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Chasing Shadows

Chasing Shadows

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Published by: Karlo Christopher Cristales on Jun 21, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Chasing Shadows
Can one control the weather? As a child—naïve, ignorant and carefree—Iused to think so. Whenever my parents wanted me to bring an umbrella or a rain coat toschool, I always had an excuse not to.I was raised a Catholic, and was taught that if I am good enough, Jesuswould 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 andwhisper to whichever shinning 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 youever-so-wanted—happy thoughts—you’ll fly. It’s an allegorical presumption that, withthe innocence of an eight-year-old, I tried to verify. The highest point I could reach at thattime was my bed. Blameless and predictable, I stood in bed, outstretched my arms, closedmy eyes, and imagined myself playing hide-and-seek with my first childhood crush. Assure as the wind blew on my face when I leapt, I too dropped flat in a heavy thump on thewooden floor. When my parents arrived and saw me bruised, and a big swelling abovemy 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 Iregret what I did: trying to fly without “fairy dust.” Lucky still, that not until I was ten didI 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 truthcould have ever been discovered without an unswerving confidence on something that isyet to be proven. It’s looking beyond what is seen. It’s so much that all of life’s questionscan 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 every one else hiding had been.I wrote my first love letter when I was twelve. It was my proudest creationand most kept secret that amounted to an almost likeness of a parody of combinedgreeting card messages when I would recall it today. It was for my best friend’s bestfriend—a falling-in-love story that resulted from one person’s insistence that it’ssomething 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 an oxygen.” For politeness, Iintroduced myself in a post-note, which more so translates, “my name has four words andthirty 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 Jonesrelentless and redundantly asked in the movie,
 Pirates of the Caribbean.
It’s a questionwhich echoes resolutely after each repetition.As a child, my favorite cartoon character was Bugs Bunny. Recently, Ireceived 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’sa thought which antagonizes the fact of life: none of the benevolence and decorum of adead 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 waygranted if we just ask nicely; that life, like a game is a mystery waiting to be solved; thatdreams are as limitless as our imagination; that wounds heal; that when the sun sets, we’lldream through the night and wake up to a new day where a new fantasy beckons andawaits our coming.When we come of age, and the immaturity and simplicity of the youngvanishes, 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 oftenspoken to those who are not deaf, but are pretending not to hear. The risks becomehigher. The game gets flawed, and the stakes of realizing our dreams becomes real onlywhen we sleep.“It’s always important to know when something has reaches its end,” saysthe 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 weoften wonder what lies beyond what we now know.When a chapter in our lives comes into a halt, we often get confused onwhere to lead on. My aunts own a cat and a dog, which at their age, are beckoned by thespirits of my grand parents 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 notthe end yet.”True, we will arrive at the junction where what we have gotten used tosuddenly changes. We then often wonder why, in childhood and youth, do we wish timeto 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 asdreams 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 uswho we are. Hiding and seeking becomes interchanged, when we come to wonder what

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