The magic Gem

I remember one time I was walking on the street when I meet a decent looking man. He smiled at me and I took it that he must need something, so when he beckon that I stop before him (‘cause I was headed his direction too), I did not hesitate. It was daylight that time and gauging by his looks, danger was out of the question. The first thoughts that came into my mind is that maybe he’d be asking for directions since considering the city as one of the popular tourist spots, sure it was often that we as locals, meet one or two who asks for directions.

However, it was not what as I presume. Instead of asking directions, he began mumbling words indistinctly. At first, I could not grasp what he was saying but soon, as soon as he brought out something from his pocket, I pay more attentively.

It was a small teardrop pearl, clear and surely not one of those cheap and counterfeit stones one could easily find in the flea market. He said it was from a banana heart (banana blossoms )which, in their place, was believed to be something to bring luck.

I couldn’t help but furrow in confusion, having to have had not understood what he meant. Thus he went on explaining that taking out a ‘magic’ pearl from the banana heart was a miracle already. He further explained that the same pearl had aided in treating lots of ailments his people have had in his hometown.

I cut his tirade and ask immediately why he’s showing it to me. With that, I saw him smile rather maliciously and did not hesitate that he wants to trade it for anything. He repeatedly insist that he felt a certain aura I have which is why despite his perplexity to entrust such a valuable gemstone to a stranger, he believes that it was and should be rightfully mine.

I don’t believe in such fables and fairly on said aura or anything but on a side note- it might not be too harmful to try. Hence, I asked for the price and he said that my phone could make up for the bargain.

Instantly, as the phone I was carrying that time which he saw was my sister’s, I declined his offer explaining my reason. Yet, still, he was persistent. He further attempted to be a bit considerate of my situation hence he said that a considerable amount could do the deal. Technically, I was not a self sufficient student hence all the stretching and possible economization of my limited allowance is a must to do. With that being said, I again told him about my situation.

That time, I could see irritation on his eyes, as if implying that I was not only disappointing but severely impossible. Traditionally based, one could easily be seduced by such claims provided that both laziness and luck is more endemic than hardworking and wisdom. However, I did not expect him to be lenient and more considerate on his response.

Before parting, he said that it wasn’t much of a loss that he cannot give that gem to me ‘cause honestly speaking- I wouldn’t be needing it as much as other people do.

I asked why and he smiled saying ‘ you are strong enough on your own.. and I sensed that first.’

It was a very vague statement but years and years later- I would argue no more. Despite all the troubles that had crossed me after that encounter, I was so uncertain of myself but even at grave degrees of despair and depression- I did not die and that alone was the proof of his claims.

Dying with the writer

There she was, agitatedly clenching her fist with her index and middle finger hardly pressed together to keep the pencil’s head stable as she grumpily fight over her squinting eye against a flickering light while attempting to sharp the tip as thin as she could. It was her habit. Dedicated and deadly compulsive sometimes, especially with her pencils. But that night was unlike every other night- she’s pressing hard against all possible obstacles, including her doubt whether to write or not. In her inmost desires, it has to be fulfilled and must be done that night, only on that particular night. Either with a significant reason to do so or not, her drive isn’t fleeting anywhere. It has to be done! And so, as soon as she almost pricked her index while assessing the sharpness of her pencil, she carefully laid a white clean paper in front of her. But before she neither started nor had assumed a completely comfortable position, she extended a hand and killed the other candle thus leaving only one to strive on its best in order to provide an ample light. Why she did it? Perhaps to limit the stimuli or perhaps to invite death itself in this darkness, it was hers to say in silence.

” And there, standing at the edge of the cliff, the woman on a thin chemise looked down. The cold breeze rushing up from the bottoms of that graveyard was cold enough to send volts of shivers over her entire body. Teardrops started to form on the corners of her eyes” she started scribbling. Letting out a sigh, she paused for a moment and closed her eyes. There she could see the woman clearly. The smell of sea water, the sound of inviting death, the excitement of liberty being pumped out on that woman’s bosom, the fear running to her spine- all of which she could feel and see. Then, she opened her eyes and began writing again.

“The woman’s heart, heavy on it’s course, amplified her desire to seek immediate alleviation. Her feet, burdened by the living isn’t giving in and hence only her mind would send out the decision. Soon, the woman closed her eyes and draw a sweet smile on her face.

Alas! Alas! She could hear it. The soothing melody of melancholy passing through the leaves. The echo rattling the unsettling silence of the night, out from the forest to the cliff. ‘Ahh.. it was peaceful, peaceful indeed’ she said to herself as she took one last step. The step that was as light as a feather and as invisible as time. Still with her eyes closed, she lightly traveled to an unending abyss, that which channels her to the underworld.”

Again the writer stopped and leaned backward, pressing her cold flesh over the hard wood. She sighed with sadness consuming her eyes. It was her. She could visualize it. It may seem not but she knew consciously who that falling woman was. It was her. She desires death but she knew she couldn’t die. She has to wait for death to call her, to take her but he never came or perhaps he hasn’t come yet. But she has to die. She was as good as dead anyway. Lingering alone in the dark longer than anybody she ever knew, love had became a fallacy, hatred was forced to be numbed, happiness was bought with satisfaction, loneliness was aided with monologues, and hence leaving pain the only sensation she can ever recognize, anticipate, and respond to.

Tears seeped out on the corners of her eyes and yet, her fingers fumbled in agony. She started to weep and agitatedly drops the pencil. Looking down again at the paper, she scrutinized her unfinished writing.

‘ Everybody knows what the woman would find at the bottom of that cliff’ she mumbled to herself. Knowing the irrelevance of necessarily writing down a word or two to finish the story, she folded the paper and shoved it to her pocket. She grabbed a coat and did not hesitate to go out with a flashlight in hand.

Battling her way against the cold night, she managed to reach her supposed destination. Standing at the edge, she look down. Although dark it may seem but the clear illumination of the moon’s light down the water makes her see what she wanted to see.

The woman was down there. All white, dressed on her chemise and slowly sank to nothingness. Soon, the wave calmed and the breeze settled. She could hear her warm breath puffing out from her mouth. Taking out the paper from her pocket, she stared at it for a moment before letting it drop to the waters.

‘It wasn’t necessary anymore, dawn will break soon and another life was reborn.’

Slowly, she turned her back away from the sea, away from the cliff but before she could take another step further, she could see the leaves turning green. She smiled again, this time far better than she had ever have before. Gazing back to the forest, she knew she had to drag her feet and walk faster as possible. Right as she assumed, the kettle was already whistling as soon as she came by the door. She then rushed up to the kitchen, just across the main door, and turned off the burner.

“I thought you’re in the library. Did you ever managed to catch up some sleep? And much more.. where did you go early this time?” said a soft voice as that person approached her.

“Which should I answer first?” she smiled while taking two cups from the cupboard and filling them with hot water, completely ignoring to see who it was she was talking to.

“Where did you go?” again that person asked.

“By the cliff,” she shortly answered.

“Hmm… you shouldn’t frequent there you know. It send me chills every time you go there and I know you know the reason why,” that person said, sounding more concerned than disappointed.

She turned around, handling one of the cup to the other person with a grin.

“Worry not, I won’t be ever going there again,” she assured.

The other person seriously stared back at her for some time before getting convinced.

” I hope you really won’t.”

” Promise,” she assured and walked past that person. All she knew was that someone died and that would never be changed one way or another.

Money and friendship

I was watching a Dalai Lama video which is about Power and Care: perspectives from economics and society under Session 4 of the Mind and Life Dialogue. Well it was a really an insightful session but then at the same time, I felt the urge of engaging in such an intriguing topic. Though of course, my attempt is all on subjective interest but it is not my desire to justify something.

A speaker flatly laid out a fact that there is a problem equating the value of a five pounds given by a mother of four who has a merely sustainable life to that of what millionaire’s give. It greatly posed a challenge towards me. Undoubtedly, I did earn a few pennies on my previous job but that had cost me a lot of immaterial things. Also, I once came across a wisdom imparted by Jose Mujica of which he said that when spending, it is not the money we spent but the time earning it.

It now brings me to a dilemma of which an example would be whether to lend a friend some money for something she considers as needing attention with the assistance of some monetary help, or not because of the conflicts pressing against my beliefs ( referring to Mujica’s words). To expound the situation, I know that that “ friend” was employed as I am and that her salary wasn’t that far from mine. For unknown reason that she hasn’t saved enough, to emphasize, for such emergency situations, I do not know or tend to question.

Of course, trust is the second thing to be looked upon. How far can trust go? Would it include the risks of letting go the sacrifices and time you invested in making that money, just all for the sake of friendship? What would be the value of my help towards her? Would she be able to pay it back as soon as possible, with the anticipation that I might be needing it sooner without the necessity of me vocalizing it.

In today’s time (again with reference to a local society I belong to, atleast currently), people are pre- judged as someone beyond their expectation because of such a minor act of refusal. How far can the value of monetary help, exceed that of which one cannot quantitatively measure such as emotional support and such things when upon holistic assessment, I who is far well off can only offer my presence to that certain friend. Is my emotional support insufficient, for with other factors, it is what I can only provide for the meantime?

It was once believed that family does not necessarily have to be shared by blood, sometimes they are found on the water that pass through the same river.

This short yet remarkable vacation taught me more than I should know. It started off as a coerced vacation I insisted on a friend, wanting to have a sight of her home town. Partly, I knew from my paternal grandmother that she was from the said place but upon marriage that they left. I expect it won’t come as a surprise that my family name then would be sounding familiar at some point and thus maybe, won’t make me alienated as what strangers usually experience. Indeed, the warm welcome on my first day had proven that my family name was something the people had once heard off.

However, it was unexpected that the supposed anxiety of being alienated backfired on me. It was I who is ignorant of my own family. Little had I known about a step sister my father had, who died last 2014. Soon, I began to understand a lot of things from that stand point. I then ended up asking how my last 24 years had been spent. Perhaps I had been too secluded despite the crowd around me and that I had been barely sociable myself.

Upon sharing my first meal with a crowd of strangers when we crashed a party, my friend and I spent the last hours of daytime drowned in good conversations while she showed me around.

However, the expected peaceful night of croaking frogs, buzzing insects, rattling leaves and subtle crashing of waterfalls, quickly turned to deep sunken eyes and enjoyable stories. My friend’s parents came home with a visitor, who was actually a relative of theirs and we spent hours and hours, trying not to squint over her wonderful experiences abroad.

Yet, the headache I got from that night, did not stopped me from enjoying another day. It was Sunday the next morning and although I’m already an ex- christian, it still does pay’s off to visit the church once in a while. Merely to observe but not necessarily to make comments or at worst, mock their practice.

Indeed, I do not regret attending a service or a mass with them. Their practice was opposite to what I now see repulsive in some religious institutions. It was notable, how they encourage their children to be active on leading prayers to singing praises. The idea of not only propagating but maintaining the successful sustenance of their practice was very important, yet change was also something they recognize hence were likely to be adaptive of it nonetheless.

As I sat quietly observing and gauging the strength of their society, a man stepped in front for a sharing and his words captivated me, inevitably drawing me out from my own secluded observation. His words resonated louder than I would have anticipated. As translated he said, ” there are reasons why the apostle Paul have to go back to Macedonia and to make a comparison to our lives, there are also reasons why we go back.”

Perhaps mine wasn’t only a vacation but more of retrieving what my ancestors had partly left behind- the family I wasn’t aware of. At that time, I know that my friend wasn’t only a family by water as I had recognized before, but more of family by blood as rightfully as it should be. It was a lesson which had and will not leave me, for sometimes, we find the certain answers to our questions in odd places.

Afternoon came and we spent the rest of the day wandering off on the rice paddies and challenging ourselves on a cold dip by the river under a drizzly weather. It was a plain and indulgent experience I can always reminisce over the passing of time. The fun and memories I had gathered from that place was something to remind me of what happiness and liberty was like. In such, I knew I wasn’t wrong when I presumed that luxuries can come in almost inexpensive packages- only that we often don’t listen carefully. Upon contemplation, I drew a conclusion that maybe I should reconsider living in a place like this if ever I reached retirement.

Closing off the deal.. I won’t miss the lovely and jolly kids who likes squeezing themselves for a good shot. And.. of course, the childish enjoyment we had over failed selfie’s.

 

To live BEYOND

If I would’ve have been asked, it is as a great poet once said ” better to live a full life short than having a long life not to have had lived at all”. Perhaps, as I look back, see all things necessary and that they are relevant. I still could not forget the man who I refused to take his ” lucky charm” out of it’s expensive demands that time but he said

I was watching the movie Beyond and it greatly reminded me of The Fountain by Hugh Jackman but they do differ in perspective. If I would’ve have been asked, it is as a great poet once said ” better to live a full life short than having a long life not to have had lived at all”. Perhaps, as I look back, see all things necessary and that they are relevant.

I still could not forget the man who I refused to take his ” lucky charm” out of it’s expensive demands that time but he once said, before we parted, that even without it, my aura was enough to indicate my unquestionable resilience. Second was the man who reiterated the possibilities that I would find a work abroad, which I did and had been employed for my first paid job.

Being sick mentally and not opting to seek medical assistance was a life- long journey I voluntarily injected myself into. Taking my time and investing efforts to heal myself was a great opportunity to spend a lifetime. There were prices I have to pay for that no doubt, such as loneliness and frequent episodes of despair but as long as I still do enjoy the warmth of sunshine on my bad days, I find life not so hard for me.

The necessity of meeting my asshole doctor had afforded the greatest change I ever did for myself and I dare say, it was worth it.

An Afternoon walk with my daughter

I had a walk yesterday with my daughter on a nearby university and on our way, as we rode the jeepney, she kept asking where we were headed. I whispered that she’ll like the place and soon, maybe she’s think about going to that school. ( I was actually hoping she’d like it considering the cost and quality of that school though admittingly, it was a public school yet a good one in defense.) She can recall the time my sister brought her to the school where I and my sisters attended for college and she quoted it as “huge”. Unlike that one, this school has designed to be eco friendly hence the shorter buildings and quite spaced out from each other.

As soon as we entered the campus and started walking, she noticed the open gym where many children are playing at that moment. She happily told me that she would want to attend that school soon as there are more spacious playground she can exhaust her physical strength soon. Then we went to the “oval” as they termed it, wherein it was a vast grassy ground, good for soccer and football. It was misty and I barely can see something five steps away hence I declined her request to go to the oval. Thus, we decided to continue walking and grab some street food nearby.

On our way, I asked her what she would like to be when she grow older and she simply answered that she’d prefer to be a dentist. Again, I asked her why and she admittingly answered that being a dentist is an easy job. She went on saying that all the dentist do was to pull a tooth out and so, unable to hide my expression, I chuckled and told her something more about dentistry. I said that I used to assist a dentist on my previous job and hence I tried in an eloquent manner to correct her deficient assumptions. I saw her sigh and then she asked what then is a considered an easy job. I honestly told her that not all things are easy, in fact, most things are hard. Nonetheless, she could be happy and can overcome the struggles if she does what she wanted, what she is passionate about. I know how poor she can get academically and on uncondescending manner, I pointed out her weaknesses but tried my best to explore her strengths. I then asked if she’d reconsider being a teacher one day and she said no because of a certain image that a teacher was for her- they’re always angry. I softly laughed at her remarks, at some point I know what she means and she was simply telling from her own perspective. Which is why, I have to explain again that teachers may or may not necessarily be angry but they teach because they want to and they loved to. I could see doubt in her eyes but intrigued no further. In time, she will figure it out on her own.

Suddenly, after a moment of silence, she then asked when will I stop working. I honestly told her that until she finished college and can take care of herself then perhaps I would but on the contrary, I emphasized that sometimes, people don’t retire from their work because they love them and that they are happy doing it. Again, I argued that she is under no pressure to finish school sooner. Instead, she has to learn what she loves and pursue it or else, she’d end up like me. In my mind, I cannot tell her verbally that I’m being stuck at what I dreaded to do for a living but I know it is temporary and that I’m also trying to make all things right this time.  She added that perhaps she should only get a degree which will require a minimal monetary assistance so I could go home and retire early thus we have to stop walking as I try to explain to her the value of money. She seemed satisfied afterwards and soon we had our mouths savoring some street foods.

As we are waiting for a jeepney to arrive, I asked her seriously if there were some things- things in school – that she wanted to talk about. She said nothing but admits that sometimes, she was being bullied. I told her to elaborate and she dismissed it saying that it was only the usual “ bobo and pangit” stuff that kids always fool around with. “And your father?” I uttered.  She told me she doesn’t know because she never know who he was and at that moment, I was ready to answer if she asked although I fear what will happen. But, she said that she has a lot of mother’s and her papa grandpa and that kids in her school do call their grandparents mama and papa too which is why she sees indifference.

She know that maybe I will leave her again soon but perhaps that’s what makes our complicated relationship thriving. I always worry about her but I trust she can make it and that she can live a better life than I have.

Detach yourself

It’s good to spend sometime alone everyday, not that it concludes how introvert you might be or applaud your lamentations, but certainly to value selfishness in a rather positive manner. Being alone leads one to think about themselves, beat their thoughts, learn how to be comfortable with their bodies or to the detailed improper behavior they had accustomed themselves with, discover some talents, set new goals and many more. Perhaps this is a good time to utter such words. Today’s era, we often forget such basic needs. Everything is structured, written, directed, deceiving, and most of all- fast- as fast as our lives were being spent. Living is a good thing, only if one learns how to live outside the material, outside himself, outside the society, outside a relationship, outside their family, and so on. Detachment is what they call it in simple terms but why? why detach?

I said earlier that spending some time alone should bring one to be closer to something or someone, themselves included but here I am talking about an entirely contradicting proposal- to detach. I say it implying the absence of prejudice, bigotry, ideology, and all supposed filters to prohibit spontaneity of wisdom, emotions,and connection. To detach is like loosing one’s identity. It allows one to restudy himself, learn new things or critic old knowledge, challenge norms and come up with better suggestions, create not a thriving  life but instead, a good and beautiful one.

In this fast paced life, we often miss things, We search google for answers, we find friends on facebook, we plant, cultivate, harvest and sell to have money and buy our own food, we gauge intelligence subjectively accompanied by condensation and contempt, we respect with consideration to one’s status, we love on the grounds of fandom and ideology of which we often confusingly compare with our own reality and thus mutual growth is being treated as a disastrous approach towards marriage. One way or another, what couples practice more is compromise disguised as support and thus malicious to the values of love. Cheating, lying, and deceitful facade being worn my most people as they parade their faux personality upon invading a mass of strangers- very much represent how one can be egoistic with or without his knowledge.

Taking a good view on the small aperture you used to detach yourself even with yourself, one can maximize his understanding of all things. To observe keenly and digest everything before coming up with certain conclusions- one can offer a better compassion on all things, on all kinds and that of which if maintained, would yield better relationships. It is a simple process of meditation, a considerable suggestion on how to practice it. For once liberated- we don’t offer less for our kind, in fact- we can become humans.

It was around two am when grandmother’s door suddenly opened.I was sleeping on a couch opposite to her door and as usual I was insomniac hence explaining why my eyes are terribly hurt as soon as the light from her room dissipated to the dark outside. I have no other option but to drag my feet lazily and decided to close her door. As soon as I gripped the doorknob, I stopped for a few minutes and feel the eerie coldness coming out from her room. I furrowed and peeked inside.

She was well wrapped on her blanket, stationary and so silent. Somehow, it concerned me that her door was mysteriously swung open. As far as I remember, it was always closed  and she does frequently makes sure it was before she goes to bed hence explaining the unnecessary opening and closing of her door a couple of times every night.

I stood patiently on her doorway, waiting for something. Then as soon as she rolled to her left, I closed the door slowly.Perhaps it was relief I felt that time but nonetheless, it faded right away.

She has changed so much, far different from the person I used to slept with during my childhood days and I hated her. I tried to understand but years had worn out my ears, hearing those hurtful words she use to say to me. Perhaps some people really adore and loved their grandmother to an extent they wish she didn’t die or something ( it doesn’t imply that I wish her death ) but she died to me starting on that day she blamed me for the imprisonment of his nephew who had been sexually abusing me and even impregnating me.

From her I learned one thing, that words are as powerful as a knife stabbing your heart and it taught me a lot of lesson.

telepathy

I decided I can’t keep off my attachment with the internet hence after a day of paper folding with minimal bladder break , or coffee, or snack and even missing a sumptuous meal- I took my phone and turned on the wifi connection. Immediately, messages came popping out successively, some are annoying and other’s, a simple greeting from a friend. Yet, I know I wasn’t into chatting or anything other than watching something, not a movie of course.

Not long, and YouTube was loading some Marina Abramovic videos. She was, by far, one of my topmost favorite artists on contemporary times. Yes, her ideas and concepts were wired to extremely dubitable but sure their uniqueness is something worth it. Not only was she a successful and odd performance artist but as much as she contributed a lot to the art world- I think there’s a lot she can share in the world of literature as well. I will add the link here- that of which I had recently finished watching and hopefully, it will be of some worth to many.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Abk44swuaro

I remember several months before when I accidentally came across one of her interviews posted in YouTube and on that particular interview, she was discussing about her work explaining the power of telepathy. Instantly, it sounded appealing to me hence I watched the whole interview while she explains about the activity she organized for that certain purpose. Indeed technology has robbed us of many things and perhaps our greatest challenge these times is living up to the present. Many of us, myself included, dwell a lot on either the past or the future- most of the time- that we miss the existence of a reality in the present. The pursuit of escapade always bring us to the concealment of a proper thinking, of learning how to pass time idly, of gratitude at most, and last is on enjoying the attentiveness of our sensation. We often miss one aboriginal characteristic we all have as humans, that of which refers  to connection; due to the unending intervention of a fast paced life, tons of problems left unresolved- at worst mostly mundane-, presence of technology and the hateful one- competition.

Yes competition, that is what makes us disconnected most of the times, in one way or another. How? The answer is very simple. If one lacks a good interpersonal relationship, then the egocentric motivation always dwells in. The ’ I  ‘word to be prioritized, makes us in, extremely selfish and again, that if is we lack a good interpersonal relationship. Telepathy is the proposed solution to such a problem. In dire attempt was it suggested to supposedly bring a certain value in our sense of connection. To cure our anesthetized feelings and clarify our minds on what is important, consolation is the realization of time as an illusion.

infatuation

For it had never settled nor had it been extinguished

Still, the echo of a lamenting heart remained

Wailing night after night, as the dark seeps in

Yet at most, I stop and glance back

Neither a silhouette nor a shadow is cast

Your scent had slowly dispersed in the air

Your smile had slowly faded from my eyes

And your soft whispers became inaudible

But for some reason, you remained

You remained perhaps as an illusion

That of which reminded me how bewitched I once was

That upon delusion I might have truly had

For once- fall in love