Wrote this 2004
Title: The Bus
I ride the 3 o clock bus to and from my work. I keep unusual hours so the bus is almost always pretty much empty when I ride it. this doesn’t bother me because this saves me from the noise and distraction that may impede my enjoyment of the view of the night park, which is the last view of the mountain top I work at.
Mmmmm, If only my words can do justice to how beautiful that night park is. It was said to have been built by the rich billionaire who had the 10th tallest mountain in the world turned in to a plateau and converted to his own version of shang ri-la.
The night park can be aptly called the 8th wonder of the world, it is a hanging garden that was built on moving platforms that purposely change the garden so that the garden is never the same ever. It was said that the possible combinations when calculated topped 8billion possibilities. And if that is not enough to amaze then you must see the sunset and sunrise from this place. The architect of this palace separated the possibilities into times and weather condition that maximize the beauty of any condition. And its not just beauty it seems as if this place reads the mood of people who walk through it. If I am sad it makes me sadder and when I am happy the night park makes me happier.
Going to work on Tuesdays was an especially important part of my weekly routine because that’s when I get to see my “princess”.
She had the most beautiful smile. A beautiful but sad smile that was hidden by the way she wore her long black hair. Her hair never allowed me to see fully that beautiful face of hers. She was always wearing looking outside the bus, and I can barely remember a time when I didn’t see her wearing an extremely large hat matched with stylish sunglasses.
I’ve been working at shang ri-la for 3 years know and she has never missed a Tuesday. She was always at the left window seat of the last row of the bus.
3 years and I don’t even know her name . I tried to sit beside her once but I heard her complain of people always trying to help her , always trying to get close. That prompted me to be happy with not getting “close”.
Not trying to get close did not mean I didn’t try to get noticed. It would not be too far of, if I was to say that I have consistently made a fool of myself because (end Nov 25, 2004 1910H)(Continued December 2, 2004 0128H) I really wanted to meet her. I’d give you an example. I once wore a T-Shirt and Hat combo that declared in neon green colors “this guy wants to meet you beautiful lady that rides at the back of the bus”. But this she just addressed with a smirk and a turning of the head.
Well as the normal progression of human life goes I was having one of those bad days. And as If that wasn’t enough It was raining and the ride home was horrendous. Even the sight of the Night park from afar was bringing me to tears. My eyes were flooding from tears as I slowly went out of the bus and immediately entering my house. I was so depressed. I didn’t even know what I was depressed about, I was just depressed. The emptiness of my heart, of my life was beginning to take hold of me. I just didn’t know what to do. I was listlessly trying to avoid going to a fit of anger, just walking, walking and walking around my house. Then when waking no longer sufficed I was starting to see things differently. I was seeing death wherever I was looking. I went to the bathroom and was seeing myself hands slashed peacefully sleeping in the hot tub. I went to the kitchen and saw myself , mouth bubbling from all the rat poison I have ingested. I went to the utility room and a hundred million gruesome ways to die was enveloping all my thought functions. To me death no longer seems a possibility but an eventuality that was waiting for the right path to tread. I was going to die, It was no longer a question but the reality which I was living. My life is a sorry excuse for a life well lived. A life of misery capped with a thin coating of bittersweet rejection, and the fine icing of loneliness. I was a lost soul, a testament to the mindless trivialities that is killing the beauty and freedom enjoyed by my generation. A cherubim was singing my timely end. The endless void of a vacuous life per askance. I saw death, I No Longer lived. I am dead.
and then it rang. A simple phone call. a lighthouse of sanity. a life vest of insights, I was damned , yet I was curious. Who knew my number, who dared call my number. Am I not the epitome of recluse, a human being only in nature but never human being in action. Has life suddenly appeared. Is there really reason to live.
I ran and answered the phone, and what I heard, moved my inner being that, I no longer felt the pain, I was no longer alone. I heard a fragile needing sweet voice and from that point on I no longer lived for myself but for that other person in the other side of the line.
We talked as only two souls who cannot hide anything from each other. we were the fusion of pain and joy. I was flooded with emotions that I never knew I had. Most of the time words were incapable of handling the emotions that we were sharing. The silence , that silence, that was our connection, the darkness , the darkness, that was our world. light , light that was our telephone call.
We talked for hours to no end, we just talked. I found things about her and she about me. I found out that she just typed my number out of sadness. she typed my number purely of luck, purely of fate, I would like to believe. and when all sense of time and self has deserted us we just drifted to blissful sleep.
I woke up. it was not a dream, but I was scared the phone line was dead, I realized I did not know her number. It rang and it was she. I told her I almost thought I lost her. I asked for her number, she would not give it to me. I tried to give her mine but she refused “let this be our line, let this be our phones, let these connect our souls” she said that she would just press redial every time she wanted to speak to me, and that I needed to live my life, the life that I loved. and that was our arrangements.
I was working. I worked to keep the company house, I resisted promotion, so that I would never be reassigned a better house, I was living , and my life was the time we spoke to each other. that was the moment I live and everything else was nothing.
We kept doing this for 3 years and although I sensed a certain sadness that I cannot connect with, a certain weakening of the voice, our connection never faltered. I was happy with our arrangement , I needed nothing more. I was contented. Then she said “Let’s see each other June 21 its the summer solstice the longest day of the year, let this be the first day of tomorrow” I said Yes, she said ” I will not call you till then” I said Yes she said “Let’s meet each other at the Night Park” I said Yes “I’ll wear pink” she said “I’ll wear white” I replied, Then I spoke to her about something we have always left unspoken “I Love You” she said nothing.
That was late December a good six months I occupied myself. slept at my workplace, never taking the bus, wanting to make the trip to the Night Park special, I resolved not to pass by the night park till the time I will finally meet her.
6 months passed, the longest wait I have ever had. I woke up early catching my usual 3 o’clock bus but this time it was a 230 bus because it was just leaving shang ri-la. I snuggled comfortably in my usual seat and was stupidly lulled to sleep. I woke up , it was a Thursday she was there wearing a light pink dress, were my eyes fooling me, is she my girl, is she my missing piece, My heart was fluttering, The bus stopped at the Night Park, I went out of the bus and surprise, surprise she went down the bus too. I can no longer control myself, I approach her. She calls me love, we embrace, the interlock of two people never meant to be apart, the overriding emotion of bliss. We walked, we talked, It was strange when you were facing each other, there was a certain awkwardness. We danced we ran, we lived, In my life that is the moment that I lived. We had the happiest day in the longest day, we saw the joyful beauty of the sunrise and the sorrow of the sunset.
We were by the bus stop , I was holding her, then she gave me a letter I read it.
I Love You. If there is nothing else to be said then let these be my last words to you. The woman you are with is not me she is my twin sister. If you are reading this then I must have died. The cancer must have taken my life, but it will never take my love away from you. I had asked my sister to meet you because I cannot let you be alone in this day , our day. I used to ride this bus often, I was blind and really never saw the beauty of this part, I always saw this part through the eyes of my sister. Now I see you to through her eyes. I Love You.
I sat there and I cried
Wrote This 2005
“Lagi na lang akong Basted” I think to myself, why can’t women seem to find something good about me, its always “Your a nice guy Quentin, But… ” or the classic “You would make another girl so happy” Ano ba ang problema ko? “Haaa” may be its the omen that I date. Well maybe , Let’s see starting today I won’t go for the Hollywood or even the Philippine concept of good looking or even nice looking, I would no longer go for the extremely accessorized cellphone totting 100 letters a minute texter, with the fake (and sometimes legitimate) Louis Vitton carrying woman. I think I need to see SIMPLE. I need to find someone SIMPLE.
I was thinking all of this while waiting for the MRT to arrive to take me from Ayala to the simple MRT station of Quezon Avenue. It is a small miracle to have gone through bag inspection and ticket insertion without a hitch. As it is already a noon there isn’t much people around, everyone is crowding the nearest Jollibee or chowking to grab lunch, Whilst I, being a Call Center employee of irregular schedule is trying to get home and catch some shut-eyes. There’s not much to do while waiting for the train to arrive so I’ll just survey the passengers, probably other irregular hours call center slaves like me. I was keeping my eye out for the simple girl, my new “type” when she caught my eye.
What can I say about her? She is an average looking woman at first glance, she wasn’t that tall, she had a very pain face and she wasn’t even sexy. But she had that child’s smile, that innocent playful smile that Meg Ryan does so well, And she had that unusual awed look.
Now this is Miss Simple. She wore a plain white top with no prints and jeans whose label I can’t seem to figure out. She had shoulder length hair which she wore down plainly tied. And from what I can tell she didn’t have a mobile and from the looks of things neither did she have a wallet.
I was savoring her sight when the train arrived and I hurriedly trotted to somewhere near her so that we would be riding in the same (train compartment). As I entered the (train compartment) she was already comfortably seated and I flashed her a confident (not too confident) smile and politely asked her if someone was sitting beside her (all the while knowing she wasn’t traveling with someone) when some asshole took my seat beside her. I chuckled and said to her “Thanks Na Rin”, she smiled back and stood up clutch the hand hold, and said “haven’t ridden the MRT before, mas masaya sigurong nakatayo” and she took the other side of the train opposite where I was standing. And I think I found my Simple Girl.
She was visibly happy the whole way and I chatted her up a bit. Told her some inconsequential facts about some of the buildings we passed by. Ha! Nothing beats the feeling of feeling helpful and smart at the same time. I felt more like a famed historian rather than the boring tourist guide that I probably was. Just like that N (research travel time Ayala to North Ave.) minutes passed and it was the North avenue station, didn’t think for a second that I would go down at Q Ave. station. The train stopped and we went down. HA my ticket was invalid and I had to apologetically buy a valid one that charged the whole MRT route from Taft to north Ave., Nothing my call center salary can’t handle. Hehehe.
When we were at the road side I asked her where to and she just replied “You Decide!”. My mind scream what is this, am I dreaming is this a Quentin fantasy granted, Woops don’t go there. Let’s not be to assuming. And I told her what if we watched a movie. She said “Lets Go”.
We ended up watching a nice Cusack movie which made her laugh a lot, Me I watched her. She had that sweet short giggle a little high pitch but really melodic. Though I could see the seats were making her uncomfortable she seldom rested her back from her constant giggling. There was even a moment when I thought that I saw her looking at me through an over hair styled ladies foundation mirror.
Next I herded her to Worlds of Fun and we went through everything in that place a minimum of three times. I specially enjoyed her version of Broken Vow in the Public Karaoke which turned not a small number of heads, and drew a sizable crowd which gave her a heart warming standing ovation (Well they were already standing and they were clapping there hands).
I had such a great time. I felt she did to. When SM was closing we were drinking coffee at the “SM garden” and I finally remembered to ask her name, It was Annalissa. Told her I was Quentin. Seeing she didn’t had a phone I didn’t ask her number thinking I might end up offending her. We kept talking and conversing exchanging our views , when the crew started packing up to prepare for closing. The night has ended and the day has already begun. I offered to take her home hoping it was near, I was low on funds. She said someone’s going to pick her up, I frowned. She said “IT not who you think it is”, My face lights up. I ask her, if I could see her tomorrow, she said “No, I’ll See you next Thursday at Ayala station same time, we will find each other”. Well beggars can’t be choosers and I grumbled but acquiesce. I look in to her eyes and we kiss. It was the low point of my kissing life, I go in to fast and end up hurting both our lips and gums. She laughs and I frown , then I laugh, We Laugh. She tells me “leave now, lets see each other Thursday” I tell Her “I will exist for Thursday” , I’m such a loser. I shouldn’t have said that.
The days pass and Thursday comes and I am alive, we spent 4 Thursdays together each was different yet very much the same. She always wore her stylish jeans that didn’t have a brand and she always wore a plain white top and sneakers. But we always found each other going to different places. One thing always stayed the same. I was Alive. We were happy.
The times I was with her I was always the eager beaver trying to impress her with anything and everything. In our 4 Thursdays I brought her to an orphanage, an old age home, an abused children rehabilitation and counseling home and lastly to a children’s cancer ward. And each of those Thursdays was my heaven on earth. Whilst bringing gifts to the homes we were visiting she seemed to love me more and more, and it made me happy, now all that mattered to me was that look in her eyes that joy that she expressed on those beautiful eyes of her, that raw and overpowering expression of untamed love and gratitude. I can still remember every kiss. whenever emotions were no longer enough to contain the undamable part of our hearts we seemed to find ourselves looking into each others eyes and by some unknown phenomenon of science and magic our lips meet and in that union of our lips is but the weakest link in a true union of our souls. In that instance of instances nothing of this earth mattered nothing of this existence was acknowledge all that existed were two people in pursuit of most probably nothing but that which can only be towered upon by God. I live and I lived.
The fifth Thursday we were meeting I summoned enough courage to demand I accompany her home. She didn’t come. It was as if she knew I wanted more from her and then she couldn’t give me more.
This changed me. You changed me My Simple Girl.
It was my first time outside alone. With everything happening around and about me I finally was able to stubborn my way into some freedom, free at last. What do I do first? I’ll buy myself some Ice Cream. Aaieh the lady was mean she seemed pre occupied with texting and didn’t appreciate being bothered by me. At least she still sold me some Ice Cream. Let’s ride the Train.
Aaieh didn’t know where to go, the ticket seller seemed disturbed when I told him I want to go to the end pointing northward. he asked me where? to the end I said! Where? TO the End! I repeated, To north Ave station? yes anywhere! then say you want to go to North Ave.! Okay I want to go to North Ave. I declared! I paid and headed to the ticket checking machine amid the scorn and ridicule I was receiving from the other people in the line I was in. maybe freedom is not such a good Idea.
Aaieh cannot seem to make this ticket checker check my card, Oh no there ridiculing me again. Aaaaaieh Don’t call me stupid, finally got this ticket through, where do I go, ha just missed the train, It’s nice here although the people aren’t to nice the place has a hauntingly eerie yet interesting look, Nothing can change my mood I am going to be happy today. Got to wait for the train. It’s finally here, Hey the
Why are they pushing me when there is so much space. can’t understand them. Ha found a seat . Wow somebody smiled at me. He was the first person who smiled at me today! He is also the first happy smiler that smiled at me. Some asshole took the seat beside me! same asshole that was pushing me, I felt he was harassing me! enough of him. I said to my smiler “haven’t ridden almost anything before, mas masaya sigurong nakatayo”. sheesh the train curved and I was suddenly thrown forward, almost bumped my smiler, aaieh I grabbed the same hand hold. My smiler had rough hands.
I think my smiler is trying to impress me, and he did somewhat. He told me about the relative shopping qualities of Makati Ortigas Greenhills Divisoria and Quiapo. He seemed to have a different story per train station. But I caught some his mistakes like the seating capacity of Makati, Ortigas ,and Libis his estimates were off my a thousand. but he had a nice way of understating things that really made smile.
Time passes so fast. It seems I we have reached the end of the train ride. My smiler helped with my ticket but it seems his ticket was defective. He looked so cute groveling at the ticket seller. we walked down the stairs and it seems he was walking to slowly. He is trying to prolong our meeting. Thanks means I don’t have to do anything.
We reach the end of the train ride and smiler walks slowly, too slowly it quite obvious he is prolonging our meeting. All journeys must end or so I thought but when we were by the road side he asks me out for a movie.
We watch the movie in a newly renovated movie house (I can still smell the paint) inside a mall. There weren’t many people in the movie house and that relieved me. I felt unease in crowds, it excites me and scares me at the same time.
The movie we watched was a romantic comedy and it really made me laugh. I was laughing heartily throughout the whole movie. I was recovering from one of my hearty back bending laughs when I see him staring at me by the mirror of the woman seated in front of us. He had the strangest expression of delight, expression of a child learning something or finding something out for the first time.
I did not understand it at first, Why was he so happy? Why do his eyes shine? Why can’t he seem to hide his smile? Where is all this coming from? Then something strange happened! Through his reflection it is as if we looked inside each others eyes.
It was as if in that moment he afforded me a look inside his soul and when I looked inside him what I saw was a soul a thankful soul that was telling me something more that thank you, something I have never seen in this intensity and in this form.
It was only then that I realized my company was the thing that was making him really happy. And then at that moment I felt alive, a certain mix of amazement and joy shrouded me. this was the feeling of making people happy, this was what Papa felt whenever he brought me anything or the nursemaid came and made me more comfortable. What a strange and wonderful sensation this joy of making people happy.
Is this why people, people who have gifts far beyond those of ordinary human beings seem to prostrate themselves, humble themselves in front of my father asking for money to help, always to help others. This was what they felt(Was this what they felt). A feeling unequaled by the feeling one derives personal glory or achievement of any kind. It is that which we can only see(experience) when we feed a hungry child or teach a father a way of making a dignified living this was
What drives people to brave the harshness of nature the unending suffering of the world to bring relief to people of less opportune conditions, this was the multiplication of good, that surprising revelation that whatever good we do others it multiplies our joy and lifts us to heights of ecstasy unreached from only physical namesakes.
In that moment I was truly happy but was also saddened by my realization that till now and beyond my father I have given joy to only one person. And in that strange mix of joy and regret I first tasted the love a woman toward another, in that moment where I felt grateful my emotions ripened developed to the love I knew was my first love and probably my last.
I can never seem to forget that day when I tasted real freedom, when my soul was released from the bondage of love and I moved on to the freedom of loving.
I can tell you about each second that occurred that day but that doesn’t matter, what mattered was that I learned to love and that day was followed by other days and life was sweet yet love sweeter. I Love
My daughter wanted it this way. After her mom she was everything and after her nothing but now she is everything.
She wrote me before she died. She told me how much she loved me and was sorry for being the cause of so much pain for me. She could be nothing but wrong. Like her mother before her she was the joy of my life, the focus of everything that was me. and now she writes me.
She writes me of love and of joy, of happiness in service and of the joy of joy. She tells me of first love and her fervent wish to remain, to be still here. She is. She writes me of a man, a man that is most improbably of my employ and her fervent wish to live with and through that man. I meet him and we hit it off quickly, here was a man full of life strength and ideas, strangely a certain sorrow. We talk about advocacies charities, and social change, we seem to see eye to eye in most things and I proposed we start a foundation. We do it one foundation at a time. One charity at a time, one group at a time we helped. We helped an orphanage, then an old age home, afterwards an abused children rehabilitation and counseling home and children’s cancer ward, we rehabilitated so many homes/shelters and started so any soup kitchens the foundation was beyond the two of us. So I started to formalize the foundation and had his sign the documents for the foundation and with the help of my staff we were to unveil it at the vacant lot in front of MRT station Quezon Ave. The government was so desperate for money I was able to buy it (though at very high unprofitable prices) and it was Thursday June 19 2008 my daughter’s 25th Birthday. In the unveiling/ ground breaking ceremony he seemed strangely out of sorts. He spoke first and talked about a woman that she met roughly 3 years ago. How he realized that though life without her would never be life, the foundation, helping other people was the answer, was the woman that nursed her back to life, the woman that gave him the simple joys of being alive and being able to help others. He talked about how he used the orphanages the homes and shelters as a way to impress this lady but in the end it was the only thing that kept him from living a life without hope. He thanked me and the strange circumstance that I tapped him in fostering our advocacies and the good I wanted to do to other people in this world. His speech touched me and when it was time for me to speak and introduce our foundation. I stood in front of all of them and said.
My daughter died 3 years ago and I have never been the same since. I had all the money I could want in this world and yet I cannot save her, this brought me endless pain, and yet she introduced me to someone who had that same melancholy in his life, one who shared a similar pain. Quentin was pretty much like me and meeting him I see myself when I was his age, But we differ in one aspect although we both found love, I was to caught up with worldly things , that prevented me from really being the man that I am today the man that Quentin already is. My daughter taught me how to be that man and I think he taught another soul. This is what this foundation is about, It is about being a better man, it is about finding that beautiful person within you and in the process of helping ourselves we help others. This foundation, my and Quentin’s foundation is about my daughter that taught both of us. So without further ado we break ground to the headquarters of Analissa Foundations INC.
It was only then I realized the quirk of fate that brought us together and the reality that I was really loved, that the foundation really nursed my near dead soul to life, because the foundation is Annalissa and Annalissa loves me.