A short story
Adrian Mendizabal
October 2008

Dedicated to
Iscel Manalo
For his eighteenth birthday
last October 26, 2008

There must be peace in his heart.

In fear, he felt the gun in his hands. He must feel peace.

The florescent lamps from Santiago street magnificently lit the long the unfolding lanes of the district. The bushes were teal and dark. Only the light from Gustavo’s room illuminated its pubescent leaves. Red canvas of hanged cloth in his room became atmospheric. There could be a possible flight of bees from the mango trees. But the humid hot air, blended with the crisp dew and sea winds, churned insect life into hibernation.

There will be, of this great day, a measure of dusk. There will be peace in his heart.

What could make him a man? What could be, looking beyond his melancholic window, the measure of his being? If there is morning, where is it? If there is death, where does it dwell?

He continued holding it in his hand. The metallic lining, silver and bold, glistened and bled. The whole of his body was shuddering; he felt his soul starting to break from his body. Is this what makes his death, a torturing outburst of his whole old years of living? The distant light from another window made his mind furious, his heartbeat was reaching its final phase, its final pursuit to fill up his human imperfection.


What does love means?” A man of a young stature, like any young adult of the district, made a question. He felt that it was an important question. He was sure that Gustavo would understand it, as Susan would suggest. He continued, slowly opening his half-burnt lips from a cup of hot Macchiato coffee, “Where does one lead a life?”

“Is it an important question, Leonard?” Gustavo, with a pertinent grin responded to his cousin.

“I think my coffee doesn’t taste like a Macchiato. Maybe I’ll have a cup of Americano instead.” Interrupted by the strong currents of the Italian coffee brought by the coffeehouse owner, he ordered a cup of a suitable coffee.

“Leonard, did you hear me?” Gustavo felt ignored and insisted to be notice by his only cousin. He wondered what was bothering his cousin’s mind. He felt that this conversation would not go any further, but Leonard continued.

“Gustavo, what kind of life do you lead?” Leonard asked.

“Leonard, I must go.” He felt engulfed by his cousin’s question. He was intolerable and he wanted to escape the question, to escape the penetrating eyes of his cousin, to escape the gold wooden chair where he sat, and to escape everything. But Leonard must continue his question.

“Gustavo, why do you have to leave your whole life? The world can be in turmoil. The strands of our sensibility can be as thin as the smoke from your coffee cup. But there can be peace.” Leonard grabbed the strong arm of his fading cousin, as if grabbing his whole being, shattering him into pieces.

Gustavo felt his finitude, the long and sexless feeling. He closed his eyes, hoping to stand it forever. As soon as he opened them, tears felt like an insatiable death. He almost wanted to remain in that stance with his cousin’s hand holding his arms forever, as if that was the only thing holding him from falling into the great abyss that his heart succumbed.

“Where does my empty life lead to, Leonard? What does this emptiness stands? Is there a room left for me?” He asked questions. For Leonard, these were his final words. His dry tone sharpened the frizz air that surrounded them.

“I love you brother.”

“Fucking don’t Leonard. Don't you fuck with me.”

The fear of every heart to love is pain. In the darkness awaits a light which every human heart can see. It is the idea of being one with another that binds our tongue to speak one language: that of love.

Ciao! God bless!