5.21.2007

maskara

masayang masaya ang mga bata habang nanonood ng palabas sa entablado. magaling ang payaso, at hindi niya mapatigil ang mga bata sa kakatawa. sa mga kolorete pa lamang na nakapinta sa kanyang mukha, damit na puno ng kulay, at dagdagan pa ng talento ay nabibigyan niya ng buhay ang silid na ito. sa kaunting galaw, kaunting paglalaro sa kanyang mga salita, napapahalakhak niya ang mga manonood na hindi lamang pulos bata, may ilan ding mga matatanda na katunayan ay napabibilib din.

ngunit hindi lahat ay natutuwa sa kanya. we can’t please everybody nga raw galing sa kasabihan. pero ang masakit, siguro, nilalait pa ang marangal na trabaho ng kawawang payaso. nagbayad ako para panuorin ang taong yan na umarteng magpakatanga? masakit sa tainga pero siguradong higit na masakit sa tainga ng payaso na patuloy sa kanyang pagpapatawa kahit alam kong narinig niya ang mga masamang opinyon ng matanda.

magaling siya na payaso sa aking palagay—may kakaibang karisma. at, bagaman narinig niya ang masamang opinyon sa kanya kanina, hindi siya nagpahalata. katunayan, hindi talaga halata. magaling siya.

ordinaryong araw lang ito para sa kanya. isang oras na pagpapatawa sa entablado, anim hanggang walong beses sa isang araw ang ordinaryong araw para sa kanya. halos wala nang oras para isipin pa ang sariling pakiramdam. pero, lumalabas pa rin siya sa entablado. hindi, lumalabas siya sa entablado hindi dahil ito ang kanyang trabaho kundi naniniwala siyang may napapasaya pa siya—tulad ng mga bata, at ilang mga matatanda. hindi nga naman lahat katulad noong kanina kaya’t lumalabas pa rin siya sa kanyang entablado, masiglang-masigla, puno ng buhay, pilit ginagawang espesyal ang ordinaryong araw ng mga batang ito, at ilang matatanda roon.

ang hindi alam ng lahat, bago matulog, habang nakaupo sa kanyang kama, yayakap siya ng unan at doon hihingi ng tulong at lakas. gugulong ang isa o dalawang luha sa kanyang mga pisngi na namumula pa sa pagkakuskos ng gulurete.

at sa umaga, uupo sa isang monoblak na may hawak na isang tasang kape. ang mukha’y hindi na mukha kundi naging maskara na—maskara na nagbabantay ng kanyang tunay na pakiramdam at pagkatao. habang humihigop ng kape ay nakatitig sa ulap, sa mga ibon. tatayo at ilang sandali pa’y ilalapag na ang tasa, nginigti. ipipilit ang ngiti. aayusin. aayusin ang ngiti hanggang maging natural. handa na siya sa kanyang unang palabas.

lumabas siya ng entabladong puno ng sigla, patalun-talon pa nga. tuloy ang pagpapatawa. tuloy ang pagpapasaya gamit ang maskara.

5.14.2007

a vision

the trees are dancing, the scent of the morning dew, and the blend of random chirps of birds and laughter of kids and babies awakes my senses as i sit here in one of the benches of this secluded park. it is a rest day-a saturday or sunday, an ordinary day particularly set for her, for them.

in this park, during weekends, we spend our mornings with other babies and adults. we take time to sit and relax as if trying to slow things down. the park is a private one--specially made for the neighborhood around, for the small kids and babies and adults, for safety, for the community. it is a small, but nice one. there are trees and plants all over that shade a huge part of the playground, wooden benches around, a fountain near the coffee shop about seven to eight benches away from the playground where one can watch his kids as he sips his latte.

it’s about nine and the sun is getting stronger. glancing at the playground from a bench, a reflection of the sun bounces back like a mirror straight to my eyes. i see a forehead, lips--smile, and hands holding a cute tiny baby.

few years ago, i saw this same situation. i was at my tenth grade when i was caught staring at a girl holding a kid around 3 years old. it seemed, according to my watchful eyes, that she really loves kids. and, kids love her too. soon, i came to know her and found out that she’s really fascinating. transparent, really. we share a lot in common, and it feels good being with her, being myself.

as i stare at her talking to the cute tiny baby, i could not avoid noticing her smile, her joy as she speaks silently. she looks at me again carrying that smile from the baby, catches me staring. the smile is still there. she lifts the baby against her chest allowing her left hand to be free. that hand spots my direction, points at me, as if calling me. come.

i, effortlessly, unconsciously, returns her smile, reminding me again of an incident, incidents--memories, when we were still young, when time and chances were still out of our control. i had memorized the words we always say to each other over the years—that undying line that fills me with trust and security. i will always be here for you.

and indeed, she did. i know she deserves something, someone better. i know all of this. that is why i am so grateful. really. that is why i strive for the better. this is the reason why… I will always be here for you, to make you happy every morning we wake and every night we sleep. this is why, where i get my strength.

with the baby, she cuts my moment and sits with me. she looks at me, and i to her. again, a memory flashes. i remember the time when i told myself that i’ll fight for this. how could I ever forget? i can even remember the reason why. at that moment, i knew what i wanted. i knew that that was right; i just didn’t have the courage to tell her, ask her, to stay and live the future with me. i didn’t. not that i didn't want to. i didn’t because i don’t want to tell her what to do. i want her to want to stay and live the future with me.

i grasp her left hand tightly as if trying to tell her a message. she slowly leans toward me as an answering to my short message. thank you.

the baby is already asleep.

let’s go. he’s already asleep. we should go back now. she smiles, slowly stands not wanting to wake the baby up. as i pull the trolley, she waves at me signaling she doesn’t need it. she wants to carry the baby instead. sweet mom.

she is so beautiful especially with that baby sleeping against her chest. especially with our baby sleeping against her chest. i just can’t stop looking, appreciating the wonders God feeds my sight. then she looks back, giggling, as though she knew, saying Quit watching me, it’s really irritating!