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Her fingers grazed his leg as his chest gently and slowly heaved up and down. With his eyes closed he looks different, more calm, like a little boy who resisted siesta time with all his might but eventually ended up falling prey. The curly, wispy strands on his calf enfold her index finger in a longing way that soothes her -- how soft and velvety they are to the feel of her hand. To her it feels better than fingers holding her back but eventually letting go.

She isn't like the others. That, she knows for certain. Sure, she enjoys the unclasping of the buttons, she anticipates the falling away of clothes, she looks forward to hearing the repeated grunting of some higher being, or sometimes even her name. But it's the quiet, little moments she looks forward to the most. That moment when he finally closes his eyes, either by extreme delight or relief, heaves a huge sigh, and trails off to slumber. That moment when she finally hears his heart slow down as she presses her cheek against his damp chest, when she can play with his velvety legs without disturbing him. All the others questioned her; they couldn't understand.

She glances at his bedside table beside him. His wallet is slumped out, almost impossible to close with the amount of cash in it. Or were they just pictures? From where she was lying down she couldn't tell. What was his story? She sighs. She softly rests her head on his chest again, closing her eyes and trying to force away the morning as it slowly creeps back in through the windows.

I could get used to this, she thinks. She could do this for the rest of her life. She could do without the promises of forever, the certainty of an "us." Maybe when he wakes up, she'll ask him. Maybe he'll wince for a while, but give in. Maybe he'll be honest. His leg feels comfortable and warm against the light stroking of her fingers. The silence envelops her, as if she is knowing more and more about him even without the words. Perhaps a little more touching would reveal to her his name.



Traipsing through genres.

This semester is unarguably the defining point of my undergraduate career. Right now, I am taking up CW subjects on my chosen genres: Nonfiction, Fiction, and Playwriting. I also have one Filipino elective which happens to fall under the last category (MP174: Pagsulat ng Drama). So basically, it's all about the personal essays, short stories, novels, and plays for me this sem. It isn't supposed to be something new, given that I've been taking up other majors for the last three semesters or so, but it's just surreal that I'm actually at this point right now, where they're all happening at the same time, where I don't only analyze and read through them but actually create them. It's mind-boggling, really.

What excites me and stresses me out is the whole creative process. Unbeknown to some probably, writing takes gargantuan effort. It is really more than just getting your fingers to move across the keyboard and polishing your grammar -- it requires putting yourself inside someone else's head and building (and sustaining) tension for more than a few pages. Now imagine doing that for four subjects. It's insane, really. I know I all have these stories going on in my mind, but the challenge is in making them interesting enough for other people to actually enjoy.

Which probably explains why I'm slowly getting more caught up in the imaginary world and slowly losing touch of this semi-actual world aka The Internet. Sometimes, the world as it happens inside my head is really just more interesting than (virtual) reality.

(Oh God, I sound like such a freak.)



Run, Karla, Run!

Guess what I did today? Something so completely out of character that I didn't even tell my friends about it because they probably would shake their heads in disbelief until I actually pushed through with it :))

I ran for 3K at the Unilab Run United 2 held at Global City this morning!

It was such a challenge because (1) I am the least athletic person I know, (2) I am a lazy-ass bum who hates sweating, and (3) I haven't jogged since December of last year for our barkada's unofficial new past-time of running around the UP Acad Oval. But for some reason my tita convinced me and well, I just had to do it! With nothing but a running playlist and a determined mindset, I aimed for the finish line!

(Random story: Even after a year later, it's interesting that it's still Flo-rida's "Sugar" that never fails to perk me up when I'm getting tired! That song just really has so many good memories of last year.. of our previous jogs around the Oval.. of riding someone's car for the first time.. of the final week before Christmas break of 09.. Oops, I digress.)

Achievement of the day for me: I didn't walk at all for the whole three kilometers (which may be such a piece of cake for anybody else) and I didn't stop either. I just ran, and ran, and ran. Totally defying my limits! Hell yeah! \:D/ I really didn't care about my time or how many people were ahead of me; I just wanted to finish the race for myself, really! And I did! What a great feeling :)

Although now my legs are killing me T_T :))


Blanket of cloud, the sky hovering.

You melt your doubt
and fall into me
I find your mouth
and try to hold it

You blame your love
I know it's harmless
But we're both wise
for falling

- Window Bird by Stars

Sometimes, it really doesn't need too much words. Just plunging head first into it speaks volumes on how special it means, but still wading through despite it all is so much more telling of how this time it's different, how this one you really want to last. It's a scary ride, it's not devoid of conflict and recklessness. But it's also a comforting flight: a departure from the chaos, an arrival to a welcome pattern. The yielding to the vulnerability is what makes this, us, a bravery. At the end of the day, it's not the fear of pain or hurt that remains, it's this longing, wanting, yearning that never goes away.


Window Bird is such a pretty song. Amy Millan's haunting voice plus the surprising dip down the refrain (which still gets to me) add to its honesty and charm. It always reminds me of hugs and snuggles and warm, cozy feelings. And a sudden longing for Peppermint Mocha.


On My Bedside Table: The Sembreak Edition.

Given that the semester has already started and at least two of my subjects already required us to read novels from our reading list/syllabus, I figured it was about time to wrap up my sembreak to-read list. For the last few months (right before the first sem ended), I've been secretly complaining about how I'm having such a hard time reading anything already because of the insane amount of work I had to do for all my subjects. It got to the point where it was actually quite hard just enjoying words in whatever genre after (unwillingly) feasting my eyes on serious critical theories and/or literary techniques. So I made a pact with myself that come sembreak, I will really reward myself with books I enjoy and actually want to read, especially since I have quite a lot on my bedside table(s).

I'm glad to say I was quite successful. I think I actually spent more time with my glasses on and reading on my bed rather than on Facebook. Achievement!

Summer Crossing by Truman Capote. This was the novel I selected for our English 42 (American Literature) final project, but I will include this because this has been on my bookshelf for quite some time already, and I was actually meaning to read it for sembreak. I got it at the Manila International Book Fair at SMX for a really good price, plus it was the recently discovered novel of Truman Capote -- how could I not buy that? It just so happened that it fell in the category I needed for my project, which was a deconstruction of American society as reflected in different aspects of their culture. It's definitely a charming take on the struggle for independence and freedom amidst social class set in a picturesque sweltering Manhattan summer in the 1940s.

Looking For Alaska by John Green. The novel that has got everybody in the online world talking, gushing, and crying. I have to say in honesty though that because of the hype, I didn't find myself expecting too much from it. I didn't want to be disappointed, but at the same time I wanted to find out what made this book so riveting, so I had to put my literary guard down and just enjoy it. Suffice to say, I read this in one afternoon. To say that the plot was beautiful would be an understatement. It was definitely a story that went beyond your typical high-school first-love-affair. But more than the narrative, I actually appreciated the prose too. John Green has a fluid, easy way with words that makes them sound almost lyrical and yet does not seem forced at all. I had to sit down and stare into blank space for a while after reading the last page -- and of course, in a very good way. Yep, it had that effect.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Bryan Lee O'Malley. Now of course, this isn't a novel per se, but it was also on my to-read list this sembreak. After having been swept like crazy by the first book, I just had to get my hands on this one. It was such a guilty pleasure! Except for Archie comics and the well-loved local comics Kiko Machine, I don't really read comics in print. But Scott Pilgrim definitely changed my mind. It's surrealism grounded in something still so honest and human is what makes it so much fun to read. I have to have the next one already! (Also: I haven't seen the movie yet. I'm vowing to get through at least half of the series before watching the Michael Cera [!] flick.)

Sadopaideia by Anonymous. An interesting read on an interesting topic: sadomasochism. Being a creative writing major, I am not entirely alien to sexuality and all that it encompasses most especially as represented in literature. It's funny that people see erotic literature as something to be scared of, something taboo, when in fact it merely paints us a clearer picture of what life was in that era, particularly 20th century England. It's unfortunate that I only got to finish it this sembreak when I actually did a paper on sadomasochism for my English 21 critical paper just last sem. It would've been handy in providing more evidence on the literary characterization of the Wife of Bath as the Seductress.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. I'm still on my way to finishing all the books of one of my favorite 18th-century author, and I'm glad I'm finally halfway there! Northanger Abbey is not one of her more popular novels, but its use of satire and wit on naivete is something worthy of note. By using innocent country girl Catherine Morland as the central point of this novel, Austen gives us a humorous look at the blurring of the lines between fiction and reality. It struck a chord with me because the feeling of having my head so buried into a book is so familiar to me that I feel like I'm juxtaposing everything in my life to what's in the pages. But who can blame me if fiction is just so much more interesting than real life?

The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis. This is has got to be my favorite among all these books. Charles Highway's tongue-in-cheek description of the last few moments of his teenage life is something I enjoyed not only for its honesty but also for the fact that I too am almost in that part of my life. Having turned 19 a few weeks ago, I also can't help but feel that there must be something big, something life-changing that I had to work on in order to cement my transition from being a teenager to an adult. Although there were times when I just wanted to smack Charles right in the head, I can't help but laugh with him as he goes through seemingly ridiculous but actually realistic lengths to get it on with mysterious, charming Rachel. Sure, Charles may not be the ideal hero, what with his bad habits and above average cockiness, but you have to admit that Charles isn't exactly a dumb guy -- he's about to get into Oxford and he definitely knows his way with words. He's not exactly dreamy: one minute he's this lanky, uncool dude drowning in his poetry and the next he sounds like the arrogant, I'm-better-than-you kind of guy that every pore in your body absolutely despises and yet gets under your skin and keeps you up at night. And if that won't, well maybe his thoughts and desires will. After all, isn't it the best to make the craziest decisions and throw the last hurrah (as either a "Fuck You!" to teenage-dom or a "Ciao, bella!" to the future) when you're young and 19?

It may seem like a lot, but wait until you see my "Still-to-Read" list. I have more books on my bedside table waiting on cue, plus the required ones I have to read by next week, and also some other readings. My bookshelves both at home and in the dorm are probably on the verge of giving up (but hopefully not any time soon!) It's a mountain of stacked up books waiting to be devoured, hanging around to be leafed through and enjoyed.

It really is an inescapable life of words, prose, and reading for me. Well, so far, I'm not complaining.



Break sem.

The second half of my third year began yesterday.

But so far, the second semester hasn't really started for me yet. Only one of my professors in the last two days showed up (which is actually not surprising) and most of the people are still in an understandable state of languor and sluggishness. Add the fact that the weather is unbelievably snuggle-worthy, and you get an equation for laziness. I really don't feel like starting the sem yet.

I've noticed that for most of my friends (who are all in majors) our schedules are filled with breaks: either long, stretching ones or short but distributed ones. It's ironic that for a semester that's supposed to make us feel all stressed, here we are given more idle time. Interesting that after "sem break" we're given "break sem."

Which can go either way for me (and us), really. It's not like idleness equates to creativity or productivity. To me, idleness only makes me want to sleep/laze around even more. I'm hoping I get through this sem, especially my epic four-and-a-half-hour break on Tuesdays! God. I could always go back home to the dorm, of course, but the problem with that is I wouldn't want to go back to school anymore. I tried going home once, when a prof cancelled a class, and I slept through until late in the afternoon, making me miss my next class. I have a very strong feeling that that wouldn't be far from happening again if I decide to do the same this sem.

I'm still kind of figuring out how to work my way through those breaks this week, but hopefully as the sem goes along I'll find my rhythm and stick to it. It's just the first two days, after all. It's too early to say. I'm hoping for the best, as always. And really, I'm just thankful I got all the subjects I need, and the much-needed lunch dates I (or rather, "we") want.

Let's get this thing going, second sem! I'm ready for you!

P.S. It's snuggle weather again and I'm literally under the sheets, snuggling up to my pillow and a cozy, navy blue varsity jacket, with my 90's playlist on my iPod. Ahhh, those were the days: when rain meant a suspension of classes and classmates meant friends you've had since first grade. God, I feel old.


For Inna.

I don't even know how to begin this post. My eyes are still swollen from crying myself to sleep and my pillow reeks of dried up tears. To say that I am sad is probably the biggest understatement -- in fact the feeling goes beyond sad; it's suddenly this burning sensation of having something pulled out from underneath you that brings about confusion, loneliness, and a sense of wistfulness as well.

My roommate, Inna, is leaving for Canada later today. Their family is migrating there for good. They just got the approval of the embassy a few months ago before the first semester ended but the plan has been known to us for probably a year already. We knew she was gonna leave, but we didn't really know when. We were hoping it would never happen, but we were crossing our fingers for at least after graduation.

I would be the first to admit that Inna and I were never really the closest of friends in high school. We were in the same barkada, but probably the only thing we ever really bonded over was our undying love for Chris Tiu, our secret obsession with Gossip Girl (the book series) and our unexplainable desire to get into UP. Who would've thought those were the exact things that would bring us together in Katipunan? We felt like we were Blair and Serena after graduation: invincible! Independent! And hot! :)) Our dorm was near enough UP to allow us to sleep late and wake up later, and was situated perfectly across Ateneo (where a Chris Tiu sighting might occur.) It was the ideal, exciting first step to independence.

Our first night was funny. It was awkward but I think it was the day that really sealed our friendship from something held together by an unrealistic longing for a basketball superstar to an actual closeness. We had no microwave, no internet, and no television but we were laughing and talking nonstop about our fears and apprehensions of college over our unsuccessful attempt at a delicious dinner aka leftover lumpia.

And that's what differentiates this friendship over all the others. I have my other best friends and close friends (as I'm sure she does), but at the end of the day, it always comes down to just Inna and I. We have had our differences over the years, I won't deny that. All friendships go through something difficult, and we did. But it was not as if it was something I could just quit. The reality is living together with someone is just a different kind of friendship altogether -- it takes so much more trust and love. It's not easy to cross the lines if the other person's bed is just a few meters away from yours. The thing about being thrust together under the same roof is that you cannot escape each other: our friendship was something we had to work on literally every day and every night.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I have other best friends, sure. I have other people to share my secrets with and other people to call up and rant to. But I only have one roommate: and it's a relationship that's completely different from what I have with anyone else. She became a constant go-to person for anything: school-related stress, love-related woes, and even landi-related skills-sharing ;) She's not just a friend anymore, she's family. We've known each other since first grade but in the last two and a half years we've gotten closer than ever. We really stuck together, determined not to let the (very) stressful UP life tear us down.

What I'm really going to miss are the random, small talks we have. The "Alam mo yung prof ko kanina, ang benta kasi sabi niya..." kind. Or the "Sheeet nakita ko si..." ones. The little stuff that aren't really important but are funny or interesting enough to share with someone you are with that day. We've had some of the deepest talks about life and love with our other friends with tears in our eyes or with alcohol in our system (or both), but it's our conversations with each other just over reheated kanin and adobo that I'm going to miss the most.

There's this voice inside my head trying to comfort me that says, "You have other friends naman. You won't be completely alone." And of course, that's true. I have my Paulinian friends and I have my UP friends (CrEngg). We're all being left behind, and we're all together in this. The thing is, her leaving is twice as painful for me. She is both my friend in high school and in college. She knows everyone I know. In fact, my friend Jan made me realize last night, that if it wasn't for the Karla-and-Inna separation anxiety over the first weeks of college, we never would have insisted to always have lunch together still. And if we didn't, we never would have introduced our blockmates to each other. CrEngg LITERALLY wouldn't even be here if it weren't for her block joining mine. (For the uninitiated: CrEngg is Creative Writing + Engineering. Don't laugh, it's hard to come up with a better one trust me.) I'm not saying all our friends owe it to us, because I'm sure things would've turned out okay even if all of us never really came together. But where would I even be today if it weren't for that one fateful introduction at Melchor Hall?

I understand that this is part of life, that this is part of growing up. Their family needs to do what they have to do, and I know they will make it through because they have each other. Inna is probably the most responsible older sister I know, and I'm sure she can manage. Underneath that shy, simple facade is a strong girl. I don't even doubt that Inna will be the source of strength for both her parents and for her siblings. Pinatibay na ng UP yan eh! :)

I guess by the time you read this Inna, you'd be in Canada. Maybe you'd be too busy fixing your things or adjusting to the harsh, cold weather. But know that wherever you are on the other side of the planet, we will all be missing you here. Things will never be the same, but that doesn't mean everything should change. There's always Facebook, YM, Plurk, Skype and even CrEngg Interactive (LOL, thanks Enzo) to keep us all in touch. Like what you said, it's just "so long" and not goodbye. I'm still gonna wait for our Starbucks date together ;)

Until then, enjoy Canada, Inna Scherbatsky ;) I love you, Roomie >:D<



- November is technically the eleventh month of the year.
- The first day of November marks the Christian celebration of All Saints' Day while the day after is All Souls' Day which commemorates the souls of the departed.
- The birth stone associated with November is topaz.
- The zodiac signs that fall under this month are Scorpio and Sagittarius.
- Its etymology traces the roots from the word "novem" which means "nine."
- In the early Roman Calendar under the rule of the Romulus, the year only had ten months: Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Iunius, Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, December.
- So November was the ninth month.
- ...November is the ninth month.