Welostit and Other Stories by Ma. Romina M. Gonzales

Welostit and Other Stories is a short story collection by Ma. Romina M. Gonzales. It was published by the University of the Philippines Press in 2003. It contains 10 short stories, most of which have previously appeared in other publications. The cover for the book was designed by Luis Joaquin M. Katigbak and featured an illustration by Adam Julian David.

The 10 stories in the collection are:
1. Till There Was You (first appeared in Philippine Free Press)
2. Offertory (first appeared in Philippine Free Press and The Likhaan Book of Poetry and Fiction 1996)
3. Metropole Valentine
4. Sanded Soles (first appeared in Today's Weekender and Dream Noises: A Generation Writes)
5. Elevator (first appeared in Today's Weekender and The Likhaan Book of Poetry and Fiction 1995)
6. Rock (first appeared in Philippine Free Press)
7. Welostit (first appeared in Philippine Free Press, Pen & Ink, and The Likhaan Book of Poetry and Fiction 1997)
8. Sunset Hair (first appeared in Today's Weekender)
9. Flood (first appeared in Today's Weekender)
10. Cockroach (first appeared in Philippine Free Press and Th Likhaan Book of Poetry and Fiction 2002)

Blurb from the back cover:
In her first collection of stories, Gonzales invites readers to become voyeurs of the quirky human psyche. A powerful janitor performs a peculiar ritual on top of the highest building in the city. A daughter's curiosity about her father's pagan rites leads to a fantastic tale that masks her father's darkest fears.

A motherless girl eases her loneliness by riding off to a magical playworld on a cunning horse that she has unwittingly freed. A girl cursed with hair resembling "a mass of woven mice" gets her wish and pays dearly for her vanity.

Poor relatives attend the annual reunion of their wealthy clan on a rainy day and their lives take an unexpected turn. In the title story, a thirty-something yuppie recalls with wry humor the cost of her dalliance with her young nephew's best friend.

Here's an excerpt from the title story, Welosit. This story won the 3rd Prize in the Short Story Category at the 1997 Palanca Literary Awards.

Your eyes reminded me of newly-screwed light bulbs beaming pure light. They were free of the gathered dust that dimmed and wrecked old bulbs, and I squinted when you tried to convince me that you were two years older than me.

It was easy not to believe your claim initially, your long hair over your clean, lineless face; your loose jeans under your loose, over washed, overused shirt; your easy laughter. Later, your shallow memory. You were either an amnesiac collagen-dependent or many, many years younger.

There were times when I would forget how old we were and you would just talk about anything you could think of, perhaps to keep me from remembering. But music often broke it. One time, we were driving along Quezon Avenue, looking for a place to eat when the DJ on the radio said something about a “Blast from the Past,” and aired “Man on My Mind” which I sang along with, to your apparent dismay. “Who is that?” you asked. The curve on my lips straightened when I saw your bright eyes.

“Carly Simon,” I said, and continued singing along with the song in my head.

You wrinkled the corners of your eyes, producing wispy lines.

“The daughter of Paul Simon,” I said with a straight face.

“Paul who?” you asked, killing my joke.

“Paul Simon. Of Simon and Garfunkel.”

“Simon and who?”

“Simon and Garfunkel. ‘Sounds of Silence’.”

“‘Sounds of Silence’?”

“‘The Boxer’, ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘El Condor Pasa’, ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’. You know, ‘Time, check your plane right on time. You know, I’ll probably go fine. Fly down to Mexicowowowo’—or something like that.”

“Oh. Ohhh, that song. They sang that? I thought Everything But the Girl did that. It was just a cover, then.”

I was younger than you when I first heard that song. I was in high school, rubbing my eyelids an iced moss-green for a late afternoon schools dance, all the time thinking of how I could squeeze out of a date with my mother’s friend’s son and sprint behind the dimmed gym with the rest of my dateless friends to sing Leif Garret’s version of “Put Your Head on my Shoulder”---I, for Michael Jackson; Beth, for Shawn Cassidy; Nimfa, for the funniest Sotto brother, Vic. Nimfa would punch my shoulder every time I reminded her of her teenage infatuation, seventeen years from that day. She’d say that at least, she had good taste---Vic had since become sought-after by femmes fatale while Michael Jackson, whose darker, big-haired, flaring-nosed version I used to hang on my wall, had turned to boys and monkeys. With slanted eyes, she would tell me that I too had resorted to the same pursuits. I could have easily retorted with a hundred caustic remarks thinly disguised as jokes but I would never answer her, not even with pursued lips.