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Girl Code: I Knew You Were Trouble

How do you know when to trust someone?
ART Trixie Ison

RAE

I hear a shuffling of steps in ate Sam’s room, and I see a pink piece of paper slipped under my door. A sudden wave of nostalgia hits. We used to do this all the time when we were kids. I crouch to pick it up, and I realize it’s still the same stationery she used years ago. I smile and unfold the note.

Hey Rae, Had dinner alone lol. Again. Why are you still locked in your room? Anyway… haven’t told you, but Ben and I broke up. It’s been three weeks, and I think it’s really over. I think me being in a relationship over the past three years really took me away from family… Maybe we can go out sometime and look for cute boys! Not sure how you are after the whole James thing. He was at the party. Did you have fun there? Anyway. Show yourself some time. Sam

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SAM

Surprisingly, Rae actually replies. Just like the old times.

Hey, Ate.  I’m really sorry to hear about you and Ben... I thought you two would make up eventually (like you always do). But I guess it’s really over this time. Wish I could tell you it gets better eventually, but then I’d be lying cause, as you’ve noticed, I’m still MIA from the real world. Hahaha :-(  The party was okay. Got my mind off of James for a bit, until he talked to me.  But that’s for another story. Wanna come over to my room? I’ve got ice cream and The Notebook. Maybe we can be mopey losers together.  Rae

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Before I can reply, another note is slipped under my door.

I gotta say, though: I hate that you’ve been ignoring me. I swear there were times I wanted to throw your phone across the room just to get your attention. But I can’t even be mad right now cause I really do miss you. Ugh, this is so cheesy. Just come over. See ya in 5 seconds? Haha.

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I am about to turn the knob when my phone starts ringing. Oh crap. My boss is calling.

RAE

I wait for my sister to barge into my room (she never did learn to knock), but minutes and eventually hours pass. Nothing. I'm about to turn off the lights and call it a night when I notice the note near my door.

Rae,  Sorry. I can’t right now... Caught up in work. Work sucks. Enjoy high school while you can. Let’s not be mopey sisters, that’s so not cute hahaha. We just gotta take the world as it is and make the most of it. And Ben... Well, I knew you never liked him ;) he’s a great guy. But I don’t even really understand what happened. Age I guess. And change. It’s okay. Life goes on. Glad we’re okay. I was starting to worry about you.  Sam

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I stand for a few seconds with the note in my hands. It shouldn't be a big deal, right? I mean, moping's "so not cute," as my sister had so nicely put it. But I can't lie, I really thought she'd be there during the ONE time I chose to open up. Why did I even expect any more from her?

CHARLIE

Friday  FINALLY!  Now that I don't have training, I finally have time to go on vacation with my family! I’m literally overjoyed, and I actually cried when my mom told us we were going to Boracay! One would think that because I sweat a lot, I’d love a change in the weather and enjoy the breeze of colder countries. Well, they’re all wrong! Hehe. I love the sun, I love the sand, I love swimming in natural water, and I can’t wait to enjoy the serene sunset—Boracay has the absolute best one in the world. I really just can’t wait.  Sunday  Waking up at 4 AM definitely wasn’t a problem, knowing that I’d end up in a sunny paradise. I didn’t mind that I didn’t get to eat until lunch. I was quite alright with the fact that I ended up being the one in charge of checking our bags in. The only thing I couldn’t stand: my parents’ constant bickering from 4 AM to present time.  This doesn’t usually happen. They’ve always gotten along well—or maybe I just don’t notice it, because I’m never home; and when I am home, I’m either sleeping, studying, or talking to my friends. Either way, they’re adults! But I guess, and hope, that this ends today. I just want to enjoy the Boracay sunset in peace.

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Tuesday  Update: It didn’t end last Sunday—the fighting. I can’t take it anymore. I ended up crying yesterday after parasailing. Along with the mid-air floating feeling, their continuous quarreling made me want to puke as well. Why are they like this?! What is happening? Thank God we’re in separate rooms. I couldn’t stop crying when I got to bed. I didn’t even watch the sunset yesterday and today.  Wednesday  Tomorrow is our family’s last day in “paradise.” This was definitely the worst trip. It became even more embarrassing when my mom asked me why my eyes were puffy this morning. She should know. My dad should, too. I hope they realize it, but I know they won’t. I’m too afraid to tell them to stop fighting... I’m too frightened to tell them that they’re destroying my bliss.  This place? Definitely a paradise that words can’t completely encapsulate. The memory? Tainted with the worst kind of pain.

LISSA

No. No. No. This isn't happening.

Lock door three, eight times. Breathe. Respira, Lessandra, respira, as my grandmother used to say.

Here. Paper always helps, right? Right. Write.

Why You Should Never Fall in Love with Seb:      You are a nervous, pitiful, goddamn mess around him. Your hands sweat. You watch your words. You’re even more careful than you already are.     He’s good with words—way too good—for your own good.     Clearly he has unresolved issues with an ex, and it’s careless to get caught in the crossfire of two broken hearts.      You met the dude in a bar. A bar. What happened to standards? (Like you’re any better; you were there, too.)     None of your friends think this is a fruitful idea (except Sam, who says no to almost nothing and no one). Wanting to quit your job? Running around with some guy? Who are you? Where’s the real Lissa?     You have next to nothing in common. There is next to nothing to talk about.     But his voice is the right kind of deep, like warm soup that you feel the moment it slides down your throat. But his eyes are lovely to look into, brown like everyone else’s but fiercely gray by the edges if you look closely enough. So much soul, it scares you. But when he smiles,your heart somersaults. But when he looks up at you from the open hood of his car, bare arms and hands stained black, you forget your name. But when he says you’re beautiful, ever so nonchalantly, a lazy hand swept through your hair, you freeze up, feeling stupidly beautiful. Yeah, that’s the perfect way to put it. Stupidly beautiful.     And last night, when you shared your second kiss, he pulled away to catch his breath, and you felt yours being taken away.

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About the author
Niña Alvia
Girl Code author
Eighteen-year-old Niña was never a Team Captain, nor was she a part of any National Team (spoiler alert!), but her world revolves around sports. Now she lives vicariously through the character of Charlie, tackling issues such as teenage angst and struggling with change. Niña is a Sport Studies major in UP Diliman, and may look familiar to UAAP fans as this season's Courtside Reporter for UP. Aside from writing quick reports about the UAAP games, she blogs about her personal musings along with her sartorial attempts on ninaalvia.blogspot.com. Her favorite writers are Margaret Zhang, a blogger, and J.K. Rowling.
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About the author
Joanna Kennedy
Girl Code author
As a former member of the Candy Council of Cool, Joanna is no stranger to writing for Candy Magazine. Inspired by fleeting expressions, old photographs, song lyrics, and illustrations, she started writing on a private blog at the age of 14. While it started off as a hobby, the daily practice of writing short fiction turned into a full-blown passion. Aside from writing, she owns a bar named Walrus, works in events, and is a travel junkie! Frequently found soaking up the Philippines' beaches, her next travel dream is to hike in the Himalayas and backpack across Mongolia on horseback.
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About the author
Chandra Pepino
Girl Code author
Chandra is 20 years old, a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University, and a writer for Candy Magazine and Real Living online. She writes to heal herself, not from pain, but from curiosity—the world is mad and cold, but writing warms her soul. You will find her nose buried in the works of Chuck Palahniuk and Haruki Murakami, but in real life, her loved ones are her muses. Lissa is, in a lot of ways, Chandra’s twin, and yet her polar opposite: she is impulsive, introverted, and very, very hard on herself. But Lissa is also loyal to her friends, and when she finally falls in love, you’ll find that she falls hard and fast. If you ever see Chandra in person, say hello. She'd love to have coffee with you. Conversations are her favorite.
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About the author
Gaby Flores
Girl Code author
When she's not taking three-hour naps, watching makeup vlogs, or drowning in microscope slides of 48-hour chick embryos, Gaby spends her downtime with her jammies on and her nose in a book. As a self-confessed bibliophile, reading has always been her first love, and it's been that way for as long as she can remember. It started as an addiction to Dr. Seuss' Bartholomew and the Oobleck when she was barely three years old, and it has grown into a fervent love for the written word. In fact, it's from her favorite book, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, that she gets the inspiration to write about someone so radically different from her: Rae. Writing each chapter as the soft-spoken, sensitive Rae is a challenge for someone as effervescent as Gaby, but she takes it the way she does an impossible Embryology exam: with a prayer, a lot of verve, and the excitement of venturing into the unknown.
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Today, I am sharing my mother's story. I wish my mother was a constant in my life, like an angel who guards you to sleep and comes right there when you called. But angels come back home too, in heaven where they always belonged, and my mother went back a little early. My mother died when I was 13 years old. My last memory of my mother: Letting go when you are not yet ready is a very cruel thing that one has to ever experience. It is a sudden wave of total sadness and desperation crashing into your very core.

On the 28th of July 2013, we went to a resort in Bataan for the employees’ getaway. My parents own a 7-11 franchise, and it had always been a tradition to give their store clerks a get-together every year. I remember very well the last breakfast I had with my mother. The Sunday morning sky was clear and sunny, and the sea was calm and tranquil as we ate our breakfast on a cottage under the tall palm trees. She shared with us a strange dream she had the other night. She dreamt about an unknown woman holding an ice pick chasing her down on a dimly lit street, then she woke up just before the woman could grab her arm. We never knew what that dream exactly meant and now, I wished I never knew its meaning. After breakfast, my family and our employees decided to take a swim at the beach. The day was nice. The morning air may be chilly but the sun’s kiss on our skins gave us warmth. It was perfect. Everything is fine and the tides are low which made it very enjoyable to swim. We swam a little farther from the shore and we stopped to the point where the water reached our shoulders. We were talking about the good things in life and reminiscing the good old days. Those are the things that I’ve always loved about my family because I never had a meaningless conversation with them.

A few moments later, we heard a panicking call for help from one of our store clerks. It was Rachel. She was struggling to keep her head above water. She was already drowning but the odd thing was, she was only a few feet away from us. At first, we thought she was just playing around until we felt the sand in our toes dissolving like powder. It felt like as if the seafloor submerged deeper. I remembered sighting the shore and it seemed so close yet very far away. We were all panicking at that time. No one knew how to swim except my mother so without having second thoughts she swam towards Rachel and called out to my father, “Yung mga anak mo! Dalhin mo sa pampang yung mga anak mo!” and I never thought I already heard my mother’s last words to my father. I was paddling like a dog, gasping for air, as I say a little prayer to God to take us all back to safety. I felt my father grabbing our swimsuits, trying to lift our bodies so we can breathe even though he was also struggling to keep himself alive. Once I felt my toes touch the ground, there came a veil of relief that covered my whole body. As soon as my father and my sister made it to the shore we started calling out for help. There were no lifeguards on duty at that time, no personnel, nor guards. I saw my mother already floating in her stomach. We sighted a boat sailing nearby, we waved our hands and called for their attention. They almost ignored us because they cannot comprehend what we were trying to relay but the good thing was a passenger in the boat noticed my mother and Rachel in the water.

My mother’s body was laid on the shore. She was unconscious and her whole body was pale as white. My father performed CPR but my mother couldn’t get the water come out of her mouth because the food she ate earlier got stuck in her throat and blocked the passage. A concerned tourist offered his car to deliver my mom in a nearby health center or a clinic of some sort since the hospital was miles away from the beach and she needs immediate care. My father told us to stay in the hotel room and prepare mom’s belongings so that if she wakes up she has fresh clothes to change into. My sister and I finished packing our things and waited for our father to pick us up from the hotel. I was crying and I couldn’t stop myself because I was afraid to lose my mother. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be if I lose her that day. Moments lasted until we heard a knock on the door and it was my father, crying, and apologizing to us. He hugged me and my sister tightly and saying, “Sorry, anak, sorry hindi na uuwi si mommy, sorry hindi ko nasagip si mommy”. And that was the moment I felt sinking into the ground. I never knew what to feel at first. I was numb because my worries were now actually a reality that I have to live in. I was at shock because I am now one of the kids in those cliche teleseryes who lost a mother at an early age. We went to the health center to settle everything. The clinic was very small and it sure did lack equipment. He told us to stay in the car. I wanted to see my mom, but I know he never wanted us to see her like that. I didn’t know what to feel. I was having high anxiety levels that my stomach is churning and I wanted to vomit. I got off the car and entered the health center to find the restroom. When I was finding my way around, I passed by the emergency room. I saw my mother lying in a foldable bed, lifeless, her hands dangling from the side of the bed, she has violet bruises on her skin, and her body was partially covered with a white towel.

That is when it sunk into me that she’s dead and never coming back. My father asked the others to just commute back to Manila because what we need right now is comfort from our family. The drive back home was one of the most painful memory I had as a kid. My father was in the steering wheel crying his eyes out. We drove from Bataan to Pampanga. We went home to my grandmother’s house, the nearest house that we can call “home” because how are we still going to be “home” without her?

Once we reached Pampanga, we stopped over to the gas station and my father made some calls to our loved ones to tell them that my mother passed away. He then called my aunt to help him arrange for the funeral. We got home and my grandmother hugged us and told us to get some rest. Already tired of crying, I went to sleep for a while. I woke up and for a second, I thought everything that happened the other day was all just a dream. That she was there in Manila, sitting on the couch reading some furniture magazine, waiting for us to go home. But that’s how cruel life is, right? I got up and weirdly, I felt sands in the bed. It was gray, just like the ones on the beach. I thought maybe it was just dirt but it was a fair amount to believe that maybe she visited us before she left. - ?

- The part of how I conquered the grief of her passing is shared in my personal blog. I felt the need to share my story with everyone since she's the woman I look up to. Feel free to visit my personal blog too when you have the time. I love writing my stories. Thank You! link: http://qkathreece.wixsite.com/kathreecequizon/post/breaking-waves

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