Khok: Sweet sorrow

·3 min read

JULIET to Romeo: “Parting is such sweet sorrow / That I shall say good night till it be morrow (Romeo and Juliet).” Why do I turn to Shakespeare at this very moment, pray tell?

I answereth thee: Because I want to be as far away from my heart as possible. Literary experts say the “sweet sorrow” means the star-crossed lovers have hope of seeing each other the next morning. Do I have that morning?

There’s always hope even as we struggle to deal with the realities of life and the end of matters.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, it is in my system. I thank SunStar Cebu for allowing my Sira-Sira Store to stay open for business through thick and thin, through any topic that struck my fancy.

I also thank Michelle P. So, SunStar executive editor, for explaining why my store will be closed starting Sept. 19: the woes this pandemic is costing the company.

It was kind of her to allow me this parting story after I inquired if I may write one last piece. I did not want my handful of readers (sound effects: crickets merrily chirping as they watch me wrestling with a decent goodbye). I’m not good at goodbyes.

No, I did not want my readers to think I did a David Blaine, gone without a trace, gone for no reason. So Michelle, thanks.

As for tomorrow, SunStar is gunning for full digital format and as Michelle said, maybe my store will see the light again. But then I have lived long enough to know that dawn brings something contrary to expectations.

I hope I will be in SunStar’s future even if I am only a light flyweight columnist beside the greats here like Bobby Nalzaro and Mayette Tabada. But I have also lived long enough to know that endings do bring new roots. A repotted plant thrives. Who knows?

What do I do from here? Where do I go from here?

My nephew Pannon said, “Let’s run around the garden, Uncle O, before breakfast. Then we can eat everything in the ref.”

My Aunt Tita Blitte said, “Ay, Obz. There are only three sure things in life: The beginning, the end and change. Congratulate yourself for having experienced all three in your young life.”

Amy, my cousin, was teary-eyed. “Obz, I will miss our banter. And, oh, your lousy recipes entwined with life’s musings.”

Uncle Gustave said, “My son, you did well for a third-rate maverick columnist. I hope we entertained our readers, and amazed our haters.”

Dona, my cousin, Peetong, her husband, and son Polonggoy said it was an unusual food column but the ride was enlightening.

Krystalle, my niece, said, “No more Pantone food hacks?”

My other niece, Ellen, said, “Thanks, SunStar, for allowing Uncle to give food writing a twist.”

Illustracio and Nardi jumped over the fence to say goodbye.

“Obz, it was an honor to give our thoughts on some issues in a light-hearted, respectful way. We’re plain folks like you, but hobnobbed with luminaries in Life, like ma’am Nelia Neri, Chinggay Utzurrum and Mila Espina.”

Relatives from afar sent messages. Oya, Jaz, Freddie and Inin were thankful for the few times they graced my store. They said, “May the best come to SunStar and may you be in it even if you’re all thumbs when it comes to digital life.”

Freddie told his wife, “Jaz, he can learn. He’s got thumbs.” Oh the banter till the end.

Julie, Dona’s sidekick, said, “So who are you really? Are you ready for the great reveal?”

Maybe when I get 30,000 views and likes. And that is not possible. It is not sad. It is reality. But Juliet hoped for the morrow.

Farewell, Ann L. If we meet again, why, we shall smile.

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