GOOD FRIENDS – A Short Story (Fiction) – By Maia Fortich-Poblete
This is one of my favorite short stories. Can’t remember anymore when I wrote this. I think this was for Mr. & Ms. Magazine…
“Deep down, I was glad
it was cold, for while
I was keeping you warm,
I was secretly loving you.”
-COLD by Joe Pintauro
Marvie sat beside me on the bus, and I could feel sweat breaking out through my body. I could feel her heart beating so close to mine. Gradually, my pulse quickens. I move in my seat, extremely uncomfortable. I have never been this close to anybody before – man or woman. Slowly, Marvie leaned on my shoulder. She was too close to me now that I can hear her breathing.
I met Marvie, or rather, she saw me in one of the benches around the park near our house. I had been walking and stretching my muscles, and I was with my dog. The moment she said “hi!”, I knew that something in me was forever changed.
That first meeting at the park was followed by another…and another…and another. And soon enough, we became close friends. We went out a lot – we went to bars and concerts, and even exercised together. Slowly, I felt myself falling for her. My heart would beat fast every time she was near me. Whenever she held my hand, I’d be lost, as if I was flying over nowhere. But this is where it all stops….
(Photo from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_man_on_the_bus_watching_the_scene_on_the_street.jpg )
You see, when I met Marvie, she was very much in love with this guy called Wayne. They have been together for two years. I met Wayne a couple of months ago, and he seemed nice. Marvie was happy with him. You’ll know it when you hear the sound of her laughter, and the excitement in her voice every time she talked about him. They had plans – travel plans, wedding plans.
Last night, Marvie came to me and cried a bucket of tears. We stayed in my apartment the whole night. I listened to her cry, sigh, and complain. It turned out that this nice guy, Wayne, had been living-in with some other girl, and it had been going on for months! It was plain and simple cheating. Marvie saw them in his apartment. They explained and announced that they were “in love”. Marvie simply walked out. No violent reactions. No radio-drama hysterics. No wailing. She let him go.
Now, I am at the crossroads. I know not which path to take – there are many before me. I can talk her out of her depression and we could both go away for some time. Or I can leave things be and let time heal her wounds. Then again, I can always tell her to look for another guy – someone really worthy of her love. Will I have the guts to tell her that, knowing that I love her myself? I don’t know…
Every time she takes my hand and leans on my shoulder, I feel my whole world crumble. How can somebody so close to you seem so far away? I cannot reach her. No matter how close we can get. I will never be able to reach her. If I were an ordinary young man, maybe things will be a little different. But, you see, I’m not. There’s nothing ordinary, or extraordinary, about me. I can feel. I can touch. I love the smell of her hair. But I have never seen her beautiful face – not even once. My world is in total darkness. I wake up each morning not really knowing the difference between night and day. I don’t know what the flowers I gave her this morning look like. I don’t ask about her favorite color. Why should I, when my world is pitch black darkness? She’s the only rainbow in my life. She brightens me up. She completes my day. She makes my heart see.
So now, what? Am I to continue holding her in my arms while secretly loving her? People say I look good. Maybe she likes the way I look. Maybe she’ll wake up one day and realize that I’m special to her. More special than Wayne, more special than anybody else she has ever known. I wish Marvie would stay with me forever…so I could hold her, embrace her all my life.
They say “love is blind”. In my case, it really is. I just hope Marvie keeps her eyes (and heart) open. I’m pretty sure that one day, she’ll discover a brighter world.
– xxx –
BIG WHITE HOUSE – A Short, Short Story (FICTION)
(Written 07/10/16, Cagayan de Oro)
I went to the movie house alone that night. I was hoping a funny movie would help me feel better. I was wrong. I felt even more depressed as I walked out of the cinema.
You. You are the reason why my life made a complete turnaround. I used to be the happy, optimistic, always smiling little lady everyone wanted to be around. Life was a rainbow of colors for me back then. Nothing could make me feel bad. Depression was not even in my dictionary. But then, you left. And my world has never been the same again.
I was five years old when I first met you. It was a Sunday when you picked me up from that big white house. I was one of the 20 kids in that house. I was one of the youngest. You brought a yellow lace dress for me and I changed into it before we left in your red car. I was on cloud 9. It was love at first sight for me.
You took me home. To my new home. It was not as spacious as the big white house, but it was my happy place. I had my own bedroom. I had toys that I never had before. I had neighbors I could play with. I had you.
I grew up happy and healthy. You made sure of that. You didn’t have all the riches in the world, but you gave me everything I needed. You gave me not only material possessions, but also understanding, hope, and love. You gave me a reason to live. I was content with what we had.
And then everything changed. You became very weak. You were always tired. You couldn’t spend a lot of time with me anymore. I took care of you in every way I can. But you said you were tired. You said you wanted to let go. You gave up and ended your fight for life.
I know you’re in a better place now. A happy place where you no longer feel any pain. So, even if I don’t understand why it had to happen, I let you go. I may not be happy, but you are. And that is what matters most to me. Because I love you.
Thank you, mom, for picking me up from that orphanage. For giving me life. For loving me.
Photo from: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=39064&picture=mom-amp-daughter-illustration (free-to-download)
MARIA – An Attempt at Flash Fiction
(Written 05/16/16, Cagayan de Oro)
Maria closed the door and sat down on her bed. She didn’t know what to do. Raul promised to marry her. He gave her a ring. An infinity ring. But he’s been gone for over a year, and the last time he got in touch was six months ago. She didn’t know what happened to him. She dared not think about the possibilities.
Tony came at a time when she needed a friend. Three months ago, to be exact. She met him at the bookstore. Her favorite bookstore. The one she went to when she was feeling a little bit down. They bought the same book, a new Robert Galbraith novel. She didn’t know anyone who read Galbraith, so she was glad to see him in line paying for the book. She was the one who started the conversation. They went out of the bookstore together and ended up exchanging stories at a nearby coffee shop. That first meeting was followed by another until they started seeing each other every week.
She told Tony about Raul. She told him everything, including the reason why he had to go to Singapore. Tony said he understood and respected her decision. That made her happy.
Tony was so easy to talk to. He was always in a good mood. Always happy, always laughing. He always had a good story to tell her. Tony wasn’t as good looking as Raul. But, he sometimes turned heads. There were instances when they were in a coffee shop and some women would smile at him. He’s what you would call pleasant looking. Raul was different; he was remarkably handsome. The kind of handsome that had girls and women swooning.
She liked Tony. She felt really comfortable with him. she always looked forward to their weekly get-togethers. But then, yesterday, Tony admitted that he was falling for her. She was caught off guard. She wasn’t expecting that. Well, she knew that a friendship like theirs was unusual, but she was fine with it. What wasn’t okay with her was Tony falling in love with her. She had Raul. She was waiting for Raul. She was holding on to Raul’s promise. They were going to get married when he came back.
Maria felt her world spin. Just this morning, a friend called her. Joan just got back from Singapore, where she attended a conference. She saw Raul. Joan saw Raul! She actually saw him and talked to him! But, Raul hadn’t said anything about coming home. He was courteous and pleasant, but he didn’t talk much – because he was with Agnes. He was with his wife.
He was going to leave his wife. That’s why he went back to Singapore, where his family was based. He was only here for a vacation when we met at a party. We started going out two days later and he kept extending his stay here so he could spend more time with me. We had been seeing each other for four months when he left for Singapore. He spent his last night in my apartment. Here, in my bedroom. And he gave me a promise ring. He promised to come back. He promised to leave his wife and live the rest of his life with me.
But he hasn’t come home to me yet. I haven’t heard from him for months. Joan said he might not come back anymore; that maybe he has decided to stay with his wife. Just thinking about it drives me crazy. But, I’m still hoping. I’m still holding on to his promise. I’m still waiting for him to say he’s ready to spend the rest of his life with me.
What about Tony? I like Tony. I like spending time with him. I am happy when I am with him. I don’t want to lose him. I want him in my life. I just don’t know if I can love him.
IF EVER (A Poem)
(Written back in the late 1990s, in Antipolo)
I cannot remember if I
ever held your hand before
Or if I ever felt different
whenever you were near.
I cannot remember if I
ever looked straight into your eyes;
or if I ever felt your heart
beating so close to mine.
I cannot remember how you
called out my name;
or how you said hello.
I cannot remember how you
danced with me;
or how you held me close
whenever I was afraid.
But, I know now that if
I ever held your hand
or if you ever called my name
and sat next to me;
If ever you held me close
And I looked straight into your eyes,
I’m sure I’ll hear your heart
and the rain inside me will stop.
NEVER NEVER LAND (A Poem)
(Written in 2003, for my husband)
Never Never Land.
All alone amidst
an entangled web.
A play of magic
and a young clown
makes me laugh.
My heart swells,
My mind questions-
Still, I find myself
lost in Never Never Land.
And then the clown
takes my hand;
he smiles at me –
Maybe I’ll never be alone
even in Never Never Land.
P O E T R Y
“Poetry touches me down to the core,
It lifts me high up into the sky,
and pulls me up when
I’m too low on the ground.
Poetry makes me smile on rainy days,
It keeps me firm when I’m about to slump,
And I rise from down the dumps.
Poetry is my heart and soul,
the music beating inside of me.
Poetry is and will always be
the very song of me. ”
-Maia Fortich-Poblete ®
Something I wrote years and years ago…back in the 90s, when we were still living in New Manila, QC. I think my Dad was inside the bank when I wrote this, and I was inside the pick-up (his company service from SMB). It was raining. And that’s what gave me the idea for this poem.
This photo is of a copy of Wipers that I posted in the bulletin board of the company where I worked as Assistant Content Editor for almost 3 years. The illustration was done by one of our writers, Gillian Abonitalla. I took this picture to show Gillian how much I love what she did – and to let her know that I intend to keep the drawing with me for years.
You tirelessly wipe away
raindrops when the rains pour
so much like my hands
unconsciously drying the tears
falling from my eyes.
I wish that I could
reach out and touch you –
Maybe you can help me
wipe away the
rain inside me…®