Monday, October 13, 2008

The Hate Trap

“ Now, everybody, switch back to laughter mode.” Eva was trying her best to bring the party back to its cheerful ambiance.

“Would the next one who would offer a toast come forward.” She called.

“ My turn!” shouted Betty as she inched towards the front.

“ Alright! I say let us move on with the parade of witches.” said Eva in a jest.

The gloomy silence was punctured by thunderous laughter.

As Eva had wished, the show went on. The “witches” were on a roll.

Betty gave me boxes of Belgian chocolates.

“Beware of witches bearing gifts”. Someone shouted. Everyone laughed. Betty rode on the humor train. “Now!” she said. “Unless you take that comment back, I have to ask everybody to return the box of chocolates that I sneaked into each ones bag as my way of saying I love you all”.

“Oh! Betty you are so sweet. In the name of the group, I say consider the comment as never been uttered.” said Eva in a way so adorable Betty could not resist giving her a hug. “Thank you, Eva. I love you“ was all she could muster.

“Come on Betty! You know how chocolates can bring out the best in us” replied Eva and everybody laughed.

“But wait, girls did everyone get her chocolates because if someone didn’t, I say go hang the witch!” Eva was just trying to move the humor crescendo to its peak. She could see that the chocolate munch time party had already started.

I was really amazed at how everyone except me could manage to give animated laughter in response to Eva’s punch line with chocolates still in their mouth. I had a hard time as it was trying to make sure I would not burst into laughter letting go of icky chocolate showers from my mouth. But then again, perhaps it was part of the social graces they have to learn.

Regina gave me a rocking chair music box. I loved that music box. It kept alive in my memories that chair incident with Regina and each time I remember, I could not help but smile. Life has got a funny twist and turn. Who would have thought that ruminations of an incident which made a mockery of your person could solicit smile on your face when you would start to view the experience from another light.

Lourdes did not give me boxes of gums as I expected. I did not know what to do with tons of bubble gums if she did. Instead, she gave me a bag of hair care products. It must have cost her a fortune. Hair care products were not within the access of ordinary folks during that time. I remember that the laundry soap I used to wash my clothes was the same soap I used in taking a bath and in washing my hair. Lourdes without intending to had introduced me into my first adventure of living on a style I could not afford.

The "witches" all thanked me in their testimonial for keeping faith in them; for helping them discover the nice girls that lay hiding within themselves. They were all given wild ovations which they rightly deserved.

I knew I thanked them back but I wish I knew then what the imprints in my being the whole experience with them would have. If I did, I could have articulated my gratitude in ways that transcended mere words.

My dad never got tired impressing on me not to stoop so low as to hate others. “Hate warps your being” he said. “It stifles the good within you and does not allow such goodness to shine through.”

It was not easy living those words in my life. There were many times I have fallen into the hate trap. There were people who came into my life who at some point I wished would not have come crossing my path. But I would only have to look back into my experience with Rebecca, Betty, Regina and Lourdes and many others to know that I should not allow hate to find roots in my heart.