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Solve Me If You CanI ride the bullet of time hitting a target of nowhere. My heart stopped bleeding eons ago, my soul numbed by life’s vicissitudes. Existentialism, Rationalism, Zen– they are nothing but a gamut of superficial self-medications meant to divert one’s mind from the gnawing truth: I am therefore I live. Or is it the other way around? Who cares. I have no time for your psychobabble bull.

You see, I am certain about my ambiguity. An exercise in irony perhaps or just a cute way to tuck away my guilt? Could be. But I have been wrong before and so have you. Who are you to say what is right for my life when there are so many wrongs to right in yours? I have died the moment you chose my life for me. Live and let live. Life is what is, not what could be, should be, must be. I am not your doppelgänger. Get yourself a mirror and it would only cost you a tenth of your poor man’s hourly wage. Remember Narcissus.

If I die alone, so be it. If I am fated to be acquainted with grief, then the hell with your sympathy, thank you very much. I am not a child of the “If” universe. Is it too much to ask to be a master of my destiny?

Thinking is short for feeble-mindedness. Feeling is only for the weak. I haven’t really lived until I let my senses die and give in to my elemental sense of being. I am older than my age, longer than my years, more complex than space and time. If you think you know better, try ignorance.

The future does not exist, and the past is mostly dead weight. Today is all I’ve got along with myself– the only truths I can rightfully lay claim to. I don’t want everything. I desire nothing. But today, in all its objective reality and abstract underpinnings, defines who I am, and I lend it essence and credence in return.

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Written by nealm

29 June 2009 at 7:24 PM

Posted in Musing

Tagged with , , ,

$20 Ride To Life, Love And Death

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Cash Money by lincolnblues
What is 20 U.S. dollars worth? I actually googled this query. Results : your own meme of “Stop Shooting” shirt, a Hello Kitty toaster, DIY Bendy Straws, Penguin Teaboy, and a Bike Chain bottle opener to name a few. To the upwardly mobile set, burning 20 bucks is a no-brainer: a 12-servings pack of Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew Colombia Coffee, and while they are at it, they might as well throw in a copy of the Talking Heads Opus CD (okay, that’s a little over a Jackson, but hey, you could afford Starbucks, right?). Perhaps a lower-grade copper Probus coin on eBay?

How about gasoline money for a truck ride home so you can be with your kids a few days before you die?

On a hot and humid late February morning, we decided to park our van underneath a tree along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City as my niece, Grace, went out to pay for her IELTS exam fees, while my sister, her husband, and myself waited. From his rear view mirror, Rosell, my brother-in-law, noticed a man in his 60’s walk draggingly. He cranked his window down to ask him if he was alright. The man, clasping his stomach, obviously in pain, said he was just trying to make it to EDSA, a good couple of blocks away. Without much thought, Rosell prompted my sister, Helen, to hand me a 500-peso bill (roughly $10), to give to the man for his taxi fare and a decent lunch as well. I alighted, approached the old man, and–curious that I am–talked to him before I gave him the money.

A brief talk– all 5 minutes short– but it seemed like eternity to me…he was recently diagnosed of a late-stage colon cancer, and with it a death sentence, or so it seemed to him, handed by his doctor: he had until the first week of March to have an operation lest he would die. I began to rattle off names/organizations/agencies/foundations, the whole alphabet soup of so-called charitable institutions, including ABS-CBN (a major Philippine media network where he just came from) and our country’s President‘s office, that he could go to. “Been there, all of them,” he said, morosely. “I either got empty promises or hallow sympathies,” his eyes resigned to the inevitable. His were a man’s who slugged it out with the world and tried to out-maneuver fate as well. Whatever glimmer of hope left in there, however, was extinguished by the anguish he felt for being abandoned. In spite of the stabbing pain and the measured breaths, this man walked his way one leaden step after another , in search for any freaking help that he never got. Imagine a bed-ridden old man who awaits for his time: emaciated, in physical agony, yet doggedly determined to get out of bed, carried his deathbed, and walked for miles on end in pursuit of an elusive purpose. He was determined to beat the deadline– only a week away. Tried he did to go beyond the limits of his dying body, but, alas, his dead hope and defeated spirit got the better of him: “All I want is some gasoline money for the truck that my friend offered me as a ride home to Tacloban (some 360 miles by land SE of Manila). I want to be with my children when I die. I want to be buried in my hometown. One thousand pesos (about $20). That’s what keeping me away from my children and my burial plot right now,” his words laced with bitterness the aftertaste of which I didn’t mind at all. Thank you for the 500 pesos; and would I mind if he had to move on (walk the two blocks to the bus station) to catch his bus? Of course, I didn’t. I handed him the amount he needed. He held my hand and thanked me again, his eyes– I had the gnawing feeling that that would be the first and the last time I will ever see him– bade me farewell.

Yes, I did mind him leaving, in a way. I wished I could have done more. I didn’t even get his name. However, to God he will never be a nameless, faceless son of His. My heart is with him, knowing he was with his children to celebrate life and love with them. Priceless.

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Written by nealm

8 June 2009 at 4:55 PM