Life Goes On

I specifically finished the house chores yesterday so I can just focus on worship today but like most plans, things did not go as hoped. I woke up crying because in my dream I was sending my father off to go back to the Philippines. We were at the airport and he was holding his passport and boarding pass while I was walking him to the Immigration check point. I asked him one more time if he wanted to stay because there were still other places I wanted to show him but he waved the idea off like how he usually did when his mind was set. He wants to go home, he said and just when I was about to give him one more hug, a hoard of travellers started rushing through and Papa needed to get in line. I watched him get in the queue, lining up along with other travellers. Since I was not allowed by the officer to go any further, I tried calling out so he will look back one last time but my father could not hear me. Look here, I thought. Look, just one more time. I woke up calling out “Pa” with a stuffy nose and pinched eyes. When I stared at myself in the mirror, I thought, “there is no way I am going to church looking like that.” There will be too many questions. I hate having to explain myself, most especially when I do not want to.

How long has it been? It has been 14 months since I buried my father. Today, for once in my life, I hated the artist in me. I hated that I went to art and dance classes instead of going to science camps. I hated picking up the paint brush instead of that biology book. I hated my disinterest in the inner workings of the human body. I hated being lured into loving vibrant colors and wild fantasies instead of appreciating the tangible things in life. I hated my answer to my teacher when she asked me what I wanted – I wish I did not say that I wanted a magic carpet to see the world. I wish I said that I want to be a doctor just like my father because if I were a doctor, I would have seen that cardiac arrest coming.

I knew it was lurking there but I did not know better. I trusted my father’s silence as him being alright but I forgot that my father never wanted to make a big deal out of the predicament that he was in because it was not his way to bother people, especially his own children. If I knew better, I would have known what to do; instead of just helplessly wiping the sweat off his face, his neck, his body when he was having the attack. If I knew better, I would have insisted to those nurses to elevate him as what he had instructed them to do, instead of allowing them to push him down on that hospital bed while he was struggling to elevate himself. Just now, I remember one conversation with him during breakfast about troubles in a relationship. He said, troubles in a relationship could not be solved laying down. Your heart can only take as much so you have to help it by sitting it out. “Pareha ra na sa cardiac arrest bah. Ayaw og higda maskin kadyot lang or else your heart will drown. (It is the same with cardiac arrest. Do not lay down, not even for a second, or else your heart will drown)”

Why was I not paying attention?

I decided to go out for a run to get some fresh, hot air just so I can stop punishing myself with more questions.

There’s a building 25 storeys high filled with people going about their business. A girl is smoking despite the humidity, three men two floors down are drinking beer and laughing, one couple kept their shades open while watching TV, one lady is calming her baby down, a man is displaying his horrid choice of music, the crows are squawking while perched on branches, and people are fanning themselves while exchanging stories outside a local cafe as I ran passed them.  The world is how it should be. Every where I looked, people are living their usual lives and life goes on. I hate that notion too – Life goes on.

A lover rips your heart out, life goes on. A married man leaves his wife and children, life goes on. A car accident happens in that spaghetti bowl freeway, life goes on. A friend commits suicide, life goes on. A promotion is offered to a less deserving employee, life goes on. A tragedy strikes a community, life goes on. A groom is stood up at the altar, life goes on. A loved one dies, life goes on. Shit happens, life goes on.

I think it is the most insensitive notion ever created, yet it is true. And whether we like it or not, whether we are ready or determined to linger – we have to move along.


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