happy now?

After the morning rush…

I saw it in the mirror.  Just after I closed the front door.  After I waved goodbye and threw flying kisses at them as they drove out to their day.  I saw it all – the unwashed hair indisarray, straightened by me two days ago and now looking fried; the tired, puffy face with pale skin from lack of sunshine, the six year old apron stained in a hundred places with the front pocket torn in the top right corner.

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.

Happy now?
I hear it in the humming of the 6 ft refrigerator.  The one like Tita Ellenʼs with the water and ice dispensers.  Iʼve dreamed of having a fridge like that ever since that
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.

Happy now?

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. 

Happy now?
The stiffness in my limbs are almost unbearable now.  The ache in my heart too heavy to ignore.  I am beginning to wake up again.

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…

Happy now?


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! 

3 thoughts on “happy now?

  1. Your caring nature is showing, EE!Nakakataba ng puso mga comment mo, lagi lagi, tunay na tunay. Salamat. Maraming salamat. Natuwa at medyo naluha ako ng mabasa ko mga salita mo kaninang umaga. I'm lucky to have an ally like you in this sometimes lonely world of creating from 'nothing'. In short: Pabulosa ka! ^_^

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s