I remember seeing this Chinese movie although I didn’t really understand it at that time. It’s about this fat girl who is obsessed with losing weight so she can win back the love of her life- an ex boyfriend who just happened to grow up into one of Hong Kong’s biggest stars and unfortunately does not recognize her. Strange isn’t it? The things we do for love… Ideally this person should love you no matter what but 60 pounds later you find yourself knowing firsthand just how love will not stretch as you do.
I was walking home when I realized I’ve gotten to the point where my life is sooo boring that I need to write about others. Looking around Makati at ungodly hours of the night, the lingering thoughts of the day passed starts to materialize like smoke erasing what was once visible. During drills, I see Trainee A waiting for his turn to speak. We go around the room and each trainee reads a set of words and a sentence while the lead trainer scrutinizes for mispronounced words. There’s a pained expression in A’s eyes. It vaguely looks like a mix of anticipation and anxiety. Could it be fear of speaking or something else?
You see, Trainees A and B have been causing a lot of buzzing in this small room of 20 or so trainees. You might say that in this small space of speech drills and practice sentences and the ever infamous extemporaneous speech, A and B have found something, err special. Problem is, B comes with a smiling C, an astonishingly naïve trainee ever conveniently located in a class three doors down the hall. Now as far as how accommodating B is to A is their secret to keep. But if you can allow me two things I know for sure, one is C does not know a thing and two, A and B have got a lot of mouths talking and fingers texting.
When I got home, my father, with a hint of spite said “Kakain ka?”, more parts statement than question and said as if to imply that my eating would be the missing piece of his day’s puzzle. “Walang kumain, nakakainis” he added, under his breath. I went to the kitchen and found a big pot of mushy meat. I took one quick whiff and stuck the whole thing inside the fridge.
Going back, upon closer inspection, A’s expression was not from fear of being embarrassed in class. It was a silent cheer for B. And although they may be 10 computers apart, it was enough for A to know that he was rooting for B, regardless if B saw it or not. It’s a sad thing to witness- a silent prayer that B is safe and in the right and at the same time a smiling hope that no one else noticed that mispronounced schwa.
So why do we do it? Why do we do all these things for love? At the end of the movie, the pop star still doesn’t care for our big girl. B still comes home with C and that pot of mystery meat still sits in the fridge. Is it insanity? Inanity? Why is it that even the smartest of people still find themselves bending over backwards for love?
Feeling hundgry, I found myself rethinking everything and so over dinner, I thought about A, B, C and the meat that has come to be called variable D. Upon closer inspection, I found pork, tofu, potatoes, ginger, carrots, and mushrooms. Strange combination? Yes but made with love nonetheless. As I readied my palate for the first spoonful, I found the answer to my question.
It’s because love doesn’t hold anything against you. Nor does it care if you look a little odd, waving goodbye to the one you love (as he leaves with the one he loves). It doesn’t mind if the dish you spent hours making remains relatively untouched. It’s enough to know that you made it, you did it. It reminds us that at the end of the day the little things we do for love can be enough to fill that void inside. It’s an embarrassingly pathetic take on things but for most people holds true nonetheless. Those who have experienced love, real love, and lived to tell about it can attest to this- love is caring more about the cause and less about its effect.