Monday, April 14, 2014

If love is a decision, then not to love can also be a decision. And that's a liberating possibility.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I dream of a place on top of a hill. A dirt path, grass on each side, swaying to a subtle breeze. Gentle sunlight, a view of the sea. A rustic garden, well-tended, though no one seems to be around. And an old cottage, with a sign on a wooden door: "Here your heart may rest for a while."

I dream of a walk through peaceful fields; fresh air, deep breaths, serenity. The skies cool blue and cloudless; the sun comfortingly warm. Eternity behind me, eternity before me, and the wind whispering gently: "The past does not follow you here."

I dream of the Forest of Forgetting. Trees far apart, light breaking in. Along the path: signs, that no one may get lost. The soft crunch of fallen leaves beneath bare feet. And birds that chirp and tweet and bid the stranger: "Welcome."

I dream of a place on top of a hill. A refuge from hurt; a world without time; a silence that salves; a promise of morning. "Stay here, child, as long as you like. Leave when you feel able. Come to me for healing. All will be well."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Rewriting history

Real or not real?

You look at a photo and you think: oh, this was the shipyard days. Another photo: the CIT days. And another: boarding house days. And another: 2011. Another: 2012. Another: 2013. And you wonder. And you wonder.

You look at the smiles, the hugs, and you think. Were any of that real? And of those that were real, did any of them matter? Did any of it even come to mind when making the choice?

Everything you think you know -- blurred. The person you thought would take a bullet for you -- the very person who pulls the trigger. Everything is in a haze. Betrayal is the real-life equivalent of tracker jacker venom.

Real or not real?

Who knows? The only person who knows is the very person you can't ask. Because...what's the point? How do you trust someone who swore on his family's life something that he knew to be completely false. What else is there to hold on to, when the most sacred things are easily brushed off for vulgarities?

How do you go back? How do you move on?

Maybe you can't. Maybe you just can't.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


There are just people who break both of your legs then get mad at you when you can't walk.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Giving Up Hate For Lent

I want to. I know I should, eventually. At times I think I'm almost there. At times I think I never can.

Forgiveness is brilliant in theory but hell to execute. It becomes almost impossible when the person you have to forgive has shown no signs of genuine remorse. "Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got," is what they say. True. Hard.

It's difficult enough to forgive a person who accidentally burns down the house you've been working so hard to build all your life.

What if the person did it intentionally? Someone you don't know, someone you never did anything bad to, starts a fire, knowing full well what would happen. Forgive?

What if it wasn't your house? What if it was your home? What if it was your life, your dreams, your future? Intentionally. Forgive?

What if it wasn't just your life? What if it was the life of your child as well, the life of your parents, the life of your sister? Everything thrown into disarray, peace shattered, special occasions turned into moments of sadness and anger and bitterness, stemming from one intentional act. Forgive?

The answer, unfortunately, is: yes. Forgive. But how?

What if your son was a drug addict? Does that justify the person who supplies him with drugs, knowing full well what they do to a person? What if the drug pusher was on drugs himself, his life also in ruins because of his habit. Does that justify what he does?

What if your parent had cancer and is in the hospital for chemotherapy? Does that justify someone giving him an overdose of morphine when he wasn't prepared to die? Because he was sick anyway -- is that an excuse?

What if the arsonist, the pusher, the poisoner had said things like "Why would I apologize anyway? Now we're even"? Or what if you eventually received an apology, but even afterwards the arsonist kept throwing in a lighted matchstick from time to time? Whether the burned down house burned down again or not -- that's beside the point, isn't it? The intention was there.

What if -- let's just accept, for the sake of argument -- the person who wronged you now wants out of your life? What if you have no proof of his or her sincerity, but you're willing to suspend disbelief? What if he or she says something like, "I want to close that book and throw away the key into the vast ocean"? Does that change the fact that your house has burned down, or your son's addiction is worse than ever, or your parent's death has been hastened? Does that make it easier to forgive?

The truth is: I want to give up hate for lent. I do. I really do. It's the right thing to do. I just don't know how.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Trust Issues

"The last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye," said Nick Fury in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And then he gets ambushed.

No, sir, I don't blame you for having trust issues. In fact, I'd say "Welcome to the club," only I have a sneaking suspicion you probably co-founded said club.

You know what the worst thing is about betrayal, though? It's not the inability to trust somebody; it's the inability to trust yourself. Once you realize you can be fooled, you start to question what else you've been a fool about. Once you discover you have holes in your house, you begin to suspect there are holes everywhere, not least in its very foundations, and life becomes all about waiting for the inevitable crash.

"Sometimes I wonder whether that was the greatest of all Bill's crimes: to steal for good the lightness we had shared." John le Carré wrote that in The Secret Pilgrim, referring to Bill Haydon, whose betrayal of England is the subject of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

I certainly feel like George Smiley sometimes, on so many levels.

It won't always feel that way. I know that. I believe that. In the end, thank God, I'm still myself: a person who believes that tragedies can, with hindsight, turn out to be blessings.

In the meantime: club member for life.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Best Kind Of Love

Tonight I danced with the love of my life. He held on to me tightly as we swayed to a hummed version of -- of all songs! -- Queen's "We Are The Champions." Well, I guess we are. We've been through hell together and we're still here.

I tried to let go six times, but he cried each and every time, so we just held each other until we fell asleep.

That's the kind of love I want -- the kind that never lets go. That's the only kind of love I'm willing to accept, because that's the kind of love I am willing to give. And, I've realized, I have that: the best kind of love. I am loved by so many people.

My crumbs the desperate can keep. I have what's real, I have what's true, and no one can take that away.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Farewell To A Car

I sold the car this weekend and it broke my heart.

It was a practical decision: the car was just sitting there, without anyone to drive it, and I needed the money. The buyer was a cousin of a friend of a neighbor of a friend of a neighbor, and he seemed like a decent guy. He lived near Tacloban, their cars had been damaged during the storm surge caused by Yolanda, and he was buying our car for his wife. There's something almost poetic about it: a life-changing event at roughly the same time; parallel situations, different directions.

All in all, it was a pretty good ending, I think, for the car that once held so much potential for our family. There's just a part of me that can't help thinking how symbolic it was of my marriage: I invested so much in it, only for it to be sold at a very cheap price to a complete stranger.

I'm crying as I write this. But how could I not?

That was the car where my son used to sit on his tatay's lap as he backed out of the garage on his way to work. That was the car that we used to go places during those few weekends when our family was complete. That was the car my husband would have used to drive my son to school when he was older. Maybe that would even have been the car that my son would learn to drive in.

Now, all that is gone. The memories, the possibilities.

It's true: I made the decision to let it go. But that's only because someone else had made it impossible to keep.

And I'm left with two of the saddest words: IF ONLY...

Monday, February 3, 2014

Twelve Years

I thought and thought and thought of what to write here.

In the end, there wasn't really anything that I wanted to write.

And maybe that's a good thing.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

How do you say goodbye?

How do you say goodbye to twelve years? How do you say goodbye to something you poured all your heart and soul into? How do you say goodbye to something that had become part of you, ingrained into every nerve and fiber of your being?

Perhaps you don't.

Perhaps you just turn your back on it and walk away. Like putting a favorite dress at the back of your closet, knowing it will never fit you again, but hesitating to let it to go. You put it at the back, maybe see it a couple of times when you're rummaging for something to wear but never wearing it, until the day comes when you decide to give it away, and it no longer hurts, because in your heart you understand: it had never really been yours to keep.