Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Second Year College Part 3-To be mature means to face, and not evade, every fresh crisis that comes.

Dear insansapinas,
Footsteps at pinaysaamerikaWhen MEMORIES start coming back, it is just like watching a movie of your own. You feel you are detached. You are just a spectator. Then you feel the sadness, anger, happiness and… triumph.In less than a year, I have learned the lessons that could have taken me to assimilate in my system for a decade. Shattered dreams, betrayals, disappointments almost drove me to hopelessness. Faith was the only one who held me together. I knew that somehow, someday, the wheel of life is going to roll again. Slowly. This was the time when Footsteps became my favorite.

That vision of mine at the corner of the house looking at the empty space was like a bad dream. It played over and over again in my psyche. That must be the inner force that made me strive to buy a house of my own before I reach the age of 30. Before he arrived, I had already wiped the tears. I had always believed that crying was a sign of weakness. Admission of losing.

I will have a quiz the following day and I should study instead of brooding. The younger sister came to hand the keys. He barked at her. They were talking in their dialect. What I could make out was about the huge cash advance that he got from his office to pay the placement fees of two sisters who went abroad to work. That we could not afford to pay the rent and subsist on whatever what was remainder after deducting the installment payments of the advances.After the sister left, he asked me pack my things.

What would I pack? Just a box of a few clothes of mine and books. One box, which when I looked back after years, I could not believe that my life was only in one box. A memory which made me smile whenever I shopped at Costco. When the bagger asked me, box or bag, I always ask for bags. My one purchase would fill several boxes—the size of which was the same as that one I carried that day to move in with the younger sister and her husband. Again.The new place was just a stone’s throw so the Kamag-anak Inc. was still within the area.

Nothing had changed except for cards game added as weekend activities. I never joined them. The relatives thought that I was a snob. Playing classy. Playing intellectual.During those times when my emotion was suppressed, the person inside me was asking, why I was there? What have I done to deserve it? What can I do? Where was the promise made when I was praying at Baclaran that I become a valedictorian in high school? Instead the response in my prayer was NO BUT I will finish college, no matter what.

So that was it…No matter what happens…no matter what obstacles come my way.
If that was a test, it was a very long one.I missed my family. I missed my younger brother and sister whenever I saw kids in the neighborhood. I was afraid of my elder siblings. I was afraid of my mother.But that afternoon, I found the courage to go home. My mother saw me ushered in by my little brother. She continued sewing in her sewing machine. I guessed it’s my sister’s costume for the school. She did not show any emotion too. She said that I came to show that I could manage myself now without their help. I wanted to say no. But I can’t and didn’t. I even willed myself not to cry. I did not say anything about my life. I just said I realized my mistake and am sorry for what I had done. She said that she would not force me to come back. She liked me to come back on my own will. That was a hint that I am still welcome. And I planned of coming home. After the second semester ends. When there is a long vacation that I could go somewhere beyond his reach. Having seen the clan’s culture…like the Musketeers…one for all and all for one…right or wrong, I decided that I do not want to involve my family in the mess that I made. I would keep them distant. I would solve my problem. And I thought that was just easy to walk away.I asked permission to bring my brother and sister to a movie and gave them a treat later. I was able to save some money from my allowance by scrimping on my lunch.I came back to my sister-in-law’s place. I was in a good mood. I felt happy. She noticed that my brows were no longer knitted. I did not tell her anything.The second semester was about to end. I was exempted in almost all my classes… not out of compassion of my professors to my condition…I earned my grades. Except for one class where my professor was asking me why I haven’t changed my maiden name yet when obviously I was no longer single. He did not exempt me. I agonized in the whole two hours of the finals. We still had a paper to submit.When I came home, I felt the discomfort. For a moment, I thought that I was going to die.

I did not know where the pains were coming from.


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