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By Regina May Cajucom

Serendipity Couch

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

NURSING a combination of acute laryngitis and acute bronchitis is no joke.

After having gone through episodes of hyperventilation, severe coughing, fever and chills, I finally decided to see a pulmonologist, who gave an official identity to my condition, and prescribed an antibiotic for it.

Zithromax, the prescribed antibiotic, proved effective for my bronchitis, but also gave me more discomfort than my illness. I had no choice but to stay in bed most of the time, with a stomachache that rivals that of amoebiasis-induced pain and suffering (no exaggeration there).


But since a tummy ache is not as bad for me as migraine and nausea, I took advantage of that time to catch up on my reading, and before my laryngitis-bronchitis episode is over, I have started my third read in a week.

Somehow that made me feel a lot better.

After enjoying Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs, 2011), a novel that reminds me of the X-Men in a more charming, romantic, enchanting setting, and thereafter Love Letters to the Dead (Ava Dellaira, 2014), yet another entertaining read where the protagonist in teenage-angst mode writes letters and shares her coming-of-age experiences to famous dead people like Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger and Amelia Earhart, among others, I moved on to Landline (Rainbow Rowell, 2014).

I have been a Rainbow Rowell fan since Eleanor and Park (2013), as she writes about people's experiences, emotions and reactions in a way that will leave you sighing, thinking, and sighing more.

Landline is her first "adult" novel, whose synopsis is outright riveting: Georgie, a comedy writer caught between her flourishing career and her family, is aware that her marriage to Neal is in trouble, especially so when she had to stay behind on a Christmas vacation due to her demanding job as Neal and the kids went home to his hometown of Omaha.

As it was her first time to be alone, she opted to stay at her family home with her mom, stepdad and sister, and there discovered an old telephone set (hence the title) which allowed her to call the "old" Neal - fifteen years earlier - before he proposed to her.

It presented a chance for her - more like a conflict - to either encourage him to pursue her, or discourage him from ever proposing to her.

In the course of their long conversations over this "magic" landline, Georgie was given an opportunity to reminisce their past, and realize what made her fall in love with him in the first place.

The novel is surprisingly both entertaining and poignant.

For working mothers like me, who undergo episodes of guilt at least once a day for seemingly not having enough time for family, the novel hit home. The situations, issues, conflicts in the novel are all too familiar for "normal" couples who experience ebbs and flows in the course of their relationships especially so after being together for a number of years.

Some parts of the story give the reader (who can relate) a roller-coaster ride of emotions: giddiness, pain, anxiety, doubt, relief, among others.

Landline has probably struck that chord with me as I celebrate sixteen years of couplehood with my life partner.

It is never easy, what with personalities that clash, beliefs that do not always seem to be in sync, opinions that do not often jibe.

There are times when we just simply have to leave each other alone for some time because to argue will be so frustrating and exhausting. But at the end of the day, looking at what we have and all we've been through all these years, and most especially at being blessed with our kids and our family - we know that we belong together.

There is one touching scene in the novel when Georgie asks Neal, "What if love is not enough?"

"We will make our own enough."

I think Pfizer forgot to indicate another Zithromax side effect: mushiness.
(serendipity.couch@gmail.com/ www.serendipitycouch.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 07, 2014.


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