‘Tic-tac, tic-tac, tic-tac…’ I audibly heard the sound while watching the needles of my watch race to an unending circular motion, giving me an intense feeling. My heart pounded ‘lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub’ — rhythmic harmony with the watch, sounded like a bomb about to explode. Looking at the still vehicles piling ahead of the bus I’m riding, I frowned and sighed, “OH MY…THIS IS IT!”
“THIS IS IT!” My dilemma of being caught in the traffic happened! But my greatest dilemma didn’t happen; I was able to come on our meeting, not that late (6:20 PM). I was able to find the venue in Makati. I was able to meet my colleagues. The FWP (Freelance Writers of the Philippines) Education Committee meeting on September 6, 2011 was one of my fondest memories!
“THIS IS IT!” I muttered while approaching the home of Ma’am Alma, the host of the meeting. From the hall, I heard voices that were new to me; of course, it was our first personal encounter! I saw silhouettes from the window; I tried to guess who were there. Quite nervous; I knocked the door with a blast, “TAO PO!” Somebody let me in. I felt the warmth. Sir Nick offered a seat. What an acquaintance!
“THIS IS IT!” I thought while gazing familiar faces. I finally met the people whom I often discuss with, online at Face Book. I was also grateful that through that social network, I met them and I found a new circle of awesome friends. They are beyond my expectations — “SURPRIZA!” I thought they were too serious wordsmiths; rather, they are full of life, full of fun! But personalities vary. Everyone has a different background and different characteristics. I love the peculiarity, everyone is special.
While discussing, we feasted on our goodies I offered some treats I brought, pizza logs (special cheese logs), home-made salsa (Aldrian’s best) and nachos (bought at the nearby SHOPWISE). Grateful for their appreciation, it was their first time to eat pizza logs. The meeting was great with food! Ma’am Alma cooked pesto and others brought other great goodies!
THIS IS IT!” Before joining the FWP organization, I knew I would learn a lot; I did! There is a lot of learning in store for my growth as a writer! Throughout the entire meeting, suggestions were given and agenda were discussed. Ma’am Alma was a reservoir of brilliant ideas and connections (Hehe). While sharing her expertise and experiences as an editor, I thought that I would be bloody if she’ll be my editor! (LOL!) BTW, she wasn’t scary though; she gave me an impression that she loves her work, as much as she loves her family. That challenged me. Every writer should rise above mediocrity. Ma’am Claire, the facilitator of the committee, Ma’am Jopen, Ma’am Stephanie and Ma’am Ime were splendid! Wisdom and wit mingled whenever they speak. Their ideas were awesome too! The “ITR” and other legal stuff were kinda ‘nosebleed’, but I found such stuff very interesting! Ma’am Ime was a silent-type, but her warmth inspired me too! She’s the secretary and the bespectacled woman behind FWP and Educ. Committee’s updates. Sir Dima surprised me a lot with his wackiness! (LOL!) He seemed serious-looking, but his “LIKE YAN!”, “HAPPY YAN!”, “MABANGO YAN!” signature affirmations to suggestions showed that he’s lively and wacky. Sir Dino confirmed they’re “seriously crazy”; they were really cool! Behind the bespectacled man were smile and laughter. Sir Bon, Sir Ricky and Sir Nick were nice too! They have different talents to offer. Who would have thought that a valuable and antique SHAKESPERE’s COMPLETE WORKS are in Sir Nick’s home library? He shared about it. His description astonished me. WOW! I am longing to see it. I also want to smell the scent of aged papers – something I am fond of smelling (that’s weird, but I love it). Sir Nick, on the other hand likes to smell the fresh essence of new books.
“THIS IS IT!” The Book Exchange was done! I was holding a treasure, a book from Ma’am Ime: ‘THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES VOL.II OF DAVID HERBERT LAWRENCE (1976) in exchange of MEREDITH HALL’S WITHOUT A MAP (Memoir). The book exchange is an ice breaker activity, but since there’s no established system yet, we did it randomly. Instead of exchanging, Ma’am Jopen gave me four, awesome books: Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier, The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith, Primary Colors by Anonymous and Reading Judas by Elaine Pagels and Karen L.King. These books are treasures too! What a gift! She said she need not a book in exchange, she has a lot. I was curious when I saw Reading Judas, The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity…hmmm…first on my book list to read! The bookworm will have a sumptuous feast!
‘Tic-tac, tic-tac, tic-tac,tic-tac…’ I audibly heard my watch as I listened to my heart – ‘lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub…’ It was 9:10 PM. My cell phone’s battery was dead, and there’s no other means of reviving or resurrecting it. I have no other means to contact my brother who lives and works in Makati. I planned to sleep at his place after our meeting. The vivid picture of my encounter with Sir Relly, Ma’am Alma’s husband who’s stricken with stroke, flashed back; my heart melted again. I was reminded that my sick sister, Leah needs me at home. Without any minute to waste, I rode a jeepney bound to Buendia. With much prayer, I hoped that I would have a safe trip.
“THIS IS IT!” I sighed while approaching the winding stairs to the fourth-floor of our apartment in Silang, Cavite; almost 11:00 PM. My ate Leah smiled, she’s still awake. It revived my tired body. After thanking God for the day’s blessing and guidance, I had a sweet slumber — a reward after the wordsmiths’ rendezvous.
*Photos credit to the author