Saturday, September 27, 2014

Weekend Prompt | Sept 27-28

After watching Rurouni Kenshin The Legend Ends and all the trip-planning that my friend Liv and I have been doing, I've noticed how many things and tidbits about Kyoto interest me. There's a place in particular that I want to visit but... never mind. We'll see how it works out when I post this week's fic. Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Weekend Prompt #3 | The Lucky

The Lucky

When the phone rang, we thought we were the lucky ones.

Mother was already insisting that we pack even before the call was over. Carl and I both decided it was futile to bring our usual stuff, the ones that accompanied in sun and shadow, the ones that could still bring traces of the fallout with us. So we dug inside our deepest closets for old clothes and unearthed memories, a life interrupted. I reached for the yellowed albums and the pictures that hung on our walls.

"Leave them," she snapped. "We don't have a second to lose."

We were ready in ten minutes, in slightly new hazmat suits, huddled in the dark living room and mentally counting down the minutes. Mother had already locked each door behind us. We heard the rumbling of a large truck, we ran outside. The house was in a sorry state, with aluminum foil on the windows and broken plumbing, but it had been ours and that was all that mattered to me.

Carl left his guitar on the porch. I ran after my brother, fingers reaching towards the truck that would take us to safety. What we didn't know was that it was already inside, racing through our bloodstream, counting down each precious minute of our borrowed breaths.


Copyright 2014
Sept 23, 2014

NOTE: This prompt came from a college friend.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Weekend Prompt | Sept 20-21

Last week was a really busy week for me, which was why I was a few days behind with posting. Hoping to get some work in this weekend. But if you're not as busy as I am, please check out the 35th Manila International Book Fair at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia. I visited it during opening day with my students and came home with eight books (three for me), three magazines, and a treatise on textile conservation.

Also, I was chatting with an old friend when he mentioned #weekendprompt. His, but then I thought, why not mine? I think prompts should come from everywhere. Plus it seemed like a good one, especially in this weather.

Let's hope your weekend's better. Stay safe and dry, everyone!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Weekend Prompt #2 | Noticed


Masayuki keeps the end of his tie in his left pocket; keeping it company is the list of complaints that he has about Kashima. He takes great care not to let her see it--not that he has any difficulty expressing his displeasure at nearly everything she does.

#5. She flirts with every girl in sight.
Thankfully not Sakura or Seo, but maybe it's more to their credit than Kashima's. It grates on him daily, this ability of hers to make a girl swoon or send her into excited fits. If he liked a girl (not that he did, mind you) he thinks that he'll be more straightforward about it. None of these flirtatious gestures or honeyed lines. Those are just too much like the plays he puts on, a pretense for an audience, someone else's words on his lips. He'll be different. He'll just tell her directly: 'I like you. Will you go out with me?' Yep. Sounds right. He does not care for swooning.

#7. She never pays attention.
Someone once told him that Kashima was his favorite headache, but that's giving her too much credit. Masayuki has had it with the reprimands. Some days he admires her carefree ways but on most, he finds that she is too much for him to handle. She doesn't listen anyway. Maybe directness is a virtue, but only in all things not involving Kashima.

#10. Her legs are too long.
Masayuki can blame his own build--too short, always too short--but this is Kashima's list and he'd rather take it out on her. Her legs make catching up with her a logistical nightmare. She'll already be halfway across campus by the time he pauses for breath. Her legs were slim and shapely but dug into the ground with the power of an athlete, kicking up dust with every elegant stride, and he's chasing, always chasing.

#14. She does not mind inconveniencing him.
Like now. Her head on his lap is heavy and she's rolling around as if trying to find the best position. He stiffens when the back of her head brushes too close to him, but then she is rolling again, this time too close to the edge of the seat that he wants to reach out and pull her back. She is thoughtless and inconsiderate in most things, and not even his arm across her shoulders--dragging her to rehearsals, pulling her back from a throng of adoring fans, or keeping her from falling while a King Game is going on--is enough to anchor her to him.

#20. Her legs are too long.
Her skirt is hiked up above her knees, and Masayuki tries not to look. Instead he closes his eyes and imagines himself elsewhere; older, maybe, or more sophisticated, and this time when he tells a girl, 'I like you. Will you go out with me?' she does not say a word. Instead she lifts one creamy leg off the bed, her skirt gliding across her thighs, waiting for him to notice her.


Copyright 2014
Sept 18, 2014

NOTE: This was written in response to a Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun prompt.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekend Prompt | Sept 13-14

I love anime and one of my latest faves is Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. Here's an interesting article to help explain my obsession.

Curiously, I'm more drawn to a minor pairing than the mine one, and it turns out I'm not the only one. This couple topped a recent poll as the readers' favorite pairing. I like how deceptively simple their relationship seems on the surface (she's the playboy school prince; he's her club senior and clearly fed up with her antics). But watch a bit more and you see their careful dance around each other, despite their blunt words and harsh actions.

So here's my latest prompt, the official art that accompanied the poll. This will be my last anime-related prompt/fic for this month (though to be fair, the first prompt wasn't anime-related at all, just the resulting fic), I promise:

Yup, my mind went there.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Weekend Prompt #1 | In the Company of Fish

In the Company of Fish

A flash of orange, and the fish swim away into the folds of the silken kimono. The merchant eyes his customer as he tucks the kimono out of sight, aware that while the man's interest has been baited, there is still the question of price between them.

"The sleeves of this furisode are exquisitely made," the customer concedes in a manner that the merchant would almost consider gracious, if it weren't for the brisk tone often used by men who are not easily won over.

"I am pleased that you think so," the merchant says instead. "Suzuki-sensei will be most humbled to learn that his fine kimono has been met with such regard. His skill is unparalleled in the area--"

The man abruptly brings out more coins than what the merchant is prepared to ask. "Tell Suzuki-sensei that I look forward to seeing more of his fine merchandise."

The merchant, having expected a long and exhaustive debate over the value of the kimono, suddenly finds himself at a loss for a response. He brings the kimono out once more and wraps it into a tidy package. He bows deeply, belatedly. "Thank you for your business." As the gentleman leaves, the merchant is left to wonder the fate of those fish with a man whose eyes seem so cold.


The man doesn't anticipate his intended's reaction, beyond the customary refusals. "You don't like it?" Only he says it more like a statement, each word heavy with its own certainty.

"Of course I like it," she begins tentatively, but he knows that slight crease in her forehead. It warns him that an impassioned speech is on its way and she does not disappoint. "I've never owned anything quite like this before! The fabric is gorgeous and the colors and ... oh! Everything's so rich and vibrant." Her finger traces a reluctant path over the the kimono's details. "But that's just it, I suppose. This is much too rich for me. I suppose I want something I can be more comfortable in, something that suits me."

"I was under the impression that you young ladies enjoyed turning men's heads with such a display of color," he tells her.

The crease in her forehead deepens; he realizes he has blundered onto some mistake. She carefully puts the furisode aside.

"How easy it must be for you to decide my wants," she says almost glibly, but he senses her anger. He is uncomfortable in this skin, the comforter. Instead, he bides his time and waits for the squall to disappear from her eyes.

"If you do not appreciate the kimono, it will be easy to exchange it for another," he replies calmly. He does not understand. Her tone up until now has been perfectly neutral, her questions perfectly valid (why, indeed, the rain asks as it falls in slow random drops outside, as if unsure whether today is the right moment to turn into a summer torrent--why, why, why), but he has a feeling that their world is poised at an equinox not of his own choosing.

"Don't," she says firmly, folding the garment into her arms, gentler than he has ever seen her move. "I am honored by the gift, but perhaps I do not wish to turn young men's heads as you so delicately put it. If I may excuse myself?"

He watches her go. He does not understand why his chest seems to tighten at her admission (no, not true, it is but a fool's notion that there is any emotion processed outside his mind), as if the fish from her furisode have silently navigated the room and floundered, lost, into the chambers of his heart.


The rain forgets details. It only remembers grand things: a tree twice touched by lightning, a deep scar made on the bank where the river once swelled. It does not remember the stone on which a little girl once tripped or how that girl's lips (now a woman) is the shade of a persimmon that has bruised itself easily on the hard earth.

Some days, he wishes to be the rain.


In the end, she wears the furisode to the harvest festival. When she moves, hundreds of sunset fish jump and hide beneath a shower of cherry blossoms. His strides are long and measured but it is an effort to keep up with her. Does he imagine the mischievous rise of her lips, smoothed back before he can contemplate what it means? Or does he remember the girl she once was, the one he thought would welcome him back and let him settle into her life without any complaints?

"Why do you think that you must be responsible for my happiness?" she asks him suddenly. He blinks, unsure of the question's origins, uncomfortable with its implications. But still, she forges on. "Who told you what I need to be happy?"

"I am sorry." He says the words a year too late, but here they are nonetheless, stumbling after them on an uneven autumn road. He had thought the furisode would be a step towards penance but he is slow in contemplating his faults, especially where she is concerned.

"You are not the same man who left," she tells him. "I am not the maiden you left behind. We do not have many obligations left to each other, you and I."

"Even to make you happy?"

"Autumn does not seem like such a good time to start," she notes. He hears it in her voice, the unspoken admonition, the blame, the regret.

"I will walk with you to the temple," he says. He wants to reach out for her but he is afraid that all he will touch are scales, too quick and slippery to hold.

She nods. "I will see myself home."


Copyright 2014
Sept 9, 2014

NOTE: Furisode - a colorful kimono worn by single women especially on festivals and other occasions. The long and flowing sleeves are said to be usually colorful to attract men.

This was written in response to this prompt.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Weekend Prompt | Sept 6-7

As a personal challenge, I'm going to start posting little prompts here and hope they help me write something before the weekend is over. I'm thinking tonight it'll be Jim Croce's Lover's Cross. My friend Ilyn tweeted the most beautiful part of the lyrics a few minutes ago and it reminded me how deftly a song can capture a specific experience:

'Cause baby, I can't hang upon no lover's cross for you

My favorite lines go:
And you were tryin' to make me your martyr
And that's the one thing I just couldn't do
'Cause baby, I can't hang upon no lover's cross for you

'Cause tables are meant for turnin'
And people are bound to change
And bridges are meant for burnin'
When the people and memories
They join aren't the same

It's Friday night; let's see where this goes. Join me?