People are okay but I prefer the company of books. – Cathy Thorne

When the time came for yearbook write-ups to be submitted during fourth year high school, I saw through classmates who were extra malambing to me. Some whom I hadn’t bonded well enough suddenly wanted me to compose their yearbook write-ups. It was a tricky endeavor because we weren’t that close. What do I say in the write-ups then?

I came up with a few tricks, and none complained about their respective write-ups. This is one of those instances when writers are really of use, and you don’t know if that’s entirely a good thing.

So when friends wrote to me out of the blue or for “just because” purposes, I would sense something new like a polarizing blue of a planet’s ring that streaks across my forehead. It was that surprising.

The photo here shows three greeting cards. The one written with a pencil came from my sponsored child through an organization I support. I have been supporting John Paul’s schooling for about three or four years now. Whatever happens, I always make sure money is allotted to him. I haven’t met him, but the letters from him show a bright mind and a loving character. His favorite Christmas food is sopas. How simple yet how…tragic.

The second card in black ink came from a special friend from grade school who sent it to me one regular day in high school. Back then, Valentine’s Day was kind of a big deal for the students. You could actually feel the undercurrent of tension, it singed, and it bored through your pores. Either you waited for someone to invite you as her date or you invited someone to spend the day with you (day meaning lunch break, recess, and those two to three hours you can squeeze in before the school bus leaves or before you get picked up by your loyal sundo). You shuttle between the two or you remain nameless, you remain un-invited (don’t you just love that word?).

I think she invited me to spend the day of commercialized romance with her, but either she went home early (she lived in the far fringes of the world) or I was busy with my club duties back then, but based on her words, we didn’t get to enjoy Valentine’s Day together. Hah! How things could have turned for the unpredictable.

During a play when I performed as a dancer and she was production head of a job that required her technical expertise (though I never found out where she got that training), she would step out of the booth and watch me perform. Every single time. Under the glare of the spotlight, I would spy her outline, and I would feel lighter. I would feel lighter.

The third card is from my barometer of goodness, my bedrock, one of the rare loves of my short life. She continues to be one of my “still point[s] of [my] turning world”. She breathes life into this quote sent by another of my still points: “The void in the heart does not accommodate itself to a proxy” (Les Miserables, Victor Hugo)

Merry Christmas, people. I would celebrate when the holiday hoopla is over. The Christmas Grinch in me is still overwhelmed by too much brightness and perkiness that just prick our egos.

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