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Alone with the memory…

By:Accents Julia Carreon-Lagoc

     “Alone with the memory of my days in the sun…” 
Rudy and I hauntingly hummed the lines of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Memory (Cats) as we watched it in Broadway when daughters Randy and Raileen were taking up postgraduate studies in New York. Rudy had gone to that undiscovered country where no traveler returns (thus opined my friend Bill S., Shakespeare anyway).

     I am left alone to sing the song. All alone to reminisce the sweet and a sprinkling of the bitter in the pages of the mind. So very sad because two people won’t ever be together again to recreate their days in the sun — four times in the white sand of Boracay, thrice in the sun-burnt shores of the Bahamas, and as often as we could in the beloved hometown, Oton by the sea.

     I believe I have more of the wanderlust than the hubby ever had. A lot of my growing-up years were spent reading novels late into the night. One incentive was to top the home-reading points as set by Miss English Titser, but a weightier reason than that was simply because I was and still am enamored by the exotic settings where the stories happened. “Some day I’ll go visit. Just you wait.” Gosh, proven true but not by a long shot. Consider the depth (shallowness, rather) of our pocket, Rudy would tell me off. Opportunely, our children, already well established in their own careers, quenched our thirst to drink in the beauty, wonder, and oddity of other places. One such place is the Niagara Falls.

     Rudy agreed with me that riding in the motorboat Maid of the Mist down to the foot of the Niagara Falls was to experience Edgar Allan Poe’s Descent into the Maelstrom. Nothing like the crashing roar of the falling waters. Awesome is as awesome does, like Poe’s fictitious maelstrom. Agree or disagree those of you who were shielded by the yellow raincoat and have read Poe.
The tour guide regaled us with statistics on Niagara and daredevil jumps over the falls. My life-partner (only up to Feb. 7, the day he left me for his journey to Shakespeare’s undiscovered country that Hamlet loves to soliloquize) just smiled as I kept jotting down the info that the tour guide was sharing. Rudy knew those data would go to the column that I would email to the papers back home. Our fellow tourists, about fifteen mostly whites, listened nonchalantly with their oh’s and ah’s and blank faces. At the end of the tour, how were we to know that we would be subjected to an exam on the facts about Niagara Falls that the guide had imparted? And did you guess right who copped the prize? The columnist who was busy with pen and paper while the guide prattled. Gosh, that experience dates back to 1994.

     To the hubby, the following was an unfortunate incident: We went to the Canadian consulate for a Canadian visa which we needed to enter Canada because we wanted to view Niagara Falls from the Ontario vantage. It so happened that I was out of earshot when instructions were given as I was in the restroom. I was cozily waiting for my turn, holding the slip of paper we were supposed to present at the desk. Of course, I handed the piece of paper when my turn came. The lady clerk (?) or officer (?) or (whatever?) tore to pieces the paper I handed, threw the fistful over her shoulders, the torn pieces showering on the floor. Was I aghast! And I said, “Hey, you are littering the floor!” She retorted that instructions were given earlier that the said piece of paper was no longer necessary and, therefore, should not be presented. I could only mutter to myself: “Hey, beautiful Baby, decency should have been installed in your vocabulary.”

     Shall we let foreigners run us down? Or any other fellow human being for that matter? No way! Whether he/she, like “beautiful Baby,” is of whitest white, ebony black or kayumangging kaligatan like my color. I was perturbed. I did give a damn: I wrote the Embassy re the deficiency in GMRC of one of their employees. The reply I got stated that the subject employee was a new hire, something like a casual for the day, and not a regular employee. Regular or not,Good Manners and Right Conduct ought to be the order of the day anywhere in the world of the living, or in the after-life, eh, my dear hubby?(

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