When I was commuting before the pandemic, Jose Mari Chan was perpetually popping up and crooning “Christmas in Our Hearts” when the ‘Ber months rolled Christmas in sight.
In queues. In smog. Squeezed in the bus and train. Jostling in mall and sidewalk.
Before the pandemic, I sincerely wished to throttle Mr. Chan.
Last Sept. 1, Jose Mari dislodged Led Zeppelin in my Spotify playlist. My inner cynic took a backseat to allow the child to listen for hours to “A Perfect Christmas.”
After the orchestral opening of the song, Jose Mari slides in these lines: “My idea of a perfect Christmas/ Is to spend it with you...”.
The pause that follows before Jose Mari warbles the next line (“In a party or dinner for two”) is an open invitation to substitute a memory resonating more deeply with the listener.
A pandemic that has taken away first strangers and then colleagues and loved ones becomes a light beamed around a familiar room turned disorienting in the dark.
In the second stanza, Jose Mari leads with “Looking through some old photographs/ Faces and friends we’ll always remember...”.
A few days ago, my three-year-old smart phone got fed up reminding me that I was storing too many photos and moved everything to the cloud.
In the second to the last stanza of “A Perfect Christmas,” Jose Mari croons, “I can’t think of a better Christmas/ Than my wish coming true/ And my wish is that you’d let me spend/ My whole life with you...”.
During the pandemic, we rescued puspins (pusang Pinoy) and aspins (asong Pinoy). A few friends have moved since to the “balangaw (rainbow)” and “kalalaw (constellation)” playgrounds.
In these ‘Ber months, Jose Mari reassures me that some wishes come true.