A Tale of Two Candles

By Jed Reston

They stand less than a foot apart, unmindful of each other’s presence.

In that exact moment, no one and no other thing exists in the whole world for both of them except for the deepest desire of their respective hearts.

They know what they want, and they are beseeching the heavens to grant them their wishes.

They are from the opposite poles of life but had enough things in common between them that they could have been good friends had they met under different circumstances.

One is a forty-two-year-old successful businesswoman. The other a sixteen-year-old student. Both of them are madly in love.

The businesswoman has companies based abroad. She has always dreamt of having a family, but she has been too busy making money. She has finally made enough money and can now afford to fall in love, but she still cannot afford a man’s fidelity.

She will suffer her biggest heartbreak in a couple of years. She just doesn’t know it yet.

The student also mostly gets her money abroad, from her father who is a truck driver in the Middle East.

Her mom has cancer and will die in a couple of years. She just doesn’t know it yet.

She’s just found out that she qualified for a scholarship that she had applied for. Her boyfriend saw her name online and texted her this morning.

They stand less than a foot apart, unmindful of each other’s presence.

The candles they’ve lit are inches away from each other, dancing to the same wind and burning for the same reasons.

Both of their candles are lit not for their loves but for their lives.

One of them is praying for a baby, the other praying that she is not pregnant.

In the next couple of years, one of them will come back, pray, and light a candle in the exact same spot where they now stand. We just do not know why yet.


Editors and Contributors


Eric Gerard H. Nebran is an educator and illustrator from General Santos City. He is currently a PhD Comparative Literature student at the University of the Philippines–Diliman. His research interests include orality, history, and literary productions of his hometown.

Jude Ortega is the author of the short story collection Seekers of Spirits (University of the Philippines Press, 2018). He studied political science at Notre Dame of Marbel University in South Cotabato and currently divides his time between Senator Ninoy Aquino and Isulan, both in Sultan Kudarat.


Angelo Serrano is a senior high school (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics strand) student at St. Lorenzo School of Polomolok in Polomok, South Cotabato. “It Comes at Night,” his short story for the issue, is his second published work in Cotabato Literary Journal.

Jed Reston grew up in Cotabato City and is a former television host and media personality in General Santos City. After leaving his work a year ago, he has been trying to write a book. He earned his mass communications degree at Notre Dame of Dadiangas University.

Gwyneth Joy Prado is a senior high school (Humanities and Social Sciences strand) student at San Miguel National High School in Noral, South Cotabato.

Alvin Pomperada is an accounting staff at the General Santos City branch of a leading car company. “Lababo,” his poem for this issue of the journal, appears in his zine Galugad. As a spoken word performer, he was proclaimed champion at the 2018 Gensan Summer Youth Fest and second runner-up at the 2017 Hugot sa Kalilangan. He earned his management accounting degree at Notre Dame of Dadiangas University.

Apolinario B. Villalobos worked as a writer and editor for Philippine Airlines, where he also helped form a mountaineering club and organize climbs to Mt. Apo, Mt. Mayon, Mt. Pulog, and Mt. Hibok-Hibok. His poems and essays were collected in the book Beyond the Horizon in 2000. He was born and raised in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, and finished his Bachelor of Arts in English and History at Notre Dame of Tacurong College in 1975. He actively blogs about his hometown.