Bared

Simple living matters most to me. Yet, life itself is too complex that even the simplest hopes and wishes of an ordinary farmer are fraught with hardships and obstacles.

I do not belong inside the box because I live unlike other individuals who follow the norms dictated by the times. I exist in the manner I prefer: live and let live.

People, most who personally knew me, knows me and acquainted about me, will not agree that I am the same person in the flesh. Positives or negatives, their notions on how I tick could only be described as clashing. I sow confusion by just being me, in people’s minds, that is. And I never intend it to be so.

When I open my mouth, there’s no denying I can express opinions and viewpoints that most people will adhere to. Or against. What vexes any listener is how I could start talking about an inane topic, for example cheap imported toys, for a few minutes, then all of a sudden I segue to world politics dealing with the international row between nations about disputed islands. I detect the ironies clearly. I like to connect the dots which some people do not even see in the first place.

I can be a pain sometimes, okay, most of the time. My fuzzy way of thinking could never be pigeon-holed into any category. This is why so many people like to paint me as a cuckoo. In all honesty, in my opinion, I think it is a compliment.

Oh, it’s just a small part of me. The rest is as human as any of you.

Spaces

Gaps. Pauses.

Enthusiasm. Deflated.

Concentration. Aimless.

I thought I was ready to continue normal living. Alas, the difficulties cling to me like a malicious virus immune to removal. Perhaps, too soon is not for me. I tried hard to pick up where I left off but it would not work out. It was not me the way it used to be.

Can’t blame you all for your confusion, even disappointment for my online behavior. I suck, big time. There’s no excuse for giving you expectations which I could not exactly provide. I am at my worse, at this point the villain, the character who could not fulfill promises.

I have to stay offline most days to distract my mind from thinking of the would-haves, should-haves, could-haves-been, and all those scenarios that are worthless now. I have to focus on tomorrow yet the present won’t cooperate to subdue the past into becoming a blur for a time, giving me enough respite to see clearly where I am heading,

Inaction. Guilt.

Remorse. Redemption.

Time. Hope.

Lucidity still escapes my train of thoughts. I am not surprised at all.

I want to be back for good but I am still torn between two opposing halves. One is raring to go active surfing while the other half wants to be physically tired each day to force early sleep. During the past months, the latter practically dominated the former.

Nothing.

Something.

Patience.

 

Tempo

The mood for every situation is dictated by the individuals during the event and how they wanted it displayed for themselves and for those observing from the sidelines.

In our case, a subdued ambiance was in order, the gathering followed the norms dictated by tradition. To be frank though, not everything that transpired then was connected to sadness. There were lighthearted moments and a few funny incidents, too. Those welcome sidelights somewhat consoled our grieving hearts.

Take for example the food served to guests during the wake (a nine-day vigil). Most popular (and easiest to procure) are instant coffee mixes and biscuits. As hosts we needed not bother to provide complicated forms of refreshments: Mother chose a similar arrangement. Because I was a few days late (another long story), I was not included in the planning.

As soon as I arrived from the pier, I opened the big box of coconut-flavored homemade candies I brought along. Pre-ordered from an acquaintance who sell them for a living, I was sure they would be a hit, especially to children.

As small tokens of appreciation, Mother reserved half of them to be distributed to medical personnel who assisted her during Father’s hospitalization. I promised to bring more when I come back.

Quiet for most of the time, I listened to stories related to my Father’s life as revealed by relatives. But what caught my attention more was the sight of guests trying out the round-shaped, orange-sized and flat candies we served. If it was not a wake, I bet I would be doubling up with laughter seeing the difficulty some people had savoring the sweets.

“This is too hard for my taste!” a disgusted old man commented, revealing most of his teeth absent and lost long ago. Several tries later and the candy would not be divided in his mouth. He looked like a baby struggling with the pacifier.

“I never had this sweet candy before,” another remarked while licking hers instead of biting small parts bit by bit. She, too, was denied a perfect set of munching tools. Her ordeal could last much of the hour while the candy would only melt if she persisted.

“I can’t wait to finish mine,” an inventive fellow confessed, busy cutting his share with a knife. Like any Filipino, he would find another way to deal with a problem.

“Leave them alone!” a female voice ranted to the group. The old lady readily accepted her limitations and decided not to test her chewing power: she chose a cup of coffee and a small plate of biscuits instead.

I kept my peace and decided not to ruin my calm pose. Cold as ice is a description many people referred to my demeanor.

“It’s okay to smile, or even laugh.”

I did not recognize the person who uttered those words because there were numerous groups around me exchanging pleasantries and stories. Their animated conversations were spiced with quiet laughter and gaps of silence.

Well, he or she was correct, I had to admit. By then, I felt less guilty for having a sunnier disposition. It did not diminish whatsoever the genuine bereavement we shared.

More or less, I almost forgot why I brought those candies along in the first place. To be exact, the specialty was one of Father’s favorites.

Duty

Bestowed on me is the responsibility of a good child. My parents reared and cared for me when I was young so it is only fair that I give back the same quality of time and effort they spent on my well-being during my growing years. It’s the way we were taught.

Sadly, I failed the task when Father was around though now I am given the chance to rectify that mistake by giving Mother more of my time. Given the opportunity to make amends, I am bound to keep her company for the rest of her days.

Yes, I will have lesser freedom when she stays with me. Much of my time wandering about would be restricted to short errands: no more long vacations. On the other hand, I could accompany her when she visits relatives. Her longer stay in their care could somewhat provide me with the same amount of time for myself. It’s a matter of scheduling and compromises, I suppose. A win-win formula so to speak.

Before I arrived at such an idea, I had to shuttle back and forth from my rural spot to the faraway city where she and her female cousin reside. Four round-trips later when the temporary accommodation that suited us both formed in my head. But such a scenario won’t do in the long run: money spent on travels could have been spent on more important needs such as food and medicines. A permanent solution has to be worked out.

In a few weeks, she will be here, at my place. She might rearrange my life as mothers often do with their children. I have to do a lot of explaining that I am old enough to do what must be done. But out of respect, she might get more of what she wants. (She is that good!)

She will hover around, getting on my nerves, making me laugh or irritated or both, asking too many questions why I am not chasing women, and all sorts of inquiries that even a genius could not answer. She might even dictate behind my back while I am blogging, retelling old stories that she thinks I might share with all of you.

Like my younger sister, a long-time inspiration for our family, Mother’s presence will always standout when she finally comes over and ruin my life -er, inspire me.

Mothers know best. Personally, I doubt that. 🙂

 

Nostalgic

Remember the old TV series Starsky and Hutch?

Well, that’s taking you back, way, way back! 🙂

Just so you know I am still around although not yet fully recovered.

I will be back! You can count on it!

(Just passing through this time.)

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Expected

Adjustments are necessary.

Fine tune the love till both sides get it right.

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Portent

The owls did it again.

I did not mention this the other day because I seem to remember that I published a post about the local bird of the night predicting (accurately) the departure of life from the body.

Since I changed my sleeping hours, later than usual, I began to hear the noises of midnight and the early morning. Startling and spooky, the owls hooted as if they were talking with one another, keeping track of the invisible to the human naked eye and providing hints of what would come to pass.

Yes, depending on their location and distance from my position, I could take a wild guess where the dead would be located. (It’s a discouraging prospect but it is what it is.)

True enough, or should I say bewildering, the owls maintained their percentage of accuracy to a high level. Supernatural? I could not put a word to describe it. Fantastic, perhaps?

“Did you hear them, too?” my kumpare asked the next day. “I was pissing outside when I thought they were just overhead. I had to hurry up to go inside and hide.”

“You’re exaggerating,” I remarked nervously. “As always.”

“He’s dead,” my kumpare mentioned the name of our neighbor. “The next day after the owls hooted.”

Right there and then, I began to keep a more open mind. I did not know what to say, nor would I want to confirm what my kumpare surmised, I only wished the birds would leave and move far away from our locality.

However, that would be easier to hope for than realized.

When I told my godsons that the aswang was not real, I was simply excluding them from the anxieties and fears of adults. Children should be exempted, while still young, from the ugliness and obscenities of this world and beyond.

Believe it or not, there are unnatural phenomena occurring hereabouts. People could not explain them other than joke around and pretend they were folk tales of old, handed down through generations with embellishments as years went by.

Right now, I could hear the dogs howling one after another. Should I be frightened?

No. I am sure.

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Spinner

After I was forced to log off yesterday, I went out for a walk: to simmer down a bit.

A few minutes later, down the road toward the irrigation canal, I encountered another godson of mine. He rode his bike as if he was hounded by a pack of dogs: he raced, to be exact.

I raised my right hand to signal him to stop. Naturally, I expected him to obey me, sure that with his excellent sight he could recognize me a hundred yards away.

He passed me by, nearly sideswiped me with the rear wheel as he sped off downhill. I was afraid he would take a tumble but fortunately he excellently handled the bumps and holes in the uneven gravel secondary road.

I shrugged off the miss encounter as something ordinary, tossing in my head several theories why I received the snub.

When I reached home an hour later, he stood by my gate with another godson, my frequent visitor. They were in an animated conversation, hands motioning in the air as if their subject involved flying.

“Care to share with me the gossip?” I interrupted, opening the imaginary gate.

They laughed at my antic, accustomed to the way I interact with them.

Ninong, last night I saw an aswang outside our house!”

As curious as I was with the startling news, I calmly toned down my reaction, not contradicting him directly. I was most certain that his claim of seeing the folkloric local vampire was just a figment of his imagination.

“Did you not see me earlier?” I asked, diverting their attention toward reality.

“I was afraid so I did not look. Father told me to stop at nothing lest I could be snatched by the aswang.”

“Can you describe to me what you saw?” I asked, accepting his alibi.

“It was black as night, tall as a tree and silent as a mouse.”

“I saw something like it at home, too.”

My frequent visitor would not be defeated. He would match the story to stay in the forefront.

“I hate to tell you this but what you saw was your shadow. Look!” I pointed to them their afternoon black cast on the ground.

“But that’s at the back,” he reasoned out. “What I saw was in front.”

The lack of simple observation skill and the strategy of casting fear to a young mind created such a condition. Parents do not want their children wandering around at night so the tale was told.

“If you do not believe me, go out at night along with your father or mother, check out what I told you.”

Unimpressed, they politely waved me their goodbyes, probably thinking I was born a skeptic. Not true, of course.

Early this morning, my frequent visitor passed by on the way to school. He grinned to the max.

“You’re right, Ninong,” he reported. “I saw it.”

“I told you so.”

“But, there is an aswang,” he countered.

“Why are you so sure?” I asked.

“I heard mother calling father aswang last night after our lights went out.”

I said nothing further. Sometimes children misinterpret words they were not old enough to understand.

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Crow

Being young during the 80s was unbelievable!

Look back and discover what we had back then.

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Sorry So

I know most of you do not experience connection headaches. You go online and never see that spinning wheel for a second. Good for you. You do not get stressed the way we do.

Well, modern technology is great, most especially if it’s functioning as promised. But if not, it’s like driving a Formula One race car at 2 miles per hour top speed. I am sure you follow my drift.

Sometimes I feel like going ballistic, zeroing in on my target and detonating a kiloton of complaints. But then, I backtrack, fully knowing that I could not make a dent against the thickened skin of the giant beast, patently deaf and unmoved, sound-proof protected inside its fortified lair.

I was born in the year of the dragon so more often than not I tend to breathe fire when I am incensed with the way I am treated. Ordinary folks like myself do not give me the reason to blow my top. Most of the big and mighty provokes my sense of justice that I wish I could fly and sear them into reaction.

Do I hear chuckles? It’s all right. I am smiling, too. I want to laugh at myself for wasting my time staring at that spinning wheel.

Before I sleep, I could wish for a bolt of lightning to strike the main tower of my tormentor so my suffering would be over.

I guess I have to go.

Be well.

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