Archive for February, 2016

Of address books and memories

Paper Address Book

I got this beautiful address book from a friend as a belated Christmas present. I was very happy to see this when I opened the gift she gave me sometime last month. I thought it is not so easy to find a paper address book anymore. I remember a conversation I had with another friend, I think, more than two weeks before my friend gave me this, about paper address books seemingly on the brink of getting obsolete too, as people became more and more dependent on their mobile phones and other gadgets for storing everything they need to remember.

Paper Address Book Inside Pages

What started us talking about address books, are planners. The two of us always get this thin, basic type of planner at a local bookstore before the end of the current year, or at the start of the new one, as it is easy to use and navigate. I told her I have a Starbucks planner she can have too, as I haven’t had much use for planners at the moment. I just collected the stickers as I became quite a fixture at the Starbucks near my place writing entries for this blog! My friend said, she would rather stick to her simple planner.

Then, she started telling me about a lady who asked for her help while she was looking at planners. The lady wanted to know if my friend knows where the address books are placed, as she can’t seem to find them. The lady even remarked that maybe, there is none anymore on the shelves, as no one seemed to use it, nowadays! My friend told me that she was at a lost too, and was unable to help her!

Paper Old Address Book Inside

That got me thinking! Do people still use the traditional paper address books these days? Do you? I must admit, I don’t really, in recent years. I just use my mobile phone for contact information of friends, colleagues and family. The e-mail addresses are just filed in the contacts folder of my electronic addresses. If I need their physical addresses, I just ask them through a text message or a message through Messenger! Sometimes, I would just jot it down on a piece of paper, then forget about it after we meet or after I have been there. I never thought of jotting it down in a paper address book anymore, or electronically, for possible future use.

I do have several old address books and getting this new one made me remember them as well. Like beautiful notebooks of all shapes, kinds, colors and sizes, I found myself collecting these through the years. In fact, when I need to find an old landline number and addresses, this very old address book that a friend also gave me, is my default.

Paper Address Book Old

I tried transferring its content into this beautiful one, but still I went back to the old, well-used one!

Paper Address Book Artist

Paper Artist Book Inside

I flipped through the entries in that old purple address book.

It brought back memories seeing the names of the friends, colleagues, acquaintances, classmates, and mentors who became a part of my life at some point or another. Most of them I am still in contact with from time to time, some others I haven’t seen in ages or lost touch with. There were also some who already passed away, and looking at their names and contact information in my old address books made me smile and felt sad at the same time! I remember the memories we have shared, and at the same time, sad to remember that they are gone.

I hope that the lady in the bookstore did manage to find a new address book.

Paper Notebook

In a recent trip to the mall, my friend and I found this one, not solely an address book, but rather a small, handy, notebook with small accordion folders, pages for notes and several sheets for addresses and other contact details.

Paper Notebook Address

Well,  as for me, I’ll put to good use the one my friend gave me. It is time to update my old one. Call it old school, but I think it is better to have a paper back up of all information electronically stored, too!

Paper Address Book New

There is also a different kind of happy feel, holding and flipping through a paper address book that scrolling down the screen of my phone or other gadgets!

Many thanks, again, to my friend who had not only given me a beautiful, useful gift, but made me remember the joy of using a paper address book!



Slow Burn – Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Natasha plopped herself down her sofa after she had closed the door on Jeremy, and stayed like that for a while, still in shock at the intensity of the kiss that they have shared! She was not really expecting that their Friday night bonding would end like that, with a bang, with a big bang! It was the first time she and Jeremy had kissed like that outside of the musical they did.

She touched her lips which were still tingling, reliving the kiss in her mind. Oh my! What is happening to them? What brought it on? She does not have an idea. All she knew at that moment was that whatever she thought was extinguished several years ago had just came to life all of a sudden. The kindling actually started a fire, a slow burning one!

Jeremy Ledesma came into her life like a shooting star streaking into the night. She knew of him, but she never thought that they would cross paths. They didn’t move in the same circle. Their lifestyles, what she can gleaned from the numerous articles, features, and social media uploads on him, seemed to be the exact opposite.

By the time they met, she had several musicals and straight plays under her belt. While Jeremy, on the other hand, was already hugely popular by then and had several bestselling albums, and sold out concerts under his belt.

One evening, over cups of coffee, Seb, her friend who will direct Rent, and who also directed several other shows she had been into, told her that aside from her Mimi, they have cast the other roles, including that of Mark, Maureen, Angel, Colin and Joanne, but they were still waiting for the nod of the guy that they very much wanted to play Roger.

Natasha smiled, remembering that night. She and Seb were having coffee in a new coffee shop in a quiet, off the radar part of Quezon City as far as watering holes are concerned, when he started telling her about the casting just to divert her attention from the bad day she had.

“So, who is this all important guy that we are waiting for to play Roger?” Natasha asked desultorily, her mind was still on the bad day she had. Seb is used to her occasional moods, like this, when she sees her father, and would always cheer her up so she snaps out of it, fast.

“Oh my, Nat, it will be a casting coup if we can get him! Oh my God, I’m so excited. I wish he would finally say yes!”

“So, who is it?” Natasha asked, not really understanding Seb’s excitement. Her friend is flamboyant and openly gay and the way he was acting that evening, he didn’t sound at all like the very good theater director, who had honed his craft in New York, that he is! He was giddy.

“We are talking to Jeremy Ledesma! In fact…!”

“What? Him? Does he do theater? Can he do it? His background is not exactly theater!” Natasha asked before Seb can finished what he was about to say! She was just surprised at what he said. She thought Seb and the producers were in talk with a well-known Filipino-American actor who had been in several West End and Broadway productions before moving to the Philippines for good to be with his Filipino relatives, for Roger!

“Of course, Nat! He is the perfect Roger! All those angst and rebelliousness, being channeled on stage!” Seb pointed out. “Yes, this will be his first foray in professional theatre, but unknown to many, he was not a stranger to it. I also know that he is an easy guy to work with, professional and always on time for all his commitments.”

“Really, he is on time? With all the partying that he does?” Natasha asked, then continued, not seeing, that Seb’s expression has changed. “Really, Seb, I know he will sell tickets very fast, but do you want the notoriety that is always with Jeremy Ledesma?”

“Oh, I see, my reputation had preceded me!” A masculine voice remarked from behind Natasha, lightly.

“Jeremy, I’m glad you can make it!” Seb greeted the speaker effusively. He stood up and hugged him.

The name of the person who spoke finally sunk in, into Natasha. Oh my God! She also remembered Seb’s face changing as she was finishing what she was saying! She slowly turned and saw a handsome guy dressed casually in jeans and dark-colored t-shirt.

“Hi Seb! My apologies for the vague reply to you earlier. I thought I will be unable to get away from my other appointment at all. I decided to take the chance that you will still be here! You did mention that you will be here until 9PM.” Jeremy said amiably, smiling at Seb, not noticing that the quiet cafe was suddenly abuzz with conversation, realizing who had just came in!

Jeremy then looked at where Natasha was sitting. She knew her face was flushed, embarrassed at what she had just said. She was not normally quick to judge people! She wished then that the floor will just swallow her.

“Hi, I’m Jeremy!” He then offered his hand to her. She took it and it felt like she was hit with an electric current when their hands touched.

Natasha, was at a lost for several long minutes, just staring at the most beautiful brown eyes she had gazed upon and the handsomest face she had seen! She had met plenty of good-looking guys throughout her career, some of them visiting foreign theatre actors, and she was not moved like that. There was just something in Jeremy Ledesma that sets him apart from the rest! It was no wonder, he elicits screams everywhere he goes, with all that good looks, it is criminal, really, she mused while trying to gain her equilibrium.

“H-hello, I’m Natasha Reynoso!” She managed to say, suddenly feeling so guilty for saying those things about him when she didn’t really know him at all. Worse, he heard it! You have more manners than that, Nat!

“You were ‘Tuptim’ in the ‘King and I’, ‘Liesl’ in ‘ The Sound of Music’ and ‘little Cosette’ in Les Miserables!” Jeremy said, smiling oh charmingly at her, gazing at her intently.

“Oh, you have seen me on stage!” Natasha was surprised that he had remembered her for those roles she played many years ago.

“My Mum was a big theater fan. She used to drag me to the theater when I was a kid!” Jeremy explained, a bit self-consciously, so different from Natasha’s image of him in her head. “Nice to finally meet you, Natasha.”

“Jeremy, please have a seat. Join me and Natasha. It’s okay, she will be in the musical too.” Seb said, cutting through the private world Natasha and Jeremy were finding themselves into. “That is, if you can stay?”

“Oh sure, I don’t have any more plans for the evening.” Jeremy said, then he looked at Natasha and started saying as he was about to sit, “So, what will be your…..

He was unable to finish what he was saying and before he can sit down, a group of girls approached them, and asked for a picture with him. He obliged and right before Natasha’s eyes, he changed demeanor, got more like the Jeremy she sees in television interviews. It felt like it was what the other people at the coffee shop were waiting for, they also asked for a photo with him.

“Sorry, about that!” Jeremy sat down and looked apologetically at Natasha and Seb after the flurry of photo ops and selfies with him. His admirers went away happily.

“No worries, Jeremy. I thought this coffee shop would be quieter than the rest. That is why I chose this.” Seb remarked. “Well, it was. But since you were here, apparently not. Probably, someone already tweeted that you are here.”

“I don’t mind the fans. I owe my career to them. I’m sure you are used to them also, Natasha. But I better warn you also, that you may find yourself online and speculated on as you were with me!”

“Oh! It is okay! I don’t normally check what is being uploaded and floated on social media!” Natasha thought it would just be run of the mill kind of tweets and feeds about them, how wrong she was 24 hours later! “What could they say about me! I’m not the famous one, you are!”

Looking back to that evening, 24 hours later, she thought Jeremy was about to say something, but stopped himself. Instead, he looked at Seb and with a big grin, more like a child who received the best present from Santa, he told him his news. “Seb, I’m in, man! Thank you for this opportunity! I have been wanting to do this for so long!”

“OMG, really!” Seb shrieked happily! “I’m so happy. Now I have a complete dream cast! I should be the one thanking you, Jeremy!”

“You know I really, really wanted to do this. I can’t think of anything else since you called me about it. I just needed to talk to my management company. I’m looking forward to being a part of your production. It is a long way from our high school days and all the stage plays we were in, eh!”

“You two, know each other before? You did theater in school” Natasha asked, surprised. She was just content to be a passive listener, as she was trying to digest that Jeremy Ledesma seemed to be different from what she had heard and seen on TV.

Jeremy focused his whole attention on Natasha and with a big, boyish smile, he slung his arm around Seb’s shoulders affectionately. “This guy and me go a long way back. Didn’t he tell you? We were high school classmates, and we were both members of the theater club while in that all boys school.”

“Yes, Nat, I was about to tell you about that earlier. But Jeremy arrived.” Then at Jeremy, Seb said, “Nat is a friend too, Jeremy. I met her when were at the university. She will be Mimi to your Roger.”

“Wow, that’s great, Natasha! Before the hordes arrived, I was going to ask you what your role will be. I’m sure you will be a great Mimi and the role suits you. You have a beautiful voice. I’m so looking forward to doing the musical with you. I’m honored, actually!”

“Really!” Natasha said in a disbelieving tone, unable to help herself. Maybe he was just trying to be nice, patronizing, or being ‘showbiz’ in saying that. She can’t help it, sometimes, glib and charming guys raised her hackles! He is just too good to be true! She can’t helped being cynical at times, with all that she had seen happening to people she loves.

“Of course!” Jeremy replied, still smiling at Natasha, either he let passed her show of cynicism or he didn’t notice it at all. When they got to know each other better, Jeremy had teased her mercilessly about it. They laughed about it, but Nat knew it was not one of her shining moments.

Before Jeremy can finish what he was about to say, another group of girls approached their table and requested for a picture with him. He obliged. It was followed by another group, who were not as polite and as well-behaved as the first one. Jeremy with all the phone cameras thrust on his face, just smiled all throughout and posed, amiably.

“I better get going, Seb. I’m sorry for cutting this short. Please excuse me, Jeremy!” Natasha said, when the last group left.

She stood up, she was in a bit of a funk, and for some reason she can’t understand, a bit irritated with the gaggle of girls approaching them, or looking at Jeremy surreptitiously from their tables. Funny, how the coffee shop got full fast since he arrived! She felt like a bug under the microscope! “I’ll go ahead, Seb.” Then looking at Jeremy, she said, “Nice meeting you, Jeremy. Until the rehearsals then!”

“Nat, are you okay? Why don’t you stay a while!” Seb was surprised that Nat was leaving as they were thinking of seeing the last screening of a movie they have been both wanting to see. But of course, that was before Jeremy showed up. Seb told her later why he met her and Jeremy at the same time in that cafe. She knew that Seb wanted to ask her what was really bugging her, but Jeremy was there. Seb is also used to the cheerful, positive Natasha, and she was not that at all, that evening.

“I’m okay, Seb. I’m just tired. Just go catch up with Jeremy here! And no need to go with me out to the car. I’m parked just outside the door.” She told Seb, who was about to stand and go out with her to the parking lot. She just gave him a beso. “Let’s meet again on Saturday, okay?”

Seb nodded. “Take care, Nat! Text me when you get home.”

Jeremy, however, stood up, smiled at Natasha, then said, “Great meeting you, Natasha! See you at the rehearsals, looking forward that!”

Natasha felt his sincerity and she felt like a heel for the way she spoke about him, earlier, and the weird way she was acting that evening. Fair is fair, she acted badly. He had been nothing, but very nice and courteous to her the whole time. He acted like a normal person and not like a famous singer with an attitude and an oversize ego.

“I’m looking forward to that as well. And Jeremy, my apologies for the way I spoke earlier. I realized that I was speaking out of turn and I was being unfair as I don’t really know you, to be saying things like that. Then, I’m not good company to you and Seb also. I’m not always like this, really!” She finished with a smile.

He smiled back at her, a smile that reached his beautiful brown eyes, and for a little while, Natasha forgot where they were. It felt like it was just the two of them there, all the noises and the giggling faded in the background.

“Thank you, Natasha. I appreciate the candor. No worries. I’ll just work on you getting to know me better. Rest and relax. Works for me when I feel a bit off.”

“Thanks, Jeremy, I will just do that.” They way he was looking at her, Natasha felt herself blushing. “Good night.”

Before she can recover from that, he leaned forward and gave her a beso! “Drive carefully and see you soon.”

Someone caught that ordinary, harmless kiss on camera and posted it online, and it went viral! Suddenly, Nat’s life changed.

The beeping of her phone interrupted Natasha’s recollection of her and Jeremy’s first meeting. Who could be sending her a message in the middle of the night! She stood up, grabbed her phone where she dropped it earlier. Jeremy sent her a message.

Good night Nat! Sweet dreams! See you soon. And by the way, I’m not sorry we kissed.

“Oh my!… Natasha managed to say, with her heart hammering against her chest. How can she sleep, with that text message!

She went back to the sofa, plopped herself down again, and stared at the ceiling. What to do now? She asked herself. She felt giddy and at the same time nervous at what she feels in her gut – a big shift in hers and Jeremy’s relationship! Is she ready for it? What if…? Well, let’s see, she mused, then grinned. She just can’t help herself! Quizas, quizas, quizas! She started humming that too, from an old song that her mother likes very much.


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Love Happens – Chapter 11

Chapter 11

Maya gave up. It has been more than an hour since she went to bed after her wonderful evening with Richard, and yet she was unable to sleep! She did everything, from reading a book, to listening to some music, to remembering their wonderful evening, but still, she failed to catch that elusive sleep. In the quiet of the night, when her mind was at rest,  she can’t get the accident out of her head. She kept seeing in her head the split second where Richard was almost hit by the speeding car. What if he was and he ended up in the hospital, gravely injured? What if he died on the spot? She also suddenly remembered all the motorcycle accidents that she had seen in the evening news. What if Richard is gone forever!

She sat up on the bed, shaking her head, trying to shake off the image from her head! She can’t bear the thought of losing him, of not seeing him again, not seeing his bone-melting smiles, not experiencing the effects of his heated gazes and intense kisses! Strange, she had known him in such a short time and she was feeling like that! Does it means that she has already fallen in love with him? That love just happened to her like that! That despite her caution, she had done what she was shying away from, for years, afraid of getting hurt again?

She is very much attracted to him physically, and she likes him a lot as person. What is not to like? He is funny, caring, sincere, honest and a gentleman. They get along pretty well! But is it love?  The deep down one that speaks of forever and happily ever after, something she had been wary of for five years, something she swore not to believe anymore. Something she thought is overrated?  If ever that she has fallen for Ricky, already, it is really such a big step for her after her experience with James. And what happened to the baby steps that she and Ricky was supposed to be taking! Thrown to the wind!

Maya knows instinctively, and base on what she had seen so far, that Richard is not like James, but still, she only have known him such a short time, and James, she had known for a long time, and yet she was betrayed by him. Yes, she had known Richard a short time, and yet, she seemed to trust him more than ex fiancé. There was also this overwhelming attraction between them. She never felt like that with James, and there, lies the problem with what went wrong with their relationship. With Richard it’s different. She feels she will not recover if it is Richard who will betray and hurt her! Just the thought of losing him or being betrayed by him, is sending her to a sleepless night. She believes Richard will not do to her what James did, but she had been burned once, and while she had healed, she was still carrying the scar from that relationship.

Since she can’t sleep, anyway, with all the thoughts crowding her head and agitating her, she might as well go for a walk, just in front of her bungalow, to her favourite driftwood. Maybe the cool night air will clear her head. At the back of her mind, she knows that she is just probably having a delayed reaction to the accident. But nevertheless, she wanted to think about things and usually, that place is a happy place for her.

Earlier, Maya was able to put the accident at the back of her mind, with Richard’s wonderful surprise for her, making their last evening in Camiguin a truly memorable one. They spent more than an hour cuddling and enjoying the cool breeze in the quiet of the night before they turned in. Richard waited until she was inside before going to his bungalow. It took a while before they parted as just like the night before, they were reluctant to part and go on their on way for the night. They spent several minutes saying good night, with a lot of heated kisses in it.

Maya walked to where her suitcase was, and got a shawl. She wrap it around her shoulders and over her thin sleep shirt. At that time of the night, she was sure that she would be the only one out, so she didn’t bother changing into street clothes. Besides, it was just Richard and her at that side of the resort. It was one of the reasons why she picked that bungalow. Not only does it has the nicest view, it, together with the one Richard was occupying, is away from the main cluster of bungalows. For sure, Richard was in deep sleep by now, she mused. He looked sleepy earlier when they said good night. She also had a feeling that Richard’s shoulder was acting up, and he was just trying to bear it so as they will have the best evening. She thought he really needed a rest after what happened.

Maya was wrong. She wasn’t the only one who was unable to sleep that night. Richard tried reading a book, and playing a game on his iPhone, but to no avail. What had almost happened set it! Despite all his efforts to divert his attention, he kept reliving in his head the moment where he first saw the intense headlights of the oncoming car, and thought that it was his end. Until then, he does not know how he managed to avoid the car! He was stunned when he realized that he did, and that he was still alive. Then Maya rushed to his side, crying and at the same time, trying to be brave. He called her ‘sweetheart’! It was so right, especially at that moment. He realized that his feelings for her went deeper. The initial intense attraction has turned into so much more.

He has fallen in love with her! He loves Maya. It was what he was thinking while he was staring out in the blackened night and watching the twinkling lights. Suddenly, love happened to him, it snuck on to him when he was not looking and not thinking of it anymore. Beautiful, wonderful Maya, happened! He almost told her while they were snuggled together, but stopped himself, barely. Maya had enough of a shock to her system for one night. It can wait. Besides, they agreed to take baby steps, and him declaring his love like that, is, surely one giant leap! Maybe, she is not ready to hear it. He did promise her that they will take it one step at a time. He just decided that he will show it to her in every way he could. Maybe, that would allay her fears and the scars he thinks she has, inflicted by the guy who left her at the altar.

Richard got out of bed. Since, he can’t sleep, he might as well, walk a bit, to tire himself out and maybe the fresh air will make him sleep better. He wished, though, that Maya was there to walk beside him, and chat a bit. Had she had been beside him at that moment, for sure, he would not need the walk, though! He would just be content to look at her. But Maya needed her rest. He saw how rattled she was earlier. He smiled, remembering their protracted good night, laced with all those wonderful kisses.

Richard ventured into the night. His feet led him to the driftwood where he had that memorable first dinner with Maya the other night, and that was where he saw her! She was sitting on the fallen wood that has been fashioned into a beautiful bench for two, arms around her knees, gazing in the night. His heart beat double, seeing her, all the love he is feeling for her, rushing into his system!

“Maya…” Richard called softly. “It’s me, Ricky!” He added so as not to alarm her.

“Ricky!” Maya looked at Richard, surprised to him up and about that time of the night. “I thought you would be asleep by now. Are you in pain?” She asked worriedly.

“No, Maya, I’m okay. I just can’t sleep so I decided to go for a walk.” Richard said as he sat down beside Maya. “How about you? Why are you here? You should have woken me. It may not be safe for you to be alone here at this time of the night. How long have you been here?”

“Oh, I’m only had been here for half an hour. I can’t sleep also. I think I was having a delayed reaction to the accident. Like a song on a loop, it kept playing and playing in my head while I was trying to sleep! I can’t help it. So, to clear my head, I decided to go for a walk!” Maya said, hesitating a bit in telling Richard about the other reason why she was unable to sleep.

“Maya, don’t think about it anymore, please. Just think of happy thoughts.” Richard said, putting his arms around Maya and hugging her tight. “We are okay. Just think of that and the continuation of our adventures. You know, we still have a lot of those baby steps to take! “ He teased her. Then remembering his thoughts earlier, he mused, at least not on his side.

“Okay, Ricky. I feel better now, with you by my side! ” Maya smiled. “How about you, why can’t you sleep?”

“Well, like you, I also thought of the accident and what could have happened.” Then taking a deep breath, he forged on, life could be so fleeting, so he will say this since he was given another chance. Holding Maya’s hand, he said. “The thing is with what happened on the road, I also realized something, Maya, that  is, that I have fallen in love with you. Love happened to me. I think I have done so when we met each other again last week!”

“R-ricky…! Maya was so surprised by Richard’s admission, that she was unable to form a coherent reply right away.

Richard continued on, touching Maya’s face with both his hands and looking deep into her soul.

“Maya, I was not actually planning on telling it this evening. I thought you had enough of a shock, but then I saw you here, and I realized that what happened shook the two of us more than what we let on. For me, I realized that life is fleeting and it could be gone in a snap, just like that, by the road, without you having any say in it. I have this moment with you, so I would like to take, make good use of that moment fate gave me to tell you how I feel about you. I’ll show you how much I love you. I know you have fears, I’ll be here, I’ll wait until all your fears are gone. I, too, had fears before, but my love for you is stronger than those fears! I love you very much, Maya!”

Maya felt tears in her eyes, and her heart pounding double time with each word that coming from Richard’s lips. They vowed completely honesty, everything laid down, so she made a decision too. With her hand on Richard’s face as well, she told him what was in heart.

“Ricky, the reason why I can’t get off the accident from my head, and why I can’t sleep, was the thought of losing you! I can’t bear it, thinking that I could have lost you there by the road. It opened a floodgate of strong feelings. Suddenly you became the most important person in my life right now. You awaken dead emotions and the thought of not seeing you again forever was driving me crazy. Is that love? Have I fallen in love with you? My answer is yes, I think I have fallen in love with you. That is also making me afraid. I have been hurt before. In such a short time, what I am feeling for you is much more than I have felt for my ex fiancé in all the years we have been together, and we grew up together. That was young love. What I am feeling right now for you does not compare to that. So yes, I am very afraid because you can hurt me in a way that James was not able to do!”

“Maya, sweetheart! I understand your fears. I will never knowingly hurt you. I will do my best to make you happy. I know what it is to be hurt also. We will conquer your fears together. We are in this together. I’m so happy to know that you have fallen in love with me. Let me just you, how much I love you and how good we are together in every way I could. Can you give me that?” Richard asked gently.

“Sure, Ricky! I can do that. Thank you for being so understanding. If there is someone whom I would take the final leap, Ricky, it would be you.”

“Maya, that is more than enough for me, for now. Thank you. Let us enjoy our journey together to wherever this would lead us.”

Maya nodded and then for the second time that night, snuggled closely to Richard, contented. Richard was also very much happy with the unexpected turn of events. He vowed to conquer all of Maya’s fears! He was surprised at himself. He too should have been wary, but with her, he does not feel any fear at all. He believes that they can hurdle every obstacles towards their happily ever after, with the love they are feeling for each other.


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