..whatever..

---Literature and Artworks by Amaranth Levana---
*All images/artworks/literature/blurbs in this blog are all by me (and the three voices in my head), unless stated otherwise. For special permissions please contact YuAmaLev via email amaranth.levana21@gmail.com*

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Silent Love Confessions 9: The Fruit


“The other day I climbed up a tree and picked a fruit from its top-most branch. I sniffed the fresh scent of sweetness from the fruit’s skin and smiled at the lovely smooth coloring of its perfect ripeness. I placed the fruit on a shelf to save for tomorrow and slept dreaming of its succulence all through the night. Day came and I found the fruit missing from its shelf. The taste of sweetness in my mouth vanished in an instant. I went outside and looked up at the tree, to see the fruit sitting nicely at the top once again even higher than where it was before. Today I shall climb up again, hoping that tomorrow I shall finally taste that fruit. But no matter how many tomorrows came, I always ended up climbing again and again, higher and higher up the branches of the ever growing tree.”

***

“I’m sorry. I’m not ready to order yet. I’m still waiting for someone.”

Kristen stared at Greg for a moment, surveying his face for any sign that would tell her he wasn’t serious about what he just said. When she found none, she let out a sigh and curved her lips to a grin.

“What’s wrong with you? You were the one who asked me out yesterday and you’d still act like you don’t know me?”

She watched as Greg’s face turned red in embarrassment. What was that for?

“Kristen?”

“Were you expecting someone else?” She felt disappointed. It would be the first time that they’d see each other with her not being a waitress serving him as a customer and his jokes surely weren’t appreciated. She gave all her best efforts to look good on their first date, although she wasn’t able to change out of her uniform because she just got off work, she still expected him to be all appreciative of her just like he usually was whenever he came to have coffee at the diner where she works. She did make sure that her hair was perfect and that her makeup was nicely done and she did not want to be in a situation like this, which is, to stand in front of the table being stared at and humiliated as if she was some intruder to her own dinner date.

“No. No. Of course I was waiting for you.” Greg smiled and quickly got up from his seat. He walked over to her side and pulled the chair for her to sit, which she did with a subtle display of dismay that Greg caught on to quickly. “I’m sorry, Kristen. You look beautiful.”

And was that supposed to make her forgive him? Maybe he really was joking. It’s only the first date, she’d make sure to tell him she didn’t like those kinds of jokes next time, but there’s no point in messing things up with this guy. Perhaps he is a pretty bad jester, but he is a decent man which attracted her to him in the first place. During those times when she would serve him his coffee, they would make casual conversations that showed her that he was well-mannered and educated. He never looked down on her for her occupation and that’s something she doesn’t get very often. Mostly every customer who tried to get her attention regarded her as some cheap and easy girl just because being a waitress calls for being friendly to the extent of almost acting naive. They looked at her like some servant whose job was to serve them and entertain them while they enjoyed their expensive drinks, but Greg was different. Greg was the first to take her as an equal person deserving of having normal conversations with. He reached out and tried to get to know her, the real her beneath the waitress uniform.

After their meal, they went to see a movie, and then a quick stroll along the park before he dropped her off to her apartment and the clichéd well-executed first date ended with a clichéd sugary-sweet good night kiss.

Kristen knew that it was a pretty good start. It was a marvelous sign that the first date would be followed by many more, but to her dismay, he didn’t ask for a second date. Instead, they went back to seeing each other in the diner where she works. She would serve him his coffee and they would chat, he would wait until she’s done with work and then he’d drive her to her apartment. She hoped that they would eventually progress from “being friends” to “going out” but even after a couple of months had passed, there had been no clarity on what their relationship was or if Greg was ever going to ask her for another date.

Kristen knew that if she ever wanted to be with a man, it would be someone like Greg, so she decided that she would no longer wait for him and would make the move herself. Her mother had always said that she had the ability to have what she wants as long as she wants it hard enough to take it. How she ended up being a waitress rather than a famous movie star like she wanted is a different story. She was unlucky with the whole establishing-a-career part, but she knows she’s never been unfortunate when it came to romance. That day, she took a day-off and went to see Greg. She is aware that she’s pretty and that was what probably caught Greg’s attention, she just needs to make sure that she makes herself prettier for him to consider keeping her. No waitress uniform today. No. Not today.

She knew Greg’s schedule enough to be certain that any minute now he’d be walking out of the glass doors of that building and would cross the street to the diner where she works. There he would order his drink and would sit for a couple of hours to talk to his favorite waitress. But, not today… today will be different. Today he will receive a pretty surprise. A very pretty-in-a-red-dress surprise…

He always sees her in her waitress uniform with her hair tied up in a pony-tail. Not today.

“No. Not today…” Kristen smiled as she watched the people come out of the glass doors of the office building, waiting for Greg to show up and then deliver her pretty surprise. Her heart pounded in excitement and anticipation and in her mind she practiced the cutest way to say: “Surprise!”

What would his reaction be? Will he be pleased?

Of course, he should be very pleased.

She stood there for fifteen minutes watching the glass door open and close for people until she finally spotted Greg. Always so handsome, always that calm, somewhat indifferent look on his face and always that confident posture on his back.

Kristen tried not to make her smile look so big, but she wasn’t able to control it. She was excited and became even more when Greg started walking towards her direction to get to the crosswalk. When he got in front of her she gave him her well-practiced “Surprise!”

Greg surely was surprised and it showed on his face. He smiled at her and then gave a slight nod before continuing forward. The walk sign lit up and he crossed the street towards the diner where he always goes to.

Greg was still confused about the woman in red who suddenly crossed his path and startled him. It would be something comical to talk about with Kristen over coffee. He smiled as he entered the diner, with his heart pounding in anticipation of seeing Kristen and talking to her. But, not today…

No.

Not today.
***

Author’s note:

          It was very difficult for me to create a story about a character having Prosopagnosia or Face blindness, but ever since I read about it in our Psychology textbook, it was like an itch crawled inside me that just won’t be scratched by anything else but by me writing about it. Prosopagnosia was a word that was merely mentioned in a chapter and we didn’t even discuss it in class, but I was haunted by the fact that it actually exists. I claim no great knowledge about this and I do not mean to offend anyone by writing this story. It itched and I scratched.

               The thing about the tree at the beginning is something that’s been bugging me while I was trying to write this story. You know, like having a dream while you’re awake when you’re trying to think of something. Anyway, it’s not completely unrelated, or at least that’s what I think so since it’s been popping in my head the whole time. I thought about not including it, but it’s the same thing as the itch. It won’t stop flashing in my head until it was written.


Monday, July 11, 2011

The Curse of a Frozen Kiss

Version 2 Black and White
Version 1 Colored

    Once upon a time, there was an evil witch who lived in an unknown enchanted place where no living human has ever ventured in or out of. A place believed to be like a spider web that traps anyone who ever dared to come. Men all over the land mysteriously disappeared one by one every time noon was at its peak. It was believed that the witch could only survive outside her realm when the sun shone blazing rays.

     It was the disappearance of the old king that led his son, the prince, to venture in search for him through every part of the kingdom. With the help of his own magic, he tracked down the witch’s lair, until he found it deep into the cores of the earth where boiling lava and hot rocks built a cocoon of fire. The heat was almost intolerable, and even the air inside felt moist and hot as he breathed but he pushed even further inside hoping to find his father alive and well.

     It seemed like hours walking through that burning cave until he felt his body became accustomed to the heat. He finally reached the end of the cave and it led to a bright and beautiful place which was pure magical. To the prince who felt he had just walked through hell, he deeply appreciated the refreshing warmth of the little paradise before him. Like any other normal person would be drawn to beauty, he felt the urge to walk into the paradise.

     He had already deeply indulged into that magical place until he realized that he no longer knew where he had come from. Looking behind him, the trees and rocks seemed to have moved blocking his view of the entrance and only way out. For hours, he walked aimlessly around the place, no longer charmed by the beauty but determined to find a way out. Without passing through dusk, the place just suddenly fell in darkness. Night time has fallen and the woods seemed to grow thicker. The serene silence disturbed by nightly creatures’ noise.

     Taking precaution of having his sword handy, he continued on with his walk, following a narrow river, knowing that it’s bound to lead somewhere. For him, it hasn’t even been two hours and the place brightened again as bright as noon. It occurred to him that time was twisted inside that place, but he didn’t let it bother him. Although exhaustion was slowly taking over, he chose to go on, looking for even little clues that would help him find a way out. Night came and gone seven times or so before he finally reached the end of the river. The land seemed to have also ended and he found himself standing in front of a bottomless fall, farthest to his right and farthest as he can look on his left the huge slice on the earth seemed endless.

     “That’s not the way out…”

     The prince, startled, turned and saw a beautiful maiden lovelier than any other he’s ever seen before, standing behind him. A sad look on her eyes reflected his face as she stared directly at him.

     “…but if you choose to follow me there you could forget about the cruel and chaotic world you’ve left and be with me forever in paradise…”

     Her eyes looked at him with some sort of magnetism, her voice lulled his senses and for a moment, he felt the strong urge to reach for the hand which she had stretched out before him to take. He stopped when he realized that he has a mission to complete. His strong will fighting so hard against the temptation which was that very lovely maiden made him shake his head.

     The lovely lips curved to form a lovely smile. The witch satisfied that a man had a will strong enough to fight her spell vanished in a bright spark of light which blinded the prince for a moment. When he looked around again, he was back in a familiar forest close to home. Confused, he walked back to their kingdom, not remembering a single thing about his venture, forgetting about meeting the beautiful witch, about the enchanted place, and why he had set forth on a journey in the first place. Back at the palace, everyone grieved over the lifeless king suddenly found dead in his chambers. He wore a smile on his aged face, but his body was stiff and cold. Not long, the prince was crowned as the new king.

     A couple of years passed, the land prospered in the hands of the new ruler and the people were pleased. Many other rulers from different lands heard of him and offered their loveliest daughters to him for marriage, but his heart could not understand why it beats for yearning about something unknown and forgotten. A face that appears in his dreams and vanishes whenever he woke up haunted him. The image of the lovely maiden was vivid while he slept, but completely disappears from his memory the moment he awakes. When the king could no longer fight the incomprehensible and irrational longing and emptiness he carried, he went on a journey in search for something lost until he found himself once again standing in front of a familiar cave.

     Before he even stepped inside he was welcomed by a lovely face and he remembered that face from his dreams. In mutual longing they embraced, finding themselves tearing unreasonably of joy in each other’s arms. Both their wills weakened by the feel of the warmness in their hearts. They married immediately after returning to the kingdom and the people had their new queen. No one knew who she was and where she came from, but they were pleased to see the king happy and contented with his beloved wife.

     Everyone in the kingdom was filled with joy without suspecting the motion of a wicked curse. Men died one by one for no known reason, each of them found dead in their sleep. Rumors spread that it all began soon after the king brought in his wife, but the king chose to ignore, until one night he awoke that the queen was not beside him. He searched for her in the palace but didn’t find her. He went out and found her walking silently towards the town and he followed her. He saw her stop in front one of the houses, place a strand of her hair by the doorstep and when morning came news broke out that the young son of the couple who lived there had passed away in his sleep.

     Suspicion rose inside the king’s mind, but his heart refused to believe. For many nights he followed his wife and witnessed how the people mourned come morning. His heart hung on a balance between justice and love, until the people came forth and demanded his help. They pleaded and cried, all in complete certainty that the queen brought with her that evil curse. He wasn’t able to stop them when they rushed into the palace and forcibly took her. She cried and begged for his help, but his judgment as king took over. With a broken heart he allowed the people to take her.

     They gave her a chance to confess her sins before they killed her but she just kept silent and wept, until the people lost their patience and locked her inside a cave of ice and left her there. When the incident happened again that night with the witch already locked up, they went back to check on her to reprimand her, but she was already dead. Dying in the cold, her heart and soul frozen…

     The king took her lifeless body in his arms and cried for her. He grieved for months as the curse went on. He felt helpless and so did the people who realized that they’ve made a wrong judgment. Feeling very weak, his heart completely shattered, the king took his own life and only then did the curse finally stop.

-=-
     Usually, I write a story and create an illustration for it or even just try and find a suitable old drawing to use, but once in a while, I draw something before coming up with a story(like in this case). After I finished the sketch I played around with it in photoshop, so one of the versions is colored while the other one is in black and white. This drawing was done a month ago, but I only thought of posting it now after seeing it again on my desktop and suddenly getting an idea for a story. For some months I've been focusing on trying to finish my novels, honestly feeling frustrated that I couldn't put an end to any of them (there are at least seven novels on hiatus and three of them I'm trying to finish) and being able to spontaneously write a "sort of" short story again is a weight off my current frustrations. 

     I won't say that I'm really back, because it might take me a few more weeks to actually have time to post on this blog again because of the circumstances I've just mentioned above (plus, exams are coming up) but it feels nice to be able to see blogger  in draft again, I'm surprised at how it looks now. I'm glad I still managed to figure out how to navigate through it.

     
     Thank you for the visits on my blog. I really appreciate  that you still drop by despite the slow updates. Anyway, you could always read on my earlier posts for more artworks and stories. :)

XoxO,
Amaranth Levana     

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Summer Ch. 1

     Aware of the stares being thrown at her, Summer Verity Savatella kept her chin up amidst the scrutinizing murmurs of the crowd. Indeed, what was supposed to be a preparation for her most glorious day turned out to be a mock but paying any attention to their ignorant opinions and mindless criticisms would not benefit her either. She knows she deserves their attention, perhaps not for what’s obviously the cause of their curiosity now, but she deserves acknowledgment for her intelligence that everyone seemed to have forgotten about or simply chose to set aside. What was that saying? When I am right, no one remembers but when I am wrong, no one forgets? Besides, she’s used to being stared at. She’s used to being measured from head to toe by self-proclaimed critics and hearing speculative remarks that she’d most certainly had her nose done, or her waist trimmed, or her skin peeled. She knows and had always been praised of her physical attributes that deserved adoration rather than mere flattery. She’s well aware of her beauty and the huge round bump on her belly didn’t affect it in any way.
     When her name was called, she stepped up gracefully onto the stage and ever so poised walked over to the center to reach for the dummy-diploma that would be handed. The teacher who was standing-in for the administrators of their school for the rehearsal paused and stared at her face, then to her apparent pregnancy. She’s nearly half-way and there was no way that she can hide her blown up belly beneath any type of garment. Knowing that she’d be standing in front of everyone that day to be gaped at, she chose to wear a most flattering lime-green three-fourth sleeved empire-cut dress that would sure to emphasize her stomach as it flows silkily over her bump and then edge an inch below her knees. Her breasts had considerably sized up that she couldn’t be modest about the neckline much as she tried. As for the rest, she didn’t bother much. On her feet she wore a pair of strappy sandals and her long hair she simply pulled up in a tight pony tail which she bound with a ribbon of the same shade as her dress. It wasn’t her best effort, but she was presentable. Surely these seagulls wouldn’t be able to say anything about her appearance apart from her increased waistline measurement.
     The female teacher who was shorter than herself by what seemed like a couple of feet at most and was round as a bagel with annoyingly frizzy short hair which made her look like she had been electrocuted except for her meaty chunks that still proved her soggy, didn’t show any intention to budge her heavy arms even after Summer had reached for the rolled-up paper with her left hand and presented her right hand for a handshake. Summer impatiently cleared her throat and the frizz-head teacher looked at her face again wearing an obvious dumb-struck and rude reaction.
     “Congratulations.” The teacher managed to say in constrict formal tone. The smile on the teacher’s chubby face was forced justified by that insufferable look of sympathy on her absurdly huge doe-eyes which, for Summer, was worse than a million mocking glares.
     “Thank you.” Summer had to force herself not to sound sarcastic. By the look the teacher gave her and the uncomfortable flush on her stocky cheeks, anyone could conclude that her congratulations meant more than just for graduating. If it had been sincere well-wishes, she would have gladly accepted. But she did not appreciate being looked at as if her condition was something to be sorry about.
     After a quick handshake Summer moved on, just as gracefully as she had climbed up to be the center of everyone’s denigration to get that rotten piece of paper while ignoring the impertinent being’s sigh of being freed from a very uncomfortable situation. How rude! How despicably infuriating! But she had to keep her calm. A cool smile she gave to the other stand-ins whose hands she shook as hastily yet as regally, her steps ever dignified and majestic and her royal bearing she kept faultless until she shook the last hand she had to and got down from the wretched stage. Head held high as a queen’s, she showed everyone that she would never let anyone look down on her no matter how or what they thought her mistakes had been.
     She would accept their scorn the way she had accepted her parents’ disappointment, but she would never accept pity. She accepts the fact that she is an unmarried nineteen year old pregnant girl led astray by lust and disillusioned by love, but she will never accept anyone questioning her established reputation as someone gifted with capabilities just because of a single misjudgment she had made. She admits to being young and impulsive, yes, but not stupid.
     Everyone expected and wanted her to get married, but she didn’t. Her boyfriend, the last one, the father of her child, the donor--- that last one sounded most appropriate--- was not someone that she had ever seen herself being with. Yes, Arthur Rose Echeverria would have really made a good catch, handsome, smart, athletic, well-mannered and rich. But also for that very same reason of him being so close to perfection that Summer protested against her parents’ wishes of her getting married to avoid scandal. Scandals would die down once a new one erupts, but if she had gotten married and regretted that decision, it would be very hard to take back. Someday, people will get tired of talking about her and some would even forget, but marriage would mean a lifelong commitment that she wouldn’t be willing to give to someone she isn’t even in love with.
     Besides, even if her parents demanded, there was no assurance that a wedding would be accepted in Arthur’s part. They barely even knew each other. She didn’t even tell him her real name during those two weeks that they were together in the island and all they had were phone calls after she left for home which she abruptly ended the very first month she knew that she was expecting. She never thought about making him responsible for her own reckless actions.
     She wanted to get away, and she found something else during her escape. She found Arthur Rose Echeverria, the young owner of a resort near where she stayed and who was as intoxicating and charming as his name suggested. Rose… how sweetly his mother must have thought when she named him.
     She was heartbroken and vulnerable when she met Arthur, and she was attracted to him instantly, the way a bee or a butterfly would have been attracted to a splendid flower. She easily got over her heartbreak because of him and she wouldn’t deny that she liked him, or liked the way he was and the way he granted her physical gratification. But that wasn’t love. It was just lust, and it had been wildly satisfied. It was good while it lasted, but now she has to focus on more important matters. She will raise her child and look forward to a bright future; a future which she’d build herself. No matter what other people may think or say, she will rise above them all.
     “Are you sure you don’t want to accept my proposition? I know my name isn’t as affluent as Echeverria or as prominent as Avellaneda, but I could give your child a name, Summer.” Roger del Castillo tilted his handsome head to throw Summer a pair of curious eyes and a little persuasive smile. He watched her with steady eyes as she struggled to reach for the stubborn zipper at the back of her elegantly simple pink dress. After being amused enough at the look of his dear pregnant friend, he walked over to her and turned her back on him to slide the zipper up.
     “And what do you plan to do with a wife, Roger? A child I could very well guess, especially a male one, you could continue your legacy without having to plant a seed, but I fear to even picture what you expect me to be.” Summer turned to him and gestured her thanks-for-helping-with-the-dress with a soft pat on his shoulder. She walked over to her dresser and sat in front of the mirror to stare at her pale face.
     “I love you, Summer Verity. No matter how I am, you know I mean it when I say that I would take care of you.”
     “Which you’ve always proved in the past and until now, Roger. I love you too.” Summer smiled at him through the mirror before picking up her hairbrush which she luxuriously ran through her long locks. “But I don’t need you to take care of me that way. I know you just want to help me get away from the scandal and---“, she paused when she saw the sudden grave seriousness on his face through the reflection, her own smile wavered off.
     “Think about it. It would be hard for your child to grow up without a father and tougher for you to raise one on your own.” He slowly walked up behind her and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, staring at her with complete sincerity through the mirror. “I am serious, Summer. I’ll give your child a name, and I will take care of you both.”
     Summer felt the tears sting her eyes from beneath her eyelids, but she managed to stop them from completely showing. She gave a slight smile, shifted her head and gave the hand that rested on her left shoulder a soft kiss. “I don’t want you to sacrifice anything for me, Roger. You don’t have to marry me. As long as you’re always beside me, it would be enough.”
     Roger slid his hand and stooped down to wrap Summer in his arms. That was all he had to do to make her completely lose her strength in keeping her tears at bay. Roger kissed the first drop of tear away before it rolled down her cheeks, but it was only followed by a gallon more. He turned Summer to him and held her tight and he felt her cling to him like a child, sobbing all the pain that she had held back.
     “It’s ok, Summer. I’m here. I’m always here for you and I always will be.”
     Summer had tried hard enough not to show anything, but her friend’s sincerity made her lose all of her resolve. She didn’t cry when Robert Avellaneda cheated on her. She didn’t cry when she found out she was pregnant with Arthur Rose Echeverria’s child. She didn’t cry when she spoke to her parents about her condition and she managed to hold herself up despite their harsh words. Only now had she let herself sink and weaken, in front of her most trusted and only friend.
     Roger del Castillo Jr. is her father’s godchild and they grew up together. He is the only son of Dr. Roger del Castillo Sr. who became a widower before his son turned six. Roger’s father never remarried and kept busy with his work, he was also too busy to look after a child apparently. During those times, Roger and Summer’s friendship grew strong, he was closer to her than her real brother who was ten years her senior. They were in high school when Roger confessed what Summer had already guessed for so long: he’s gay, and they kept that secret along with many other secrets within their strong bond of friendship. He is the only person who knew about Summer’s secret escapade and all about Arthur. He is also the one person despite Robert and Summer who knows the real reason why they broke up. It was only Summer who knew about his first love with an older guy who was their professor. It was also Summer who comforted him whenever he got his heartbroken. They had always been together through anything as they wish for each other’s happiness. And to think that he was very willing to sacrifice his whole life for her, Summer just couldn’t let that be.
***
     “Here’s the information you asked for.”
Arthur felt Janice’s reluctance in handing him the folder which contained the data that he had asked--- or almost begged for. He pulled it away from her grasp quickly before she changed her mind and tucked it under his arms on the table.
     “You know that I can get sued for this.”
     “You know that I will never put you in trouble. Thank you for this, Janice.” Arthur smiled and hoped that he had persuaded her enough to just move on quickly about the matter, but she still voiced out her curiosity.
     “What do you want with this girl, Arthur? I never would have expected you to think about a girl this much. You’ve always been jumping on and off tourists. I wonder what made you change.” Janice gave up trying retrieving the folder and just sunk back on her chair taking her glass of daiquiri with her. She kept her eyes on him indicating that she was waiting for an answer and she had already taken a couple of sips before he did.
     “I don’t know. She’s just different. I was taken aback by her. She wasn’t anything like the other tourists who came here with mutual deals of gratifying their lustful tropical illusions. I even feel like I’ve corrupted her. She seemed like she was melting in my arms when I held her. And when I kissed her--- she---” Arthur paused and recalled her pretty face. The way she looked so radiant and in blinding shine before the big red sunset. “She was a virgin.” Arthur’s last statement made him remember the first moment he took the pale skinned princess in his arms. He grabbed his glass of whiskey and gulped it up forcing away the image of her authentic innocent blush.
     Janice fell silent, but she needed to lighten up the awkward mood somehow. “She’s nineteen. You’re glad that she’s of legal age?” Janice held in the forced nervous laughter but was unable to restrain the chuckle that escaped her throat. “So it was more than just a summer fling for the notorious Casanova? Well, it would have been double-positive if it was…”
     Arthur didn’t get what she was trying to say and she understood his ignorance. She leaned over the table and tapped the folder with her index finger which Arthur guarded vigilantly with his elbow, and then quickly slumped back on her chair with a grin. With caution, Arthur slowly moved his elbow to open the folder containing Summer’s information acquired from the records she left at Janice’s resort.
     “Summer Verity Salvatella.” Arthur read her name with a sigh, and somehow, saying her name made his heart jump. She told him her name was Maria and he felt uncomfortable about it since that was his mother’s name. Is it just relief that the girl whose been running through his mind doesn’t really have the same name as the woman who had abandoned him that made him feel light inside?
     “What are you going to do now?” Janice asked with anticipation as if she didn’t know. She had never seen her younger cousin look so dumb because of a girl and she took that it might actually be a good thing to end his carefree whoring days.
     “I’m going to find her.” He answered with such determination and such a stupid boyish grin. It was like he was back to being eight having his first crush rather than a 25 year-old guy who had built his name in business all on his own abilities and whose womanizing skills are known throughout the island.

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