Friday, September 3, 2010

Love Letters

  Picture is (c) at Danica Azares

This is my first reincarnation. How did I know? I still have my memories of my uncle, and that fateful night I will never forget. I do remember having my soul separated from my body. That must be for the reincarnation. Before, I regard reincarnations as assurances of people who fear hell. But this one is an exception. Now that I've acquired a body, my main purpose is clear: look for my uncle who might have been reincarnated as well.This is an interesting event that happened during my journey, and I feel the need to narrate it to make it known how I met my reincarnated uncle.
Love Letters

Ever since I was a child, I had been seeing this particular photo among the other framed ones in my grandma’s house. Grandma was such a photo freak that she filled her house with various photographs of different kinds and sizes. Some were really old and faded, but some were fresh and new. Every year, I came to her house just to put new pictures of us in the city. Then, she would greet me with her trademark bear hug and amiable smile. At the end of the day, my stomach would be filled with tasty pastries and delicious dishes she made, and she would even give me extra for sharing. She was a lovely lady who was full of life and laughter. Her house even sang of tunes by the way it was built and painted. However, the once happy house was nothing but a gloomy shadow of its former self. The moss green marble walls were the only witnesses of what transpired over the past several years she and my grandpa lived here. The porcelain cups and plates that she bought were neatly stacked in mahogany colored cabinets. The tiled, beige-colored floor bore the mark of negligence and carelessness. The pictures still held a minuscule hint of joy though.

            So this ominous picture really bothered me a lot. It was as if the very image was meant to bore a hole in my soul, but it was totally impossible since the photograph consists of my grandma and her best friend with their backs facing the camera. She was probably in her early teenage years in this photograph. I asked her about this photo a lot of times before but she just answered me with a smile. I was a child back then so I could only interpret what she did as a smile, and being the innocent angel that I was, I just left it as it is. Now that I had given it a thought, there was something wrong with that smile. It was something that had to be read between the lines. What was that word again? Ah, yes. It was a bittersweet smile. That should mean there was a story or probably an anecdote behind that photo. I remembered my grandma saying it was forbidden to touch or lift the framed photo, for a curse would befall on the violator’s fate. I was a child back then so I believed her, but I could touch and lift it now, couldn’t I? I picked up the framed photo and I was surprised to feel the heaviness of it. It shouldn’t be this heavy. Curiosity kicked in so I took the frame and sat on one of the colorful cushions in the living room. I put the frame on my lap and I started arranging my pillow. However, the framed photo slipped off of my lap and crashed on the carpeted portion of the tiled floor. I was aghast, but I calmed down when I realized it was not broken. Then, I noticed something peculiar. Two sets of envelopes were on the floor. There was no other explanation as to where the envelopes came from so I inspected the framed photo. There it was a fake backside of the frame. I read the label of the white envelope, and it said “Romel.” Ah, my grandpa was such a romantic when it came to grandma. I wish I could find a guy like him. I did not open the envelope, for I respect the privacy of the couple. Then, as I glanced at the brown envelope, I was shocked to see the name of her best friend: “Mark Anthony Cai.” Now this was getting interesting. I opened the brown envelope and saw several letters with two common addresses. I recognize my grandma’s address, and I assumed that it was Mark’s address that read: #XX D Subdivision, Rincon, Valenzuela, City. I started reading the letters by the date. The first letter was from Mark.

The First Letter

I smiled at the shabby handwriting of the guy and I proceeded to the succeeding letters. So, grandma replied to his letters after all. The letters were neatly folded. The guy’s were even in the shape of ducks, frogs, heart, cars. He probably was an origami expert, whereas my grandma was just folded into three folds. There were about a hundred plus letters. All of them saw the development of their feelings for each other. I did not bother reading the other letters for there were too many. I just randomly picked one from the pile and read it. Another interesting letter:

The Beginning of the Predicament
           The next letter was from grandma:

Hints of her Feelings

            They continued their written communication, but there was a huge gap in between two of the last letters. Mark wrote to her during the last day of August and grandma replied at around midsummer, four years after Mark wrote to her. I browsed the two letters before them and found the answer to my questions.

Treading Separate Ways

I could feel the tension in these letters. I opened grandma’s reply.

Part I: The Consent to her Betrothal

I was unable to read the middle part of the letter for I was too bothered by what would be her reply to the confession of her best friend. Without further ado, tiny beads of tears started escaping the rim of my eyelids. One by one, I felt each drop tore away a part of my being. Then, I proceeded to the latter part of the longest letter.
And that was the first and last time I started crying continuously.

            Over the years that passed, I finally found an excellent job: Contractor. I did take up engineering just like my grandma and I didn’t expect to top the board exam. I loved my job, I loved my colleagues and of course the people I met, except for this particular, arrogant, thick-faced Edward Justin Cai, and some random [and creepy] stalker who kept on dropping love letters in my mail box. I really hope he [Edward] didn’t have any connections with Mark Anthony Cai. I met him three years ago and he found out I was the granddaughter of his best friend and first love. He gave me some of his notes that he had kept all those years and it was the sole reason why I topped the board exam. Ah, not to mention he lent me some of the notes of his grandson, JC. I planned to visit him this time. I baked some cakes and pies I learned from grandma.

            As I walked through the ivory gates towards the stoned pathway, I noticed fresh new flowers in bloom. I saw the gardener tending the soil and I called out to say a greeting. I continued on my way until I met the mahogany doors that concealed the creatures inside. I held my fist out and gently knocked on the door. After a few seconds, the door creaked and I saw the number one bane of my existence, Edward Cai, and my hope of him not connected with Cai was rapidly dissolving.
          “Good day, madam. What can I do for you?” His voice was dripping with rich sarcasm. I could tell. I immediately flashed him an equally sarcastic smile and did a sign of respect by bowing my head.
          “I’m looking for Mr. Mark Anthony Cai. I-”
          “Hurry up, JC. The food’s getting cold.” A deep, booming voice shook the house. Edward looked alarmed.
          “Tsk. Come on in.” He grabbed my right wrist and I helplessly ran with him. His hold was iron hard. Did grandpa call him JC? Oh. My hopes and dreams of him having no connection or whatsoever were gone with the wind.

          When we came to the dining room, grandpa was wide-eyed shocked to see me. I flashed a hesitant smile before pulling my arm out of his grip.

“Good day, grandpa. I brought some cakes for you.” I placed the boxes on the empty space on the wooden oval table and bent over to kiss him on the cheek. Edward seemed quiet. He must be shocked with the way things were.

“Ah, it’s nice to see you again, young lady. Pray tell me what you baked for me today.” His brown eyes were full of playful mischief and I grinned back at him.

“Let’s see. I baked some apple pie, blue berry tarts and your favorite, strawberry cheesecake. How’s that sound?” I grinned wider, but before he could reply, an unceremonious fake cough made us turn to the neglected being in the kitchen.


So, grandpa explained everything while we ate. Every once in a while, Edward’s and mine’s eyes would meet and throw silent curses with our gazes, and grandpa would glare at him. The meal was good, but I suddenly had the desire to puke when grandpa told me it was Edward who made it.

“This is the last unsent letter that I found in my grandma’s stack of papers.” I put the neatly folded article on his wrinkled hands and he opened it slowly, savoring every movement as if it was the last time he would ever do that. As he read the letter, tears started falling out of his once happy eyes. He then started talking.

“I still can’t believe she died before me.” He chuckled deeply as he went back to talking.

“She was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Full of life, there was never a dull moment with her. She was amiable and she got along with everyone very well. I was merely glancing at her from afar back then so I was filled with joy when I got to be her block mate.” He heaved a sigh, probably tired from speaking straight.

“I started writing her a letter for I was too intimidated to make myself fit in her world. I was surprised to know she replied back. From then on, we started talking through letters.” He wiped off the tears that sprang from his eyes.

“She never talked to me during class hours but we have this secret meeting place somewhere in the garden of the university we were in. There we talked, laughed and cried on each other. We became best of friends in a few months time.” He closed the letter the way it was closed.

“But she was betrothed to the son of the university principal, Romel Victor Ramos. He was rich, handsome and leanly built. The typical guy every girl drooled for.” He laughed at the distant memories only he could picture out accurately.

“She never liked the man but…came to love him, as what the letter said, over the years that passed.” He hiccupped a little and continued on.

“It still broke my heart to know she was happy with the man she hated before. I even questioned God if He was playing a dirty trick on me. I loved her so much that I almost refused my marriage to my late wife. But now… I don’t know. She was the woman I loved so much that I even sacrificed my future 50 years ago, and she is the same woman that my heart beats for until now. No one else did. Not even my late wife.”

Years had passed and death embraced grandpa. It was the first and last time I saw Edward cry. As a good citizen, I comforted my nemesis by giving him a hug, which he accepted, and comforting pats on the back. He calmed down a little.

The next day, I came in late. I was wearing my formal attire: purple blouse with puffed sleeves, high waist pencil skirt that reached above my knees and my four-inch velvet pumps. I nearly ran on a child. Unfortunately, luck still wasn’t on my side for I suddenly collided on a hard wall(?) and I felt myself falling…wait. I was not falling anymore. I looked up to see the number one bane of my existence with his arm on my back and his eyes gazing on me as if he was ever ready to eat me. I gave him a glare and he softened his gaze, if that action was fit to be called softened. I felt him putting an envelope on my hand. I noticed it was the same envelope that I had been receiving for the past several years. That means…

“How about coffee this afternoon?”

And my world turned upside down.

It's not supposed to be this way. He was so near yet so far. I had him at the tip of my fingertips but... He did not remember me. I thought it was okay since I regained my memories. I cried my heart out on that day the lover I found was my uncle, who apparently did not remember a single memory of his niece. Nevertheless, I'll care for him like I did before. I won't expect him to have his memories regained on the spot, but I will wait...
Hey guys! Authoress here! I'll probably show you the whole "broken letter" there and the last two letters together with the unsent letters from both parties (Ciel and Mark). Tune in for updates! And tell me what you think :)


chinnemarie said...

Ikaw na. Ikaw na ang idol ko! :))

Lolita Ciélita said...

AHAHAHAHAH! love you cheena <3

dan2x said...

sheen.chinne.sheena.. HAHAHA! ang cute nung letters!!