With a Smile


I’ve never been a fan of Paskuhan.

It heightens my dislike for Christmas— the only time my religious father visits me in hopes to “convert” me.

Not acting the way God has created me, I shrink like the sinner that I am, under the magnifying glass of my scrutinizing family.

None of that mattered because I had Olivia. I accepted her invitation to Paskuhan, even if the event reminded me of my dislike for the holidays.

With shaking hands, I waited for her across Benavides’ statue. There I stood, feeling giddy about finally professing my feelings for her.

Time slowed down as she made her way through the crowd. Her smile was brighter than the glimmering lights and swirling colors. 

With couples exchanging sweet glances and giggles while swaying to the music, love was in the air.

Its force tugged harder with every minute of strolling with Olivia. She made the Christmas ambiance easier to bear.

As the night neared its end, sweat trickled down my back. My heart pounded as I prepared to confess.

Yet, before I got the chance, she hugged me and said, “Thanks for being such a fun friend to be with, Jen!”


Everything suddenly shifted to a blur, and the glowing cross on the main building was the only clear thing I could sight.

I bit my tongue and held back my tears, masking the disenchantment with a smile.

I never thought I could despise this season even more. F TAFFY ARELLA M. BERNALES

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