Posted by: Jae | April 21, 2009

When the World Ends (Para kay Cheerie)

And then there is “Cheerie” — as winsome, vivacious, beautiful, energetic as her code name implies. Many people in the agrarian reform community and their support networks have fallen in love with her.  Some even manage to hold her hand under cover of dark in Matalino Street, or while navigating the dirt roads of Calatagan. But she always held back, never giving herself completely, always second-guessing herself.

There was a boy from a decade ago, another lifetime, a boy that she liked, a boy that — from all indications — liked her too. Nothing was ever formalized, no promises were ever made. She told him her feelings, but he hemmed and hawed, unprepared to make the commitment. But their love for each other was plain for the world to see. Ten years after, in the middle of the work she does for her agrarian reform organization, she gets an invitation. A thirtieth-birthday gift. A trip to the United States. Her friends “allowed” her to go, believing it was the long-overdue conjuncture at last. When she came back, she had stories of concerts watched, of long walks at the park, chilly bus rides, hand-holding and more hand-holding. But again, no promises were made, nothing was formalized.

Like other people, my initial reaction was that things were going too slow for comfort. I was hoping that Chicago would be the impetus they needed to finally make the crucial decision and that happily-ever-after would begin to unfold. It was important to know the real score once and for all.

But then again, on second thought, maybe I was being too idealistic. Maybe love is not always a crash of fireworks in the sky, something you know then and there, the flash of lightning like in the movies. Maybe love can be a snowball that musters self-confidence as it rolls along, meandering quietly. For some people, love is easy: like my favorite story of the couple who found each other at Edsa Dos. She was riding a jeepney and got hold of a flyer to volunteer for the Oust Estrada actions. When she called the number on the flyer, a young man happened to answer the phone. He met her for a briefing-orientation. Now they are married with one child and a thriving laundromat, laughing at constant jokes that only two couples benefitted from Edsa Dos — the other being the lady with the mole and her First Gentleman.  For others, love is a difficult struggle with oneself: like the other story of the PO leader whose love story took five years to process and a big barangay scandal, but is now enjoying the comfortable quiet of certainty. Love is a creature that feeds on little moments and big decisions, and can actually be made stronger as much by the uncertainties and heartaches and periods of waiting as by the blinding flashes of “this-is-it” conjunctures.

Slow or fast, easy or difficult — the process is one that cannot be pre-determined let alone imposed. Take too fast, and one might find oneself surrounded by the debris of impetuousness. Take too slowly, and one might find oneself alone at the end of the day, with the person deciding that the wait has been too long.

Perhaps the only rule is that when you find out with certainty what you want, you seize it and put yourself on the line, no doublespeak or subterfuge or elaborate safety nets. Because on the day that it’s gone, it’s irretrievable.

Mabuhay ka, Cheerie. Here’s to you and finding the love that will be there for you when the world ends, as the stars disappear to nothing.

Para sa yo, si Dave Matthews:

When the World Ends by Dave Matthews Band

Ah When the world ends
Collect your things, you’re comin with me
When the world ends
You, tuckle up yourself with me
Watch it as the stars disappear to nothing
The day the world is over oohh
We’ll be lyin in bed…

I’ma rock you like a baby when the cities fall
We will rise as the buildings crumble
Float there and watch it all
Amidst the burnin, we’ll be churnin
You know love will be our wings
The passion rises up from the ashes
When the world ends

When the world ends
You’re gonna come with me
We’re gonna be crazy like a river bends
We’re gonna float through the crisscross of the mountains
Watch them fade to nothing
When the world ends
You know…that’s what’s happening now
I’m gon’ be there with you somehow, oh..oh

I’ma tie you up like a baby in a carriage car
Your legs don’t work cause you want me so
You just lie spread to the wall
The love you got is surely
All the love that I would ever need
I’ma take you by my side and love you tall
‘Til the world ends

But don’t you worry bout a thing
Cause I got you here with me
Mmmm don’t you worry bout aaa….
Just you and me floatin’ through the empty, empty
Just you and me
Oh, graces
Oh, grace

Ah, when the world ends
We’ll be burnin’ one
When the world ends
We’ll be sweet makin’ love

Oh you know when the world ends
I’m gonna take you aside and say
Lets watch it fade away, fade away
When the worlds done, ours just begun
Its done, ours just begin

We’re gon’ dive into the emptiness
We’ll be swimmin
I’m gon’ walk you through the pathless roads
I’m gon’ take you to the top of the mountain that’s no longer there
I’m gonna take you to bed and love you, I swear
Like the end is near
I’m gon’ take you up to…
I’m gon’ take it down on you
I’m gon’ hold you like an angel .. angel
I’m gon’ love you [2x]
When the world ends
I’m gon’ hold you
When the world is over, we’ll just be begin…



  1. I think nothing should be able to hurt us deeply, cut us sharply to the point that we would close the proverbial door. Nothing should make us feel that hurt, especially not love. In my two serious relations, one was melodramatically ended because the erstwhile demanded “closure.” Said closure resulted in scathing hurt: he was depressed because of me; I was depressed because of me. The other relation passed quietly by I think our last words were “see you later, alligator.” Of course, we did not see each other, not later, not ever. But I’m certain we both understood perfectly that we hit dead end, ces’t finit.

    That said, I think for some of us, love could comfortably be in the province of middle existence. In that place, beginnings and endings are best left unarticulated as words would not capture the inane and the profound, the genuine fondness, the deepest hate, and the childish remorse. If the relationship has to end, it fades without finality and a room in the heart stores the memories.

    Not everyone has the rare privilege of feeling and staying genuinely in love. Some lose this gift in the daily routine of lessened expectations and office parking lots. I say, if we find it let’s keep it, protect it, shelter it and let no one, and most certainly, allow no words to lessen its meaning.

    But I’m sure our friends would say, “ok lang yang walang articulation of real score pero wag naman sampung taon na ganyan. Naman!” Ummm, mamyang gabi ko pagi-isipan ang sagot dun. My mind, as I said, has a hard time putting words on matters of love.

    Parang ang ganda ganda ni Cheerie sa entry mo. Parang ang haba ng hair nya, ang kinis ng balat nya at 24 inches ang bewang nya. Jae, you are generous and you don’t hold back from your friends. You give in the same degree that you fight for, and in behalf of, those you love. From my heart to yours – maraming salamat. Love ko rin ang kantang ito ng DMB

  2. Maganda talaga si Cheerie. Hindi lang dahil maganda talaga siya pero dahil malaki ang puso niya — kasya ang lahat ng magsasaka, kasya ang lahat ng kaibigan, kasya ang lahat ng taong mabuti ang loob at maganda ang hangarin. Ikinararangal ko na makilala siya at maging kaibigan. 🙂 Love you.

  3. Maybe love can be a snowball that musters self-confidence as it rolls along, meandering quietly…

    i hope so

  4. so do i.

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