When Love Comes A-Knockin’

larawan ng isang babaeng nangangarap ng tunay na pag-ibig

People in love always hope that this time it will be true/ weheartit.com

It’s been known as one of the terrains that’s hardest to negotiate – love. Both the entrance and the exit are hard to figure out. It’s been said that very few come out and up that quarter unscathed. Most, actually, emerge from the encounter all bruised and battered or, beaten black and blue. Recovery usually takes time and no remedy for the affliction has, so far, been discovered.

It’s a little trite, but  love has often been likened to a thief who has a way of coming in unexpected. It visits us when we are least prepared. When we are most vulnerable, it attacks fiercely and leaves us defenseless. We’ve no clue as to what hit us and what bit us hardest. But sometimes, very much like the coming of the Siberian winds, it does bother to announce itself and knock.  It broadcasts its approach. Say, it makes prior declaration. And the few times that it does, are we then ready? Have we ever been ready to receive it and let in? Into our lives and living? Into the very core of our weary, boring and run-of-the-mill existence? We can try. We very well can. Sometimes, we even do.

Being in love is a condition. Of course, others tag it with terms like malady, suffering and in some cases, infamy. Infamy is a big word and I would rather stay away from that. Only a person who is extremely famous or unquestionably notorious has the rightful claim to the term. And the other party, the one for whom this notable person has fallen in love with, has to be interesting. Their liaison has to have a different flavor, a quite sticky situation to begin with and the whole thing – if it were to prosper or to end – must create waves and not just your ordinary ripples.

So, we’re ordinary folks, given to our ordinary ways, worries and whims. We fall. We fall just as well or just as badly. Once, twice or thrice in our humdrum existence, we come across this trap. We enmesh ourselves into it deeply and grandly, challenged by the miscalculated anticipated outcome and deluded by our own capabilities to make things happen, to charm our way into the other person’s heart. To be a significant part of this other person’s world. To become a star in his or her eyes. To become the center of that person’s universe: for once. So, we proceed. Some people say, blindly. Some say, with abandon. Others say, unaware – simply subjective, a little tender in some parts, a little soft.

larawan ng isang lalaki at babaeng sumasayaw

Courtship is a dance/ shutterstock.com

What happens? We do the dance, of course. We go through the rituals – the endless exchange of messages, the light touching phase and the unspoken sending and receiving of signals to and fro. Back and forth, like our very lives depended on it. Like yesterday did not happen. Like the future can only be carved out if this affair materialized. Like everything begins today. Today, civilization will be founded upon the basis of boundless love. The two of you will commence it.

That’s love. That’s how it goes. Two people acting and reenacting the rites gone through by their ancestors for thousands of years. Performing them as though it were the first time something of this import has happened. All that dancing, strutting and whispering of sweet-nothings seem like supplications to the gods above, who are not all that easy to please, by the way.

These two creatures, unmindful of the hurdles, oblivious to social expectations and temporarily cut-off from the harshness of everyday realities, dare to take the center stage. It’s a dance for your life, your happiness and your share of the world. Nothing can come between the person and his or her love. There is only one purpose – to claim it. It’s a world to be won.

How do things fare in crazy, bloody and messy circumstances like this one? The silly way, of course. You see, it’s a little like a computer program. Everything there boils down to zero (0) and one (1). Yes and No. If it’s a Yes, you proceed to the next step. If it’s a No, you go back to Start. But therein, the problem lies. You get a series of Nos and only one or two Yeses and yet you still proceed like you are Bill Gates personified. Or, it could be the other way around. You’ve gotten a series of Yeses and only one or two Nos and yet, you call it quits. You surrender or busy yourself with another program. It’s a little tricky, see? And the culprit is always the same – human error.

Loving  takes the cake in all human situations. It makes total fools of the most developed of organisms. Some people argue that the experience of love makes us wiser or stronger. Or, wiser and stronger. Crap! It hardly does. It barely does. It rarely does. It may make people a bit kinder, a little more sympathetic to fellow human beings, a bit gentler. But if it gives us wisdom or strength, then we won’t hear of stories about falling in love again. But we do, right?

larawan ng isang mapa ng pag-ibig

Wouldn’t it be nice if there’s something to guide people by?/ mmpratt99.deviantart .com

We never hear of accounts, news or gossips about “rising” in love, or “winning” one’s way around love or “triumphing” over love – when it is again. It’s still and always is, about fallin.’ Regrettably, that action word connotes descent – from a high place to a lower plane. But before that, there is the word crush, another negative. When seriously afflicted, what the person usually does is to take the plunge, in gross disregard of the consequences. That is what it is –  a reckless dive into the swirling water or a hitch to forevermore. And no matter if it’s the second, the third or the nth time, there is no suggestion whatsoever of wisdom or strength in the process. Nay, when even simple common sense seems to be amiss.

The proof that we never learn from the experience, be the same happy or sad, is that every single time that we go through love, it is entirely new. Commonly put, it is an uncharted territory, a fresh ground to be covered and explored and there’s always a cliff from where to launch or to fall from.  It is a journey that we, mortals, take anew each time. We grope through its blinding alleys and dark passages. We are not spared the missteps, the getting lost part and surely, the miscalculations. Truth be told, we trip and fall our way, alone and unattended. If by happenstance, the fervent feeling is reciprocated, there is a plateau somewhere, a place to rest. Still, the bad news is, there’s no road map.

larawan ng kalsada ng kawalan

In the love terrain, this one’s easy to find/ goinglikesixty.com

Wait, somebody’s knocking. Pray tell, must I get the door? 😉

The Chills of December

larawan ng isang busy na avenue sa Kamaynilaan

Frenetic is the word people use to describe December/ misterpointnshoot.tumblr.com

They brush on us during early morns. Those breezes are sending signals – oh, it’s December. ‘Tis the season of parties, get-togethers, rush shopping and frantic gift-wrapping. It’s also the time to be visited by relatives (in ever-increasing frequency) and to be polite enough to return the visits. It’s that time of the year when you worry about your figure and the chances of you still fitting in those favorite jeans yet repeating to yourself that there’s still time for exercise in January. Yes, January. Next year.

So, before the sun is out, you get awakened way earlier than usual. The cold is something else. You turn off the aircon, the electric fan or whatever it is that you suspect had the temerity to rouse you from your slumber. You tell yourself that there’s still time – for a small nap before you begin the day’s grind. Then, you thought better and resolved to get going early. You could use a cup of coffee. You could use hot water for your bath. You could use some exercise. Really? Positively.

You managed, finally, to strap onto yourself something that could be taken as halfway decent. Why bother dressing up when about five hours of the day, you’re stuck in the December traffic? One wouldn’t think there’s a worldwide slump just by looking at the throngs of people waiting to get inside the malls. For sure, the GDP is going to register just fine for the last quarter. People tend to put away their worries and their cares for the time being to make way for the herculean task of salad-making and ensuring that the Christmas tree corner looks a tad better than it did last year.

Ultimately, you reached your first destination for the day – your appointment, that is. Only to find out that the person who agreed to meet with you – or vice-versa – could not make it as he/she is still stuck in the traffic. What to do? Raise your fist in objection? Or, your voice? Or, act cool and sound polite?

You choose the latter. It’s Christmas time, remember? After all, goodwill is always a good investment. And no matter how long ago you found out that Santa’s a farce, you still hanker for that chance to tell the world, “Hey, I’ve been good this year. I tried.” So, you declare peace in behalf of the appointment that’s been cancelled/reset/deferred and leave amicably. Yes, amicably.

As you await your serving of sausage muffin and your second cup of coffee for the day, you ponder on the fate of the “little girl.” She’s still going to get a good Christmas this year, with her family – together with the grandchildren, the in-laws and the cousins. Perhaps, the atmosphere’s going to be a bit subdued. No one enjoys having a Noche Buena inside a hospital. I bet the family of her predecessor did not relish the experience, either. But Filipinos are the forgiving kind. Come December, all our sins and transgressions are temporarily forgotten and we gather in embrace, fearful and hopeful at the same time – that the next year will bring us better cheers, if not better lives.

You estimate that there’s still an hour left for you to check up on your emails, go over letters (the traditional kind)  and type away some semblance of responses. You still have time if you hurry. The sun is barely up there. The clouds threaten to send down drizzles. The surroundings look gray, grayer than the buildings that line up the avenue. With the napkin from the fastfood restaurant, you brush the dusts off your shoes, take a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and button up your blazer. Truly, there’s a dozen cares that needs a lookin’ into. But the sudden rush of air that crushed into your nape and face as you make your way out of the establishment just sent you back suddenly to the Christmases of your childhood. When Decembers meant just that: ‘Tis the season to be jolly.

larawan ng halamang poinsettia

The jester jingle plant blooms majestically in December/ powellgardens.blogspot.com

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