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’.

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.