For Sandra

I never thought writing a eulogy would be this difficult. There’s just so much about a person that words can never explain. And sometimes, a person’s effect on us is better left felt than described. But then again, I was tasked to make this speech in front all of you today. And that should be an honor that I have to fulfill.

I also never thought that writing a eulogy for my sister could happen this early on in my life. Somehow, I always knew that her life expectancy would be significantly reduced by her illnesses. But I never imagined this to come so soon, especially when she was so hopeful of overcoming her recently-diagnosed hyperthyroidism.

Alexandra is a beautiful person inside and out. She is not perfect and has her own share of flaws. If you consider the totality of her person however, you’ll come to realize how her death is unjustifiable to those she left behind. She is the biggest loss my family has had over the years, and nothing can ever replace her.

She was a clear asset to my family. She started the fun, she built bridges, she mediated over conflicts, and—even in her death—she gave us the chance to rebuild the foundations of our home. Outside the scope of family, Sandra was a good friend in many of her circles. I saw how she valued relationships when one night, she was crying after her friends Ipay, Junrey, and some others left the house without asking for her permission. She was not too sober and she cried like a child because she thought her friends have forsaken her.

I also remember her resilience as a person. She was diagnosed with diabetes since she was 18 years old. She later on became dependent on insulin and she had to inject herself with it three times a day for her to manage her disease. Moreover, she just had the guts to do things. She was not scared to explore unchartered waters or go outside her comfort zone. And truthfully, she just loved to complicate her life in so many ways.

What came with her daringness was her ability to live life to the fullest. She disregarded impediments and carried on like nothing can stop her. Even I could not stop her from eating sweets despite her diabetes. I could not stop her from eating at least five slices of pizza when we went to Yellow Cab. I could not stop her from pursuing her own version of happiness.

Perhaps it is her set of choices that have led to her death. But at the end of the day, even her non-existence can’t take her away from our hearts. It is the same set of choices that have immortalized her. What she did with her life is what makes her unique as a person.

She was a daughter, a sister, an artist, a friend, a lover, a nurse, a grammar nazi, and a free spirit. She was just so full of life.

I’ll surely miss singing with her. I will miss singing our duets like The Prayer, I’m Your Angel, and I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You, among many others. I will miss her angelic voice and the way she used it to speak, laugh, shout, and cry. I will miss anticipating for her returns from Manila because I knew that she meant joy, and that she would invest money for the sake of her siblings’ happiness. And damn, will I miss her constant corrections in Facebook over my grammar and use of prepositions. She was just exceptional, one of a kind.

At the same time, I feel bad that it is only after her death when we can all obsess about her. I wish I gave her the same amount of thought and scrutiny before she died. That way, I could have been a better brother and friend. But right now, the whys, what-ifs, and what-could-have-beens do not really mean much. They are the means for self-loathing and regret, and I would not want to send Sandra off with a heavy heart. For all those who were directly responsible for her death, however, justice awaits for you in this life or the next.

I am also thankful that she has reestablished her faith before she died. She turned back to the church and that gives me peace.

I would like to end this speech with a note of gratitude. Through Alexandra’s death have we celebrated life. Life and death are opposing brothers and I have realized that both have touched us through this event.

To all those who came and reminded us that we are not alone, I thank you. Your gestures of kindness and concern really made things better. Seeing so many people show their love for my sister has been very beautiful. You give us life when we have to face death.

Sandra, I love you so much. Thank you for the gift of your person and thank you for reminding us how precious life is.

I therefore challenge everyone who is here to love those who are still living to the best of your ability. Strengthen your relationships with all who are dear to your life, for that is how we prevent death from truly crippling us once he pays us a visit.

Thank you very much.

Fate

Written: August 19, 2012

I’m from the Philippines. You’re from Spain. We met in the United States.

There are times when I feel like the whole universe conspired for us to meet.

You made me believe in destiny and how ironic it may seem sometimes. I now imagine that somewhere up there, God is slowly weaving an intricate pattern on the fabric called life.

Although I’m still convinced that there’s no perfect love story, the mystery in ours deserves the elucidation of a million words. And even then, I’d still feel like my writing could never capture your real beauty and delicateness.

Until I met you, I had never thought that I could attract a real-life Spanish belle. I feel like a mortal who’s been bound by the timeless beauty of Aphrodite when I’m with you. :D

The memories we shared make you even more beautiful. And I realized it’s because we have gone past the stage of only looking at the exterior. I have known you and how much of a good person you are.

As such, I would like to remind you on this special day how destined we seem to be for each other. I hope that you can re-appreciate these facts that make us a very lucky couple.

1.) We have the same family name. There’s true humor in the fact that our first child will be named Godric or Helena Garcia Garcia.

2.) We were both born on August. The number ‘five’ plays an uncanny role as well. I’m five years younger than you. And there are five days in between our birthdays.

3.) Although I would beg to differ, many people say that we kind of look alike. And that flatters me a little (HAHA).

4.) We met in America as exchange students, in a remote area of Ohio that’s very conducive for lovers. Ari coined it as the “Portsmouth Magic”.

5.) When you asked for rain from God as a sign to pursue your feelings for me, he gave it to you when summer has not even ended yet.

6.) We saw America together. It was exhilarating to explore New York, Miami, and Chicago with you.

7.) We were given two more hours on our flight to North Carolina when we both thought that we were parting in Huntington last December.

8.) You came here to the Philippines last March just to see me again. And I’m seeing you next week because you’re moving here.

9.) We’ve had too many romantic moments together that sometimes I feel like our life’s a movie. Remember the night of September 22.

10.) You gave up someone for me. That is perhaps the biggest sacrifice you have done for us.

—-

Happy birthday, Marina. I still haven’t written a note about you; but I hope this will suffice for now. I love you so much and I’m sorry for having been an asshole many times.

 

“And even then, I’d still feel like my writing could never capture your real beauty…” :’)

Pussy

Written: June 15, 2013

While my friends and I were drinking at Ibiza, a local pub near my house, a friend came to us through the persona of Pussy. He was hungry. And he was scavenging for food over the stones near our table.

I don’t know who had the first impulse to put him on his lap, but Marina was soon busy feeding him with chips. Oishi Prawn Crackers, specifically.

Maybe it was the smell of prawns that drew him to us, I don’t really know. For what it’s worth, it may have been the warmth we emanated as pet-loving people who couldn’t say no to cuddly animals that are hungry and may be deprived of humanly affection.

Antonio. Tyrion. O’Malley.

Pussy.

Marina wanted to name him many things. But I wanted to call him Pussy. Not only does it sound appropriate (or not), the cute little cat actually looked like Puss from ‘Shrek’.

We fed him all the chips we could find and even the sisig leftovers on the table. We cuddled him. We petted him.

And the good thing was, he actually liked it. I was never fond of cats, but the moment he put on that cute “eat me” face similar to Puss’ expression in Shrek, I fell in love with him.

To the point of me deciding to steal him and to put him inside Marina’s bag.

And yes we did. We laid him inside the bag, despite his struggles for escape, and I toted him almost connivingly on my back until we reached home. Nobody seemed to mind as we exited Ibiza.

Enthusiasm. Happiness. I was really excited to bring him home. Like a child who bought a puppy on display at the pet shop.

But yeah, like everything in this world, there would always be opposites to antagonize whatever good there is in life.

I put him in a cage that used to be my sister’s guinea pigs’. God bless “Sam” and “Marina.”(RIP) I gave him grilled fish from the kitchen, and placed a dipper of water as his makeshift water bowl.

Most of all, I wanted him to be friends with Tio. My ultimate pet.

By the time we wanted him to formally greet Tio, he was nowhere to be found. We lit his cage and found him quivering inside one mating chamber. The poor little thing was a literal pussy. His eyes looked so sad and bewildered at the sight of us.

"Let’s take him out of the cage and let him smell Tio."  He tried to scratch out Tio’s eyes instead.

"Let’s put him on the floor, see if he tries to get away. If he’ll stay near, that means that he might get accustomed to these lousy humans who are forcing him to marry a new environment."

Tio was pushed to his limits as well. He went berserk at the sight of a new pet, a prospective rival for the love of his parents.

"Let’s just go inside and see if he’s still there tomorrow. If he is, that will be destiny." Ahhh, the desperation in our voices.

Meow. Meow. Meow.

Pussy started to cry for home.

We didn’t know if he had a home. We didn’t know if he was endeared to an owner. We didn’t know if he would ever want to stay with us.

But the pity we felt for him was disturbing and real.

"Let’s just take him back. He must be happy where he’s from."  In all honesty, he seemed nicely kempt and healthy.

By the gods of fate above us, my parents soon arrived home and upon seeing Pussy clawed to dear life on my shirt, the look of disgust on their faces added more bitter humor to the situation.

"It’s hopeless. Marina, come with me. Let’s take him back."

And so the tale ends with me and Marina hiking back to where we were from. All throughout, Pussy was cradled in Marina’s arms until we were in front of the wall that separated the pub from the outside.

We delicately placed him on the ledge, replete with all the premature nostalgia. Pussy seemed to recognize where he was. He started to retreat to the other side, not minding us at all.

"Bye, Pussy. It was really nice meeting you."

We walked home and found Tio craving for all the attention in the world…

Ibiza. Pussy. June 15.

A night to remember.

—-

HAHA. I can’t believe I wrote so much for a cat. But the emotions I felt for this night cannot be put to waste.

“I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.” - Life of Pi

Nine Realizations (while taking a dump)

Transitioning to adulthood involves a constant test of character. It’s when you realize that you should let go of so many things for you to move into a more important phase in your life.

1.) You become cognizant of the fact that you can’t please everyone and that you never will.

For others may hate you with a passion, without you even knowing.

2.) You try to eradicate all the bad aspects of your self, promoting goodness, yet you fear of becoming too weak in the eyes of others.

For goodness may be misinterpreted as a weakness. But in weakness comes some sort of goodness.

3.) You feel the need to attain a sense of balance. A clean, harmonious balance from where you draw strength.

For this is essential in all your endeavors, may it be in studying or in working. And self glorification may consume you in the process, especially when you succeed.

4.) You see the point of clichéd objectives like leadership, accountability, and purpose.

For in the 20 years that you’ve lived, you get to discern that the world’s consistency entails a human effort to follow and be followed.

5.) You become aware of how you’re limited by your body.

For walking was so much easier when you were a child. And you always hear news of somebody dying.

6.) You appreciate the value of friendship and bonds.

For you know that only a few people will truly be there for you. Life changes, and so do people. 

7.) You revel at the thought of family.

For you know you will have to raise one of your own. Five more years and you may be married. Ten more years and you may have children. And in all these, you realize that every family has its own dynamics, may it be good or bad.

8.) You establish a sense of faith, may it be in religion or self constructs.

For life’s mystery is unlocked individually, although the game itself can never be solved. Enjoying its intricateness though is enough.

9.) You MUST fiercely love someone who truly loves you.

For in this sad world, when even your family fails you, someone may go beyond herself to save you.

You. You neophyte you.

/shitting can become so enlightening
/diarrhea

The parable of the dog, the mouse, and the cockroach

As I arrived home drained from a night of drunken, but intellectual, conversations with some friends, I went to the kitchen to get myself a glass of water.

Five feet away from the dining table, I saw a pile of shit spread near the fridge. Obviously, it was my dog’s. I called him, but upon seeing the damage he has done, he decided to hide from me. He knew he made a mistake, and he was scared of the confrontation.

Going nearer to the dog’s excrement, I noticed that there was a piece of fly paper resting in a corner. I didn’t realize right away its use until I saw it move subtly; I heard a very tiny shriek coming from below the inverted paper. A mouse, I thought to myself.

First thing’s first. I cleaned the shit, and grabbed a big bottle of alcohol to pour onto the floor. Lightbulb, I knew I could drown, and probably disinfect, the mouse as well with the highly volatile liquid. And maybe even burn it afterwards.

I turned the paper to see the mouse in full view. It was struggling so hard to get out from the very sticky situation he (he had balls) was in. I poured anyway.

In labored breathing, he cried and cried as I drowned him to death. It made me feel so bad to see him fight for life that I decided to be with him until his last breath.

But then I realized, he’s a mouse for heaven’s sake. Mice will turn to rats. And they’re pests. They will always be pests.

I started to console myself with that thought and I decided to retire to my room for the night.

But then a cockroach passed by, and it (I couldn’t see its balls) made sure to get away from my sight. Another pest, with a life which was not mine to take. It was gone, and there was nothing I could do about it.

I walked to my room and I called my dog again. He showed up, licked my feet, to say he was sorry. He was only a dog, and shit does happen.

***

On a related note, I could not help but apply the scenarios to a present problem…

There are some people who know how to sincerely apologize. The dog.

There are some people whose evilness have to be killed. Because they are evil, and that is the truth in its purest sense. But it will make you feel bad in the end. The mouse.

And there are some problematic people who are lucky enough to be out of the equation but whom you know you will have to deal with at another time. Problems will always be there. The cockroach.

Now, if only my house was new and not old. If only my house was free from all these pests, my night would have been simpler.

But an old house has its problems, and you have no choice but to live in it. Because you love the house for the shelter and home it has provided you through the years.

***

So are you the dog? The mouse? Or the cockroach?

Think about it.

The swastika.

That’s the first thing he thought of when he saw the sign engraved on the colossal door. Except the sign somehow formed the letter “M,” and they were led into it in short but cluttered lines.

He realized how badly they smelled. The months of being contained so closely to each other was desensitizing. And now that they’re exposed to the air, it seemed like he could breathe for the first time in his life.

Fish. They all smelled like fish.

When they were finally inside the white chamber, claustrophobia struck him along with the sound of the closing door. He felt like they were vacuumed in, his ears buzzing at what seemed to be an increase in air pressure.

Illumination.

For a moment, he thought they were on a spotlight. But the vessel on which they were laid on suddenly came to a start. He realized that they were spinning around. The very floor of the room was rotating on a regular axis.

Boom.

He saw one of the inmates explode. He looked at his skin and realized that all of them were bloating. He looked lighter at the expanse of every inch of his skin.

Boom. He exploded too. 

The door was opened before he could even scream. He noticed the acid rain, it smelled so much like vinegar. His wounds stung at every drop on his skin.

In his head, it was the worst torture a prawn chicharon could get — being cooked in a microwave.

/random and weird inspiration

What is life?

Since I’m not too sober, maybe I should submerge my thoughts on answering one primordial question: what is life?

Life is a complex concept that can only be perceived by the human mind. For animals, life is but a cycle of satisfying physiological needs in order to maintain energy and to keep reacting to stimuli. To the human mind, however, life is putting one’s self in the center of things and trying to find meaning in every action, perception, and memory. Different standards, cultures and norms would dictate a way of life and its inherent quality. And there are universal truths that is true to each person: that belongingness (either to family, friends, or persons) makes life less lonely; that selfish emotions are to be satisfied before they turn into focal points of negativity; that love is above all things; and that there must be a certain type of spirituality or belief in the unknown to answer what’s vague and what’s mysterious.

And to this I say that life is a continual struggle of finding one’s self amidst the different personalities or convictions which may threaten a collective value system. Life can only be given true meaning if one is uniquely profound, or it can be a pattern of following what others have already established in the past.

In the end, if one is to truly enjoy life, he must find himself and rediscover again and again what truly makes his body clock tick and whatever input there is to find a subjective form of “happiness”. Life is beautiful for the appreciative after all. Or it can be a torment to someone with a “mangled” reality.

WTF did I just write. HAHA. Good night.

Blah

I had my interview for editorship today. It was a mess. My head was a mess before the interview, during the interview, and after the interview.

See? A mess.

C’est la vie. 

Tomorrow will be a better day. :)

Loloy

In a frantic effort to escape from his pursuers, Loloy struggles into the tall meadows that surround the outskirts of his barangay. The untamed land across the river could be his only chance for a break because of its isolation and proximity to the mountains. His body is badly beaten and the combination of sweat, blood and grime downplays his exterior to an inconceivable mess. He runs like he won’t have tomorrow as the footsteps of his enemies come into closer range. Nearly blacking out, Loloy regains composure and memories of the past flash through his mind in swift motions of dread and remorse.


I hope to finish this by noon. Or else my friend Marie won’t catch her deadline for the synopsis of this short story. It’s supposedly for a short film entry. 

Out of Tune

I just woke up. It’s weird that I only had five hours of sleep, when I always need seven more to be in good shape.

But that’s the problem; I’m not in good shape. I’m writing impulsively at three in the morning because it’s probably the best form of comfort I can find now.

There are a lot of things that dare to threaten my very sanity. I feel like I’m going mad. I feel scared for myself.

As of the moment, I am overwhelmed by the amount of changes I have embraced within the past year. I feel no grip of security at all.

Yes, I am an insecure mess.

Maybe this problem is deeply rooted with my faith crisis. Believing in something from childhood and suddenly conceding to a different and more realistic “truth” can get very disorienting at times.

I feel like I need Jesus back and the grace that comes with him. But my mind says no.

There’s that mindset of not relishing to something that is born out of people’s desperation to address life’s meaning.

But that’s another problem. I feel desperate. I am still convinced that my existence carries with it a spiritual aspect which no form of Science can ever satisfy.

I tried to worship nature in the past months. I meditate as substitute to prayer. But something’s missing. There’s a void which reflection or self-assurance can not placate.

Who am I, really?

I can’t believe that such primordial question in Philosophy can still haunt me so much.

And then there’s my problem with Marina. As another chain that shackles me to this instability, I feel like I’m going to snap out soon. I love that woman, and I have no regrets of having her as my first love.

I just don’t think that I’m in the right condition to love now. Frustration gets to me often, and I don’t want to hurt her with my disintegrated personality.

But I also find pleasure in feeling challenge from her end, something which I have just imposed in our relationship. Space - conviction tells me that it’s helping me now.

Lastly, there’s my family and this ugly routine which has been thrown at me ever since I came home from America. Just recently, my mom started to hate me. And the child within me seeks for her love.

When nobody’s here to take care of me, I feel like a helpless being that’s been made to mature ten years over his actual age. I miss my mom’s cooking, and even her smallest concerns for my hygiene.

My hideous toothbrush is two months old, and I’m running out of deodorant. Stupid, I know. But she always made sure I had them.

Maybe it’s my early display of independence, and my ability to scour oDesk for dollars that have made them think that I can fend for myself perfectly. The truth of the matter is, I need attention too.

In times like this, I want to break things. I have these hard-wired tendencies to be destructive. But what good does it do, really?

That’s the reason why I decided to write. I never did this in the past when I always felt that I have my brain as a form of personal blog. 

I actually feel better.

In less than a month, I’ll be forced to go back to Nursing school. But that’s another story. I hope I will have succumbed to MY norms again. I just want everything to be fine.