I turned to the other side of the bed. I reached for you. But you're not there. It was like waking up from a dream.
I was never the type who believes in second chances. I was skeptical. A realist. I've always believed that once something is broken, it can never be rebuilt again.
"Love is like an antique jar. The older it gets the more precious it becomes. But once it's broken, things are never the same again."
So when he asked me, "what made you decide to give me another chance? " I paused for a while. I searched myself for reasons why.
I guess despite the harshness of reality and cruelty of life's everyday struggles, my faith in humanity never once faltered. Plus if we're always afraid and inhibited, we would never get where we want to.
I always had this negative notion on second chances. To me then it was like an extension of pain, of disappointment - of even more time wasted. But now I realized, it mostly has to do with the person you give second chance to. He has always been good to me even in the worst of situations so I couldn't deny him of that chance to make it up to me - to prove that things can be better. That, and I love him. I never really stopped.
People are always afraid of rejections and disappointments. I mean, who would want to go through all the pain when they could just run away? Why go through that long, winding road undoing the past, rebuilding what's broken when it's so much easier to start anew?
So I thought deep and it occurred to me: this is not giving him a second chance, this is about giving myself a second chance to believe in love again. I don't want to create a new life with someone new because honestly it's just exhausting. I'm tired of dating and getting to know someone. I'm at a point in my life where I know exactly what I want and that is to finally have someone to spend life with, to build dreams with, to plan for the future with...and to eventually grow old with. And I couldn't picture myself doing all of those things with anyone but him. I want him who made me believe in love at its purest form. He who despite modernization and technology believes in chivalry and courtship and that girls should be wooed. He who values faith in God and family more than anything else. How often do you find someone so perfect and have the opportunity to have him in your life? I once had him and lost him. And now he's knocking at my door again so would I deny myself of the second chance at happiness? Of love that I always wanted?
Second chances require more effort. More work. More commitment at showing the person you're trying to win back you are worthy. At the same time, it requires a level of honesty and openness and a certain degree of vulnerability knowing that in love there is always that risk of getting hurt.
I cannot keep telling myself "I got hurt and I don't want to trust again" because honestly, it's a lot more work keeping my doors locked than just letting it go and let life take its course. Life goes on. And it goes pretty fast. One day I'm 18, the next I'm... Well the point is, why deny yourself of happiness when you can just be.
Second chances are not traveling back in time for a do-over. It's about learning the mistakes of the past so that you'll be more able to give and receive the right kind of love with the right person. Because in relationships, you don't just look at one person's flaws and shortcomings, it's always a mutual decision to commit to love and a partnership against all odds.
It was the longest.. and the most painful thing I had to go through.
My friends are amazed how I am able to pull it through
No one has the faintest idea how much it took toll on me
To watch the man that you love slowly pull away
Little by little each day
His eyes grow more sadness than flame
He lost the passion, he seized to care
Now nothing but my heart and I are here to stay.
I had to pretend nothing's wrong
I could only cry in my sleep
I had to suffer in silence
I had to go through each day acting like it didn't cut me so deep.
I love him. So much. Like the words could barely measure up.
I loved him with all the love I can give only it seems never enough.
"I'm no longer happy" was the saddest thing I ever heard from him.
And it stabbed me straight through my chest
Long before I could even protest.
I thought love is about fighting.. I thought it's about not giving up.
I thought love is not ever wanting to hurt the person you love.
I thought love is about taking risks.. taking chances..
And believing, just believing, that anything's possible.
My heart is weeping. Still.
Letting go is the hardest thing to do. Forgetting is the closest next.
I can't remember the happy times anymore.
All that was left is hurt
Immeasurable, inexplicable.. just enormous amount of pain.
Pain that's enough to make me weak and numb.
And still recognize the unfamiliar emotion I have not prepared myself for.
'Coz I thought this day would never come.
Still you said, I'm not "the one".
And just like that... you're gone.
I still remember the time when you were right here beside me
You were looking at me with that look of love in your eyes
Sometimes I wish you can choose the moments in your life,
press PAUSE and REPEAT through infinity
Moments when you were just... happy.
I miss you...
Every day it's getting tougher and tougher to hold on
To remain strong and keep the faith
To reminisce that memory of us when
we held hands watching the sunset
Or that deep conversation we shared about life at the balcony
Or the kiss that had long lingered still on my mind
And things slowly get lost in a blur
I want you...
Right now. Right here.
I wish I could say with confidence that I'm the best for you
Like how you have always thought me to be
But I can never be perfect
And still you have loved me.
I love you...
Until now I still get overwhelmed
with the intensity of emotions it entails
With the immensity of life it takes from us
With the measure of time it takes and never gives back
Still, it didn't stop us from betting on the bigger world before us
The world that promises haven for us two
Until we meet again,
and the longer I can have you.
Sometimes you get to a point in life where in you wonder if you're living the kind of life you're suppose to - whether you're going on the right track or you need a change.
"Are we alone? 'Coz I needed something to believe in..."
Time goes by and I watch peole around me grow and build a life of their own. My friends one by one disappear into someone else's wife, they get married, raise a kid, travel or do the adult stuff society expects of them. While I, after all these years, haven't quite figured out just yet what I want in life. What do I want?
Happiness. True and lasting happiness is what everybody has always wanted. And still, how do you find such? Where do you find the contentment?
I have tried to travel around to see new places, meet new people, try new things and discover my potentials or how far I can get. Somehow, I'm back to square one.
So I idly spent one rainy afternoon in my bedroom thinking about life, and also, playing some video games. Yes, you read that right. Whenever I get overwhelmed with things going on around me I always go back to the child inside me - naive, carefree, not thinking twice. It's a lot easier to be happy back then. Give a kid throwing a tantrum an ice cream cone and he's good for the day. But what could a twenty-something year old want? What could make her happy?
I shrugged it off, put my mental faculties to rest and engaged myself for a couple of hours in the virtual world with my handy gadgets. Then it dawned on me, life teaches us what we need to learn in the most creative ways possible - either through other people, a personal experience, a passage we read from a book, some song lyrics we heard on the radio on our way home and now, it turns out playing video games meant more than beating my previous high scores.
Those ill-tempered birds are not just about strategizing. Somehow, in its crazy ways, it teach us that you shouldn't let bad days get the better of you. When someone has wronged you, it's alright to fight back but you shouldn't act rash or make decisions at the heights of your emotions. You should still think carefully and plan your actions no matter what. Although you can always figure out things by trial and error, it's also a time wasted committing the same mistakes over and over again. You should always consider that which gives you the most benefits for it only gets tougher through time.
Plants vs. Zombies
Life would never run out of zombies - of people who would test you, or judge you, or try to bring you down. You should always be prepared for all possibilities. You should know how to defend yourself when needed. Arm yourself with the right resources - knowledge, strength and courage to face it all.
Now, my very first game ever. Somehow it made me realize (as the screen constantly moves forward as you move and there's no turning back) that life doesn't wait for anyone. You just keep going. Think smart and think fast. Along the way you face different obstacles. As you trudge along the course of life, you're constantly tasked to make decisions; decisions that will make or break you. But I believe there is no such thing as failure. Only a lesson learned, a success delayed, or some silly story you tell your friends over some bottles of cold beer. It never hurts to have a goal. Mario may have spent his entire time looking for Princess Daisy but... well, let me put it in two ways: First, having a purpose gives us the feeling that we're here on earth for a reason, that we're working hard for something and not just free-floating. Knowing it's all gonna pay off in the end make all the life's struggles bearable. Second (and the cheesy part), people have constantly searched for "the one." Admit it, it's all been part of our lives and it's considered as a basic need by Maslow. So, at the end of the day, if you meet Princess Daisy only to realize it's just a monster in disguise who tricked you and you feel like all your efforts are gone in vain, don't lose hope. Don't be afraid to fall in love again. For all you know, she may be on the next level.
Just keep going. Never back down on anything. Never be afraid of the challenges ahead. Sometimes it helps to have a competition - even if it's just yourself. So you always have a reason to do better each time. Just thinking running through life and wanting to finish first or ahead of others is good enough of a motivation. Still, it matters which path you choose as it will dictate the course of your journey. You may get lost for a bit, get derailed from your original plans, but as long as you focus on where you're headed you'll always get to your destination. But then again, life is a never-ending journey.
Just take it all in! Whatever life throws at you, never hesitate to seize the moment. Just grab all the opportunities you can and avoid what's harmful for you. It's always better to gain more in life - not of tangible things but of memories and life experiences. Just enjoy the ride and stop skipping ahead to the end of the road. You never know what you've been missing out.
"Live life to the fullest. Don't put your life on hold for a goal, for you may not live long enough to achieve that goal."
Some things are just not meant to be. There's an appropriately sized and shaped brick that would perfectly fit on that void. You cannot push something that's not meant to be there. Otherwise you're gonna end up with a poor foundation, you screw up the whole structure and everything crumbles. The same way as not all people you meet in your life are meant for the keeping. No matter how much you want to cling on them, sometimes it's a lot better to let go and accept things the way they are. Sometimes you meet them to help you at a particular time of need. Sometimes to teach you of a lesson. And sometimes, they just had to play a cameo role in your life's screenplay.
My latest addiction, haha. This game opened up my eyes to a better understanding of friendship and interpersonal relationships. It has taught me the value of teamwork and working together towards a common goal. But then again, in life, you can only have as much friends as you want and not all of them will stick around for long or will be able to help you out in the long run. Some may drag you down. Some may abandon you along the way. Some may walk the opposite way. Some you just have to let go for they are only there because they needed you at that time. Some may fail you. Some may not live up to your expectations. But you don't hold grudges. They're your friends. What you do is just move on. There are times that having just a handful of real people in your life can get you far. So learn to trust those who are worthy of your trust and let go of the people who thrive in negativities. You are not living their lives but yours.
And... at the end of it all, there's always the option to try again. Succeed. Save the game.
It isn't a butterfly. A moth perhaps. Some sort of dark, brownish in color with quite long antenna extending on its rear end. Its dull-colored wings are thin and slender as to the leaves of what the people call "money plant" intertwined by the end. And it seems like its looking at me as I gaze up at it on the ceiling. It was the second time I saw that same creature inside our house. First, on the wall of my bedroom and now, high above the firmament of the intersection between two rooms. Moths sleep during the day and I suppose it is for it could have long fell down the ceiling if it's already dead. People have this belief that late relatives or loved ones who passed away take the form of black or brown butterflies so when you see the it fluttering inside your house, it is the spirit of a loved one who died recently paying you a visit. And more often than not do people mistake large moths for butterflies. Who could be this one? Is it…? Oh, so much for the weird beliefs.
Grandma Sophie died a couple of weeks ago from a heart attack. It runs in the family I guess. Still, her loss is painful for us up to now. She truly was a great person. We got along very well during her days and I sure miss her a lot. Who would take care of me now that my mother and I are the only ones left living together? My mother is always out for work. My father, on the other hand, died when I was four years old and I was the only child. Our relatives live downtown and we seem like total strangers in this oddly quiet subdivision. Another thing that is so puzzling is the key my grandma has handed down to me before she passed away. I never knew what the key is for…and I would never figure it out now. A key to some sort of treasure perhaps? Nope. My grandmother spent the whole seventy years of her life in plain living and I doubt if she ever put up a business or anything that will earn her tons of money before she died. We wouldn't be struggling for money then. I remembered my mom asking me once what the key was doing hanging in my chest through a twelve-inch chain of gold to complement it's rusted luster, intrigued by how precious it had become to me that I always wear it wherever I go. I would ask her stuff about the bronze key and she would end up even more puzzled as I have. Nobody knows what the key is for. And great are the questions handed down to me as granny left me with the heavy thing which weighs, to my estimation, almost a pound or even more for it nearly fits half of my palm.
"Your grandmother sure is a very secretive person", my mom would often joke. But I'd rather think of her as…mysterious. Though we are so close to each other, she never spilled out any of her childhood memories or even how she met my grandfather and stuff like that, the usual things a grandmother and grandchild would converse about and reminisce. I never knew much about her. That is also the reason why I am so surprised to have discovered a bunch of photos of her with a person I never before seen hiding under her bed. I only got the opportunity to go over it now that she's gone. I remember when I first found it, accidentally, scattered on top of her desk when I was looking for her. I didn't hear her came in so when I turned, I startled to see her teary-eyed in front of me and she pleaded that I go out because she didn't want me to see her cry. I checked over the photos this time, for the second time, taking a good look at the man sitting beside her in a bench. It was somewhat a park, a place called Hunter's Grove as the signboard next to their seat implies and seeing the sea of fallen leaves peeping beneath the soles of their feet, I could tell it was way past autumn. The photo is black and white with white borders so I can't really say what the color of the man's coat is. But there's no denying the fact that the man is so handsome, hair slightly curly at the temples, mustache thinly arranged on top of his lips as his arms stretched behind her, resting his right hand on her shoulder. My grandmother, on the other hand, hair extending long behind her was wearing a dress, bear at the shoulder blades, billowing above her knees. My granny's hand was placed on her lap as the gentleman's left hand covers them. And they seem so happy back then. How I wish to have known the man. The way my granny's lips curved to expose her pearly white teeth... my grandmother had always had the best smile. And the way her eyes sparkle even though the sun sets behind the mountains leaving them a dark twilight at the park only enliven by lamps hung on the posts…she seemed like…she was so much in love with him. Weren't they? The way they appear in the picture, it looks as though it was a photo of two lovers having the best day of their lives. And there are plenty of the likes. A picture of them, together, hands entwined walking past Hillary Theatre. On the other, they were dancing, her hands clasped around the gentleman's neck as her long gown sweeps off the dance floor. And on the other their mouth shut open, side by side in a roller coaster in an amusement park called "Fun Land".
And this gave me the urge to unfold the mysteries of her past…my grandmother's untold youth.
The first person I would ask about my grandmother would most probably be my mother, but she is rarely home so while she's out and I'm alone in our house I planned on visiting our relatives downtown to gather up information. Good thing I still have a couple of weeks to spend before the start of classes this year.
I went to see grandma Norah, sixty-five, the only sister granny have and who is still alive. I spotted the old woman on the porch, seated though steadily on a rocking chair, knitting, from my point of view – a couple of meters still away from her – a pair of blue mittens for the coming cold season. I hurried my steps to get to her side, ascended the three-step-ladder entrance to the terrace where she is and bent down to kiss her on the cheek.
"What a short notice… what can I do for you…my dear," she whispered, delighted to see me.
"Hello grandma Norah… I just dropped by to see you and…. I wish to ask about…regarding some matters which I…I find of the utmost import" I stammered and I gazed at the woman, her watery eyes narrowed as she stared back at me, her curly salt-and-pepper hair blown by the wind.
"Tell me, honey, w-what is it t-that…bothers you…child", she smiled.
"It's Grandma Sophie…"
"What about her...?"
"No, I mean…these photographs..." I showed her the images and watched her as she looks at the photographs, searching for every detail, wondering what it is I am anxious to know.
"These are great photos, where did you get this?"
"It's Grandma Sophie's"
"Really? But I haven't seen these before"
"Exactly my point."
"Y-Yes, t-these…are indeed, photographs of her youth…but," she stood before she looked at me and descended the wooden stairway. I followed her from the veranda across the open garden.
"She never looked as gay and…lovely as before…"
"How about the guy, do you know him?"
She turned to me and a soft grin beamed on her face. I led her to the part of the garden where the red roses are just about to bloom. The hum of the birds resounding in midst sky, clear sky of the morning.
"How come we know so little about her… how about you grandma Norah, how much do you know about your sister?" I inquired as I watched her take her feeble steps toward the flowers, catching their petals falling on her hand as she touches them one by one. The hem of her dress racing with her pace, and she began:
"I remember, when we were still young… w-we used to play together…when I get wounded, she would nurse me and…she's great at it", she uttered feebly. She turned her direction to the bright sky as memory flashed back and time turned backwards.
"It was her eighteenth birthday…when she met him. Kyle Andrews. Oh, such a perfect, perfect man. So astute…s-so gentleman…I got a crush..on him even…but no, oh no, he h-has only heart for one..woman…my sister. She, in turn, was very, very beautiful. Y-you wouldn't notice her loveliness at that instant but when you know her…oh, such a perfect…perfect person", she grinned and overwhelming feelings enveloped her as she narrates the story of their days.
"What about him, Kyle A-a... What is it?"
"Andrews. He was very rich and popular. Many girls come running after him… but he loves…my sister most", she spoke.
"How come she didn't let anybody or even me know about him?about her life before? About—
"She hated the pain of his loss…."
"And she suffered so many years…t-that's why she became frail and sickly.. b-but you helped her…you helped her at least b-bring back…the light in her…" she hardly breathed the words.
"I have always wanted to help her"
"I know, I know… that's why you are great…dear…" she reached my hand and caressed it before she held it so tight and I felt the warmth of her aged hands.
I stared in her eyes. I wanted to know the answers, the reasons…I know it's something sad, and dark and hard…but I want to know it all. Then, I asked her:
"Josephine and Kyle had a fight right before Kyle flew to one of his business trips around the world. My sister knows too well, even before…Kyle is someone you should not trust. She suspected a third party…but that was only a mere suspicion…and my sister just loves him so much… And besides what I already told you I know of nothing else more…She always doesn't want to talk about it…so secretive and…aloof "
I pulled out the key hanging from my neck and showed it to her.
"Grandma, this key…do you know anything about this key that she left me before she died?" I uttered, hoping for some clear answers to the puzzle that grandma left unsolved.
"I'm sorry dear…but I know nothing about it…"
I ate lunch with her and it was almost six in the afternoon when I returned home.
"Why, you're early this day mom." I met her at the doorstep. She is dressed in black, in her nighties, and she is somewhat preoccupied with something.
"Well, I finished all my paper works early and I didn't have to bring them home so, lucky me" she grinned and I noticed a rectangular thing she was weighing on her side. It was covered with white cloth and I could easily tell it was a frame of some sort.
"Where have you been, honey?" I heard her spoke again.
"I've been to grandma Norah's house."
"Something important? Problem?"
"Nah, just paying her a visit" I replied. "What's that mom?" when my attention was finally caught by the object she is carrying on her side.
"Oh, nothing. Just trashing an old crap. A painting by some unknown artist. Mom's favorite" she said.
"If it's granny 's favorite…then why are you trashing it?"
"Well, we don't have any room for some old junk. And besides, it will help us move on."
"But it's no junk, mom! It's grandma's treasure. It's the only keepsake she left us and it's antique. It might not have any value because as you said an unknown artist painted it, it is still grandma's. And I don't want that "moving on" you're talking about if it means taking away grandma out of the picture." I stated bitterly.
"Oh well, you can have it if you like. I don't want to argue. I'm tired." She uttered, irritated and she pushed the painting to me and I caught its weight on my body before I saw her stomped up the stairs.
I brought the painting, almost dragging it, inside my room. I looked for a hook on the wall where I could hang it. Then I saw a perfect place. I retrieved the picture of my mom and I from the wall and replaced it with the painting. It is a painting of a Mountain. The painting was in a front view angle. I could just see myself in the picture now. The top of the mountain was all-covered up by sparkling white snow. Tall and green pine trees surrounded the mountain, and there were houses that seemed like tiny little spots of colors at the foot of the mount. Birds fly in the clear sky as tranquil wind seemingly blows off a cool breeze. Grasses and bright flowers were blossoming on the ground amidst the blanket of white glittering snow. And the sign says Hunter's Grove. The colors of the painting are so detailed that it almost seemed like real.
"This is a work of art" and I gazed at the beauty of the masterpiece hung before me, mesmerized and awed.
I touched the painting, caressed it, and wonder why even if I saw the painting so many times before, it seems familiar only now.
"Wait a minute… Hunter's Grove. Hunter's Grove…Haven't I heard of that name before? That's it", I thought and I grabbed the photos I hid in my pocket, the ones I showed grandma Norah a while ago. I pulled out the one shot in a park and a shudder of surprise struck me. The structure of the park…and the place drawn in the painting… They're the same! Same structures, same ground, same trees, same place, all the same!
Hunter's Grove. It must have homed the answers to my questions, the key to all perplexities.
"Jeanette, dinner is ready!" I heard mom cried from down the hallway so I hurried down the stairs to the dining room where the delightful sight of chicken salad and fettuccine alberto, and the aromatic scent of grilled pork awaits me. I mixed up a bunch of smoothies for us, mom's favorite, before I seated myself next to her in our dining table. I swallowed my serving of chicken salad as mom busily munched on her grilled pork. A couple of minutes of stillness then I broke the silence.
"I've been downtown to Grandma Norah"
"Yeah, I heard you mentioned that earlier"
"You know why?"
"Why?" and she eyed me narrowly, bewildered.
"I asked her about the photographs of granny I saw"
"Oh, the one you showed me the day after the burial…So, what's her reaction?"
"Same as yours."
"I didn't know mom was quite a catch back then. I told you it's not so much of a fuzz" and she flinched and swallowed a spoonful of rice and began chewing.
"What about the painting… Do you have any idea where she bought it? And I even wonder why it's kind of thicker than the usual…" I asked.
"I don't know. She already has it even before I was born"
"Hmm… Now you're talking"
"Hey, what are you a little Nancy Drew? What's with these interrogation stuff?" she chuckled.
"I just want to know the person I thought I knew and yet a real stranger to me all along. I can't believe I know so little about Grandma Sophie", I drank my smoothie, quivered with the crystals of ice that hugged my teeth and the sweet-and-sour taste of the fruit, then I continued.
"Tell me, how much do you know her?"
I saw her stopped from her eating, placed the silverware on her plate, fingers intertwined before she faced me and started:
"Well, I've known her as the best mother in the world there is. She told me that my father died in a civil war so she was forced to raise me all by herself and with the help of aunt Norah…"
"So, that's the reason that woman never married," I interrupted.
"I don't think so" she giggled.
"Go ahead," and I lolled at my seat to listen to her with ease.
"And I never knew him…Dad. She said she was just three months pregnant when she left."
"W-wait a minute… you never met him?"
"Don't you think that the man in the picture with granny would most likely be…"
"My father? Oh no, no. I know that guy, silly."
"You know him!" I stared at her, wide-eyed, astonished.
"Of course I do, he's aunt Norah's husband or should I say…man," she replied.
"What?" I exclaimed. I can't believe this, now there's even more pieces of the puzzle missing than I thought.
I never finished my meal for I was, in the moment, in a far more important discovery.
"And I thought she's an old maid," I murmured.
"No. She's unmarried, yes, but never an old maid."
"But I never heard her even get involved with anybody…"
"Neither do I. I only found out about it when mom died, aunt Norah arrived home from Alaska for her sister's wake and she took him with her at the mourning, riding on his wheeled chair. He's pathetic, I tell you, he can't even move a muscle."
"Oh yeah I remember! That's him? I mean.. I never had an inkling it could be him. Well, I only vaguely remember the man since grandma kept anyone from talking to him. And they never stayed long for me to actually get the chance to ask who he is or how he knows grandma."
And then I thought... She's hiding him. For I could have seen him when I visited her in her house.
"I tell you, she's not really the type of woman who makes friends or gets along with anyone" and mom began transferring the dirty dishes to the sink. I helped her and she started washing them.
"What does grandma Norah's husband doing with granny in the picture?" I thought, as clouds of mysteries grew to envelop my mind.
"Hi grandma Norah!" I greeted when the door of the old lady's house opened after ringing her twice. She sure is shocked to see me.
"Boy, nothing quite like a surprise visit", I wondered and I hid a mischievous grin beneath my innocent facade. I continued my pace toward the living room and saw the man she can no longer hide from me now that I caught him before me, on his wheelchair. The man is so slender, balding with almost little white hair remaining on his top to shed off with the time remaining in him. He is wearing a thick turtleneck sweater, checkered blue. A blanket of black wool on his lap covers the lower appendages. His cheeks slackened, eyes dark and deep, face livid, mouth trembling as though his features betrayed the fact of his existence.
"Kyle Andrews," I saw him moved yet only slightly, as he fears the pain it would cause him, his eyes in deep amusement turned to his unexpected guest.
"W-who…a-are..y..you…?" he uttered. I approached him, ignoring the old woman's refusal behind me.
" I'm Jeanette Simmons. I believe you know my grandmother…Josephine Gardner?" I started.
"Excuse me!" Grandma Norah stormed from behind and hurried to his side.
"T-this is ridiculous… He doesn't know what you're talking about" she retorted. All of a sudden her voice seemed firm and strong.
"Let him answer," I stated sharply.
Then the old man, seemed like on his eighties already, and with so much effort, raised his right hand to prevent the upcoming of a possible commotion.
"I t-think…it's about time…that everyone knows the truth," he said and the two of us froze and awaited his words.
"I love you so much, Kyle… I don't want to lose you," she whispered to his ear and his arms tightened around her as they gently sway in the romantic melody of waltz. They swept the dance floor the whole night and young love filled the Grand Ball.
"You won't, as long as you continue loving me…" he breathed on her ear and she leaned her head on his shoulder as the music went on.
The evening dance that almost seemed endless turned into a stop. Josephine searched for Kyle but he was nowhere to find.
"Now can we go?" she heard a girl spoke in the hallway so she hid herself beside the nearby glass cabinet of keepsakes where in the dusk she could not be seen.
"Alright, alright. But this would be the last time. I don't want Sophie to see us…And you won't spoil our wedding next week."
Josephine was startled to see who the silhouettes are concealing themselves from the glance that knows too well.
"Kyle…N-norah…" teardrops fell down from her eyes down to her cheeks and she sank down, deeper, lost beyond the darkness…
"What are you doing here?" Josephine clamored as a familiar face stood by her front door.
"Sophie, what is the matter, honey? Why aren't you dressed yet? It's our wedding today, remember?" his voice broke and tears ran down on his face.
"I am not marrying anyone. Not that I know of as dishonest," she replied bitterly and she gazed at him as tears blurred her sight.
"Don't lie to me Kyle, I saw you… you and Norah, in the hallway, the night of the ball… Stop pretending like you don't even know what all of this is about! How could you do this to me, Kyle… How could you hurt me? You know that I had loved you… and given you my all…" her words trailed off and she shut the door closed.
"Sophie! Sophie! Please let me explain!" he cried, but not for long, the door would open for him no more.
A couple of weeks passed, Sophie received a package. She picked it up right at the doorstep and opened it. A bunch of crumpled papers protected what is lying inside the box, a key and a letter. She read what the letter says:
I'm sorry for what I've done. Remember the day you and I had this small fight? I was so lonely and upset then… Norah was there to comfort me and while we're away… something happened between us. When we reconciled, I knew I loved you even more but… Norah is having our baby and she wouldn't stop bugging me, threatening me that she would kill herself. She never let go of me, she wants me to father her child. I'm confused Sophie, you know that you're the only woman that I loved. I'm very sorry for what I've done to you. I know that what I've done is unforgivable still, I hope that someday you'll find forgiveness in your heart. Please keep the key… I know it is hard for you now to keep my memory but I want you still to have it. You have refused to take it before when we had an argument but keep it. I know someday everything's gonna be okay and we will be together again. And I hope you'll wait 'till that time comes. I love you.
Tears rushed down her face. She felt all her strength and defenses crumbled as she held the letter so tight, placed it close to her heart.
"I love you Kyle, you know that. But Norah needs you now more than ever… as much as I need you…" and she gripped the key with her trembling hands as agony and solitude calls.
"B-but why? Why didn't you do anything? Why didn't you beg, why did you leave her?" I exclaimed at the man who was now crying in front of me.
"This is all my fault…" the old woman wept and immediately went to her room.
"Norah and I went to Alaska to live there. And I can't even believed myself that Sophie ever found the forgiveness in her heart that she even wished for our safe departure. She had always have the soft heart, the understanding, the love… Maybe because she also cares for her sister as much as she cares for me. But Norah's child died in delivery and Norah was in a critical condition too so I can't leave her alone in the hospital. Just like what Sophie said… Norah needs me, so I never left her to come back to Sophie. I never even heard of her pregnancy to our child, only now that she's… gone" he sobbed when he finished his feeble talk.
I left them. I walked my way home. All I want is to get away… away from that house. I never knew where my feet are going until I stopped and came up with my senses. Hunter's Grove. It seemed like only yesterday when Kyle and Sophie have been in this place… It's so much different now. Only few trees are left standing. The old, wooden benches are no longer there but benches made of bricks, statues of marbles and a fountain at the center of the park. Many people are strolling, roaming around and I don't seem to… fit in. I guess things do change. Everything changes as time goes by. People come, people go. That's the cycle called life.
Back in my room, I lied down on the bed, facing the immense artwork before me. I approached the painting. Touched it. Caressed it.
"Grandma… how can they do this to you… how can you have suffered such a bitter past… and yet you are like this mountain in winter on the painting… strong, cold, immobile, brave and unfaltering. Snowcaps conceal the true glamour of its beauty…" As I moved my fingers around it, I felt something odd. A little mounted surface, a tiny bulk, an unbelievable bulge at the lower right of the painting. I poked it. It seemed to… wear off. Determined, intrigued, I worked my hands on the little bulged surface, scratching it off, then I startled to my surprise. A keyhole. That's what the key is for! I slowly inserted the key hanging from my neck to the little opening, gave it a little twist and turn then finally… it opened. I peeked inside the little hole and pictured a tiny red velvet box plus a folded piece of paper. I reached my thumb and forefinger inside to get it. I unfolded the paper. A letter. I began to read.
I can't think of no other finer way to show you how much you mean to me but by this. I know you are familiar with this painting. Why, this is the picture we painted together in our favorite meeting place, remember? And remember when I borrowed it from you and took it home? The reason is… I made it more special by inserting my special gift for you inside. And you are so smart to have figured this out. I'm proud of you.
I love you so much, honey. And I can't think of no other woman more worthy to be my wife but you. Will you marry me?
I opened the red velvet box. A gold ring with a huge diamond sparkling on top of it met my inquisitive eyes and I felt the drop of warm tears on my fingers as I linger on the precious item I hold with my hand.
Loss is bitter, truly, when you know there should have been a chance. When time is your enemy and a friend is also a foe. Nothing quite like a bittersweet refrain to a once magical tale.
- END -
Never stop challenging yourself everyday. Life is not meant to be trudged along a straight path. It is an intricate system of crossroads, of which at each stop you are tasked to make a decision. Everyday is an opportunity to live the life as we want it. You wake up in the morning you choose whether to get up as soon as you open your eyes or not. You get up and you decide whether to fix the bed first or head straight for breakfast. Seated at the dining table you decide whether it's gonna be cereals or sandwich. And, oops, you run out of cereals and you're already running late for work so you just took a quick sip of coffee and headed for the shower. A few minutes later you get dressed, get groomed and all set for work. And the story of your life goes on. Tomorrow is another day.
Funny if you would look at the big picture and try to imagine each and everyone of us having to go through the same ordeal every single day - we just don't really notice it because it has been a routine for some time. And we, human beings, are hard-wired for automatic responses. It's amazing how life works. But if I'm gonna dig deeper into these thoughts, what I have observed is that, every single people on the planet is driven by a force. It is a thing that manifests in us as a "goal." Without a goal we lose the drive to do anything. People are destined to have something to look forward to in the end. It can be a reward. It can be a punishment. It can be a positive or a negative reinforcement. Either way it's comforting knowing something has a definite time frame for when it's gonna end whether in a good or bad way. This thing - the religious people would often term "god" or some other deity names still depending on who's preaching what is morally right or wrong. The scientists would call it an "idea" which brings forth subsequent discoveries. The romanticists would refer to it as "love" which gives a person a reason to justify his actions. Nonetheless, it all pushes us into having a goal.
"Living on purpose is the only way to really live. Everything else is just existing." - Rev. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life
A goal sets us apart from machines. A goal sets us apart from animals driven by their instinctive need for survival. A goal somehow gives us direction, a sense into the world we're living - into the life where we're fated to take part of. And sometimes, you just need that something to hold on to.
I was never a believer of long distance relationships (LDR) until I met someone who swept me off my feet and it's the only chance we got.
My long distance relationship taught me a lot about life...about myself and most importantly...about what it is to really love.
I can say that this love is unlike any other kind I had before. I've been in love so many times before and it always strikes me how different an experience it is each time. It's true as they say, one never falls in love the same way twice. I once loved a man who valued sanctity too much that it had caused me to go astray. I once loved a man who never exerted any efforts and just watched life take its course. I once loved a man who was constantly in doubt and whom his heart never wanted to be caged. I once loved a man I couldn't trust. I once loved a man who couldn't take me for what I am and the kind of life that I have...and such was the most heartbreaking of all.
Now I find myself drowning once again in the ambiguity of such abstract concept. After one relationship to another I thought I'm no longer capable of trusting and believing in love again. I wanted to believe I'm numb now from the constant pains. I have convinced myself I'm gonna give my heart a break and let me find myself. I had built walls around me through the years that I myself would also demolish time and time again instead of waiting for the brave knight who's gonna climb himself all the way to the top. Because time is ticking and I have always feared being sad and alone, and growing old all by myself. So being in a relationship now, most of my friends were asking, why too soon? It wasn't so long ago since my last breakup. Are you settling? they ask. And so now I begin to ask myself the same question - am I? I have thought it through over and over again until I saw how I have changed.
I'm no longer that shallow, silly girl who would put up a fight just because her date is 20 minutes late. LDR has taught me to be patient, even more, to wait indefinitely. I'm no longer that girl who has her world revolve around one person. LDR has made me notice all the things I have overlooked in the past, all the things I took for granted, all the people I have hurt because I had been selfish. It has taught me that while I grow in love with one person, I can still grow individually and not lose myself in the process. LDR has made me more mature and responsible in taking on life decisions - that as he makes the most out of his life from afar I can go on still with my plans and do the things I set out to. I'm no longer that envious little brat who gets green-eyed at every girl that makes passes at my man. LDR has taught me that love does not give us the right to own someone. Love is not about owning. More importantly, love doesn't set standards. Love is not setting limitations for what is right and what is wrong rather it gives us the ability to look past the flaws, to forgive constantly and to free oneself and just be happy. Love has blindspots, they say. But I think that love is rather innocent and pure until we succumb to peer pressure, to societal standards, to the old age convention.
A friend once told me, "you seem to care less though.. and if you think or act that way, you must not really love him." I don't know actually. Love is such a strong word. It's not something you confine in those three words or tangible gifts; or physical presence and intimacy; or even logic and reasons. But I also don't know how else to describe how I feel now and maybe, love is the closest I could come up with.
People from time to time have always thought of ways on how to define love but the thing is, love is neither a concept nor a feeling. I think love is more of a state. You just know when it has struck you and once it does, it's your choice whether to acknowledge it or not.
Loving someone from afar has made me more rational and understanding. It has taught me to be patient and forgiving. LDR has taught me how to love unconditionally - that loving is not about expecting to be loved in return but having the courage to face and go through life's uncertainties. That there is never an assurance that both of you would end up together.
LDR has taught me that distance should not imprison you both in a world you created just so not to lose touch of each other instead you should live each day to the fullest and enjoy the company of friends. Because at the end of the day, you know he's out there waiting and more than willing to listen to all your silly stories.
What matters more is the here and now. Today he may love you, tomorrow he may not. Why waste a lot of time worrying and living a complicated life when you can just treasure each moment that you had together, the memories you have of each other, and the mystery of whether you will see each other again.
LDR has taught me that there's no permanent thing in this world but change. They say LDRs almost always never work out and you always end up with a broken heart.
You long to have that companion during cold rainy evenings. You fain that comforting hug after a bad day. You search for that smile that greets you in the morning. You want to feel that kiss and hope it will last... You long to be with someone who could make you feel life as real as it gets. But LDR makes you remember his soft lips when he kisses and not the argument you had the night before. LDR reminds you of spontaneity and laughters when you were last together and not the awkward silence of too much familiarity after years of being together in one place. LDR makes you realize that somewhere on the other side of the world, another soul is thinking about you too, and life is not always as you know it. LDR makes you think multiple times before acting out. The space allows you to breathe for a while and think things through in a heated argument. The distance makes you think more about the other person and not just yourself. Thus giving you less room for hurts and mistakes.
LDR helps you believe again and have faith. LDR keeps you wanting and longing for the other so that when you finally set eyes again, it is only as magical as the first time you met.
Long distance relationship helps me to stay positive since it's the only choice I have. And above all this, long distance relationship, when with the right person, has taught me that love is not about finding someone to complete you. It's not about imposing changes but acceptance. It's not about making but keeping promises. It's not about having a perfect relationship but being at peace because you know that no relationship is ideal. What's important is that when you give love, you become a better version of yourself.
"Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone. Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow."
- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
I love you...
Are but three words said too much
And yet to one person it means a lot
How can three words put together equate to life itself?
Like the unparalleled beauty of the endless sky at dawn
Or the innocence of a cry of a newborn
Like the ineffable coming together of orange and purple
During sunsets as the sun kisses the abyss
Like the irreplaceable comfort you feel when a rainbow appears after each storm
Storms, of which you are uncertain when will ever stop.
I love you...
How can it take all your pain and sorrows away?
Immeasurable bliss as the right one spoke
How can it magically turn frowns into smiles..
Tears into hopes..
Moments into memories..
Sufferings into happiness..
How can it home one person both in your heart and in your mind?
Both in your present and in your future
Both in your dreams and in your realities
Both in your fears and in your fantasies..
I love you...
Are but three words said too much
And yet, they are never enough.
It's been a while since I decided to get back to blogging again, if it weren't for the boredom the holiday season brings. I guess it's more of that time of the year when all my creative juices just keep flowing, and darn, how I wish I have mastered "asdf typing" very well. It would have been so much easier speaking while the fingers do the talking.
I remember way back how I get so fascinated reading those bulky encyclopedias, and whenever I encounter a new word I instantly look it up in the dictionary. Yep, that's me when I was a kid, haha. Funny how the generation has changed today. Instead of books, kids read game manual. Instead of playing outdoor sports..well, yeah they still play those sports, except they're indoors holding their Wii. Instead of getting physically active and socializing with their peers, a lot of kids today prefer playing online games on the computer. So how does that affect them? I get a lot of referrals for therapy for kids who have grown aloof, introverted and socially retarded. They have delays in speech because they grew up watching Tom and Jerry, and playing Angry Birds. They grew up learning one of their first words as "braiiinnss." I'm just kidding. But these things are not so far from the reality of what's going on with our society today. Plus the fact that a lot of couples marry at a young age, have kids that are not so hard to be mistaken for as their younger siblings and in turn, meeting these parents for Occupational Therapy evaluation of their child - clueless, hopeless, begging to learn what they could possibly do. Seriously, it surprises me to know that the simplest advice I could give them regarding child-rearing could be so much of a big deal. My point is, shouldn't they know those things already before even thinking of starting out a family? Btw, I was so glad the RH Bill is finally passed into law. It's not that I'm pro abortion or against the teachings of the church (clearly, that's what those narrow-minded people think what family planning is all about). It's just nice to know that now everyone gets informed and everyone gets the right to choose - when they would like to start a family or have kids, and still enjoy one of the privileges of being in a heterosexual relationship - sex. Yes I'm saying it outright and I won't be a hypocrite about it.
I'm not here to put blames or place judgment on anyone. I just hope that people grow smarter as the years progress and start minding about more important matters at hand instead of wallowing on why Pacquiao lost his last fight or debating why Miss Philippines wasn't crowned Miss Universe.
Captain Jose Joven of the army of the Republic, and Aguinaldo’s English interpreter noted on April 30, 1901:
“in truth he (Aguinaldo) recognized the gifts of the deceased General, but he preferred to kill him because he says there was no other remedy in view of the civil war which the said General was preparing.”
It really annoys me when some people could be so unfair because of political agendas. Last March 22 was Don Emilio Aguinaldo day, but after having read about the tragic death of Gen. Antonio Luna and the connection therein of the former, it is now questionable to consider Aguinaldo’s part in the Philippine history. Well, he had his part, though; dreary and ghastly I should say. Gen. Antonio Luna was the real hero. His occasional and uncanny display of bad temper may had always been his weakness of character, but he remained the icon of bravery, of a selfless patriot and revolutionary democrat at a time when the Revolution has no known limits. He was indeed a figure who could had made a change if only given the chance to, but defeated by a merciless conspiracy leaving that part of the Philippine history still, nothing but a dismal.
Antonio Luna – more than just a fierytempered man
It has been mentioned that it is distinctive among the Luna clan the characteristic “brutal temper” and the “lack of pakikisama”. Moreover, if he had only learned how to control the aforementioned qualities, he may had been a stronger and a better man. There were moments that he was able to contain the extreme of his emotions, there were just some incidents of unbelievable twist of circumstances and lack of fair judgments that sometimes drives him out of the nutshell. In cases such this he was given the nicknames of “Cafre” or “General Article One”.
As I read his biography, I can’t help but feel pretty much amazed and surprised to have learned that the general and hero of the revolution is more than just a mere general after all. He possessed a variety of talents, quite impressive I would say. Though he may not seem as great as Rizal at that time, his achievements were exemplary. He graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Ateneo at the age of 15, and at 19 studied pharmacy at the University of Santo Tomas but finished it in Barcelona, Spain. He got his Doctor of Medicine at Central University of Madrid before he later on studied in France and Belgium. He was also a good guitarist, having known of the Lunas as inclined to arts and music. Aside from the knowledge of Spanish and Tagalog, he was also studying English at that time. He was also an exceptional writer, writing in La Solidaridad under the pen name of “Taga-Ilog” and managing the paper, La Independencia as well. He was the editor of La Independencia of which the first issue was released on September 3, 1898. General Antonio Luna was also a chemist in the Municipal Laboratory of Manila. He won an award for a scientific paper on malaria and had training on pasteurization of water and carabao milk from Pasteur Institute in Paris. It had been stated that if Antonio Luna didn’t join the revolution and continued his practice in chemistry, he could have saved Apolinario Mabini from dying of cholera after drinking an infected “gatas damulag” or carabao’s milk. Of which by the way is the real cause of Mabini’s death and not by affliction of some sort of paralysis as we know today. Filipinos at that time had by no means any knowledge of pasteurization, or even boiling water before drinking it.
He was deported to Spain with his brother Juan (the painter) and was imprisoned in Carcel Modelo de Madrid in 1897, and then he pursued to study military tactics after his release. He became a master mason in Spain and was among those who revived the Lodge Solidaridad 53. He also worked in the Propaganda Movement along with contemporaries such as Rizal, del Pilar, Lopez Jaena and Mariano Ponce. And while he’s in Ghent, Belgium, he was under the tutorship of General Leman, the hero of Belgium, improving his knowledge of guerilla warfare. Of which he later on proposed under the government of Aguinaldo to be used against the enemies.
The mystery behind the moustache
I don’t know why Ambeth Ocampo is making such fuzz on Antonio Luna’s moustache. You could fairly see this on his articles. Well, maybe there really is something extraordinary about Luna’s moustache, is there? Except for the exquisite curl of the hairs over his upper lip, which he also shares with his brother Juan Luna, it is indeed quite peculiar to find someone who conveys such “elegance” in such a period in history when everything is almost in despair. Or it may have as well served as his form of distinction all these years. Jose Rizal has the characteristic one-sided hairdo, Andres Bonifacio with the kamisatsino (well, it may have been his only choice for clothes to wear considering his status quo), and Apolinario Mabini on his hammock (he’s a paralytic that’s why). I remember how I always chuckle mischievously asking some people I know with, “do you know who Antonio Luna is?” and they would give out either of two replies. First was with, “oh, the painter?” and I’ll just correct them saying he’s not the one but it’s his brother who paints. The second with, “hmm, Antonio Luna…the guy with the moustache?” and followed by a demonstration of their hands, fingers arching over their lip to describe, indeed, Antonio Luna’s curly moustache. As much as Ambeth Ocampo’s curiosity on how Luna was able to keep his moustache that way so as my inquisitive mind can’t help but wonder what there really is in his unique moustache. Or is there really something to make fuzz about? I have yet to find out.
A revolutionary democrat – exactly what our country needs
What separates Antonio Luna from the others is – his single obsession for independence and liberty from any invaders, Americans per se. This had been his sole “mission” all along. For what more could an Antonio Luna aspire? He came from a mestizo family of Badoc, Ilocos Norte though he was a Manileño by heart, having been born on October 29, 1868 in Binondo, Manila. He was the youngest of the seven children of Joaquin Luna de San Pedro and Laurena Novicio.
“Some” have been questioning Antonio Luna’s being a hero. They say, he hadn’t done anything quite remarkable except that he had been affiliated with Rizal. As a matter of fact, he was the one Rizal had chosen to mediate between the rich and educated class and the masses. Rizal wanted Luna to join the Katipunan but Luna refused perceiving as what Rizal had first thought of as a revolution would be untimely at the moment. However, this had been the major error he had committed. If he didn’t denounce the Katipunan, its members wouldn’t disagree on him. If he had not squealed, some members of the Katipunan and Rizal even wouldn’t have been killed. On the other hand, his comrade Alejandrino explained that:
“…with the physical and moral tortures he suffered during his imprisonment and on the assurance given him by the Spaniards that he had been squealed on by his friends, who had denounced him as an accomplice in the rebellion, his violent character had made his lose better judgment. And having fallen for the scheme woven by the Spaniards, he had declared that those who denounced him were, more guilty than he.”
The irony of revolution…a strong voice unheard
What so devastating with reading historical documents is that, you see both sides of the story (that is, if the sources are unbiased). Devastating in a way that, you get to picture out the exact scene in your mind, realize what went wrong and just sigh in disappointment uttering a bunch of “if only”. Sometimes it really gets in the nerves that you just can’t help but get frustrated even how our history had been soaked up with a number of “interventions”. You get to recognize the “tricks” and misinformation fed in opposing parties and you’ll find out that it was nobody’s fault that both sides clashed into war against each other instead of dealing with the real enemies of the state. But then only realizing that “gone is gone”. Oh, how much of our historical past have been concealing still behind the closets of our heritage waiting to be revived and be known.
If Aguinaldo’s side didn’t listen to these “sugar-coating” and propaganda tactics of the Americans, and if they only chose to understand more of the side of Luna, we could had long won the war against the Americans without resulting to so much casualties with the ingenious abilities of the latter. The problem is that, there had been so many conspiracies brought about by individual thirst for power. Nobody fully believed in the capabilities of Antonio Luna. Or they could have known and feared his potentials. It was the lack of trust and the cultivation of individual self-interests at that time that proved even more detrimental.
Another thing is that, everyone favored the revolution, but not the science of revolution Luna had been trying to impose. To them, it’s just like, “tara! Sugurin ang kalaban!” they never realized that to really win a battle, they should be well armed and prepared. This what had been the philosophy of Luna that nobody ever paid real attention to. As seen in the following selection, when Luna proposed to Aguinaldo a plan in preparation for the outbreak of war:
“But Luna and Alejandro were not heeded; no trenches were built; the Americans fired, the Republic was caught by surprise. Then Luna was hastily made chief of operations and set to building those trenches of his. But it was too late, too late even to improvise. Caloocan fell in a week.”
Alejandrino also said:
“If instead of 40 or 50 of such volunteers there had been 2, 000 or 3,000, as Luna wanted, the course of events would have changed.”
If he hadn’t been constantly and intentionally being ignored by the Kawit clan in their preservation of their so-called “cavitism” that they tend not to recognize any rule or order other than that of Aguinaldo, the Philippines could had long attained its independence.
On Luna’s Death
I must note Nick Joaquin’s account on Antonio Luna’s death on June 5, 1899 in Cabanatuan was rather “touchy” as he left with so many questions that even I ended up asking them myself. Was Aguinaldo really to blame of Luna’s death or was he just a victim of the circumstances as well?
I felt sorry for Antonio Luna for they had all been unfair to him. If I had been in his place, I would have been ill tempered, bitter and indifferent too – being unheard and deprived of authority. What could prove more heartbreaking than the lack of support and trust from the people who say is fighting for just the same cause? Sometimes, I just want to get mad at Aguinaldo for all these – for losing such a great man. But no one really knows in accurate account what really took place so many decades ago. The conspiracy against Luna was harsh that it seemed as if, in his assassination at Cabanatuan, he died without even knowing it. If he wanted to overthrow Aguinaldo from his position through a coup de etat, he could have just simply taken up arms against Aguinaldo instead of resigning and later on sending him a telegram of a proposal of a new Republic. And if since the start he was aware about this unscrupulous plan Aguinaldo is planning against him, he could have avoided being killed if he just hadn’t appeared in Cabanatuan where the president summoned him. But he wasn’t distrustful nor suspicious that he even left his accompaniment outside the premises leaving him unarmed and vulnerable as he entered Aguinaldo’s camp.
“I touched reality and in touching it, I felt the same pain produced by a cancerous wound on the finger.” – Antonio Luna
I guess what Antonio Luna is trying to say on this is that, it would have been more acceptable if it was the enemies’ bullets that shot and killed him but no, it was rather the hands of his very own fellow Filipinos who inflicted him with 40 wounds. It would even be more worth it if he died of fighting for the country but no, he was a victim of those green-eyed monsters lurking behind the masks of “defenders of the country”.
Antonio Luna was one of the great men of history. The Filipinos could have benefited from his potentials if everyone at that time had been altruistic enough to mind the real freedom of the Philippines instead of leaning behind the murky walls of the cruel invaders for their own welfare.
I would have to agree with Vivencio Jose in declaring Antonio Luna as “an enduring hero who lives from one generation to another, one of the truly great leaders of the Filipino people.”
We need an Antonio Luna today. A different Antonio Luna, maybe. Not someone who would not be listened to but, someone with the same act of bravery. Someone who’s intelligent enough to recognize the true horrors of what is going on in our present state of government and as well as the society, and do something about it.
Alba, R. (1994). Talambuhay ng mga Bayani at mga Dakilang Pilipino. Caloocan City : Mizrack
Ocampo, A. (1990). Looking Back. Pasig: Anvil Publishing Inc.
Ocampo, A. (1990). Luna’s Moustache. Pasig: Anvil Publishing Inc.
Joaquin, N. (1977). A Question of Heroes: Essays in Criticism on Ten Key Figures of Philippine
History. Makati: Ayala Museum, Filipinas Foundation.
Jose, V. (1972). The Rise and Fall of Antonio Luna. UP Diliman: Philippine Social Sciences and
“Antonio Luna,” (2006). Retrieved on March 18,
2006 at http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2004/06/05/OPED2004060511128.
“Famous Filipino Masons,” (2006). Retrieved on March 18, 2006 at
“General Antonio Luna,” (2006). Retrieved on March 18, 2006 at
Author:Ma. Joanna B. Torres is a 3rd year student of University of the Philippines Manila taking up BS Occupational Therapy
Memoirs of Suffocating Silence
"Do you really think something is wrong, Maggie?"
"I don't know, it's just this gut feeling...It just happens...I could feel.."
Suddenly, a loud cry resounded from the kitchen at the first floor. It was Sally calling her for dinner.
"Coming mom!" she shouted back."I'll get back to you later," she whispered to her conversant and then she hurried her steps downstairs.
Maggie met her at the foot of the stairs and throwing her a suspicious look, she asked.
"Who is that you are talking with?"
She stared past her and seated herself beside the dining table.
"Nothing mom...," she whispered as she reached the bowl of steaming cream of mushroom soup a couple of inches away.
"How many times have I told you to do your homework early so you won't have to stay up late?" a firm but, soft still, voice spoke.
"And how many times, still, do I have to tell you just how much I hate mushrooms..." Maggie grimaced as she spoons the button mushrooms one by one from her bowl. "...and I thought you're my mom," she continued and Sally just gave her a sigh.
Maggie is a petite,an eighteen-year old, long-haired lass; white and freckled. Sally, on the other hand, is about to near her thirties but still manage to maintain her slim figure and exquisite beauty despite of days hardwork.
It has been almost three years since they moved to St. Louis Ville and so much has happened. So much that up to this point in time, Sally wasn't able to adjust still to the complexities of the situation. St. Louis Ville, to her, has almost everything. And she thought she could finally breathe out the horrors of the past to start off with a new life, and yet, everything around her only seems to remind her of what had gone through.
As she watched the girl in front of her taking her spoonfuls of rice and chicken, she could only imagine the days that had elapsed that she lost track of time. Everything had simply gotten out of control and it's more intricating than she had ever imagined. Everything's just so complicated now...
"Why aren't you touching your food, mom?" the girl spoke and Sally was revived out of her reverie. She smiled back at her and started eating her supper then.
"Darren was here a couple of minutes ago. He thought he should check on you...I said you were upstairs and.."
"Oh, that guy...," Maggie interrupted."Who is he again? Oh, our neighbor...I see...Don't be so close with that guy, Sally," she stared at Sally with that usual blank expression on her face which has always made it difficult for her to guess what has been going on in her mind.
"...you don't need him...Sally. You don't need men..." she added.
As much as Sally was surprised with what Maggie remarked, she was even more worried about the little damsel in distress. She could only frown with what she heard from her and she can't help but feel pangs of loneliness inside her. It was only yesterday that she was able to witness how good they are as a couple, Maggie and Darren, and how ironic it is now that he has been reduced to almost nothing, a total stranger to her. It seemed like they never loved each other or even knew each other. To her, it seemed as if Darren is just a name she never before heard.
A couple of minutes later, Maggie stood and walked back to ascend the stairs as Sally watched her. She was about to take the fifth step when she turned to sally's direction, and Sally was caught with a hint of surprise and at the same time, bewilderment. Perplexities that only grew more when she heard her spoke.
"Bianca's coming over with me to school tomorrow...Well, I figured it's about time that she get out of this rathole," she grinned, then she continued her steps.
Sally gazed at the girl's silhouette as it disappear before her to the top of the house, wide-eyed and bemused. The glass of lemonade she was holding all of a sudden escaped her grip and fell right out of her hands down to the floor.
"God...just what am I suppose to do.."
The crack of glass with the pouring of water had created a sound like that of an exotic wind chime that stands before a solitary hill. A piece of music played slow mo and everything else came into a stop. It never before sounded so sweet and ethereal...
>>>TO BE CONTINUED...
I hope it is just as easy as saying
“I want you”
And you’ll return a smile for me
I wish it is just as easy as saying
“I need you”
Then you’ll never have to leave
And how I wish it is just as easy to say
“I love you”
So you’ll love me too…
But I am wrong.
What do you want me to do?
Do I just have to get over you?
Then quit messing around!
Release my hands and let me go
Can’t you understand?
There’s no more tears left in me to flow…
I want to be numb
And I want to be happy…
I hope it is just as easy as thinking of that!
But never had things gone my way
Am I just the one making things so complicated?
I wish I never had to meet you
So I wouldn’t long to keep you
And beg you to stay…
Now that everything’s not just as easy to say.
- moonlight butterfly
Just when I thought I was through it all
One move from you and again I’ll fall
To think that I was over you
Darn, how I was wrong
One look and I freeze
One whisper and I grow weak
How can I not close my world from you completely?
And yet how can I make you see?
One knock and I let you through
One plea and I begin to tremble
One smile and I start to cry
One touch and I wonder why
Funny how hard you promised forever
And how easily you broke my heart
One hug and I’ll break my bones
One kiss and I could forget everything else…
For there is only one soul
…who can break and mend my heart like new.
- moonlight butterfly
I just did what I think is best
And this is what he wanted
How come I’m not happy?
I packed his things and he left
Yet, he never looked back
I wonder where the tears come from
Why am I not happy?
I let him go
I set him free
And this is what he wanted
How can I be happy?
Walking back home
There’s only one pair of footsteps
Shall I turn to where he is going?
And then would I be happy?
I think I did what’s best
Stab of pain crushed me into pieces
Knowing he will never come back
And I’ll no longer be happy…
Why didn’t he ask?
Why didn’t he care?
And he never tried to get things back
How I hope to be happy…
Now I know I won’t
For having him is what happiness means to me
If I asked him not to leave, will he stay?
‘Coz how I wanted to be happy.
- moonlight butterfly
by moonlight butterfly
[You know what... sometimes I wish I could just write and write and write… until my brain drained off of all the ideas…and my heart finally becomes numb. I don’t wanna feel no more. I’m tired already… my head is always aching… I can’t seem to focus on one thing… I am so lost…]
I wonder how it all began
We were strangers back then, and still
I never thought I would feel like this
Such a feeling I never thought I’m still capable of
After the many years of crying
When some lunatic broke my heart
And just a simple hello from you, stranger
You brought the broken pieces back
And it seemed like; you’re not a stranger to me after all
I tell you things I never thought I would tell anyone
My heart beams with joy every time you are around
Just by knowing you, I came back to life
From the tempest I never thought I would have surpassed
Every moment I spend with you is a lifetime of bliss
The flowers are all in bloom
I never saw the sky so clear
Or the stars so bright
Since you walked into my life
I am all the more surprised that the little day-to-day talk we share
Brought about a tremendous change in me
That I would ever get to know how to smile again…
I never felt my heart beats so fast every time you call my name
Or my soul quivers each time you show perfect care
And after a long time, finally, and again
I can’t believe myself but I think I have fallen for you
I think I’m in love with you
I love you…
But stranger, now, where are you?
Now that I need you
Now that I long to share the laughter with you
The happy moments of my life only with you…
And right when one is the loneliness number
During my saddest moments that I long for your warm embrace to comfort me
Have you gone out of my life completely?
Did you leave me too just as what he did to me before?
And so, shall I ask God the same question again…
Why do I always fall for the wrong person?
Why do I love someone…who is not meant for me after all…?
Just as when I longed for someone to stay…
You left me like the soft breeze one evening
It was only yesterday that we exchanged hellos and now
…not even a goodbye.
[Now that I’ve sighed all up…. I feel much relieved…=)…]
by moonlight butterfly
I still remember the time when we were together…
The time when I was just right beside you
And I get to look straight into your eyes
Those times when we will laugh together
And time seems to come into a stop
And we never realized that we are still in this world
But some place where everything was great
I can’t forget the moments we had together
The songs we sang together
The people who doubted us…and made us stronger
I can’t even recall a single moment that we quarrel
And that we lose faith in each other
Why did it have to end so soon?
The wonderful times…
And now I don’t know what to do.
I hated the thought of losing you
And such thought didn’t even cross my mind
But now, you’re gone
And I was too late to beg you not to leave
I was too late to show you how I really feel
I was too scared that I overlooked the fact that…
We could have made it through
If I had only been brave enough
To express my emotions
Such details you had long awaited from me
I am here stuck with all these feelings of regrets
If only I had been strong…
I was here…and
I am here
In this room
What am I thinking?
Just when I thought I had finally figured out the purpose of my existence
Here I am, again
Lost and confused
There are a lot of roads…each leads to somewhere
But how will I ever know?
Which one to take, which one to pass by?
A ray of light shone on my face
How will I know if it was the sun?
It was the break of twilight
And I desperately need the warmth
Like a little moth easily attracted by fire
I, like a mere child, don’t know how to think at all
Grab all the opportunities I can… Carpe Diem!
Take all the chances I could
Conceive all the beauty that could possibly envelop my mind
My unconscious…my real self
Who are you in the mirror?
Staring back at me with dark, heavy, downcast eyes
Isn’t it ironic?
How easy it is to laugh and cry
But to feel nothing…is to feel everything.
I hate it! I hate it!
Who am I?
Inside this mischievous grin
Inside this fancy apparel
Inside this shell of mortality
Behind the cascade of clear waters
The tormented Psyche…
I hate it! I hate it!
I couldn’t reach out my hand
To touch you, to feel you…
I can’t hear my cries
I can see no one out there
Comforting hands that held me once
Soft shoulder to weigh my tears
Eyes that see beyond what is there in me to see
To lose you again is like losing
…all that was left in me.
Silhouette of Time
By Moonlight Butterfly
Life, for all I can remember, has never been bitter to anyone. Live your life to the fullest, they say, because nothing really lasts forever. And so life slowly fades away as the sand pours down the bottom of the hourglass. That’s when the thought of trying to make every minute of my life worth the while came up to me, especially when I found out about my sickness.
“The stage of your cancer of the liver progressed. I’m sorry to say but you only have twenty-four hours to live. .” I almost crashed down in astonishment when I heard the doctor spoke. I could hardly believe that that is all that was left to me and that I only have twenty-four hours to spend in my life. I have gotten so pale and slender since I got ill and it has been very difficult for me and for my family to accept the news. But it’s no use dwelling in the depths of fear in facing reality. I only have a day to live and that is all, and I wont waste it. I promised myself not to die without having been able to accomplish all of my goals in life, all of my dreams that I’ve been trying to pursue and all the things I still want to do. The next day would be the end of it all and I want to brave.
I woke up this day at exactly six o’clock in the morning. After going to the hospital and being able to hear that dreaded news, the first thing that I wanted to do was to visit our church. I requested for my family’s company as we listened to the holy mass. Entering the church was truly a different feeling. It was really a great help. I felt lighter, as if another minute has been added to my countdown timer. All this time I’ve been searching for that something missing in my life without knowing that it is Him that I’ve forgotten all along.
I felt so happy coming back to Him. By tomorrow I will leave and I will be with Him forever. And I couldn’t help myself but cry for everything that I am going to miss. I am going to miss my family, my relatives and my friends. As much as I don’t want them to see me go, all we have to do is to be stronger and to at least try to smile amidst the pain. I’ve been with my parents for so long and I never felt so near to them and so in love with them as today. They were my priceless treasures that I will keep wherever I go.
The mass ended at almost nine o’clock and I found myself taking the last embrace of my family – my mother, my father, my brothers and sisters. It all seemed solemn. After that, we went back home where my friends had gathered up to see me. They were all there. My buddies back in high school, my friends in college and even some close friends I had during my grade school. They were all there waiting for me. Delighted, I hurried off to kiss them and hug them one by one. The laughter is back, those some tears and worries got in the way; all of us exerted some effort not to show the weakness of the situation. How sad it is to realize that you only know the ones who really care for you right when you have no time left to show them how you care in return. And isn’t it sad to know that everything you had wished for all your life only comes because you are going to die soon. People will only see you and appreciate you when you’ve banished already. That’s what life is. That is reality.
After eating lunch together, my friends and I watched my favorite movie in my room and it was fun. Afterwards, they shared their wishes for me. They voiced out what they feel about me and how they wish they could still see me tomorrow. How sweet of them to think of me during this crucial moment of my life though I know they wouldn’t even bother to see me if I had been okay. But I’m grateful of it then. They left at five o’clock in the afternoon. After that, I began arranging my special belongings. I took out our family picture because I wanted to hold it until the very last breath run out of me. I also pulled out some things from my drawer, which I wanted to hand out to my family and friends. Some of which are my clothes, the disk containing the collection of my favorite songs, all of my literary works – poems, novels, short stories which I requested my parents to have it published, and the letters from the people that I love that I still keep in a special box that I want to be read on my funeral.
When I finished sorting out all of the things I want to be done before I pass away, I saw the phone at the side of my bed and an idea came up to me. There is still someone that I am hoping to talk with even for the last time so I phoned my old friend, the only man that I loved in my whole life. He was home and we talked for almost an hour. I’m glad that he has no idea of what is going on with me right now and of what is going to happen to me tomorrow so I managed to talk with him casually and at ease as I did before. I know he had been very surprised when I told him how much I love him but it’s the only time I know to finally admit it to him and there will be no other time. He has been the only person I had loved so dearly besides my family and I’ve been a coward not to tell him so, letting so many years passed by without him knowing about it. We have been very close friends and I don’t want to lose it just like that by saying something I know would prove so wrong because he loves someone else. And yet, it was the only right I’ve known. Loving him was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. And as much as I have feared the thought of losing him but now, I’m losing him. Only, it was I that will go. I hung up leaving a trail of questions of which I cannot answer anymore. It was too excruciating for me that I can’t help but cry.
My mother called for me at eight o’clock in the evening and I met her at the foot of the stairs, teary-eyed. I can’t take the look of it, leaving all those people I had loved. I asked my mom and dad not to cry when I’m finally gone because where I am going is so much like a home where I will be happy through eternity. I would never really leave, I would only remain in the hearts of the people I cared for reminding them of the memories we had together. And so I said my farewell to my family and bade them goodbye. They wanted to hold my hands until the very last minute but I refused. I don’t want anyone of them to see me die instead I want to leave them with the thought that I had just gone off to sleep. I want to spend the remaining time, alone, reminiscing all that has happened and everything that I’ve done in my life. Now, it was almost time to leave, one last hour before the call of departure.
I went up to my room and stared outside my window to see the world, the world that I would trade for life in heaven, and the world I once been part of, the world that helped me become who I am today. Now, I’m spending the remaining hour of my life writing all this for the people I love to read before the moment arrive. This one moment in my life that is about to come when I will finally meet the silhouette of time.