From People

People along the way.

Coy

MANDALUYONG CITY, Philippines — He used to ask me how he could be stronger. Even that night three years ago when he showed up at my door, he asked me the same question. He was in tears, and he didn’t want to be that way. He said he was too lost, too weak. “You’re too…

Sketchy Intentions

CHANGSHA, China — My five-hour wait for the next train had barely started when an old woman entered the terminal and stood in the aisle between me and a couple fast asleep in a sweet embrace. It was five past two in the morning in Changsha City, China. We were the only people in the…

Scars and Mirrors

He comes bearing change. The little boy stretches his arms forward as he tiptoes toward my table with utmost caution. His cupped hands carry a couple of bills under a small mound of coins. His mother, the cashier-slash-waitress at the small eatery, watches him do the delivery from behind the counter. “Thank you,” I tell…

Layers

Outer Cover. TAAL, Philippines — It took two teenage boys to get the sacks of rice from the back of the pickup truck into the building, a shelter exclusively for abandoned or abused little girls . From the passenger seat, a middle-aged woman emerged and walked without looking at either of them. Until that moment when…

Everyone’s Looking

BANGKOK, Thailand — “Dance with me.” His order is delivered with an adhesive stare and in a stoic tone. No distinct accent. Deep, raspy voice. But it is his deeper eyes that scream a million sexy words. Just ten minutes earlier, he said I could call him Ray. He pressed his back on the wall next to…

Tales from Behind the Wheel: Si Aida, si Lorna, at si Fe

MALACCA, Malaysia — The driver greeted us with a smile as we hopped into his cab. “To Melaka Sentral, sir!” My friend Ces, as usual, took the passenger seat while Asta and I occupied the back row. The driver beamed, nodded, and responded, “Okay, okay,” and started to drive. It was our last afternoon in…

Pete

SIEM REAP, Cambodia — I do not remember just how many mugs of beer I have emptied into my belly but I am sure I’m not stopping any time soon. I dive into the mob, get lost in the pumping music, and vanish under the phosphorescent lights that move as if trying to put me…

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