Easy Susie – A Short Story.

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It was in the middle of the day. The Sun was high and the temperature was hot. I was trying not to think about how boring and hot the day was. Tried to lay down on the sofa to get some sleep, but that didn’t work either. It was too damn hot!!

Then the phone rang. Picked it up and a woman’s voice was on the other line. “Hey Ven. Am I disturbing you?” It was Tammy. I recognized her voice. “Oh hey Tammy. No, actually just lying down and not doing anything. Why what’s up?”

I heard a couple more women’s voices in the background. “Susie and Heather are here in my house today. They came over last night and slept over.” I know those people. They go to the same college as me and Tammy go to. I specially know Susie.

“Well anyway, because it’s Saturday, we are planning to go out tonight. Do you want to go out with us?” Asked Tammy.

I pause for a couple of seconds. I had to think about it. Susie and I went out a few times. It did not end nicely. I kind the sort of dumped her. That’s after me and her already had some romantic moments together. I think I broke her heart. I just didn’t like her that way. Everything was quick with her. She’s too easy.

“Hello! Ven you still there?” Tammy on the phone raising her voice for me to hear her. “Yeah, yeah I’m here. Where you guys planning to go tonight?”

“We want to go dancing.” Tammy said.

I thought about it a second again. Then I said. “Now why are you inviting me, if you know what happened to me and Susie?” I heard her giggle a bit. “Because you live just a few blocks from me and you’re my friend. Beside, she said it wasn’t a big deal. She was alright with it. I told her I’m going to invite you.”

I pause for a couple seconds again. “So, are you going or what?” Tammy asked again.

“Okay. But I’m taking Bert with me.” I told Tammy.

“Yehey! Okay come by the house around 8:30. See you then Ven, bye!” Then she hanged up the phone.

I was not nervous about Susie. In fact, I’m quite happy about it. So far its been a boring week. Maybe, just maybe, I can get somewhere with Susie tonight. She is easy after all. Especially when she have some alcohol in her. I know there will be some drinking tonight. I like my chances. Boring Saturday no more.

At 8:30pm, Bert and myself was already in front of Tammy’s house. Bert also live near by and go to the same college as I do. It wasn’t hard to convince him. I told him that we’re going out dancing with 3 girls and he was on board right away.

I knocked on Tammy’s front door. A few second she opened it and there they are. All three of them came out giggling, perky and looking excited to go out dancing. Susie was looking fine. She looked at me and smiled. The way she gave me that smile, I can tell she still want me. It will be an interesting night. I was feeling excited.

Inside the taxi cab. Four of us had to seat at the back. Bert had shot gun and sat at the passenger side of the taxi. Heather had to seat on Tammy’s lap, Susie and I sat next to each other. For us to fit, I had to put my left arm over Susie’s shoulders. I didn’t feel any awkwardness, she continue to give me that look and smile. looks like she having fun of what’s going on that moment. I, myself was enjoying it too.

The ride inside that taxi was electric. Susie was turning me on. The warmest of her skin was suiting with the coolness of the air-conditioning inside the taxi. The perfume she was wearing smell so refreshing that it made me hold on to her shoulder more tightly, so I can get even closer to her. Although Susie didn’t say much to me directly, she wasn’t pushing me away either. I think she like me holding on to her like that. Both of us was smiling the entire ride to our destination.

When we got to the dance club, me and Bert went straight to the bar, while the girls looked for a table for us.

“So, what you think?” I asked Bert.

He gave out a grin like he already have something in mind. “I’m going to dance with Heather. She looks good.” Then he gave me a high five. Its obvious that Bert was feeling excited for the night as well.

While waiting for the next free bartender. I looked over toward the dance floor. I saw Tammy, Heather and Susie already dancing. First I thought they were dancing by themselves, but a second glance I saw there were two guys dancing next to them. I tapped Bert to get his attention and pointed at the ladies. “Do you see that?”

Bert eyes widen up, he saw what I was pointing at. We both looked at each other puzzled. “What the hell is happening here!?” I asked.

We finally got our beers. We went straight to where the ladies were. Me and Bert handed the girls their beer. They two gentlemen with them was just staring at us and smiling. Were they expecting a beer from us too?

I went beside Tammy and whispered to her ear. “Who are these people?”

“Heather and Susie’s friends. I guess they just met them. They invited them here.” Tammy answered.

As the night went by. Bert and I tried to blend in and be part of the group. But it was obvious Heather and Susie’s priority was the other two guys. Bert and I ended up just seating around and drinking our beers. We had a few shots too. We became watchers. Just watching everyone else dancing and having fun, while we sit there and pretend that we were having fun as well. I wasn’t having fun. In fact, it suck!

Once in a while Tammy comes over the table where we were sitting. She talk to me a little bit then she goes back to the dance floor. The more I drink the more I watch Susie. I kept looking at her hips when she dance, she can sway those hips nice and sexy. I also kept looking at her interaction with the guy she’s dancing with, quite sensual. The way they dance together was almost having sex on the dance floor. I didn’t even know Susie can dance like that. Once in a while a catch her looking at my direction. Was she making me jealous? If she was, it worked.

Three hours passed and me and Bert was drunk. We were feeling pathetic and somewhat fooled. We both thought it was going to be our night. It was supposed to be a fun night. Instead it ended up somebody else’s fun night. The more I drink more hatred I feel toward those two guys. They took our girls and great time tonight. I was ready to hurt them. They just rub me the wrong way. Each time that guy makes Susie laugh I get angry, each time she let him hold her I get angry and each beer I finish I get more angrier. Maybe its not them, maybe its the disappointment. Maybe it was the expectation of something good that did not materialized. Maybe because I do like Susie and she’s with another guy. Maybe. Well, what ever it is that’s pissing me off, the common denominator are those two guys. I told Bert I want to kick their ass.

“You serious?” Bert looked at me puzzled.

“Am I serious?” I actually did not know if I was serious. I just want to tell Bert that I’m pissed. “Well? Are you going to back me up, if the other guy jumped in and help his friend?” I asked Bert.

He laugh out loud and seemed amused with the words I was saying. Then he grab my arms and looked at me in a serious manner. “Dude. You are fucking drunk!!” Then he went back to laughing at me again.

I leaned back on my chair and pause for a minute. I shut my eyes and I felt everything was spinning around me. Then I felt someone sat next to me. I open my eyes and it was Tammy. She look irritated. She grab my beer and started drinking it.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

Tammy shook her head and pointed at the dance floor. I looked at the direction she pointed at. I saw Susie making out with the guy she was dancing with. Heather was doing the same thing with the other guy. I glance at Bert and he was seeing the same thing. I know his disappointed too.

The rest of the night Tammy stuck with us. She stayed with me and Bert and we drink. I know Tammy for a long time and we have a lot of the same friends in our neighborhood. She was always been cool to me. She made the rest of the night a little bit easier to bare. By the night was done, I was not that angry anymore. I calm down and actually had some laughs talking with Tammy.

They called it a night. The club turned off their music and turned on the bright lights. It was closing time. All of us was walking out the door. Tammy was holding on to my right arm. She looked tired. I was too. I just wanted to go home, go to sleep and forget about this night.

Bert suddenly appeared on the other side of me.  He got close to my ear and whispered. “If you kick that guys ass, I have your back Bro.”

I wasn’t expecting that. Bert got me confused. I thought he was laughing at the idea. From the looked of his face, he was dead serious. He really wanted me to do it. I had Tammy walking with me, I wasn’t really thinking about getting into a fight anymore. But Bert was pushing me to do it. “You said you want to do this. Lets go dude. I got your back.” He persuaded me to go.

“What’s up? What you guys talking about?” Tammy curiously asked Bert and me.

Bert grab Tammy’s arm and pulled her to his side. Then he turned me around toward Susie and the guy. Bert pushed me forward them and said “Do it Dude”.

“Do what?” Tammy was confused.

Me and my big mouth. I was second guessing myself. I knew I was drunk and I didn’t want to fight. Bert kept on pushing my back so I’ll start walking. I was looking at my feet and watching every step I make. Each step of my left foot I told myself, I’m going to hit him. Each step of my right foot I told myself, I’m not going to hit him. When I finally got where the guy and Susie was. I was face to face with him. He was smiling at me and didn’t even know what’s going on. I looked down on my feet. The left foot was in front of my right. The last step I made was my left. Oh shit..

I can’t remember exactly what happened, but I do remember I ended up on top of him and I was punching him repeatedly. He kept yelling that I broke his nose. His friend, the other guy did not do anything. Bert was in front of him the whole time waiting for him to do something, but nothing. He was just shock like everyone was.

Finally, Tammy grab me from the back and drag me out of there. She yelled out for a taxi cab. “What the fuck did you do Ven?! Are you crazy?” Yelling at me while she pushed me inside the taxi. Bert ran to get in the taxi too. “You two go home! You guys are drunk!” Tammy said angrily.

With the adrenaline rush, I felt suddenly sobered up. I was not feeling the affect of the alcohol anymore. Bert on the other hand was still drunk and hyper. He was still pumped up to what happened that he can’t stop talking about it inside the taxi. I felt stupid and embarrassed. I should just have left them alone. Tammy and I was ready to go home. I asked myself why did I do such a thing.

The next morning when I woke up, I felt pain with my right hand. Three of my fingers hurt every time I move it. I went to the local clinic and got it checked. Yup, I broke a finger. That’s what I get being stupid and drunk. I thought I deserved it.

From the clinic I went straight back home. I was surprised when I saw Tammy, Heather and Susie in front of the house. They were waiting for me. All of them have a smile on their faces. I was thinking how come they are not mad at me. Specially Susie. She should be furious to what I did to her boyfriend.

“Hey guys. I’m surprise to see you here today.” Curiously greeted them.

“What’s that on your hand? Did you broke your hand? Serve you right stupid.” Tammy said while she approached me and took a look closer at my wrapped right hand.

“We talked to Bert earlier this morning.” Heather said with a grin.

“Yeah what he say?” I asked.

Susie went close to me and smiled. “Bert said you got drunk last night and punched Matt because you got jealous. Is that true?” Susie asked with a big grin on her face.

Okay, so now at least I know the guy’s name. All of them were giggling and looking at me like they are expecting me to fess up. I didn’t knew how to react or what to say, so I just said “No. I was just drunk. I’m really sorry to happened last night. It was stupid.”

Susie put her hand on my chest, leaned over and whispered. “You sure you don’t have any feelings for me? I’m going home today, call me tonight. Lets talk.” then she gave me a kiss on my cheek.

All three of them walk away and waved bye to me. “See you at school Monday Ven!” Tammy said before they got further away. I waved back to them and got back inside the house.

That weekend was something to remember. I regret it for sure. That was a stupid thing I did. But that’s the strangest part. If I regret it, why it makes me smile every time I remember. Susie wasn’t easy, I think she just really like me. I didn’t call her that night. In fact, I did not call her ever again. That morning in front of the house, I realized something. She can do a lot better than me. Back then, I was as dumb as 16 years old boy. I wasn’t mature enough when it comes to relationships. I could not handled Susie’s affection for me. It was too intense. I would have end up breaking her heart. She deserved somebody that can take care of her better than I can. After that wave goodbye, I never saw her again. And that is it, that’s Easy Susie’s story.

By: Ven Corre

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Almost a Thief

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A few years ago, I was hanging out with a few friends outside of a friend’s apartment. It was 8pm at night and it was summertime in Alaska. The Sun was still bright and the air was still warm. Kidding around, having conversations and just having fun amongst friends.

Then we heard this loud bass music sound from the road. It was getting closer. It was our friend Richard. He parked his car in front of us still music blasting. When he got out of his car he lowered the volume of his music, but didn’t turn it off. We can still feel the bass sound out of his speaker. It was an awesome sound system. He was riding with a guy I haven’t seen before. Both approached the group and hanged out with us.
Everyone was praising Richard sound system, including me. One of us asked him how much money he spent on it. He smiled and said “I got it all for free.” Everyone started laughing, like they understand what he said. I on the other hand was puzzled. How can he get that stuff for free? Nothing is free, especially car sound systems. Unless what he meant was he stole them. It took me a minute, but I got it.

I notice Richard’s friend, the person who was with him was quiet. He was a white guy and we were all talking in Tagalog (Philippines dialect). I felt sorry for him, so I approached the guy and started talking to him. I found out his name is Steve. I told him I never seen him before and asked him where he was from. Steve came from California, but here’s the kicker. He’s a Filipino. He is a Filipino white guy. Born in the Philippines and his first language is Tagalog. He surely fooled us. Steve was a friendly person and we became friends.

A couple of days later Steve called me, asking for a ride. I wasn’t doing anything, so I picked him up. While driving he asked me if I liked Richard new stereo system. I told him yes. He then told me he’s the person that got it for Richard. He then proceeds and said if I want, we can get a new stereo for my car too. He told me he’s great at it and he been doing this for years. He said if I come with him we’ll get me a new stereo and speakers. I don’t know why, but I agreed. I was even excited. He made it sound like it’s easy to steal stereo systems.

That night, past midnight we drove around. There were four of us inside the car. Our friend Nick and Jessie was with us. Nick was driving, Jessie was sitting at the front passenger seat, Steve and I was seating at the back. We drove around some neighbourhoods looking for cars that Steve think he can unlock. Then Steve saw one. The plan was to park at least 2 to 3 blocks away from the target car. Me and Steve will walk to that car and get the stereo system. Nick and Jessie will seat still inside the car till we get back.

Walking toward the target my heart was pounding. I looked at Steve and he looked calm. I was thinking he must have done this a few times. When we got there, he told me to stay low. He got the door opened. I served as a look out, while he’s jacking the stereo inside the car. Then suddenly, a car passed by, it was moving slowly. I hid myself, but I was peaking at the slow moving vehicle. It looks like Nick’s car, but I wasn’t sure. Steve got the stereo player out and he looked concerned. He whispered “Maybe we should go. I have a bad feeling.” Who am I to argue, I said “Okay let’s go.”

We walked back to our getaway car as fast as we can. When we got there, Nick, Jessie and the car wasn’t there. A parked car’s light turned on in front of us. This time I was terrified. The parked car drove beside where we were. The person inside the vehicle roll down his window and yelled out “Hey! Can you guys come over here? I want to ask you something!” I see there were at least 3 men inside that vehicle. Steve walked toward them, but whispered to me first “When I say run, we run.” I was already ready to run. Steve talked to them and in 3 second he screamed out “Run!!” I saw one of the men got out of the car with a baseball bat. Me and Steve sprint out and entered one neighbourhood. I didn’t look back, I wasn’t even sure if Steve was still behind me. I was just focused on running as fast as I possibly can. We jumped and climbed fences, we cross people’s yards and we just kept on running. Then I heard Steve said “Wait! Wait! There gone.” I looked back and he was right no one was chasing us anymore. There were some bushes and few trees near us, Steve told me to go there. We hid and rest for a few minutes. Steve said we got to keep on moving. I told him no, let’s just stay there. Then we saw a police car with his spot light pointing at trees and bushes, it was coming toward us. We both lay down flat and we didn’t move. Both of us hoped that the police don’t see us there. And they didn’t. The Police passed by and didn’t see us. Steve again said “we got to go.” This time I agreed with him.

We ran and ran, climbed some more fences and manage to reach Steve’s apartment. We sat down on the couch. After a few minutes we heard someone knocking on the door. We got nervous again. Steve opened it and it was Nick and Jessie. They told us some people talked to them and asked them what they were doing there. They didn’t have a choice, but to go. We told them what happened to us. By the night was done. All four of us were just laughing about the adventure we just experienced. I was just happy we survived.

A few days later Steve asked me if I wanted to try it again. I told him no. I will not do that again. A few more months I heard Steve got caught and were put to jail. I heard he got out, but I never seen him again. He never got in touch. Last thing I heard about him was he moved back to California. No other news about that guy again. I learned my lesson, but Steve didn’t. We got lucky that night, Steven should have realized that. He should have realized that luck is not always there to save us. Well where ever he is, I hope he didn’t end up in jail again.

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Time

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Last Friday night, my youngest daughter and I had a movie night. We watched 3 full movies in a row. By the time we were done with our movies, it was already 2:30am. We even had some midnight snack. I cooked some eggs, heat up some bread and my daughter made us some juice. It was nice. While we watch the movies, she hugs me to stay cosy and warm. It’s like those mastercard commercials. It was priceless.

She didn’t notice, but I was staring at her most of the night. I was looking at the features of her face. I am amazed how she changes the last couple of years. She is not a baby anymore that for sure. Looking at her that night, makes me face reality even more. They are growing up and nothing I can do to stop it. The teenage years are just around the corner, then adulthood. I can just hope that I can be part of their life always. For now, I’ll just need to cherish the moments I can get with them.

Like a lot of people, the future because of the uncertainty, is a bit scary. I have to face it, I have two daughters. When the time comes, they will start dating. I hate to think about it. As much as I can I don’t think about it. I tell myself, I will handle it when the time comes. I don’t want to stress myself about that right now. To worry about that now is not healthy. I mean let’s face it. I can try, but to totally stop them from dating, that will be an impossible task. All I can do is give them advice, guidance and pray to God that they don’t get hurt.

Kids are always excited to grow up. Looking at life in a kid’s eyes, the future is exciting. We have been there before, so all of us can relate. In fact, I wish I can see life the way children see it. It’s like the story of Adam and Eve, once you taken a bite from that fruit, you will never see things the same again. And that is what worries me. My daughters are so eager to grow up; they just don’t know how good they have it now. I always jokingly tell them, “Don’t grow up too fast ok, I still want my babies.” When they were little girls, they’ll answer me “We will always be your baby Daddy, even when we grow up.” That answer always makes me smile. I haven’t heard that sentence for long while.

Time waits for no man. Time is the only thing in this world without an end. Time will change anything and everything around us. Time is more precious than money or any wealth you have. You can lose any material things, but you can gain it back. Time on the other hand, you can never get back, once past. So, appreciate every second and every minute with your love ones, because you never know when your time will be up.

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Positive Energy

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The Law of Attraction. There is a book about it. The book is called “The Secret”. I did not read the book, but I have the DVD video of the book. It talks about the positive and negative energy of the universe. How your mood can attract how your day will be. To make it simple, if you’re in a positive mood or thinking, then positive things will happen in your life. The opposite of course, if your mood or thinking is negative, the outcome are negative things will happen to you. I don’t really know if it true. If there is such things as positive and negative energy in the universe like the book said, but I’m trying my best to apply this in my life. I try to be positive all the time. Sometimes it is hard to do, but I do my best to be positive.

I try to convince my wife to do the same thing. Be a positive thinker. Do not know why, but she has a hard time believing this concept. I don’t think it is hard at all. It’s like this, when you try to do something you hope for the best. Not hope for the worst. If you do anything in this world, no matter what it is and you already think it’s not going to work or you going to fail, well then you are doomed from the start. If you think negative from the beginning, most likely you are not going to give your best effort. Therefore, the outcome will be what you think it will be.
When I was a kid, I was insecure. I was full of negative energy. I always think that I am not good enough for anything. I wasn’t tall enough, good looking enough, smart enough, strong enough or tough enough. Therefore, I always end up just watching everybody accomplishing things, while I was content doing nothing. I was afraid to fail all the time. Even with girls. I had plenty of girls that I wanted to ask out when I was younger, but I was so afraid of the possible rejection that I didn’t even try. Now that I’m older, all this what if questions still linger inside my head. I believe in faith in some extent, but I think in life, 90% we make our own destiny. It’s the choices we made in the past that made our current present. People can also say some are just luckier than others. I use to believe that. Now I believe that some people are just more positive than others.

Well in general young children have positive outlook of life. Being young as they are, they are full of hopes and dreams. They believe they can accomplish and reach their dreams when they grow up. We all have been there, seeing the future with brightness in our eyes. Then as they say, the reality of life hit us. The older you get the more responsibilities comes along. Then we lose that brightness in our eyes. Our hopes and dreams lessen. Our positive thinking diminishes. We fill ourselves with negative energy. That is why, so many of us adults complain, whine and just feels miserable. Ever heard of the midlife crisis? A lot of us just lost our positive thoughts because of what life give us every day. It’s hard to be positive. But look around you. You’ll see one or two that seem to be smiling all the time. You know one or two that it takes a whole mountain to budge them before they get upset. If you really look around, you will notice these people are everywhere. They are not rich people or famous people. They are as ordinary as you are, but just different. They look happier, friendlier, healthier and content with their life. Positive energy can do a lot to a person.

Okay, so people might ask, how can you teach yourself to be more positive? Good question right? The answer is simple. Appreciate what you already have! Look, I came from what they call a third world country. I saw and experienced things that people from the western world probably would think it’s horrible. But the truth of the matter is, even during the time that I didn’t have any money, I consider myself still lucky. Let me give you some statistics. There are about 7 billion people living in this planet. 3 billion of that people make about 2 dollars a day earnings with their jobs. 2 billion of that 7 billion people makes about 1 dollar a day with their jobs. That’s super-duper poverty level of 5 billion out of 7 billion. Can you see the big picture? Even in China, the richest country in the world right now. They have 1.4 billion people. That’s 1 billion and 400 million people. About 350 million people in China are in the rich and upper middle class category, the rest of its people are still in the low middle class and poor. That’s 1 billion and 50 million people that are still in the poverty level. Now how many people live in the U.S.A.? We are about 350 million people here in America. Just about the same amount of rich people in China. Mind boggling right? But even the majority of that country will gladly switch places with you right now if they can. You might have financial problems, work problems or even personal problems, but look around, you have more things than 5 billion people in this world. Appreciate what you have and you will find yourself in a positive mood.

Okay, it’s really easy telling people to be positive, but to tell you the truth; even I can’t get negative thoughts out of my head. Personally, I think it’s impossible. I tell you this though; I have more positive thoughts than negative. I try to be more positive every day. Life will give us problems. That is a certainty. But if you think positive, we can fix it, handle it, or even overcome those problems. Positive energy means less stress. And less stress is healthier living. The healthier you are the more things you can do. The more things you can do, the more things you can accomplish. The more things you can accomplish, the more you feel proud and satisfied with yourself. When you feel proud and satisfied with yourself, the happier you are. See how it’s all connected. It all starts with the word POSITIVE.

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Jealousy

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One of the things I hate the most, jealousy. I hate it when I myself feels it. I hate it when my wife does it. I just hate everything about it. I know it’s one of the natural reaction of a human being. If you feeling insecure about something or someone, you might easily get jealous. If you desire something and someone else gets it first, you might feel upset toward that person because of jealousy. If you happen to like someone and he or she already have a special somebody, you might dislike the person because you’re jealous. We all been jealous few times in our life. It’s a normal reaction for us, but if you don’t control it, it can be dangerous.

Everyone has a past. Everyone had past relationships. For a partner to get jealous about your past is somewhat silly, in my opinion. If you don’t even mention the ex name in a conversation or talk to your ex anymore and your present partner still get jealous about your past, for me that’s unreal. What if your ex live in the same neighborhood. Does it really matter? You don’t see or talk to that ex, but just happen to live near where you live. Is that enough basis for your partner to get jealous? How about an ex from twenty years ago, when you were still a teenager. If that ex have the same group of friends that you have, are you not allowed to be friends with that ex? How can you avoid that if you hang out with the same group of people? I tell you jealousy is sometimes ridiculous.

I think jealousy is made by the devil. Nothing comes good in jealousy. Even in the beginning of time, the first murder is because of jealousy. Remember when Cain killed his brother Abel? That is because of Cain being jealous to his younger brother. He hated that God favor Abel over him, that he did the unthinkable. I tell you the truth, jealousy is one of the devils tool to make us be against one another.

How can we avoid it? It take self discipline. For myself, I got my jealousy controlled. To be honest, a few years ago I do get jealous about things. But now I don’t anymore. One day, I just accepted things are just the way it is. I am suppose to have what I suppose to have. God will give me my own blessings. I don’t have to worry about other people’s life or things. To be satisfy of what God give you is the key to avoid jealousy. Oh yeah, maybe give a bit of trust too.

I noticed that when I started not desiring for things and started appreciating what I currently have, I notice that God gave me more. In my relationships, when I wanted to find the right woman for me, it took me a while to find her. When I stopped looking, there she was. Even with my financial needs. When I stop worrying about what I want and focus on what I needed, I noticed my financial started to get better. To be envious is not good for us. Concentrate on yourself and your family. Stop being jealous. It will hurt you, your family, your relationships and sometimes even your future.

So, bottom line. Jealousy is a bad thing. Stop yourself for doing it. Control yourself. Don’t let the devil win. When you do control it, you will find yourself in a more happier place and more peace of mind.

Think about it.

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The Kid

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If my memory serve me well and remembered this correctly, you and I met when you were only 7 months old. Me and you became family when you were almost 2 years old. Now you’re 16 years old. Wow! Time goes by fast.

Reminiscing, I remember how hyper you were. You love your pokemans and other cartoons that you were glued to the tv. I remember you had a hard time speaking. You didn’t speak a complete sentence till almost 4 years old. I remembered about your struggles in school. The teacher said you cant concentrate and that your mind wonders. I remember refusing to what the teacher suggested, for you to repeat kindergarden. On the 1st grade though, you were so behind with the rest of the kids, that I didn’t have choice but to agree. We let them set you back and repeat the 1st grade. This was before the “no child is left behind act” of President George W Bush. I remembered how you can’t remember instructions from me and I always put you in time out.

Now look at you. Straight A student. So bright and confident in school. Have goals to finish high school early. Go to college and plan to be somebody. Now your mom rely on you to help with your sisters. We rely on you to be responsible and mature. You came a long way.

Out of the other children, I know you are the one that got affected the most. When me and your mom got divorced, you were old enough to pick a side. You sided with your mom and got angry at me. I reacted wrong and got upset with you. Because of my anger toward your mom, I neglected you. I was angry with you too. I apologize for that. I should have been more mature than that. You were just 7 years old, you didn’t really know or understand the situation back then. I am sorry that me and you part ways for a couple of years. I understand now why you acted the way you acted during those times.

During that time that you weren’t living under my roof. You rebelled against me a bit. Not acknowledging me during family gatherings and not showing any care when we see each other. I apologize for not fighting for you. I know I don’t have any legal rights, but I should have fought for you too. Like I did for your sisters. When me and your mom decided to send you to your real dad to the Dominican Republic, I did not really know what agreed on. But after a year you came back and seems your hatred toward me disappeared. You decided to live with me again. I was glad.

I saw I had things to work on with you though. To me you seem to be to outspoken. You don’t watch what you say to people, specially to me. You might have thought I was hard on you, but I just wanted you to learn to act in front of people. I wanted you to learn how to show respect to your elders and family members. We had our moments, but I think you get it. I don’t have any complaints now. You listen well and show the proper respect. Well in front of me anyway. What you do when I’m not around, I wouldn’t know.

Anyway, you grown to be a good kid. A kid with a good head on his shoulders. Not a trouble maker. Cares and help with families. That is why people loves you and cares about you. I like to think I have something to do with that.

There will be more things that will come your way. Decisions and trials that you have to face. As long as you keep your eyes on your goals, you’ll make it. Your aunties, cousins, mom and me will always be there for you. I love you son and I am proud of you.

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A Religious Retreat “KURSILYO” (Part 3 of 3)

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Suddenly, without any warning, a couple of guys grabbed my arms. They dragged me to another room and just tossed me in there. It was really dark with only lit candles for lights. What I felt was instant chill inside of me. I didn’t know how to react, I was caught off guard. There were three men kneeling down on the left side of the room. All were carrying lit candles on their hands. All of them without a shirt and some sort of mask bag covering their head. I saw two sets of lined up candle lights making a pathway, straight to the statue of Jesus Christ on the cross. They made me kneel down and move toward Jesus. A voice was talking behind me. Telling me to repent and be sorry for my sins. I didn’t even look who was behind me. I was focused on making it to Jesus. I don’t remember exactly what that voice behind me was saying, but he must have said something good, because I found myself bursting out crying and pleading to Jesus to forgive me. I was doing this while on my knees moving toward Jesus’s statue. When I got to the cross, I even cried even heavier. I remember breathing heavily, trying to catch my breath because of all the crying that I did. Then, they grabbed me again and took me to the dining room. Made me sit there and wait for the rest. Some people were already there before me. Same teary eyes as I have. All was quiet. Maybe they were thinking the same thing I was thinking of. What the heck just happened?

The following day or night, not really sure, they made us form a circle with our group. In this exercise they wanted each member of the group to tell us about their family. We have to find out as much as we can, about each other’s family members. After which, we will have a competition against the other groups. Whoever can remember the most of the family members of your group, win the game. So in our group we took turns describing each of our family. My cousin Kix was in my group. Just a couple of years before, his Dad, my uncle died from cancer. Few years before that, his Mom died from some sickness too. Kix was holding her when she passed away; he was just a young boy then. So when it was Kix turn to speak. He could not do so. He burst out crying. He put his head on my shoulder and just continued crying. He never talked about his parents, not that I remembered. I know he is just keeping it all inside. With all those things getting thrown at him, about mothers and how we don’t tell them enough how much we love them. His emotion just blew up. I hugged my cousin that day or night, not really sure, I told him that I’m his family now and I’ll be there for him whenever he needs someone. I meant it to. We are cousins, but that’s my younger brother.

A few more exercises and activities happened during the course of that religious retreat, but it did not have the same impacted anymore. They did not make me emotional anymore, until the last day before we went home. After the last classroom session they made us all stand up. They announced that we are all going home. They said the Kursilyo was done. Everybody clapped their hands and rejoiced. We cannot wait to go home. They told us to pack our things and our ride will be waiting outside. They told us there is one last stop. They said we are stopping by a small chapel on the way, for one last prayer. I was thinking why we can’t pray here, there’s a chapel next door. I had my suspicion again. When we arrived at that chapel, they told us to kneel in front of the altar. This time though, they spread rock salts on the floor where we about to kneel on. That was painful. They made us closed our eyes and prayed. After a few minutes, they said open our eyes, stand up and turn around. There were the families of all the participants of the religious retreat, cheering and clapping their hands. Kix and I did not have our parents there, but our Auntie and Uncle was there to congratulate us. It was nice, we were all happy. Bizon though, he was the happiest amongst all of us. When he saw his Mom, he hugged her like he hasn’t seen her for years. Bizon was hugging his Mom with so much love that everybody there was just tearing up and smiling. Then when Bizon’s Mom saw me, she ran towards me and gave me a hug too. She thanked me for taking her son with me. It a good feeling when somebody is that happy and thinks you’re part of the reason why they are that happy. And oh yeah, me and Matt shook hands and became friends again. Then we finally went home that night.

I can’t say I believe everything about religious beliefs and its teachings. I can’t say, that I agree with all the methods of the Kursilyo. I can’t even say that my faith is stronger now, than before. But what happened to us in that 3 nights and 2 days was out of the norm. I came out feeling cleanse, feeling closer to my friends, my cousin and yes, closer to God. However, I got to be real honest. The four of us righteousness was short lived, it only lasted for 2 months, then we went back to our old ways. But I tell you the truth. Those two months was the only time in my life I wasn’t afraid of death. Will I ever get the feeling again? I don’t know. What I do know is this, I’m surely glad I didn’t go swimming that night. 🙂

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