I feel I owe you an explanation for disappearing for eight months. (You might say, “Oh, has it been eight months?” And I’d buy you a drink for your positivity. I refuse to acknowledge sarcasm.) See, I kept wanting to write here many times over that period, but I just couldn’t. I felt I’d outgrown this site.
For one, the site’s name is the worst name for a blog anyone could think of. In English, it roughly means “If I were a superhero, my power would be laziness.” Have you ever advertised yourself to, say, a potential employer or an interview subject by saying, “Yes, I have a blog. Please visit www dot if-I-were-a-superhero-my-power-would-be-laziness dot com?”
Another thing, the kids have outgrown their nicknames. The Tactless Child is un-diplomatic just 40 percent of the time now; it seems unfair to burden her with such a judgmental nickname. So I’ve decided to give her a different one: The One with the Toilet Humor.
The One Who Spits actually still lives up to his nickname. But in the spirit of starting fresh, I will give him a new nickname, too: The Manipulator.
(And just to complete the round-up, The Hub has, like me, changed bits and pieces in his life since eight months ago, but has largely been the same, very familiar presence. It grounds me.)
So anyway, you ask, what made me go ahead and actually write something here tonight? It’s because tonight, I revisited two old friends who I really feel I grew up with.
Yesterday, I picked up from the ever reliable Facebook that the Richard Linklater film, Before Midnight, would be showing in Manila for only two days. (And it opened two days ago.) I’ve been a fan of this trilogy from the first film, way before anyone knew that it would become a trilogy. At Before Sunrise, I was a college student, wondering what to do with her life. At Before Sunset, I’d become a writer who was drawn equally to morbidity and romance.
So you bet I would have jumped at the chance to have a rendezvous with Jesse and Celine and find out what happened to them after Paris.
The Hub was on his way home after a photography gig; I was thinking of what to feed The One with the Toilet Humor and The Manipulator for dinner. All of a sudden, like the “ding” of a front desk bell, I realized I might miss my chance to watch Before Midnight. And that was unacceptable.
A quick internet check showed that the last showing would be at 8:40 tonight. I found this out at 8:15, as The Hub was arriving home. In two minutes, I’d passed the babysitting reins to The Hub and I’d gotten ready (by putting on shoes and making sure that I was wearing a bra). Since I gave birth, decisions didn’t usually come to me this quickly. They were usually preceded by questions about whether meals were child-friendly, if there was quick access to a bathroom, and if the experience would “broaden children’s minds.” Making a decision that was 100 percent totally about me was new to me, at least since about eight years ago. It felt so exhilarating!
And it seemed like the universe also thought so. The Hub got home just in time, and I made it to the cinema in 12 minutes from my house because all the traffic lights were green!
I thought the cinema would only be half full (because after all, who wants to watch a movie where all the characters do is talk?) But it turned out that the only seats left were in the first two rows. I sat beside a couple on their date night. Twenty minutes into the movie, I heard soft snoring coming from my seatmate. It went on for a bit (because there were no explosions onscreen to wake up the snorer). Finally, I heard the wife or girlfriend nudge him awake.
She whispered, “Hoy nakakahiya. Baka isipin wala kang culture.” (You’re embarrassing me. People might think you’re uncivilized.)
He whispered back, “E nakakainip kasi. Usap lang nang usap.” (But it’s so boring. All they do is talk!)
She whispered back, “Basta huwag kang matutulog!” (Just shut up and don’t sleep!)
Poor guy. He fell asleep again about 10 minutes after that. They had another whispered discussion and left soon after, leaving me alone in our row.
Of all the films, I connected with this one, Before Midnight, the most. I knew many of Celine’s issues as my own, and I could recognize Jesse’s logic and reasoning in that of The Hub. It was reassuring to know that, judging by the applause and laughter from the audience, I wasn’t the only one who was making it up as I went along. Turns out, being often baffled by motherhood and marriage isn’t my sole ownership. It’s universal. And, selfish as it sounds, I was glad it was. Hanging out with mothers who seemed they had it all under control, while I kept having to remind The Manipulator to, “Swallow that spit!” was so tiring for my self esteem.
I left that cinema once again reaffirmed of the power of true love. It does sound naïve and idealistic. But in our society rife with negativity, love manages to consistently slice through the muck; like the first notes of a song cutting into the silence.