What's in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.
WHITE: Tradition dictates that all guests offer a rose to the departed. I stood on queue among neighbors and friends of Moments’ family who was in front of the altar howling because of his father’s death. The atmosphere was heavy. It was dramatic. While the choir sung the most haunting song I've ever heard, I forced my eyes to stop crying.
Things could have been easier if Jazmine was with me. We could have ridiculed at the environment I trapped myself in. However, he was not there. And as I near the altar, I knew that things could have been worst. It was devastating seeing an entire family in pain. The hurt they felt was so contagious and though I told myself to maintain composure and grace, when I hugged my friend, it felt like that the sky will fall anytime.
RED: I was on another queue. It was the eve of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I held a red one this time. It goes with an envelope where I placed a hundred bucks as love offering. As I concentrate at the image of the virgin in front of me, I contemplated on the things that I want her to hear. I prayed for my family, my friends, and all the people dear to me. I ask for mercy, prosperity and guidance. I lift up to her all the things that bother me – from my fears, insecurities, self doubt and all the pain. I inquire for forgiveness and I wished for peace.
Though it was already midnight, the air was warm. Her presence made me more optimistic. Her love made me feel safe.
BLUE: Boy, another roommate from Sta Mesa, left the house early. He told me that it was Valentine’s Day and he needs to be early at Dangwa to get the freshest flowers he can get. I thought he will get several red flowers to give to our entire lady neighbor. He did last year. But when he returned home, all he had in his arms were two dozens of blue roses. It was the one of the prettiest thing I've ever seen. Afterwards, he started giving the blue flowers to all of our neighbors which made them appreciate him more. And when he placed one at my bedside table, it made me appreciate Boy more.
ORANGE: Where did you get the money to buy this? I told him while I stare in fascination at the orange long stem rose in front of me.
You thought I cannot get you anything special for your birthday because I am a student, right? He said.
No, it’s not like that, I just didn't expect that this thing is for real. I see it in books and on Wikipedia but I never expect that you can get it somewhere here in Manila. I continued staring at the rose. Seriously, its presence was hypnotizing. I touched the petals and I can’t stop smiling. Best. Birthday. Gift. Ever.
I’m glad you liked it.
No, I don’t like it. I love it.
And, I love you. Happy Birthday.
The rose that all are praising
Is not the rose for me.
-Thomas Haynes Bayly