Independence Day

By Virginia Jasmin Pasalo


I HAD lunch with an old friend at Chocolate Kiss on Independence Day. We talked about our relationships and how we, considering our advocacy on women empowerment and environmental coexistence, experienced independence, codependence and interdependence.

 “Alam mo, nakakapagod din. Buong buhay ko, nag-aalaga akong tao.” (You know, it is also tiring. All my life I have been taking care of people.)

“Come to think of it, tama ka. Ganyan din ako.” (you are right. I am like that too.)

“Sana sa next life, tayo rin ang alagaan.” (Hoping in the next life, we are the ones being cared for.)

“Why in the next life? We can make steps to realize this, in this lifetime. And we can pray to God to make this happen.”

“I miss him. It’s been years since I was pampered that way. He knows what I need before I even utter it. Sometimes, even before I think of it.”

“In a way, we are lucky. At least at some point in our lives, we experienced that kind of caring.”

We slowly sliced through the kalbi chim, a South Korean steamed dish made from the center part of ribs of a calf. With each bite, the counterpoint to the wish.

“But to live that way require compromises. You have to ask permission for some things you never asked anyone for and accommodate the eccentricities of the other.”

“And I am used to being alone in my bed that I would not know how to share it.”

“Yes, especially you. You have the habit of isolating yourself when you are writing and can hardly tolerate another presence.”

“A friend of mine is happily married living in a house with a room they share together, and two separate rooms if they desire to be alone. Before that, they live in two different houses. In two different countries. Hahaha.”

I sipped my brewed coffee and nibbled on the blueberry cheese cake. She looked at her chocolate cake and smiled.

“I miss him, but that is sooo past. I remember the moments, although they get blurry with time. There is no carnal desire, just this warm feeling of being vulnerable and comfortable with his presence.”

“Ahh, ganyan lang yan, after a while, you go back to wanting your independence back.”

From where we sat, we could overhear and glimpse someone at the gathering of Tindig Pilipinas, thundering a rhetorical question, exhorting for an answer, with his fist in the air.

“May kalayaan nga ba?” (Is there really independence?)

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