“I knew there had to be a catch”, mama said matter-of-factly. While driving home the other week and beating the typical Friday night traffic, we were having our usual musing session after a long day at work. She continued in her low voice: “We were just too happy — I was waiting for something to happen.”
“What?!” I said incredulously. This was my mom, the most sensible person I know. It seemed so out of character for her to say such a thing, as if fate depended on fickle gods who quarrel because of some ridiculous cosmic conflict way up in Mount Olympus. Or perhaps that was how I interpreted what she said, due to my being impressionable at this young age. “Nonsense. What are you talking about?! Why are you saying that?”
“We were too happy,” she repeated, this time with more conviction.
And being the dutiful daughter I am (ahem), I somehow managed to shut my mouth and say no more. There is no use arguing with this woman. I focused instead on this poor little girl knocking on our car door, barely ten but already marching along the streets in a tattered Hello Kitty shirt three sizes too small for her. She is fierce but vulnerable. I shuddered. As I knocked back softly, I traced back the origin of mama’s allegations in my mind.
I cannot deny that yes, we were indeed too happy the past year. While we may have lost our dear Lolo Tony, we were showered with blessings. Both my parents were doing considerably well in their respective careers; my older sister Val, who is taking up Medicine in Ateneo, had rare opportunities to immerse herself in medical procedures, from delivering a baby via a caesarean operation to mercilessly circumcising pre-pubescent boys; my little brother Ryan was doing well in school, bagging home awards for speech contests despite his former speech problems; and I ended up in an exciting job fresh out of college. I even got to watch Lady GaGa live. There was no room for melancholy — just limitless pockets of bliss.
While all these may be true in a sense, I cannot fathom the reasoning behind why bad things must come when good things are happening. Is it really a mandatory in life, that when you finally get the candy you want, you realize it wasn’t the flavor you really wanted? Or worse, that the candy you received happens to be stolen and now you’re in big trouble?
Why can’t we just live life as it happens and not expect a hard blow?
I admit I have a tendency to be naïve and quixotic — my view of the world is romantic, no less. And maybe, just maybe, this is life’s way of hitting me in the head without necessarily giving me a nasty bump. Maybe my mom was right. There just has to be a catch.
The least we can do is accept it.