" I remember back then I always wanted to be the difference but I guess it wouldn’t hurt if sometimes I would just like be everybody else. "
These past few days are among the last ones’ left for the year 2008 but also I hope that these days are also going to be the last few days of what have been a very long period of my so-called “soul-searching”
Just yesterday I’ve made one pleasant mistake, I’m still intrigued as to how it happened but somehow the text message I was sending a friend ended up with a complete stranger. I couldn’t figure out how because her number is not even in my phonebook. On top of that, her number didn’t even have any significant similarity with that of my friend’s. It was completely random and I couldn’t have possibly pushed that much number by mistake. (Kung iisipin ko pa ngayon kung paano nangyari iyon eh para akong isang batang two year old na nagtatangka bumuo ng rubrix cube.) I couldn’t possibly solve it.
Well, just like what I said. It was actually a pleasant mistake—one that I’m not sorry about because I’ve just earned a very interesting friend.
My phone started ringing and I didn’t even care to look at the screen to know who it was. Then, after a word—just a word, everything went into a sudden halt. It was a voice I’ve never heard before. She sounded like an angel—a slightly angered one that is. I couldn’t blame her because I gave her a rather rude response. IKAW? Sino ka? I didn’t even know I sent her the message incorrectly so I assumed she was just like the typical patay-malisya-sobrang-trying-hard-maghanap-ng-textmate/callmate na umi-istyle lang but it turned out that I was wrong. Unlike many those before her, she sounded extremely well over the phone. It’s either she’s a rich gal or a highly educated one because she communicates very well. Yes! With a conversation that lasted less than 30 seconds I was able to profile her. ( I was a Quality Assurance Analyst in one of the biggest call center company in the Philippines so it has become almost an instinct for me to profile people with very little information on a short span of time.) Right after I put the phone down, I quickly sent her a message of apology and the rest, as they say is history.
Somehow I convinced her to talk to me more, at first mostly because I was still intrigued about how absurd it was that the message ended up with her. It may just have been a network glitch or something because common sense just wouldn’t give me an answer. Soon enough, intrigued changed to interested. I no longer cared about the bizarre text message but instead I became more interested about her. Once again, my “profiling skills” came in handy and I was right on the mark and if I was ever wrong about her, it would have been the fact that I may have underestimated her a bit. She was funny, well-versed, nice, polite, and by some mysterious magical means, she makes me smile. Honestly, she’s just my type. I’ve always been attracted to girls whom I can share a very good conversation with, someone who communicates well and by that I mean—above average command of the English Language, a bit of german-frenchie type of accent then she would be perfect. I dunno but I dig it. I just like it that way. I know I may sound like I’m a call center interviewer but I really think the reason behind it is that I basically wanted someone at “My” level. Trust me as well when I say that majority of call center agents are not even at an average level. I am not acting superior to anybody, I am not, in any way perfect with English at kahit sa Tagalog. I may have already made a thousand mistake just on this post alone but I want someone na hindi ako mahihirapan mag-explain, iyong tipong gets na agad, ganun. It’s particularly important in any kind of relationship, communication is vital. We all have our so-called “level”, we may not notice it but it is what makes us more comfortable with some group of people than the greater majority. I guess it’s enough of that.
We went on talking, we’ve become so comfortable with each other that we talked about almost anything without even holding back. She got me talking about myself, my interest, and who I was. I am quite dumbfounded by what seems to be a simple question. I didn’t really know how to answer so I did it by the book. I answered her the way I would answer a job interviewer so as to make a very impressive image of myself. I told her something like i was a writer, debater, photographer, best student, best employee etc…I actually I tried to tell her as little as I could because it’s really hard to share them all in a text message. Also, I seem to have lost track of who I really was but sure enough her questions got me to look back and ask who I was.
Well, I am a writer, I’ve always been the school paper’s Editor-in-Chief from Elementary until I graduated from high school. I mastered editorial writing and in fact I reached the National Level Competition on that field, During my year as an exchange student In the states participated in an International Essay writing contest with the theme “PeaceThrough Understanding” and I got in the top 10 spot and so my work was published in an International Mag, It’s quite a feat considering more than 50 countries participated. My name is searchable in google and some of my works are still up to this day available online. During college I joined the elite’s of Lyceum of the Philippines University’s Debate Society from which I got the chance to debate and win against some of the country’s best young minds in PIDC. I was once tagged as the “Walking encyclopedia of Philippine History” for I am the only person who held 3 consecutive Championship in Philippine History Quiz Bee’s right at the nation’s capital here in Manila. I, among the 40 others in the whole nation was chosen to comprise the first batch of the AFS-YES Scholars who embarked in a year long exchange study to the United States fully funded and supported by the U.S Government. I, the only exchange student bested the whole class of Power’s Catholic High School for having the best Port Folio on a technology show, my photos were so liked that it reached the attention of Fuji Ykl, Philippines that they offered to do a exhibit with me in their biggest franchise in Mall of Asia (One thing I didn’t do). Up to this day, I’m thankful for the s7000 camera they have provided me. I, the only non-American who participated in Michigan’s Youth Leadership Forum in Lansing, Michigan U.S.A where I actually took the post of Chairperson during an event where we sat down with two Michigan Senators and discussed bills. For several occasions, I have already served as a guest speaker in various conferences among them was one sponsored by the Department of Tourism where Mr. Paolo Bediones himself served as the Master of Ceremonies. I’ve been in Malacañang a couple of times with President Gloria Arroyo present at one occasion for courtesy calls. I’ve been in the U.S Embassy countless times to meet High Ranking American Dignitaries visiting our country. I myself have also been to the U.S Capitol in Washington D.C to meet with Michigan Congressman, Dale Kildee and at the same time I met the Philippine Ambassador to the U.S at the time on our very own Embassy in D.C . I have met the last two U.S Ambassador to the Philippines Amb. Ricciardone and Amb. Kenny in several occassions and even U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the U.S State Department.
At the age of 19, I’ve handled, trained many young but promising students though while I was still a student at the time. I handled training sessions about school paper writings, history and I’ve trained a couple of souls to also become exchange students working for peace.
These are just some of the highlights of what I have achieved so far, the list in itself is already amazing but even more surprising is that I did all that before the age of 19. At that age and at the rate I was going, I was unstoppable. But then, I did. In fact, now I don’t know how I did all that. I am not that “Marlon” anymore. I, who was once featured in ‘Wish Ko Lang’ for the inspiration I bring to many people because I have endured despite of the fact that I am actually physically challenged person. Up to this day, I’d be surprised by people approaching me telling me they saw me on T.V (by the way it was 5 or 4 years ago already) and was inspired of my story. All along I thought I was just accomplishing these things for my mother, my teachers, my school and our country but at the end of the day, I may be doing all these for myself. Not to grab attention—I get that easily but to get respect. I, who was supposed to be the inspiration, lost every bit of reason for my very existence. One day I woke up and I didn’t know what I was here for. I was overwhelmed by all the craziness and cruelties life and the world has to offer. The flame that burns inside me died just like that. I was weaker than I thought. I’ve always said I’d take the road that I will create but I got lost. I remember back then I always wanted to be the difference but I guess it wouldn’t hurt if sometimes I would just like be everybody else.
No extra effort required.
Pakiramdam ko nag back fire iyong tanong ko sa kanya. “IKAW? SINO KA?”. Sure, I’ve accomplished so much, I’ve done a lot and experienced a lot already but none of it all these things I mentioned gives an answer to the question “Sino ka?”. I think it’s a means to get respect because only after you earned it that you get the chance to show who you are. Sa sobrang trying hard ko mag-pa-impress eh napilitan akong hukayin iyong pinakamagagandang bagay tungkol sa akin, mga bagay na nakalimutan kong ako pala. At the least, she reminded me na madami pala akong kayang gawin at marami pa akong pwedeng gawin. Naisip ko rin na sa sobrang dami ng tao sa mundo, siguro kahit ang Diyos nalilito at minsan nakakalimutan ka kaya lahat na lang ng masamang pwedeng mangyari sayo nangyari na. Or baka talagang iniwan niya lang ako muna because He trusted me enough na kaya ko na. I failed him. But it’s about time I get back on my feet. So, pagbalik niya. I’d be better than before.
Coincidence or Fate?
We’ve only known each other for a few hours but I felt like I’ve known her forever, we had so much in common that I started to consider the fact someone up somewhere wanted us to actually know each other. I’ve been through hell. All along I felt that I was on a quicksand—I was waiting to die but at the same time I was hopelessly waiting for someone to pull me up from the trouble I was in. She was a stranger out of nowhere but she extended her hand and she pulled me up, and then right after I was back on the same ground, she slapped me in the face as if she was telling me
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”