One Year

This is a personal blog long before the height of events blogging and the outpouring of groundswell thinking and I am supposed to write about this momentous occasion of celebrating my wedding anniversary with my DH. I used to call him my SO and it feels nice to call him DH now. I am starting to come to terms to being a wife now and approaching the Titas of Manila status. I used to be the one bobbing my head during late evening concerts but now I am mellowing into staying home and tinkering with things in my she shed.

Truth is, I can’t find words so I delayed writing it for a few days. I had pictures but not the right amount or intensity of words to describe how special our anniversary was or how special this relationship is, in general.

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I think it was in this same blog where I was ruminating a lifetime of growing old in a tiny flat alone with cats and stacks of books that hit the ceiling around 4 to 5 years ago. There are cats from where I live now, but I am far from alone, this is not a tiny flat, and the stacks of books are… very much stacked and still here with me.

I never imagined that I’d become a housewife. Yet, here we are, chronicling it from a very pretty home office that my husband helped set up for me with the generosity of my mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law.

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I still don’t have the words today. On our anniversary, we did not necessarily travel far or out of the country. But we spent 365 days exploring each other and finding so much more about the other person and our very selves in the entire process. We hit some road bumps. Those road bumps were mere anthills for most old strong couples but they surely felt like mountains to me and him. After the end of the first year, I must say, I feel more solidly like we comprise 1 body than when we started out.

Marriage is not easy. It’s a rather violent process of melding two unique individuals and turning them into this special tag team. No, your wedding gown’s price tag does not prepare you for it, no matter how exorbitant the costs.

It’s not just about making love. It’s about making things work even when the other is being extremely unreasonable. I am usually unreasonable when I am unwell. I credit this wonderful person for being able to handle that, in the same way that I handle whatever defects he has. In fact, I am one of the world’s most self-absorbed people and marrying him allowed me to realize that and amend that so that I can love him more. I just can’t stay and be my old self because I know that I still have so much more to give.

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The definition of love does not change. Affections do not necessarily fade away. It just deepens when both parties are willing to submerge themselves in the love they have for each other.

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And this means that romance is now feeling kilig whenever he makes sure that I have a nice home office, when he stands in line on National Bookstore’s Warehouse sale not because he’s a huge bookworm and book hoarder but because it makes me happy to be there, when he makes sure that my medications are taken on time, when he buys my favorite bag of chips on the way home from work, when he manages me when I cannot manage the basic things in myself. (Like the really embarrassing basic things.) It’s when he feels kilig when I support his financial decisions or diskarte in life, when I make attempts to cook something, or basically TRUST him by not tinkering with his smartphone inbox.

When we were boyfriend and girlfriend, it was not like this. It was more on sparks. This year, it was more on commitment and deepening out of our self-giving.

This whole year that we entered into this marriage, I saw the man I stood at the altar with for who he really is minus the barong and the entourage: a really good person who is perfectly matched to me. And the fact that I cannot post this without crying means that he has touched my life at so many tremendous levels.

It’s the type of crying you do when you realized that everything you wished for in a man was given to you by a good God and you hope that it lasts despite the numerous trials that most married people attest to down the line.

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It’s not the type you see on movies like Paper Towns but it’s still love in its deepest form. I am posting a photo of him on a plain T-Shirt to prove my point. It’s not a movie poster. But that smile on his face is enough to make me smile for a lifetime.

(Remember that matchmaker who allowed us to meet? I owe her so much of my life’s happiness and I hope that she will always be blessed for introducing us.)

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart. I love you!

 

Penmanship and Other Stories by Butch Dalisay

“He opened his book and stared at the margins and his forefinger traced the squiggle of her laughter there.”
-from the short story At the Booklaunch by Jose  Y. Dalisay.

There are no introductions needed for a writer of Butch Dalisay’s stature.

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I held a copy of this book at the bedside table the dawn after our 1st wedding anniversary while playing an acoustic Spotify playlist. I think I played the “Your Favorite Coffee Shop” playlist with 1.2 million followers.

Like the refreshing and happy day that came before it, this book did not disappoint. I devoured each page hungrily and wondered why it was priced at 80 pesos in an SM Taytay book sale.

Have I gone ancient or did I somehow find the elixir of bookstores that showcase award winning Filipino authors at such proletarian rates? I mean, it was on that same pile that I found an anthology of one-act plays that are Palanca-awarded priced at less than 80 pesos!

This book is worth so much more than the price tag on it. I marveled at the innuendoes that never happened yet happened in Matilda’s Dessert, the impending doom and danger that beheld Protacio in Delivery, the sort of perverted betrayal in Ybarra, and the very delectable stupor that the Author faced in At the Booklaunch which had a humor that will not be lost to grammar nazis. Of course, there’s the landmark story Penmanship which really indicated the writer’s deep interest for fountain pens. He practically romanticized the pen and surrounded it with people.

“He caught a blob of ink on the tip of the nib with his thumb. Old pens did that, when they were nearly empty, or when you took them up in airplanes, not having been designed to fly… The Parker Vacumatic glinted in the room light, poised to strike. It was ringed with bands of gold, and promised a wealth of words. The merest pressure on its nib could deepen an emotion.”

My breath caught in each line. I was in deep awe of how solidly it was written. There was so much respect after I finished reading it. One and a half sitting (and I can’t tell you what brought about the half sitting here!)… It was simple, but one would know the painstaking expertise it took to craft the words in such a manner, to paint landscapes without going technical over the details, and to just evoke emotions out of something as unobtrusive as an ancient fountain pen.

You don’t usually find beautiful words like that lying around. They’re usually sought in hidden independent bookstores or at the obscure shelves that are reserved for the curious.

And this book slowly eased me back to my reading habit. It’s not the one I picked up in college for completing requirements. It’s the one I had as a little girl when I had the flashlight in my hand in the middle of the night while my mom thought I was sleeping. Those were the days when you don’t label things you enjoy.

They always knew how I’d sneak past my bedtime with my books. And at this point, my husband of one year has gotten used to me sleeping with him on one side and around five books on the other. These days, I added the DSLR camera for my daily practice– a piece of advice from a nice person named Arasacha who takes such good photos.

I wrote about the book first but of course, it does not eclipse the beauty of having hit the first year with my husband last Friday. Our first wedding anniversary was an amazing experience. It’s a good and beautifully marked punctuation to the love story that’s still ongoing. Wish I had the skill of the fountain pen to articulate how beautiful he is to me. He does not seem to be aware of how many wonderful things he has done for me and what discoveries we’ve had in exploring each other up close even if we basically did not travel beyond the country. There will be a time for that.

There’s this book review, and then there are other things I need to do so let this be it for now. I plan to update this blog a bit more frequently but like being in a playground, there’s a set timer to how much you can indulge without feeling the bulge of unproductive guilt. 🙂