What shell, you ask? I’ve been crying uncontrollably. I feel like a preschooler. I saw quite a number of movies (and a play!) over the weekend and I couldn’t write any reviews about them because the only thing I remember was my tears. I cried during the wedding vows in Rachel Getting Married. I cried for the children in Freedom Writers. I cried with Sister Aloysius in Doubt. I cried three times in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I even cried when McQueen pushed The King towards the finish line in Cars. I had to excuse myself so I missed the last part. What’s wrong with me?
It’s like I’m a child again. My favorite teacher (who ultimately inspired me to become one myself) once saw me crying behind the school chapel alone. I was maybe 7 or 8. Illuminated by the light from the stained glass window, I was crying because one of my classmates said something really horrible to me. I didn’t know how to fight back. Everyone was gone by that time. I should’ve been home, too but my mom’s secretary was running late. I just didn’t want to be there anymore. I felt so helpless. So I cried.
“I don’t want to cry anymore. My dad told me that real men don’t do that.” I told her between fits of tears.
“That’s not true. Crying is not the refuge of the weak. It’s okay to cry sometimes. Even the brave rest every now and then.”
“Do you cry, Teacher?” I asked.
“Sometimes. When I don’t know what to do. When I feel like I need His help. When I want to feel loved”
We prayed together and she held me as I wept. It’s been almost fifteen years since but I still remember her. I think she became a missionary or something. I wonder what she’s doing right now.
Fifteen years. A decade and a half. What’s with the major regression? I haven’t been so perpetually close to tears in such a long time. Is it stress? Is it exhaustion? Could it be a void that needs to be filled? Or perhaps deep inside me, the weepy little kid behind the parish is still there, crying because he’s helpless. I don’t want to be that kid anymore.
She said she cries when she wants to feel loved. Do I want to feel loved? Is that why I’ve been crying? Do I even know what love is anymore?
I thought about this a while ago while I was walking home. What is love to me? Every time I think of love, I can’t help but thinking of my parents. Yes, they’ve had their ups and downs but after all these years, they’re still crazy about each other. To put it in my father’s words, patay na patay parin siya sa akin.
Love is putting yellow stickers on the perfectly black keyboard so she can Facebook till the wee hours of the morning. Love is buying that bland unsalted butter (which no one likes and is twice the price of the brand you like) because she wants to eat healthy. Love is giving up the fatty part of your pork chop (the best part!) just to see him devour it with such gusto. Love is laughing at each other’s jokes even though you’ve heard them fifty million times before. Love is staying together not because of the kids but because deep down you know that despite them, you would never want to be in a world without each other. That’s what love is. I know it’s real because I am living proof that it exists.
Farck, I’m crying again. My major task this week is to find out what the bloody hell opened the friggin’ dam behind my eyes. Maybe after I fix this, I will finally know how Cars ends.
Ribbons Undone (Live)