Originally posted as a Facebook status on October 10, 2012
Love will keep us alive. If I heard this song three years ago, I would have cringed at the absurdity of the line. I would have said ‘Romeo and Juliet loved each other. See how well that turned out for them.’ Or I would have scoffed scornfully and said ‘so cells can feed on love now like it’s the subtitute for oxygen?’ My disdain would have gone on and on… if I heard this song three years ago.
Let me tell you why.
Three years ago, you would find me at the Anonas LRT station in the morning slugging it out with hundreds of people as we all try to squeeze ourselves in a train bound to Recto. I would be proudly wearing my tacky FEU uniform with earphones plugged in my ear, listening to a Gaga song. On that day, I may already be running late for school, but I wouldn’t show urgency. If living in a gritty city like Manila for several years has taught me one thing, it’s learning not to show any sign of weakness in public, like a display of emotions. Show people a chink in your armor, they will surely take advantage of it. My ‘protective’ nature probably has something to do with the compromising experiences I’ve had in the prior years. Before coming to the city, I was such a clean, innocent slate. And then shit happened.
So am I saying that this city fucked me up? Yes, but it’s not the entire reason. The thriving metropolis makes itself a good place for assholes to perpetuate here, like a damp area in the kitchen where communities of fucked up microorganisms have the democracy to multiply. These assholes infect, suck all the good in you and turn you into one of them. It’s just a cycle, really. We get screwed and then we screw. And only Bieber knows how many innocent souls were turned by these people we hurt, hearts we break, and dreams we shatter.
You could say that it is pretty unfair to blame an entire city for the heartless cynic I turned out to be. That can be right to some extent. After all, it’s the people that make a city, not the other way around. The fast-paced and disconnected life in this place has made it a breeding ground for lonely, alienated people, who, after a hard day’s work, long for touch or a very strong sensation that can wake them up from their sleep. Most get what they want. But only a few find more.
Love will keep us alive. Well, love killed me three years ago. It was such a horrible place. After graduating from college, I had to take a break from the city and started working on more important things like my career and all. I picked myself up little by little and decided to choose the things I would like to see myself doing for the next ten years (so I entered graduate school). This entire earth may be harsh but it always provides us the opportunity to correct our mistakes and start anew. (Insert jaunty and optimistic existentialist adage here.)
Exactly a year ago, I came back and started working in the city. This is when I met You. We were sad, sad strangers who took a dive to see if it was all worth it. Well, You know what: we’re a perfect fit. You single-handedly fixed all the wrong in me and showed me how simple love is.
Love is sharing your crispy Chicken Joy skin and not feel bad about it. Love is when he says your nose doesn’t need plastic surgery because you’re ‘amazing just the way you are.’ Love is when you prick a pimple and he wipes all the pain and blood away no matter how morbid the scene is. Love is when he cries just because he can’t get a game you want to play to work on your netbook. Love is when you’d rather deal with his ADHD-ness than have a leisure time for yourself. Love is when you’re sick and he brings you Nagaraya like it’s the cure for cold. Love is when he’s dying of asthma but still agrees to meet your Mom. Love is when you’re smirking while talking about raping each other as if rape isn’t a punishable crime. Love is when you see he’s wrong and you tell him but don’t shove it to his face. Love is when after several years of living on your own, by your own rules you, you finally learn how to compromise. And the list goes on.
And then there was this one time when we both had to survive a whole week with only a little money in our pockets… and we did. We survived together. And now I understand the absurd Eagles love song, the hyperbole and the ridiculous Afternoon telenovelas. Love is simple when it’s true. Love isn’t blind; it sees the flaws but embraces them anyway. Love isn’t a sacrifice; it’s a sweet compromise. Love. Love. Love.
Three years ago, I would have puked while reading the words I’ve written here. But a lot has happened. You happened. And then everything was different.