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Life on Earth is practice. Imagine this. Before your father or you were even born, the two of you have spent time together somewhere. This is why when he met you when you were born, it didn't take long for him to memorize you. Of course there would be Earth years ahead of you, and you'd be confused with each other, but then there is a moment when a memory hits you and suddenly you understand each other. Strange, yes? He might not be here anymore, but he's waiting somewhere, and he has stories to tell you. Take your time.
It was in Burnham Park when you first held out your hand. There were two seconds when I didn't know what it meant, but then I took it and we walked to Session Road hand in hand, a smile on my face. I remember most of the firsts and lasts, the in-betweens, the never-happeneds, the oftens. I mean, it's almost one-fifth of our lives so far. But you know, memory can be fickle. Disloyal, you might say. Most of what occupies the room of you and I in my head are the 2am laughters. They were often.
There is a Bombay Bicycle Club song that reminds me of you. I think because of the way you move your head when a song you like comes on. Once at a supermarket we were at opposite ends of the pasta aisle, that Gotye song came on, I looked at you because I knew you'd be bopping your head to that. And I was right. I think these moments made me brave enough to believe that you could love me, too. Because when you let someone know you a little too well, we can call it love, yes? No? Perhaps?
This is the most important understanding I've arrived at in the last five years: If you concern yourself over why someone wasn't hurt when you
hurt them, then you're concerning yourself with the wrong thing. See, it ate at me for too long, did he not love me enough to give me the power to cause him pain? Because, only those you love can hurt you? And I seemed to have none of that effect on him. I always just thought there was something wrong with me. It took me years to realize I was being selfish.
I'm in the kitchen getting the coffee ready. I hear you puttering around in the bedroom. It's my favorite sound in the mornings. You often catch me smiling to myself by the time you come into the kitchen, you ask why I'm smiling and I say, "Nothing, good morning." You raise an eyebrow, and it's my favorite thing, too. Because I know you don't believe that it's nothing. I don't know why I can't tell you the little things now. I reckon they are the ones that will give away my big feelings. And they're so big they scare me.
It was a Monday when I knew for sure that I liked-
you, I remember this clearly because there was meatball spaghetti in the cafeteria. I love Meatball Mondays. Anyway, you walked in the door and your shoes were squeaking, you saw me across the room, you smiled then rolled your eyes. In that smile and eye-rolling, I knew you were complaining about the rain and how your socks and shoes are wet again. We've come to communicate without words. This made me nervous. It's strange when your feelings shift inside. It's like a little earthquake.
Sometimes you are almost like another person, you say things you don't normally say, you laugh different. You do this when with new people, at a dinner table, you will tell anecdotes and I will sit there trying to recall when it happened, or did it ever happen? Once I commented, "I don't remember that!" and you shot me a look, pursed your lips, and went on with your non-story. It's days like this when I wonder why I stay, it's like...you're inventing a life you want, and it's sad that I'm in the life you don't want.
I've just spent 50 minutes on the phone listening to my mother talk about her day off. And I miss her more during these calls. I know the streets she walks on, the buses she takes, the restaurants she eats in, her favorite thrift shop. I've been to these places with her, and sometimes when she tells me about her day I imagine myself walking with her, laughing at something she just said. She would think I am bored or sleepy while talking to her on the phone because I'd be quiet, but really, I'm trying to recall her smell.
I remember one morning in Baguio when Tiki and I were talking under a tree, I was crying because I didn't get something I wanted. He listened to me and my anger issues, my drama, and my selfishness. Then he said, with conviction, irritation, love: "You're letting yourself be consumed by anger, that's not right, you're not helping yourself." I hated him so much at that moment, because aren't friends supposed to support you in your anger? Years later I would look back to that day, and know that it was one of the best things Tiki ever told me.
I've been having semi-nightmares about work. One time I dreamt I intentionally missed a deadline because of my laziness. In the dream, I was so tired to edit another set of papers so I just let it sit on my desk, lounged around, and waited for time to pass until it's past my deadline, and then, that was only then when I composed an e-mail apologizing to my quality checker that I couldn't make it. When I woke up I felt so guilty because it was something I'd never do. Maybe? Yes, no. Anyway, work has been awesome.
I like writing with a pen. On paper. I like reading handwritten notes. I'm that annoying friend who demands for a handwritten note to accompany a gift, because it's likely I'd keep the note and regift your gift. I'm joking. There's someone I know who still buys his "good" green pens and uses them all the time, that's his stamp. You see a note in green ink and you'd know it's from him. I like that familiarity. My father liked using green pens. His letters from abroad are in green ink, yellow paper, his handwriting is handsome, you should see.
I feel like I'd be the kind of mother who wouldn't be able to stop talking about her kids. "Hey, my boy did this thing at school!" It would be an ordinary thing, like maybe a confident cartwheel or a smile to a little girl, or maybe sharing his sandwich? And I would be out there telling people about it like it's such an important day in history. I mean, I'm like this with One Direction and Harry Styles. Especially Harry Styles. He takes a breath while singing and I'm all "Hey, world, Harry took a deep breath pay attention."
It's helping a lot, this...ability to poke fun at myself. I say "ability" because I didn't have the aptitude for it years ago. I'm sure because I used to take everything so seriously, maybe there are people who can attest to this, however they may not be my friends anymore because they got annoyed at how seriously I took everything. Anyway, haha. See, I don't care anymore about lost friendships, those weren't meant to last anyway, I know this now. The people who matter will stay, and it's not a big deal if some people head for the door.
That lemon pie house in Sagada always reminds me of the lemon pie thing in Million Dollar Baby. What's your favorite movie? This question is hard, yeah? Because if you think about it, there isn't really one movie, there is a collection of favorite scenes among movies. A specific movie might not be to your liking at all, but you have a favorite scene in it. In Little Women, there's a scene with Winona Ryder under the rain, pretty hair, asking a man to "Please don't go so far away." I'm weak for food, especially if it's pie, and rain.
Her memories of him consisted of the pinkest bougainvilleas, boats, rickety huts, sweltering heat, gnarly tree branches, white sand, an analogue camera. There is a kite, too. His voice outside the hut calling her name, his head poking in the doorway, asking her for instructions on how to survive in an island with no electricity. His face in front of the fire. His laughter mixed with the sound of waves. Heavy rain, lightning, the smell of salt, charred pork meat, instant coffee. It's contained in those few days she spent with him hoping he'd see her at last. He didn't.
In one of the albums at their parent's house is a photo of her and her brother under a thin, striped blanket. They are sleeping, foreheads touching. There is soft afternoon light above their heads. They look about 15 and 12. Maybe. Her brother's mouth is slightly open, he's in deep sleep. She looks to be concentrating on a dream. Their mother likes looking at that photo, her babies' heads touching, like they used to when they were younger. They would wake up minutes later and head out for cake and coffee. Their mother presses the photo to her chest.
"You are that Kodaline song, Talk." He says this in a way that is final, like there is no other way to expound, it's not allowed, something bad will happen if someone speaks, or asks. So she just searches for the song and listens to it five times. Strange that he stayed by her side while she was doing this, and all she wants to do now after hearing the song is leave. If she says something, she might ruin whatever it is that is whole now. This is the kind of fear that she doesn't want to have again.
Endings are good, too, of course. Of course. What happened to our world that we are made to believe things that should not be believed? More so, what happened that made us go the easy route and relent and go for what is easy? You're hurt? The easy thing to do is cry and curl up and be angry for longer than necessary. The brave thing is cry and curl up and be angry and then get up and move on. The easy thing is to hate the culprit, the brave thing is to...okay, I still do not know.
There's been a book on my desk for
. It's about physical fitness, eating right, the works. I always nudge myself to go on and read it, and apply its teachings to my life. But every time I'm out I end up thinking of cookies, a sandwich, a cupcake, a bag of chips, candy. Anything that will make my tummy happy. And I'm writing this here because I have just been staring at myself a few hours ago and thinking My God My Legs Are Huge. So later when I think of pizza I'll summon that thought, maybe.
There should be an even spread of bad in one's life before alternating it with something really good. Meaning, it shouldn't always be smooth sailing, it's rain-is-necessary-for-a-rainbow kind of thing. Have you seen Inside Out? Necessary sadness! There was a boy at McDonald's today teaching his mother about time. The afternoon is long, he said, it's going to be dark soon so for now while there's light why not spend time with him instead of rushing off to work? "When it's night time I'm sad but I know light will come and you'll come home."
I tend to meander when I talk, when it happens I direct my subject to 1D because that is the safest topic for me. I can describe all their X-Factor Video Diaries in detail. I can list their songs from all albums. I can't even do this if you ask me about Dave Matthews Band. I LOVE DMB, but my love for them hasn't gotten to this unreasonable level I seem to nurture for 1D. There is one other subject I like talking about, and it's the 2-minute mark of Different Names for the Same Thing by DCFC.
He wrote her a letter telling her to leave him alone. He wrote it in a way that would not sound harsh. He'd know the words that would make her think that he's being kind instead of being the bad guy. Even in goodbye he is telling her lies. Once she reads this letter she'll wonder what she has done to deserve such a sweet goodbye, she will be grateful for all the time he spent with her, she will profess undying love but will walk away anyway. Even in goodbye she chooses to see him for what he's not.
They spent the night dancing to FOB songs. In the morning they craved for bacon and egg so they headed for their favorite breakfast place. Nothing could beat a good fried rice, he says. She nods and sips the best coffee. Everything about this neighborhood is the best. They've been friends since they were six and their old haunts that exist to this day are things that neither of them could think of replacing. Maybe there is a better fried rice somewhere else? He doesn't want to know yet, for now he likes this fried rice, eating it with her.
We transfer from bubble to bubble. Five years with someone who's good to us. Another two years who's not so good. Another set of years being alone. In each of these balloons we assume a slightly different personality to adapt to present circumstances. In one bubble one can be kind, in another that same person can have a sinister side, in another bubble he can go back to his old self, this time more sure. It's not wise to hold on. Because it's true that at any moment everything could change and you're on the ground, forced to start anew.
So, rain. I just think, apart from the squishy, dirty feet and other known hassles, that rain is a beautiful thing. It's cleansing, yes? Just the sound of it is soothing. I know other people might not have this kind of affinity with rain, in fact I know of people who actively make it known how they hate it when it rains, and I respect that. Then there are other reasons for other people. I don't know what my point is, just...when we were little, Kuya and I liked laying on the ground when it rains. That was nice.
When he was six he made a good drawing at school so his teacher gave him a gold star. He was so excited. Somehow, he knew his mother would like the gold star. When he got home he saw his father first, so he showed him the gold star. He didn't even look at him, or acknowledge his presence. He just went on doing what he was doing. The little boy didn't know what it meant when someone ignores someone, just that he felt like crying. He's in his 30s now, and he's still trying to get the man's attention.
There is a prominent bass line in a lot of One Direction songs. I'm kidding, I only know of Steal My Girl, and then that part where the beat drops in Little White Lies. So, not a lot that I know of. However, I know of the most beautiful bass line in the history of ever, and that is, DMB's Crush. I heard this live in Irvine three years ago, and I think that was on top five of my life list so yay because major achievement. Life almost complete. Also I'm sleepy while I'm typing this. Hi, pancakes? Coffee?
Yesterday my nephew turned two. My smart, squishy, sweet doughnut. We video chat weekly. Last year he was here with Kuya, Ate, and Hailey, he was so little then. Kids grow up so fast *pout* He was showing me a booboo on his right knee the other day and I screenshot his face while he was lifting his knee to show me his booboo, and I like looking at those red cheeks and sad eyes every now and again because he looked so worried about his knee. Have you any idea how cute two-year-olds look when they're worried?
I now associate you with fog, the prettiest memory I have of Baguio and I choose to connect it with you. I see that you have traveled a long way from the island of us, and it's going to be a lie if I say it does not affect me at all. Because it does, in a way. Somehow in the back of my mind I nurture a little hope that one day I will see you sailing back, not necessarily to get back to where we left off, but maybe just a quick hug, or a proper goodbye perhaps.
If someday I find myself wanting to write you a letter, I don't know what else I would say apart from thank you and I miss you. I do, I miss you. But intensity wanes and you know how it is, what was once large can be small and unseen eventually, untouchable even, to the point where you question if it existed at all. I'm telling you this because I want to remember, you are the person I can always write letters to, and I've gotten past the hope of you ever giving my words weight. Nevertheless, you stay here.
Today, One Direction surprise-dropped a single off their upcoming fifth album and IT IS GOOD. There is a bass line! A beat drop! And they all sound good! At the office I wanted so much to express my excitement but there was no reason to until the universe gave me a chance! At the pantry the late evening newscaster was reporting how 1D's first single since Zayn left has just been released! And I saw my opening to gush and semi-flail to my officemates! About! How! Good! The! Song! Is! Okay, I kept my cool, to be honest.
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