What kind of a man are you looking for?”

She looked at the man seated beside her and asked, “Do you really want to know?”

The man nodded quite reluctantly, “‘Yes.”

Well, I will have to ask him what can he can do for me that I can’t do for myself? I pay my own bills. I take care of my household without the help of any man… or woman for that matter. I will have to ask him, ‘What can you bring to the table?'”

The man looked at her in awe, clearly he was thinking she was referring to money.

But before he could utter a word, she was quick to correct his thought and stated, “I am not referring to money. I need something more. I need him to be striving for excellence mentally because I need conversation and mental stimulation. I don’t need a simple-minded man.

“I need him to be striving for excellence spiritually because I don’t need to be unequally yoked, believers mixed with unbelievers is a recipe for disaster.

“I need him to be striving for excellence financially because I don’t need a financial burden. I need him to be sensitive enough to understand what I go through as a woman, but strong enough to keep me grounded.

“I need him to have integrity in dealing with relationships. Lies and game-playing are not my idea of a strong man. I need a man who is family-oriented. One who can be the leader, priest and provider to the lives entrusted to him by God.

I need someone whom I can respect. In order to be submissive, I must respect him. I cannot be submissive to a man who isn’t taking care of his business. I have no problem being submissive, he just has to be worthy. And by the way I am not looking for him. He will find me. He will recognize himself in me. He may not be able to explain the connection, but he will always be drawn to me. God made woman to be a helpmate for man. I can’t help a man if he can’t help himself.”

When she finished, she looked at him. He sat there with a puzzled look on his face.

He said, “You are asking a lot.”

“It’s because I’m worth a lot.” 


Reality, Part 3

On a breezy Sunday morning, as Juliana was almost done fixing breakfast, Stephen, coming from behind, surprised her with a small gift box. He gently planted a big kiss on her right cheek and she felt his smoothly shaven face against her skin.

It was after all their Third Year Wedding Anniversary. She had no wrapped gift to give him, and Stephen expected nothing from her. He knew she had written him a new poem. Heading the Computers Section at The New York Public Library, he had read several stories and poems by great writers. But he proudly admitted that his wife could very well be the unrecognized greatest writer of all time. Each poem she wrote about him was saved on his iPhone.

Before leaving for work, Stephen excitedly reminded her of their date on Tuesday night. They were to see each other on that same spot where they first met- to relive that rainy night in New York.

It was four years ago. She was standing on the corner of 52nd and the 5th on a cold rainy Friday evening, waiting for a cab. She was late for dinner at her mother’s house in Princeton, and there was no way she could get a cab from here. As she turned around, she accidentally bumped the man behind her. When she raised her head to apologize for her clumsiness, she was stunned to see the most beautiful man she has ever seen. It left her speechless.

A few minutes later, she was walking side by side with this man she hardly knew. He gave her his phone so she could call her mother. When she was done talking, she dropped the phone on the wet pavement. Embarrassed, she reached for her wallet to pay him but the man held her hand, still smiling. He knew at that moment he had to take care of her. She was weak, clumsy, and ever frightened. Their eyes spoke of unspeakable words.

After three years of being harmoniously married, they planned to have kids the following year. And this morning, they talked about their future family. Two kids and a small home in Princeton. they also talked about their date on Tuesday night in New York. It really seemed like the best laid out plan for both of them.

She would later learn to differentiate fact from fantasy. When reality has become a tragedy.

Reality, Part 2

It turned out to be a quiet day for Juliana. Though the sky seemed much wider, without a tinge of cloud in sight, she felt as if her head was wet with raindrops.

She was standing on a corner nearing The New York Public Library, the 42nd and the Fifth. What was that again that drove her to this side of the city? She was so sure she was meeting with somebody important to her. But her mind was blank as the skies.

Soon enough, a cab stopped in front of her. The driver was talking to her in a language she could not understand. After nodding her head, the driver shouted at her and drove away.

She found herself crying, still standing alone on that corner. She taught of Stephen, she has already lost him. He was gone and she finally realized he was right all along—she was weak and frightful. She looked up and the moon just won’t shine.

She would later learn to differentiate fact from fantasy. When reality has become a tragedy.

The Absent Person

And she breaks it all down to her audience,

Let me tell you of my most recent decision. I have dictated to my mind that I have fallen in love with an absent person from the other end of the globe than choose from all you men who surround me with earthly affections.”

She gets a long, loud round of applause , with the ladies sobbing.



The days passed and there was no sign of Stephen. To get through the loneliness engulfing her, she has to fight the unbearable fear that has always lurked at the back of her mind. It took her a long while to admit that she could no longer feel his presence. There were times she would lie awake until dawn, just listening desperately to the silence and trying to remember his face. She closed her eyes trying even harder to listen to his hearty, high-pitched laughter, and see his blushing cheeks whenever she told him how beautiful he was.

In darkness, she thought she heard Stephen’s voice, but it turned out to be her subconscious replaying old recordings out of some perverse kind of nostalgia.

She would later learn to differentiate fact from fantasy. When reality has become a tragedy.



The morning after, he just laid in bed, trying to recall last night’s scene in his head. Did he really hold her the whole evening? Did he truly feel her body against his when they kissed? Was she really beside him the whole night?

He tried to pinch his left arm to test if  it was all a dream. Ouch! There was this tingling sensation he felt inside. Sort of an electrifying, strong jolting sensation.

He then sat at the edge of the bed, drowning his face on his open palms. He felt the heat his hands emitted. He looked at his hands and smiled. Yes, these hands touched her soft melancholy face.

Even in darkness, he could she her smiling. But her eyes, looking straight to his, were speaking of some sadness from her past. He could feel her sadness. In all stillness in the room, with the sunlight peeping through the drapes, he suddenly felt some movement from one corner of his bedroom. He glanced back, and there she was. In broad daylight, she was walking towards him, smiling.

This time, all that sadness in her eyes were no longer felt.



She looked at him, his eyes covered with a strange mix of dullness and dispassion. Why can’t he hear her? She faced him again, looked at his dull eyes, and as tears rolled profusely down her sun-baked face, she shouted,

“Why can’t you hear me? You were the only reason why I have survived every day in that jungle for months! And now that I’m here… here beside you… holding you… YOU CAN’T HEAR ME? You bastard! look at me and hear me!!!”

Frustrated, she said nothing for a long time. There was nothing else to do. She tried talking to him but each time, she could feel the door slammed shut so he did not have to listen. But she was strong and determined. Once again, she held him.

“Listen to me! I am back… I am home… for you. Are you  not happy? I’m back as I promised.”

He sat on the garden chair still, pale and numb. Not a twitch of his muscles moved.

She was not one who gave up easily. Her patience was running thin but something happened. She felt a sudden breeze. The heavy scent and the slow buzz of the bees somehow seduced her just like opium. Opium freed her from fear and fury, clearing her worked out brain and finally, she unfurled.

“I love you. Do you understand? I love you. Please listen. I loved you the day I left for my Mission. I loved you every single day I was there in the jungles. And I love you now that I’m back. I love you even if you cannot hear me.”

She felt his arm moved very slowly. She saw his head turning to her very slowly. She saw his mouth opened and heard him say,

“Then why did you leave me?”


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