Hope for the Flowers

In high school, I studied at an exclusive girls school called St. Scholastica’s Academy.  When we were in our senior year, the nuns allowed us to intermingle with boys from an exclusive boys  school called Don Bosco.  It was then that I met Mel, my partner in the exposure activity.  I gave him a book entitled “Hope for the Flowers.”  I couldn’t remember anymore the exact story but it was something about the caterpillars struggling to reach the top, crawling and stepping on their fellow caterpillars just to see there was really nothing at the top but a signal for one to go down.  One day, one of the caterpillars, now a fully grown butterfly, came back to the spot of his struggle and saw many other caterpillars doing the same things he did.  But now he can fly and smell the flowers.

Mel and I would accidentally bump into each other in the years that followed.  We did not try to keep in contact with each other because we didn’t even have landlines then.  But each meeting would always be like a take off from the last.   I got to know him and his family and he got to know me and my family.  He became my male best friend although I believe that between the two of us he was the more sincere.

The collegiate years passed and we’re glad that we did not go to warring universities.  De La Salle was his choice and I had no choice but to go the royal, pontifical University of  Santo Tomas.  Then he went to work with big companies like Gilette Philippines.  And worked hard he did because at one time he dropped by our house before he begins the long travel to Tuguegarao alone.  That was some 12 to 15 hours by bus from Metro Manila.  When I opened my mouth to say Ahhh, he told me to look at it this way – at least he was traveling via a two seater sports car and has the luxury of making stops.  I looked at his vehicle and it was a dilapidated Tamaraw passenger van.  I sighed.

Eventually Mel made it to the top.  He married the lady of his love,  Frances, a charming lass from his alumni’s mortal enemy, Ateneo de Manila.  Intellectually matched, I mused.  And they had a boy, a girl, and several Labradors.  Mel related to me  that one day when he was in a conference at Cebu International Hotel, he called home to say he couldn’t make it to his son’s kindergarten graduation. That very moment he decided to let go of everything to be with his family.  That was his sign.  So he abandoned his job and became a breeder.

Mel migrated his family to New Zealand a few years back.  He said the scenario there was simpler and much more wholesome for growing kids. I sent him my first e-mail last week, since I only learned about computers a month ago.  He replied and said his son’s into taekwando and his daughter into ballet.  They have a new Lab pup that made the family complete. Then he told me to take time and smell the flowers.

Way to go, Mel, for being the hope for the flowers, and thanks for reminding me that I could be , too.

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