Sep 21, 2020

Change

Change. For the past few months, change has become something that I look at with unease. I feel tides shifting, relationships forming, plans made and rearranged, and uncertainty looming ahead. I had had enough; I needed a distraction. So, while cleaning up my messy area after dinner, I found a box of some of my most valuable possessions. I dumped them on the table and sifted through them eagerly.

I called out for my brother. “Hey, Nacho, want to read my old diaries?”

His ears perked up as he stopped what he was doing. “Seriously?”

“Yeah, listen to this,” I say, clearing my throat. I’m already laughing as I proceed to read the contents of a thick black notebook, decorated with silver trees and fish on the cover.

“May 29, 2016

I never, ever, EVER would have believed it if someone told me [when I was younger that] I’d get semi-boy crazy! I used to swear that I would never get married or even get a crush, but NOW, I’ve fallen for an old schoolmate (actually 3 old schoolmates), a really cool boy a few years older than me who is in a band, a cute guy who’s name I never knew, and my numerous celebrity crushes, including and not limited to-“

I’m interrupted by my brother choking with laughter. “What on EARTH was THAT?”

“I know!” I cried. “What was I thinking? ‘Fallen’ for someone?! Oh, please.”

It was just what I needed: reassurance that I was just as clueless and over dramatic three years ago.

He looked at the other notebooks with interest. “Are these all your other diaries?”

Before I could stop him, he grabbed a worn brown hardcover one and opened a random page.

“Why did you write ‘SECRET’ instead of the date?”

“I don’t know, but I think this was in 2012. I was nine.”

I plucked my older diary out of his hands and read aloud.

“I am not going to study in my old school anymore. I’m going to be homeschooled by my mom. I’m a bit sad because I’m going to miss my friends and I’m going to miss the yummy fried chicken and sinigang at the canteen. I’m going to miss the times when we gather around, share jokes, and tell funny stories. I have a lot of friends that are girls, but I’m going to miss my friends that are boys, too. My mom said we can visit sometimes, too. I’m going to miss it.”

Reading that entry brought back memories of noisy and ravenous lunch breaks, sweaty games of dodgeball or bato bola and patintero, whispered conversations in hallways and loud belly laughter in the library. It brought back the uncertain feeling of new beginnings when I found out that I wouldn’t be going back to school for a while. It was a peek into life before everything changed, before so many happy, scary, sad, amazing moments happened to me.

I chuckled at another entry found in a notebook covered with stickers and washi tape. “Here I go whining about not having Facebook again.” Ranting about how some old friends seemed to have forgotten about me, the thirteen year old me connected it all to not having social media to keep in touch with them.

“I wish I had Facebook so I didn’t completely disappear. GRRR! Why is that always the problem?! Not having Facebook!! Sigh… three more years till I turn sixteen. I need to hurry up and think of a good argument to convince mom and dad.”

“But you got Facebook before you turned sixteen kaya!”

“I know,” I said mischievously. “Thirteen years old me would have been so happy.” My brother and I snickered together. It was funny how the thirteen-year-old me felt like this was the most important group of friends I would ever have, or how I would never see them again if I didn’t hang out or keep in touch regularly. I had no idea of the new and rekindled friendships that would come in the future.

We flipped through again, looking for more old memories and well-kept secrets. I stopped on an entry dated May 25, 2012.

“Today is my Lolo’s death anniversary. He’s already been dead for 2 YEARS. He was a sickly Lolo. Always in bed. But before he retired, he was a judge. He was always calling me to come and watch something with him. Our favorites were You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and Little Manhattan. I miss him a bit. Even though he was sickly, he was very cuddly and always glad to make you lie down with him.”

My heart warmed. Even if he passed away when I was very young, I had these tiny memories of my Lolo tucked in a safe corner of my mind, or in this case, in a dusty old journal, like the old romantic movies we watched, and I could remember how I would lay my head on his tummy and listen to his breathing.

“Do you remember anything about Lolo?” I asked my brother.

“Not really, no.” He sounded sad.

“Aww. Well, he was the best. He bought me my very first cellphone, the heavy duty Nokia one with a flashlight. He wanted to text me good morning every day when we moved to Palawan.” I smiled softly. That was a very big change in both of our lives. I was too young to realize how much less I would see of my lolo before he died, and how much less he would see of me. Maybe he knew that, hence the phone.

Reading my old diaries reminded me of all the changes I’ve gone through, in terms of friendships, ideas, interests, and so many more life changing events. Deaths, births, positive experiences, hardships, heartaches, triumphs; I’ve  gotten through them all. I guess change is less of a scary shadow of doom hanging over me, and more like the last page of a well-worn notebook full of secrets and confidences; this diary is almost full, it’s time to start a new one.

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