugged.
Oh, c’mon. True, I was a T-shirt-and-jeans kind of girl and I hung out with guys, but that didn’t automatically translate to such gender assumptions. Sure, I loathed boy bands. And I loved basketball, camping, and shooting more than the average girl should. Living with my dad hadn’t exactly encouraged girly pursuits. But still.
I sighed. “Dude, if I were gay, I’d tell you. But I’m not.”
“So, who is it? You have to tell us,” Paulo protested. He stood to tower over me, arms crossed over his chest.
“Aw, Coy, aren’t we friends?” Dags cajoled as he strummed the first notes of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.”
I sighed. Paulo, Dags, Joel, and I had been friends for years. The four of us were the only ones crazy enough to take up a dare issued by our neighborhood playmates—to see if a manananggal indeed left the lower part of its body at the abandoned Siangco house on Lilac Street.
Over the years, our friendship had been further cemented by bruises and scraped knees, basketball games, camping trips, fish balls, turon, and buko pandan royale, day-long village-hopping bicycle trips, and innumerable fries and Coke floats.
I never kept secrets from them. Usually.
“So who is it?” Paulo asked again.
Fine. I cleared my throat. “It’s… it’s Jaime.”
I counted five seconds of absolute silence.
Dags frowned. “Jaime?”
“Jaime Arguelles?” Paulo bent over, laughing. “Cocoy, you are so predictable!”