I decided to stay in today. I figured it was gonna rain in the afternoon, like it did yesterday and the day before. And I haven't got any money left, so my trip would've consisted of pityful window shopping and pathetic sidetrips to pizza chains, waiting for miracle emergency money to suddenly appear in one of my wallet pockets so I could finally eat mozarella pizza. I woke up feeling extremely lazy anyway, with my book conveniently tucked in the corner one armstretch away from my bed. My cousin slash tour guide and today, slash house arrest buddy was cool to just hang out at home, and I think we both needed the rest. The boarders have all gone to school, including her brother, who only delighted us with one round of tong-its before he went back to his Uni. Her mother went to work - leaving the two of us to do whatever the hell we wanted to do with the house. We could've thrown a party - seriously, we just had to roam around the subdivision, knock on people's doors, invite them to snip into a little snack, force them to stay over for a movie marathon, and then get them to chip in money so we could buy more food. Chili pancit canton, I'd prefer, and iced Coca Cola.
But I'm not exactly the party-throwing, door-knocking, simultaenous-befriending kind of person. What I am is the kind of girl who takes liberty in having the house all to herself, cozy up in bed, and play Jack Johnson on loop. It's better when you're in Baguio, the weather makes perfect company for a hot coffee and idleness. I was slipping under the bed sheet - because when I'm short of a blanket, the bedsheet does it - when I realized it was the same bedsheet from 3 years ago.
I just came from London that month. I was back from Chiara's 18th birthday party in Manila and my High School friends and I planned to go to Baguio just cos. The house was empty, just as it was today, we'd came back early from town and we decided to just hang out inside, slip under the same bedsheet, put the camera on multiple-shots mode, and waste the rest of the day away doing nothing but that.
I remember being completely happy. I just got bangs - for the first time ever in my entire life- I had this face moisturizer that did wonders for my face, I'd just started wearing skirts, I had a princess headband that I've been meaning to get for forever, I'd just began learning my camera settings, and I know it was kind of shallow to find happiness in those, but I did. I thought it was the Universe's way of putting the kind of cherry I wanted on my kind of cake. I was just done with Freshman year, and there I was, opening up my Sophomore year in Baguio with good friends from home who'd chosen to spend those days with me doing completely nothing.
I've had my bangs for three years now, I have not just a moisturizer but also a -would you believe it- a face foundation that can do more than just wonders, I have a whole set of headband whose pieces I keep losing but kept replacing, I have a new camera that has better macro, but there was no cherry, there was just the crummy cake. I was just done with college, and here I am, opening up my Adulthood stage in Baguio, tucked under the same Bed Sheet, and missing my old friends, my old life, and my old headband.
There was a time in my life where I'd shamelessly depended upon material things for my happiness. Months ago, my route had been blocked because of a major fire, and I spent 2 hours on a jeep getting somewhere which would've normally taken 10 minutes, for a job confirmation I didn't even like. I figured that getting back would take as long, and that I didn't want to go home as sad as I'd left it, so I figured I'd just go to the mall at the far end of the road. Bench carried a shirt that I immediately fell in love with, and bought it. I remember feeling suddenly relieved, knowing that whatever emptiness I had of me at the time would be filled with a new, purple shirt.
It did - for a little while. And things just went down on a spiral from thereon, the void kept getting bigger, until it began materializing into a sickening pit, and I figured that I could reverse the pull if I bought more purple shirts. I started with a book, then shoes, then a hair cream, then DVD's, then a handy comb (finally), then a haircut, then a white shirt, then scarves, then another book, and another, and another, and then I just stopped. Nothing was making any difference, I still felt pretty empty, the void is still there, and I just knew that I can only buy so much purple shirts. There'd be a time when I needed to fill it with something real, and that time was now.
I remember doubting how some people used to tell me, "everything would turn out fine in your life, look at mine." And I'd look at those people and see sadness in their eyes. I don't know if I was judging, or I don't really know them all that well to really know. I just know that what they told me didn't do much
difference. I look at them and noticed that their career hadn't gone all that perfectly, which I thought was, at the time, the most important thing. I look at them and I see their 19-year-old selves and how their younger versions wouldn't even believe what they have to say now. I look at them and realize there's no cherry, too.
But there I was under the bed sheet, and all I could do was reminisce about the time in High School, my Baguio Vacation when I was 10 with my older cousins, the fiestas we spent over at my Grandparents, that Tagaytay trip in College, that Scotland trip with Mama and Ate, and the memories keep filling up my nostalgia until I realized I've been looking at life terribly wrongly.
Then I went back to really, really look at those people I mistook, when they talked about their family, their circle of friends, their choir practices, the dinners they have to go to, or that joke a friend told them the other day, I saw happiness. I looked at them and saw a home that's been filled with love, photo albums courtesy of wound-up film cameras, variety of cutleries from different friends, a full ref with foods from neighbors, and I just knew, all I need is the same kind of wealth. All I needed was to slip under the same bedsheet with the kind of love I had with my friends 3 years ago.
I've made peace with the fact that life isn't a fairy tale. That I might never be able to end up the kind of writer I've always wanted to be, that I might find myself in an office 10 years from now with no car and a bank account that couldn't afford any more purple shirts, that I might have to settle with a less abundant life that my mother gave me, that I might never be able to buy another one of those face creams. I'm starting to accept that we're not cut out for perfection. And that it's okay to go down that bleak road, as long as we keep it under the bedsheet with friends that makes you feel at ease with wasting the rest of the day doing nothing.
At the end of the day, they say, what matters is not the purchases you've made or the assets you've invested on and benefited from, what matters is the love you were able to get and receive. At the end of the day, your life will not be counted by the number of our purple shirts, but by the number of people who have came and gone under our bedsheet, and cherished it.
The Beatles got it right all this time. All you need is love. And today, I dedicate my life to just that. To fixing broken love, to rekindling some, to find new lots, to get back lost ones, and to strenghtening those that are of most importance. All I need is love, the kind that will stay the same, even under a different bedsheet.