By: Max Ehrman
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
And remember what peace there may be in silence
As far as possible without surrender
Be on good terms with all people
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
And listen to all even to the dull and ignorant,
They too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive people,
They are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself to others,
You will become vain and bitter;
There will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievement as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
It is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
For the world is full of trickery
But let not this blind you for the virtue there is;
Many persons strive for high ideals;
And everywhere life is full of heroism
Be yourself especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
In the face of all aridity and disenchantment
It is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of years,
Gracefully surrendering the things of youth
Nature strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness
Beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle with yourself
You are a child of the universe,
No less than the trees and the stars;
You have the right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
Whatever you conceive God to be.
And whether your labors and aspirations,
In the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams
It is still a beautiful world
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
“I won’t be able to come. I’m already home from the airport. I’m tired and I’d rather rest here at home.”
My phone bleeps and that is the message. That settles it. It is 5 o’clock in the afternoon. If I really want to go, now’s the best time to prepare myself for the trip. What’s the point anyway of staying here and doing nothing and also have nothing to expect. The invitation was sent and she decline. I know that probably she’s down as she just went and see her mom to the airport. But honestly, I’m not even sure if that is true. My instincts telling me there are already lies been spouted and soon there will be more. I send her another text.
“You know that you can also rest here if you want. I’m not going to disturb you.”
She replied, “Can I really be able to rest if stayed there? I don’t think so.”
I send another reply, “Alright. Keep in touch. Let me know if you change your mind.”
My fingers were heavy as I typed the last message. If only she knows how excruciating it is to go somewhere without her or including her to my plan. A thorn in the backside. A boulder of a stone been placed on my shoulder as I’m trying to put myself in motion. I guess, it really is time for me to move.
Few days ago, I dine with a friend in a Japanese restaurant, Little Tokyo, somewhere in Makati. She’s an old friend and also from Iloilo. We talked on random stuff as usual and I opened up and told her my story.
As the story goes, she told me, “You know Von, I see what’s happening to your relationship and I can see your girlfriend’s perspective. What I don’t understand is you. You’re so different. I know you as someone who’s fearless and not easily trifled with anything. So what’s happening to you now?”
I said, “What are you talking about? I’m still the same as I was.”
She said, “No, you’re not! The Von I know will do what he wants to do and can not be chained by anyone. Do you remember? You use to go to these places, may it be fancy or dilapidated, parts of Iloilo that doesn’t care where to sleep or what to eat because you knew you can handle it? And now, you’re scared that she’ll get upset? There was a time your other ex-partner can’t able to stop you doing what you want to do.”
Is that who I was before? I mean yeah but I was always been calculating. Am I being too careful? Of course I should because I care.
“Well, I came here in Manila on my own, away from my family and friends and other comforts of Iloilo.”
“Yes, you did and that’s the Von I know but now did Manila actually changed you? Or is it your current girlfriend?”
That made me pause. She just suddenly crack a laugh.
“Wait, so you think because I changed a bit that put me on a wrong side?”
“No, don’t misunderstand me. The way I see it, you’re doing a good job. You are taking care of her and you are doing what a decent and sincere guy should have. The thing is, seems like she is toying with you. You are being wrapped around. I don’t understand why are you letting it be because I know you can see through this.”
Saddening that I can’t disagree.
“Okay, I’ll go to Baguio but on my own? Who’s going to take my picture? I hate taking selfies all the time”
“That’s the beauty of it. You have no restrictions. You walk and run and rest at your own pace. You discover things with your own eyes and without any other influences. C’mon! Would you listen to yourself? Would that stop you then? Meet other people and get to know the strangers. Then let them take your picture. Hello!? Is this still you who I am talking to? The Von I know will always find a way, as in you always find ways. And besides, you went here on your own, right? I understand that you came here for her but that was then. Now, you should still be able to decide to do what you want to do.”
She giggled as I stare unto nothingness of the wall behind her.
“ Ugh! Alright! I’ll go and since you’re already at the point of nagging, give me more information how to get there then.” and went back to my seafood soup.