Sa labas ng Plaridel Hall. Habang naghihintay sa ibang kasama.
“O, dito ka pala?! Ano course mo?”
“Ah BroadComm ako. Dito rin ate ko, ComRes siya,” ani ng dati kong kaeskwela.
“Talaga? Ang galing naman,” sagot ko nang abot tenga ang ngiti.
Sa isip-isip ko, “wow, ComRes sa UP! Astig nun! Kami kasi sa PUP nagsisimula pa lang. Sa UP matagal nang established ang course at madugo nga daw talaga sa UP. Marami kaming matutunan sa kanila lalo na sa thesis writing.”
“ComRes din ako! Sa PUP naman!” dagdag ko. Syempre, proud din ako sa course at school ko. At naexcite talaga ako!
Sabay tingin siya sa ‘kin at sinabing, “Eh siya UP.”
Meron akong kilala noon na isang freshie, babae (tawagin natin siyang G) na gustong-gusto si Kuya (tawagin natin siyang P), crush kumbaga.
Itong si G mas bata kay P ng tatlong taon. Kakatuntong pa lang niya sa kolehiyo tapos etong si P eh pa-graduate na. Sa sobrang pagkahumaling kay P pati yung poster na naglalaman ng pangalan niya eh tinanggal niya sa pagkakadikit sa dingding sa may kolehiyo nila (remembrance daw nya yun eh at may kakuntsaba siyang kaibigan nung ginawa yun). Ang nakalagay sa poster ay ‘Congratulations <insert name here> for Winning <insert competition’s name here>’. Magaling kasi itong si P sa napili nyang larangan at masasabi mong may future talaga siya dito.
Yun lang may gf na pala si P na nung una ay ayaw paniwalaan ni G kasi nga hindi pa nya nakikita. At dumating na nga ang pagkakataon para makilala niya ito. Nangyari ito sa may Charlie Del Rosario. Nakatambay sila noong magkakaibigan- si G at ang mga kaklase nya nang biglang…
Friend: G tingnan mo tingnan mo..si P nandiyan!
G: Ha?? Saan??
Friend: Ayan na o! Nakashades kasama gf.
G: (lumingon at dun nya unang nakita si P na may kasamang babae, gf nga nya. Todo akbay si P kay gf, akala mo wala nang bukas).
Friend: O okay ka lang? Yaan mo na yun. Ay wait..may pupuntahan lang ako saglit. Babalikan kita dito. (Sabay abot ng ipod nya para makapagsoundtrip si G).
Pagsuot ni G ng earphones, sakto naka-radyo lang. Eto ang kanta…
‘Where do broken hearts go..can they find their way home..back to the open arms of the one who still cares..’
At ayun, ang ka-emohan ni G mula level 3 nagshoot pa-level 10! Pakiramdam niya noong mga panahong yun, buong paligid niya makulay at siya lang ang black and white (credits to Ang Lalaking Black and White ni Bb. Cahiles. Gamit na gamit ko ang line na ‘to eh.)
Buhay nga naman. Yun ang una niyang heartbreak bilang isang college student. Ang alam ko, makalipas ang pitong taon, nakatago pa rin ang poster na yun.
Biglaan lang ang pagkikita namin noong araw na ‘yon. Ayaw ko na nga sanang tumuloy kaso noong babawiin ko na ang pagpayag ko eh nakasakay na siyang MRT patungong Shaw Boulevard.
Nauna akong makarating sa lugar ng tagpuan namin – sa Krokodille Grille sa labas ng EDSA ShangriLa Mall, kung saan na rin kami maghahapunan. Umorder na ‘ko ng pagkain habang hinihintay siya at tinira na rin ang isang basong iced tea na nasa harap ko.
Makalipas ang 10 hanggang 20 minuto, dumating na siya. Same old. Nakalugay ang hanggang balikat niyang buhok, suot ang isang simpleng t-shirt at butas-butas na pantalon, at klasik na Chuck Taylor, gamit ang paborito niyang ‘body bag’ na parang hinabi sa abaca ang pagkakagawa.
Madali lang naman niya ‘kong nakita dahil pinili kong pumwesto sa labas ng restaurant. Pagkakita sa ‘kin hindi na siya nag-atubiling pumwesto sa upuang katapat ko sabay bungad ng, “O, musta Grace?”
“Kumain ka na muna diyan,” sagot ko.
Nabusog naman kami pareho. Umorder pa ‘ko ng dalawang bote ng Tanduay Ice nu’n eh – ang paborito kong inumin bukod sa kape.
“Ang lungkot mo,” ani niya.
“Hindi na kasi ako masaya. Hindi naman ako makaalis ng ganun-ganun na lang,” sagot ko sa kanya habang pinipigilan ang pagbuhos ng emosyon.
Wala na siyang nasabi. Nakatingin lang siya sa ‘kin. Nakatingin lang din ako sa kanya. Sapat na ‘yun. Sapat nang malaman kong kahit papaano eh nagkaroon ako ng kahati sa kalungkutan ko.
Dapit hapon na. Kailangan na naming maghiwalay. Tumakas lang din kasi siya sa opisina para samahan ako. Bago siya umalis, sinigurado niya munang hindi ako maiiwang mag-isa. Sakto dahil nandun din malapit sa mall ang isa sa pinakamalapit naming kaibigan.
Nang masigurado niyang hindi ako maiiwang mag-isa, nagpaalam na siya.
February 25, 2015, Wednesday. My 3rd time in the Metro this year. My 2nd time alone. Ah…it was bittersweet.
Firstly, I had to get up at 6:00 in the morning in order to have at least an hour to prepare. Waking up was extra tough that day because of the cold weather…and yeah, because of the fact that I’m not really used to getting up that early. In the end though, I was yet again able to fight the temptation of going back to bed. I really have to get my tax documents that day so my accountant can start doing my requirements for the annual filing. The fact that this is the last week of the month made it even more urgent. So there, by 7:30 in the morning, I was already in the bus bound for Ortigas.
Now the most unexpected thing that day was the heavy traffic! Seriously! And the reason? EDSA was closed! I know that February 25 is the celebration of the EDSA Revolution but I didn’t expect for the authorities to close the whole of EDSA given the fact that it was still a regular working day. It took me almost three friggin’ hours to travel from my place in Bulacan to SM Megamall and another twenty minutes from Megamall to Octagon Building.
The good thing was that I was able to get my tax documents and Certificate of Employment from my previous employer that day. It’s been over a year since I resigned from that company and had to go back to get my tax forms for this year’s filing. I think it only took me about 30 minutes to get all these done.
Around 11:00 in the morning, I was back in SM Megamall and decided to have lunch since I haven’t eaten anything yet that day. I decided to eat in Foodcourt (like for the nth time) and had a big Bulgogi lunch set courtesy of Oriental Seoul(I really enjoy eating Korean food). I had a great time eating there alone, looking at all the passersby with all these random thoughts going on in my head. Anyway, I finished around 11:45, decided to burn time and found myself buried with books in, of course, Book Sale. I was rummaging through the shelves there and saw paperbacks of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis, which cost 125php each. I was thinking of buying Angela’s Ashes because even though I have already read it, I don’t have my own copy of this one. I’m a little hesitant to buy it though because I’m on a tight budget and if I will buy one, I think it would be best to buy something which I haven’t read yet. Collecting books written by my favorite authors will follow as long as I have the money for it. 🙂
After about an hour of choosing and reading the cover pages of some of the books in this little paradise, I decided to buy a hardbound copy of Laura Kalpakian’s work entitled Steps and Exes. ‘Tis my first time seeing this book and reading about the author Laura Kalpakian. I don’t have any friends who recommended her work nor have read an article about her. I was intrigued by the title “Steps and Exes” so I took the risk in purchasing it. Besides, I bought it for only 45php so if ever the book doesn’t really suit my taste, then I won’t have to regret that much. Until then, I’ll wait if reading this book will be favorable for me.
Around 1:00 in the afternoon, I decided to go home. Lo and behold! There are no buses in EDSA!!!! So the question now is, ‘how will I go home?’ Or better yet, ‘what time can I go home?’ What time are they going to open EDSA for the buses? Oh the life of a commuter, definitely full of twists and turns. I really didn’t expect that it will come to this extent. But then again, I have to move on…literally. I weighed my options, thinking if I go to EDSA Central to wait for a bus, I’d probably have to stay there ‘til late in the evening because buses are totally not allowed in EDSA so what’s the use of going there in the first place. Then, I thought of taking a cab to Cubao, but the taxi bay staff in Megamall told me that if I drop off at Cubao, I will probably have a hard time riding on one ‘cause there’s a big chance that buses are already full by the time they reach Cubao. So while waiting for my turn to ride the cab, I decided to go straight to Centris in Quezon Avenue instead. I can ride a van there straight to SM Marilao and then one more jeepney ride before arriving home.
At first, the cab driver was hesitant to take me to Quezon Ave because it’s really far from Ortigas plus the fact that he has to take an alternate route. He kind of said not to use the meter but I insisted on using it and told him I’ll just add a few bucks for the inconvenience. My intuition told me that everything will be fine. Even though I usually take cabs in the Metro, I’m still very much worried riding one alone because of the various ‘modus operandi’ these days. As a safety precaution, I always send the cab’s plate number to my friends via SMS. I think I waited for about 30 minutes for my turn to ride a taxi and it took about 45 minutes to reach Centris. My total bill was 211php and decided to pay 240php instead. I was still thankful that I arrived safely so I gave that much. After that, I rode the van bound for SM Marilao and then another jeepney to get to my place. Instead of my usual 60php fare from Megamall to Marilao, I had to spend five times that amount that day.
On a lighter note, I arrived earlier than expected. It was only 30 minutes past 3PM when I arrived home. I was still able to work for a few hours later that night.
So there, that day was bitter because of the hassles of commuting buta lot sweeter because of so many reasons – I was able to get home earlier than expected, I got all the documents I need in one go, I was able to satisfy my Korean food cravings, I had a wonderful and peaceful time alone and last but not the least, I brought home another book!
I guess all I’m trying to say is even though my travel time was way longer than my appointment, I still had a wonderful day in the Metro. Though I’m alone (which is usually the case), I was still able to fulfill my agenda and relax even for a short while. Plus the weather that day was good – not too hot and not too cold.
Going to the Metro is quite an event for me since I decided working at home from May of last year. It happened the other day, January 18, 2015 – a first for this year.
It’s Sunday. I woke up very early at 6:00 in the morning. I lazed in bed until 6:20. These ‘bed’ weather and four hours of sleep were forcing me to postpone my agenda for that day. In the end though, I was able to fight back the temptation of sleeping again. I got up and prepared to leave at 8:00.
By 8:30 in the morning, it started to rain. Just in time, I rode a bus bound for Ortigas. It took me only an hour and a half to get to SM Megamall.
I think I arrived around 9:55 because there were still a lot of people lined outside the mall. I was early as expected. Anyway, after a few minutes, I’m inside this big mall and went straight to Papemelroti, a store which features handcrafted products, located in the lower ground floor. I grabbed the opportunity to buy additional notebooks which I use in writing my favorite book quotes. I bought three, so now, I have a total of nine mini notebooks at home.
At around 10:30, I’m already in the 4th floor of St. Francis building(the building just across SM Megamall). I have a couple of minutes to spare so I rested at the bench outside the auditorium with three others also killing time. It’s good to see an old couple, sitting beside me, having their breakfast together – coffee and sandwiches. I don’t usually see old couples spending such precious time in public so I tried really hard to suppress my smile. I don’t want them to notice me and then spoil their precious moment together.
At 10:50, we all went up to the auditorium located in the 5th floor. At exactly 11:00, we were already singing songs of praises to the Lord. The Sunday service in CCF has started. It’s been over a year since I last step foot in church. I felt ashamed and guilty for not giving the Lord the time that He deserves. I was overwhelmed with emotions and while singing the worship songs, I burst into tears. I felt the Holy Spirit embracing me and at that time, I knew, God misses me a lot. It was such a great feeling to finally be able to get on my feet and sing of His glory together with all the other churchgoers. It’s true that we can praise and glorify God in private but it’s better to be able to do it with your other brothers and sisters in Christ as well. I know, it was all on me. I had so many excuses that’s why I have not been able to go to church for ages. But now, I want to go to church for as much as I can. It may not be weekly, but definitely not once a year nor semi-annually.
The topic in this service was about Spirit-filled Living. The message was shared by Pastor Peter Tan-Chi. Here’s an excerpt:
“What it means to be filled with the Spirit:
The best evidence of being Spirit-filled is Christlikeness. To be filled with the Spirit is to become more like Christ day by day. A Spirit-filled person overflows with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).”
In addition, as Christians, we should live our lives in a way that pleases the Lord which means obeying your parents, following the authorities and subjecting yourselves to your husbands (this goes for the wives). These are all indicated in the Bible and Pastor Tan- Chi gave such wonderful explanations of God’s Words. This part hits me most especially the obeying your parents’ part (actually, it always does every time I hear it in church). We may find some of our parents’ decisions (concerning our lives of course) as absurd and unreasonable. I know. It happened to me a couple of times, but just like what the Bible says in Ephesians 6:1,“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Yes, we should always obey our parents. Some things can go out of hand at times, but we can be assured of the fact that God will always be in charge.
The service ended around 1:00 in the afternoon. I really felt good after it. It was like the tears I cried in the first 10 minutes of the service included all the pains I’ve been trying to hide these past few months. God took away all my burdens. He definitely did. He lightened up my load so I no longer have to bear it alone. For that, I am utterly grateful.
After the service, I went straight to SM Megamall’s Foodcourt as I can hear my tummy already calling out for food. I ordered an ‘overloaded’ Greenwich meal and sat among all the others who were also enjoying their lunch that time. I chose a table in front which only has three chairs in it. I think it would be rude to choose a table which can accommodate at least four people when I am the only one eating there. Anyway, I didn’t feel intimidated. Well…okay, let’s say just 1% intimidation whenever passersby look at me with those sort of questioning eyes. This isn’t my first time eating alone (though it’s my first time eating alone in this place specifically) so it’s no longer a big deal to me. I’m eating and I’m having a big lunch so that’s all that matter.
I finished my meal at quarter to two and decided to wander around so I can be sure that I no longer have to go to the washroom (if you know what I mean). As expected, I found myself buried in hundreds of books in Book Sale. Man, this place is a paradise! Books are way, way cheaper in stores like this and at that time, they were also on sale, so it couldn’t get any better. It was also good to see a lot of people here. Although the place was quite crowded, I still managed to go through all the shelves searching for books that will catch my attention. To tell you the truth, it’s really hard for me to walk into a bookstore and walk out without at least a book or two in my hands. So the result? I got my first two new books for this year! Hear ye! I think I hit a jackpot in these books. I’m looking forward to reading these soon.
I also asked the Book Sale staff if they have the Revolutionary Life of Che Guevarra or any other books about Che Guevarra and Animal Farm by George Orwell (I already have 1984 and I’m looking into more of Orwell’s works) but he said they don’t have any of those. I was hoping to buy either of these two books that day on a much cheaper price but since they don’t have it, I think I’ll be purchasing brand new copies within the year instead. 🙂
I decided to go home at around 3:00 in the afternoon. It was raining hard the moment I stepped out of the mall. Good thing though only a few people were in the waiting area. There were also several buses bound for Malanday so I got on one in no time. The travel was yet again a breeze and I got home at around 4:45 in the afternoon.
I originally planned to open classes that night, perhaps around 8:00 in the evening but decided against it since I wanted to cover my new books right away (I always have stocks of scotch tapes and plastic cover at home ready to welcome them). I got everything done then and slept at around 11 in the evening (it’s rare for me to sleep this early actually).
So that’s how my day went. It’s by far, the best day of the year for me (to think that 2015 has just started). I am thankful that I was able to attend church again. I am truly happy to be able to ‘travel’ alone again. I really love riding buses on my own, seeing the raindrops on my window and listening to music. That’s peace right there. I miss that kind of feeling and I am really glad to experience it for the nth time last Sunday (I used to travel at least four hours a day for five days a week for more than three years when I was still working in a BPO).
Of course, flashbacks usually occur during my ‘quiet’ times. They always come even though I never invite them (not even once did I invite them). When the most unwanted memories creep in, I can only let out a deep sigh. I wish forgetting is as easy as emptying a cup of coffee. But it can’t be helped. That’s just the way it is. Despite all these, I know I’m truly blessed.
Thank You Lord for this memorable day! Thank You for this life! Cheers! 🙂