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What If?

Written by Raymond Santos Estrella on Saturday, 05 June 2004. Posted in 2004

Everyone’s got a corner of their heart you can’t quite understand.

—James Dean Bradfield

Slap me silly and call me sappy but I’ve been feeling really nonchalant the past few days. I’m not really sure why, though. I just can’t shake this feeling of melancholy and lethargy that’s seems to just sap the energy out of me. Well, its either that or I’m burned out.

I was at Starbucks coastal today studying. It’s become quite a habit that I look forward to. Thursdays, you see, is a free day. No classes. That means twenty-four hours of time to sleep, eating unhurriedly, lounging in the bathroom, and reminiscing. It’s a day to just sit back and relax while the rest of the world whirls past me.

Every week for about two months now, I’ve been a regular customer of Starbucks Blue Wave and every week I spend most of the day just studying in my little corner of that establishment. Except today.

Today, I spent the better half of an afternoon drenched in, among other things, old memories and bitter what ifs. It wasn’t so much the memories of my more carefree days as a kid or a teenager that bothered me but the bitter what ifs. Wait, let me retype that: bitter what ifs. That’s better.

I don’t know what exactly set me in the mood for this torturous, inherently degrading exercise of futility but I just found myself staring out the glass walls of Starbucks thinking about how my life has gone for the past twenty-one years and wondering what the hell went wrong or, more appropriately, what if things had gone differently.

I wonder what my life would have been had I stayed in the States. Of course, I obviously wouldn’t have been able to meet the people I know today, wouldn’t have the benefit of their friendship. Nor, for that matter, would I have been able to be the kind of person that I am today. I wouldn’t have been able to have the wonderful Agustinian and Jesuit education that I hold so dearly. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to sit down in front of this PC in my room, in my house, somewhere in Parañaque.

I wonder how I would’ve turned out had I stayed as the foreign kid in an American school. I guess I’d probably be one of those despised, insufferable know-it-all, nerdy type of kid. Either that or I’d be an ex-heroin addict in rehab. Who knows what could’ve happened. Its just one of those things I’ll probably wonder about for the rest of my life.

Hopefully, though, this feeling will pass eventually.

* * * * *

This one’s private. I should probably send this personally through email but I just want to show the entire world that I’m not ashamed to say what I feel. So if you know that this is for you, go on reading. If you know that its not for you, its your choice.

It’s okay. Really. I’m fine with the way things are. I’m okay with the way you are.

I know you loved him and probably still do. It’s okay. I love you no matter what.

I’m tempted to say that “he’s gone and you should move on already, its been over a year since it happened” but I won’t. He never really died—at least not in your heart.

I told you I’d love you no matter what. Even if you’re like this today.

I should thank him, really, for what he’s made of you. I should thank him for contributing to the woman that I know today. You weren’t always like this, you know. You were such a naive, bossy, know-it-all. Now you’re just a know-it-all. But seriously, I see now how mature you’ve become, how much you’re willing to sacrifice, how much you’d love to change the world into a better place. I love it and I love you.

I’m sure that you’ll doubt me on this. I’m sure that you’ll say that I’m kidding and I’m just flattering you to get on your good side and maybe get a free lunch as a reward. But really, I’m serious about this and I’m serious about what I’m saying here right now. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be so brash about saying it in front of the whole internet.

I wish I could say these things to you personally but you know that I can’t. You know that I’m not that kind of person. You know that I’d rather write things down than say it because written words come more easily to me than uttering them aloud. That’s who I am, that’s how other people have made me. I hope you can accept that as well.

I love you no matter what.

2010 Note: I’ve just reread this and for the life of me, I cannot remember for whom the above letter was written. I honestly don’t recall who she is! If anyone can recognize the recipient, drop me a line.

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Raymond Santos Estrella

I guess I should really make a proper writeup here. Something witty or maybe a joke to add some levity. I’ll come back to this when I have time. If you have any suggested copy that I can insert here, drop me a line.

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