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I'm vulnerable. I'm vulnerable (but) I am not a robot.

Monday, January 27, 2014

unfold


When I was a kid, I wondered what it was like to fall in love. I had only ever seen it in fairy tales – the prince would sweep the lonely maiden off her feet as the music swells. There would be birds singing and stars aligning. If you're lucky, maybe you'd have fireworks. I wondered if it was like that in real life. In the summer of 2007, I found out.

Vince was not a friend of mine, at least not right away. He was quiet, always sulking in a corner with a paperback and pack of Marlboro reds. But I loved him just the same. I had just graduated. I didn't know the first thing about love, my career, or anything remotely adult. By the time I threw my graduation cap in the air, I didn't know where it would land. I received a call from a call center recruiter one day. They received my application from a job website and they were inviting me for an interview. A sign, I declared. Since I had no other leads, I wore my father's best polo, polished my shoes, and dragged my ass to their Makati office.

I got in and on the first day of training, I spotted Vincent right away. He was slightly older than me and spoke with a perfect American accent. Because we were the only smokers in our wave, we got along fairly quickly. In between orientation and pronunciation modules, we learned about each other's lives. I was a call center virgin fresh off of college. He was an undergrad who had spent years in a non-voice account in Cagayan. He didn't look bad either. He certainly knew how to dress himself. He also had quite a temper on him. We'd barely gotten to lunch when he got into an argument with our accent trainer.

"It's ih-REH-vuh-kuh-bul," he insisted. On the board, a speech drill sentence stood frozen in time. "Irrevocable" was underlined twice for emphasis and they were arguing about how it's supposed to be pronounced.

"Americans say ih-reh-VOW-kuh-bul. It maintains its original stress. Surely, I must know this. I'm your trainer." Our rookie trainer looked like she was about to explode.

"Surely you must. But that doesn't change that fact that it's ih-REH-vuh-kuh-bul." My other wavemates and I, we didn't know what to do. It felt like we were caught in the middle of the world's most pointless war.

"Here, I'll show you," he said as he typed furiously into his assigned computer. Within seconds, the speakers boasted of the truth that none of us wanted to hear. He was right.

"Are you browsing a non-work site?" she asked. We all knew the rules and he clearly just broke one. It didn't matter if he was right all along. He made her look like an idiot and there would be hell to pay. "Stay after your shift. HR will be hearing from you."
I waited for him outside our building after class. There I was, first day of work and the only guy who was remotely interesting was about to get terminated. I must've burned through my pack of menthols from the nervousness. When HR finally released him, he walked out of the building looking cool and confident.

"What happened?" I asked, fear in my voice.

"I explained what happened and they let me go with a warning." He fished out his pack of cigarettes from his coat pocket and lit up a stick.

"If it makes you feel better, Merriam-Webster agrees with you." I showed him my phone. There were fine lines on his face. His eyes squinted into tiny slits as he viewed the definition.

"But then so was she," he said, referring to the secondary pronunciation. He continued to read the article. "From Latin. Irrevocabilis."

"I thought for sure they'd sack you." I said, hesitating. "I was worried that I would lose my only friend."

"It'll take more than a green accent trainer to bring down Vicente Cabrera," he chuckled. "Plus it wouldn't be fair. I was just starting to get to know you." We finished our cigarettes in peace and went our separate ways. In my heart, I could feel the quiet tugging of a chapter about to unfold.

♫: Jason Mraz | Unfold (2000)
City Part 1 | 2


THE HARDEST STORIES to write are the ones that are actually true. I realized this as soon as I started writing this story down. A friend and I were talking about the cheesiest things that ever happened to us and I remembered this little scene from when I first started working. I got to write it all down this morning and the daunting word count led me to chop it up into smaller bite-sized chunks. I won't make the same mistake I made with Stella. I actually made sure I'd written most of it down by the time I started. Next installment within the week. :)

25 comments:

  1. Curious ako kung paano kayo na-develop. :) Excited for the next installment!

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    1. Geosef: I had to compress a lot of the scenes para mabilis madevelop yung story. Like yung argument with the trainer was over something else (at actually ako yung nakipag-away haha) pero it's all in the next installment. We spent a lot of time almost every day together kaya andaming mga side conversations na gusto ko isama pero walang space. haha di naman halatang excited na rin ako ilabas! :)

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    2. This is your blog. Ikwento mo lahat, Nyl. Wag kang magtipid ng space! *hehe*

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    3. Geosef: Gagawin ko naman pero paputol-putol. Mahirap naman. Gusto ko isipin din yung nagbabasa. Baka makatulog sa haba! lolz

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    4. You are a great stortyteller naman Nyl, so oks lang ang mahaba kasi for sure malaman naman. Just write from the heart and the story will just seem like it is writing itself.

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    5. Geosef: That sounds great! Sige, gagawin ko yan. :)

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  2. may natutunan akong bago! lol :D

    can't wait for the next one ^_^

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    1. Sin: The next one has a grammar lesson! Di ko nga sinadya. Nagkataon lang. lolz Salamat at iseschedule ko na yung next post as soon as matapos ko siya. Medyo mahirap yung ending.

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  4. "Ih-reh-VOW-kuh-bul" mi culo, pendeja.

    Anyway…fascinating read, Nyl.

    Sooooooo YA. I feel like a giggly schoolgirl. Can't wait for the next installment :P

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    1. Rudie: So Google Translate's being douchey. Does that mean my ass, asshole? haha whatever do you mean?

      As for the YA comment, fuuuudge!! I've been reading books of that genre as of late. Must have somehow crept into my blog. X_X Thanks for reading it anyway. lolz

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  5. i've always found latin pronunciation experts to be fascinating since we have no idea how people pronounced in when it was used in common conversation in the third century and before and twenty first century ecclesiastical latin is not an oral language except for a handful of powerful clerics at the Vatican and their ex-pope. lol

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    1. LOF: I didn't know that! Heck, when I first heard of Latin, i thought for sure they meant J.Lo! lolz

      Perhaps one clever person sat down and decided to write a pronunciation guide. Question is, what if he was wrong! It would certainly explain a lot. :p

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  6. interesting story :)

    gusto ko yung style ng takbo ng kuwento- simple at malinaw
    para akong nagbabasa ng pocketbook (but your story is more than the stories from pocketbooks)

    aabangan ko ang susunod :)

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    1. Jep: Why thanks! Medyo nag-struggle ako ayusin yung takbo nito kasi andami kong mga napapasok na details na last minute. Sana nasustain ko. Abangan sa mga sususnod na kabanatahhh! lolz

      And I love those old pocketbooks. Grabe, dati tinatakas ko pa yung sa maid namin. Malaking racket daw yan eh. In fairness sa mga writers nun, I'm sure sobrang eclectic nila.

      :)

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  7. Three post for January alone, medyo masipag ka sir ngayon sumulat ah.
    Bakit kailangan bawasan o i-edit kung interesting naman basahin? Haha, nakikialam ako.

    Mukhang may magandang flow ang istoryang ito na non-fiction. May aabangan kami. :)

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    1. Limarx: Oo nga no! I don't think I've had a post count this high in years! *scroll scroll* oo nga! February 2012 pa yung last! hehe

      As for the editing, siguro natuto nalang ako. Ako man, naduduling pag-masyadong mahaba yung post. Siguro yun yung main difference ng medium natin sa mga tradisyonal na manunulat. Kailangan i-factor in ang attention span!

      Salamat sa pag-abang! Sana magustuhan niyo yung next na mga parts. hihi

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  8. I'm pretty sure that incident made you blush like a decent young woman.

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    1. Rei: But of course! Any decent young woman would!

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  9. my admiration is irrevocable. charot. ang pilit ng paggamit ko. hahahahaha.
    kinilig ako inay. :) next pleaseee!

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    1. kalansaycollector: ayan na! Sorry na-delay. Nasiraan ako ng laptop eh. haha Ang dami tuloy nasayang na draft. :(

      In fairness, tama naman yung usage (ata?) Baka ako pala ang mali. chos

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  10. So I guess things started out with a cigarette ;)

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    1. Simon: It did! And it ended with one too! But that's for a different story altogether. haha

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