I SUBTITLED this true story The Would House and you would soon see why. Ah, so soon, you saw why.
I have this friend, so hard to find therefore so precious, who is, almost always, unbelievably on the verge or in the middle of, or just recovering from a breakup. Or a breakdown.
A usually warm and garrulous person, she would fall into a bottomless pit of depression without warning. She would suddenly display a disinterest with her family and her work and would alienate herself from friends and acquaintances. She would camp at my house, and overwhelm everybody in residence with the flood of her tears and sighs and sobs.
What is worse, she would obsess about death and dying. She would monologue on death and dying and would punctuate each reflection with ferocious chomping of things crispy, spicy or vinegary. Then she would give herself pause before embarking on another monologue by gulping down brain-freezing diet soda. Between chomp and gulp, I would look around for ayuda. I would find everyone else conveniently dispersed for miles. Surreptitiously, I would stuff my ears with cotton balls and would contemplate on doing the sweet dying myself if she would not let up with the topic for a nap or so.
“She must be crazy!” you say? I say “She definitely is not.” If she were, I would be as crazy, maybe even more because she were. For we share the same air and space almost every night and every day, and only one or the other’s assignment part our ways. She audits; I write. She pokes officially and tries to pick up stories tucked behind suspicious numbers; I poke unbidden into untold stories tucked inside men, women and children. And their pets.
Sadly, the usual causes of her breakdowns are the men from whom she breaks away. Sadder still, some of the guys do not even deserve the breakup. When she begins to feel the guy is prepping himself to propose a more definite commitment, she would feel cornered. And feeling cornered would ignite the fiery temper which we both have in common. She is my best friend after all.
She would attack the guy from all points. Not physically, of course. She’s cute and pint-sized. A normal-sized guy can lift her up on her toes just by holding both her wrists in his one masculine grip.
She would attack him with minor details to end things between them. It beats telling the truth, that she is not into the relationship anymore.
She would tell the boyfriend: You are a messy eater! You shower me with cheese and crumbs when you talk or laugh with huge pizza bits still in your mouth. Or she would say: you embarrass me with your clothes or hair style. My goodness! Stop sewing patches on your pants and please shampoo down the stiff hair! Or: I do not like the way you spend your money. You spend it too little. Or: you give it away lavishly! Or: You spend it on everybody but not on me.
And for the more intelligent ones: We need time apart. Things are getting too serious. In fact, if it gets any more serious, it would be the ICU or the morgue for me next. Or she would say: Things are moving too fast. In fact, if things get any faster, we would be needing stronger brakes than the soles of our feet. Or: things are moving too slow. In fact, if it gets any slower, my pet turtle would be leading us on a string rather than the other way around.
She would come up with the dumbest and the most ridiculous reasons to end a relationship that has flailed. And she would cry and go gaga over the fact that the guys were so dumb and ridiculously stupid not to have seen through her screen.
I would brush her hair. I would smooth the furrows on her forehead. I would dry her tears with wet wipes. But no! I would not wipe, even for her, the snoot from her nose. Andi met la a! I would pat, even massage her bent shoulders. But no! I would not sing, even for her, Adele’s Someone Like You!
I would replenish her dwindling stack of food and soda. I would even remove the cotton balls from my ears for a moment or two. I would force my retreating feet to backup forward. And I would sit my numbness unto the seat beside her which she would pat invitingly but with so much sorrow. Why the contrariness?
Sica met. Alingoanan mo la amo. Ciguro, ta alingoanan ko met lawari. What are best friends for?
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