The Gospel, from the God on the 2nd Floor

by Jonah Leigh E. Ramos

In the beginning was just God. Nothing was with God. And God was nothing enough to create a being apart from herself. So she created you.

It was one afternoon when it dawned on her that love was an eventual pain of loss she might never know. She had just come home from a long walk with classmates who loved too many times and failed at it too many times they’ve saved up lovers to cherry-pick for conversation. It was around the fourth pick, about the one who apparently dumped one of the loudmouths over an-incorrectly-squeezed-toothpaste-he-said, that your God realized she had never known what it meant to be boring and still be seen. To not have to do anything to be someone’s most wanted. To give everything and yet be loathed. Sneak a phone call at midnight or hold someone’s hand. Trace somebody’s face upon waking and shove tongues and pull at each other’s body and still never shove and pull quite hard enough.

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PGS 2024 Q&A: Jillianne A. Santos

A person smiling at the camera

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Jillianne Santos is a dental medicine student from the University of the Philippines Manila. She started writing personal essays and short stories during the pandemic and is currently a freelance writer. She had her first short story entitled “Tulad ng Bulaklak sa mga Bitak ng Aspalto” published in 8Letters Circles Magazine Issue No.4, Vol. 1. Aside from writing, she also has an interest in Filipino writers. Some of her inspirations are the novel “;Ano” by Zero A.D., and the short story “Servando Magdamag” by Ricky Lee. 

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It’s Not Just Heterochromia

by Jillianne A. Santos

A cartoon of a person with glasses

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Artwork by: Jillianne A. Santos

MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT DURING CONVERSATIONS. People communicated with their words and body language. But the eyes spoke more than the two of these combined.

King used to struggle with maintaining eye contact. He found it uncomfortable to look into people’s eyes. Or maybe, people looked into his eyes a lot more. They found it fascinating to look at his green right eye and maroon left eye. 

Every time someone asked King about his eyes, he insisted that “it’s just heterochromia.” In reality though, even among the many people with heterochromia, he was the only one with this pair of eyes. King could see lies. Literally.

In King’s vision, people emitted a certain aura around them as they spoke. The young boy soon figured out that the colors of the aura he saw pertained to how truthful people’s words were. Auras with greenish hues indicated the truth while reddish auras meant they were lying.

He called it his lie-detecting vision. At some point, King wished for an awesome superpower like reading people’s minds or laser vision. But having eyes that detected lies was just as cool, so he was already happy with what he had. 

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PGS 2024 Q&A: Efmer E. Agustin

EFMER E. AGUSTIN is a BA Communication Arts graduate of University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban and has earned his MA in Comparative Literature from University of the Philippines  Diliman. He teaches literature and language at the Division of Humanities of University of the Philippines  Tacloban. Mr. Agustin’s works have appeared in the journal Humanities Diliman and in anthologies such as Pinili: 15 Years of Lamiraw. He also contributed to the latest edition of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Encyclopedia on Philippine Arts.

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An Babaye nga Naglulunó

ni Efmer E. Agustin

(English version: The Woman Who Sloughs)

Kat-uran adto han iya pag-abot ha baryo. Bitbit an usa la nga dakulaay nga bayuong, nagbaktas hiya sayuhay han aga tikadto han ginpapaplet-an nga balay ni Mana Rosa, nahiraniay la ngadto han tindahanay gihap han baga dakuon nga tag-iya. An tindahan, daplin han kalsada ngan an kan Mana Rosa balay, ha luyo hini pero baraktason pa maguti tipasulod. An papletean nga balay, naharumbay han balay mismo han tag-iya, may mga traynta metros an kahirayuon tikang hini.

Mahuraw, pero duro kadakmol an dampog ha kalangitan. Madulomay bisan nakagawas na kaupay an adlaw, ngan naghuhurulos an nga tanan ha kalibutan nga diri naaatpan. May-ada mga tirok hin lasaw ngan an lapok diri mahuhutdan. Hini nga mga takna hin katugnaw, kadam-an nga mga mananap nga namamag-usóy, nangangaturog hin hipos nga kahilom. Basta tig-uran na ngani ngan naghaharagkot, nasusukot it paglinunay ha higdaan. Salit man guol it mga parapannganak kahuman hin siyam kabulan.

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