no need for more. just smile.
or you can check out others’ joy!
She noticed her suddenly getting busy that one afternoon while she was lazying herself toying with her point-and-shoot in the small hammock. It was rather unusual for her seeing her busy like that. Whenever she visits them, which is rarely, she normally sees her lying on the rickety wooden bed just by the door of their crumbling wooden house. She doesn’t mind if she shares the bed with her two cats, both tied for her own reason, one just got birth to four kittens who would soon be disposed to different households. She sometimes hear her snore, which calms her because she knows she’s in a deep, sound sleep, undisturbed by the chaos she’s loathed all these years. She surmises that when she doesn’t make any sound, she’s just there lying, appearing peaceful, but all the worries and frustrations are filling her restless mind. A thirty-something woman’s mind is a bucket filled with those, who knows how much of them overflow from the mind of a soon-to-be centenarian?
She then heard her call her name and was obliged to get inside the house.
She did not change her house dress, a worn-out yellow sleeveless shirt and red-green floral shorts, but she saw her glimmer with these white, or silver, (not-so-authentic) jewelry pieces on her neck, ears, wrists, and fingers. After boasting about them being a gift from her youngest child, she asked her to take a photo of her in that set.
She jokingly asked her why she was not wearing her glittery blue semi-gown her sister gave her, the dress she said she would want to be buried in once the time comes, but she blamed herself for not initiating and letting the old woman have the guts to ask for the shoot.
But she has lots of it, guts. She is never shy. She sings in front of many people if she desires. She dances in front of many people even if she’s half-naked at times. She is never the one who holds her thoughts back from anyone even if she’s not right. Her children and grandchildren cringe when she fights with others and even if she does it for them. She also fights her offspring and grandkids themselves (who are all scared of her at one point in their lives) if she feels they are disobeying or disrespecting her in any way.
But who could question the old lady’s character? When one was raised by a strict mother, was educated only up to the second grade being told that like carabaos, one could survive without further education, married at puberty during the time of war, buried a supposed-to-be only son after days of giving birth to him, buried one husband after another, worked on her own to feed six daughters, one of which she also buried after years of being in an abusive marriage, and has battled almost one hundred years of the daily ins-and-outs of life coping, or failing to cope, with the weathers of times, who wouldn’t be that tough?
And now she wonders, tough as she believes herself to be, will she ever reach her time? Being educated as far as she had dreamed of and being able to cope with the changing times, will she be able to survive sixty more years of the ups and downs of the world’s turmoil-driven setting? Will she ever have that chance of having one love that would give her a family she could work her butt off for? Or will she be there, too, on a rickety bamboo bed, trying to sleep her troubles away? Or will she be in a corner of some confinement together with others like her, or with no one somewhere under the sun begging for anything that would keep her sane? But does she really want that? To reach her time?
Despite her age and being the oldest among her siblings, despite being almost blind, despite the regrets and the failed dreams, one can still see “life” in her. She doesn’t have any conditions that would force her to be bed-ridden. She can still walk around every morning and every late afternoon sometimes accompanying her ailing younger sister. She can still notice the little things annoying to her and nag or rant about such. She can still wish that one of her offspring would put her in a big house and make her be called “rich.” (Years ago, she exchanged her roadside lot, now costing a million, with 300 pesos and a radio, which was a symbol of status during that time.) She still wishes that one day, she and all her offspring would be in one place and live together again. Most of all, she can still seek simple joys from simple things like being photographed by her, presumably, favorite grandchild.
She counted 1-2-3, uttered “smile,” then clicked it.
Who said she could trick her with the count and impose a smile on her? She managed, though, to take another shot.
And there it was, the kind of smile she got from her.
She is certain that she will be happy when she sees these herself in printed copies.
Do you remember that boy or girl in your street or class who became your first ever buddy? Or the time when you were really excited to tell your mother about a new kid you met? I don’t either. But I sure remember a few who left some special place in my mind: that little curl-haired girl who was fine with sharing packed snacks with me even if hers was way more tasty; that boy in first grade who helped me have an easy time conquering my shyness being my assigned partner doing that first field dance; my cousins who raced some kilometers with me from our school to our house just to get rid of the thought of the distance we had to take; and that kid neighbor who always went with me to that lone farm house with the big aratiles (Jamaican/Panama cherry) tree to fill a can of those sweet, tiny, red fruit at the expense of being scolded, or hit, by a strict mother upon going home.
Some people who started as our forced or random companions eventually become our friends and, if luckier, partners in life. You’re the luckiest if you get to keep those companions over time. As for me, I’ve lost a lot. Leaving one town or school or work for another because of personal circumstances means having to leave, too, those that already became more than mere companions. The good thing is that there are new ones that always come. And I guess despite all the other harsh facts of life, the fact that the cliche “No man is an island” bears will stay as the most assuring one. We are always forced to get our self that someone or something to be our buddy (e.g. Wilson, the ball, for Tom Hanks’s character in Cast Away). Especially at present, with all the technologies and ways, I don’t think the word “alone” still have the same meaning.
Sometimes though, moving away or location is not the reason why people once very close to each other have to part ways. Sometimes, it’s just growing up. Or sometimes, some people are just meant to be companions at some short time in our life. But that doesn’t mean they have the less impact. We are even surprised in some instances that those who come and become part of our life the shortest time are the ones who affect us the most. Long-time or short-time companions though, we know these people will always make us smile when our memories bring us back to those moments when they make us feel safe, special, and most importantly, happy.
And if you miss them? There’s always that thing called Facebook. 🙂
How easy life is by the sea.
Wake up as soon as dawn does, and prepare for office.
Before the daily grind, be sure to attend the brief ceremony and take part in waving your national pride.
Then, you’re all set for work. Take out your tool.
Some projects, you do by team.
And some, you just have to do alone to be ahead in the competition.
Sometimes though, it just has to be a family affair.
So that at the end of day’s work, you sell some and be eager to come home knowing that you’re bringing something to the table.
Of course, you do not forget your faith. To thank the One Above for another day of a smooth-going life.
And don’t forget, too, to have some little R&R.
How easy it is to live by the sea.
You always see how your dreams and hopes are glistened by the Sun.
roses oozing red, fields scattering greens, sunset on a horizon of orange, sheets of clean white, balloons smiling yellow, skies and seas of blue serenity, the deep brown in my grandma’s eyes that even though do not anymore behold this beauty the same way that i do, still reflect life… these are just some of my favorite things that bear the colors i love to see and that i goal to capture more of soon.
for now, here’s my take on this week’s challenge. being part of the crowd of these colorful people enjoying a dolphin show last year in Thailand brought a different kind of joy in me. as a kid who grew up with mostly the colors of poverty, i never dreamed of traveling outside my country because i knew it would be one of those dreams that would just leave me disappointed. when this undreamt dream came true last year, the joy it brought me inspired me to never underestimate the power of dreaming and working hard for it. much more joy when i got to blend with people of different colors. it was a humbling, challenging (with the language barrier), and enriching experience. sometimes, this kind of color that race brings sets boundaries, elicits fear and hatred, and even fuels wars. opportunities like this when you get to meet and be with different “colors” lessen if not totally remove the prejudice. but i hope that even though not all people get the same chance, we would all see that not one color is more vivid than another. white, black, brown, yellow… let us just appreciate the difference and stop the indifference. like the song goes, it’s a small world after all. and it should be a colorful world.
there should only be one color that shines through the world, and that is the color of love.
and so we begin with this.
hardly touching hands, barely hearing what we say. not caring at all.
but that smile? yes, mine. can you see?
and oh, my heart singing. scared you’ve been listening to all along.
i want you to hear, believe me.
but the present’s more stable, let’s just stay there.
and savor, freeze our moment.
for now, let me walk you to your dreams.
for i know when the right time comes, the right words shall flow.
she cries like it’s the end of the world. boy, she cries. she sets everyone in the house in panic once she does it. i sometimes think she does it intentionally to test who in the house will race to her first to try to pacify her. she always wins it anyways. once we give the thing that we think she needs or wants, she brings out that..that tricky tooth-less smile or giggle or laugh that sets everyone in the house in craze adoring and patronizing what she’s doing.
i can’t endure a baby’s cry. but seeing her like that, post-tears and all, makes me forget that fact and hope that someday, i will also hold my own delicate one that will forever warm my delicate heart.