Just like any previous Christmases I had, it was uneventful. I've somehow lost the enthusiasm in looking forward to it, probably for a variety of personal reasons.
Partly, it's because I've grown too attached to my childhood memories where we used to celebrate the entire season at my father's ancestral home in San Jose, Partido. I remember fondly my favorite cousin, Carlo - we were almost the same age, and both guys. I'll never forget that particular Christmas with our entire clan, where we both got toy laser swords. We were both so excited and happy, only to realize it was worthless - because whenever we parry the other's sword, the plastic blade simply broke off.
Strangely, it's the only Christmas I remember vividly. I keep trying to recall other Christmases, but I only get a vague idea of how they were - unlike this one.
Somehow, I think it's also because it might have been the Christmas where my uncle died. I don't remember if it was so, and frankly I'm too embarrassed to ask my relatives especially now that I have grown too distant from them. Especially when my cousin Carlo passed away.
Hmm, it's kinda weird that just a while ago I could not remember other details - but I now do remember one of my last Christmases spent at our old bungalow home. I remember the funny Christmas tree made from our big indoor bonsai tree, which I also turned into a winter war land for my toy soldiers. Yet for some reason, I don't remember everything...
During high school, the only memories I can extract from my mind are those spent with friends and classmates. Not that I keep running away on Christmas; rather, my dad didn't mind. After all, he wasn't a program-freak like me, or a party-lover like my sis. We just cooked pasta, eat - then everyone's pretty much on their own on what they wanna do.
In college, I started emotionally drifting from my relatives due to some family conflicts and issues. I preferred to stay in my boarding place in Naga City rather than be with them. Some friends do invite me over, but usually I'd disappear at 11:00pm to go to the park where I'd just cry and pray. When my eyes stop hurting, I'd go back and rejoin the fun.
It was because of a friend that I've learned to appreciate and look forward to Christmas again.
Cleaning up my room after several weeks of absence, I stumbled across my old stash of personal stuff. I am a pack rat - a habit I'm trying to rid myself of - and I feel amused having to dispose of stuff over and over again, always hesitating to throw away stuff. I grinned as I saw my old research materials from years ago, whose data now is obsolete. I remember considering trashing it last year, but hesitated.
There were also a lot of my notes and drafts - of ideas, poems, and whatchamacallits. And they were already slightly mildewy and infested with silverfishes. But I relent: I haven't transcribed them yet. So back to the box they go.
The entire exercise was futile, actually; it would only take me several days just to make another pile. But I enjoyed it - reviewing old letters and Christmas cards from kin and friends, unearthing pictures I forgot I had, rediscovering unfinished thoughts and lines from yesteryears...
I may not have totally happy on Christmas Day this year, but I now look forward to a better Christmas - not trying to revive the happiness that was past, but believing in better celebrations ahead of me - carrying the banner of my memories, waving my flag of dreams... until I reach my quest, and build my Kingdom of Smiles.