Life sucks. We all know that.
My 3rd Year High School Economics teacher once said - “Cost is the opportunity forgone in an acquisition.” Whenever we choose something, we also choose to let go of something else.
In my case, I chose stability of life over happiness.
As an undergraduate, I found that your aptitude and attitude alone can’t bring you to the top. I’ve had several odd jobs before I figured out that if I wanted to earn enough money to be able to buy at least a couple of properties, working in the Philippines as an under-paid undergraduate isn’t the best idea. That’s the reason why I grabbed at the opportunity to work in a cruise ship when it presented itself. It might not be the most fun job in the world but it surely beats having to eat a can of sardines a whole week if your budget goes on a sudden nosedive.
I have never had any difficulty leaving the Philippines whenever my 2-month vacation from work ends. It’s not because I don’t care about my family and friends. The Supreme Being knows how much I love them. The fact is, I have always been the “traveling” type. I’m the person who enjoys where the wind blows me and flying off for a 6-month contract has never been a biggie.
Leaving the Philippines this time was a bit difficult. Largely owing to the fact that I felt I met Raymond too late and we haven’t had enough time together. We only had around 3 weeks and I feel like I’m cutting our “Honeymoon” phase quite short.
I was supposed to go to Makati to get my plane ticket from my agent 2 days before my flight. When I told Raymond I was to leave Olongapo the next day, he insisted that he wanted to join me. I didn’t like the idea at first because I’m not comfortable with saying goodbyes. I’m not into the whole “waterworks” gig, but when I do start, you can hook-up me up with a turbine and I can produce enough electricity to light up Las Vegas. I only said yes when he told me he was just going to join me at Cassey’s pad and will not go with me and my family to the airport on the day of my departure.
The next day, he told me he cooked Pesto and baked a blueberry cheesecake for my mom and dad. When I told my Mom and Dad that Raymond cooked something for them, they went into this freakish frenzy and told me they wanted to meet him. I had a gut feeling that they already knew about me and Raymond.
My dad was a secret spy of the highest caliber in his former life. It’s really difficult to hide things from him. My being the paragon of “the absolute gossipmonger“ must have come from the genes. Since he retired from work, my dad has taken researching what me and my siblings are up to as his new hobby. He usually passes the information to my mom as he knows that she can’t turn down a juicy scandal as well. Out of the two, my mom is always the one who has the courage to ask the veracity of their findings and soundness of their hypotheses out in the open.
”When the food gets here, make sure you don’t eat any. Let me and your dad take care of eating the food he brings because your boyfriend might have put a love potion on it.“ said my mom as she was standing behind my Dad, trying to see what he was reading on his laptop.
”Did you just say boyfriend?“ I asked flabbergasted.
My dad looked at me and said ”We saw your relationship status changed in Facebook.“
Dang! I totally forgot that me and my dad are Facebook buddies.
I excused myself because they might start having an uber-late talk about the bird and the bees with me.
When I got to my room, I texted Raymond right away that he shouldn’t come to our house. I told him that I’ll meet him by a street corner near our place instead.
An hour later, Raymond texted me that he was a couple of minutes away from our meeting place. I went downstairs and was about to go out through our main door when my dad asked:
”Is Raymond here already? Let him in and give him something to drink (while we squeeze every small detail of his life from him).“
I guess my cellphone has been bugged by my parents. I’ll have to check on that when I get the free time from my pseudo-hectic schedule.
”No, I’m just going to buy a pack of cigarettes“ was what I told my dad as I went out.
I know my dad has a pair of binoculars which he won’t hesitate to use on us to get his fresh dose of morning gossip. I walked half-running to where Raymond and I were supposed to meet so that if my dad did go to the extent of using binoculars, he would just see me with a bag of Raymond’s cooking and no Raymond.
After giving me the food he made for my parents, Raymond told me to just text him that afternoon when I wanted him to pick me up. He left without kissing me as we were in front of a hotdog stand owned by the Editor-In-Chief of our streets ”Gossip Today Broad-Shit“.
”I can’t believe you didn’t introduce him to us!“ I’m not so sure if that’s how my dad worded it as he was munching on Raymond’s Pesto when he did.
”You can tell Raymond he can put some more garlic next time he does this. You can never go wrong with more garlic on Pesto.“ supplied my mom while twirling her fork on her 2nd plate of Raymond’s now epic pasta dish.
This was really weird for me.
I’ve never had any of my ex-partners introduced to my parents. Well, except one, but they didn’t know he was my partner. My friends threw a surprise party for me at our home that time and there were so many people who went there that I’m pretty sure my parents weren’t able to keep track of everybody. Heck, if they did, they would have noticed that the cake that one of my friends had commissioned to be made of a naked man with a life-size penis standing upright like the Eiffel Tower on top of our dinner table resembled one of the guests.
Why did my parents all of a sudden have this crazy interest in finding out who I was dating?
”So are you going to introduce him to us later?“ my mom unceremoniously broke my flashback.
”Yes mom, Later when he picks me up ....“ I said; deliberately not finishing it off with my intended close ”.... I’ll hide him from both you and dad.“
When I was ready to leave, I texted Raymond that he can pick me up where we rendezvoused earlier.
I was sure my parents were in the garden as I saw them there through my window with our mongrel dogs Megs, Maegan, Brownie, Spot and Tisay. I tried to haul two of my huge luggage down the stairs, through our main door and down the staircase leading to our main gate as silently as humanly possible.
The game plan was, I’ll just text my parents I already left and that we’ll all just see each other at the NAIA when I leave after 3 days. I went back to my room like an experienced ninja to get my Oakley backpack and laptop bag.
Still, there was no sign of my parents. Lady luck must really love me!
I went through the same route as quiet as a snail (if there’s even a loud snail to begin with). As I was going down through the staircase leading to our garage, I looked back quickly to see if my parents were anywhere behind me.
No one! All was going well.
Very slowly, I tip-toed down the steps. I was so nervous in making any type of sound that might alert my parents of my escape.
My heart was beating like the bass drum of a flamboyantly gay cheering squad.
”Will my parents hear it beating wildly?“ I thought as I wiped off the sweat on my forehead. ADDITION TO MY TO-DO LIST IN LIFE: Study yoga so that you can learn how to temporarily stop your heart from beating!
I was a couple of steps away from freedom when I noticed a shadow moving by the landing of our staircase leading to our garage.
”What took you so long?“ said my dad beaming at me like all his missed Christmas gifts came that very day.
( ... to be continued ... Raymond meeting my parents .... our first fight ... and the day I leave ...)