Friday, June 3, 2011

Choice...

© 2011 Johnny Domawa
All Rights Reserved

There comes a time in everyone’s life when he needs to make a decision, a decision that will define the next stage of his life. I think that I have reached that point already. And I have resolved, after a lot of introspection to finally make a decision that I will stick with. I’ve got what, like twenty or thirty years more of my life… right? Barring any accidents or health problems that would render me cold and dead, that’s the length of years I have left. Too short or maybe just enough, but that’s how it looks.

And you face it, you know. How do you choose to spend the rest of your life now? What would the next twenty years be? The next thirty years?

And I have two general choices at this moment.

One, I choose the usual path and get married, settle down, have kids and focus all my energy into that family.

Two, I work for the next five or seven years like every normal man of my age, save enough then at that point when everything has been settled with my mom that I am sure she will have a comfortable retirement and my two siblings finally get stable, when I have no more obligations, that I would finally pack up my camera in my bag, cram a small suitcase with a good change of clothes and a laptop, grab a sleeping bag and tent and disappear to see the world. And if the world wouldn’t drown me and if I survive, that when I’ve sated my yearning for art and random connections, that I would finally muster the courage to go back home or lie down on top of a hill somewhere and close my eyes, or fall in a ditch and sleep.

Two choices. Two paths. Only one choice to be made.

I’ve lied to get women off my back. Not that I abandoned them or anything, but lied to make sure they don’t want me at the first meeting. I say I have a kid somewhere which I will neither confirm nor deny. It serves its purpose. It makes women hate me to know it (since for some reason, their perception of a man when they know that he has a kid drops to low levels which makes them hate the guy and hence kills the attraction). And it works, mind you, it really does. It hurts them, I know, but it’s better that way. I always believed that it is better to hurt a woman or a man for that matter before the relationship ever happens rather than leading them on and hurting them within the relationship when you realize that you really are not meant for each other. And I seem to be a good liar. Or I might have a kid. Only those I explicitly trust will ever know the truth. 

When I say that I won’t be a good husband, I say it because frankly, who really knows whether he will make a good husband or not, right? Or whether she will be a good wife or not? Better start with low expectations and then go beyond it, than saying it with confidence and failing miserably. So I might make a great husband, or maybe make a lousy one. I don’t smoke, I hate vice, I drink up to a certain point (even the Bible says that the fruit of the vine is good, but never to the point of excess), I will be loyal (and generally honest, because hey, if your woman asks you if a dress looks good on her and you know it doesn’t, it would be suicide to say ‘no, it doesn’t look good on you’, you know what I mean), and I will do my best to make my woman happy (and that’s the commitment that I’ll give to that woman that would be able to see beyond the superficial gestures and the cowardice and shyness that I exhibit around women I like).

I love myself. That’s a given. I love my mom more than I love myself. That’s a Filipino trait. I will, however, love my wife more than I’ll love my mom. And that’s a resolution that I will live for. And it’s a commitment that won’t be broken. The covenant of marriage before God must be honored and I wouldn’t be a man if I failed it.

And I think I’ll make a pretty decent father… maybe even be a swell one.

But there is also the lure of disappearing to become a vagabond human in the world with only the clothes on your back and some small technological thingamajigs like a camera and a laptop to keep you company. Like, joining the Peace Corps or Greenpeace, or volunteering for Africa or hooking up with volunteers to join some worthy causes, you know. Or to just get out of the work, live, get a mortgage, watch tv, browse Facebook (which I find myself doing lately and I find it ironic), just to escape from the grip of this rigid economic virtual jail that nobody seems to recognize. You know what I mean, right?

So I need to make a choice. I’m thirty effin’ years old. Twenty years from now, I’ll be fifty; thirty years from now, if ever I get to be that old, I’ll be sixty. That’s like very close to today. Time is so fast, like click, it’s done, it’s over and life, as we know it has passed us by. And I don’t want to be that senile, old man filled with regrets… I have no intention of being that grumpy old man…

So I need to make a choice. I need to start the path to marriage. That’s the most logical choice and frankly, I want to do that. I don’t know if it’s divinely inspired or something but there is a path that’s somehow presented itself (and I don’t know if it really is a door open or if I am just looking at an illusion). There’s this girl I once had an unusual experience with at one time in my past. We don’t know each other, probably only names and some general information about each. I knew then that our paths would never meet again. She’s this stunning beauty and younger and you know about beautiful people and age and you know, balding men with fat physiques. Men of that kind with low confidence know instinctively that they don’t have a shot. So you muster the courage to befriend her on FB and grin widely when she accepts the request and just content yourself to get a glimpse of her wall post every once in a while and happy knowing that she is okay (not stalking, not in that way). And you know you can’t have her. And then somehow, you find yourself (fate, or simply coincidence) in the same patch of the world. And your heart races that she is there (and single…) and again you muster the courage to click her name on the chat box and hope she would ignore you (she didn’t) and by some miracle you establish a connection. And then you wait for a few months before you communicate again because you don’t know what to say or how to act.

And you berate yourself for thinking that you have a chance when all likelihood, you don’t have any chance in hell (because she is only probably thinking along the lines of friendship) but you want to believe that it can be something and you pray that it is so. 

I guess the only way to know is to pick up the phone and initiate that first face to face encounter. For one thing, you just might be in love with the idea. (Even the concept of love is suspect since we don’t know each other much). You fear that it isn’t true that everything you thought of through all these years is a farce and you also fear that it is true…

I wish I can read what would happen. I wish that for once, a horoscope just for once would be able to predict that something good happens. I can’t, though…

So I reach a point where I need to do this. It’s one path or the next… there are probably no more like this. I mean, how often is it, that the woman of your dreams walks into your life? Maybe it’s divine intervention or maybe I am just reading too much into it.

The tragedy is that I can only write about it and hope that somehow, she gets to read this and gives me a hint as to how it will turn out.

And the greater tragedy is that I’m probably going to act nonchalant about it and come out as a big brother or a friend or something. I want to be more than that if the chance is there but I don’t have the moves other men have…

Life is all about grabbing opportunities. I tell this to my students, to my friends, and to myself… but I am too much of a coward to actually do it.

And I look out my window and see that God doesn’t make it rain and two days from today I’ll be going back to work. I need it to rain to have an excuse to delay the inevitable meet. Thinking about it, I am filled with jitters that I couldn’t even bring myself to get out of bed…

I’ve gotta know. Which is the path for me? I will only have until next week to find out. I don’t think I have the confidence to face it yet. I fear the answer more than anything in this world.

Gomen kudasai…

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