Sunday, 6 April 2014

F*cking Out the Sadness (Part 2): Birthday Boy

*This isn´t my life story. Although it is loosely based from a close friend´s life and though I write this in part because it is his birthday,  I have given myself the liberty flip out the facts, insert bombs as I see fit.  So think about this as a story where you can take what you need,  then go  forth, try to be happy*

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Happy 36th to me! Happy 36th to me!  Happing effing birthday to me!

These kids don´t really care or know that it´s my birthday.  What they care about is why I am playing Big Brother in the house with them.  These beautiful kids probably miss their mom,  or want their dad now, but hey, they  just have to make do with the birthday gay.  

Babysitting on my birthday.  How´s that for a celebration?   But in the face of  a friend´s  tearful wail as she drops the news of her mother´s death, how do you say no to her pleas to please, please look after her kids for a few days so she can catch a plane to the Philippines immediately.  

I know the pain, the guilt, the questions, the I-should-haves that  ran through her as she tried to arrange a trip home on a short notice.  Two years ago, the day after my birthday, while I was still  in midair somewhere over the Pacific Ocean,  my sick mother died.
My sister recounted how  in her last conscious moments, my mother would ask softly, “Anong araw na ngayon?”   She was fighting off the darkness long enough so that I can be saved from the added despair  of her death on my birthday.  In the scheme of things, what does it matter that she died a day later?  Not much. But that she thought of what it might mean to me, protecting me from at least that psychological pain, that was her gift.

It is cold outside, so ordinary a day.   There is no wine  nor friends  to clink glasses with, not even the casual birthday booty call, but it is okay.  This is perhaps me getting old and piecing together some wholeness after the grieving years.   I am ready, I tell myself and my friends.  I am ready to be real, to not turn to the call of flesh to deaden the pain,  I am ready to be happy without destroying myself.  I am ready to accept that perhaps I am to live alone and love alone. 

So I sit here on a house not my own, fussing over  kids who know me  only as their mother´s friend.  Four more days in this place until their Dutch father is free to take them in.   In the meantime  I sit here thinking, this isn´t so bad.   My life isn´t so bad:  I got promoted at work,  I have been traveling a lot last year, and I am calmer now.  

To spend the day to help a friend in need,  I think how it does seem like the best gift to give.  From me to the world, a thank you for a life, though flawed and imperfect, is a life strewn with small good things.

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