By VirginiaJasmin Pasalo
“IT’S complicated” is a common status, a status in limbo, when you’re “with” someone, but you’re not with him or her in full commitment. It is a period of resolving, a state of purifying, but also, a state of being.
A complication I cannot forget is that of a friend who passed away. He married a woman he thought he fell in love with, after spending his time in the seminary. They have two lovely children, sheltered by an over-protective mother who “screens” all visitors and their friends. She brings her grown-up children to their offices,and they go home together. Once, my assistant Anna and I visited him in their house to have some checks signed. He offered to drive us back to the office but his wife quickly snatched the car keys and volunteered to bring us back herself. Along the way was a very long, winding interview on how I met her husband. When she exhausted herself, she turned to Anna and bluntly interrogated her.
“So, were you the one who called and did not answer when I answered?”
“Hello? Baka po echo ng boses ninyo yung narinig ninyong ringtone. Baka po mamatay kayo sa suspetsa.”(Hello? Maybe the ringing you heard is an echo of your own voice. You might die of suspicion.)
At that point, I started to sing, a reaction I developed as a child, when threatened by a mad dog,because we just sped through the red light, and the vehicle in front of us screeched to a stop.
He did want to leave her,because their children are grown up and he wants to be a monk, to spend the rest of his life serving God, and if I could please plant the idea in her wife’s head.
“I can plant trees,Gerardo, because I get to choose the soil. This idea you want me to plant will never grow on infertile grounds.”
“I want some peace and quiet, Gie, and moments of contemplation. I get to do this only in the mornings by waking up earlier than she does, and walking among the trees, and getting back to the house as soon as she has left for work.”
He passed away several months after that. Anna exclaimed, “Ang bait ni Lord.” (God is merciful.)
Luz, a friend from PuertoRico, reflecting on her own complication said, “It’s complicated to go back in the turmoil of a year and see that little has changed and we keep pretending that we have done as much as possible to subdue the pains of others by the simple act of talking or writing about it. A sense of guilt is inevitably a shadow cast upon whatever happiness we are supposed to feel. It is complicated in the sense of how I have let time pass over my own determination to stop a love affair and even if I succeed for a little while, I always drop where I had kept it. Even if new illusions hover over my survival instincts.”
The intricacies of our being is complicated enough. The complication of another being complicating our already complicated status has, to a large extent, been defined, simplified and governed by societal norms and laws. But these attempts at simplification will never be able to “box in” the complexity of passionate desires, the unpredictability of human action, the confluence of events and the greater force of destiny.
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