Monday, March 25, 2013

Smooth criminal

This happened last February.

It was a little past 12 in the midnight and the whole household was already asleep except for me. All lights were out. I was sitting alone in our dining table reviewing pile of stuff I've written the whole day from my tablet while drinking a glass of fresh milk, when suddenly I heard a noise. The wind chimes attached to our screen door tinkled and the aluminum door sounded as though it was being forced-open. 

"Sino yan?" (Who's in there?)

I blurted but no one answered. 

I tried ignoring it but not a minute has passed when I heard the door once more. Again, it sounded as though  someone was trying to open it. So I sat up, went upstairs and grabbed the gun from under our safety drawer. Quickly, I opened the wooden door with the gun on my right hand. There was nobody in there. Finally, I opened the screen door and went outside, circled the house only to see Diego, my aunt's huge dog, tied at his usual spot, staring at me. It was a bitter cold night in Bulacan. I looked above the towering trees and everything was still. Not a single leaf moving. 

Sometimes I do get scared of the way my mind works. Everybody and everything is a suspect. Somewhere in a middle of a crowd, someone is always calculating for an attack sabotaging people's vulnerability.

It's a serious case especially if you're witness to crime modus and the criminals themselves almost in daily basis. I remember when I was about 5 or 6 years old. My mother brought me to his brother, my uncle's assigned police station in Tondo, Maynila. I remember asking for water and as I make my way to the fridge with my uncle's aide, I caught glimpse of those men behind bars. They were staring at me, their eyes so piercing that they scared me. I ran fast to my mother escaping their malevolent presence but the images took time before they died down.

Since then I have this fixation over criminals, terrorists and rebels. Sometimes I'd love to think I am one of them. Sometimes I feel they're my own enemies. 

In streets especially at night there are many blankets for safeguard. For one, you can blend in. Criminals who do it for a living don't just stick their weapons or attack anyone without locking a target first. The goal is for you not to stand out in a crowd. But how to make it look that you are not the perfect target? Either you make it appear that you have nothing for them or make them aware that you're watching them and that you're alert and that you are the wrong person to cross. 

But this strategy will not work for criminals with no definite goals. As a matter of fact, this will have an opposite effect. Understand that there are criminals who just want to stir a craze. Most are under influence of drugs. They will attack you when provoked and this includes meeting their gaze. 

So how to determine which type of a criminal this guy lurking in some dark alley? This, I'm afraid, you'll have to learn by yourself. Fear will teach you that, as it did to me. I don't go pretending I'm good, or an expert with how the criminal mind works. I am merely stating what I know and what I can share. In the end, it's our instinct, our natural defense we need to trust. Fear will never be gone but fear can be conquered at will and tough work. 

I know sometimes these thoughts can turn into paranoia. I recounted the story to everyone in the household including cousins living within the same compound. After three days, my kuya said one of the barangay tanods told him that an unidentified guy entered our gates. But when they followed the guy, he was gone. This kept me thinking because I usually arrive home at 12:00 in the midnight or 1:00 in the morning. Let it be said that we are not rich and that we are a family of modest roots, so I don't think we are legitimate target. But no one really knows. We'll only find out when the unthinkable happens. 


Monday, March 4, 2013

The end

"When you love someone, it's never over. You move on because you have to, but you bring him in your heart."
-Elizabeth Chandler, Kissed by an Angel

It is very sad when couples part ways. I've never been in a romantic relationship, I am well aware of that so I don't have the slightest authority to speak for this, but I do think that if former lovers are to break up, at the very least they should separate as friends. Which I know is tough. But in the spirit of days and moments they exchanged words of forever, I think they should try. 

Break-ups make me feel sad on few points. For one, it's harder when you're friends with both, or even one . I know there are no words of comfort that would ease the pain, even anger for some, but then again you try. Or you stay there at the back, make them feel that in this moment of fall, they're not alone.

Hearing stories of break-ups throws me in deep thoughts. Sometimes I would conclude if getting in a relationship for these amazing people is already a tough job, then no wonder it's been always hell for me. Or sometimes I wonder if they really loved each other. And once a person decided to call it quits, how can he/she be so sure? Is there really an end to love? 

My friends are seriously egging me to date lately; others despite my stern warning would even dare introduce me to some. I've explained this a lot like saying I don't really have the time and that my life situation is very complicated or that I already have my eyes set on someone special and I'm just waiting for things to clear up. Which are all partly true. But honestly, sometimes I suspect these are all but my excuses. 

I'm afraid to admit that I'm afraid of relaxing my walls once more, let other people delve into my fragile domain. It is hard when you've come so far conquering depression and I don't think no one should fault me for being protective of myself. And then you encounter these goodbyes. 

In the midst of a friend breaking news of her breakup, another told me "at least you're spared of that kind of pain." "You're luckier," that friend added. I did not respond to it instantly, but I knew that I have to disagree. 

It is true that nothing lasts forever, and probably even love. But at the very core of our psyche, I know we are all trying to. Or maybe just to survive. I think that despite people parting ways, its the good times, and yes, even the bad moments that were shared are all that matters. Maybe the pain is all worth it. And that makes them way luckier. Because they get to experience that whereas most of us can only imagine or dream of those highs and lows.

I humbly believe that it's not really the love we get that counts, but the the amount we are willing to give especially to those who are least deserving. That's very poetic isn't it? The same thing about talking about break-ups. Or talking to that person who broke-up with you. But like a sad poem, I imagine it will end well. It well echo for some time, yes, but maybe a lot better. And who knows? The next one could be just as good or better than you can hope for. 

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