This page stems from the fact that I am afraid to travel. Imagine how much it would cost you to be happy. But then, I realized that you reap greater benefits from indulging yourself with the things that make you happy. Actually, I have never been able to go overseas or abroad. I do not have the money for that yet. My passport will expire this 2019 and I wasn’t able to use it. I look at the social media posts of my friends and I notice how their faces glow in those pictures. Pure joy there is!
So just because my wallet can’t send me off via plane to somewhere magical, that doesn’t mean I have to sulk around and not appreciate the beauty in the place where I am right now, in this very moment!
Like some travellers, I have taken small steps. I mean I was able to go short distances where I nevertheless was amazed by what those places had to offer. In years of becoming a backpacker, I can truly say that travelling is very rewarding. I have stumbled upon one phrase saying “Lost is sometimes a good place to find oneself in.”
Being lost is therapeutic sometimes. I for one was lost in the wilderness of Kapatagan, Digos just to get a view of its Virgin Falls. I admit it was a rough trail and I never really thought that my rubber slippers will make it. But naysayers to the opportunity will really just stay where they are if they do not give things a “YES”.
We just have to let go of the sad things and memories by going someplace to internalize and make peace with ourselves. Travelling is a good start. Old folks say that to move on from sad experiences, you have to cross oceans and seas. It is somewhat true because some return with a new light in their eyes. Don’t worry about problems because we have a great God.
My heart s grieving today for the loss of one person that is dear to me. Though, I failed to show it. In my high school days, I did not know your real condition. I often wondered why but nonetheless, you were one brave woman and mentor. You always had a strong personality. Whenever I am at school to fetch my younger brothers, I would search for you in that once familiar campus. I can’t look you in the eyes though for I have not fared well in life. I thought I would be able to see you again when you get home from the operation. I lost that chance of visiting you and thanking you in person.
In another time during college, I happened to sit beside my Grade II Sibika teacher inside the bus. Lunch-stop was at one of the cariderias near the bend of the highway. I invited her to eat with me but she showed me her baon of rice and ampalaya. Her nails were not as they used to be years ago. She has aged. I wish I’d see her again.
Another elementary teacher also reconnected to me through my mother. After hearing that I worked at a particular agency in Davao, she would constantly ask for vegetable seeds. That’s a small favor that I would gladly do for her every now and then. I hope that after retirement she’s still enjoying her mini gardens.
I have offended some teachers in high school particularly my English teachers. My 2nd year teacher felt bad after overhearing me say, “I prepared for the oral recitation and I got a simple question to answer” to a classmate. Then shoot. He called my attention and said, “Since you have prepared well, cite flashbacks in the story.” I stood there dumbfounded and knew that it was one of the situations where you are to realize that you were wrong. Answering him would wound his ego more and he’ll just end up bombarding me with questions that only he could satisfy. Then on next year’s academic year, I once again absentmindedly uttered one word that would scar another teacher for life. “Favoritism” was not meant for her but for a grandmother who did not like me as much as she did other girls for she had me eat a-day-old bread while they had spaghetti. So when that teacher asked the class, “What is your problem…” I did not hear the “with me?” part. I chorused a heartbreaking word. Then came threats that she would fail me and so on. Nevertheless, I managed to get by.
The truth is there were no flashbacks in that book my 14 year-old self-reported about. But this I guess is an entire flashback of a not so well-written episode. The “now” that we are in made me realize that I lost so much with that looking-the-other-way-gesture upon meeting some teachers because I do not feel good or do not measure up to some of your success stories.
I promise to smile when our paths cross once more and not Miss —–be it in another Lifetime.
One cold afternoon, I waited for my colleagues at a wooden bench near the crossing. They had to finish some interviews in one of the households as part of or profiling in one of the barangays in the city. There was only one name left for interview whose first name appears as Cornelia in my list. But I had to sit this one out because I heard people say that she had just committed an offense and is supposed to answer her crime. I grinned at the thought that I painted a picture of a person in my mind through the bits of info that the gossipers told me.
Then a voice whispered, “Ma’am?” that came from a woman of small frame. She looked about 60 years old. She was wearing green shirt and brown puruntong shorts.
“Yes, Nay?” I uttered and hoped that she was one of those bystanders that wanted to ask about what we were doing in their barangay.
She asked whether she was part of the interviews being conducted or her name was on our list. She said her name was Cornelia. She invited me to their house. They had no front porch so we went inside. Their house was neat and the large expanse of their living room was empty except for the set of chairs where I settled myself into. I went about the interview as fast as I could because it was getting dark and my cellphone had no network signal.
Nanay Cornelia’s hands felt warm as she said Salamat. That was for the interview on Family Health and Living. Random households had to be enumerated in that barangay. That was for the laugher that we shared as some topics were outright frank. Those hands were responsible for burying an old family heirloom. She’s a thief, people say.
Did you know that I have not yet moved on from the frustration I felt two years ago? I felt that the instant I knew that my books were drenched in water. I remember flood water following me anywhere I lived in Davao. In every boarding house I was in or in every home I lived in. But what really broke my heart was that one night I lost my books. I used to live with my Lolo Uncle and Lola Aunty at Bonifacio Street. I lived at their Maid’s quarters together with my best friend and forever roommate, Lymae.
We had for ourselves a small room with a table and a wooden double decked bed. The condition of our room is not something that we can be proud of but that meant no boarding fee albeit lesser than the charge if we were inside one of their boarding rooms. This family we moved into is from my father’s side. They offered me free boarding because nonetheless they said I was part of the family. They were a family of seafarers and teachers.
One late night, we woke up to the frantic cries of my Lola Aunty. There it was – water. It was raining really hard that night and water found its way inside the house through the ceiling. There they were scooping water with pails. My Lola Aunty gave me a mop. It could’ve been going on for a while because they looked really tired. Then I realized that something was wrong. It seemed like a never ending cycle of just scooping water and still water crept inside. I immediately went to the rooftop and saw a mini pool created by the rainwater. I bathed in the rain looking for the drainage hole on the second floor. I looked for where there were swirls of water, groped my hand into one and realized that pieces of trash blocked the drainage hole. So that was the reason why rainwater never directly went into the gutters. I came down soaking wet but was relieved that water was not coming through the ceiling anymore. I continued helping them dry up the place before I went back to bed.
Fast forward the next days. I couldn’t do anything to save my books. They were all wet from floodwater. I did not cry but I was deeply heartbroken. I remember having fond memories of those paperbacks and hard-bounds. The Great Gatsby. The Lord of the Flies. The Great Tragedies. Winds. Sea Creatures. American Soccer Stars. Many more… I had two large plastic bags on each hand that weighed around three kilograms each. I did not have a word to say out of that experience except that I felt devastated seeing my books go. I put the bags down and felt the heavy weight creep inside me. The days of emptiness followed. I had no more books and so I drowned myself in playing mobile games.
The next thing I know, my Lolo Uncle was sick. He could barely move. He was bedridden. I had to help carry him to and from the comfort room. Though thin and frail, he was heavy. One night, I came in his room and his skin was cold. He asked if it was okay for me to massage his aching feet. I do not know how to massage expect those I learned from my grandmother back home. Anyhow, I obliged. My Lolo Uncle was really old and sick during that time. It seemed like there was also nothing any of us could do. He said thank you and fell asleep soundly. I said to myself that I should be the one to thank him more for taking me in and my best friend in.
During those sad times, my solace was lechon de leche that was sold at budget meal price of P50. Since then, I have not been able to read a book piously. I no longer bothered to buy any at bookshops. I realized I had no time for those things anymore. But then something still bugs me to this day. I still feel burdened by the weight that was not lifted off by any means of letting go. I remember Lolo Uncle at the veranda waiting for a little chitchat before I go to work every morning. I remember the time when she said that she wished they never had a lot of things to quarrel about. I remember the smell of my old books.
I still remember what my Lola Aunty now forgets.
“I have died everyday waiting for you…” – A Thousand Years, Christina Perri
She doesn’t know much about airplanes. All she knows is that it carried you off to where your dreams were. Somewhere far from her. Somewhere she’d need to reach out to you even when she doesn’t want to.She had to keep up even if life drags her down.
And there were times the gifts come in and how rude would it be not to accept them? It could make up for the crying, staying up late and all the serious waiting. Then her thoughts screwed her up. And she doesn’t want to hear from you how difficult life has been for you there on that foreign land– because that will only hurt her more than it would hurt you.
Four forces act on a plane in flight. When the plane flies horizontally at a steady speed, lift from the wings exactly balances the plane’s weight and the thrust exactly balances the drag. However, during takeoff, or when the plane is attempting to climb in the sky, the thrust from the engines pushing the plane forward exceeds the drag (air resistance) pulling it back. This creates a lift force, greater than the plane’s weight, which powers the plane higher into the sky.
She hears the planes takeoff. Higher and soon the noise fades altogether. One after the other on different flight schedules.
You are a step closer to your dreams and farther from where she stood still– waiting. But she understands why you had to do what you just did. Her dreams comes slow and yours go too fast. So for you to get closer to your dreams, it’s her dreams you take.
Note: This is some old note in my drafts file dated 2/7/11.
“The best feeling in the whole world is watching things fall into place after watching them fall apart for so long.”
I’ve recently watched a 2015 film entitled “Sleeping With Other People.” It was a good movie. I think I might need to park this review for sometime because I need to re-watch it to capture some significant lines.
Here are my thoughts anyway…
Nope Point Blank.
Yes, later alligator 🙂
there are many forms of happiness but I wish for the those that are caused by you. Thanks for your thoughtfulness.