FINDING LOVE AROUND THE CITY
By: Maan “Maggie” Villar
Do not be misled by the title, this is not another entry about “Casanovic exploits”. I, the forlorn lover, lament the world donning a kaleidoscope or rose colored glasses as popular literature would have it, as it goes about its usual pace around me. The isolation and lonesome of losing love and going through every day on your own makes you realize that there is truth to what the wise say that losing the one you love is not the end of the world, instead we can find love all around us. I concede. It is the truth.
It was a traumatized and embittered state of mind that led me to think that I ceased to live when the subject of my affections left me, that life is bound to end when I stepped out of his door. But being right here, right now, it is more like I stepped out of his door and stepped into life, learning from it and gazing at its beauty and fresh opportunity at every waking moment. It is filling. I am made wiser and sculpted into the best version there is of myself.
I am in one of my moods where I isolate myself from my Aristotlean personage, my being a social being, I shut off all means of communication and try to see the world not as one who is a resident to it but a spectator, a by-stander, someone watching from the surface and here I am on the by-line writing about what I see and what I feel. Probably reading Nietzsche and his theories on eternal return and other existential philosophers works had me need this time for myself to recalibrate my perceptions and philosophize, be left to the train of my thoughts and somehow bring the tip of the iceberg to paper. Philosophize…
Many questions in this world remain unanswered. Similar to a Grecian goddess frolicking in the fields filling the earth with its magnificence and ethereal nature, its wonder a mystery which we cannot muster an explanation.
Is time finite?
Do things recur in an unending sequence in parallel universes?
Is death indeed the end of life?
The answers sometimes need no disheveling, it could be found at the surface. When you look at the people around you, from the lowly guards whose face we forget in just a few seconds, the Starbucks barista who would buy his child a cheap plastic toy from Baclaran prior to going home and would deprive of himself of lunch for that toy, the traffic enforcer baking in the sun and worrying about what clothes he would wear tomorrow because his shoes are worn and he has only enough money for a ride home and not enough to buy himself laundry detergent, to the tire d and wrinkled man emerging from the mart who has worked as a clerk for 25 years and is buying the night’s meal for two generations of his family since his son would rather enjoy Eat Bulaga rather than get a decent job, even to the bus driver whose back is aching because of his untreated scoliosis as he would rather send his funds for his mother’s hospital bills and his kids tuition fee.
These people do not even have the time to contemplate such trivialities because of the kind of life they are subjected to. We do not even take the time to notice them or be kind to them. These are real stories and there are even far worse. And we even have the grit to complain?
I have found myself giving my heart to these people when I volunteered for a human rights organization. The many cases that were left dormant, the many rights trampled upon and the many stories that have not even seen the light of day. Even if I could emanate that love through even just a warm smile, giving my bus seat to the lady who looks tired from the day’s work, opening the door for the tired old man, and many simple acts that could make their days a little better.
Many would gawk at my sentiments or find that it is commonplace in our democratic setting but they are real, they are not just something you donate money to, these are the very issues that need a voice and need not only our compassion but also our heart. I am well aware of what they are going through, of what they are feeling because at some point in my life I sold polvoron and banana candy to my school mates to make ends meet and felt the drive and the need to succeed, be great in this life because I saw my mother in tears as she bore the burden of making me finish my schooling, I saw how she is tired from her weekly bus rides from Baguio to Manila and back to render her shift as she eats sardines while her fellow nurses ate the delicious choices from their cafeteria all because she wanted to enroll me to ballet classes, violin classes and other activities just so I could be a cut above the rest, making sure we never go hungry at home, that there is rice on the table served on time and that I am dressed in the latest garb so that no one would pick on me. I saw her do all these while her hands harden from the calluses of making jewelry and chocolates for extra money, her hair whiten because she has to make sure she pays our bills on time and her great beauty fade with wrinkled skin and white hair as a sign of how she fared to make my life comfortable and an explicated sign of her wisdom and efforts. Even if we are in a much better position that before, we have been witnesses of that life, we have seen hardship – firsthand. And these are all that makes me smart and strong and my mother a martyr who sacrificed her comfort for mine.
Look around you…
Hear these people…
I would dedicate my graduate degree paper to these people, it would be a landmark piece, I am sure of it, my entry to the academic debate where I am somehow putting a voice to issues, and living that mantra that I have known as a child when they gave me the meaning of my name on a framed printout of it, that my name means fighting the good fight – always.