by Arsenio C Jesena
edited: Thursday, November 14, 2002
Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2002
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There was a young lady who loved me...
and when she said goodbye, goodbye for the last time, I did not take her seriously
There was a young lady who loved me, a young lady who loved me, but when she said goodbye, goodbye for the last time, I did not take her seriously, because I thought she would be back again anyway and nag me and pester me and so I ignored her, I ignored her, but of course I did not know that she would die, that day.
That young lady who loved me, her name was LYDIA, and this was many, many years ago. When I was still in college . . . in a far-away province in the south.
Lydia had a crush on me, and she always called me everyday at six o’ clock in the evening, and when the phone would ring, it would always be Lydia with her silly chatter, wasting my precious, precious time.
And she would visit me, and keep on giving me gifts and writing me stupid love notes. And putting up signs and messages around the school. It was embarrassing because my friends would read her little love notes on the bulletin boards of our school, and they would kid me the whole day.
And therefore when Lydia said she’d have to go to Manila because her Lola would have a cancer operation, I was so happy and I heaved a deep sigh of relief, for silly Lydia would be away and I could have some peace at last. But on the way to the airport, her car was rammed by a heavy 6 by 6 truck and Lydia was crushed and she died on the spot. . . .
And that was the end of Lydia, the young lady who loved me many, many years ago.
But everyday for a long, long time at about 6 o’clock in the evening, I would just sit there at home, beside the telephone and I would wait and wait for the telephone to ring again so that Lydia would talk again and nag me and bore me to death because, you know, I really missed her. . . . but the telephone never rang and Lydia never called . . . because she was dead.
v v v
How about you, my friends? How do YOU . . . say goodbye?
When your friend or your sister or your lover leaves for the United States, or for another province in the Philippines, how do YOU say goodbye — is the goodbye COMPLETE? Or is it BITIN? Are your feelings, your emotions at peace?
And at your last supper together in the restaurant or at home and then finally, when you say goodbye at the airport, are you too, too silent, too quiet, too subdued, holding back your words and your sobbing and your tears?
AND how do you say goodbye WITH THOSE WITH WHOM YOU FOUGHT, or had a misunder-standing, a parting of ways, or a painful, heart-rending, emotional separation?
Yes, how do you say goodbye, when the wrenching asunder is sudden or unexpected or unexplained, and it feels like wild horses are pulling your heart apart in five painful, unbearable directions— how do you say goodbye then, when everything is so unfair and so wrong and so incomplete?
Then finally — how do you say goodbye in the parting of DEATH? When by cancer or H-fever or car accident or heart attack, the Lydias in our life DIE, so suddenly and so completely?
TRY TO REMEMBER how you said goodbye, when you were too selfish, too unfeeling, too correct. Yes, when you insisted that YOU were right and you devastated your own Lydia.
And WHO was your Lydia? Was it your housemaid? Your daughter, your son, your wife, your husband? Your mother? Your father? Your mother-in-law? The black sheep of the family? The woman who owed you money? The lazy, stinking beggar? Who was the Lydia you ignored and took for granted and did not love enough?
Our Lydias finally leave us and go away, because maybe they are tired knocking and waiting and they just give up and leave forever, and then WE sit at home and wait by the telephone and pray for it to ring again because we really miss LYDIA and her lovable silliness and stupidity but then the telephone does NOT ring . . . and will NEVER ring because she is no more, for she is dead.
Right now, I listen in my heart and I remember the Lydias in my own life. And I realize that I, also, am Lydia, I also am lonely and I reach out, and I crave a moment, a brief moment of YOUR attention and YOUR listening and YOUR caring and YOUR friendship.
And I, and Lydia, are like you, like you — when you stand naked and honest before God — for we, we are all meant for love, and we are all made for love. And we all hunger for love and we are all starving for love and we are all incomplete, like silly, lonely, dead Lydia. Her whims were not whims but compulsions, dictated by her hunger for attention, her hunger for love.
Beneath, and beyond the stupidity and silliness of our LYDIA is a loving heart, and a lonely heart, hungry for love…like YOUR heart and MY heart, reaching out for one last time, before we die.