This is my first nephew, Marcus Wayne. He loves to sleep and make face. Most of the time he’s in deep thoughts. Rarely he smiles. Always he stares. Babies.
More than nine months ago, his mother would always engage me in philosophical talks, trying to answer the most painful questions about life, love, and happiness. What triggered all those late night discussions was the pregnancy test that turned positive one night while she was busy pursuing her youthful dreams and skyscraper high ambitions and self-expectations. She did not want the baby. Or maybe she thinks she should not want the baby. And so the dilemma was this: to keep or not to keep. She did not know. I did not know. Yep, in other words, we did consider the option of getting rid of it. Our conscience is catholic, in the strictest sense of the word.
Whenever she goes to her office in Eastwood, she would surf the net about gestation and abortion. She would also ask around what people would do had they been knocked up. She would cry sometimes when she reaches home for all the things that she considers as the biggest mistakes of her life.
Whenever I visit her in Pasig, she would repeat her what-ifs: what if she held on to her former boyfriend? What if she did not entertain this guy who doesn’t have a promising future? What if she just stayed home and worked not in Manila but in Laguna? What if she did not decide to live a life independent from her parents? What if she did not… what if…
What if you just stop regretting, I would ask her in my turn. Why don’t you change your notion of success and happiness, which you always equate with gross salary and assets and liberated image? What if you just start learning to love and let go of a past love gone ugly?Why don’t you just live?
But between us, she is the person who plans ahead, while I plan for the next minute; she keeps a notebook of her daily, weekly, monthly expenses and to-do’s, while I keep notebooks and scratch papers of schedules I never followed; she has zero balance credit cards, while I accumulated financial charges; she believes in ATM maintaining balance, I don’t; she recites her principles and motto in life, while I ask her “why do you do that?”
But both of us can be dangerously open-minded. It’s easy for us to be detached from people, things, places, but the past–God, it’s hard for her to let go of this one. So I would tell her, just focus on NOW because tomorrow this is another past that will be troubling you.
But nostalgia is too strong for her to resist. She misses college, she misses UP, she misses walking around the campus late at night with her first love, she misses dorm life, she misses reviewing for exams at 3am, she misses attending org meetings, she misses attending her ex’s fraternity happenings, she misses typing papers, she misses working for the campus paper, she misses the UP fair, she misses her roommates, she misses her professors, she misses her bitchy foes, she misses her catty attitude, she misses her outfits, she misses her small scale business, she misses everything that has happened to her which has been glossed over like a nostalgia film that doesn’t have any bearing on the audience, really.
She would ask me then if I don’t miss my college life or my ex. I said no.
She would ask me what I would do if I got preggy, I said oh no.
She would ask me what people, especially the dear Catholic parents, would think if they find out: see answer above.
And so we entertained the thought of life without a baby.
But we also nursed the idea of having a baby…
and asked, why do we have to consider what others think, or adopt other people’s idea of Happiness?
Why are we afraid of bringing up a child? Why are we not afraid of hampering a life?
And so after more than nine months, we are asking those same questions, this time in past tense:
why were we afraid of keeping it? why were we not afraid of thinking about abortion? why were we affected by the opinion of people who do not have genuine interest and care for what’s happening to our lives?
This is our Baby Marcus Wayne. He loves to sleep and drink milk. Always in deep thoughts. Rarely smiles. Wonder if he knows.