18 comments

Fiction

I stepped outside, and the leaves were on fire. It shocked me. Was it because of the hotness of his broad body that made it happen?


Late 80s were my unforgettable years when I studied in college at the same time looking for someone as my pen pal. The internet was not existing that time, so the only thing I did was to write to Jordan who lived in Georgia. My uncle who was an immigrant gave me his address. He was his colleague.

I received a long-distance call coming from him and asked me if I wanted a pal from there. I was such an innocent gal, but eager to explore to boost my confidence and knowledge in an English literature course, so I said yes. I knew that it would help a lot through writing letters for him.


At first, I didn't know how to start it because I was writing stuff for a stranger who never knew me at all. My uncle didn't tell me that Jordan already knew my address, and he did already write a letter for me but I hadn't received it yet. It was like my thumb and index fingers refused to hold the pen, so I could have my epistle. I was not that fluent in English, so I took my one and old dictionary as my guide of correct spelling and vocabulary. My phalanges trembled because I was tensed and very much conscious of that day. There was something wrong maybe because I was not used to write something for someone that I'd never seen yet. I got scared, but my mind told me to go on. I continued, I stroke and stroke every word on the blank stationery paper. I had magically written it without even noticing that I almost finished. I read it again and read my grammar basic book of my subject-verb agreement was right, if it were not very shameful to send since I was a woman who made the first move because of that. "Gosh, this is insane! I actually said it while sealing the letter.


It was almost the end of August when someone knocked the door while I was in the living room watching the Saturday's noontime show on the very old model television. I slightly open the door, I saw a postman standing and wanted me to sign a paper because I had a priority mail. He left immediately after saying thanks to him. I was pretty much curious at the same time afraid to open it because there was no return address. I slowly tore the side part in it and peeped the last word below.

"Oh my golly, it's Jordan!"I was really astonished and couldn't believe in a couple of minutes."How did he know my address? My uncle didn't tell me this thing?"I was bewildered, but I still opened it and read the content. It said:



Dear Arlene,


Have a good day.I know that this is so strange for you. This is actually my surprise for you as my new friend now though,you don't know me yet. Your uncle gave me your address. He is my friend not just an officemate. I am interested to know you that's why I'm writing this. Hopefully, you won't get mad at me.


I'm Jordan, living here as well in Georgia. I am 42 years old...



After reading his letter. I put it on the table, and I couldn't believe still. I was thinking if I should send mine to him since it was pretty obvious that it wasn't an answer of his words. He would absolutely know that I wrote it before his letter arrived. I crossed my fingers because my decision was final, I went to the post office adjacent to our public market and sent it without any hesitation anymore. I was really praying that Jordan would not think that I was an easy girl because he could absolutely sense that it wasn't a reply instead of it was intentionally written before hand.


Months went by, and I again received letters from him. Yes, it was not only one but two. He was sending more and more. I told him the truth that I only wanted to learn in English nothing more. He insisted that he wanted to be my new friend though he was far from me. His letters were our constant communication.


"Okay, I will say yes for that..."


 We were exchanging letters for almost a year, and he decided to go to the Philippines to meet my family and me. I told him no because I've never told my parents yet because they wanted me to concentrate on my studies and finished it to help my siblings who were in their grade and high school years. He insisted to go in my place though I really told him the true reason. It was a crazy decision from me to say yes to my uncle without any second thoughts. To make friends through writing. I felt like my life was complicated then. It was not easy to lie to my parents especially that I wasn't used to do it because I wanted them to be so proud of me when I'd wear my toga. I wrote a last letter for Jordan that I would cut that craziness anymore. I could learn from writing and so on and forth by not doing that thing which could only broke my promise to my family. It was a shallow reason that made me confuse throughout the days. I didn't receive any reply from him. I was so happy because I was thinking that he already understood my stance or my situation. It wasn't easy to build friendship to a stranger when he didn't even see me even in pictures because taking pictures was not my cup of tea. My classmates used to do that, but I just sat down on the studio watching them with their poses on the camera. On the contrary, I saw Jordan's pictures. He sent me a couple of his pictures also with his friends and with his solo snap shots as well. I told myself to not be naive and killjoy if her pen friend would visit him. "This was not good. I could sense chaos." My mind kept banging me these words.

The smell of the falling leaves in autumn and the awesome view of its colors in the valley of trees were like inviting me to recall my teenage years. To fly kites with my neighbors or having this children's games on weekends. I gazed the meadows from my room window. It was perfect. I wished then that I could go on swimming with my bosom friends, but my imagination stopped when my sister called me outside.

"Arlene, someone is looking for you!"

"Ha? Who? Is it our neighbor from abroad?"

"No, he seems like a foreigner!"

 "Oh my! Why, why, and why? I exclaimed.

I looked myself in the mirror and just brush my hair by my hand and went out going to the door.

When I stepped outside, I saw all the leaves of the plants in my surroundings were on fire because Jordan was walking with his Machete like body. I almost fainted with so much surprise and happiness.

When he was in front of my face, he asked me if I knew Arlene. I answered him that it was me who he was looking for. He stared at me while my parents were like statues standing in the backyard. Numb, mute, and sad.

October 14, 2020 10:13

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

18 comments

Charles Stucker
16:36 Oct 22, 2020

be so proud of me when I'd wear my toga.- toga? are they still used in the Philippines? In Texas we use cheap black gowns over our regular clothes. high school, college, makes no difference, just slap on that black gown and it's graduation. Your story sort of rambles, but the biggest concern for me is I don't see a resolution. 42 sounds rather old for a college girl. A friend or pen pal, yes, but more? No. she should have said to her parents, "This is my pen pal and he followed me here even though I told him no." Still, I knew a few peopl...

Reply

Warrior C
21:52 Oct 22, 2020

Hello Charles, thank you once again for dropping by. Yeahh, toga is still used in our country. I am sorry that this story counfuses you C. I wasn't really okay while writing this. It seemed I was drowning with my own tears while thinking an idea on how this story be completed. It's very common in our country to not having a boyfriend unless we are finished in our studies because there is this concept or like a tradition that we have to help first our family before getting married. It's in the minds of our folks that once there is someon...

Reply

Charles Stucker
22:24 Oct 22, 2020

I think I understand. My wife was the first person from her family to graduate high school and she went on to get a college degree. I never really had that situation- everybody in my family got degrees. I can see what you mean now and this is a lesson we can both recall- never take a culture for granted. Explain the key different concepts. That little knowledge would have really changed the tenor of your piece, making it more fraught with tension. Because she's worried more about her parents than a creep trying to get with her. She knows she...

Reply

Warrior C
00:21 Oct 23, 2020

Thank you Charles so much for everything. You've taught me how to think deeply on my pieces. I really appreciate it. So hard to live in poverty C so much- we have to sacrifice our own happiness for our family especially if our parents do their best for our future. It's only the thing that they can give "our education" because they never experienced it in their entire life. They want us to experience the abundance through our knowledge. Love can wait is our motto perhaps. It's like everything should be planned and not taking a risk. We kno...

Reply

Charles Stucker
02:48 Oct 23, 2020

Mixed black and Hispanic.

Reply

Warrior C
05:28 Oct 23, 2020

Gorgeous! Thank you Charles much. Stay safe and God bless.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Warrior C
23:52 Oct 14, 2020

I am so sorry guys of my story, I am so down recently that's why I can't concentrate. Hopefully I'll feel better soon.

Reply

Ariadne .
02:01 Oct 19, 2020

No, don't say that! This was great! I hope you feel better soon - it's horrible to feel bad about yourself! P.S. New story out!! :)

Reply

Warrior C
03:08 Oct 19, 2020

Thank you so much for dropping by and liking this one A. I am still not okay, but I know I will be alright in the next few days or maybe months or maybe years? Urghh. Thank you really I appreciate it. Yeah I will read. Why I didn't follow you yet? All I thought I already pressed the follow button there. (Perhaps the signal of my wifi was super slow) My apologies.

Reply

Ariadne .
03:33 Oct 19, 2020

Oh no! Marissa, you'll be okay. I promise. I hope it's soon, but I know from personal experience that sometimes life doesn't work that way. Well, whenever you get better, know that we are here to support you. K? Love you and all that you do <3 Gosh, thanks! It means a lot. :)

Reply

Warrior C
03:51 Oct 19, 2020

Thank you so much. I cannot even write short poems. Sigh. Yeahh I will. No worries. Thank you really.Much appreciated. Btw, I love again your latest story.That's wow!

Reply

Ariadne .
04:12 Oct 19, 2020

Oh, me neither. Poems are not my forte. Oh, thank you for checking that out!

Reply

Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Warrior C
03:18 Mar 10, 2021

I just read this again and I am shocked of this line: I told myself to not be naive and killjoy if her pen friend would visit him. Gosh! I told myself to not be naive and killjoy if my pen friend would visit me. *

Reply

Show 0 replies