Letter from the Rain
"In poverty and misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge."—Aristotle
"False friends are like our shadow, keeping close to us as we walk in the sunshine, but leaving us the instant we cross into the shade."—Christian Nestell Bovee
"Friendship makes prosperity brighter, while it lightens adversity by sharing its griefs and anxieties."—Cicero
(Friendship: A Book of Quotations, edited by Herb Galewitz; 1999, Dover Publications, Inc.)
March 3, 2005
......Last night, after so many months of taking time off on account of Pink's last months of pregnancy and for the after-childbirth chores loving husbands do (ahem), Ramil, Drin, Bebet, and I had a jam [band practice] at Pipeline (as usual). We had a night schedule for that (as usual), 8–10 p.m. Finally, I received from Ramil your package. I was not able to read your letter until a few minutes ago; and I must say that you're obviously pissed.
Well, you should. I would, if I were in your place (but for that I would have to gain a lot of chicks charisma, he, he). I cannot see any reason you are treated badly by your mom's relatives there. Actually, you are doing them a big favor by personally taking care of your grandpa. Do they honestly think they can treat you like shit just because they've offered you a future of "good jobs and excellent living" in Canada by letting you take care of your grandpa in the meantime? What's with Canada anyway? Milk and honey? That's baloney! Heaven and hell can be both earthly; we carry them with us wherever we go. The Philippines is as good a place as anywhere else. In fact, even better; think of cheap pirated CDs, VCDs, and DVDs in Quiapo and the thrill of fending pickpockets. That's about all you need in life. Goodies and Danger, that is. But that's for another letter, maybe a longer one. I digress, I know. Going back, happiness or heaven is what you make of yourself. Well, if your folks there really think they're doing you a favor and saying, "Hey, kiddo, you'll have Canada like candy later, meantime, eat shit," then they must be irrevocably delusional. Let them be. Dedma lang, p're [Just ignore them, bud.]
I do not pity you because I know that you are much stronger than the "traumatic" situation you have been going through.
If you were your grandpa, then the greatest love Heaven ever brought you especially in the twilight of your years is a grandson flying over from faraway lands to care for you.
I think that is the best reason Fate has sent you there.
Don't think of your situation in selfish terms such as going through it for later better days of living in Canada. Think of the old man and your precious moments together—the old man and your sea of solitude. Don't think of the old man as your ticket to Canadian Neverland, and you'd be amazed how your chest would be unburdened of resentful emotions. Judging from your recent writing, your solitude proves fertile for written outputs. Contrary to your imagined misery, you are in perfect environment for successfully birthing writings that will be around more than you will be. These writings are investments in eternity, along with our rough musical recordings. Use it, this anger, this forlornness, this solitude, this genre of "being against the wind." Use it. It is the contrariness of winds upon your wings that can make you soar like a kite. It is what repels us that measures our inner strength, our character, our convictions. It is through hardships that the best in us is forced out, like gold being culled from its muddy coating through the fires of a blacksmith. Pressures count a lot.
It is good though that you have big plans ahead of you. I?—simply try to enjoy moments with my kids. That's what I plan day after day. My point is, don't try to stress yourself too much today by thinking so much of the future. It's good to make a list of your goals and paste it behind your head, but don't curse the present in doing so. If you say you're miserable, then you are. Misery is a feeling, not a person. Misery is a stage, not a life. You are your own life. If people around you keep on throwing stones at you, then mock them by saying, "I'm still standing here, whackos! Is that the best you've got?"; then laugh, one mixed with joy and contempt. Contempt is a privilege of those higher in position. You are high above them in reason and love; therefore, you have the privilege to cast your eyes below them.
Drug addict ka raw? [They said you were a druggie?] He, he. Wag mo na lang pansinin; di naman totoo eh. [Just ignore it; it's baloney anyway.] They think also you're gay? He, he. Well, you look feminine and sometimes move in feminine ways, but that is not math enough to make you gay. Besides, all your close friends knew how you liked girls. He, he. But it's good to know that you love only one now. Congratulations in planning to fold your sails and settle on the island of marriage. We used to kid around here that lots of girls fall for you because you look like a foreigner—tisoy. But that factor does not apply in Canada, where you'd blend in as one of the tisoy.
Now that you have a guitar, learn it. There are two ways to enjoy music. One is by listening to it, maybe dancing with it. The other is by playing it. The first one is good in swelling the emotions to higher levels inside you (which is bad in case of sentimental moments). The second is good for releasing emotions (which is best for sentimental moments). Play guitar as a recreational music, an outlet of emotions. You'll never be alone in that after savoring its therapeutic properties. Trust me. I know. It's never too late to learn to play the guitar. Who knows, a new set of compositions may come out of it.
Well, my clients are lining up while I pretend to fire away with my computer with legal documents on a deadline. It's hard to keep a frown on my face and a really busy look. He, he. Ang hirap magkunwari, 'tol [It's hard to pretend, bro.] I'll write you again. Pink says take care. My latest legacy is Stephanie, born last January 29. A beautiful child. Kamukha ko raw [My look-a-like, they say.]
Your future best man
(although "best man" doesn't sound well,
especially with the accusation there that you're gay)
......Thanks for The Lord of the Rings DVD and the New Order CD. More coming? He, he. Ipon ka na lang para sa kasal mo [Just save money for your wedding.] I was unable to mail this letter yesterday. Yes, it's now March 4. It wouldn't be me if I were not late again. He, he. I wish I could write to you in longhand, but I'm just stealing time so the fastest route is through the computer. It's the messages that count anyway. So, again, excuse my grammatical errors should you see one. Words are just transports. So long as you get my drift, it does not matter that the transports are not perfect. Palusot ba? [Trying to make a lame excuse?] He, he. Ingat ka r'yan, p're [Take care there, bud.]