Chasing Shadows

Can one control the weather? As a child—naïve, ignorant and carefree—I used to think so. Whenever my parents wanted me to bring an umbrella or a raincoat to school, I always had an excuse not to.

I was raised a Catholic, and was taught that if I am good enough, Jesus would give me everything I want. More so, I pictured the moon and the sun as vessels of God, conveniently placed above Creation; an omniscient judge of right and wrong. Often, I met the criteria of being “good” and every so often, I’d look up in the heavens and whisper to whichever shining orb present, “rain, rain, go away; come again another day.”

The folly of childhood is that we easily trust things that are taught to us. It’s a fidelity that’s greatly cited with religion and fictitious television characters.

Peter Pan once said that when you close your eyes and think of what you ever-so-wanted—happy thoughts—you’ll fly. It’s an allegorical presumption that, with the innocence of an eight-year-old, I tried to verify. The highest point I could reach at that time was my bed. Blameless and predictable, I stood in bed, outstretched my arms, closed my eyes, and imagined myself playing hide-and-seek with my first childhood crush. As sure as the wind blew on my face when I leapt, I too dropped flat in a heavy thump on the wooden floor. When my parents arrived and saw me bruised, and a big swelling above my left eye (luckily, no broken bones), I told them it was a “playing accident”—one of the excuses I made to evade the impending scolds and sermons. I was a comical sight to behold, with ice packs and bandages. After that experiment, it lasted two years that I regret what I did: trying to fly without “fairy dust.” Lucky still, that not until I was ten did I learned to climb our mango tree—the highest point in our home.

Faith is a belief for which we have no evidence. No molecule of truth could have ever been discovered without an unswerving confidence on something that is yet to be proven. It’s looking beyond what is seen. It’s so much that all of life’s questions can be answered in the game of hide-and-seek.

In hide-and-seek, the objective is necessarily not to be found, but contrary, to be found—after everyone else hiding had been.

I wrote my first love letter when I was twelve. It was my proudest creation and most kept secret that amounted to an almost likeness of a parody of combined greeting card messages when I would recall it today. It was for my best friend’s best friend—a falling-in-love story that resulted from one person’s insistence that it’s something worth trying. The letter included a one-stanza poem that remained so ever stagnant in my memories. It goes: “I will always be here for you/ with these three words, I promise you/ when you breathe in pain/ I’ll be there as oxygen.” For politeness, I introduced myself in a post-note, which more so translates, “my name has four words and thirty letters.” Since no one at school knew my full name, it would’ve almost been impossible for me to be found out, if not contritely, I wrote, “Sincerely, your best friend’s best friend.”—one hides because one wants to be found.

Do you fear death?” that’s the question the phantom seafarer Davy Jones relentless and redundantly asked in the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s a question, which echoes resolutely after each repetition.

As a child, my favorite cartoon character was Bugs Bunny. Recently, I received a quote through a text message with his by-line: “I like dead end signs; I think they’re kind. They at least have the decency to let you know you’re going nowhere.” It’s a thought, which antagonizes the fact of life: none of the benevolence and decorum of a dead end sign to let you know what’s coming ahead of you. It goes to show that life is predictable in only two things: the unavoidable change and the inevitable death.

Childhood taught us that our plea for the impossible are in one way granted if we just ask nicely; that life, like a game is a mystery waiting to be solved; that dreams are as limitless as our imagination; that wounds heal; that when the sun sets, we’ll dream through the night and wake up to a new day where a new fantasy beckons and awaits our coming.

When we come of age, and the immaturity and simplicity of the young vanishes, the beliefs of the little boy is outgrown by the wit of manhood. Suddenly, everything else becomes harder. We realize that some of our denied wishes are often spoken to those who are not deaf, but are pretending not to hear. The risks become higher. The game is flawed, and the stakes of realizing our dreams becomes real only when we sleep.

It’s always important to know when something has reached its end,” says the writer Paulo Coelho. The idea of an ending has a way of reshuffling one’s priorities. As boy becomes man, and innocence turns to realization, there can be no doubt that, we often wonder what lies beyond what we now know.

When a chapter in our lives comes into a halt, we often get confused on where to lead on. My aunts own a cat and a dog, which at their age, are beckoned by the spirits of my grandparents to come along. What awaits them then is certain. The ever-popular Patrick Star once said, “Everything will be OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end yet.”

True, we will arrive at the junction where what we have gotten used to suddenly changes. We then often wonder why, in childhood and youth, do we wish time to pass so quickly—we want to grow up so fast. Yet as adults, we wish just the opposite?

So the question bounces again: “Can we control the weather?” sure as dreams will forever live when we never cease to imagine; the little boy never grows old. Scars tattooed in our hearts will forever sting of the fancies and the tales that made us who we are. Hiding and seeking becomes interchanged, when we come to wonder what we have been hiding for. In the end, when summer ceases and we can’t stop the rain from falling; it’s only then could we find a reason to look up at whichever shining orb there is in the sky and have the strength to whisper, “When it’s hard, why do I bother? Because I know it’s worth trying.”

© 2012, Filipino Nurses. All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER: The accuracy of all articles contained in this website are the responsibility of their respective authors. All articles are for informational purposes only and are NOT intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The owner of this site disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on these information. If you have any health-related questions, please consult your physician. If you feel ill, please seek medical attention immediately.

Other posts you may be interested in: