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I was playing around with HDR processing today while 'writing' my paper (not much writing actually happened). I started looking around for tutorials since last week, but I finally managed to get it right - though I had to Photomatix rather than Photoshop. Oh well. Here are the fruits of my labor:


Ignore the watermarks - I was using the trail version. I think it looks interesting, though not exactly what I imagined. I probably need a better scene than my table top, though.

edit: I made another one (after forcing myself to write most of my paper)! This is pretty addictive. I haven't been taking them into Photoshop to edit details, but whatever.



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 He is staring out of the window of his office one day, wondering how his life had spiraled so out of control. He is two seconds away from calling his lawyer and requesting divorce papers, but something – some kind of affection he still holds for his wife – keeps his hand off the phone. He mentally runs through the pros and cons of his relationship, frowning when he realizes that a majority of them are cons. He used to think he made good decisions, but now, more and more, he wonders if that was ever true.

 He thinks of the boy he used to be and the morals he held before he got married. He had wanted to become a doctor to help people, yet he is a plastic surgeon for the rich and spoilt. He remembers the close relationship he had with his younger sister which had disintegrated slowly as the years wore on. She avoids his wife as much as possible and the latter doesn’t do much to rectify that. 

 He hates that he regrets some of the decisions he had made and he can’t help but regret the biggest one – his marriage. And he supposes it’s irony that as he thinks these thoughts, she calls him.

 “I’m in town for a few weeks,” she says in that soft, throaty way of hers. Her voice sends a shiver down his spine that he can’t control. His face flushes with excitement and embarrassment. 

 “Oh really? What do you have in mind?” he replies. He should feel guilty, he knows, but the giddy little smile that dances across his lips holds it at bay.

 “We should meet up.” They set up a time and place and he’s more excited than he has been in a long time.
 

 He calls his wife as he’s leaving his office – earlier than usual. He feels a little bad when he tells her he’s had a long surgery and he’ll probably spend the night in his office. He does this often, though most of the time he did have a long surgery and the cot he keeps is far more comfortable than the chilly bed he shares with his wife. 

 He puts in his headphones and plays upbeat music because he feels good – like a new man. He wants to laugh at how one simple call can change so much about his day. He decides to walk to her apartment, instead of driving his expensive BMW into the heart of the city. The car was an impulse purchase, but his decision to use public transportation is not. He needs to calm himself down before he sees her. He doesn’t want to come off too eager and, besides, he loves to people watch on the subway.

 It takes him an hour and fifteen minutes to get to her uptown apartment. As he’s riding the elevator up to her floor, he wonders if her roommate is in and if they have to be quiet. He doesn’t have to wonder for long, because he’s dragged through the door as soon as he knocks. She kisses him full on the mouth and her hands are pressing hard on his stomach.

 He doesn’t hesitate.

 His hands return the gestures, pulling at clothes along with her. They leave a trail to the bedroom and the last coherent thought he has is how he’s never had this kind of sex with his wife before.
 


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First photo with my new Canon Rebel XTi.

  Resizing photos really make the colors look different.
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She swept into his life for the first time on a Monday, all windswept hair and beautiful shining eyes. Her cheeks were rosy from the heat and her hair was frizzy from the oppressive humidity. He doesn’t remember details, but he remembers that it felt like being hit in the head by a two-by-four. His friends had laughed and ribbed him on when he got up to approach her and her friend, but he couldn’t hear them past the roar in his ears. 

“Hi,” he says smoothly, turning on the charm that worked on so many girls in the past. She smiled at him shyly, but her friend just glared. He wonders now if he should’ve taken the hint then and walked away. He can’t make himself regret it when he sat down and talked to her. They stayed in the bar until close and walked on the beach after. He didn’t sleep that night, but he was too high on life to care. 

He fell in love for the first time on a Tuesday. They spent the day together with her glaring friend and his obnoxious roommates looking on. He never wanted to stop touching her and he never wanted to leave her. He laughs now at how he wasn’t afraid of the love he felt for her despite his previous protests against it. He never dwells on that, though, because his heart aches when he remembers that day.

He never noticed how pale she was beneath that beautiful tan or how she tired so easily compared to others. She smiled the whole time, but her friend had dragged her away when it came night time. He remembers now how she didn’t protest and he calls himself all kinds of fool for not noticing the signs before. He could see her friend lecturing her as they made their way to their hotel room. He wanted to follow them, but made himself stay.

He made love for the first time on a Wednesday. They spent the whole day together again sans their friends. He made an effort to touch her whenever he could and he found that it was hard to stop. She gave him that same shy smile when she invited him to her room, but it didn’t deter her from their task. He took her virginity and she took his heart. In hindsight, he doesn’t think it’s a fair trade. She cried when it was over, but she wouldn’t tell him why so he held her in the sweltering heat, wondering if he could be any happier.

His heart broke for the first time on a Thursday. They had slept in each other’s arms and it was, he still thinks, the best feeling in the world. They made love slowly that morning, but her eyes were sad and wet. It took her until the afternoon to finally tell him what was on her mind.

“Do you think it’s unfair for someone who is dying to wish with fall in love for the first time?” she asked. He had to think a moment before he answered. Talking to her always made him think. 

“I’m not sure,” he said, settling on a safe answer. 

“I think it’s selfish. You shouldn’t make someone suffer through that heartache when you know beforehand the outcome. It’s like,” she waved her hands in that vague way of hers that he had fallen in love with in such a short time, “knowing that the stove is going to burn someone, but you put their hand on it anyway.”

“That doesn’t really make sense, love,” he said with a chuckle. She doesn’t laugh back.

“I’m in love with you,” she said. He breathed a sigh of relief at the words.

“I love you, too.”

“I wish I didn’t. No, actually, I wish you didn’t,” she whispered and he couldn’t understand.

“What?”

“I’m selfish,” she whispered, “I’m dying.” And he finally got it.


He married for the first and only time on a Friday. The small ceremony was on the beach, with her glaring friend as her disapproving maid of honor. He couldn’t help but cry when he was finally told to kiss the bride, but he tasted her tears too. He tells this story to his nephews and nieces while twisting his wedding band around his finger. Sometimes, he confides in the eldest girl when she turns eighteen, I wish I were dead, too. And he hates that it’s the truth.

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To my mother,

I never said thank you for holding my hair while I threw up in the bathtub because I couldn't aim into the toilet. I never said thank you for sleeping in my bed because I had cramps that hurt more than anything I've ever felt. I never said thank you for killing those harmless spiders and pulling out those bloodsucking ticks. I never said thank you for cooking us dinner every night.

I never said thank you for staying with me through my horrible teenage angst years when I made myself believe that I was tragic. I never said thank you for the way she tries to understand what I want even if it still alludes her. I never said thank you for trying to talk to me even though I was angry and mean. I never said thank you for keeping my secrets because I wasn't ready to tell my father.

I never said thank you for the way she pushed me to do something with my life even though I'm still the lazy teenager I always was. I never said thank you for the time she spent on me and the infinite love she's given me. I never said thank you for the security she brings and the way she's holds my hand through the maze that is life. I never said thank you for being so strong even when I tried my best to break you down. I never said thank you for making me and molding me into a better person.

And, most of all, I never said I'm sorry for trying to destroy the thing she put so much love and effort into.

Whenever I'm asked who I look up to the most, I always have an answer that is not completely true because I've never really thought about it. But now that I am thinking, I know who it is. I don't think I have ever really appreciated my mother the way I should have, but I hope I’ll never make that mistake again.

So, thank you mom for everything above. Happy Mother's Day.

 

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