A short story

Photo by Alexander Serzhantov on Unsplash

The lamps illuminating this little square have a unique kind of character. They burn softly, as if afraid of insulting the stars high above by outshining them. They crouch low on restaurants’ outdoor tables and the walls of the buildings lining the side streets. They do not reveal very much — only enough for me to see the cobblestone road on the ground before me and the silhouettes of people strolling through the alleys. The flickering lights dance across the water bubbling in the marble fountain in the middle of the square, on which a few people sit and talk…


A novel by Arlene J. Chai

Photo by Wander Fleur on Unsplash

“We are a strange people, Clara. We swallow so much of the injustice, hardship, and cruelty our fellow humans mete out to us. Why, we even have an expression for it: ‘We can take it.’ And we do. We would rather let things go and take all the wrong done to us than do something to correct the situation. Then we find ways to diffuse the crisis. It’s like putting out a fire. Only this fire is inside us. In the belly of this country. We can fight fire with water provided that we can get there soon enough. But…


A short story

Photo by Celine Sayuri Tagami on Unsplash

The doors were going up in flames. It was blazing hot. The smell of smoke chased me as I stumbled to the bathroom. I didn’t know what I was thinking. I couldn’t see anything. The stench of burning plastic filled my nose. I curled up by the bathtub, ready to sleep for the last time.

I hoped my dreams would be sweet ones. I hoped that I would see my humans in the next life in the same park we frequented, playing the same game of catch we always did. …


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

8 o’clock.

The cool night air embraced me as I stepped up to the large double doors with my family.

As we entered the foyer, the first thing that greeted us was the delicious smell of an approaching feast. Crispy lechon and fried chicken. Barbecue and pasta. Ham and all sorts of cheese. Lights from overhead glittered and shone. They seemed to me like the stars leading the three wise men on that Holy night we were celebrating. Aunts and uncles were the sources of all the excited chatter filling the halls.

I kissed my grandmother and grandfather’s cheeks in…


A poem

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’Tis hardly an easy thing to do

For he is a pest, a burden,

The world’s grandest failure,

And the greatest of all abominable men.

My heart is hardened and heavy;

He is the object of my utmost hatred.

He is but my greatest enemy.

I harbor this detestation

Long into the sunny, hopeful day

And farther into the lonely, black night.

No matter what others may say,

My forgiveness is not his right.

He asks not once for my forgiveness

And my forgiveness I do not give.

He deserves no recognition or kindness.

Yet, as the days pass by…


A reflection for the year-end.

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

Recently, as I was lumbering around my house and my eyes started spinning in their sockets from seeing the exact same things every day (due to the community quarantine), I have been asking myself a lot about why I do the little things I do. Why must I arrange the pillows on the sofa according to the prints on the pillows? Why do I arrange the files on my computer so carefully? Why is it that even if something as small as arranging the pens and pencils in my organizer seems so inconsequential, I still do it?

This past year…


If asteroids could talk, what would they say?

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

View the photo of asteroid 243 Ida and its natural satellite, Dactyl, here.

“Dactyl, how do I look?” 243 Ida asked its good friend.

“You look stunning, Ida! Your craters are as deep as ever! Why do you ask?” Dactyl replied.

“Good. Look up, Dactyl, and show off your biggest smile. A young human Earthling is gazing up at us,”

“Really? How nice of them to do so!”

Ida sighed. “I do miss that strange satellite that the human Earthlings sent to us a while ago. It was a very handsome piece of work, you know. …


As a student, I keep going with these reassurances in mind.

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

“Good morning, teacher!”

This was the salutation we repeated each day, like clockwork. Get to your classroom, prepare your class materials, and greet the teacher before lessons begin. The very statement implies a positive start for the day ahead. Truth be told, however, some mornings weren’t as good as the others. Some days, I would ask myself why I was sitting down and solving for the velocity of a vertical projectile if I could be resting at home with my family. On other days, I felt like quitting altogether. I wasn’t passionate about all of the things that I was…


In the Philippines, students are often given different messages about which language to speak in this multilingual country.

I’ve been a Filipino since the moment I was born. It says so on my birth certificate. I then went on to grow up in a household where the absence of a rice cooker is as unimaginable as the absence of the huge stash of Dove and Irish Spring products in the bathroom. We kill cockroaches with our slippers, and I eagerly waited for May Bukas Pa and Wansapanataym to air on ABS-CBN every few nights when they were still showing. Naturally, my first language is Tagalog.

When I entered kindergarten, I was thoroughly confused by my peers and my…


Image Credit: Margarita Beatrice

The day we, mankind, started asking questions was the day we started being most frustrated with ourselves. We couldn’t answer to the perennial problem of cancer, we couldn’t find the mechanism creating our dreams every night, and we couldn’t answer many of our own queries about the farthest reaches of the universe. The questions we pondered throughout the ages puzzled us, nevertheless, they have also helped us greatly.

All my years in grade school, the teachers would always be reminding us to start essays with hooks, like a question or an anecdote. Writing an article about questions, you might probably…

Margarita Beatrice

Sometimes I read, and sometimes I write. Sometimes I ask questions, and hope to bring the answers to light. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

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