By Ekai Ungson

Disclaimers in first chapter apply.

"This Thursday evening,
your lips transcend the service of a kiss.

Though this night is fashioned as if ravens
have eaten the stars, you utter spark
by spark a flare, replicating
the moon—pervading
the sable sky. "

-- "After The Verse"; Anna Razel Estrella

II: Something akin to love, or

"My name is Odette," Iris said softly.

Leni found himself so stunned by the sound of her voice that he almost forgot his lines. It was because Iris talked rarely (to him), and if she did (talk in his presence), it was usually only to Miss Sakura or Oogami, who she called oniichan, and in very soft tones only.

"And what is a lady like you doing in a place like this at such an hour?" he recovered.

"This is my home," she replied in the same soulful, lonely tone. "It has been for quite some time."

"That is strange," Leni said, his brow furrowing. "My father owns this kingdom, and I have lived here all my life. Never have I beheld such beauty."

And it was true. He had traveled far and wide but he had never seen anyone as beautiful as this girl before him. Many ladies threw themselves at his feet and he had looked at all them, looked into all of their eyes, but never had he beheld so much soul within those depths as much as Iris Chateaubriand had.

She mystified him.

"So you are the prince," she said. "You must go."

"Why?" he asked. "We've only just met."

"It is difficult to explain. You must go." Iris pushed him away.

"Will I see you again?"

She paused.

"I do not know," she answered. "Probably not."

She walked away, off stage, and he made to run after her only to find that she'd disappeared.

The music stopped playing, and he was himself once more, and not the prince.

"That was beautiful, Iris-chan!" Miss Sakura gushed. "You're becoming more princess-like each day."

Iris smiled at her and let herself fall into the elder girl's arms.

'Some words you cannot even hold.
Words like falls.

By the sea I wrote with a thousand shards of moon,
words falling like wounds.'

Another day, another poem. Someone was trying to reach out to her, but she didn't know how to reach back, for the love of her.

The poems were increasing in intensity, but all were wrote randomly. Some were about loneliness, others about sorrow, some about admiration for something or other and others about love and desire. Letting her know. Letting her know things that were buried deep in a heart that wanted to look out and up.

She would reach out. Let that person know she cared and she was here.

Only how she would never know.


"Ne, Oniichan?" asked Iris at dinner to Oogami.

"What is it, Iris?" Oogami asked.

"Do you know what poems are?"

Oogami's brow crinkled. "Yes, I think so. Why do you ask?"

"Somebody's been writing poems to me," Iris said as she cut up her food neatly. "Whoever it is writing to me seems very lonely."

Oogami turned to her in surprise. "Somebody has been writing poems to you?" he asked. "Who? And what kinds of poems?"

"I don't know who," Iris said. "I find them under my door every morning. Would you like to see one? Here," she handed him a small piece of paper.

In yearning, we somehow find the means to understand
that patterns like this have long been bitten by the sky,

that we are caught in between transitions of escape
into an unknown place, every time

that we will never know of any beginning or end—

desire bleeding inevitably
with every hard pull.'

This, to Oogami, was monumental. This, to him, was in every way a love letter. Poems were sent to girls to woo them. He learned about it from Sumire-kun, who claimed to have been wooed the same way by an American.

Somebody, by these words, was in love with Iris.

"Oniichan, do you know what it means?" Iris asked.

"Yes, Iris," Oogami replied, handing the note back to the blond-haired girl. "It's something very special."


He had known love, or at least he thought so, once, a long time ago.

The world was bright and beautiful, and there was always light everywhere he looked. He vaguely remembered warm arms cradling him as he drifted off to sleep, and a soft voice singing as the last thing her remembered before succumbing to his dreams. That was love, that long ago feeling of warmth in his heart and his soul.

Lost it, he did, when the ravages of war came to claim all he held dear and forced him to live in order to die. Not only that, but what precious innocence he had left in him after all the tragedy was soon wiped out.

Leaving in its wake a hard, empty shell of a child without much left of heart and even less so of a pure soul.

But that one day when he saw her dancing alone, he came to an epiphany.

She was someone he could look at without having to flinch.

She was someone who could give him the light that he sorely needed to face all the darkness. Her and her hair the color of the sun. Her and her eyes the color of the sky. Her and her wholeness, her sense of being complete, wishing to be perfect but was all right in the acceptance of the opposite just the same. Her and her happiness and how she could strive to be so happy, living in a world full of hate.

Iris was sunshine.

And she was what he needed desperately, lest he succumb to the blackness of the void in his soul.


It did occur to me when I was pure
with desire to note it
all down, say this

enlarges me, this feeling deeply that is
full of redemption like
sentences and metaphors of a higher life, say

beyond the bruise, decay
and despair, this
edifies me.'

Is it love that makes these verses sound as heartrending and as heartbreaking as they are?

Is it love that drives this author to write for me, to write and show me, to write and try to reach out to me?

She had known love for all of the time she had existed in this theatre, because in these walls there was nothing but such. She knew love from the way the people held her, the way they all protected her. And she knew love from the way she tried to protect them as best as she could.

But how was it possible for her to feel so alone in the midst of all this warmth and feeling?

She didn't know, didn't want to know.

Do you want love from me?

I do not even know how to love myself.

--to be continued-


"This, that pulls,"; Melinda Tongco. Malate Literary Folio. Vol. XVIII No. 2

"Something akin to love, or"; Michael C. Morco. Vol. XVIII No. 2


Aiee. I DID say I was just going to do a re-editing. Turns out I rewrote the whole thing and now it doesn't even connect to the first act. Gomen nasai, I hope people do not get confused. It's still basically the same thing anyway, only this installment drips with so much angst it's just weird. I have this thing for angsting lately. Don't ask.

Again, a big apology to the confused and confuzzled! I really AM going to tweak with this soon.