Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Having Said That

It’s really different when he does “that look” on me: he tilts his head down a bit, with his eyes looking up at me; quizzical lines crease his brow, while the sweetest smile curves his lips. It’s as if there’s a twinkle in his eyes. He’s neither questioning nor being playful; there’s this anticipation, a waiting pause, like a puppy with his tongue out, looking up at his human and asking, “Woof?”

My heart melts at the sight of unadorned trust and love: simple, no multiple layers, no complex undercurrents.

* * * * *

It’s really different when my mom turns to me, her eyes searching for signs on my face, as she defers to me for the final decision. “Ikaw, ano?” she asks me.

When both my parents retired, and my older brother—the first born—had already left the coop to head his own family, my parents turned to their second child—me—to have my say on family decisions. And when my dad died, my mom deferred family decisions to me. From the small things in the beginning—where to go, where to eat, when to go home to Bohol—to later on major family decisions, my mom treated me as the padre de pamilya. Even now, when I already am staying at a place of my own for about a year now, she still defers to me whenever I come to visit Marikina.

My mom’s love has no equal: steadfast, knowing, all-embracing.

* * * * *

One time I was with a group of friends out for dinner. No special occasion, nothing fancy; we happened to just text one another if we were free that night. We wanted to try some cheese fondue that night.

I eat fast, so I usually am done while everyone else is still finishing his food. I looked at my friends, all fairly new ones; one I met about a year ago, the others a few months after. I have yet to know them well, but already I know that these are good people. Complex? But of course! Neurotic? We all are, in our own little way. There’s still a lot to know about them, as they about me. And I just had to blurt out to them, “I like this.”

Newfound friends are entertaining, evolving and exciting.

* * * * *

My friend G is someone I’ve known since high school. We rarely meet these days; he’s too busy running the department that he heads. And yet, whenever we meet, the months in between simply disappear; it’s as if we just saw each other yesterday.

My friend L is someone I know since college. She’s someone I look up to, being more talented and more successful than I am. And yet, we also have this personal relationship wherein we complement one another. She’s terrible at directions, while I’m like a taxi cab driver. She’s excellent in languages, while I always fall back on clichés and trite phrases. Whenever she and her family need a “man” to accompany them to family vacations, they call on me. Whenever I am in dire need, she’s one of the first ones I turn to.

My college-theater friends are several batches younger than me. I got to know them when I was already working. I directed them for Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” when they were still college students. We all clicked, and they’re a hilarious, sensible, sharp, creative, driven, supportive bunch. They may be scathing in their jokes with one another, but they will always cheer each another on. And when we all meet (which is rare these days, everyone’s so busy), we tell the same stories while making new ones.

The irony with friendship is this: the ones who stay with you for life are the ones whom you can actually take for granted.


rudeboy said...

I'm with you on the last statement, Joel, although I'm almost sure some will misinterpret the "take for granted" part.

But like your friendship with G, I'm lucky to have a handful of people whose friendship remains unaffected by time and distance. We can go months or even years with no communication, and yet when the phone rings, we just pick up right where we left off.

That our connection remains essentially the same despite none of us being that actively involved or interested in each others' affairs - the "take for granted" part - tells me that these are my true and lasting friends.

And that despite the many changes in our individual lives that also change us, we can still see the constants that remain in each other.

And that - that is truly precious.

joelmcvie said...

@rudeboy: Hehehe, I actually did that on purpose, ending the episode with such a loaded phrase. I’m sure there will be those whose knee-jerk reaction will be, “WTF?” But you hit the nail on the head: “That our connection remains essentially the same despite none of us being that actively involved or interested in each others' affairs—the ‘take for granted’ part—tells me that these are my true and lasting friends.” One is so secure of that connection remaining intact through the years that one takes it for granted. It remains intact despite its low-maintenance nature; an occasional meeting, email or text is enough to keep the connection alive and still meaningful.

I think only when one gets to experience such a friend (or even a relative) will one be able to really appreciate that “taken for granted”-ness.

~Carrie~ said...

I love this entry. All the more that i'm convinced to be shutted out by an ex-friend who was never a true friend in the first place.

MANDAYA MOORE: Ang bayot sa bukid said...

amen to that mcvie