I HAVE been leisurely with my days lately and Valentine’s Day was no exception. The other night I was in Colon surprised at the number of people crowding the street. I mean in ordinary times the crowd actually grows there at night and when that peaks drivers of vehicles also forget traffic rules.
Public utility jeepneys (PUJ) and taxicabs stop everywhere to pick up passengers and people spill out from the sidewalks to the middle of the street, making navigating the traffic difficult. This is more so because of the night market on the street in the middle of that part of Pelaez St. that crosses Colon (specifically near the old Ultra Vistarama theater).
But the other night, one could sense the mood by the number of young couples (the older ones were probably somewhere else quiet) occupying Colon, with the women usually holding flowers or other Valentine’s Day merchandise, like heart-shaped balloons. The commercialization was obvious, but who cares? Lovers bought the items to impress their loved ones nevertheless.
Fast-food stores had their promos for their clients, too. I entered one and saw on a corner a member of the crew singing on videoke an Air Supply song to a chosen couple showered with flowers. Ahh, love.
Later on a PUJ, a bearded young man and his date were eating popcorn from a paper pack the young girl was holding. I recalled those dates with my wife Edizza before we were married.
There is always magic in pre-marriage dates before the reality of raising a family strips that magic away. Those times, the world outside ceases to matter. I cannot even describe in words the emotions we feel then. There is joy, obviously, and excitement. You just don’t want the moment to play itself out. And yes, the music.
Okay, this article is not solely about love but also about the music. Couples are often asked about the song that binds their relationship together, or the music that for them elevates romantic moments even further. My wife and I do not have a particular song that would sum up those moments, but when Jose Mari Chan’s “Deep in My Heart” song plays, I fall silent.
Which brings me back to those days in the hills of Bohol where I spent time after my first arrest.
I was in a relationship at that time, but that relationship crumbled with my arrest and her leaving momentarily for Mindanao. She didn’t know she was pregnant then. When she came back to Cebu to look for me, I was already in Bohol. The child was stillborn. She eventually married a military man and died while giving birth to her third child with him.
I used to sleep in lonely hills at night on hammocks tied to the trunks of trees. At times when I did not have companions, I would feel the loneliness creep into me. It was in those times the failed relationship would bite me. Then I would hum songs with hope written all over the lyrics. Those weren’t protest or revolutionary songs. The petiburges in me would take over: Kenny Loggins’ “Meet Me Halfway” and Randy Santiago’s “Hindi Magbabago.”