This is not a blog about disparaging comments on hotels, restaurants or erring personas who induced me with acute nausea. This is a story fitting for Holy week; a narration and a reflection of something that opened my eyes to the manifold realities of life on Earth.
More often than not, when I and Alfred engage into a conversation, the topic always leads to sex, health and, ultimately the cause of our total annihilation. I can say that you are interested to know more about these three popular topics but to honor the meaning of this blessed season, please let me narrate something you never heard of.
One time, when I was segregating the leaves of Malunggay and Spinach for our viand, I asked Alfred to reveal his greatest mistake in life.
I was afraid because he was holding a sharp knife slicing some frozen fish for dinner. Unlike Ms. Venus Raj, he immediately gave me an answer without circumnavigating.
“My greatest mistake happened during my elementary days when I haphazardly wasted the opportunity to study well, thus missing the wonders of education.”
He chopped the fish heavily.
I held my breath for a couple of seconds but I did not stop there. I dug deeper.
“What were the most difficult events you experienced when you were young? Mine for example was sleeping for two days with empty stomach.” I told him to kickstart the conversation.
I saw him adding too much salt to the boiling water.
“Three things.”, he started to recall.
“When I was young, I had no choice but to help my brothers to harvest corn. Up until now, I could still feel the searing pain when the leaves sliced my small palms. It was like blade after blade, slice after slice, until your whole hand numbs. The pain was excruciating for a 10-year old child whose dream during that time was only to play. I realized that pain is a twin brother of mine. My hands became rugged but strong. I knew God was preparing me for a tougher challenge—a second fruit.”
“Do you want to know the second fruit which changed my life?”, he asked.
“Yes!”, I answered.
“It’s inside the refrigerator. Get it for me.” I opened the fridge and I saw a pineapple.
It was during my second year when I first knew him. He was oozing with wit and a sensational style of leadership which won the heart of many. Aside from these were his skills in peeling the pineapple’s skin. After class hours, without delay, he run to the public market in order help his sister to prepare sliced fruits for their small store. He can remove the eyes of the fruit within one minute preserving its impeccable shape.
“I find it cool.”, I told him.
He looked at me fiercely.
“If being cool would mean having the piercing edges of the pineapple’s crown puncture your skin so deep and having your crotch soaked on the saccharine juice of this fruit for over five hours every day then I would agree with your conclusion.”
I stepped back and returned to my sit. I was wrong.
He minced the pineapple and he dropped it in the mixture. Then, he tasted it it.
“It lacks something. Something sour.” He was referring to the green mango.
I remembered when he told me that there was a time when he climbed a mango tree to harvest its fruits.
Despite the scorching heat of the sun and the pricking bite ants crawling from the his upper torso, he was passionately determined to pick the most unblemished mango he could reach. A wounded mango can’t be sold in the market.
I handed him the green mango. He peeled it perfectly.
I realized then that he taught me one of the biggest lessons in life using the three fruits that formed his being.
Without hard work, dedication and the passion to make seemingly difficult things happen, one can’t change his path and be the person he wanted to become.
Poverty became a popular obstacle and an excuse for many not to pursue reaching for our stars, but the three fruits my friend showed me concretely illustrated that great things are possible for those who learn to endure the suffering and to deduce lessons from it.
While the leaves of the corn wounded his palms, he did not threw his aspiration to become someone who can make a difference to the lives of others, the burning charcoal which he used to cook the corn did not stop him to seek for easy comfort.
The crown of the pineapple was perceived by him as a destination and every thorn which deeply and mercilessly pierced his skin was a reminder that suffering is necessary to hone and to exercise our humanity. The mango on the other hand, thought us to choose only the best.
These three fruits when mixed in one container will make an excellent dish worthy of emulation and inspiration. The next time you come across a corn, a pineapple and a mango, please be thankful on what you have and don’t you dare surrender your stars. As you bite these three fruits, remember the journey of my friend Alfred.