A Holy Place and a Case of Paranoia

“Are you really going to leave your bag?”, the husband asked right before we line up for the Holy Communion.

“Yes”, I answered hesitantly giving it one last look; making sure that it’s secured in the pew pocket where I stashed it.

It was just a short walk towards the lay minister. The whole ordeal did not even take 10 mins but all the while, there was a debate inside my head. The positive side is telling me to chill because it’s a holy place for fucksake. God is literally watching everyone, or so I’d like to think. If not God, at least Jesus who’s floating midair in the altar. So who in his right mind would dare commit blatant robbery inside a church, full with people at that? (Chuckling while typing this because we all know that church robbery is not very uncommon, both from actual criminals or criminals in holy clothing).

The negative side, however, is thinking about all the contents of my bag and how I can replace them if I get robbed. That hey, you’re in the Philippines, a third world country, where snatchers and budol budol* gang abound.

I reached our pew and immediately drew my eyes on where I put my purse. It’s still there. I knelt down and gave my purse a quick squeeze, making it appear like I’m just rearranging it. While making the sign of the cross for my post-communion prayers, I told myself never to leave my personal belongings unattended in the church again.

I need to have peace of mind while receiving the body of Christ.

Amen.

 

*“BUDOLBUDOL” is a coined Hiligaynon word that refers to the swindling hurly-burly of a gang. 

Cubic Conversations

One stick of wagyu came up

Four tiny pieces for three bucks

Can I have one, you ask

I say,  you can have two

For wagyu is best when shared with you 



Cheesiness interrupted

Talked turned serious

Where this certain piece of meat

Came from and bred

For wagyu is not your typical red 



What’s the fuss?

Why pay too much?

These little fatty cubes

In your mouth they melt

For wagyu is not just tasted, it is felt



Our last remaining cubes

In our tongues, roll

Before we chew

Before we swallow

For wagyu is 

Heart to Heart

Lying in bed on our side

Our eyes locked

My hand in yours

And your heart in mine

 

Midnight conversations

Our rendezvous as of late

Honest

Pure and uninhibited

 

You told me

For the first time, probably

What you really want

Out of life

 

And right here

In this moment

My life is no longer

Mine and mine alone.

The Things I Love by The One I Love

I love waking up next to you — morning breath and all. A past flame told me that to love someone is hard work. Loving is easy, commitment is not. My younger self dismissed it as something old people say which de-romanticizes my view of what love is. I understand now. And I also understand why my past flame and I never ended up together.

I love telling you about the songs that I like. Even the songs that I don’t like. I love sharing with you how someone could write a happy sounding song that was inspired by a real life crime. And I love how your eyes widen, how your brows furrow as you blurt out, “Sick fuck!”.

I love watching you drive. Your mind fully concentrated on the road ahead, making sure that both of us are safe. And even though driving takes a toll on your stress levels, you still manage to reach out for my hand and hold it for as long as the Manila traffic, motorists, and pedestrians let you.

I love telling you about the books that I’ve read even though most of the time you can’t relate. Your knowledge, and perhaps interest on the subject, could be summarized by your 3-second chuckle.

I love how you immediately reaches for the lavender room spray when I tell you I couldn’t sleep. How you automatically grab the soothing oil and roll it gently over my temples so I can relax and get over my migraines.

I can go on and on. I can list the smallest of things that make me love you and yet, summing them up doesn’t fully quantify and justify what and how I truly feel. They cannot even fully answer the ‘why’.

A Lesson on Honks

On our way to the dentist, a motorcycle from another lane suddenly made a sharp u-turn in a restricted area, cutting us off.

The husband did his favorite extended “honk“, his way of saying, “Dude! Not cool!”.

Not surprisingly, the motorcycle made an equally extended, if not longer, “honk“. It was probably his way of saying, “What now, arrogant person?”.

Curiously, I asked: “Does it work? Would he know he’s wrong?”

He answered, “At least you did something. Maybe he’ll think about it later and realize it.”

These are just a few things where our line of thinking differs. For me, someone who deliberately disregards rules would not shed a single minute of his day thinking about the wrong thing that he did. Chances are, he would celebrate how he evaded the traffic, with total disregard of the other drivers on the road. Worse, he’s probably laughing at the rule-abiding-goody-two-shoes who he thinks are just not “street smart” enough. So what’s the use?

But my husband thinks not the same. Where I am the “choose your battles” type of person, he’s the “fight the good fight” kind, you know? Sometimes, I notice that it’s slowly rubbing on me. It’s annoying but quite comforting, I would say.

 

Wakeup Call

Today marks the third day of me waking up early in the morning without the help of my alarm. The past two days, I just spent my extra waking hours just lounging on the bed and trying to get more sleep.

Today, I decided to just get up and hit the gym. It’s been a while since I exercised. And we all know that when you hit a rut on exercising, it’s really hard to bounce back.

While on the treadmill, I listened to a podcast channel that I used to listen to every single day. I remember it was one of the things that kept me motivated while I was training for my half-marathon, at work, and life in general.

And it made me realize one thing: I did not just hit an exercise rut. I hit a life rut.

Sure, things are busy at work, I haven’t had a crying spell for no particular reason in months, I’ve been going out with friends… But something’s amiss…

I don’t feel motivated. I’m doing things just because I have to do them, not because I want to do them.  I don’t have my happy hormones because I haven’t been working out.

The universe is not yet done. The podcast that I listened to today talked about The Time is Now, which hit me quite hard:

When are you going to change?

When are you going to stop making excuses?

When are you going to stop acting like it’s somebody else’s fault?

When will you finally start doing what it is that you want to do? Or stop doing the things that you don’t want to do anymore?

Benjamin Franklin said, “Most people die at 25, but they’re not buried until they’re 75.” In most ways, it’s true. We say adulting is really hard so we just let the life motions control us, instead of us taking charge.

Why don’t I reverse it? If I’m not going to do anything today, I’ll never gonna do it.

So I did. And I don’t plan to stop.

Again.

My Dearest, Husband.

Let me start with an apology.

I ruined your prized Lewis Hamilton shirt. The one that you’re saving for the Singapore Grand Prix this September. The one that was gifted by our valonqar.

I don’t know what’s worse:

(1) Me being so scatterbrained as of late that I tossed it in the washing machine (I was the one who told you to strictly hand wash it because the dryer will ruin it)

Or

(2) You, not even the slightest angry at me.

“Polly, you tossed it in the wash… the print’s melted a bit…”, you said matter-of-factly.

You’ve always been that way with me.

Patient.

Kind…

When we lost Ezra, I was in a very difficult place. So difficult that I made it all about me. Blinded, I failed to see that you were hurting as much as I did.

Heck, it must have been worse for you seeing your wife having difficulty moving on. You probably felt that you not only lost Ezra, but on the brink of losing me, as well.

I read something recently that strongly resonated with me: “You wreck your own life and then, very gently, you wreck the lives of those around you”.

I hope I haven’t wrecked you yet in any way. I hope that I haven’t dampened your spirit.

You’re helping me recover, little by little. You were there for me in every tear, every frustration, every anxiety attack, every insecurity, every back-to-square-one…

Every.single.red line.

And for that, I am very thankful.

My pain is your pain. My loss is equally your loss.

That I should not forget.

You would’ve been a great Papa to Ezra.

I love you.

 

Happy Father’s Day.

 

Always and Forever,

Your Wife

Karaoke Hits

Dear Sister,

Let me tell you about that one Christmas when our Mother cried because of a karaoke. You know that one baby picture that you keep in your phone? The one with you on a shiny, pink dress with a black karaoke behind you? Yes, that’s the one. Well, not quite, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

As you know, we had a very simple life growing up. So “normal” household things like karaokes is not something that we naturally had.

Mommy was teaching at an elementary private school at that time and preparing for her classroom Christmas party. She wanted the party to be livelier for the kids but our ancient dial radio won’t do. It does not even have a fully working speaker and cassette tape jack.

And so, she decided to borrow our neighbor’s karaoke. He agreed right away. It was just for a day, anyway.

But this story is not that simple.

On the day of the party, Mommy went to the neighbor’s to pick up the karaoke. But it was his sister who answered and, apparently, she’s not aware of his brother’s deal with Mommy. So she said some things which hurt our mother deeply.

She went back to the house in tears; half-hurt, half-self pity. I really don’t know. She didn’t say much. Even when the boy neighbor went to our house and was offering to lend their karaoke again. He apparently forgot to inform his big sister. She probably didn’t mean to sound mean.

But our Mother wouldn’t take it. I guess when you have not much material things in life, your pride is the only thing you hold on to.

The world did not stop. The day went by. The party was over. And Mommy went home, happier than when she left. She said that her co-teacher in the next room just blasted her karaoke so it can be heard in Mommy’s room. When you have a roomful of gifts and Christmas decors, the kids won’t really mind if you don’t have your own music in the room.

In the evening, there was another party in our baranggay. There was a raffle and Mommy dropped entries equally under our names. Kuya, me, and you – a tiny baby without a care in her world.

Perhaps the middle child syndrome is so strong that it resonated even in mundane things such as raffle draws. Kuya won something; I can no longer remember. I did not.

And you, little sister, won the grand price. A brand new karaoke!

The moment it was announced, Kuya and I ran back home. Kuya shouting,

“Mommy, di ka na mang-uuram kina bleep!”

“Mommy you no longer have to borrow from the neighbors!”

Mom got teary eyed again. But this time, out of happiness.

The Gender Divide

It started with a post on the group chat regarding a petition. In a not so popular high school in a city I consider as my second home, a group of boys decided to disseminate compromising pictures of their ex-girlfriends. The victims’ side are claiming not to let them officially graduate. This has been going on for 2 or 3 years now thus, the petition. All of the involved are minors.

I don’t have the full picture and background so I feel it’s not my place to specifically discuss them here. I will, however, wanted to ask this: Who’s to blame?

Everyone agreed that it was wrong of them to publicize the pictures. But I was mildly surprised that the take on those girls who sent the pictures to their boyfriends in the first place were polarizing. Points like “how can these girls be so naive?”, “If there are no pictures, there will be nothing to send out for the whole world to see”, “why are we making such a big deal about this?”, and the clincher of it all: “If it’s the other way around , if this happened to the boys instead, will we still react the same and show the same fervent support?”

Which got me thinking: In this day and age, does everything still boils down to gender?

It’s baffling. When we have sexual issues such as this at hand, why do we always feel the need to present a counter-argument that divides us into two: Boys vs Girls.

Is it too difficult to just focus on what the actual issue is and just say that A is right and B is wrong? Why do we feel that by putting a gender label to it, the issue automatically feels complex?

Towards the end, we all agreed that:

(1) it was wrong to publicize the pictures and the boys should not earn the rights to officially graduate from the high school,

(2) while sharing compromising pictures to your partner is bordering on naivete, it’s normal and it’s your decision but you should be ready for any possible repurcussions,

(3) both victims and transgressors should be spared of public humiliation since they are all minors and they still deserve a future.

But the clincher is still a clincher.