Another dream-come-true, eh? Another Probinsiyana Makes It Abroad story, yeah?
Away, far, far away from the pungent smells. Away from third world strife. Another
dream board completed, check box ticked, To-Do List xʼd. And aaamen.
summer vacation. We were invited to my aunt’s home at the Subicʼs naval base. I was in highschool. It was always filled with imported strawberries and shiny Macintosh apples and oh, cream cheese! Philadelphia Cream Cheese that we almost always never had enough of in our little island in the south.
Donʼt get me wrong. Please know that I loved Davao City. I still do. I once fantasized about going back home to my pearl in the South, just at the height of my very successful career when it’s all shiny up front yet bleeding guts and gore from the just
behind the scenes.
Davao, a place of many awakenings for me. This is where I woke up to nature, to the coconut groves. This is where I was exposed to all kinds of music from the happiest – Mom and Dadʼs Salsa days, to the saddest Imelda Papin ditties and her tears on TV…) This is where I woke up to art and swimming. This is where I first fell in love with the sea. I miss my ocean water so much, her warm embrace, her salty air, her
way of cleansing everything.
But everybody kept leaving. Leaving for Manila. Leaving for the U.S. Leaving for a land of plenty. Somewhere. It was always somewhere.
And here I am in the Land of Somewhere. Here I am in the great Land of Plenty – plenty of dishes to wash. Plenty of mouths to feed their bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Kraft grilled cheese sandwiches to. Plenty of laundry to wash and fold and sort that makes the whole house have that balikbayan-box smells. Downy, the smell of the dream. The smell of ʻabroadʼ. Here.I.Am.
I remember sitting at the bottom of a large makeshift stage. Front row. Bamboo chairs in the middle of the basketball court. I was six. My nanny, Manang Alma right there beside me with her big, expectant smile and missing teeth. I remember seeing singer after singer in their bright colored sundresses with bright, big ﬂowers, always with ﬂowers for the girls and shiny, sparkly, half unbuttoned shirts or crisp barong tagalog for the men. They took the stage accompanied only by a singular electric guitar that was ampliﬁed way too loudly. I remember the male and female announcers with their broken English and Visayan accents which I had. “Isnʼt it a meera-col…thank God for a meera-col…!” was how I sang it, the Stylisticsʼs song “Miracle” which my Tita Myrna said I loved as a child. I remember clapping wildly after each song and imagining me in my ﬂowery dress, me…not them, up there in the center holding the microphone.
Fast-forward twenty years later and I am up there. Up where the keg lights burn bright, where the crowds cheer the loudest and where the stream of ﬂowers is unending. I left a lot of ﬂowers in my day. There was just too many to hold.) I am energized, ecstatic, elated beyond words. But only while the lights blazed. They always got turned off. Always. With the turning off of each spot goes the feeling of ﬂight. The bigger the venue, the bigger the crash. I tried to ﬁnd my salvation in books, boyfriends and booze. No. Scratch the last one. I was too probinsiyana, too prudish for boozing then. Too scared and righteous to even try more than one glass to ﬁnd my ﬂight of freedom.
So I quit. I quit that life thinking I was too good for it. Truth be told I felt it was too good for me. I chose to not break through the sound barrier and covered my pretty made-up face with a soft quilt and lay my perfectly salon-styled head of hair on a softer pillow. I lay down to sleep for a decade.
Again, it calls, that unnamable yet undeniable It that beckons to all of us. Like my once three year old child asking, no, telling me at the end of her favorite story “…again, mommy, read it all again.”
Again, like the dawning of a new day, sun rising from the East. Always from the East. Always day after day. Again. Again. Again.
Another dream please, It whispers.
Another mountain expedition, It teases.
Another bungee jump, deep sea dive into the unknown.
You want to soar again? Feel the ﬂight of freedom again? Feel the hurt of too much game again?
Are you sure about this?
The last voice is not from It, thatʼs for sure. The gremlins have arrived, I see.
I donʼt know, I say to myself. Iʼm not sure. Let me take one more look in the mirror, my mirror on the wall, just in case Iʼve missed something…a smile…a feeling…of ﬂying…soaring again…
With much love and the biggest thank you hugs to my girls for the power-nudge to go ahead and share this — > Joyster, Oyingirl, Marojam and Crissy. I love you, my sisterhood. Creative mamas need sisters, too!