It is your birthday today. You are now 22 years old. Time really flies, is it? Five months later, I will also become 22 years old too. And weeks after that, all the moments and memories we have shared together will be 6 years ago. It is now like history that has long been forgotten. I really thought that these Dear Tel entries, although posted in a public domain would be like messages towards nothingness. I find it too awkward too confer the things that I wanted to say to a recording device because my tongue is too tied. I find it comfortable to use the letters and scripts to express my feelings much to my better judgment.
I am not a typical blogger who writes something that entertain people. My literary works reeks of critical thinking inducers. The others may complain that it is very arduous to read those articles, especially the instalments on my continuation of what Dr. Rizal left on his Indolence of the Filipinos, the Indolence of the Filipinos in the 21st century. When I first laid the foundations into writing it, I thought that it will be a mere 5000-word essay that my character in the book that I’m currently writing – Eminencio Magnifico – would write as his inaugural address on the school publication. Then, as I kept rereading Rizal’s Indolence, the topics to be tackled branched out exponentially, with analysis encompassing almost all of the Filipino society in general as if the ideology at that literary work was an offspring of David Timbermann’s Culturalist Approach. I believe that there are 5 approaches in the science of politics in the Philippines: Culturalist, Migdalian, Marxist, Structural and Institutional. I will be exploring them on the succeeding instalments. I have to rewrite the book for this literary work – instead of a 5000-word essay – would be divided into 10 instalments – each more than 2000 but less than 3000 words long. Other might find it arduous to even finish an instalment of it. My friends were saying the same thing too. But I have started it already. And I have to finish it, no matter what happens. Or else I will be just a hypocrite who just blabs on the things he hasn’t really done. Just when I found someone to whom I will dedicate my Indolence to, he has just recently passed away. Professor Alfredo B. Juinio Jr. has just passed away this week. Some of my colleagues heralded him as the “terror” professor of our Institute of Civil Engineering. The information and rumours were circulating in a low tone, with his CE 155 Matrix Structural Analysis class being avoided. My thesis adviser Dr. Jaime Y. Hernandez Jr. was not happy with his perception of Prof. Juinio because those rumours obscure Prof. Juinio’s excellence and dedication as a professor. It is expected that those who failed his class would speak badly to him, but it is alarming to see that the bad light has eclipsed his good light. Those who passed his classes were actually putting him in high regard, with their appreciation of the fruits of their hard work proving worthy. I never had a privilege to become a student in his class, yet as the one who frequents the most in the faculty room, I often have the instances of meeting him, and even, eavesdropping on what he conferred with his colleagues in confidence. I was planning to be a faculty member of the institute, because of three things: my passion in researching, teaching and in billiards. Melchor Hall has a pool table in the faculty lounge and the table was only for use of the faculty members. It is a win-win situation for me. And according to Dr. Hernandez, Prof. Juinio boasted his proficiency in billiards. He could have been my playmate and we could have been the best of friends. But all what is left now is to pick up the pieces he left behind. It is for certain that I would be venturing into writing a Civil Engineering Text book as I review for the coming board exams – I have to write or rewrite it in order for me to learn – and just like my current projects, my Indolence of the Filipinos in the 21st century, Antonio Luna’s Impresiones, my second research agenda about expanding the design wind speed maps, Eminencio Magnifico, it will expand into something worthy of a book. It would then be picking what Prof. Juinio left behind – authoring a Civil Engineering Text Book.
I picked up my pen and started writing entries for this “Dear Tel” on September 2, 2011, four weeks after you said: “Putang Ina Mo, Lubayan mo na ako.” It is a memory that I keep trying to suppress. I really don’t want to remember it anymore. I really just want to replace those memories of the fallout with a simple Things just didn’t work out. Four years ago, when I gathered my courage to break through the wall that separated us, I asked then after extending my birthday greetings on why the end has to be that way. You just said that it was actually your best friend that did it. Anger is obviously my reaction. But I can’t vent it towards anybody, even to your best friend, because even if I do so, even if I beg in front of you, you won’t be coming back. I really don’t know the meaning of moving on: if it means acceptance that we were never meant to be, if it means not loving you anymore or if it means erasing all the traces of the memories I had with you. The first two might be true, but the third one will never be the case. I’ve never regretted into having those kinds of memories, even the heartbreak. But what I’ve regretted are the things that I’ve done in bad faith during those times. Holding on to those memories no longer meant love, but it meant comfort. Looming on this heartbreak for you has become my comfort zone. In the past few years, I retreated to this comfort zone to move on from the past heartbreaks that came after you. But recently, even if I wanted to, I can’t anymore. The memories with you were superseded by someone who had the same nickname and a similar name. I could not distinguish anymore if it was you or her. But I couldn’t wait for that girl anymore. I know that someday her instincts of becoming a mother would dominate her train of thoughts. But I doubt that I will be there to witness it because of the trepidation of my current works. I was true to myself when I said that my heart found its resting place. It couldn’t move anymore because it can no longer afford to bleed because it is becoming closer and closer into turning to a stone. As my heart bleeds, my romantic urges drain out. I can’t make any romantic advances anymore. My self-esteem has replaced yours in its grave a long time ago!
To relieve the heartbreak that I’m currently feeling because of that girl, who has yet to claim the dark chocolates that I was giving to her, I turned my attention into watching Korean dramas. I watched The Producers of KBS. I was infatuated to IU, who was about the same age as mine. Her beauty dazzles me. Although I was disappointed to find out that she has a boyfriend already, I was kept mesmerized by her. Then I found out that she was the singer of Windflower. Windflower was the song that we once shared. We listened to its violin version. I made a Spanish adaptation which I dedicated to you back in 2010. The lyrics pretty much reflects on what transpired between us.
If you’re going to turn back like this
disappear like this,
then it hasn’t bloomed
As I watch on like this,
should my breath stop,
wouldn’t it be nice to live with my eyes shut?
Because I can see without looking
Because I can hear without listening
Like a wind flower
reborn from your breath
Though I wish to go, I cannot
Though I wish to embrace you, I cannot
For your fingertips are touching my heart
After this long night passes, will I know of
The love which is smiling amidst tears
Though I wish to hold on, I cannot
Though I wish to go, I cannot
Like a windflower
reborn from your heart
Because I can see without looking
Because I can hear without listening
Carried off by the wind and scattered, as I fly away
Scattered into your heart, as I fly away
I cried the whole afternoon after I listened to it again. By the night, I began to look for answers on why I kept holding on to these memories of you. And I’ve found an answer: it was because we grew apart. We didn’t stay in touch to see how much we’ve changed, unlike with the others. I saw how Faye had changed over the last five years. I saw how Choco changed over the last three years. I saw how Nikka changed radically over the last three years. I saw how Leah changed over the last eight years. They were no longer the women I’ve loved once. They’ve changed for the better, but my heart preferred the former. No matter how I willed myself into loving them again, I just can’t. I could no longer pick up what I’ve left behind. When I think of you, I still remember the 17-year old you. I know that you changed too in the past six years, but I wasn’t there to witness it. My heart still fails to distinguish the 22-year-old you to the 17-year-old you. That led me into asking another question: why does it hurt to remember you? It was maybe that I wanted to remember only the good memories and suppress the bitter ones. I was running away from the situation. My vanity wills my mind into not accepting my blunders what happened in the past. Once and for all, I will speak of those memories plainly, without much glossing.
August 12, 2010
It is the day that I felt the “spark”. We looked at each other, and I just can’t remove the picture of your face during that time. I became curious of the phantom student of that class, which was you.
August 20, 2010
You began to invade my dreams. In one of those dreams, you were possessed by the spirit of Ninoy Aquino. When I woke up from that dream, I then realized that I fell in love to you.
October 7, 2010
I was able to ask you out for a friendly date when we were strolling at the “freshie walk”, a portion of the J.P. Laurel that connects Roxas Ave. To Quirino Ave. In UP. It was set at the final exam of Span 10.
October 14, 2010
It was the final exam day on Span 10. The date was about to happen when you backed out at the last minute. You no longer reply to my text messages.
February 12, 2011
I’ve learned that we were both students of Geog 1 of Sir Jayson Cruz. It was the day of the Geog Camp and I was hoping that you would be there. I wanted to give you the letter that expressed my bitterness towards what happened on October 14. But at the last minute, you backed out from participating on that excursion, leaving me lonely and down in the camp.
April 1, 2011
It was the Geografilm Festival. I was able to make personal contact to you. But my typical shyness prevented me from giving you the letter at that event. I just waited for you at the lobby at our dormitory. I was able to give you that letter.
April 7, 2011
You responded to the contents of the letter via Facebook. I asked you if I had a chance (It was also a gesture of asking for courtship). You gave me ambiguous answer which I took for granted.
April 14, 2011
At the dormitory, we met the lobby. You were lying at the couch, not caring whether some of your body parts were exposed. Your friend Albert told you to fix your clothes. We finally exchanged numbers.
April 30, 2011
It was the day of our date. Things never went as planned. When we returned to the dormitory, I was able to meet your friends, who were expressing their envy to me – which until now puzzles me.
May 2, 2011
I made a excuse just to be with you at SM Manila. It was the first time that we were able to hold hands together and it was the first time I spoke to my heart’s content, telling you that you were the most beautiful woman I know.
May 6, 2011
We went to my relatives’ eatery. A relative of mine asked me if you were my girlfriend. I denied it, saying that: “mas may bigote pa nga siya sa akin eh.” His following inquiries irritated you and you two started a verbal quarrel. I kept apologizing the rest of the day.
May 8, 2011
It was Pacquiao vs Hatton and also Mother’s day. We extended our greetings to each other’s mothers, calling them Tita. I was touched by the gesture and went to the shopping centre to buy a purse as a gift to you.
May 10, 2011
I was able to borrow your laptop. I giggled in seeing the porn in your browser history (It was Naruto hentai). But I was devastated to see some of the exchanges you had with your love interest from the past – where words I Love You were exchanged. That gave me the impression that you were taken all along. The next day, I returned the laptop. I also gave you the purse. Inside of it was a tissue quoting Rhasta’s (a hero from DotA): “Don’t worry. Be happy.” The sight of you hanging along with my buddies disheartened me. I then decided that I would be pursuing into becoming your best friend instead.
June 30, 2011
I waited at the front of your dormitory in middle of the torrential rains, for four hours. The cold from the rain got to me, and wrote a goodbye letter which I gave to you when we went to Jollibee – Philcoa later that day.
July 15, 2011
I tried to make up for the blunders I made. (I was already atras-abante during that time). I accompanied to the Five Star Cubao bus station. I was struck with the idea of touring her hometown with her.
July 22, 2011
For the first time in my life, I was able to perform a sketch of a person – which was you. I was so inspired that I wanted to surprise you with that drawing the following day.
July 23, 2011
Thinking that you would be at your hometown, I went there, only to find out that you were at Manila, celebrating a friend’s birthday. I inscribed another goodbye letter to the sketch which was drawn on an Oslo paper. I left it at the altar of Orani church.
July 27, 2011
Feeling down already, I sent a text message telling that I don’t want to lose you. I am very pathetic. XD
August 8, 2011
I asked you if we can reschedule the Orani tour again. It was then you dropped the bomb – Putang Ina mo, lubayan mo na ako. Out of bitterness, I went on to delete the thousands of messages that we exchanged as well as your contact number on my phone.
August 12, 2011
After writing the song about you, I realized that my cue stick was still with you. I proceeded to tell you that I wanted my cue stick back.
September 2, 2011
I started writing the Dear Tel entries.
That is all I remembered clearly. The rest of the memories were too vague and distant. I hope this vindicates your perspective which was relatively unknown by the time that I posted our story on Overheard at UP. Despite all that, I still thank you for these memories. I am wishing you happiness in the years to come. The bitterness and regrets were never directed towards you, they were all directed towards me alone. And that is the second reason I still held on to these memories.
I was thinking a lot of ideas, but I couldn’t just simply relay them into words. If only there is a device that automatically encodes what my brain thinks, then all of these projects would be finished in less than a month. To cope with this shortcoming of mine, I turned myself into a chameleon of writing styles. I used Rizal’s writing style in my Indolence. I used Teodoro Agoncillo’s writing style in my book, Eminencio Magnifico. I also dared to use your writing style in writing Missing You which was dedicated to her. That “Her” denotes the person who has the same nickname as yours. All right, to be straight to the point: “You” denotes you, Mary Myrtle B. Agulto. “Her” denotes her, Marie Christelle Joyce C. Alava. Such similar names! I was yet to finish the third instalment of the Missing You, where I would be expressing my resolve to stay on a distance from her. Yeah, damn these third instalments! Also the third instalment of my memoirs as UP Pool Club’s president was not also finished, because it was painful to express on how the things I built crumbled towards the ground. I was able to show my multi-faceted-ness and athleticism. Now, I recently discovered my proficiency on ten-pin bowling. I prefer 6-lbs balls because I throw the bowling ball like a cannon ball, a habit which I picked up from duckpin bowling. I still adapt the cross-lane approach – being left-handed, throwing the ball from the left gutter to the kingpin – at 30 kph, compared to the 9 kph right-hand spin throw of the professionals I played with. I paved many roads into the future. My future was already secured because of the talents that I’ve honed, yet I am determined to take the arduous path. The experience from you propelled me to this path. I do not know if I am following the trails blazed by our heroes. I was as prosaic and sentimental as Rizal. I was temperamental as Antonio Luna. I was as eccentric as Paterno. I was as erratic as De Los Reyes. I do not know whose example I was following. I do not know where I will place myself in the class spectrum. The plebeians reduced their significance by their ignorance. The elites have further inflicted injustices and promoted inequality. I was in sympathy in both the approaches that favours both classes. I do not place myself in either of them. Following Kant’s example, I was entitled to express my own ideas because just like Krishnamutri said, the mind will be my first and last freedom. Therefore, I do not permit myself to settle on the premises of the ideas of others.
Ugh. I went too long with my story-telling. Again, Happy Birthday Myrtle! Ugh, I wanted to write more about that everybody’s friend from UP-ICE. But I guess I’ll reserve that for the February 14 post, which I think will be the last of the Dear Tel entries.