Life is such an amazing gift that all of us should cherish. There's just so many things to be happy about (though there's an equal number of things to be sad about). Whatever we encounter in life - good or bad, sweet or bitter - we must consider them blessings - and perhaps, we could also turn these experiences into stories that will touch many lives out there.
On Hope, Love, and Life is a compilation of short stories, essays, reflections, and random thoughts that I made. The stories on this compilation were already published on my Wattpad and Writing.com account as Vince-Neil and V.D. Tamien respectively (just in case I'll be sued for plagiarism). These stories resemble most moments of my life - like a simple event that made me smile so dearly. I hope you'll enjoy reading them. Smile!
- Vince Neil J. Tabiano
Seated on a bus, the boy was leafing his Danielle Steel; reading its final two chapters, though he was warned by his aunt not to read when inside a vehicle. But he loved reading too much to resist it. So he read anyway.
As he gazed at the view outside, he noticed the large mass of people waiting for a bus or a taxi for a ride home. With so many people on earth, one of them was made for me, he thought firmly. At the thought of it, he slightly reminisced a bit of his yesterday that once made him smile, and he again wondered for that one-in-a-billion person created just for him.
Have I met her yet? Have we crossed our paths already? He had so many questions in mind - he has been thinking about it ever since. Then he remembered that he was holding Danielle Steel, so he snapped out at the thought of it. Silly me, he said to himself.
He was about to leaf on the next page, when all of a sudden, a girl in baby-blue blouse, paired with a decent black slacks, sat beside him. Her face was turned on the other side, as though waiting for something. It was noticeable that she had a small speaker on her side and a book held by her left hand, and the boy noticed them all.
The speaker was switched on, the boy thought, and he realized she was wearing a lapel-speaker. What was she up to? Was she gonna demo in the bus? Sell something? Solicit money? He wasn't certain. Just as when he busied himself asking his inner-self what she was up to - and his right index finger marked the part he paused reading - the girl stood up when the bus stopped, had a little conversation with the ticket collector, and then went straight forward.
All eyes on her. When she finally found her desired spot in the bus, she turned around. Their eyes met in a distance of about ten bus-seats. He smiled. She didn't. What a fine lady, he thought. She was simple, yet looked like a Mona Lisa to him. Then she started speaking; read a part from the book she held - and he knew by then it was no ordinary book; it was the Bible.
So she rode the bus to preach His Word, not to sell a product. Nobody seemed interested to listen to her. They were 'busy' texting, or perhaps they didn't like to listen to her at all. What could His Word do to us this present time, thought a passenger. What would listening to her benefit me, thought another. But the boy was eager to pay attention to her.
He couldn't take his eyes of her - and he quite knew that while she spoke, she was glancing at him, too. What a silly thought, it is, but instincts are instincts - and the boy trusts his. She uttered every word with grace (thought the lapel quite seemed to be losing its batteries already). He didn't care anyway. He cared about looking at her.
He seemed to be memorizing her every feature. He wanted to take a photo of her, but of course that would be too scandalous. So he tried to visualize her face while he closed his eyes, though he knew that tomorrow, he would forget her face.
When the girl finished speaking, the bus stopped and she went down. The boy followed her through the bus-window, as she slowly vanished in the crowd. She's gone, he thought, but in a single moment, he felt his heart beat fastly, as though he felt that love-at-first-sight moment. Maybe he did, or maybe not. So does that mean that she's his soulmate? What does that event want to tell him? Did he read the signs correctly? Paulo Coelho made mention of misreading signs. Sometimes, we thought we read the signs correctly, but we actually didn't.
He remembered everything he saw that moment. The beautiful girl: which would perhaps mean that he'd be having his soulmate one day... the speaker: which would perhaps mean that he'd be having a job that involves speaking... and then the Bible: oh God. Does that mean he'd be preaching someday; that he'd be a priest? He's still not sure if he read the signs properly, but at least, even once in his life, he came across a beautiful girl in the bus, who sat with him, and caught his eyes in an instant.
What a lovely story to write, he thought. And so he started writing his new experience through his phone, while he sits happily in the bus, smiling.
The old woman was carrying her two baskets, inside are home-made rice cakes, ready for sale. She was wearing a white skirt, stained by muddy water, and a checkered apricot long sleeves that served as her protection for the rainy season.
She was as cheerful as a child, smiling at every person whom she hoped would be helping her earn a living. Her smile was no ordinary smile - it was a smile that she managed to crack on her aged face despite the cruel life given to her. Her eyes were crossed, probably brought by fatigue she's been suffering from.
"Would you like to buy rice cakes?" Her voice was puny, as though exhausted from the long road she's been tackling since dawn.
The boy sitting on the chair made of rattan looked at her with much empathy. He noticed the smile she cracked - and all those teeth she missed.
"How much would one bunch cost?" The boy was eager to buy; to at least help the old lady with that pure, honest smile.
"200 for two bunches," the lady replied, getting another bunch to show to the boy. They're too expensive, the boy thought. In as much as he loved to buy them to help her, he didn't seem to see a fair exchange.
"It's my birthday today," she continued. "You will give me a wonderful birthday gift when you buy these." Her character was extraordinary, the boy thought. But again, the pricing seemed to be a bit unfair to the boy.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I wouldn't be able to buy them. Sorry." There was much regret on the boy's voice, and he didn't want to disappoint the poor old lady.
"Would you like to try one? You'd like how they taste. They're made of pure ingredients." She was again exposing her toothless mouth to the boy, smiling honestly.
"I'm really sorry. I'll have to say no," the boy replied with much regret and sadness in his heart.
The old lady sadly returned her rice cakes in her basket, and once again absorbed the disappointing feeling of being rejected by people who are much more fortunate than she is. She hoped so much that the boy would buy from her, but he was yet another disappointment.
"I'm really sorry," the boy reiterated.
After readying her baskets, she slowly grabbed them, walked again with her puny, aged legs... and again tried her unluckiest luck with the other people around the area, smiling.