You have not known what you are.
You have slumbered upon yourself all your life.
Your eyes have been as much as closed most of the time.
What you have done is already in mockeries.

The mockeries are not you.
Underneath them
And within them,
I see you lurk...


-Walt Whitman


11.3.09

long way down, long way home


I SAT THERE eyes fixed on the blood-red floor. Random numbers and letters still crammed my head, mocking my broken ego. Anxiety was welling from within, preparing to lunge and eat me whole from the inside. I looked at the faces of those around me and I saw myself; desperately trying to look smart and to give off an aura of a different color that would speak of confidence and brilliance. The only thing that separated me from them was my inability to laugh. I couldn’t. Not just yet.

My hand was tight holding a pen, trying to answer questions on a form. But my mind just went blank. I couldn’t process any thoughts anymore. The numbers and letters were still taunting me, telling me I was not good enough. Then a man stood in front and started to read names. My eyes still fixed on the floor, aiming to amplify every syllable that he spoke in the hope that I would hear a very familiar name. My name. Those who were called walked out of the room, with glints of triumph in their eyes. Every name called was a prayer that the next would be mine. But I didn’t hear my name. I wasn’t called. And then he uttered mumbling sounds. I heard the word ‘reapply’ and ‘six’. The rest turned into a long buzz. The numbers and letters in my head were jumping up and down, rejoicing to a noise of an indiscernible beat.

I heaved a deep breath filling my lungs with oxygen that powered my hesitant leg muscles to stand up. I walked out of the room. Moments later I was inside an elevator with the rest who failed the examination. An awkward silence hanged over us like a swarm of bees. No one dared to speak. Except for one.

“Jessica passed because the set of exams given to them were different. Much easier I bet.” A young woman behind me whispered.

I felt a sudden urge to stab her with a pen, wondering how she could find such words be comforting, when in fact they were just figments of an attempt to nurse a torn ego and a pathetic way of seeking lost redemption.

Once again, I saw my self in their faces reflected on the elevator’s gleaming walls. Defeated. Inflicted by emotional rabies. Mouth frothing with self-doubt likes a dog ready to die. It was a long way down. Jumping out through a window would’ve been a faster and easier way--straight to the ground.

I suddenly found myself wading E. Rodriguez. The afternoon sun was angry on my skin while gastric acid devoured the lining of my stomach. A perfect condition for a miserable person that I was. Few minutes later, I was sitting comfortably inside an air-conditioned bus, almost heaven compared to the blistering hell outside. I was heading home at last. As I sat there watching blurred images of people and places that passed by, I contemplated on what just happened.

I failed. I thought I could easily accept it but I was surprised that I couldn’t. It was hard to accept the fact that I was defeated by number series, scrambled letters, word analogies, word meanings, and common sense. My ego was desperately trying to reason out.

Could these things really measure what’s inside my head? The capabilities and the skills that I have honed through fifteen years of learning? There’s not even a single question about my profession! Does failing this prove that I am not good enough? But they’re not going to use this type of test for nothing, right? They’re not stupid. Perhaps I am. I feel like I am.

I felt nauseated. There was a building desire to vomit the ugly feeling of doubt and despair in the pit of my stomach. I wished that I could. It would’ve been easy to stick a finger in my throat and just let it all out. But it was a long way home.

. . . . .


After nine hours, I was inside an emergency room filled with patients whimpering in pain, which unfortunately included my mother. I wished I was the one lying on that bed, crying, wearing needle-pieced skin, and suffering the intolerable pain caused by urolithiasis. It wouldn’t matter I figured. It was a fucked up day after all for me.

“How was your exam, Ron?” My mom asked, forcing a smile, looking up to her son. She looked so proud and optimistic. My expression was the total opposite. She was looking at the person that fulfilled her dream to become a nurse. But not quite. I just felt sad as I entertained the shadows whispering from the white walls.

“They said they will call me if I pass.” I lied and faked a grin. I couldn’t tell the truth. A disappointment wouldn’t anesthetize the pain, would it? She gave a smile and closed her eyes. She fell asleep and I sat on a foot stool by the bed. I opened a pink-colored book and started to read, thinking a few pages might carry me through the night.

Failures and tribulations come and go like a dark night. And twilight would draw closer and life would be once again renewed by the sparks of a new sun.

40 comments:

Mugen said...

Hug bro...

Each and everyone of us have our own tribulations to face. Conflicts make us strong. I remember how I was rejected before. The failure stabbed me at the back, for it was during those times I sought redemption most.

Those were begone times. When I recall how I scoured the monoliths of Ayala looking for a place to work, all I could remember was those were my most humbling moments.

Denis said...

ron, kapag para syo para syo tlaga.

cliche but i believe in natural fall of things.

and your mom, hay nalungkot ako dun.


--------------

para kay b ba yung book? hehe

lucas said...

JOMS: yeah. it's just really frustrating. it was the first opportunity that landed on my door but when i got shut out, i felt really frustrated and stupid. pero ganun talaga siguro sa umpisa.

thanks for your inspiring words, joms.

DENIS: yeaj. hales, texted me that it wasn't for me and she was right. i was being egotistical.

yeah. sad. sasamahan ko siya na magpasked for her surgery tonight.

yeah. para kay b yun. hindi ko pa rin tapos. hehe!

alex said...

c'est la vie!

ganun tlga ang bida binubugbog muna sa una for them to be strong and all...

don't worry you'll surely find the perfect place for you ron

god bless.

kokoi said...

better things will come. maybe it's not yet the right time. better things will come im sure.

RJ said...

Your story is very touching! You’ve once again chosen the appropriate words to express what you think and feel after that ‘test’. I know you are a wise man, Ron, and I’m happy that you understand the purpose of this trial in your life! ["Failures and tribulation will come and go like this dark night. And twilight would draw closer and life would be renewed by the sparks of a new sun."]

There might be something better that is waiting for you, who knows... it’s coming very soon.

Any problem that isn’t fatal will surely make us stronger!

You know what, while reading your post, my emotions were remarkably disturbed by that ‘pink’ book! Whew! Would you mind if I’ll ask you what’s the title of that book? Why pink?!

ZARA 札拉 [사랑해~] said...

Owh...
I'm really drown into whatever u wrote down..=)

lucas said...

KOKOI: I agree. there's a greater opportunity ahead. thanks!

RJ: Any problem that isn’t fatal will surely make us stronger!---thanks for your kind and inspiring words, RJ :) something greater lies ahead, i know....

ahh yun ba? hulaan mo. hehe! i'm not sure kung nabasa mo na yun...hehehe!

peace out!

zara: thanks, zara!

lucas said...

you're one heck of a story teller! mapa-ingles man o tagalog, emo man o hindi, i'll definitely dig it! hehe!

people come and go pero ang maganda sa istorya is that you're able to move on with your lives with something you can treasure...kahit hindi kayo ang dulo ng kwento.

jonathan said...

Most people would whine, be angry, and give up. You chose to speak out, write them, and narrate your experience ending it with positive thoughts.

When you write things like these, your readers not only feel the pain but we appreciate the lessons we can learn from your sharing.

Lucas, there is always sunshine after the rain. God bless!

yas.tolentino said...

*pat on the back. sniff sniff

ayos lang yan kuya. ehe. it does not make less as a person. you're still you. remember that.

ayt ayt?
apir!

yas.tolentino said...

woot.

naalala ko tuloy nung ako yung pinapangaralan mo. haha. i was so down but you were one of the people who kept me sane when i was almost suicidal.

kaya yan. ikaw pa. everything will fall in it's place. sabi nga ni maykel jakson, "keep the faith."

ingat sa byahe mamaya. alalahanin, nasa tiendesitas lang ako. nagboblog. haha

Yas.

~yAnaH~ said...

darating din ang apra sayo.. hindi man ngaun baka bukas o sa makalawa...
kung hindi yan umubra sayo, ibig sabihin it wasnt for you.. may mas better pang darating for you...ung para sayo talaga...

napadaan..

your haley.Ü said...

...luke,

i wish i was there to cheer you up...or just hold your hand. i miss you. don't let this beat you, ok? you have a lot to offer the world, this just isn't for you. i love you.


...haley.Ü

~Kinesics said...

Hey Ron - just to quote the song "I Hope You Dance", it will sum up what I want to tell you!

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Reconsider
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

Time is a real and constant motion always roling us along...

:)

~kinesics

Pao Pielago said...

you did your best. if there's one thing to regret about now, it would be not trying again next time. keep positive! there's always a light at the end of the tunnel. the only difference is people walk on different paces. :)

Desert Aquaforce said...

“Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.”

Keep on...never give up!

ka bute said...

Einstein had to bust up hundreds of light bulbs before finally making a working one. :D

vanvan said...

..tama yun, ang bukangliwayway ay dumadating pagkatapos ng pinakamadilim na parte ng gabi..

things may not fall into places like we want pero bilog ang mundo at patuloy gumugulong ang buhay..


...ang galing..like always..

lucas said...

jonathan: that's one thing i like about blogging. we learn from each other's experiences.

yas: yeah... naalala ko nga yun. ganun lang talaga siguro. paiba-iba tayo ng sitwasyon. nasa tiendesitas ka sa greenhills? nandun kami sa cardinal santos nung gabing yun..hehe!

thanks for the very inspiring words.

yanah: yeah..thanks :) everything is ordained by God. perhaps it's not for me or at least for now...

hales: thanks hales. kaya yan ako pa?! hehehe! i miss you na. sorry can't reply, walang load. wahehe!

kinesics: thanks for that song! i love it's melody. i didn't know the lyrics are so meaningful.

God bless you, mate :)

pao: sabi nga nila "try and try until you die" haha! thanks for the inspiring words, pao.

desert aquaforce: Thanks for the quote. really inspiring :)

May God bless you.

kabute: si einstein ba yun? hindi ba si thomas edison? hehe! thanks, mate :P

van: ei, next time na yung tag ah? hehe! salamat sa mga inspiring words. tama ka. bilog ang mundo sabi nga sa commercial ng ginebra. haha!

God bless. :)

gravity said...

im so sorry to hear about your mom. will pray for her..

may iba pang work na talagang nakalaan syo. be patient =)

onatdonuts said...

pagkatapos ng ulan ay sisilip si haring araw. hehe ang korni ko hahaha pero totoo yun

__________________

naku bata, mahirap magbiyahe ng walang destinasyon baka ma-biglang liko ka o kaya naman mapuntang biyaheng langit JOKE JOKE JOKE nyahahaha

KRIS JASPER said...

WoW! This is deep! Youve converted a day of your life into a piece of literature. I LOVE IT!

plus the element of "suicide/murder" in it (jumping out of the building; stab that lady inside the elevator) had made that story more worthreading, well, for me.

Im sorry if you failed the test anyway. But Im sure you know there are more battles to be faced in this life. Just because you were defeated in one doesnt mean you have to raise the white flag.

PUSANG-gala said...

"I saw myself; desperately trying to look smart and to give off an aura of a different color that would speak of confidence and brilliance. The only thing that separated me from them was my inability to laugh. I couldn’t. Not just yet."


---I saw myself in these lines coz I am a person who can never pretend a fake smile when something is really wrong. Kaya I prefer to just be with myself when I'm deeply sad......rather than infect others with my inability to pretend....

ShatterShards said...

Don't worry, Lucas, things will fall into place. Don't stop believing in yourself.

ShatterShards said...

one more thing: I wish your mom well. Hopefully no further complications.

------

the dominant emotions really dictate where your writing will lead you.

Minsan naman talaga, mahirap mag-move on. pero in time, one is bound to recover. hehe

Thanks for the compliments!

ponCHONG said...

on situation like this, i always think of this qoute.

"that sometimes GOD give us the things we asked from HIM one at a time, for if HE'll give it all at once, will we still remember HIM?"

subok uli, ron.

ka bute said...

hahaha. honga 'no? :D *wink*

REDLAN said...

This is a nice story. I mean, walang patayan. At the end, nabasa ko kwento mo pala. Lam mo, hindi lahat ng panahon, hindi lahat ng bagay naging success. Minsan kelangan may challenge. Alam mo naman kaya mo pero pana-panahon lang yan. Basta after ng trials may success yan. Kaya goodluck. Do your best palagi.

gravity said...

nice to hear that your Mom's ok na. will continue to pray for her surgery. she has a very caring son in you =)

lucas said...

jv: she's fine now but she needs surgery... matagal na to natatakot lang kasi siya...

thanks, jv.

ONAT: biyaheng langit? edi masaya! hahaha! :P JOKE JOKE JOKE! HEHE!

so i guess i need to incorporate more gore in my posts. hehehe! pero i admit hindi ko pa rin matatapatan ang mga post mo when it comes to being miserable...:P

peace out!

antonio: i totally agree with you mate...it's better to infect people with the ability to stay true than the abiliti to pretend :)

yeah. i've been kinda busy with crappy stuff. hehe! kaw? mukhang busy ka ah. no new post?

shatts: thanks...mom is fine for now. she really needs surgery or else the pain would come back...

i won't. it's just one blow. hehe! i'm tougher more than i expect from myself.

you're welcome.

ponchong: ano yung binili niyong pagkain? parang kakaiba :P okay na yun kesa naman wala kayong lambingan moment nung valentimes di ba? hehe!

hindi ako naniniwala sa swerte. I do believe, however, that God ordained everyhting that happens to us, whether it maybe good or bad in our eyes. But God is good. Everything is bound to be better...

kabute: hehe! kaya nagtaka ako..hehe!

red: thanks for the indpiring words, red...

walang patayan? hahaha! marami-rami nakong napapatay noh? hehe!

karmi said...

so i guess this is real na Ron. :) tama nga ung mga comment nila, subok lang ulit. lahat ata tayo dumadaan sa ganyang stage, we all fall and we try to stand up again. :) tyaga lang. ^^

i hope your mom feels better. :) nabasa ko sa replies mo na magu-undergo sya ng surgery? :) magiging successful yan. :)

sabi nga sa Stuart Little, there's always a silver lining. :) *hugs*

lucas said...

karmi and gravity : salamat for the inspiring and encouraging words :)

jamadi9 said...

awwww...i feel like i've been out for decades...i am so sorry :(

ron, hugz! yep, you're right. God ordains things...everything. and i want to add that i do believe failure is simply success waiting to happen ;)

wishing you and your loved ones all the best! it never is easy to see someone we hold dear in pain.

may HE continue to give you the strength and the faith!

GodBlessYaMuch!

lucas said...

yeah, maam jane. YOU WERE! hehe! but i can understand why. hehe!

that day was just so rough. but that's over now :)

thank you, maam :)

God bless you too :)

Pilar said...

oooofff... di ko nakita to... tsk. okay lang yan. pareho ng sabi ko, when a door closes, the windows are open for you. :)

pwede magmura?

tanginang exam yon! pakshet!

lucas said...

pilar: oo. pwedeng pwede. hehehe!

Angelo said...

Hey Lucas, I had a feeling when I had read this and saw E.Rod.... like I said on my blog: if you didn't already get in elsewhere, then just try again. (I am a bit partial and biased towards that place though hehe).... Time and timing should not be an issue, she can be a bitch but just work with her. If I had given up and let every failed exam screw me up, you would find me cowering in a corner rocking back and forth mumbling incoherently. It's hard to study for those weird exams... if I remember correctly what that exam is all about. Just take the failure and own it, it will make you better and stronger the second time around and will focus your preparation like a knife.... I say this from experience... I'm not trying to spew trite cliches at ya. But it looks like you've got your head screwed in right, so just keep rollin' the way you do. I hope to one day hear that we will be co-alumni, or at least colleagues. Cheers!

lucas said...

angelo: woah! really?! i didn't know they're only up for six seasons! waaa! i'm not watching the latest season. i'd rather run a marathon with it... hehe!

yeah. that NMAT exam. i guess i was just not really wired for that type exam. i know i could've passed it. i guess the nerves got the best of me. you're right. i want to try again, probably after 6 months...

thanks for the encouraging words, doc. :D

Angelo said...

Hey man! wait, was it the NMAT or the entrance exam? Either way, if I've learned anything over the years of exam prep it's that it's not necessarily what you know, but how you know it. You can memorize an entire textbook, but if you're not familiar with the exam's format, style, pacing etc then it doesn't matter how much you know, you can still fail. Just keep practicing sample exams, old exams, whatever you can get your hands on bro. I remember using this horrible book "Medical Admission Test" by Manuel Sy... I'm sure you can find a better one somewhere in National or Meriam Webster. You got lots of time to practice anyway, I'm sure you'll do great the next round. Just don't give up and let me know if there's any way I can help. Cheers!