Archive for November, 2006

This can’t be good for you

Wednesday, 29 November 06

Evil Bread


Yeah, this thing can’t be good for you. It’s sweet and it tastes yummy. Hmmm…

I don’t usually like eating bread unless it’s slathered with peanut butter, butter, or cheese. I always say that I like taking my butter with toast! Yes, I eat bread as an excuse to have the evil stuff. But here I am now nibbling on one without anything on it! GASP!

I’m getting quite addicted to this stuff, I am telling you. Have you guys tried Gardenia’s 5-grain loaf? It has a “GOOD for health” stamp on it. I’m really not sure it’s THAT good for your health. I think it is cleverly disguised white bread, which I am not supposed to eat. Hmmm…

Okay, it’s quite pale, so I am sure it’s closer to being white than whole wheat. The ingredients: high protein wheat flour (fortified with vitamins), refined sugar, five grain blend of linseeds, sunflower kernels, oat flakes, wheat flakes, and sesame seeds, among other things. Wheat flour, not so good; refined sugar, bad. AND, it has 2 grams of saturated fat and 4 milligrams of cholesterol! Hmmm…

It’s bad for you.

I guess that’s why I like it!


PS. I really love the seeds. Chirp!


Sun(ny)spots on a neurotic mind

Tuesday, 28 November 06

Second Breakfast

I normally stay away from McDonald’s, but it was 7.30 AM and I had to wait for my bank to open. It was going to be a long day so I decided to park myself in one corner of the fast-food joint. Bottomless java for less than 30 bucks; I was a happy little bee fueled by a caffeine buzz.

Well… almost happy. I was dreading the hours ahead, the long day I had to go through. I didn’t have a car and had to hitch a ride to Makati (hence, killing time at the merry golden arches was in order). Next stop was Quiapo, which to me was like crossing 7 mountains on foot just to get there. I normally enjoy my trips to Old Manila, but I do not savor the jaunt when the sun is showing off its dazzling rays and going full blast on every pore of my body. It felt like summer all over again. I was not scared of getting a tan (although I absolutely abhor tan lines); it was the energy drain I was afraid of. The sun is like a greedy vampire (how ironic, isn’t it); it pilfers the living daylights out of me from every recess and crevice it finds whenever I step out of the shade. Think of the sun in Camus’s “The Stranger” and how it became a major player in the story as it hounded Meursault through his ordeal. That same sun is mine enemy. I started to commiserate in silence as I go over my route to the old city.

Fortunately, the room provided me with enough distraction from my worries about my adversary. There were not a lot of people in my section, but I could spy on a lot of them from where I was sitting. I didn’t really have to put that much effort to listen in on their conversations; most of them were talking out loud, oblivious to the eclectic collection of sleepy-eyed consumers. Their stories echoed in the near empty room and reverberated in my head. A couple was planning a vacation, a gaggle of giggling girls, fresh from their shift at a nearby call center, was marveling about their new co-worker, and a forlorn man 2 tables away from me, newspaper crackling as he flipped through the pages, would sighed heavily between his constant checking of his wristwatch.

The noisiest group was in the middle of it all—a bunch of old men in their short-sleeved barongs, fiddling with the gold clasp of their clutch bags or excitedly waving their chunky gizmos in the air and half-blinding their audience with their bling, were gaily explaining their latest sales coup to a set of enthralled little ladies. The youngest of them all (she of the perfectly rebonded hair and tiny, armpit bag) barely touched her scrambled eggs. She was frozen in her seat, pointy pumps firmly planted on the floor, her arms across her chest, guarding her folder with her life. She was gazing inwards, as if she was meticulously taking notes in her head. At least I hope that she was. She reminded me of those new Japanese robots that were featured on the German channel recently—perfect skin, beautifully primped, and wide, almond-shaped deadpan eyes. Almost real.

I down a cup and got up for another refill. The sun was gaining ground and was slowly extending her searing tendrils across the window. The soon-to-be vacationing couple in the next booth moved to a safer table. The clock was racing to tomorrow and my bank was surely open; in a couple of minutes I would have to brace the heat and face her assault full-force.

It took me 20 minutes to cross two streets, go inside the bank and do my thing, brave the traffic again, and step inside the nearest mall. In that short period, the sun had already scorched a part of my brain; I felt my eyeballs wiggle and I stumble over invisible steps. I plodded through the mall with jelly knees to get to the metro station. I was exhausted, but at least I was safe from the sun’s razor-sharp fangs.

Cooled down by the surprisingly fresh air-conditioned atmosphere, the ride on the MRT and then the LRT 2 was swift and hassle-free, and I was in the heart of Recto in under an hour. I stepped out of the train and was greeted by a throng of sizzling commuters. The sun seemed more infuriated here and she was taking out her anger on the frantic pedestrians rushing off to their classes, the market, and the church. I joined them and was quickly engulfed by the blistering, humid air.

After a few meters I had to duck inside an optical shop for a short reprieve from the sun’s ire. I pretended to look at the store’s display case, but was actually observing the rushing crowd outside. Sealed off by the glass windows, I could not listen to the conversations between the people passing by, and could only hear the steady hum of the air-conditioner and the occasional jingle and jangling of the bell tied to the door.

As with the group in Makati earlier that morning (or what seemed light years ago), I was witnessing another hodge-podge collection of normal people living their lives, jockeying for the best position in the rat race we are in. Without sound, I could only imagine what was happening out there. Across the street, a woman clutching a colorful handkerchief and wearing a deep frown on her face was haggling (?) with a bent, reed-thin man with leather skin and unruly hair. He would frequently point inside his well-worn plastic bag and beseech her with an exasperated look. Were they lovers, perhaps, and he was asking her why she was trying to return his gifts to him? Or maybe he was the one negotiating for a rebate for the defective merchandise he got from her? A stone’s throw away from them was a group of colegialas sipping dull pink drinks with straws sticking out of clear plastic bags. They were hanging about next to a stall decked with peculiar looking organic objects. They were checking their pockets for change (?) and would look at the stall and point their lips at something. Were they planning to get candles or herbs to entice an unsuspecting man or were they going to buy materials for a brew to exact revenge on their algebra teacher? Or maybe they just want a snack to go with their drinks?

Someone cleared her throat, yanking my mind back to my body, and I turned and faced a bored sales clerk. She asked me if I was looking for something in particular, and I replied (thinking fast and secretly hoping she would go away quick if I ask for a weird pair) that I wanted tangerine, cat-like, granny glasses with a thin black stripe around the rim. I was going to add that I would rather look for an alternative on my own when she quickly left and returned with a tiny canary yellow pair with black stripes around the rim. She brandished them under my nose and inquired if they were okay enough for me. Hello, Jolly Bee! Did I just make that happen? Quiapo does that to me sometimes. Too weirded out, I hastily thanked her and rushed out the door. I took note of the address though; I am on a lookout for funky frames.

With the short intermission behind me, I started trawling the sullied streets of Quiapo and was left at the mercy of the livid sun again. The pause served its purpose, though—I was still mistrustful and worried of my depleting reserves, but was more hopeful and was, in fact, looking forward to more opportunities for eavesdropping, story spinning, and peculiar coincidences. I knew that when I return home that night, my sandbag body would rip at the seams and spill me all over my room. As with other days spent dueling with the sun, I would crash and spend the succeeding days or week putting myself back together again. It was the story of my life, a normal day for a girl with sunspots in her brain.

The air began to shift around me and a cool blast of air came out of an open doorway. With catlike grace, I darted and slipped in through the door. The sun will take its toll at the end of the day, but I still had energy left to dodge it and rush off to my next adventure.

Sisig Express

Saturday, 25 November 06

Miss Piggy’s cousin

This little piggy went to the market and never returned home. He and his brothers were bought by a butcherman from the Sucat market; he says the Monterey Meatshop in the mall sells the best and cheapest heads in the area. He is planning to chop them into bite-sized bits, then repackage and re-sell them to the new restaurants that line eastern side of the South Super Highway. He was so proud of his purchase, he even offered to open the plastic bags for me so I could take better pictures of the slain swine.

Times like these, I kick myself for reverting into a carnivore.


Thursday, 23 November 06

Champions League Group A results, 22 November 2006

Levski Sofia 0-2 FC Barcelona

Werder Bremen 1-0 Chelsea

Current Standings

1. Chelsea (10 pts)

2. Bremen (10 pts)

3. Barcelona (8 pts)

4. Sofia (0 pts)

Ballack and co “lost” to Bremen. EVIL, I say.

Let your sour be your bookie

Tuesday, 21 November 06

My schedule has been turned upside down recently and I feel as if I am constantly running after something… or something is trying to catch me. Since I have no more functioning brain cells left in my head and cannot possibly write about what’s been happening in my life (I could try, but it wouldn’t make much sense!), I’m doing a blogger’s favorite shortcut, my copout when I have no words of my own to spit out–I’m sharing with you someone else’s work. I could have written this, you know… but he has beaten me to it. YEAH RIGHT.

Anyhoo, here it is: Sting’s “Let Your Sour Be Your Bookie.” Thanks to PinkFish for emailing this to me. :)


Let Your Sour Be Your Bookie

“You can make a fresh start with your final breath.”
Bertolt Brecht

One man’s risk is another’s sure bet. I may have the reputation for being a risk taker, but when I look back, I wasn’t always conscious of taking them. At least, not at that time. I might have appeared that way to outsiders. But to me, at the crossroads, there weren’t really two divergent paths for me to consider, two stark but equall compelling choices. There was a dead end and the edge of a cliff. So if it’s die or jump, is it risk or destiny. It doesn’t matter. Maybe risk is destiny.

I suppose the first big risk I ever took was to leave my “profession,” which was teaching. I was twenty-four, had a wife, a baby, a dog, a little car. My foot was on the first rung of the ladder, but I wasn’t going up; I had one boot in the grave. I knew that for sure the minute the head teacher warned me in horror that if I left, I’d lose my pension.

Pension? Didn’t know I had one. All I did know was that I didn’t want a life with a pension plan waiting at the end of it. I know that attitude was arrogant. I was born into a working-class family and for us, pensions were the reward for hard, honest toil. But it wasn’t going to be my reward. Arrogance is a highly underappreciated character trait. In fact, arrogance fuels risk.

My former wife was an actress pursuing a career in London and I knew if I was going to make it as a musician, I had to be in London, too. So we packed up all our belongings, which besides the baby and the dog was a rocking chair, and set off in our battered Citroën toward the
living-room floor of a friend. I really had no prospects. What was I thinking? Well, I wasn’t. There seems to be very little cognitive process associated with risks. But I was also strangely joyous – like you’re about to dive into some very cold water and the minute before you hit the water you think, “There’s no turning back now. I’ve done this.” And there’s a great freedom in knowing that there aren’t any safety nets.

Whenever you change the direction in your life, it’s going to scare the people around you. That’s a given. But if it doesn’t scare the daylights out of you, it’s not real risk. Very often, fear comes only
when you’re well into it. Those early days were both debilitating and frightening for me because the only way I could support my family was to go on dole. Turn up on Wednesday afternoon, sign your name, and say you’re available for work. I never felt that I should be there, doing that, but I was grateful for it each week because during the day I could practice my music. That’s when I met Stuart Copeland, who would later be the drummer of the Police, and he had this idea of forming a band. He said that he liked my playing and singing and wondered if I wanted to take a risk tagging along to see how it might go. Was there a choice? It didn’t seem like it at the time, it just seemed like the answer to my prayers. So again the paradox: If you had no choice, how
can you call it a risk?

I’ve never believed there’s anything to be gained from an educated risk, where you weigh all the consequences and then take your chance and hope you choose the best possible outcome. Usually we take on well-thought-out wagers for practical reasons, like for money. But more often than not they backfire. Even the most brilliant strategy, the most reasonable plan can morph overnight into a leech, sucking the integrity out of you, until you’re barely able to say “Never again.” That is, until the next reasonably profitable, well-thought-out devil’s IOU presents itself.

Sometimes people mix up thrill seeking and risk taking, but I think they’re totally different experiences, with different motivations and outcomes. Thrill seeking is flirting with danger, taunting the fates. Thrill seeking seems to be a particularly male endeavor; it’s probably
encoded in our DNA. It’s speeding motorcycles, parachute jumping, mountain climbing, drug taking, and adultery when you’ve got a great wife and a beautiful family. My perverse enjoyment of rough plan rides brings out the thrill seeker in me. I was once in a near-crash in a small plane flying over Venezuela. When I walked away from it, surviving was one of the best feelings I’d have for a long time. Surviving. What a rush. Women understand this wild streak in their
sons, but barely tolerate it in their men. Perhaps external thrills are the most seductive when our daily lives disappoint us. I sometimes think that we men seek thrills because we don’t always have the courage to take real risks, whether they’re emotional risks necessary in successful personal relationships, or practical ones, as in changing jobs.

True risks, that sudden leap into the cold water, can carry you into a state of grace. Coincidences, synchronicity, chance, karmic charm, it doesn’t matter what you call it, there’s a positive force that intervenes that covers your back. Things click. It makes sense because true risk is the only thing that forces spiritual and emotional growth so immediately, so dramatically.

In my life there’s always been a connection between risk and luck. A lot of people approach risk as if it’s the enemy, when it’s really fortune’s accomplice. A risk may seem ridiculous to other people, but risk isn’t random or rash when it’s a necessity. The night I decided to walk away from the Police, I’d felt I’d reach the summit. We were being hailed as the hottest band of the decade. In barely five years we’d gone from playing for a handful of people in bars to 67,000 fans in Shea Stadium. We’d sold forty million records. I had more money than I knew what to do with. But I was miserable. I was out of control—and so was my life. Everything was falling apart – my first marriage was breaking up, my relationships with the other guys in the band were horrendous, yet I had the world envying me. As I walked off the stage, I knew I had to make the change. Everybody thought I was certifiable. But I was joyous, relieved. Risk has given me back my soul.

As one grows older, one has more to lose and the risks loom larger. I’m halfway through my life. How do I become the old man that I could admire now, a wiser elder? How do I grow old gracefully, especially in my profession, which glorifies youth so aggressively? How do I become
useful to the people around me and my society as an older person? I think it’s crucial to take a fresh start, take a blank canvas, do things that defy logic, whether it’s introducing an audience who’s used to listening to music in a four-four time to a more complex meter, or making a movie that’s unconventional, or popularizin somewhat unfamiliar topics such as rainforest issues or meditation or whatever. What’s disconcerting or unexpected often pleases me, especially if it takes my audience and me in a new direction. In the end, I know I won’t find it personally rewarding just to toe the line, stick to the formula. I’ve got to progress more as a person than as a

What’s my biggest risk now? How about being happy? I used to subscribe to the theory that in order to write anything worthwhile, you needed to be in some sort of turmoil. And I wasn’t alone in that belief. I would manufacture all sorts of problems in order to be able to create. But in the last few years, I’ve made a conscious decision to create from a profound depth of happiness, and no one is more amazed than I am that some of the best work of the deposed “King of Pain” was
inspired by joy.

It has always impressed me that the Chinese pictogram for crisis is the identical one for opportunity. I’m convinced that taking risks redeems, restores, and reinvents. So the next time you’re overwhelmed by curiosity, or the prospects of change makes your stomach heave and
the ground beneath your feet rumble, my advice is, don’t look back. Risk is sitting on your shoulder, my friend. Nothing in your life is beyond redemption. Dive into the cold water. All bets are off.


Sunday, 12 November 06

Rosita of PDALucy Liu

A couple of weeks ago my cousin was here for dinner and her sons glued themselves to the TV while us oldies sat around the dining table chitchatting about the latest family news. Suddenly, the boys started ooohing and ahhhing over a mestiza girl crooning on some singing show. When I asked them who it was, they told me it was Irish, a Filipino-American from California, one of the contestants of ABS-CBN’s Philippine Dream Academy. She was pretty enough (although, I thought, a tad over-rated. She seems prettier because she’s half white) and could sing, but she was not interesting enough to stop any of us from hearing the latest gossip from my cousin.

Several commercial breaks later, the boys started hooting again, but this time out of disgust. “Ka law-ay man gid sa iya.” (She’s really ugly) said one, “Ngaa ari pa da sya?” (Why is she there?), asked the other in Ilonggo. Their angry protests broke our little party and we were forced to look at the telly again. What was all the fuss about? I stared and saw this tiny, fragile-looking, morena, belting a classic Filipino song. I did a double take, not because she was a particularly good singer or a beauty, but because she looked exactly like Charlie’s Angel Lucy Liu. Okay, she’s not attractive as Lucy, but she could be her twin—the one who was given up for adoption and grew up poor, while her sister was raised in luxury in the US. Someone should cast these two in a sappy telenovela!

I mentioned the similarity to the boys and they both howled and declared that I was not only blind but was also insane. Hey, if you look past her bad skin she really does look like Lucy and could even be called pretty. She could look better though if she gained a few pounds. She looks like she could break into pieces if she stood next to Regine Velasquez, as the Philippine songbird screeches one of her signature songs. I honestly think that, given a chance, Rosita (La Pinay Lucy), would brush up well and could look even more like her long-lost twin.

According to my nephews, Rosita was the most controversial competitor in the group. Apparently, she was very annoying and difficult to handle. She was prone to bickering with the others and would have crying fits. The people were also unwelcoming to her because she was uncouth and quite gruff. She became an interesting specimen to watch when a short video of her was shown—she came from a very underprivileged family, was from Dubai, and worked there as a domestic helper. She almost failed to enter the competition when her boss would not let her go. Whoa. What a story. And I thought I was creating a telenovela for her.

When I asked the boys if they thought she was going to win, they looked at me with exasperation and said I should really have my head checked. Hello, there is no way in hell she would win. Why not, I asked them. She’s still there so she must have a strong following. She’s a good singer. Would people boot her out because she was difficult? No, they answered. She will not win because she’s ugly.

Their logic irritated me, but at the same time I understood their point. She’s dark, short, and un-lady-like. For most Pinoys, that means panget (ugly). She seemed insecure, even. She can sing better than the others, but she didn’t have the star power to back up her talent. I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad for her and secretly wished that she would win. I wouldn’t go out of my way to vote for her (I haven’t even watched an episode since then!), but it would be nice if someone like her would win. She still could, you know. She is the underdog of the bunch, the champion of the masses… she could even be the next Superstar! She does have the Nora Aunor aura about her, so the people might actually vote for her just because they feel she is one of them. It has happened countless of times in the past. Who knows, right?

Silly Girl

Tuesday, 7 November 06

My sister is pregnant. I found out about this from my mother, who relayed the great news to me in hushed tones as I walked through the door. I felt like Frodo to her Gandalf. “Why are we whispering?” I murmured back at her. She just giggled. Did I accidentally walk into the Big Brother house? Are the dogs not supposed to know? My brother, who phoned me later on that day, said that it was chismis effect, that she wanted it to come out like she was gossiping, and that she was the first one to score the scoop.

I swear, silliness runs in our family. My mother should come out in Woody Allen’s next film. Love it! I’m going to start calling her Scarlett.

Of Orange Nails and Black Bears

Monday, 6 November 06

Boom Boom the Bear

I am trying to work through this haze created by my anti-allergy med. Boom-Boom the Black Bear is keeping me company. I didn’t name him, by the way. He came with a name tag; I didn’t have a the heart to re-name him. It seemed to suit him just fine anyways. He’s quite charming, actually, even though he has no eyes or mouth!

I painted my nails orange. I’m supposed to let them breathe for a while, but since I am extremely stubborn and impatient, I painted them again an hour after I removed my previous polish. Besides, I wanted to see some color. I’m tired of my black polish… and the red… and the chocolate brown. I got this one from that Korean make-up store in Makati. Very pretty shop. I try not to go there often. Very dangerous, it’s like going to the candy store. Everything is so colorful and tempting! I’m on a lookout for the perfect plum polish though. Yeah, deep, dark eggplant color with no sparkles or any of that cutesy stuff.

Sigh. Enough chit-chat. I’m going back to work.

A Puffy Full Moon

Monday, 6 November 06


I hate taking antihistamines. I’ve tried them all, believe me, but I never developed a love for any of them. I have to drink them regularly because I have to; they are a necessary evil and I can literally say I cannot live without them. I’m one of the unlucky beings who were born with a defective immune system. It’s too bad I cannot return it to the manufacturer and have it exchanged for a better model.

Over a decade ago I was forced to take a skin allergy test to determine the cause of my chronic sinusitis, bronchitis, and asthma. After much prodding from a battery of doctors, I finally agreed to take it only because I was tired of going in and out of the hospital and I had already gone through one painful operation to fix my nose’s deviated septum and empty my sinuses.

The test itself was harmless; the result, however, was surprising. I was allergic to practically everything on the planet—from mosquito bites, cockroaches, and dust mites to rice, eggs, and coffee. The inside of my left forearm (where they administered concentrated drops of possible airborne allergens) had ballooned into one giant welt. It was both fascinating and alarming to see it happened. They warned me that this test would produce mosquito-like bites all over the area, but I didn’t expect the spots to do a Voltes V on me, bolt in, and turn into a gigantic angry monster. My right arm was also red, but at least the spots stayed apart. At the end of the session I was given a list of my allergies on a piece of paper, with a grade of the potency of the allergen written beside each one. I was instructed to try to avoid being exposed to them and was tossed out of the clinic with a prescription for nasal sprays and antihistamine pills, and a note for my EENT and Pulmonary doctor. I swear they make a great tag team.

It was quite impossible for me to follow my doctor’s orders (I would have died of hunger), but I did try my best. It was just bizarre that I was allergic to so many things. Rice? How in heaven’s name could anyone have an allergy to something so innocuous as rice? Okay, okay… It’s not that far-fetched. It runs in our family, actually. My sis has allergic rhinitis and she got the same “grade” as I did for rice, my bro suffers from bouts of sneezing and watery eyes (he was smart enough not to take the test, but I bet he is allergic to the white stuff too), and the same goes with my dad who has a constant hacking cough. My mom is the only one who has been spared of these troubles. Ahhh… I should have gotten that part of her genes.

In the end I decided to handle this thing my way. I take my meds when I really need to, I avoid the things on the list when I know my immune system is not at its peak, and I let myself eat small doses of each forbidden food so my body gets used to them. No one and nothing can keep me away from my cup of steaming hot java! I steer clear of peaches, though; my throat closes after a tiny bite. Man has survived million of years of evolution despite being chased by wild animals and ravaged by plagues, so I think I could live through my life like any other normal person despite this bothersome thing. It’s uncomfortable to be in my shoes, yes, but I am okay. I am prone to pesky colds, but I am fine. I have not only learned to live with it, but also developed immunity to some of the allergens. I don’t go bingeing or making allergen cocktails; everything in moderation is usually good.

I write about this thing because right at this moment I have what looks like the map of the Philippines on my back. Yes, all 7,000++ islands during low tide spread out all over from the base of my neck down to my hips. Not a pretty sight, and not a good day to be wearing this skin. I am cursing and loving Zyrtec at this moment (my choice of poison this evening) because it keeps the itchies at bay but it makes my head dull. I have a deadline to meet and, I am afraid, not lucid enough to progress. Maybe tomorrow I will be peppier.

So on this November full moon night, I offer thanks to the makers of Cetirizine and its sister antihistamines—may they continue to develop effective anti-allergy drugs, but I hope they invent a strong, non-drowsy, economical, once-in-a-lifetime pill soon. Hahaha. That’s wishful thinking at its best.

I would also like to plead to the moon and ask her help in tying up loose ends on all my projects pending completion. I’ve got the odds stacked against me and obstacles are constantly thrown my way—this little allergy attack is just one of them—so I could do with a little bit of magic in my life now. At this stage, I need all the help I can get!

How innocent a child

Saturday, 4 November 06

I found this in one of my High School journals. I am not sure if I wrote it or I found it somewhere and copied it in my notebook. I honestly don’t remember. God, that was such a long time ago.

“No, don’t kill him!” I screamed out.

A horrible monster had its claws around my cousin’s neck. He looked very scary… and very hungry. My cousin was so frightened that he didn’t even scream, his eyes were wide with shock and the only noise I could hear from his mouth was a whimper. I had my hands clenched on the doorknob fearful that the monster might get me, too. I was shaking with fear and I was crying so hard from seeing my cousin’s pale face. But somehow, I knew I was safe from the monster if I stay inside our house. But I still felt helpless and torn. I was only eight years old.

“Help me!” My cousin said in an anguished voice.

He was right. I could help him. All I had to do was free him from the monster’s grasp and take him inside the safety of our home. But it wasn’t easy. It could also put me in danger.

Suddenly, I remember the time when my cousin tripped me while we were walking to school. I was sprawled on the street and all the neighborhood kids laughed at me. And I also remembered the time he smacked me on the face because I was playing with his toys, and during my birthday, he spilled his food all over my dress. I especially remembered the times when he would hit me mercilessly during our fistfights. Somehow remembering all these made it harder for me to act heroic and save his life.

“Help me!” He desperately screamed.

My knuckles were turning white from grasping the doorknob too tight. I just stared.

“Help me!”


I opened my eyes and saw my mom turn off the alarm clock. As she picked up my teddy bear from the floor, I said to her, “Good Morning, Mom.”