Monday, June 29, 2009

Sweat, Repeat

He starts by bending his knees, both his feet set on the ground. Both his hands are on the ball, positioned in his shot pocket. He gathers energy as he moves his body upwards, channeling the inertia from his legs to his arms and raising the ball up. His right hand is behind the ball, his elbow straight towards the basket. His left hand is on the side of the ball, providing guidance as he launches it into the air. His right hand follows through but the ball hits the back of the rim. He gathers his own miss. He repeats, his mind somewhere else.

He often finds himself in the same situation. A gentleman born in the wrong decade, women his age seldom understand his qualities. Always the preferred son-in-law candidate, never the worthy potential partner. A dying breed, this sad gunner. No one he's been with is ever ready for what he has to offer, and a man can only take so many heartbreaks. Sooner or later, he'll start to lose all feeling. With every failed relationship, he closes in on becoming just like his peers. Heartless. Numb. Pathetic.

He lies down on the court, ball not far from his hand. He stares directly at the night-sky, gasping for air. Burnt-out, he thinks about going back. A swift wind passes by him and sends a chill over his sweaty body. He pauses for a moment, realizing that there's nothing else to think about. He picks himself up. He looks at the ball next to him and knows exactly what to do next. "100 more jump-shots," he mutters under his own breath.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Broken Laptop

Ali was still groggy and didn’t bother to check who was calling when he picked up the phone. Immediately after hearing the sobs on the other line, though, he knew exactly who it was. She sounded frantic and it took a while before Maia could form whole sentences.

“Ali, my laptop broke down. I was doing work on it and the monitor suddenly went blank but the laptop’s lights are still on. I have an assignment due next week and all my work’s inside there. I’ve tried everything but it still doesn’t work. I really need your help.”

Ali is not an IT expert. He knows the basics of working a computer, but troubleshooting is not one of his strengths.

Ali sounded cool, thinking it was just something trivial. “Have you tried taking out the battery?”


He began to realize that this wasn’t just a normal problem. “Have you tried taking out all the wires?”

“Yes. I’ve tried all that and it doesn’t work. There’s nothing on the screen and the computer won’t shut down or restart.”

Ali was baffled. This was beyond his limited knowledge. He still wanted to sound composed, even though he was perplexed, if only to calm her down. She regressed to mumbling like a little child, sounding afraid. Ali couldn’t think of anything else.

“Have you tried putting it in the fridge?”


“Because that wouldn’t help.”

There was silence. Then, Maia burst into laughter. It went on for a good five, maybe even seven seconds.

“Thanks, Ali. I needed that.”

“No problem, sayang. Sorry I couldn’t help with your laptop. Just leave it be for the night and hopefully we’ll think of something else tomorrow.”

“I love you, baby. Good night.”

“Good night, sayang.”

Ali put down the phone, pondered if Maia was feeling better, smiled, and went back to sleep.