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Growing up gratefully


BAKA matagpuan pa ni Inay sa mga salansan niya ng samut-sari sa eskaparate, aparador, tokador o baul ang nawaglit na larawan…

(1)sambungkos halos ng saging, sa unang piling ay katabi ang tagapayong Bb. Elizabeth Lim, guro sa physics… nakangisi dahil nag-iisang tinik at halal na pangulo ng klase, high school algebra champion, kahanay ng pumpon na pawang buko ng rosas.

(2)nakatindig na buong katawang kuha kay Shelley Magnaye, naging kasuyo sa kolehiyo… may halimuyak ng hininga ng mga bulaklak ng kape, suha, at mangga ang bibig… nakabahid ang makopa’t takipsilim sa mga pisngi… kambal na milon ang dibdib, batis na mapaglulunuyan ang balakang… diklap ng buntala at talim-balisong sa ningning ng mga mata.

Naganyak na ipahalungkat ang ilang nakalarawang gunita matapos marinig ang Manila Hotel lobby string quartet teasing out some months back a 1969 Dennis Yost and the Classics IV standard… “Faded photographs covered now with lines and creases, tickets torn in half, memories of bits and pieces, traces of love long ago that didn’t work out right.”

Mangingilo pati ngipin: tigmak sa pulot-kabayo, may tamis-pait ang titik niyong awit… na kaya pang kapain ang himig sa gitara tulad ng maalab na kapa sa sari-saring kuwerdas ng hugis-gitarang katawan ng naging kaliyag… na hindi nakatuluyan.

Walang nakatuluyan ang aming naging tagapayo… walang nagkatuluyan sa ‘min… pulos lelang at lelong na ang mga dating kaklase, may kani-kaniyang ilalahad na professions and confessions. Hagalpakan ng halakhak kapag ikinumpisal na pinagnasaan noon sina… kasikatan ni Merle Fernandez-- who now runs an antique shop in Kamuning, Quezon City—sa pelikulang bomba.

Nagkakatalastasan pa rin kaming magkakaklase sa Facebook, e-mails… nagkakayayaang magtipon tuwing may magbabalikbayan mula sa kung saan-saang ibayong lupalop… salu-salo, konting toma, saganang kuwentuhan, kumustahan, kantahan.

‘Tanda na kami… "It's coming to the realization that you are who you are, you like who you are, and you are happy with who you are. The rest is a walk in the park."

Alas-siete ng umaga ang pinakauna naming aralin, Good Manners and Right Conduct… “Growing Up Gracefully” ang gabay na aklat… 1968 is way too far to look back in fondness… we’re grown-ups… hopefully, we have grace as well.

Naipanguna sa naunang sinulat dito: “Grace is not prayer before a meal. It is a way of life.”

May mas matinding kataga kaysa biyaya o lamyos— shibumi, effortless perfection, uplifting the ordinary from the commonplace into the realm of the extra-ordinary.

Sabi nga ni Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do.”

Flicking out a blade in iaido fashion is an endless refrain sung day to day… writing this way is an incessant stream off a wellspring… tending to a clutch of plants or harnessing vital energies in meditative flurry of punches is a continuing flow…

‘Tanda ko na pala.

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