March 27, 2023

THERE’S A SONG I first heard from Cousin Recto M.P. – somewhere, sometime in younger years.
OBVIOUS FOR MY fondness of the said song is the countless times I hum the tune – aware or otherwise, even while bathing; or, when groping for that appropriate term which can capture – or at least approximate, my intended meaning.
BUT INSPITE OF my liking for the tune, I know only one stanza, and this goes:
“TO BE ALONE; Is just a memory; This is my destiny; to be alone;”
[COUSIN RECTO OR ‘Magellan’ (– his great nickname) was born and raised in the same Barangay as I was; though different Sitios.
WHEN HE GOT married in far North – Bila, I had quite a few chances to talk with him about family, history, and the like.
AND SO, MY grasp of the Song whose Tune I’m so fond of – even Today, has remained at a standstill: just one stanza; that’s all].
DURING THIS TIME of the Pandemic the frantic Search for its Cure; the Political and Socio-economic crises hovering, etc., To be alone.. the song has come to the Fore anew in my deep Consciousness and Reflections. Why? How? and Why-for? are what I’ll try to about-share with you in this discussion.
HAVE YOU EVER tried – or experienced ‘being alone’.. not just ‘feeling alone’? How does it go.. or, set in?
BUT SINCE I am the initial discussant, let me share you some instances where ‘being alone’ was what I really felt, experienced, and went through.

I WAS EIGHTEEN years old when I landed my first-job: a Security Guard at the Itogon-Suyoc Mines.
[MY COUSIN, SENDO (Father-side line) was so kind to help me in convincing the Municipal Treasurer that I was 21 years old; that time that age requirement for Work or Employment was 21 – not less, not 18, et cetera. The proof was a Residence Certificate – a Cedula, and he got me all right a Cedula.. that indicated I was 21, fit for work! My heart that time rejoiced.. and it always did.. years and years after.. with the thought that I was not alone (!) “After all”, I always told myself each time: “my father-side relatives did not forget me.. quite the contrary to what others were saying that my siblings and I were orphaned early, and it was possible our father’s kin and kith hardly remembered or held on to the kinship!”

MY NEXT EXPOSURE to the line of ‘being alone’ was: after some weeks that our Chief of Guard had us newly-employed housed in a ‘Barracks’ sort of Dwelling, he assigned me to be a partner-guard of one much, much earlier employed: a certain Mr. Delfin B.
HE WAS ‘CASUAL’ and smiling when we were first introduced, but I just kept to myself – calmado and little-speaking as he was; and we were doing partner-guards checking, registering names, asking visitors and so on – at the First Gate.
ONE DAY, HE asked me – if I want to share his boarding house, located just below the First Gate. I said, “Yes, let’s go see, why not?”
APPROACHING HIS HOUSE entrance, I noticed something written in bond paper pasted on the wall: “Knock if you must.” I immediately asked myself in-thought. ‘Is he some kind of a loner, or that-a-way? Or, is he in fact: gregarious.. i.e. deep within?’
BUT MY ‘SHOCK’ intensified when I read another notice – atop his room door and straightway facing the Dining table, where I sat sipping the coffee barako he served.
THE NOTICE READ – and clearly:: “Learn to live alone, and trust no one!”
IT TOOK ME months.. before I finally told him: ‘I’m taking the other room, if it is still vacant?’ [He said: “Yes, it still is!”]
WE BECAME GREAT friends – even after quitting Guard at the Company and finding other Employments respective.. I last heard of him that he went home to his province and was doing well. Maybe he trusted some – or many; maybe that Notice was meant only for some guys visiting.. as a Notice per se; so, not really meant?

IN LATER YEARS, I encountered many more instances where I was convincing myself: I was alone; or that I was already myself being ‘under spell’, of being alone.
BUT FACT OR Fiction, ‘being alone’ – not ‘to be alone’ (which suggests self-indulgence) can only be floating and temporary.. not really timeless, as claimed!