Bae and I were planting seeds. She was digging the hole, I was dropping two seeds per hole. Once I dropped three seeds and tried to recover the extra one. Then came the hoe almost severing my middle finger. I never seen her cry so hard. I miss her.
It was one of the longest afternoons. I left Camambugan to study in the city. I would be staying with my paternal grandparents until my family got settled. The train ride took my father, my brother and I from the province’s sunlight to the city’s darkness. I was too young to leave home but old enough to pursue who I wanted to be. The wages of life.
It was my graduation from elementary school. I was an honor student. I should wear a tie, a long sleeved shirt with cuff links. My cuff links were not a pair. My father said, no one will notice. The emcee called my name, I went up the stage and my father pinned me my medal. All I could think of was that my cuff links did not match.
High school was a test. No, correct that. High school was an agony. Four years could not have gone quick enough. Zits covered my face prompting classmates to call me “buwan”. I had four friends. When everyone was steady dating, I was at the market helping out so I could continue to go to school. Graduation relegated me to the last honorable mention even if my grades proved otherwise. Leading a student walk out one afternoon did that. The only satisfaction was my being awarded the best writer in English and Pilipino. My shining achievement. The one I really cared about.
I just won the 2nd Prize in the Tula category of the Rector’s Literary Contest. One of my Engineering Course professors called me to her office and congratulated me. She also questioned if I am in the right course. I did not know. Never received the award, whatever it was. I reported to the Philippine Military Academy April 1st, 1973. Some awards, I was bound not to receive, deserving or not.
She was the most beautiful girl I ever saw. A refreshing sight in a sweltering afternoon. “Midnight Rainbows for Marilou” started the courtship I still enjoy up to now. A courtship, I will pursue to the very end.Thank you for looking my way.
That December day was for tears. She left with all the uncertainties of the future with a promise I cast to the wind. Only God knew. It was only God I could entrust my fate to. To suffer but not to forget. To long but never to give up. In the darkest of nights, there would be the lonely star to keep the hope. Until one day, she came back. I was alive again.