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I’m starting 2013 with thoughts of the fisherman’s wife I met months back. And because it could not start any better if not with her. It was an early weekend of June. I took a shower, and shoved my stuff in my pack hoping one of my ZaNorte travel companions might have changed their minds for this early side trip. The hallway was empty with only light creeping in from the glass doors greeted by the hotel night staff wiping sleep from their eyes. I thought I heard snoring from the end of the hall but I wasn’t sticking long enough to distinguish whose snoring it was. I do not even know if I could but I can bet on it that it must be that of C. Just kidding.
And as I headed out — I mentally kicked myself, I’m heading off without a plan, again. I was not surprised. I had a wallet and a pack to get me by, and everyone knows charm is always an essential. Travel full of it in your pockets. You will need it when you bank on people’s soft spots, and charm them into thinking you’re harmless. Which you are, I hope. It’s both a gift, and skill, and never just the other.
The bus halted at a bustling morning market scene. Dapitan City. I decided, beyond the makeshift stalls of fresh farm produced was an unmistakable blue horizon, — it would be my stop. I was instantly surrounded with men in sleeveless shirts, if not shirtless guys. I wished I accidentally walked in on an all-male-model photo shoot. But no, I was brought back to reality when, they, in deep masculine voices
pestered asked me to take their outrigger boats for an island trip before my feet even hit the concrete road. For the locals the obvious visitor is always a target, and potential customer. But I can hear the waves despite the loud bargain of prices from these men. Unfamiliar faces has become so familiar. You get them of different sorts, and it is always best to look at them in the eyes, and smile when you refuse an offer.
Absently, “I wonder if I would regret not going to Aliguay Island”, thought escaped from me. Writers makes lousy anythings. At some point you’re incapable of shutting your thoughts up, if you are not quick enough to pen them down. She looked down at me, and asked who was I with. “I’m here alone”. It slipped before I could bite my tongue, and regretted the moment I said that because she then ask the dreaded 1 word, 1 syllable follow-up question solo travelers dance their way out to answer. “Why?” I wanted to answer, “why not?” and wish that the word why would suddenly vanished from the dictionaries, our brains, and she would have asked something else instead. I hate it when I have to mentally construct decent answers, the kind to make the old feel comforted. But before I could answer, she said, “Dili angayan mag-inusara ang babae magbyahe. Balik dinhi, kanang naa na ka’y kuyog.” placing a warm wrinkled hand on my arm like a grandma telling a girl should not be traveling by herself, and to come back with someone traveling with her. I needed no probing at that.
We talked more about her life, her hands that knew which nylon cord to pull out, and tie without even looking at it, and fishing that brought her to meet her husband. The latter soon she explained that it was never about fishing, it was about the man. Never about what one does, but who he is. Never about how your life would be, but how your life would be should you decide something else. Her smile was gentle, like she wanted to tell me something I already know of but, maybe, forgot.
— because I know I need rest more often than I let myself. Also, so I could stop going away solo for a break from routine, because I’m too stubborn to wait on anyone to join me.
— and also because we get so wrapped up on what we do, what we want to achieve that we forget to check how we are. Read as: Take care of yourself more, until someone else does. And,
— other than getting my adventurous spirits up, I do not know if it means anything more.
— but for some reason I think my heart does.
2013, for sure, is a year to work, travel, live, and love more. What, how, when, and with whom is yet to be known of. After all, what’s a good life’s story without something to leave us wondering, and to excitedly look forward to. *gulps* Kidding. *grins*
*Points cursor to the Publish button. Closes eyes. Hits Enter key*
“I’m not shy. I’m just holding back my awesomeness. Do not intimidate me.“