A novella from the author of “You Filibini?” Stories And Other Writings. To be available at the local bookstores near you soon!


Driven by near desperation in finding a good-paying job in her own country to support her offspring, Perla decides to go abroad to work as a housemaid in the ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia. She has nothing in mind except the welfare of her children, relegating to the backseat even her own well-being and happiness. Until she meets him. Is it fate that led her to him? What follows is a story that we see around us. A love story. A woman falling in love. A man doing everything to protect his woman. He is the last man in her life. She is the woman he has been waiting for in his life. Theirs, however, is not just a love story. Something intrudes. Is it her destiny?


There was a moment of hesitation on both of them. Perla was half-smiling, her eyes trying to examine the man whom she knew by the name Derek. She had come to like the name; she had come to adore the voice. She was getting a severe beating inside her chest. She had not felt like this for a long, long time.

Derek stood like a statue, uncertain what move to make. Should he step near or should he back out? He was now starting to sweat. “Perla?” Derek finally found his voice. He was struck by the captivating magnetism of the lady’s beauty. Suddenly, he felt ashamed. At his old age, he was still meandering like a Casanova? Why, she could just be his daughter!

…     …     …

Perla started to move, intending to lean back. When she did so, her hand suddenly struck the glass. The cold yellowish liquid flew off, smearing the table and drenching the untouched croissant. “Oh, my!”

Derek’s instincts made him grab the toppled glass. “You have any tissue?”

At the very same moment, Perla’s hand suddenly tried to grasp the capsized glass. In doing so, her hand involuntarily touched Derek’s. She had taken hold of Derek’s hand.

We have seen thousands of scenes similar to what had just happened. In the movies, especially in the movies of yore. Even in cartoon shows on TV, the sight is familiar. Boy gets to hold Girl’s hand. Girl looks at Boy. Boy stares intently at Girl. Their hands clasp, their eyes lock on each other. Boy’s hand slowly reaches out, gently grabbing Girl’s shoulder. They move closer. The next moment, they are locked in full embrace. It may seem unreal, it may seem fake. You may dismiss it easily as some bogus scene that, well, in this e-age of ours, such play of human images appear unrealistic. In fact, too ridiculous to happen, to be true.

But then, it did happen.

There was a sudden flow of force, of some unexplainable and irrisistible power that ran through her body. She was abruptly feeling some energy sourced from her inner being. From her heart. From her soul. It was hunger. Hunger for love, for passion. Raw passion. Passion for the voice. For Derek’s voice. For Derek. The man she had dreamed of. From the time she first heard him on the phone. His laughter, his sense of humor, his messages. Derek was the man she had been waiting for. Patiently. Over the years. Oh, Derek!

Her hand gently clasped his. She stared at him. She started to rise. Moved closer to him. Nearer. Derek found his feet. Slowly, he started to grip her hand. He was pulling her gently to him. He was drawn by the force, the power that had seized Perla.

Her embrace was tight. He returned the tightness of her arms.

When she opened her eyes, she noticed he was saying something. She did not hear it; his voice was somewhat indistinct. He lowered his head. Her lips were soft. She closed her eyes again. There was total silence around them.

A sudden roaring of a car, an SUV probably, brought them back from their elevated ecstasy.

Derek moved, detaching his lips from hers. “Whose car was that?” Fear was suddenly in his eyes.

“No, that’s probably our neighbor’s. They won’t be back till Sunday evening.” Perla suddenly drew away from Derek, her head bowed. She clasped her hands, and then, the next moment, one hand slowly broke free and ran on the other arm. The hand rubbed the arm, starting from the wrist then ascending toward the shoulder, then descending back to the wrist.


She remained mute. By now, she had crossed her arms across her chest.

Derek started to go near her, but she backed away.

“I’m sorry, Derek,” she said softly. “I’m not that kind of woman who easily…” 


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