Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Broken Promises

Copyright 2011 Johnny Domawa
All Rights Reserved

She grinned. She couldn’t help herself. Today was the happiest day in her life. Granted that she might have been apprehensive since last week when she started to feel queasy in her stomach, but today… today is different…

Today is the happiest day in her life.

Perhaps… not the happiest… she smiled inwardly. The happiest day for her is probably the day he told her that he loved her.

She could still remember that day…

It was August, a beautiful day of August when the sky was clear blue and the flowers were in full bloom. He had told her that he loved her and that he would always be there for her.

The hours after that were filled with laughter and dreams coming true. Hours became days and days into weeks and months… like pages in a fairytale story that had no ending…

And now…

She smiled…

This day is the icing to the cake…

The beginning of a new chapter in their story… of their life…

She skipped along the path. A few passersby smiled at her gaiety and a few strangers even gave him a wink as they saw how her cheeks were flushed with life and joy.

She passed by the confectionery shop. The smell of freshly baked bread and cinnamon filled the air. She felt the delectable aroma of strawberry shortcake and her mouth watered at the thought of savoring the it’s taste.

On impulse, she went in.

“Sige na po Tatang… (Come on Grandpa...)” she cajoled the shopkeeper. “Let me have it for half the price…”

The man on the register smiled at her. She realized upon entering that she didn’t have the money.

“Please Grandpa…” She winked at him.

The old man laughed and wrapped up the cake. Laughing, she took it and blew him a kiss making the old man blush in return.

Once more, she was on her way, a merry tune on her lips.

This was her day after all.

And finally she was there.

He saw her through the window and his face broke into a smile. She grinned and ran into his arms.

“Hi Babe” She hugged him and nibbled his ear.

“And hi to you too Honeypot” He kissed her back.

“I’ve got a surprise for you.” She giggled, unable to contain her joy.

He grinned and let her go.

“Oh, I forgot…”She scampered back to where she left the box of cake. “I got you your favorite”

“Oh honeypot… you shouldn’t have…”

“Here, susubuan kita (I’ll feed you…)” She cooed.

“So what is your surprise?” He asked.

Her eyes twinkled and leaned close to him.

“We’re pregnant.” She whispered.

“Wha…!!!” He backed away, stunned.

She giggled and made a move to embrace him again

“I’m pregnant!” She said, louder this time and stepped towards him.

“What?!!” He remained stunned and avoided her lunge. She giggled and made another lunge again. But once more he avoided her.

“I’m pregnant!”

“I’m pre – “ She stopped. His eyes were clouded and the sudden change made her stop on her tracks. She felt as if cold water was poured on her.

“…pregnant.” She froze. He was different. His eyes were different. There was a sharpness there that pierced the distance between them.

“Babe…” She made a tentative step towards him. She reached for him. For a moment, she thought it was the perfect gesture and for a moment, he seemed to reach for her but just as she was about to touch him, he bristled and swatted her hands, the force of it pushing her towards the floor.

She felt herself lose her balance. She might have had regained it and for a brief instant, her instinct to break her fall was in her mind but the combination of surprise and disbelief numbed her reflexes. Her body felt heavy and she felt the vague sensation of her body hitting the floor.

There was no pain. Not when her face hit the hard concrete. The only pain she felt was the breaking of her heart. Her thoughts were jumbled… broken pieces of images without any order at all.

There was only the image of his eyes. More than anger, more than anything she feared.

She felt a dull sensation of something in her body, thuds that made her body twitch but those sensations were distant.

And then there was darkness…

“How does it look?” The detective asked the investigator on scene. Behind the yellow police line, he could see the broken glass and the red splatter on the walls that are just slowly drying up.

The investigator shook his head.

“That bad, eh?”

“She was beaten to a pulp… kicked a hundred times looks like it…” The investigator, a veteran of many crime scenes seemed badly shaken.

The detective simply nodded. Even veterans like them have their limits when looking at the results of human depravity.

“Any idea about the motive?” He asked instead.

The other flipped over his notebook.

“As far as we know, they are a happy couple.”

“Nobody beats their girlfriend to death like that if they are a happy couple…”

“I know...”

Their attention was diverted suddenly when a white robed man burst out from the scene and vomited into the bushes.

It was the coroner.

“What’s wrong doc?” the detective approached the man, dreading the answer.

The coroner winced, looking up at him. There was a haunted look in his face.

“She was pregnant…”

Copyright 2011 Johnny Domawa
All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 24, 2011

Conversations with the Self: Gratitude...

“Aren’t you supposed to write another horror story?”

I looked at him. I wonder what changed. I cannot pinpoint what it is but right at this moment, I knew that something was different. I heard his question but that was not the most important thing right now. Looking at him in the cold airless emptiness that is the abandoned subway station, I could not help but feel something slip away.

Yet I could not put my finger on it. The concept of it eludes my mind. I am only left with hints as to what it is.

For one thing, I could not help but feel the familiar heaviness of sadness – but it is not a sadness that is borne of grief, but rather a sadness borne of realization… It is a dull throbbing that is achy… which almost compels you to try and scratch at your soul.

I nodded.

But it is more than sadness… The word to describe it eludes me…

Like water that slips away from one’s hands…

It cannot be grasped – it is something that can only be felt…

“I see” he says. He seems to know it too. The way he tilted his head in resignation as he smiled faintly into the distance.

We both see the same things…

From different perspectives, perhaps in so many ways…

That is the tragedy that warps both our consciousness.

We wage a continuing struggle in the depths of my mind – the poet who yearns for the tragic existence of a life spent in self-imposed isolation and artistic sacrifice… and the writer that screams for the warmth of human companionship.

One craves pain and solitude to feel alive and the other desires to be rid of the loneliness that slowly devours my soul into a hollow emptiness.

Yet I too know that in the depths of his frozen heart that yearns for the tragedy of absolute solitude, he also seeks for that flame that will thaw out the ice that holds everything at a distance.

Who will win in the end? I wonder…

Would I spend the rest of my days drowning in self-imposed sadness  in the middle of a forest somewhere with only my mind for company consoled only by the sad refrain of the strains of a violin while drinking wine under the pale light of the moon.

Or would that future be changed into the warmth of a home embraced by the love of a woman who will rescue me from this prison that slowly engulfs me; with the laughter of children and grandchildren that will banish the echoes of emptiness that ring in the corridors of my soul.

“You are finding God again.” It was a statement.

I nodded. It’s not that we hated God before or refused to acknowledge divine presence. Was it resentment that I ran away from Him? Maybe…

Sometimes having the mind that grasp complicated things is a curse when it drowns the mind with frustration and bitterness… Existence is a farce… mortals are nothing more than pawns caught in between light and shadow… thoughts like these…

But I knew inevitably that I will find my way to Him again…

Part of chasing away the darkness that lingers in my heart is to find my way back to the light. I grew tired of life; or rather of life without meaning… Human despair, the madness of mortal hearts that crush and tear each other apart –

A mind without meaning  tires itself to the point where life becomes an empty existence.

That gave birth to the poet…

He who stands in front of me now; the one who stares at me in front of the mirror…

We are one and the same…

“She must be some woman.” He laughed.

I laughed with him.

“I don’t stand a chance though…” I said.

“Hmm” He grinned. “It’s the story of our life, it would seem”

We both laughed into the emptiness, the echoes resounding in the cavernous expanse of the abandoned station. It was a laughter born of realizing that even when one is saved, one finds despair. And yet…

…there is redemption there.

During the course of an entire lifetime, people touch each other’s souls.

In innocent gestures such as simple words, one soul can save another…

“It is indeed the story of our life…”

“Curve balls…”

“Curve balls indeed…” I smile.

We go through life looking for that hand that will save us. I think we are all the same, empty souls searching for meaning in a world that offers mostly illusions. This is why we dream and why we wake up every day.

We ask God why we exist… to find Him, yes… to provide an answer to the one who is taunting Him; but life is also about knowing how wonderful life is, to know what it means to laugh and smile, to know pain and sadness so that happiness can be appreciated…

Thank you…

It’s the least I can say…

Arigatto… Yorushiko onegaishimasu…

Q-tips and Luggages...

Four large suitcases…

…maybe five counting the smaller ones…

I should be living off a single suitcase or maybe two…

Ideally, I should be living off two mid-size suitcases…

…but there are five large ones…

Maybe I shouldn’t be buying books anymore…

Who am I kidding?

Maybe buy a Kindle instead or another e-reader…

…that way I don’t lug my books everytime I move…

…but I love the feel of paper in my fingers and the weight of a physical book can never be replaced by electronic gadgets…

I should definitely have to throw away some clothes… I never imagined I’ve bought this much again… I’ll never wear all of them anyway…

…but this is a batch T-shirt; this one is a gift from my students; and this one I wore from that time…

Surveying the pile of clothes, I wonder if I can ever choose to discard them.

I have to anyway…

Except for the thick winter jackets, and the numerous sweats that I have to wear like a second skin to survive the cold… and the formal wear, of course…

Seven pairs of shoes… ideally two pairs for each season…

I should ditch some of them…

I can’t… not yet anyway…

And then my gadgets…

Too many wires and accessories…

A heavy tripod…make that two… reflectors… lenses…chargers…

I can’t do without them…


Basic gear… a towel, blankets, portable sleeping bags, a pillow… toiletries…

Way too much gear…


I stand in the middle of the mess. On one hand, I clutch a clump of documents and in another, I hold a box of Q-tips…

A wave of melancholy sweeps over me and I sit down at the edge of the bed.


Another crossroad looms ahead in the distance. For reasons that cannot be put into words, I am trembling in a mixture of emotions that fight against each other in my mind….

but this is life… It is beautiful in its chaos, wonderfully amazing in its unpredictability…

…and one can only put one foot after the other… and to keep on walking… and trusting God above to lead one to the end of the road…

…but still, four large suitcases (or five…)… that’s still too much…


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Copyright 2011 Johnny Domawa
All Rights Reserved

“What the hell are you doing?” His voice is sharp in my ears. I didn’t turn to him or give him an indication that I heard him. I know what he was getting at and right at that moment, I had no desire to voice out my own doubts so I ignored him.

I stared across the empty train station. This was my private place – an abandoned subway station left to the elements and forgotten by time. You might say that I stumbled upon it during the course of my solitary walks in the city.

Mercifully, he was silent this time… my shadow and my friend.

I walked to the edge of the platform and looked into the darkened tunnel ahead. The tracks faded into the darkness to what is probably a dead-end somewhere up ahead, boarded up or cut down.... I really never thought about it. It’s much like life… the ending is never the point of it. It never is…

I gazed at the tracks I could see, noting where the rust is slowly reclaiming what is left of the steel tracks. I give it a hundred years for everything to disappear if it is left as it is. It might seem long in human years but in the greater sphere of things, it is nothing more than a blink of an eye, maybe shorter.

It might not last that long though. Someone in the bureaucracy will probably find it in the papers somewhere and will order for it to be broken down and another edifice of human accomplishment designed to fall to dust somewhere in the eons that will come will be built in its place.

I can draw a lot of comparisons to it. The brevity of human life for one, the flickering of mortal dreams and aspirations… everything which fades and turns to dust…

What the hell am I doing?

Even I have no clear cut answers to this question. What am I doing? True..., I can give some answers but those are superficial at best. I don’t have anything specific, just generalizations of goals that are changing and aimless...

“Do you think you can do it?”

This time, I looked at him. As usual, his face is hidden in the shadows. He is good at that. I know his face, of course but he always manages to hide it as if his whole life depended on him shielding it from the light. He is always hiding… not that I blame him for it. For him… for us, rather, it’s the only thing left to do…

To hide under false facades and to project outward appearances to mask who we really are when we are alone in places like this. Pitiful creatures we are both… strong on the outside but really weak insecure men inside… It is laughable now, the existence that we both lead…

“No…” I answer. It is the truth. Nothing grandiose or spectacular about it. Not for lack of confidence or anything. Honestly, I have no confidence if I can do anything or not. Of whether I can even manage to fulfill the promise I gave to myself once to at least try. There are many things I am still unsure of, too many variables that remain unresolved... and too many things that remain in the haze of the uncertain future.

We both know the reason we ask this. This is just one of the walls that need to be climbed over if the path that is shown over the hill yonder is going to be the road I’ll follow in this life.

I am nobody. A thirty year old fish in the sea starting once more from scratch, back against the wall, adrift mostly in this ocean that is called life. My existence is but a drop whose ripple can be barely felt in the wake of the wave that run on towards infinity.

I don’t even have the confidence to deliver on my own promises or my own goals for that matter. The years up ahead and God above are the only ones who know what happens in the end. I might come out as the man with all the answers but the truth is, I’m not that.... I’m just another fool in this life.

But this is life. One can only write and speak words which are rendered meaningless without resolve. If I fail, I’ll fail in a spectacular fashion. That’s what it is all about.

I stood up, brushing away the kinks in my muscles.

“Winter is coming…” I can already feel the bite of the cold in the air. Even underground, the end of autumn is apparent, the chill of the northern winds starting to make themselves felt....

He grunted.

We stared into the gathering darkness. Night is getting early in the north now. It will only be a matter of time before the winter reclaims the land in his embrace.

I picked an old can of pop from the floor. The label has faded but there is no mistaking the green color of ginger ale with the mark of the Great White North that once covered it. I smiled at the familiarity of it's presence. Just one of the things I’ve come to like here. It was a realization tinged with many things now...

Adulthood changes people. Like how time has made the label of the can fade.

My past idealism… my juvenile dreams… hopes of making it big in this world… looking at those aspirations makes me look at the future wistfully.

I flexed my arms and threw the can into the tracks. I watched it disappear, heard the noise of aluminum echo in the emptiness. The sound carried itself into the dull ache in my bosom, accentuating the chaotic emotions that warred there.

“Do you think that it will work out for the best?”

Somewhere in the distance, the can has settled, the last sound of it fading into silence. I did not look at him. I heard his question, let it hang into the moment… not really wanting to answer it.

Because the truth is, I’m not really sure of anything.

I ignored him.

He seemed to read into my silence and mercifully kept quiet. I seriously doubt I can pull it off though. I’m back to square one in everything.

“I’m going…” I turned away. I tire of thinking...

My footfalls echoed in the stillness. He made no move to follow me. Reaching the end of the platform to the stairs going up, I slowly turned around.

He was leaning into the column where I saw him last, still draped in shadow.

“Did you do it then?” he asked, looking my way.

I shook my head.

“I see…” he turned away. Even with me not being able to see his face, I knew that that he was disappointed. I smiled weakly in his direction and turned around again. Half a step up, I turned.

“Indirectly…” I spoke, remembering...

“What…” he didn’t hear me.

“I said indirectly…”


“Someday, I’ll do it properly and say it…” But even while uttering the words, I knew that I am unsure of even that happening.

He nodded. We both know what that meant. Despite my desire to say it, I might succumb to the familiar twinge of fear again that will freeze me senseless when the time comes. Even if I promise myself to be honest someday, I might just surrender to my own inability to be brave when it counts.

And we both know it.

I once said that the tragedy of our life is our own making. The irony of it is that I know it and yet I willingly allow myself to fall in the trap.

“You know something…” I stared into the distance. “I imagine the many ways I’d be able to say it… the scenarios play over and over on my mind that sometimes, I wonder if I’m sane…”

He remained silent.

“Ain’t life strange, somehow?” I asked into the void, more for my benefit than anything. “When I was younger, I told myself that when I am finally in this position, I won’t let anything stop me… that even if it is hell or heaven that stood between me and the one, I’d do everything in my power to make it come true…”

“And then it finally happens and where does that leave me?...” the familiar pain in my heart started to tingle again. “…a coward…”

I started towards the exit again.


I stopped.

“You said indirectly”

I turned to face him and nodded.

“That’s a start…”

Monday, October 17, 2011

About Men and Salary Inequality

I'm gonna quote this word for word from a man's comment on a post of a dear friend about the inequality found in the workplace between men and women:

"A men is a born a hunter, his genetic mind is programmed to feed his clan, his family, he must bring the prey to home.

Nowadays, when a men earns less than his women, 
he loose confidence on himself, 
then he might develop a self destructive behavior, 
because he feel not deserving a family.

This ends up to cause a lot of couple destruction's worldwide.
This ideology so called "egalitarianism" on Job and Money, causes many families to desecration.

No money No honey. This is "logic" and "acceptable" according our "modern" values.

I do assume it, and accept it totally, and i ll stick with it, 
even tough i suffer great loss."

I pressed the like button. In a politically correct world, an ideal world... it is flawed logic. But we don't live in an ideal world or a politically correct world. I won't say that it is proper or that it is right (because in a certain way, it is flawed) but as imperfect men, this is our reality and expresses our own limitations.

Much like a feminist fighting for equal rights will still demand that men give up their seats for them on a crowded train, we also have our pride. Don't blame us if we want to be the 'man' because at the end of the day, that's the only thing we have.

The love of our children goes to the mom. Our sons will hate us, our bosses will shout at us and our favourite teams will lose to the competition. We will see beautiful women go to rich, pampered playboys and we will see our belly's swell up and our wives cry at soap operas and Brad Pitt.

So yeah, we want to be men who bring home the bacon. At the end of the day, it's all we have - to say that we worked our ass off for our families.

It is a flawed reasoning... I know. We, men ain't perfect.

 I'll probably draw a lot of slack from women but someone has to bear the brunt of it, hehe. Peace!!

This is what your men want to say, but can't and since no one can still kick me out of the house to sleep in the cold streets yet... I'll suffer it, haha

Men, friends, if you empathize with this and are ok sleeping out tonight, share it. If not, it is understandable, LOL

The biggest source of pride of men, the true symbol of his manhood is not his face or his ability to make women attracted to him - it has and will always be his ability to provide for his family.

If you take it away from him, in his eyes, he is nothing even when he says that he is ok with it. This is why some husbands drink, why they gamble and why they become distant to their wives and family, why good men turn bad.

It is stupid, we all know but this is man's reality. So if your family suffers from these, maybe this is the reason even when it is denied point blank.

The cure...

...unfortunately, there is none and that's the tragedy…

You can blame them for being weak (which will make it worse-because they are already down and you are trampling their manhood again...)

You can quit your high position (which is worse because they will blame themselves for it...)

You can stay silent (which is also bad because they feel insecure)

God's Mercy

My doctor is a rocker dude...

He's got long hair, walks with a swagger and he doesn't really dress in white. He doesn't even carry a stethoscope around. First time I saw him, I thought he was the janitor or something... and then he walked into the examination room, took a look at me and said "Why don't you sit down?"

I was actually waiting for him to say 'dude' or 'man' after...except he didn't.Anyway after a rather fast check-up, he gave me a prescription and a short lecture on the L1, L2, L3 and L4 vertebrae and the possible meaning of my pain. Needless to say, I was too much in pain to actually appreciate him that time.

And then the meds worked. I still remain stiff and have difficulty twisting in awkward positions and my back seems to be unhinged sometimes but what he gave me worked... So I came back to his office with better spirits than before.

To be honest, I was thinking the worst when I took the bus to him. Images of whether I'm written off now in the invalid list or living with a paralyzing possibility consumed me. So I was rather glum and nervous.

The moment he entered the door, he went straight to the figure of the backbone on the wall, flipping his blond hair like a whip behind his back.

"See this." He said, pointing to the L2, L3 and L4 bones. I meekly nodded. "These disks..." he motioned to the cartilage between the vertebrae. "...in yours, they are a bit thinner than usual."

My face blanched. I've read in advance about those conditions, it was not looking good at all. It was not life - threatening, mind you but it meant a life with lots of restrictions, much worse - wheelchair bound as an invalid... I felt cold sweat form in my body.

"So what happens is that when they swell, they pinch these nerves." he pointed the flesh coloured nerves in between the bones and he made a motion down his leg "ergo causing the pain you feel"

I nodded. 

'So what can be done?" I asked fearing the answer.

He looked at me.


I stared at him, not really believing that he just said that.

"It's gonna flare up every now and then whenever they get inflamed and will probably get worse with age, but with proper exercise and diet, you'll do fine... just don't suffer a god damn accident with your back or something and you'll do okay."

"Uh... okay" I stammered, a little bit relieved that it was not as serious as I thought. "You gave me a big reason for me to stick to a diet, haha" I chuckled.

He stared at me.

Then he grinned. "I better not see you again in here then till you're 60."

I felt more relaxed. "By that time, you'll be a hundred..." I joked "...and you're not even my doctor..." 

For he was leaving Calgary in December thus he was a one time thing. 

He laughed and tossed his hair behind his back again. He gave me my fresh set of prescriptions and gave me a pat in the back.

"You'll do fine." he said and led me to the door.

I smiled.

Outside, my mind was relieved. Hopefully, indeed, I'll only get to see the insides of a hospital or a clinic till I am 60. I still have pain and I still walk a bit slow but so far, the news was good. I clutched at the prescription and the XRay result. 

I still have a chance to climb my mountains and hike and camp out and trek the trails of Jasper, the Pacific Rim Park and the other parks here in North America. 

Life has not yet abandoned me and God continues to watch over me, it seems...

And life is still so damn beautiful...

And my doctor is a rocker dude...

A Fairy Tale Gone Bad

Horror Story Number 1:

Every horror story starts with a good beginning. Because if a horror story does not begin with a good beginning, it is not effective as a horror story….

The better half of October leads to All Hallows Eve which for many is much better known as Halloween. It’s the time of the year when people dress themselves up in the most scary of costumes (or in some cases, in costumes you dream of which are normally kept in the depths of one’s consciousness – like dressing as a dominatrix or a princess without being judged for it). It is also the time of the year when people scare each other senseless with vampire and other monster stories.

I’m going to add mine to the mix but I will warn you that my stories are a little bit different but they are damn scary…

Story Number 1: A Fairy Tale Gone Bad

Copyright 2011 Johnny Domawa
All Rights Reserved

The sound of the clock pierced the silence of the room like a cold knife. In the fading light of the August sun, the furniture cast their solitary shadows in the corners further accentuating the somber atmosphere.

At first glance, the room resembled the usual suburban home. On one corner, a TV laid on top of a DVD player. Arranged like monobloc pieces, box type couches surrounded it like silent sentinels. A lone indoor palm tree covered the eastern corner of the room flanking a vanity table decorated with smiling family pictures, the most prominent being the center one showing a smiling dad holding a five year old kid and a beaming mom holding a blanket swaddled baby – a normal suburban family.

A soft sob suddenly broke the spell. From one of the couches, a shadow extricated itself. The figure cast a gaunt figure in the fading light. Shoulders hunched, the face shrouded against the light, it almost looked like a Japanese ghost rising from the darkness – except this was not a ghost.

The figure straightened and walked into the light. The play of the afternoon sun cast a dark silhouette in her face. In many ways, she still resembled her image in the picture by the mantelpiece, except that where there was once smooth skin, deep lines now crisscrossed her features. Dark circles now frame what were once bright expressive eyes, red with tears that refuse to flow anymore.

She gingerly approached the pictures on the mantelpiece and a trembling hand snaked out to reach for the frames but before she could touch one, her fingers froze and reluctantly she withdrew them. Sounds of children’s giggles wafted gently from the closed doorway. 7

The figure straightened out, almost growing a half meter as she recognized the sounds. The deep lines of her face mysteriously faded as her visage took on an almost miraculous transformation. Yet some of the darkness still remained and some of the wan color of her skin still remained.

With purposeful strides, she crossed the expanse of the room, switching on the lights on her way banishing the dark shadows away. She forced a smile and opened the door letting in two bickering children, the older male now eight dragging his knapsack across the foyer and the younger female kindergartener pouting at her brother.

“Hi mom!”  The kindergartener flashed a bright smile at her and she stooped down to receive a kiss. The older kid groaned as he attempted to escape her grasp but she wouldn’t let him.

“Aw mom…” he squirmed as she asked for her kiss and got it. Her sister smiled and they all laughed at his expense.

The room was filled with noise as they all went in. Momentarily the rich aroma of fried eggs and stew filled the room. The kids laughter and squeals chased the dark cloud that hung over it a few hours ago. After a few good-natured  ribbings between parent and children, a few chases to force them to brush their teeth and to take their nightly bath and a few protests when they were tucked in bed.

Then slowly sleep took hold of them and once more, she was  alone. She opened the night lights, her shoulders hunched back once more, the lines returned and the dark hollow circles framed her eyes once more. Worried eyes periodically glanced over the clock on the wall and the door.

Outside, night has swiftly stolen away the light and the dull sound of the streets replaced the once vibrant sounds of daytime. Time slowed… and once more the room was taken over by the dull clicking of the clock.

Presently, a new noise came over through the door, the sound of something dragging against the concrete wall.

She stiffened and a white knuckled hand gripped her knees.

The sound presently stopped. She froze.

Then there was the clink of keys being fumbled on. She stared at the door, not blinking at all. She swallowed hard. A curse pierced the silence and the man behind the door shook the knob violently. Her body jerked with each grating sound. She made a move to go open it but her body failed her. She watched in zombie like state as the knob started to turn and the louder curses issued. Only when it started to open did she rise up.

With movement bordering in urgency, she covered the distance and narrowly escaped the door slamming on her face. An angry face was behind it. She dropped her gaze mumbling an excuse. The man, the same man on the picture watched her ministrations with sharp penetrating eyes. Gone was any trace of mirth that was present in the picture. In its place was a mixture of contempt and disgust tinged with the madness of alcohol induced anger.

She continued to avoid his eyes and instead meekly took his briefcase turning around quickly to take it to the living room. Behind her, her husband watched her movement with barely concealed scorn. He grunted and let go an expletive under his breath. He slammed the door behind him, the sound making her jump in fear which he didn’t see.

“Dinner is on the table…” she ventured docilely. He kicked his shoes away, dropping his coat on the floor. If he heard her, he didn’t make any sound of acknowledgement. He stomped his way to the kitchen, leaving her quaking in his wake. She watched his form and bit her lower lip to still her trembling body. When he disappeared, she quickly went to the mess quickly fixing the scattered shoes and coat, wiping tears from her face.

“What the heck is this? Are you trying to f****g kill me?” his voice barked from the kitchen.

She froze. The sound of a hand striking the table followed the expletive. She clutched his coat that she was about to hang in the closet and she stifled another sob. She glanced at the picture in the mantelpiece. There was a time when he seemed to be like everything she wanted, a time when he was the prince charming in her life. When did it change?

More expletives came from the kitchen. Her body shuddered with each sound.

She stood near the closet, still clutching at his coat, her breathing escaping in sudden rasps, some caught in her throat.

After long drawn out moments, new noises came from the kitchen and she stiffened.

Her husband came into view. He saw her standing and his eyes flared in anger. Then they softened as a wicked smile came over his face. He gestured to her.

For a moment, she faltered. His countenance started to harden and she found her body moving. Like an automaton, she moved towards him.

He smiled and for a moment, she imagined that it was the same smile that he once offered but she knew that it was simply an illusion.

The next minutes were almost surreal. She could feel his hands pawing at her, she felt the momentary sting of the cold as her clothes were removed. She could smell the whisky in his breath as he slobbered her with kisses and pain momentarily erupted as his hands roughly clawed her in what were once loving caresses.

She was there but she wasn’t there.

She caught her reflection in the face of the clock.

She was crying…

Copyright 2011 Johnny Domawa
All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 15, 2011


People forget often what they want out of life. I know because I myself am guilty. But I think it is part of life to be diverted into side roads before we finish our main journey. Otherwise life would be nothing more than a one sided affair. It’s the side roads that color our lives and remind us about our goals when we feel like slipping away.

As trekkers in this journey called life, we need to have a goal in mind. Without one, it is like boarding a boat without a destination. This goal is our lighthouse beacon –something to guide our way that will keep us anchored and focused. And it does not matter whether we reach it in the end – the important thing is that we have one.

Truth be told, I never really had one for the better part of twenty years. Youth has a way of muddling up the details in the moment and thoughts like these kind of make life uninteresting. After all as young kids, nobody wanted to live a structured life. We hated the boorish lives that our parents lived and we promised ourselves that we wouldn’t fall on to the same traps that we saw them fall into….

Adulthood changed that, of course. It was expected in a way, but nevertheless, it was rather deflating to realize how cold and rigidly structured the world is.

Everyone of us have this vision of what he or she wants in this life. It can take many forms. Mostly, it has something to do with a lifestyle – we all want to be happy. Mostly, this takes a rather hazy notion – no one knows his or her version of happiness yet at ones teenage and early young adulthood years. It only takes on a concrete form when we finally grow up…

Mostly it takes the form of a family – particularly for those of Asian descent. Having a family as our happiness goal is ingrained in our cultures. Without one, we think of life as incomplete. It starts with certain stages… love comes to mind.

As youngsters, we dream of falling in love with the ‘one’ and fighting the world to be with the one we most desire. I think everyone is allowed to do that: to fall in love and be in love…

To fight and cry and to feel that tingle when you gaze into the eyes of your beloved – to fight with him or her and feel your heart race when she is near… to spend sleepless nights dreaming of what your lives can be.  Everyone deserves to feel that once in a lifetime kick that would color our lives in hues that would never be felt again…

…at least till reality sets in and we become more somber and mature (and our vision of the world becomes less colorful, haha…)

And then it’s on to the next stage… and you know what it is.


Whether we consider them to be the continuation of the dreams we could not realize in our lifetimes or whether they are the fruits of a love between a husband and a wife or (hehe) it might be the result of a moment’s lapse in judgment, it does not matter – children are the next step.

Children makes us forget the madness of juvenile love (or a forced marriage of convenience) or hehe, unrequited love or something like that… People who were once so conscious of their bodies or how they looked start to find out that parenthood changes them in ways that they never imagined (hehe) and priorities change…

People live for their children whether they like it or not, whether they choose it or not… Even the bad parents live for their children…

And then the years pass by like a fast train and the realities of age finally creep up to catch up with everyone of us. Children grow up and we become grandparents and we finally settle into retirement.

And then the hope is we find that happiness we searched for. Not something specific but something general – a concept… much like how love or falling in love is a concept. Happiness is this…

Which brings me to the initial statement of this piece…

Not everyone has this as his goal in life. Everyone wants it of course, whether professed or secretly wished for….

Mine is a farm in the middle of the woods somewhere with my books and my dog. I nearly missed that in the rush of things in this life… and it took a visit to the clinic and a reality check on the state of my body to remind me of this.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Photo Uploads

Photo Uploads 1

The Fabled Besao Sunset
Best viewed during the dry heat of summer when the entire
western sky is set ablaze in a rich swathe of red and orange.
This photo was taken during the cold months of December high above Mount Mogao

Skies over Ilocos as seen from the summit of Mount Mogao
On a clear day, you can almost see the wide plains of Ilocos from the summit.
You can also see Tirad Pass near the west and sometimes your eyes will
play tricks on you and you can see the mirage of the China Sea far beyond

Hula Dancers in Haze

A Fisherman in Lake Banao

Faded Blooms in Halflight

Self Portrait 1

Self Portrait 2

Self Portrait 3

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