Monday, September 29, 2014

Wazzup Pilipinas Original Short Stories Series: Two Sides of Pride

Wazzup Pilipinas!

This story is filled with references to my own life. Like the narrator, I have excelled in academics during my grade school days, I never failed to get in the top ten in a class of thirty students but this streak came to a screeching halt at high school. The first year was torture for me, I barely got through because of my inability to keep up with the pace of the school. I went from one of the top students to one who barely passed his class. Like in the story, the first year was a wake-up call for me to step up my game.

“ I am not the nicest guy in the world, I know that I am not as smart as I would like to be nor am I as strong either. You told me that I can be who I want to be with the right motivation.”

Last but not the least, the main idea of the story is one of the things in my life that I have yet to finish. I am a quiet but prideful person so I wanted this theme to fit in my story. My mouth betrays my mind, I say that I don’t care if I fail, I don’t care if I get hurt but in reality I would cry if it happened and cry again if I got hurt. I put up a strong front but my heart might as well be in my sleeve. My pride as a person to me and my pride as a person to others often conflict in quiet combat and I hate it. The last scene of the story is my saving grace, that no matter what happens that small rope that is hidden in a person I know will be my only hope in getting back up from this fight. My hope lies on that person’s words they will give me if I were ever on the brink of defeat.

And the reason I wrote this analysis in first person is a step in winning this conflict. I will refer to myself as me rather than refer to myself as another person.
This quote is my own, this is my own belief. This is what I think will lead people to a successful path but it is also a belief I can never follow for I lack the main ingredient, motivation. The narrator is someone whom I want and partly fear to be in the future. I want to be successful but I am scared that I will never be content with my success hence the predicament he is in right now.

Below is our short story for the day.

Ever had that feeling where you tell yourself that you’ll do something no matter what happens then you find yourself doubting your past self the moment you start doing that something? Yeah, that’s what I am feeling right now.

A cold sweat ran down the side of my face as I gaze upon the multiple story drop in front of me. My teeth grit while my sweaty hands gripped the cold rusted iron railing behind me, serving as one of the things to hold me back from the edge. Dang it brain! I had committed to doing this a few minutes ago for fuck sakes! Stop being a goddamn pussy and just let me jump! My hands are probably white as sheets right now from gripping the rails so tight. I could feel the gaze of multiple spectators from behind me but did not dare do anything as if they were paralyzed with fear. Among them was my girlfriend along with my friends but like the rest of them they did not dare to do anything.

I gazed upon the sun just about starting to dip behind the faraway buildings, not unlike those scenes in the anime shows I’ve watched, in an attempt to find an answer to my ordeal. No streak of orange could be found in the sky depicting that it was still early.

Fear and reason, those two are the things that prevent my feet from taking off from the bridge. My fear of heights wasn’t something new and frankly I had gotten over it in the past. Why it was acting up right now is a question I don’t know the answer to. Reason joined with fear and kept on telling me about why I shouldn’t jump, telling me that I still have that obviously bright future I planned with the girl I obviously planned on marrying. Perhaps marriage is a bit too early of a subject to talk about seeing as how I just graduated from college.

But something is nagging at the back of my head. It keeps on telling me I should jump and it is growing stronger and stronger. It only took me a few seconds to realize what this feeling is.


Why? Let’s add that to the list of questions I don’t have the answer to. I let out a sigh in an attempt to compose myself. The urge to jump is certainly stronger than my reason to stay, that situation is something I am sure of. I let my eyes close and mute the entire world around me.

“Come on, jump! You know you want to prove them wrong. I should know, I am you after all. The braver you that is.” A cocky laugh echoed in my head before it continued to taunt me. An indescribable yet familiar feeling wash over me before colour started to appear in my sight, slowly forming a picture. I think I just opened my memory vault on accident again.

The picture showed a bunch of kids riding on bikes, some younger ones on trikes, and in front of them are two boys with one older than the other. The older one is my brother, 12 years old as shown in the picture and the younger one is a 6 year old me.

I remember this… This was a week after my sixth birthday. I had just received a bike from my uncle who was working at another country and I decided to ride it with my brother. We rode around the cul-de-sac and for some reason the kids started following us on their own bikes as well. Soon enough all of the houses were devoid of kids and we paraded out of the cul-de-sac with smiles on our faces and laughter surrounding us. That incident was so amazing that the neighbourhood started calling it the “Tykes on Bikes Parade”.

That memory is only a small piece of the happy experiences I have had in my entire life. Why would I waste my time doing things like this? I can make other happy memories, with this thought the volume of pride’s taunt softened a bit.

The colours converged and mixed before stretching out, in a fashion similar to what one would to a blanket, to form a picture. It was a building or more specifically a school, a school that I can and always will remember. The white walls, the green tiled roofs and the green gate that served as the entrance. It’s the school where I spent the four years of education known as High school.

I remember back before I graduated to High school when I was always part of the top students. My ego inflated like a weather balloon and I found myself getting cocky and talking shit to my friends who weren’t as smart as me. High school managed to jolt me down to the point of being timid. My freshman year had me on the ropes and I barely passed. After that year I mellowed out and started taking things seriously up until I graduated.

That was when I decided to finally man up and confess to the girl I fell for. After the ceremony I caught up to her before she could leave and I quietly confessed to her.

“ I am not the nicest guy in the world, I know that I am not as smart as I would like to be nor am I as strong either. You told me that I can be who I want to be with the right motivation.” I had started, she asked why I was telling her this and I looked down while my heart threatened to jump out of my chest.

“I am telling you this…because I want you to be my reason to excel. I guess what I am trying to say is…” I took a deep breath “Will you be my girlfriend?”

In a TV show, this would have led to a yes and a heartfelt first kiss in front of a sunset with piano music playing in the background but it didn’t. She told me that she would think about it and left faster than I would have liked. I felt disappointed yet satisfied when I looked at her retreating form. Disappointed that I didn’t get an answer but satisfied that I had accomplished what I needed to do. Obviously, disappointment outweighed the satisfaction I felt as I trudged home.

The first day of summer was also very memorable. After all that was when she called to meet up with me and she gave me her sweet yet shy “Yes, I would love to be your girl” resulting in a somewhat awkward first hug.

She’s my first girlfriend and I would love to make her my last. But…I would love to be her last as well. With those thoughts, I felt pride’s voice go softer. I felt a smile creep up on my face as the colours shifted once more.

This time it showed a picture of a more recent place. The university I graduated from a few weeks back. Every single one of us wore our black togas with our diplomas in our hands, the look of pure joy in our faces, the look of sadness on some as they parted with their friends. It was a true tear jerking moment in my…no…in our lives. All of the hardships we encountered, the trials and tribulations we triumphed over had finally bore fruit. Even after all of this, after spending our lives on school and education we all know that, deep inside, we still have a lot to learn.

I was, still am, looking forward to learning more. With that final thought, pride’s taunts returned…but at a different direction.

“You think you need to prove yourself to anyone? You would have to be very stupid to think like that. You are who you need to be and who you want to be. You don’t have to take shit from anyone.”

A smile threatened to split my face in half as I opened my eyes to reveal the sight of the buildings. The sun started to hide behind the buildings as beautiful streaks of orange outlined the sky. That’s right… I don’t have to prove myself to anyone. I don’t need to do this…

Turning around, I was greeted with the sight of my girlfriend walking towards me. Wrapping her arms around me, she buried her face onto my chest. I expected her to sob into my shirt.

My eyes widened in shock as I felt her hands quickly move to my chest and apply force. Time seemed to slow down as my world shattered around me. Despite the act she just did, a sweet smile was still present on her face…a smile that did well to hide her sadism. Unable to accept the fact that she did what she did, I couldn’t scream…I couldn’t even hate her… As the bridge I was pushed off got farther and farther, my eyes focused on the thick white thread that followed me on the way down.

A force around my torso stopped my descent almost instantaneously, sending a jolt of pain to shoot up my body, before I shot back up. Flying up higher than the bridge I saw the looks on my friends’ faces as they tried to hold in their laughter. Unable to contain all the anger I felt for forcing me into this activity, I shouted a few select words which became the cause of them unable to hold in their laughter.

“I HATE YOU ALL!” My voice boomed as I began to plummet down once more. Bungee jumping is not an activity for someone afraid of heights damn it!

Contributed by Dan Ferro

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  1. This is the story I never got bored reading since the person narrating keeps on talking in his head and I find it entertaining. It has the taste of humor and what I thought was tragedy. The memories that flashed in his head are experiences maybe most of us could relate to.

  2. Excellent story. And here I thought it was one of those tragic story but you, sir, proved me wrong. The narration was very good and words are properly applied.


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