The way we were
By Virginia J. Pasalo
THE beauty of pictures is that they capture moments and enable you to remember. What one remembers changes over time, depending on one’s state of mind at the present. At times, a picture reminds you of the events, at other times, the same picture reminds you of feelings, or other things. Whatever you remember, they mirror your temperament, what you value, what you realize, as you grow and mature. Our memories are a reflection of our own becoming.
I looked at my pictures several years ago, I was thin. However, I also know that having put on more weight did not matter as much as the blessings I am enjoying, the happiness I feel, the generosity of people around, the affection of loved ones, the thought of friends, and of course, most important, my health and well-being. Few people reach my age without complaining of backache, fatigue and lack of strength. My younger sisters could not even brisk walk for six kilometers, or scale a hill, or climb a tall tree. I still do.
More than the pictures, meeting people in person after several years makes one remember old times, of high school, of first loves, of loves unsaid. Especially loves unsaid which after all, were better left unsaid, because more often than not, they are laughable and makes you cringe about the quality of your taste in those years. Often you say, “Yaikks, what got into me?” and feel like kicking your own ass.
There are exceptions of course. The man you really wanted but languished in your mind because it was not “proper” to love him, and also because, it was not proper to tell a man how you feel about him. And when it was proper to love him, he did not act properly, and you no longer want to tell him. It was like, he was better, remaining a possibility than a reality.
Our memory of relationships blur over the years, but the warmth, although slowly dissipating, remains warm and affectionate. I remember kindness, the kind that makes me cry, because it is selfless, and can be considered selfish only because, wholehearted giving rewards the giver his ultimate joy.
Looking at my mother makes me wonder how she was as a woman. The pictures I retrieved did not help me imagine, although it showed her in her younger years, looking very much like my sister, Ea. Ea looks like Mae West, but I call her May East, always looking at the bright sun as a child, and I think it is only because of her Goddess namesake that the atmosphere protected her from the risk of blindness. What I can remember when I look at my mother, is her constant movement when she was younger (she is now 86). Like Ea, her hands were almost full of things to do, their houses were very clean, almost antiseptic, compared to my eternal clutter. To this day, when visiting my apartment, their favorite comment is, “Umm, maayos ang bahay mo ngayon..” (“Umm, your house is orderly today…”).
January 2017 just passed and memories flow like flood, with or without pictures. Maybe because at the beginning of the year, we tend to review our lives, and construct a new beginning. Maybe we have had a good year and want to hold on to it. For whatever reason, let our memories be our inner guide in creating images for a new road, or an extension of the road we took, or taking a totally different tract.
When the rain was pure
02 February 2017 6:51 a.m.
even in the rain
you fly, to sing me a song
a short, quick melody
of pure joy
drinking the rain
in the rainbow
from your hands