A Portrait of Jade by Justine Camacho-Tajonera
“I’m the semiprecious stone in the family,” Jade thought as he climbed up into the bus. She was still affected by the car ride conversation she’d had with her dad, who had interrogated her on the courses she planned to take when she went to college.
“Dad, I don’t know, okay?” She looked straight ahead.
“Jade, why didn’t you start thinking about this earlier? Ruby was gunning for business management as early as her junior year of high school.”
“I’m not Ruby.”
“I know. We’ve been over that. But it wouldn’t hurt you to prepare for college early, right?”
By that point, Jade had already zoned out. Any mention of Ruby tended to make her hear white noise.
She adjusted her black-rimmed glasses as she looked for a good seat. It looked like she was the first one on the bus. That was because her dad liked to over prepare. It was a good thing, really. She decided to move to the back of the bus. That way, she could observe everyone coming in without being conspicuous. Or she could just ignore them. She was good at that. She chose a spot by the window. She was looking forward to enjoying the view. She settled into her seat and took out her headphones and portable neck pillow. She had a whole playlist picked out. She was ready to chill out and get some snooze time, especially because she’d woken up so early.
Loving You All My Life by Rafael P. Pascual
Philippine Institute of the Arts, Entertainment & Culture
February 16, 2000
Hay, salamat! Natapos din ang isang linggon pagsusunog ng kilay. Kakatapos lang ng examination week at kaming lahat ay nabunutan ng tinik sa dibdib.
Pa’no ba naman: ang hirap na nga ng pagre-review, masyado pang mahigpit ang mga propesor – na pati ang pakikinig ng radio sa cellphone ay ipinagbawal din nila! Para naming walang tiwala ang mga propesor sa aming mga estudyante sa PHINAREC. Sabagay, prestihiyosong paaralan iyan para sa mga nagnanais pumasok sa media at showbiz, kaya gayan sila kahigpit.
Anyway, my name is Dana – Danielle Natasha Lastimosa. Anak ako ng isang retiradong inhinyero at ng isang dating government employee na napunta sa pagtitinda ng sigarilyo at kendi sa NAIA. At kung ang iniisip n’yo ay mahirap ang pamilya naming, tama po kayo.
Mahirap ang pamilya naming, kaya dumating ang panahong kailangan ko nang magtrabaho para matulungan ang aking mga magulang.
Kaya lang naman ako nakapag-aral sa PHINAREC ay dahil may nakapansin sa talent ko. Siya lang naman si Mr. Art Paglinawan, ang pinakasikat na newscaster sa kasalukuyang panahon. Simula kasi nang Manalo ako sa News Reading Competition ng FBN, at nang Makita niya ang sitwasyon ng pamilya naming, tinulungan niya ako sa pag-aaral ko dito – sponsored niya ang mass communication scholarship program ng PHINAREC.
Never Too Late by Jen C. Suguitan
Chapter 1: 8:03 AM, Manila to Corregidor
[4:30 AM:] Wake up!!! 7am sharp @Soleil Tours terminal! DON’T BE LATE THIS TIME!!!
[6:45 AM:] I am almost there. Where are you? Why aren’t you answering my calls?!?!
[7:01 AM:] YOU ARE LATE!! Where are you, Cass?
[7:15 AM:] Called Daisy, she isn’t picking up. Where are you, Cass?!
[7:16 AM:] I’m calling mom. You are soooo screwed.
[7:18 AM:] Ferry’s leaving at 8. Where the hell ARE YOUUUU?!
[7:21 AM:] This isn’t funny. You can’t make the ferry WAIT for YOU.
[7:36 AM:] Okay, talked to the tour staff, we’re leaving EXACTLY at 8. Where are you?
[7:48 AM:] Acknowledging that you got my messages would be NICE, Cass.
[7:53 AM:] This is why mom and dad never should’ve trusted you.
[7:57 AM:] Three minutes. Corregidor will still be fun without you. #sorrynotsorry
I scrolled past my sister’s other pesky messages as I handed my ticket stub to the woman behind the check-in counter. I only replied to Anj, my sister, once and that was to tell her that I was five minutes away from the terminal. Knowing Anj, I’d probably get a lecture for not checking my phone’s battery level before leaving. But it was Anj’s constant nagging that distracted me before from my preparations for the trip. Besides, my phone wouldn’t die on me if she hadn’t called me twelve times in a span of twenty minutes.
Second Sight to Forever by Racquel Sarah A. Castro
At the first week of January, the Salazar family went back from Hong Kong. While unpacking, Daniel took a deep breath before uttering a word to Martha. He admitted who the spy was.
“What?” Martha displayed dismay on her husband. “What are you thinking? Is that why you are so generous to Sasha? You have done something so bad, honey. She will feel betrayed.”
“I know, I know . . .” Daniel sighed while Martha walked out on him.
RTM – First Day of School after the Christmas vacation
“I heard that mom already know who Dad’s spy is.” Sasha talked to Joshua.
“I have something to tell you . . .” Joshua got so neurotic that she assumed he was the spy.
“You are the spy!” She slapped him and walked away.
Joshua whispered, “I just want to say I love you.” He wept and thought he wouldn’t have a chance to say what he felt for her.
From that day, he spent RTM alone. Being without the other half of the SJ Duo was the hardest thing for him. He tried to focus on his studies so that he could have a chance to be the class valedictorian.
Joshua tried to reach out to Sasha but she ignored his text messages. Week 2, Ryan invited Joshua to join them for the quarterly study group session but he refused.
Sasha talked to him to return the toy ring and the bracelet. She focused her time studying at the rooftop away from Joshua. Joshua was on the other side and just loved in a distance.
After the Moment by Six de los Reyes
This just in: the world is about to end, and aliens have colonized human hosts.
Or maybe not, but it seems like a plausible explanation for the recent turn of events. Otherwise, how else am I supposed to justify kissing Kristoffer Li under the moonlight?
To fully appreciate the insanity of this, you must first understand that Kris Li is miles and miles totally out of my league. He’s the school’s basketball star and I’m the local class freak. Everyone knows his name from fame, and my name is thrown around in infamy. He’s shiny white jerseys and I’m black hoodies. You get the picture. For three years we’ve peacefully coexisted without ever once having to interact, and yet, here we are.
Maybe there are some moments in life that simply defy logic and explanation, and no matter how you try to put things into perspective, they refuse to fit like the way pieces of a jigsaw puzzle should. That moment, that entire day, is one of them. A moment that simply does not exist unless in some alternate universe beyond our realm of logic and understanding. A moment that could only ever exist in books, and in songs, something very nearly alive and with a sentience of its own.
I still can’t believe it now, hence the matter of the world falling apart and aliens invading the Earth. But it happened anyway, despite my attempts to rationalize the situation and find something to blame for it. Everything happened the way it shouldn’t, and no, I’m not okay thank you very much.
Sometimes, I just really don’t understand the way the universe works.
When A KISS Falls by Kaye Dee
I looked at myself in front of the mirror, trying to fix my plaid skirt that sat just below my knees. My white blouse was neatly ironed. I had my long unruly hair pulled up in a ponytail like I always do every morning. After I double checked if I have everything I needed in my backpack, I went on my way to kick off my last year in high school.
I almost hopped my way, looking a little too ecstatic. Maybe it was the amount of caffeine I had this morning or it could be the eternal vibe of today.
The Athenaeum Integrated School, known as AIS to many, had to be the best school in our small town of Cordova. Maybe even one of the most prestigious schools in the island province of Mactan. There was no denying that for suburban teenagers like me, AIS is more than what we can possibly hope for in an educational institution.
AIS had always been a pride of Cordova because of its top notched facilities and faculties. We always rank high on both regional and national achievement tests. Not only does our school cater to producing intelligent students, we also have a great curriculum that brings into being talented artists and athletes.
Though my years in AIS have been nothing short of amazing, God knows how much I wanted to leave its four walls; wear a toga, march up to the stage, get that diploma, and begin my college journey. I even started to do a countdown for our high school graduation, and would eagerly cross out every passing day off my calendar.