Valentine’s Day

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“Tomorrow is Valentine’s day Honey”, my wife mentioned. “So?” I responded. “Nothing. Maybe you’ve got plans”, she said with a big smile. “I’m tired”, I uttered. Valentine’s was a big thing for my wife. She wanted to make every moment special for us because we only live once. We were married for thirty years and she never missed any special occasions. It became an ordinary day to me as life was always stressful. Problems never go away. We’re stuck with them. On our wedding day, I promised to my wife that I would make her happy every day. I’d be there when she needed me. And I would follow her through every struggle we would encounter. But celebrating occasions like Valentine’s Day has never been my thing. I didn’t understand why it had to be important for women.

Two years ago on a Valentine’s Day, my wife bought tickets to Florida. She made reservations in a nice hotel along the beach. It was winter where we lived and I would love to go there. However, I couldn’t leave work as the company’s president would arrive the day after Valentine’s Day. Since we couldn’t go to Florida, my wife prepared a dinner at home with candles and flower petals on the table and on the floor. She was dressed up and put on light make-up. She looked beautiful and always had been beautiful in my eyes. I asked what the occasion was and she said it was Valentine’s Day. She served garden salad with Italian sauce and coconut shrimp for an appetizer then a lobster tail for our main course. She also baked heart-shaped chocolate cake with cherry on top for desert. After we ate, I went to bed right away as I was tired and all I wanted was to relax. I noticed her eyes were red as if she had just cried. I ignored it and went to sleep. The Valentine’s before that year, we were supposed to go to California but I had a busy day at work. She made dinner but I came home late. She was already asleep when I arrived home. She slept with an empty stomach as she waited for me to come home.

The day after my conversation with my wife about Valentine’s, I had seen fliers of Hawaii in our room. I thought she bought tickets to Hawaii as even though she knew we wouldn’t be able to go. I had an important meeting at work the next morning and I couldn’t miss it. I told her about it and she frowned. As I fell asleep, I had a dream. My wife had a heart attack while she was preparing our dinner. I got up from bed and I thought I was not dreaming anymore. I went to the kitchen to get water but as soon as I looked away, I saw my wife lying on the kitchen floor. She was dead and food was all over the floor as if she was making our dinner when she died. Smoke came out from the oven and the frying pan was on fire. I carried my wife and called out for my son. As I was screaming, my wife woke me up. “Thank God. It’s just another dream”, I whispered. I hugged my wife and told her that I love her. I never mentioned my nightmare as I didn’t want to worry her. Then, I went back to bed.

The next day, I cancelled my meeting and bought plane tickets to Hawaii. I spent the rest of the week with my wife. I brought her to a different seafood restaurant as she loved seafood. We got to experience the fantastic night life of Honolulu. It was amazing and we had so much fun. On Valentine’s night, I gave my wife thirty roses symbolizing our wedding years. I rented a beach resort with just the two of us there and hired a pianist to play a song for us. The pianist played our wedding song and I invited my wife to dance with me like the old times. It was a wonderful night and I wished it never ended. The smile I saw on my wife’s face was priceless. I was such a horrible husband as I never made her smile like that before. I hugged my wife tightly and told her,” I love you.” “I love you too but you must wake up. You have a busy day ahead,” my wife said. “Am I still dreaming?” I asked her. “Yes you are. It’s February 14th today. You need to get up. Hurry!” My wife uttered. I suddenly woke up as my alarm rang. It was already 8 o’clock in the morning and the meeting I was supposed to attend had already started. I told my wife to get up and help me make breakfast as I decided to cancel my meeting that day. But, she was not waking up. I planned on going to Hawaii with her and doing just what had happened in my dreams, but my wife was already dead. I slapped my face several times because maybe it was just another dream but it was surreal. It broke my heart a thousand times as I didn’t get to make it up to her for the last time.

After her funeral, I pulled our wedding picture out of its frame. I saw my wife’s handwriting on the back of the photo and it said, “It was the best day of my life – February 14th”. Then I realized that February 14th was our wedding anniversary. Tears fell and everything started to sink in. It was the reason why Valentine’s Day was extremely important to her. How could I have forgotten it? I learned from the day I lost her that she had health issues too. She hid it from me as she thought it would be another problem I had to deal with. I felt so wrong about how I treated my wife. I broke all my promises on our wedding day. She deserved way better and I wished I could make it all right. But it’s too late. Since I lost her, I always tell my son to cherish every moment with his wife as life is too short and we can never bring people back.

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The Lioness

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On July 26, 1977, a precious little girl was born. Her parents named her Lauren and she weighed 7 lbs.  She was a healthy and beautiful baby. She was the only child the couple had and they provided everything she needed. She couldn’t be called a ‘spoiled brat’ as she was strictly following her parent’s demands. As she was growing up, her parents were overprotective. She only ate healthy food and was adamant about sanitation. She could not be friends with just anybody unless her parents said so. She was always dressed nicely and appropriately. Her parents would bring her to exclusive events where only politicians and well-known people around their town could attend. She learned to socialize the wealthy way and people expected more from her as she was the daughter of somebody who had an extraordinary role in their town. But, it was a tiring role for her as she wanted to have a simple life. She feared disappointing the people who were counting on her someday as she believed that she couldn’t make great accomplishments like her parents did.

Two years after she graduated in college, she was expected to work for the family business and would take it over someday. But she was dismayed as she wanted to build her own empire through hard work and dedication. She didn’t want to bypass hard work but wanted to start from scratch instead. Her parents ignored her desires and appointed her as the new manager. She didn’t have a choice but to obey her parents. She worked as a manager for a year but she didn’t seem to enjoy what she was doing. So she asked her parents to provide her capital as she was planning to buy a franchise from one of these promising fast food chains around their area. Her parents couldn’t believe that she would rather promote processed food than the fresh food which she always had eaten and what her family’s business was into. She knew her parents would not agree but she had no ill intentions. She did not dream of what her future would become as she had plans for herself. So she left to find herself.

She went to Greece to take her mind off of reality. She wanted to become a writer and a photographer. She took pictures of everything she discovered in Greece and published a story about it. However, she realized nobody noticed her first story but she thought that it was only the beginning. She had fun in Greece as it was one of the most beautiful countries in the world. People were kind and hospitable. Their food was appetizing too. After her expedition in Greece, she then went to Spain. She did the same thing. She took pictures and published another story. She stayed for another week in Barcelona as she wanted to explore more. Then next country she visited was France. She loved Paris. She found all kinds of interesting stuff there. She tried things that tourists typically do when they get to Paris. She thought about finding love but she didn’t find anything serious. So she went to Italy to see and experience what the country had. She was amazed by the medieval icons and places she witnessed. She stayed in Venice. It was where she finally found the love of her life. His name is Anthony. He was not from Venice and was also visiting the place at that moment.

Lauren was amazed by what she discovered at the Vatican Museum. As she flipped around to see tapestries on the wall, she densely bumped into Anthony’s chest. She stuttered and felt embarrassed. Anthony asked if she was okay and apologized because he was not paying attention to his surroundings. Lauren told him that she was okay and not to worry about it. Then, Anthony asked if she was alone as he noticed she was not from Venice and a tourist as well. After a stroll around the museum, they went to a café. They talked and had fun. Anthony escorted Lauren on her way back to the hotel and realized they were staying in the same hotel. They laughed and called each other ‘stalkers’ at the same time which brought them into more laughter.

On the next day, Anthony waited for Lauren to come out from her room as he wanted to invite her for breakfast downtown. But she had already left early in the morning to exercise as it was her daily morning routine. After an hour of waiting, Anthony went back to his room and waited for another 3 hours to invite Lauren for lunch. He accidentally saw Lauren in the hallway while she was on her way out to visit the cathedral. He told Lauren that he would go with her and was wondering if she wanted to grab lunch with him. Loren thought it was sweet and so they went out together. They became friends and started going out together throughout their short stay in Venice. After a week, Lauren thought of visiting Berlin and asked Anthony if he wanted to go with her. However, Anthony had only come to see Venice and had to go back for work. It was a sad moment for both of them as they had to say goodbye. Anthony gave his address to Lauren in case she ever wanted want to shoot him a letter.

After Lauren’s tour in Germany, she finally came back home. Her parents were so mad at her because they thought that she was slacking from her responsibilities. Lauren finally told them what she wanted but her parents disapproved of it. Her parents told her to go back to work as she already spent more than enough of her leave credits and that she wouldn’t get paid for the next 3 months. She went back to work but was still frustrated with the situation. She remembered that Anthony gave her his address. She never looked it up until the day she remembered it. She was surprised as she found out that he lived 5 hours away from her. She went to visit him and Anthony was happy to see her. They couldn’t believe that they met in Venice as they lived not so far from each other. Anthony then thought that she was maybe destined for him as they would never meet again if they were not. From then on, Anthony and Lauren were secretly seeing each other. It was after a year before Lauren’s parents learned about their relationship as her father sent somebody to follow her. Her dad was extremely mad with her when he found it out. He couldn’t believe that their daughter would date a guy who had no stable career. They were expecting her to choose a desirable man to date. Loren fought for her love and it left her penniless. She resigned at her job and her parents cut off their support for her. They removed her name from the company and she would never get anything from it.

Since then, Lauren learned to live simple. She struggled with life as she encountered criticisms from people whom loved her except for Anthony. He stood beside her and they fought together. They moved out of the city where Anthony lived as people started attacking them. He was fired from his previous job because of Lauren’s dad’s doings. Even Lauren couldn’t get a job and she felt like it was her fault that Anthony had to live that way because of her. Anthony never abandoned Lauren as he loved her just as much. They moved to the other side of the country where people didn’t know them. Lauren never contacted her parents again as she knew they would make her suffer leaving her with no option but to return to them and reconcile. She had enough of being told what to do and was dedicated to move on and build her own career as a writer and a photographer. One day, she visited a tattoo shop. She got a lion tattoo on her back as it symbolizes braveness and fearlessness. She believed that she was a lioness and every trial that she encountered, she would fight back and would never give up. She applied for dozens of jobs until she was finally hired by a broadcasting company.

She started as a local news columnist. It was an exciting job for her as she went to live events whether it was or was not dangerous just to get a scoop on the story. One time, she was asked to write a feature story presenting the hotels and restaurants owned by her parents. Her boss didn’t know that she was the owner’s daughter as Lauren was secretive with her life story to her colleagues. She didn’t want to see her parents again and didn’t want them to know where she was. She told her boss that she couldn’t do it and would just cover another story instead. Her boss was intrigued by what her reasons were for turning down the story. But Lauren remained quiet and never told him the truth. Her boss then sent another reporter to interview the owners. Later in the interview, Lauren’s name was acknowledged by her parents as they were worried about her and where she was and asked her to come home. However, Lauren was determined to accomplish what she started before she could face her parents again. And when they were ready to accept Anthony and their marriage, only then would she consider reconciliation.

She strived hard to meet her goals and worked with several companies where she thought she could grow her career. She then became a live news reporter on television. She published thousands of copies of her stories about the different countries she visited as well as a biography on her own life story. Her stories were distinguished and her readers were amused by her love story. Every story she published sold out and the public demanded for more. She became a popular writer and a famous photographer. She left news casting after she published her second story. Anthony was very proud of her and was finally accepted by her parents. Anthony became her partner in their own publishing company and her co-photographer.

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Gold Digger

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Before I begin with my story, let me introduce myself first. I’m Daniel. I’m 38 years old and from Indonesia. I grew up in a very poor family living in the mountains. I was the breadwinner and supported my 4 siblings and my mother. My mother had been always sick but we couldn’t afford to bring her to the hospital every time her asthma attacked her. My life was very frustrating as I never had the chance to buy luxuries and would only dream about it. Sometimes, my family and I would only eat once or twice a day as my daily income couldn’t provide three meals a day for 6 mouths. It was a tough life but I managed to escape from it.

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I worked as a personal body guard for the Mayor’s son 19 years ago. So, wherever my boss went I followed him. He was very kind to me and would give me extra money or food for my family. I owed him a lot for his generosity. He treated me like a brother and disregarded my duty as his body guard. We hung out together just like siblings. We laughed, we cried, we had fun, and we made mistakes together. My boss was around my age when I worked for him. He was a party animal. He would bring me to the club to hang out with girls. One night, my boss and I tagged along with his friends at a club. I didn’t really have fun as I didn’t belong in their group. They were a bunch of rich kids and I was only a poor boy. I went back to the car and relaxed for a bit as I couldn’t drink any more. It was already 2 o’clock in the morning. As I was napping, I heard a girl crying. She was standing by the car where I was seated. I approached her to investigate. She told me that she recently broke up with her longtime boyfriend. I asked her if she wanted to drive around to maybe make her feel better and she agreed. We drove around the town while my boss and his friend were still drinking. I also brought her to a nearby seashore to get fresh air and so she could shout her anger out. We stayed there for an hour and went back to the bar as I had to drive my boss back home.

A few days later, I met the girl again in a grocery store. I forgot to ask her name the last time we met because she was too drunk to make a conversation. So I took the chance to ask her. She couldn’t remember me and she didn’t remember hanging out with me. I told her about the seaside and that she broke up with her boyfriend but I guess, she was really drunk that night. I asked her if we could be friends but surprisingly, she asked me if I was rich because if I was not, we could not be friends. I lied. I told her I was the Mayor’s nephew and that of course I was well-off. She finally told me her name was Monica and gave me her phone number as she was about to leave the store. I didn’t know what I was thinking or why I lied but I thought it was going to be okay.  As she left, I ran back to my boss. I told him about it but he laughed at me and called me a ‘fool’.  My boss did me a favor and gave me his old but wearable clothes and shoes so I could look presentable. My boss also gave me money for dinner dates and I didn’t have to pay him back. However, he was a little concerned as I could not hide my real identity forever.

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I’ve been seeing Monica for quite some time and it was hard to pretend to be somebody that I was not. Luckily, I was well taken care of by my boss as he taught me to act aristocratic. I only finished up to 6th grade and I was not as intelligent either. Every date we had, every outfit I wore, all the money I spent, every car I used, and everything I told Monica, all came from my boss. I stole his cousin’s identity.

Moving forward… Monica confessed to me that she already liked me. I thought since she already liked me, what if I tell her the truth? I was already falling in love with her. So I continued being pretentious until one time, she asked me to bring her home and introduce her to my parents. I knew that she would ask me for it one day and I wouldn’t be able to do so. I thought about a definite reason why I couldn’t bring her home but I couldn’t lie no more. I already loved her and the more I lie, the less chances she would love me back. One day, I asked her to meet me. I revealed my real identity and it upset her. She walked out and never looked back. I wanted to chase her but it was not worth it anymore. She would hate me forever and wouldn’t see each other again. It was all my fault. I never thought she would like me either as I only desired to be friends with her when I saw her being lonely at the club. I only wanted to cheer her up so she could move on.

One night as I got drunk, I blamed God for giving me that kind of life. I never chose to be poor. If I were to be born again, I would rather be a billionaire. Because by being rich I wouldn’t have to worry about working and providing for my family as money is constantly there. While I was working hard to feed my family it was never good enough. The next morning as I sobered up, I realized that it was about time to be productive. Even though I hadn’t finished school, I was wise enough to deal with life. A long time ago before I was even born, my mom inherited land from her parents when they died. My mother never thought of selling it as it was the only hope she had of providing us with a future one day.

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I visited the land my mother inherited. It was dry with cracks all over it and I didn’t know what to do with it. And it was too far from the city. So, I thought about turning it into farmland. I asked my boss to help me out getting the land prepared so crops could grow in it. He hired bulldozers to refine the land and helped me with the irrigation system so that water could reach the farmland and keep the flow of water to it. A month after, I filled up the land with rice seedlings and planted vegetables and trees. It took a while before the rice would be fully grown while the vegetables took at least a month. From then on, I focused on farming and became an expert. I was earning enough to support my family from the vegetables we sold in the wet market every day until I was able to save up from selling rice to buy the nearby land. I kept expanding my farm and now I own 50 hectares of land. I put a lot of hard work in it and my heart to it. I survived all the tragedies that came through and I didn’t give up as I know the farm was there for a reason. Typhoons and drought were my biggest problems as it was caused by nature and it destroyed my farm numerous times but I never quit. Instead, I pushed myself more and more. My family was my inspiration in my success. Quitting was never an option to me. I put 15 years of my existence into becoming a successful farmer and now is not the time to just sit down. I hired laborers to help me out with planting rice seedlings on each farm all over the country. I, myself, help them out to plant rice when it’s time. People of Indonesia need to eat to survive and rice is critical for supplementing this. From then on, the flow of cash in my hands was continuous and I was able to buy a villa for my family. Thanks to my longtime friend/boss, Rob, who helped me construct my land. I would never be as prosperous as now if it was not because of him. He helped me a lot to become who and where I am now.

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A few years back, I went to a well-known classy restaurant downtown to discuss business with the owner. I succeeded with my proposal to deliver them rice and vegetable all-year round. On my way out of the restaurant, I saw Monica. She was wearing the waitress’ outfit and holding a serving tray. I smiled and told myself, “You would have been my partner in life and wealthy now, but you ignored me because I was poor. You know how it was to be poor, yet you chose to be with a rich guy. I knew I didn’t deserve you as you were a liar just like me when we met. But my intentions towards you were good and yours were purely evil”. Money is nothing compared to love. As the love I had for my family motivated me to get where I am now. Monica then noticed me as I was walking out. When she was about to say goodbye to me as she was doing her job to greet every customer, she stopped. She asked me if we had met before. I told her yes that I lied to her as a mayor’s nephew and she remembered it. Of course, she wasn’t drunk when we were seeing each other as I didn’t want her to turn into an alcoholic. Her face suddenly brightened up and she was willing to talk to me more about my life after we split up. I told her that I was managing farms and always busy throughout the day. She couldn’t believe me and laughed at my face. And said, “I know you are here to escort your boss”. “Monica, believe whatever you want but I have to go”, I told her. Then my personal assistant approached me to remind me of my next meeting. So I said goodbye to Monica as I had to go and she couldn’t believe what she just heard from my assistant when he called me “boss”. Monica chased me and asked if we could meet again as she became intrigued. I told her that I had no time for deceptive friends as I was denied a long time ago by the only person I had dreamt of being in my future.

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Since then, I became picky with the girls I date. She doesn’t have to be rich. Her personality matters to me more than anything else. I had encountered several women but they were after my money and not love. I was lucky to find one three years ago and now she is the mother of my two beautiful daughters.

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The Love of my Life

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“God, thank you for giving me the best parents ever!” It was what I always told Him before I would go to bed when I was a kid. My parents were great but a little overprotective when it comes to relationships. My mom was a conservative woman. She always made me change my clothes whenever I wore low-cut tops and would tell me, “wrap the gift, you don’t have to show off”. And my dad was like my ultimate stalker. He followed me wherever I went and picked me up from school even before my curfew. He was a real party-pooper as he always showed up whenever I was out with my girls at night or at a friend’s house. Since then, I couldn’t wait to turn 18. I wanted to have fun and enjoy my youthful days but it felt as if God had forbidden me to do so.

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After high school, I moved out from the house and stayed in a college dormitory with my best friend. It was eight hours away from home. Finally, I was on my own but my mom reminded me about the ground rules we had at home that I had to strictly follow whether I was or wasn’t living in the house. Gladly it was a joke because I was looking forward to having fun in my college days. But, I was determined to finish my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. A few months later, I met a guy. His name is Gabriel but I go by his nickname. I was fascinated by how Gab played his violin at a restaurant. He was a music artist and a violinist at night. He composed his own songs and recorded it at his friend’s studio.

I called it ‘love at first’ sight when I saw Gab. He was charming and a gentleman.  His music captured my attention as soon as I entered the restaurant’s door. I couldn’t resist looking at him while my girlfriend was conversing with me. I was mesmerized then realized my friend was asking me a question that interrupted my fantasies. Then my friend noticed my actions and immediately grabbed Gab’s attention after his set. She invited him to our table to meet me. I was embarrassed but I wouldn’t miss the chance either. We exchanged phone numbers and from then, we started going out. We always went to a quiet place. I thought it was because of his music genre that encouraged him to go in a solemn place rather than hanging out in a bar as we were still young at that time. I was not really a party girl but I liked the idea of going to loud clubs sometimes. It was then I realized that he was a different kind of a guy. He was classic in a way that his manners were old-fashioned when courting a girl. He had spoken deep affectionate words to me that I myself couldn’t even understand. It came from him naturally and romanced me. He liked classical music as well. He was an interesting guy to date and I didn’t have second thoughts about it.

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 We dated for two years. I was hesitant to introduce him to my parents while I was still studying because I knew they would tell us to split up. One day, we almost got caught up by my parents. Gab was in my room and we were having a little quality time together. My parents surprised me with a visit and I was only wearing my tank top and underwear by the time they began knocking on the door. So, I pushed Gab into my closet and covered him with my clothes just in case my mom would check it. Then changed into my pants and opened the door. I immediately invited my parents for lunch so Gab could get out. Luckily, my parents were hungry so we left right away. I knew my mom. She would inspect my room if we stayed there longer. After we had lunch, we went back to the dormitory. Gab was gone but he left his jacket. My mom asked me whose jacket it was and I was a bit shaky when I answered her. My mom was getting suspicious. She didn’t believe that it was my roommate’s.  I couldn’t think of any better idea at that moment. She started ranting about my priorities. All she wanted was for me to obtain my bachelor’s degree and not get caught up in distractions. I was not a good liar so I admitted I had been seeing somebody. I was thinking if my parents met Gab, they would have let us keep dating. But, I chose not to as I was scared of what my parents would tell him. I didn’t want him to get offended. From then on, my parents called me every night checking on what I was doing and to make sure I was concentrating to my studies. They would call in the middle of the day which was embarrassing as I was either with my friends or with Gab. I explained to Gab why I must hide our relationship to my parents which he fully understood. We limited our hours together because I had to focus more on my studies. I noticed that I was already falling behind in my classes.

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One day, my professor advised me to see her after class. I failed two of my classes. They were my major subjects and pre-requisites for my upcoming classes that I was supposed to attend in the next semester. I had no clue how to confess it to my parents as they were paying the rest for my college and were giving me allowances. They would surely get upset and maybe cut off financing me. I wasn’t on the dean’s list anymore so the school removed my scholarship. I started to worry about paying 100% of my tuition fees which I couldn’t afford. I had no idea where or how to come up with the money every semester unless I asked my parents to pay for it.

On the first day of my short break, my parents arrived to bring me home and spend some time with them. I thought they had no idea what I was going on but the dean already informed them about my situation. As we arrived home, my parents asked me why I failed. I told them I did my best and was not slacking on my studies but it was not good enough. They told me that I could have done better if I didn’t get distracted by being in a relationship. They demanded me to transfer to my hometown and picked one of the schools around there. I didn’t agree with it and asked them for another chance. I couldn’t leave my school because of Gab. He motivated me but I was being stubborn and went out to see him perform every night instead of studying. However, my parents were not fine with paying my tuition unless I transferred. I didn’t want to take a break from school either because who knows what would happen to me in the future if I stopped and resumed later.

I had been thinking of what my parents had told me for quite a while. I finally agreed with their terms. I transferred to one of the schools nearby to resume my studies. I explained everything to Gab when I got back in my dormitory to pick up my stuff. I could tell how sad and disappointed he was. But there was no other option for me unless I stopped and worked around there so I could stay with him. But what would our life be if we were both making minimum wages. We wouldn’t be able to afford to move in together unless we stayed at his mother’s home.

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A few months later, I was getting the hang of a long distance relationship situation. We still talked over the phone which my parents disapproved of. Gab would sometimes make a trip to my hometown to see me. We met at least once a month over the weekends. I hid it from my parents as they wanted me to concentrate on my studies and it was my last hope to graduate. One day, I handed my transcript to my parents and they were frustrated with my grades. I passed but my grades were only at .1% above the passing rate. My parents expected more from me as I have always been intellectually inclined. So what they did was, they cut off my phone subscription and grounded me over the weekends. They wanted me to focus more on the upcoming semester. I had not called or texted Gab the following days and he was worried sick about me. He suddenly showed up in the front of the house to see me. My mom told me to stay inside and let my dad deal with him. I had no clue what my dad had told Gab but from then on, he never showed up again.

On my graduation day, I was expecting one person to show up and celebrate my special day with me. I tried calling him but it went straight to voicemail. It hurt that I didn’t get to see him for a year but I never stopped loving him. As soon as I got my phone back months before my graduation, I tried calling him but he never answered. My parents threw a party in the house for my graduation but it was no fun for me as I was waiting for only one person, which was Gab. He never showed up but sent me a graduation letter rather. In his letter, he expressed his feelings of how happy he was that my dreams finally came true and I would be able to take care of myself. But, he already had moved on a long while ago and started seeing someone else to keep the pain away. He mentioned what my dad told him. My dad asked him to stay away from me and to never come back or he would call the cops. He also added that I didn’t need a musician who had no directions in life because he wouldn’t be able to support me by just performing in a restaurant every night. After reading his letter, I was so angry at my dad and made it obvious to him. But his answers were, “I did what I know was right. If you stay with him, do you think you would be able to graduate? What would your life be? I did my part as a dad and what I knew what was best for my child. You have already gotten a degree. Now you’re free to go and start your own life without making us, your parents, worried thinking about how you would build your life if you haven’t finished school. These days, even a decent job can’t pull in good money. How would you afford to live with him if your options were limited in getting a job? I don’t want you to be miserable in the end so I had to take my chances in guiding you on the right path.”

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From then on, I never dated anybody else. I always thought about Gab and never once forgot about him. I went to see him once but he didn’t live there anymore. He moved abroad as I discovered from a former friend of his. I was happy of what music led him into especially that it was his greatest dream to perform on a big stage in front of many people. He had gotten popular even on the social media as well as on the television. I have never seen Gab since then but I hope he is doing just fine.


Meanwhile, I moved to the other side of the country and stayed busy with work. I’m currently working in a marketing company as a manager. I finally got the job I wanted and a growing career but my love life is not as fruitful. Until now, I’m still waiting for the day to come where our paths shall meet again because Gab will always be the love of my life.

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The Bartender

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I used to be a player. I dated a lot of girls, had sex with them then dumped them in a week or two. I didn’t believe in neither true love nor destiny. It didn’t make sense to me as I grew up in a broken family. My father divorced my mother and got remarried with to another woman. However, my father and his second wife had been sexually involved with each other since my father was still married to my mother. Basically, he cheated on my mother and chose his mistress over us. He left my mom and I when I was only 3 years old and never contacted us ever since. I didn’t know where he was and had no interest in knowing. Two years ago, I was in the same situation as my parents. I had a girlfriend but I fell in love with another woman. Nonetheless, the other woman I fantasized about was married.

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I was happy with my girlfriend, Gina. For the first time in my life, my views on relationships had changed. Gina showed me what real love was and gave me hope of having a successful marriage one day. She was very nice and caring so I had no reason to cheat on her. She was very far from the other girls I had dated before. She graduated in a nursing school but for some reason she didn’t work as a nurse. She never got the chance to practice it but worked for a call center company instead. Although, she worked as a manager. I wanted her to never stop chasing her dreams to become a doctor one day but she was discouraged and gave it up. She tried applying in different hospitals as a nurse but never got employed. As a partner, all I wanted was the best for my girl. I remained positive and kept pushing her to try it again.

I worked as a bartender in a club. It was where I met a bunch of girls. Most of them were heart broken, separated and party girls. I had several relationships with divorced women. I dated party girls too but ended them quickly. And with most heartbroken girls I met I just had a one night stand and never contacted them again. I was up to date with my monthly check-ups and always had a condom in my pocket. People would say: “Before you attack her, wrap your whacker”.  I didn’t wear condoms when having intercourse with Gina because I knew she was disease free. I met her in a club. She was accompanying her friend, Lorie, who was heartbroken and Gina was there to comfort her. I had a one night stand with her friend Lorie but she never mentioned it to Gina. Afterwards it was always an awkward situation whenever the three of us would hang out.

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Gina and I dated for almost five years. We had our ups and downs and temptations were around me at work but I controlled myself around the pretty faces. I stopped messing around with other girls since our first anniversary. I thought Gina was the love of my life but I met another girl at the club. Her name is Rhonda. She was crying when I met her. Rhonda had troubles with her marriage because she thought her husband was falling out of love with her. Her husband didn’t have time for her anymore as he was busy with his job. He traveled abroad twice a month and only stayed home for three days in between his trips. Rhonda became suspicious with her husband as she witnessed him in a restaurant with another woman one night. Since then, they never had a romantic moment again and their marriage was falling apart. They used to be a sweet couple and their love to one another was unbreakable. They didn’t have a kid and never planned on having one. They were fine having each other as sidekicks.

As soon as I met Rhonda, I had already adored her. Her beauty overtook me that night. We talked for a bit as I bought her a drink and told her I would pay for her bill. I sat beside her and listened to her anecdotes. I wanted to help her feel better. Since then, we were always in contact with each other and went out for a dinner a couple times. She always came to the club to see me and stayed there until my shift was over. I thought it was only a friendship that we had but it was not. I hated to admit it in myself that I was already falling in love with her and being unfaithful to my girlfriend but it felt amazing whenever I was with Rhonda. Gina never discovered it and I felt bad. I couldn’t let go of Gina either while I was with Rhonda. Moreover, Rhonda knew about my relationship with Gina and she respected it. I didn’t come home to my girlfriend one time and spent the night with Rhonda. We had an amazing night and we enjoyed it. We didn’t have regrets and wanted to do it again. It was not just an ordinary night we had, there was love and joy intertwined with it. We had sex numerous times but what we were doing was totally wrong. Rhonda was married and I had a girlfriend.

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I was confused with my feelings at that moment. I didn’t know which one of them I should really be with. Considering the situation in which Rhonda was already married, I’d be in favor of Gina but Rhonda was something to me. Gina was my girlfriend and I loved her but being with Rhonda made me felt alive. I didn’t want to lose any of them but I would have to decide or I would lose them both. One day, I got Rhonda pregnant. We were excited about it. She told me, if she would be asked to choose whether to or not have a kid, she would rather have a kid because a home needs a child to complete it. I didn’t think of having protected sex with her because I knew she only had sex with me when we were together. Not even with her husband but she was worried her husband would find out. I attempted several times to talk to Gina about the situation but every time I tried to, she would cut me off. Rhonda never told to me that she would leave her husband for me so the scenario didn’t even come into play.

I was gone for a week to think about the situation thoroughly. I went to an isolated island and spent the week there alone. I had no communications to Rhonda or Gina because there was no signal in the area which was favorable to me. After being away for a week, I didn’t realize that Rhonda would go to my girlfriend’s house and look for me. This how the truth came out. Rhonda confessed to Gina about our affair and that she was pregnant. Gina couldn’t believe it happened and asked Rhonda to leave. I tried to explain it to Gina as soon as I got back home but she didn’t listen to me, packed my things and kicked me out of the house. It broke my heart and I already knew which one I wanted to be with. I told Gina that I chose to be with her over Rhonda even if Rhonda was pregnant but it was ineffective. I couldn’t let Rhonda’s pregnancy dictate what I desired. From then, I cut off my relationship with Rhonda but told her not to abort the baby. Our only problem was, how to explain it to her husband. Rhonda didn’t call me back or come to see me for a month. So, I called her friend to ask how she was doing. I found out that she was rushed to a hospital after aborting our child in their house alone. Her friend immediately drove to their house as soon as Rhonda called begging to her aid after aborting the fetus.  Rhonda was regretful for what she had done. She told her husband about our affair a month later. Of course, her husband was upset but Rhonda had her reasons. From then, Rhonda never talked to me again and I heard she was still married to her husband.


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I tried everything to win Gina back for a year. I sent her flowers at her work every day but she threw them away. I called her phone but she never answered. I waited outside her house every time she got off from work but she just ignored me. I followed her like a stalker but she pretended like she never saw me, and a lot more. After trying so hard, she finally accepted my apology and we started over. It took me some time to rebuild her trust and I know I deserved it. She meant everything to me so I did whatever it took. We’re happily engaged now. I had learned my lessons.


“I never realized how much Gina meant to me until I lost her. I needed her more than anything else in this world because I love her.”

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Culture Vs Love

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This story is about Xu and Joe who had been dating for a couple years before their relationship had come to an end because of cultural differences. Joe is a Filipino and Xu is a Chinese girl. Xu’s family never agreed with their relationship because Joe isn’t Chinese and still practiced their tradition where they already chose a Chinese man to marry Xu. It was a devastating moment for both Joe and Xu when she broke up with him and got engaged to a Chinese man.

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In 2000, Xu and Joe were both nursing students at Far Eastern University in Manila, Philippines. They were classmates and became study partners on their 3rd year level. It was where the romance began. On December 20, 2003, Joe admitted his feelings to Xu. He feared of losing her as a friend and would turn him down. Xu didn’t message him or call him in the next five days. Surprisingly, on Christmas day, Xu decided to meet him at the cafe and told him, she felt the same way too. However, Xu couldn’t announce their relationship to her family because they came from different cultures. She knew what was going to happen if she told her family about the relationship. Her parents would only disapprove it. Xu hid it for years from her family until Xu and Joe finished their studies.

On Chinese new year in 2010, Hyun, Xu’s sister, followed Xu as she was rushing to go somewhere. She followed her in a restaurant and felt dismayed as she saw Joe kissing Xu as they met. Hyun was supposed to surprise Xu about her wedding arrangements with another Chinese man that their parents had pre-arranged. Hyun witnessed Joe giving Xu a diamond ring as if he was proposing to Xu. Hyun left with no trace. On Xu’s way home, Hyun cornered her outside their house’s gate. She confessed to her what she saw and explained to her about her wedding arrangements. She was persistent in telling their parents about what Hyun had witnessed but Xu begged her not to. Xu revelead everything about her and Joe’s relationship to Hyun. She told her how happy she was to be with Joe. Fortunately, Hyun condoned her hiding it from their parents. They were sisters and supposed to be a team. Hyun admired her sister for following her heart but was disappointed in her for disobeying their parents.

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Xu thought her parents would finally accept Joe as her future husband after they became doctors. She made an announcement about their engagement to her family. Xu’s dad threw his wine glass and got upset. He spoke in Chinese telling Xu to end their relationship as soon as possible as her wedding to another Chinese man was already arranged. Xu couldn’t believe that her parents still made arrangements with another Chinese man despite the hard work that she applied to earning her degree. Xu believed that if Joe was a doctor, her parents would accept him. Knowing that Joe can bring good income into their family when they got married. They would both have a prosperous living with their professions. Xu’s parents were discontent and ordered Joe to stay away from her. Despite the insults that Joe heard, he didn’t leave but told them about his feelings for their daughter instead. It provoked them and made things worst. Xu’s dad had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital.

A few days later, Xu’s dad was getting better and he took the opportunity  to have a serious discussion with Xu. He revealed to Xu why she has to marry the Chinese man instead of Joe. It had something to do with their family business and of course, their tradition. The Chinese man is their only chance for the salvation of their livelihood by merging their companies together. On the other hand, Joe isn’t poor. He came from a business oriented family also. They owned a construction company however it wasn’t as profitable as the industry that Xu’s family was into. Sadly, Xu accepted his dad’s proposal. She had to break up with Joe to marry the Chinese man.

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From then on, Xu was never as happy as before. She felt like her life was controlled and never had a choice in her own happiness. She was able to obtain a successful career path in becoming a doctor which was her parent’s choice. She had to do it because so she would be useful for their family owned hospital. This is why she encouraged Joe to become one too. For when they got married, they could both work for the hospital. But things, didn’t go as planned. Destiny contradicted her desires. It was her only desire to be with the person she loved most… and that’s Joe.

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