Taking time off work, I was able to attend a 3-day seminar at the 20th Graphic Expo on June 4-6, 2015 together with my fellow @IGersManila moderator Petim Maminta at SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City.
“If you could be anything else but yourself, what would you be?”
That was your question while we were walking around Bonifacio Global City in Taguig one weekday after work.
“I would be one of those cranes,” I said while pointing to the construction in front of us.
“Why?” you retorted.
You stopped walking and faced me puzzled.
“Cranes aid you in building that dream skyscraper. It helps you work on the reinforcement better. It facilitates the otherwise complex task of completing that tower, ” I answered.
I paused for a while to take a deep sigh.
“But when the tower is already complete, when everything in the blueprint is realized, when each details of the structure is done, you are not needed anymore. That’s when you are dismantled and disassembled.”
There was silence as we continued walking. We already passed by the tower being constructed when I said:
“I am that crane. And I know one day, I will be dismantled and disassembled from you. But I will be happy knowing that when you were being built into what you will be in the future, I was a crane in your life.”
“No, you are not that crane. You are something else for me.” Your eyes met mine.
You smiled and we continued walking.
I was cleaning my cabinet of books at home one weekend, when a piece of folded paper fell off from one of my Calculus books. I opened the folder paper saw this:
I wish I am that shoulder you can cry on in times when the world seems too unfair to you. I wish I am the friend you could go to in cases where you need help. I wish I am that confidante you share your deepest and darkest secrets to.
But sadly, you didn’t see me as such. Not even close.
We happen to meet, because we form part of a team and a group. We happen to chat, not because we want to, but because we are there at almost the same time. We happen to go out, not because we enjoy each other’s company, but because “we go with the flow”.
I expected much from this “friendship”. And I am starting to accept the failed expectation.
From now on, I will remind myself we are not friends, and we might not be anytime soon. From now on, I will devote my time and effort on people that gives me the chance to know them more. From now on, I will stop wishing and hoping, and just start believing on people that value me as I value them.
I need to remind myself we are acquaintances, after all. Nothing more.
When I was younger, I usually scribble thoughts like this on paper. The letter above was one of the things I wrote and was never sent to the intended reader.
There will always be things and people that we wish to have in our lives. Truth is, the things and people we wish for, might not just be the things and people we need as we journey through life now.
But maybe, just maybe, sometime in the future we will meet them again, and there they will fulfill their purposes in our lives.
It took me some years to realize that point.
As I re-read that short note from the past, it brings me to smile to realize that we meet people to teach us lessons that we’ll be using in our future lives.
“We didn’t hire you to say no. You are there to find options.”
That statement made a mark in me.
Since that day in May 2012, it has been my daily mantra to tell myself “I am here to provide choices and possibilities, and not to say it cannot be done.”
It has been more than 6 months since “no” became an unfamiliar term for me.
Since then, the plate I have has been full, and been overwhelmingly refilled time and again.
The things and assignments I need to juggle went from one to many in so short a time.
These resulted to longer waking hours working for things, but lesser and lesser hours for people that matters.
It took me more than 180 days to realized I can never be Superman.
Now that I have made up my mind, I am drafting the note I will hand over the soonest time possible. While scribbling the words I wish to utter, that marked statement still lingers in me:
‘No’ is not an option.
That was my prof’s question for us on one of our sessions in our Humanities class.
I got to my toes and answered that I usually mix the sauce and the pasta first, then I eat.
And she said, “try eating it as plated.”
I was uncertain I got her point.
“And your tendency is to savor the moments that the taste is so rich, and you try to content yourself meekly on flavorless part.”
“And that what makes pasta more scrumptious to eat.” She paused.
“Much like life, it was never designed to be plain from the start. Because if it was, then we won’t have the ups and the lows, the happy and the sad, or the sweet and the sour.”
“And with the pasta analogy, its trying to live life as it is that makes it worth living,” she ended.
The class was in awe when the bell rang signalling the end of the class. That bell, as well, signals my afternoon break.
Guess what I will be having for my afternoon snack.
It was December last year when you came into my life.
From Manila, I got you in a dog bag, and we were off for that 170 km stretch on our journey home. You were so active and perky at the start of the ride, but as we continue the trip, you fell silent and sleepy, maybe because of dizziness.
Dad and mom were so surpised to see you–the daschund pup that they only see on TV and internet is now at our own abode. You became their instant “apo“.
They covered expenses for your food, accessories, even the monthly shots necessary for your protection were all paid by my parents. I saw how happy they were when you respond to their call, and how worried they are every time they leave you at home.You became a family to us.
You grew so fast that in 4 months time you doubled your size. You were showered with much love and care that my parents gave unconditionally. To which, you reciprocated with very adorable and sometimes intriguing ways of appreciation–the ticklish lick, the bark you do when intruders are at our doorstep, the howl you create when you think no one is at home to check on you.
Last Sunday, when I learned you were sick, and that you haven’t eaten for days, Mom has been calling friends and colleagues for a vet referral to have you checked. Only after hours that we were able to find one from references, and we brought you hurriedly to him for checkup and medication.
But luck was not on our side, we we’re too late. You were already infected with the Parvo virus.
Just today, I learned that you let go of Life. You held on for days and waited for me to come home, to be with me for the last time.
I am sad that I didn’t see you go.
I am unhappy that you left me so soon.
I am lonely because my parents lost you, their instant “apo“.
But I am glad to let you go, that He, our Creator, will be taking best care of you.
When the time comes that my children, and grandchildren ask about pets, I will surely tell our story and how lucky I am to have had you, even for a short yet meaningful and memorable time.
So long, my dear LUCKY.
Until we meet again.
Fireworks has always fascinated me.
Ever since I was young, I always look forward to new year celebrations because that’s the only time that I can see fireworks displayed magnificently in the sky.
I would always be amazed by the transformation of a “kwitis” to an amazing rocket ship that launches itself from the ground until it ultimately reached its peak in the sky, and burst into glittery lights.
I would always question where and how the “fountain” gets the energy to radiate and throw away sparks of colors from that little upside-down cone.
I would always ask Mom and Dad “why can’t we have a daily fireworks display?” and to which I would always get the answer “because, son, if it would be a daily thing, you would not be as excited, as amazed, as starstruck as you are every new year.”
With such a limited exposure to fireworks, I always dreamt of taking photos of it.
So when I learned there was a pyromusical competition at the SM Mall of Asia 3 years ago, I made it a point to watch the show and freeze the moments when the colorful lights lit up the dark skies. These fireworks always bring back childhood memories of amazement and joy.
With the same eagerness as when I was a child, I booked the two of us reserved seats for this year’s Pyromusical competition. I felt ecstatic that we’ll be in very good vantage point for the whole show.
But as the pyrotechnic competition commenced, and I started clicking the shutter, I started to walk towards the bay and found a better view of the fireworks. I was so engrossed in taking pictures that when the first part of the show ended, I was already far from where I left you.
I walked back towards you in that reserved seat.I realized I booked this event because I wanted to spend time with you. I sat beside you, held your hand and smiled while making a mental note to myself:
Never mind that I will not be on that better vantage point to capture photos.
I don’t care if there will be silhouettes of people in the framed lights in the sky.
It doesn’t matter that the shots will not be gorgeous enough to merit a second glance.
Because all that matters now is you.
They say a picture paints a thousand words. And so I started capturing moments and freezing time.
#DearStranger: My daily notes until I find you.
#GesturesOfLove: Way of showing how much I care.
#FebYouAreToMe: I’ll tell you what you mean to me, daily this February
But after compiling all of these memories, I realized I just wanted to convey 3 words.
I love you.
I had drawn a picture of you and me spending this day together walking in the beach holding hands and teasing one another.
I had painted us in a dinner date on a hotel rooftop overlooking the cityscape at night while sharing a good wine and the story of how it all began for us.
I had imagined just the two of us snuggling in bed waiting for the sunrise to touch our faces and being able to see your eyes first thing in the morning.
Sadly, none of these will happen this hearts day. For reasons beyond my control, these things will just be drawn, painted or imagined in my mind for the mean time.
I really do not know how to make this extra special for you and me.
I didn’t bring with me any flowers to offer you nor did I order online for flower delivery.
I didn’t bother buying that heart-shaped chocolates at the mall for you to munch on.
I didn’t even take time to think for a special gift wrapped in fancy paper to surprise you.
I only have this note scribbled while waiting for you for dinner.
Today, I would just like to realize one of your dreams–to dine in at Dampa. This place, you told me, you never had been and that its your wish to eat here and try the different viands this place has to offer.
As we take this journey one day at a time, I would like us to achieve your dreams, my dreams and our dreams together.
As we look forward to the future, let’s plan and work towards our goals as individuals and as a couple.
Our journey has just started. I do not promise a smooth sailing travel. But bear in mind I will be with you no matter how tough it gets.
And for all these, I want you to know, and I have a lifetime to prove, how much I love you.
Happy Valentine’s day.
We started the Chinese new year with a bang–the “bang” that I wasn’t expecting.
Your words, triggered the fountain, not of fireworks, but of fired words I have thrown back at you.
Our deafening silence after that argument seemed so much louder than any firecrackers ever ignited.
I realized we let miscommunication and misunderstanding overtake a happy and joyous start of the year of the water dragon.
Fresh from a heated conversation, I saw these kids.
And I was reminded of an advice from a good friend: “in whatever circumstance you are in, do not let negative vibes ruin you.”
“Ask yourself this question”, he continued, ” the words said, acts done, or messages conveyed, do they outweigh the affection you have?”
And I was silenced. The kids in front of me, no matter how much disagreement they have, they always end up in good terms. Even if they fight over certain things, here they are eating snacks together. They may say nasty things and do crazy things, but in the end, they laugh together as if nothing terrible happened.
I knew then that I have to make it up to you. I am sorry for hurting you.
Whatever arguments we have, there are no words that would match “I love you.”
Whatever we do to hurt each other, there is no better act than kissing and cuddling you.
Whatever hate messages we expressed, nothing beats showing our gestures of love.
Miel, let’s leave yesterday behind as we start a new month together.
Keep holding my hand as we face more challenges.
Do not give up no matter how tough things go.
And never let go, because I won’t.
Let’s journey life together, one day at a time.