…and I got it.
Today marks the last day of school. For about three weeks, I’m free of hurried deadlines and snotty classmates but still here I am, sitting in front of a computer, sulking instead of celebrating.
I am a chick. That was my sign. I’ve been so confused with Her lately that I really don’t know what to feel anymore. Today was supposed to be our “big talk” but someone lost his chutzpah along the way. I wanted to talk to Her. Wanted so much to ask Her how she really felt about me. Did She love me? Did She want me to stick around? Was there any hope left for a guy like me to be with a Girl like Her. Yet for the forty minute ride home, I was unable to speak. Me, the person who never runs out of things to say suddenly could not articulate my thoughts into sentences… mere words… mere thoughts… mere man.
Somewhere between Her story about going home for the sembreak and Her muses on the last quiz, I got it. I finally got my sign. It came in the form of another story. She told me of a chick they once cared for. I’ll try to put it here verbatim.
A couple of years ago, Her youngest sibling went home with a chick. No one knows where the chick came from. All they knew was it was there to stay. It did not have a home since they really weren’t expecting a chick to come along so for a long time, the chick stayed with their rabbit. The whole scenario was fine. The rabbit and the chick got along just hunky-dory. The rabbit would share his dinner of kangkong leaves with the chick until at times, the chick acted like the rabbit. The chick hopped and ate like the rabbit did. They even spotted the chick once sleeping on top of the rabbit. The poor rabbit woke up with yellow fuzzies! After a while though, they noticed something different. The chick would peck angrily at the rabbit at times for no reason why. It was inevitable that they moved the chick to a new location. They moved it to the garden.
The garden, it shared with the dogs. You would think that these dogs would treat a poor chick horribly but instead, they greeted it with warm faces and TLC. Whatever the dogs ate, it ate. One time, they even shared tinolang manok. Talk about a dog-eat-dog world or in this case, chick-eat-chicken.
After seeing the chick eat its future self along with some skipping and hopping ala rabbit, they decided to bond it with its own kind. Now this is the part that hurts the most.
They had a huge cage for lovebirds. So big, even She could fit inside. They placed the little chick inside and it frolicked in the sand. At times, the lovebirds would come down and play with it. But when the horse (bird) play got a bit harsh, the lovebirds would fly away. The chick, quite frustratingly, tried its best to do the same. You can’t run with wolves, I though to myself. In this case, it couldn’t fly with birds.
Then I got to thinking, this story and mine are quite parallel. When I was a child, I grew up with my sisters. I did not have any other friends. We laughed and we cried and we shared everything from lip balm to illnesses. The time came when everyone knew I couldn’t stay with them so they moved me to a place where I “could be with my own”
But though it may seem that I belong in the garden, I share this garden with dogs. Dogs are modern day men who I went to high school with. Some of them were weird but most of them were brute… manly men… and something inside me knew I was not one of them. I could be with them, I could hang out with them, I could even eat their food (my kind) but something was wrong. I would still hop and skip and that wasn’t what a “manly man” did. They called the chick crazy, folks called me queer. I still acted like a rabbit and I ate “my kind” just to belong. I see this as a swallowing of one’s self just to be able to belong. It’s like that song by Sum 41. “I’m bending over backwards to relate”. There are many “dog” things that I will never get like the joys of ramming a rubber ball inside a plastic hoop. I’ve never learned to play basketball, perhaps I never will.
She is a lovebird. She always has, She always will be. They may put me in her cage (the cage is normalcy, claustrophobia, and social conformity) and we may play games (the whole awkward courtship) but when the time comes when She flies away, I’ll still be there with my little head buried in the sand. Flapping my little wings so I can be with Her but it’s all to no avail. Kahit anong pagpilit ang aking gawin, chicks just don’t go with lovebirds. Especially this bridge-burning chick with an identity crisis and no place to call home.
Excuse me while I kill myself.