by Chris Lim (The Philippines)
Audio: "Jeepney Smoke," read by Laurence Li
Jeepney smoke seeps through the iron rail
to keep him bloodshot. He burrows in the neck
of his shirt, already coughing. A black sauna air
begins to funnel from the roaring exhaust. He feels
a soft burn as Jeepney smoke flows into his lungs.
Turning into a viscous tar that cakes the walls of his neck.
Yet, it all smells too familiar. Throughout all these years,
the Pasig River-scented smoke remains true.
True to all of its people. It is the calming scent
of nickel coins at the dive bars or tire swings near
lola’s house. He no longer sits in the Jeepney. He is home,
rummaging through lola’s bag, thumbing her rosario
and dipping his hands into a pool of crumpled
snowbear wrappers. He opens his eyes to a musing
glaucoma. This is home, where he woke up for the last
seventeen years to the humid rays of the morning sun,
people storming the divisoria streets, the Banaba chickens
cuckooing atop their roosts. This is home, where he sees
children splashing in puddles across slums. Street cats
walking on rooftops, tricycles bouncing on rugged sidewalks.
The Jeepney stops in the flurry of traffic. He steps off
and palms the gray ocher, trickling it through his fingers.
He now sees it all. The iron rail, the dangling banners of
sari-sari treats, the morning sun blending with Jeepney smoke.
This is home.
Chris Lim, age 17, is a high school junior attending The British School Manila. He has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards with a National Medal. Aside from creative writing, he frequently enjoys attending MUN conferences and swimming on hot days.
Are you a young writer who wants to be published in Write the World Review, or is there a young writer in your life (relative, friend) who should be published in Write the World Review? Learn how here!
6/26/22, 1:46 PM
Wow you are so talented! I relate this a lot to my paternal grandfather who passed away two years ago and is very similar to yours. Sometimes family can judge you but I agree you should learn to live in the present and be happy with out having a fancy job/being married. Keep up the great work!
6/22/22, 8:15 PM
You've done a wonderful job here.
Your intricate descriptions of the race and the emotions conferred by it is excellent.
6/22/22, 8:13 PM
6/22/22, 8:09 PM
You've done a beautiful work here.
The flow of the story, the gripping emotions it enthralls the reader with, it's very wonderful.
Thank you for this.
6/18/22, 6:08 AM
This write-up is absolutely amazing. It made me realize why I am who I am, and I could also relate a lot. Hope you never stop writing, and I hope to read a full-length book from you soon!<3
6/17/22, 2:50 AM
It was so good to read..i really liked the description the storyline ,the plot ,everything 👍
6/7/22, 3:25 PM
This piece is a beautiful reminder of how ugly teenage years can be. It's real and it hurts but it's so good. Please never stop writing!
6/7/22, 3:15 PM
Your description of the change and how sometimes our parents don't have words to tell us that they love us and use material things as a substitute is relatable. My family has never really been open about their feelings but we show our love through little things and that's why it hit so close to home. I love this piece! Keep up your amazing work!
5/30/22, 9:05 PM
This was beautifully written.
5/25/22, 11:06 AM
Where to read the further story??
5/25/22, 2:45 AM
This is incredible and heartbreaking and real. I’m glad I stopped to read :)
5/24/22, 12:26 PM
I love the way you wrote the story. The fine description of the burn in thighs made it relatable 😳. Pls keep up your amazing work!! :)