Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chapter I. I Am The Messenger

the messenger short storyNo regrets. I am as I am. I am the messenger. Anyone who wants his message delivered, I am glad to offer the service. My service costs a lot of money. How much? One attache case of bundled cash is the minimum. And my services cost blood and breath. "I'll take your breath away." This is always my first message to my recipients. Then, I deliver the final message..."the message of the messenger".

Most of the time, my recipients would laugh at my very face. The usual reaction is to take my first message as a joke. But once they hear the final message, they try to panic. Yet, the confusion stays in their expression. I know what they are thinking... that I am incapable... yes, incapable of ending their lives. I don't want to make people suffer from confused mind, thus, I always shoot them between the eyes to make them not to get confused further or to be confused longer than 30 seconds.

It's been 15 years of service. Yes, 15 years as a messenger. When I was 12, I started this profession. It was harsher for me back then, but I learned my lessons and lasted to this very day. I am not aware how many breaths I ended, or how many gallons of blood I allowed my recipients to waste for all these years. I have no idea. I cannot even count. But I am sure I am okay with all those cash I received from those who availed my services. I got a few sacks of them at my place.

... to becontinued...

I am the Messenger Chapter II. That Last Day

Friday, October 01, 2010

At the Same Place by Webbielady

"Where are you going to have lunch?"
"The same place."
That's noontime.

"Where are you going to have dinner?"
"The same place."
That's evening.

It is more than three years already that I blurt the same answer out every time someone asks me about my eating place. It is always at "the same place".

I am Antonio and I am in my late thirties. I am a municipal employee in my home town. I live a regular life but there is always a strong taste of bitterness in it. That is why I always, and yes, literally "always", eat at the same place to at least remember that once, life had something sweet in it too.

I have very vivid and sweet memories at this place I refer to as "the same place". It is a restaurant where I always go to eat and I always want to remember those good old memories and keep them alive inside of me. These memories are what make me keep going in my day-to-day sorrowful existence.

In the past years my lovely wife, Heda, would always ask me if we could meet at lunchtime at this restaurant. During Saturdays, we also made it a point to have a delicious dinner at this place as we look at the reddish-orange setting sun across the horizon and hear the hit of the waves against a big rock along the sea's shoreline just a few meters away from where we were seated. This local and old bamboo-made, palm-roofed restaurant can only cater a maximum of 40 diners in their 10 regular-sized four-seater tables. Its local ambiance and local taste really suited our preferences and it made us feel at peace and with nature and it seemed that it helped us get more and more deeply inlove with each other..

During the last months of my wife's life, we were struggling to stay happy. The fact that her days were counted due to her having a brain tumor did not stop us from enjoying life. It was sad everytime we realize that soon I would be left out alone in this world but that was the best we could do: be together and be happy together while we still could. In fact, she made me promise her that I would continue to enjoy life after she's gone and even repeated a thousand times that I should look for someone to replace her place as my love as soon as I could so that I would not feel so much pain of losing her.

At this restaurant, during the few days of her life, we spent many moments reminiscing the good old days. We talked and talked about the beautiful past, how we met at this place, how we dined here for so many times, how we shared our dreams while we were still dating and how we continued and have our love survive until the end. It could be badly sad at times but it is a public place with lovely surroundings that the deep sadness that always brush my heart can be controlled easily. I know for sure this would not be the case if we were inside our home and alone. This place has witnessed my happy days, how I discovered my love and nurtured it. It also a witness to my sorrowful days, how I hold on to happiness despite it slipping uncontrollably our of my grip... it is a witness to my lost love... my lost life. It is a witness to my struggling survival and my longing for my lost beloved Heda.

Now, my wife has passed away and it's more than three years already and yet, I am still stuck to this place. Who can blame me? I remember, when people asked me where I would have my lunch, I would reply with a happy voice and wide smile: "At the restaurant, with my Love." That reply was valid at least four years ago.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dutch Integration Examination Experience

dutch integration examination experience,inburgeringsexamen experienceof ervaringIk ben al wel ingeburgerd, geloof ik! My first examination was at 13:30. The formal invitation to take such examination instructs me to be there at 13:00 for verification of identity so I was there at 13:00. There were already around 7 people in the “wachtkamer” (waiting room) when I came in. I thought they were all there for the examinations but that’s not true, I realized later. Conscious that I might have been late already, I asked the lady beside me,” Bent u hier voor de examen?Affirmative. I felt a little bit okay. I left my mobile phone at home as per instructions, it’s not allowed to have one during the examination. I don’t wear a watch so I did not have any clue what time it was but per estimate it was 13:00 when I reached the place. It just feel different when you see really the time… To see is to believe…and that is very true!

Upon entrance, there were instructions for everyone such as what you do if you are there and your purpose is to take a diploma, or what one needs to do if s(he) is there to take the examination. I read carefully. For examinees, we were instructed to just sit and wait. For diploma claimers, they have to pick a number.

I sat. I waited. Some were bragging about passing the exams while some were just conversing along with each other. Approximately 10 minutes later, some names were called to take the Toets Gesproken Nederlands (TGN) or Test of Spoken Dutch.. I asked the person why my name was not called. He told that that was the schedule for those who have 13:00 invitation. I felt relieved that I was so sure that I arrived on time.

A couple of minutes later, a lady came and called my name. I had to present my invitation letter and my valid identification card(in Netherlands this can only be passport, driving license or identity card). I did. I waited again. We were quiet now as 4 people among those who were previously waiting were already taking examinations. Waiting still…

Another person entered taking a number. His turn was called right away…Lucky huh! A personnel came to check if someone is to take a diploma…3 people responded yes… and he asked, do you have numbers? None had! Ooohh ohh! So who goes first? It’s kind of absurd as those 3 were there to take their diplomas for passing the exams and yet, they don’t have any clue what to do to take that diploma? Hmmm…. diplomas forfeited! ?!?!

As I mentioned here, I had 3 part in that examination day. I was finally called to take the first part, which was about spoken Dutch. After that, I had to wait again for the second part. While waiting, more diploma claimers came. This time, some people advice them to take numbers to identify who came first. Then a whole family came, the lady to take her diploma, accompanied by her husband and two sons. When the personnel of the place asked for those who need to get their diplomas, the lady stood…and the whole family followed! There was another lady who’s exactly entering the room when this was happening and she though everyone can just and get their diplomas…To make the story short, 5 people rushed for the diploma when it’s suppose to have that lady only to go with the personnel. That was quite amusing from my side who sees the story unfold before my very eyes and to understand exactly what’s going on.

I finished my exams 30 minutes before the time as I really had headache and ear pain caused by too much listening to the examination speaker/voice in that headset… I am not also sure of the results yet, but within 4 weeks I will know. I will edit this post to indicate if pass or fail but what I am sure of is, I did have fun that day! I believe I am already integrated.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

True Lovers' Conversation

“Do you love me?” He asked.

“Sure, I do love you, and forever.” She answers.

“If I die, will you love another?”

“Surely I will!”

“Why do you answer so?”

“Because I don’t want you to die. Think about my answer if you do. Ti amo!”