This is the story of a girl, who cried a river and drowned the whole world, and while she looked so sad in photographs, I absolutely love her, when she smiles... -Nine Days

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Au revoir

so this is goodbye.
i'm moving.
moving out.
moving on.
come visit my new home.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I saw the sign

How do you read signs? For the longest time I’ve been asking for God to give me signs on things that I couldn’t really be too sure of, or when I’m scared. I’ve always believed that when you ask for it, something weird just happens and you’ll know that God has been listening all the while. Something pops out, could be the simplest or the most outrageous and somehow you knew it’s been God’s hand leading you to where you’re supposed to be. Then you wouldn’t be scared anymore.

But can the signs go wrong? I remember how I’ve always prayed that the first man to give me 3 long-stemmed pink roses would be the one. Ex # 5 gave me 3 long-stemmed pink roses on Valentine’s Day, and I had goose bumps all over my body. But while courtship lasted for 4 months, we were officially a couple for only 16 days. World record for me. He decided we weren’t meant to be. So he ended up being Ex #5, and I ended up giving away even the tiniest shred of pride left hanging in me. So much for signs.

Now I’m in another quandary, yet I still hope for a sign.

Back home, I’ve made up my mind completely. I’d quit my job and find my place abroad. I’ve gotten a lot of no’s from friends, I presumed out of worry, or concern or maybe lack of knowledge of my future destination or they probably couldn’t see much certainty in my eyes while I was eagerly sharing my plans. I listened to what they had to say, just listened. In my mind, there was no turning back.

Same with my parents. One evening we were in our front yard having coffee and a little chat and my mom goes “You’re fine here. Do you really have to go? My dad thinks the same way. What else am I looking for? For some it would have been a very complicated question, but I knew what to answer right away. Being so firm and sure of my plans, I told them I wanted to explore better opportunities. I’ve never been so sure.

Then when my bus was about to leave for Manila the other night, my eyes just burst. Kissing my parents goodbye had never been so sad. I didn’t know how it felt that way, but I suddenly asked myself if I was really prepared to leave my family and live so many miles away from them. Been in Manila for 6 years now, but it never felt like I was really gone. I could just hop in the next bus on a weekend if I ever miss them. But abroad, it wouldn’t be that easy. I could only shake my head.

Last night while I was hearing mass, I had a conversation with Him, and I was asking for a sign to guide me in a decision I’m about to make, which I consider life-changing. Then today I read this bad news about the place I’m considering for my next job, more like a warning. I’m confused. I’m not sure whether it’s His way of telling me not to go, or making me stronger and ready for what might await me there. I can’t be sure if He’s preventing me from something He thinks could be bad for me, or He’s just testing me if I’m certain about what I really want.

All I know is that I want a better life. But the hard part is that everyone seems to have a different definition of “better”. And mine’s a little spoiled.

I don’t know what to make of the sign I just got. I think I will just have to trust that God would have wanted me to be happy. What to do then, I should ask myself that.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Tuesday. Been home for a week now. On top of that, I still have until this weekend to take my well-deserved break. My first after about 5 years of working like a dog. And so all I could really do these days is sleep and eat and sleep, lose some eye bags, gain some weight. My recently-retired dad has been spoiling me with all my fave dishes which I did miss a lot. Makes leaving again more unbearable than last time. Especially now that my mind's so set to fly and find my place elsewhere. I kind of given into the hopelessness of our dear country ever giving us the answers to our dreams. So as others did, I'm leaving too. If you ask me where I'm going, it's still a secret. You'll hear from me soon.
I've talked to my parents about it, and as always, all they could promise me was their support and love. Though they gave me things to think about, like having a job that pays good enough, and being in a safe and comfortable zone, and the price of aiming too high, they still leave the decision to me. My call. I love my parents for that. I really can't remember the last time they ever stood against any of my decisions, after college graduation. Their trust, I had to earn it over time though. Used to be really stubborn I'd bang my head against the wall when they wouldn't let me have my way.

I remember those times I was this little rebel who'd make my dad's nose really flare up. I joined a sorority in college against his will. I got myself into a lot of mess in school, with my idealism. There was a time my father had to beg me to just concentrate on my college books instead of being so involved in student activities. My very first subpoena (for slander) was served to my dad and he got so mad and shamed that when I got home, he was throwing my clothes at me, and asking me to leave the house if I won't give up our case. I didn't give up (it's a good thing we won) coz I almost failed to make it to graduation because of that case. One time I asked for permission to go to Catanduanes for a JPIA event, and my dad, learning we'd take a ferry disapproved of it. I still went. I knew he wouldn't let me have a boy friend yet, but I still did have, behind his back.

The good thing bout me is that I was good in class. (Confidence huh)Even getting tangled up in all those troubles, I still managed to score good grades. My dad would say, how much more if you only focused on school? Looking back, I think I did pretty well. Had it not for all those not-so-good things, I would have ended (if I could borrow this line) intact but incomplete. Or maybe a four-eyed geek.

Anyway, this is my prob. I've no sense of direction, especially with my thoughts. I've this straight road I wanna take but things just pop out of nowhere and I start talking about totally unrelated things. Like now. I meant to tell a story about my sixth day here in the province, free of work and stress and worries. Like what I've been doing the past days, while all my friends are at work, my sister's in school, my mom's at work too, my brother always outside, and my dad busy with the store being put up in front of our house (being retired and left with not much to do).

I've been making scrapbooks. Very therapeutic. Though nostalgic too, especially when I stare at photos that looked so happy back then, and felt so painful today. So beautiful to go back to time and feel how hard you once laughed. Somehow you knew that when you smiled that time, you were really happy. And when he hugged you, or kissed you in the photos, he really loved you.

Old photos. Sweet memories frozen in a piece of paper to give you reasons to be thankful you've taken the road that led you to them. Why you crossed paths, and loved each other. Why he had to take a turn. Why you had to stay glued to the same ground. Probably so when he comes back, he'd know exactly where to find you.

I've this favorite quote that says, God gave us memories so we'd have roses in December.
I love roses.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Holy week stories

I’m home. Four days ago actually. It’s gonna be a long vacation and I’m ticklish. Holy week plus my 5-day audit leave. Smell some party. (Well, that’d be after Easter). The past days it’s been church and some processions. Visited relatives, old & new, and some friends. Failed to make my confession though. Just prayers and abstinence. We’ve not had meat since Monday. There’s not much to watch either. I couldn’t really do fasting coz I’ve bad acids in my stomach which makes it intolerant of lack of food. Today Christ is dead. I know any sacrifice I’ve made would be grain compared to what He did for us in the name of love. Suddenly got me thinking how much I can actually give up for people I love. That I’d save for another blog.

Anyway, it always feels good to be home.

Since I got here, I’ve been to places and faces and I keep forgetting that distance and time can do so much. Why I’m still amazed that people do grow up, and marry and have babies or get so sick and die amazes me as well. I even forget I’m 25 already, so imagine my surprise when friends so much younger than I am are now-mommies and wives, and people my age are already throwing birthday parties for their kids.

Like last night we were with one of our friends (who was two years behind me) and she was carrying a 2-week baby boy in her arms. Her baby, so adorable, I couldn’t quite believe such can have really small feet and nails that seemed like china to me. Looking at my friend, so maternal & mature confirmed how unready I was for such things. I couldn’t even hold a baby right. I felt I could break his tiny bones and I thought, I’d probably be a terrible mother.

Our friend was only 23 and the doctor had to cut her to get the baby out. She lost much of her water so a ceasarian delivery had to be done. The whole time she dozed off so she wasn’t able to feel those cruel labor pains. With this kind of delivery though, pain comes last. You feel it when everything’s over. But when you look at the baby, it’s like a very powerful painkiller that numbs your wound and only makes you think of happiness. The stitches could hurt a bit, but holding your baby makes everything worth it.

Then you see your parents, proud lolos and lolas. I thought of my own parents. They’d be thrilled to have one too. But maybe they have to wait some more.

Her brother joked about us wanting one for ourselves too. I thought no, probably my other friend, she’s been so astonished with the baby from the start, plus she has a boyfriend. Teased her bout tying the knot and making one too. She shrugged almost instantly. Not ready. I thought, when do you really become ready?

So they picked on me. I was older, had a job that pays well, plus a green light from my parents to holy matrimony, so what was I waiting for? I laughed so hard. Doesn’t it take two to make a baby? Told them I’m single, FYI. And not dating. And you probably would laugh but even if I dress sexy and think like western women do, I’ve made a personal preference to stay intact until my wedding night. So I’m definitely not ready for a baby.

The baby cries, gives out that cute little fart and blushes, as though he was shamed to have some ladies hear him do something gross. Proud mommy gave us small photos of baby Mark Lewis, and it was time to leave.


Also last night, we joined tatay (grandpa) in the procession. It was quite poignant seeing how age has taken away all of his teeth and verve. I remembered him being so tough and potent that as a child I’d become scared to approach him. Same goes with my other cousins. I can’t remember being close to him (though my mom tells me tatay used to fetch me to class when I was 6, riding in his big old-fashioned bicycle. Oh I wished so bad I could recall those times. He probably might have talked to me or told me stories or something).

Last night he seemed unreachable as well, but why it was hard to get close to him wasn’t because of fear (like in our childhood days) but maybe because while his body has become weaker, the wall he has built around him has grown so impenetrable. I couldn’t get in.

I worry for him. He’s so old, and so sad. I wonder, when was the last time he ever smiled? My nanay (grandma) passed away about 7 years ago and since then, he seemed to have shut the world out of his life, including his entire family. We used to frequent our grandparents’ house when nanay was still alive. After her death, it was like the doors to the house have been closed. On nanay’s funeral, I couldn’t forget seeing him cry so much. I’ve never seen anyone cried so heavily like he did that afternoon. I cried that nanay was gone. But I cried harder for the man she left behind.

I don’t really know what’s going on in his mind today, but I don’t need to guess that he probably misses nanay so terribly. It makes me sad.


The other night I was with my two favorite brods. Been a while, so we had lots of catching up to do. One of them prepared the best home-made iced mocha I’ve ever had, a table has been set on their front yard. 3 chairs. 1 pack of Marlboro lights. And a lovely full moon. Stories. Laughters. More stories. More laughters. Until about 2:30 am.


It’s good to know that even though the world seemed changed, some things stay behind you. It gives you comfort knowing that though time puts distance between you and the people who have been part of your life, the distance isn’t something you can’t cross. Sometimes all you need is one SMS, or a half-minute call and you find yourself laughing with the same old people you loved, laughing bout the old days, laughing bout today, and even tomorrow. You worry that because people grow tall or fat or get pregnant or fall in love with other people, they have already changed. You worry that because people don’t SMS you or email you as often as you would, you have already lost them. You worry that because you live in different worlds now, you’re different now. These used to be my worries. But see what I put there, a “used-to-be”.

You can’t really lose a friend to distance.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Old Flame

They were in a great relationship. The kind that started with friendship and ‘developed’ into something more. It was deeper that way. Somehow they knew each other well, loved each other much. Compatible. Inseparable. Everybody could tell it’ll be the two of them at the end of the line. They did too. She probably loved him more, he was her first boyfriend. He seemed happy. She had no doubt in her mind he was the one. He was scared he couldn’t give that certainty. There was nobody else for her. He was afraid the ghost of a past love hasn’t died yet. But he loved her, he was sure of that. In her mind, she made dreams of them together. His mind did the same, his heart included somebody else. To his mind he listened more, to this girl he gave what he could. He did his part.

Monthsaries after monthsaries they celebrated. It was a smooth sail for them. Graduation came. He had to leave for board review. She had to stay for further studies. Goodbye for a while. She never expected it’d be his last goodbye.

Here comes old flame. The girl he loved in high school. The girl he never had. The ghost he’s been fighting all along. After some time they bump into each other. What do you do when you learn it wasn’t a one-sided love story all the while? What do you do when an old flame offers you light? To whom do you turn your back to? The girl you left behind or the girl behind you now?

He tries to hurl away doubts creeping through him. This is only a test, he tells himself. Just one of those storms that hits you on your picnic in the park. You see, tomorrow the sun’s gonna be back. But looking at the girl he once loved and lost scared the wits out of him. He needs a little more convincing. He felt tomorrow wouldn’t be as sunny.

He’s torn. He figured he loves them both, but he’s scared to admit who will make him happier coz he knew the answer would make him a bad person. It would be terribly unfair to the girl he made some promises with. He’s happy with the first one. But with the second he felt he’d be complete. He felt sorry for the girl back home. There was no doubt he did love her, and what they shared was true, but this thing he feels for the old flame was so strong he can’t put the fire off. It was so strong to let go.

At this point he knew what he wants. It doesn’t feel right, but to him, doing the right thing would leave him in pieces. If he stays with her, they’d be intact but incomplete. It’s like something’s going to be missing always. If he leaves her now, he’d be her greatest pain, she’d be his biggest guilt, but that would be temporary. In time, he thought, being true would be his only defense.

But how do you tell the person back home? Do you just say, sorry, I changed my mind? Is it really possible to suddenly change your feelings about one person when an old flame comes along? How do you make her understand that you’d rather let honesty hurt her now than have to have to lie to protect her feelings for God knows how long? How do you say, if you really love someone, you’d be willing to accept that his happiness may lie in somebody else and not with you? How do you ask for your freedom, without breaking her heart?

The girl back home. She felt deceived. Unfair, she cries. What happened to the love they shared, the dreams they made? Her whole life has been rearranged to fit him in it. Then he decides to bail out. Unforgivable, she thought. Can one really change his mind that fast? She truly loved him, but she couldn’t quite accept the fact that she no longer was the one who’d make him happy. She loved him, but maybe a little too much to give him up. If she had the choice, she’d fight for him, and bet everything to win him back, but if the guy was begging for his freedom, how do you say no? All she could really do was watch him go.

So he chooses the old flame. Guy admits it was entirely his fault. He shouldn’t have entered into a relationship when something was still burning at the back of his heart. But it was of no use to be sorry. Spilt milk they say. For a while, guilt was behind them. How can you really be happy at somebody’s expense? But over time, the only thing they could hold on to was that they were being true. No matter how long, the truth will set one free. They’re free now. And they’re very happy.

The girl back home has healed somehow. All she could do was trust in His plans. Maybe it wasn’t her time yet.

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