Posted in Miscellany, Novellas

two by two – Chapter 8

chameleon cafe_small

He wanted to talk to her but didn’t know how to begin. He did not want to look overtly anxious, and yet he was obviously anxious. Part of it was his urge to find out if she was the right one that matched his gossamer imago, and more of it was his untamed machismo that even his arete, the harmonious combination of moral integrity and physical discipline, could not surmount. In the age of Amazonian resurgence of matriarchy on the crest of #MeToo campaign, the subject matter of indomitable feat of virility could be highly volatile, incriminating even. But Hector was being none other than a man himself and going against nature would turn him into a closet monster or a spectacular hypocrite.  Besides, Hector was an artist who was unafraid of following his heart according to the True North of Nature. He belonged to the race of the untethered, the bold and the beautiful, and he knew it. All of it, all that he had was working toward his wish to speak to her, the mysterious woman sitting three seats away from him.

 When it reached the zenith of the urge, Hector couldn’t hold it any longer, and it finally erupted from his lips: “Excuse me, miss. I forgot to bring a pen with me. Do you have a spare one by any chance?” It was the best excuse he could think of because the woman was writing in her notebook. She seemed startled at first by a strange man’s request for a pen, but soon her fear of a stranger relented at his polite manner handsomely juxtaposed with his sonorous voice and beautiful eyes that radiated both warmth of the soul and allure of the flesh. Iris was always sagacious of people’s characters, which was her gift and curse of the Fates, and she saw genuineness in this strange but beautiful man’s eyes in an aura of charisma, a mythological power ascribed to the Olympians and select hybrids of mortals and immortals. In a phantasmagorical display of the Greek heroes and gods, Iris was filled with mysterious confidence that gave her a status that fuses the capricious power of a fairy with the sensuous charge of femininity. She finally fished in a pen from her pencil case and gave it to him. “Thank you, Miss. These days people do not seem to carry around a pencil case.” Hector thought that he talked too much and instantly regretted it. But it was a reflex of his heart that knew better. It was working slowly, the kindling of the amber that was beginning to grow. No, my dear reader, it wasn’t that usual playboy’s antics, that sleek glib of a smooth operator because Hector wasn’t the sort. Nothing namby-pamby about Hector’s sensitive nature, nor the supra-abundance of the embryonic courtship that might not even develop with fanfare. But nothing could be further from the truth – the truth that both Hector and Iris were votaries of aesthetic pleasure, the cult of Psyche and Eros, the seekers of Eleusinian Mysteries in their own rights.

Iris wanted Hector to go on, to take her on, to lead her on. Despite her instant bestowal of confidence, she was still wrapped up in her own clock of anonymity and invisibility like a fairy who was visible to the mortal eyes when she wanted to. A fairy whose sentiments were different from the mortals and who could be both impish and angelic according to her whims and caprice. For a fairy by nature was amoral and could fashion in whatever forms she would prefer. Thenceforth, Iris was lamenting that a fairy at the time of her birth did not bring her a gift of beauty that could captivate a man of her heart. Surely, she was told beautiful, sultry even, but her resemblance to Cassandra was the sine qua non of her solitude, although she would like to insist that it was her voluntary choice. The grace and the harmony of her features would make a beholder think that they were aesthetically proportioned, yet she wasn’t exactly a Helen of Troy for whom Paris, the prince of Troy, left his nymph companion in distress and for whom thousands of ships launched to win her love. Alas, poor Iris! I knew her, my dear reader. I commiserated with her spiritually. I should have cast glamour spells on her so that she could be instantly gorgeous at that time. But would it be a kind of beauty she really wanted?… I wondered. I questioned: then, would Iris- a lesser beauty, a confused fairy, and a distressed Cassandra- make this mysterious man interested in her soul until they became two by two and about what went they to? In this fey meditation, her spirit was pivoting ecstatically from the mind’s castle and swiveling in wonderment. Iris was secretly invoking the power of all the fairies in the limine spheres, the slice of seacoast between low and high tides, deepening foliage between field and forest, and the slope-land between plains and mountains.

Posted in book review, Film Review

From PBS Masterpiece Theater – Mr. Selfridge


This Masterpiece Theater Mini-Series of “Mr. Selfridge” produced by ITV is a tour de force of excellent performances of the actors, the finesse of drama scripts, gorgeous costumes, and classically elegant settings coordinated as truthfully as possible. It chronicles Harry Gordon Selfridge’s business adventures from the onset of establishing Selfridges & Co in 1908 until his farewell to his labor of love twenty years afterwards.

 From Episode I of Series 1 to Episode 10 of Series 4 (Final Season), we get to see a man named Harry Gordon Selfridge (1958-1947) who was something of a Napoleon Bonaparte knowing no word in his dictionary for “Impossible.” We see the man build a one-of-a-kind department store in London’s Oxford Street as an adventurous American tradesman against the British aristocratic chauvinism. Selfridge was a man who set a standard of modern department store; by placing the cosmetic/perfume counters on the lobby, Selfridge intended to sweeten the atmosphere of the floor in attempt to use it as a magnet for passers-by, especially women. In effect, Selfridge broke down the class-stratified fashion wall guarded by the rich/privileged by democratizing the luxurious items and making them accessible to common people as well.

Moreover, the ace portrayal of Selfridge would/could not be possible were it not for the fine acting of Jeremy Piven whose quintessential American accent doubled with inescapable American can-do attitudes triumphs over the transatlantic cultural differences in working with the British peers. The viewer will be left with a feeling of heartfulness of the characters upon finishing all of the episodes in this series and cannot help but applaud to Mr. Selfridge for his entrepreneurial effervescence and Mr. Piven for portraying the man in a stellar performance that evokes both pathos and respect.

Posted in Miscellany, Novellas

Light As Larks


“Hurry up, Matilda. We don’t want to miss our tram to the city that will come in 10 minutes.” Seraphina Lapine, a journalist at The Echo Times who is originally from Brussels, Belgium, hurries Mathilda Bear, a nursery teacher and part time piano teacher who still can’t decide what to wear for her beautiful afternoon repose after a hard day’s week. “Oki Doki, Seraphina. I am almost done. How do I look? Does this new blue dress I ordered from the last month’s catalogue of Fancy Penny become me? I got it at $50.00 on sale!” Mathilda asks of her picky roommate in hope of her sharing the excitement for the new dress and hearing words of compliment about her pretty new self from the mouth of Seraphina, the ever elegant journalist with style always effortlessly coordinated because anything she throws on her figure – no matter how haggard or aged or nondescript –  is transformed into a fashion itself.

IMG_3985“You look fine,” Seraphina continues in the mixed feeling of both sympathy for Mathilda’s effort to fish out compliments from her peer and irritability to responding to such calculated intention when time is of essence in catching the tram that runs every one hour, “the color of the dress happens to be one of my favorite colors – “Azure” –  the Italians are said to love the color because it reminds them of the Mediterranean Sea.  In fact, the Italians have developed to perfect the color in likeness of the color of the sea throughout their history. So during the Renaissance period,  the painters in Europe preferred the color made in Italy to other similar blue hues made in elsewhere.” It is always like this to add any further information on what is generally required of; Seraphina has a tendency to elaborate her statement with additional information acquired from her a wide range of books she has read and illuminates it like shining stars in the Milky Way across the nightly sky that bright the minds of others who are intellectually benighted.

“Oh, is it so? I only chose this color because there were only two options: a red one and IMG_3984this one of the same style, and I don’t like the color red – it’s two fiery and passionate for me-. I rather like the cool blue because it gives me a sense of serenity,” Mathilda says as she picks up her handbag she got from a thrift store a year ago. “How’s this bag? I got…” “Alright, Mathilda!” Seraphina finally snaps her eager friend. ” We’d better get going. Now we have only 5 minutes or so to catch the tram. Otherwise, we have to wait another one hour, and that will mess up our Saturday  outing plan. I am supposed to come back by 5:00 PM to finish my assignment that is to be submitted to the editor of Echo at 8:30 AM tomorrow.  We can’t waste time thinking and  mumbling about your dress and handbag.” Upon hearing from another request for opinion on her one year-old bag, Seraphina’s gracefully subdued patience bursts out, although her demeanor still maintains a perfect elegance that belongs to a woman of noble birth and education, which corresponds to the exaltation of such woman exampled by John Milton In Paradise :

Those thousand graceful act, those thousand decencies that flow from all her actions and deeds.

photo“Sorry. I forgot about your schedule. I was too thrilled to be reminded of the tram schedule. And the weather seems to behave like Spring should. And I hardly go out on weekends because I usually rather stay home to compensate for a week’s wrestling with little kids at the nursery.. Let’s hurry!” Listening to Mathilda’s heartfelt apology and looking at her cute face half-drawn with sadness of loneliness, Seraphina’s heart feels inundated with rivers of pathos for her new friend. After all, Mathilda was only seeking for assurance of her timid self that has hardly been affirmed due to a deprivation of parental love and understanding for her being orphaned at the age of five. “Yes, let’s hurry down to the tram stop, Mathilda, for we will have a lovely Saturday today! How about going to the new French restaurant that has recently opened? I forgot the name, but we can check it out later!” So off they are to the tram stop chatting away about what to possibly buy at the department store like happy larks.




Posted in Poetry

Foolish Heart

Don’t know why
I’m thinking of you everyday,
When there’s got to be,
No chance for me
To make you love me.

Don’t know why
My eyes see you everyday,
And it doesn’t matter if you can’t see me,
If you don’t know how much I cry
‘Cause I see no other way.

I know it’s a waste of time
This fantasy of mine.
But if I turn away,
If I walk away,
You will be gone away.

If I can’t see you,
I don’t want anybody, no way.
If I lose you,
I don’t want anybody, nobody,
I don’t want anybody, baby…