A woman’s heart

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

BEFORE I got distracted by thoughts of avocados and lost cellphones, I said I wanted to write about fireworks and grandmothers and having a room of one’s own.

A woman’s heart is very much like an avocado, with traces of fireworks and a grandmother’s song, all coming from that secret place within – an inner room that a woman runs to during the times when she falls and dies like an avocado.

To further clarify that which lies deep within a woman’s heart, let me tell you about these ants that I killed one day.


There they were, minding their own business, marching to their own tunes and following orders which mere humans like myself could never understand.

Suddenly, a humungous foot, which happened to be mine, fell from their piece of sky, and they expired, at least those that had the misfortune of being there during this tremendous event.

The survivors swerved from the path, lost, confused, perhaps grieving in their own ant ways for the loss of their fellow ant-beings.

As I watched, the live ants crawled towards the dead ones, and lifting them up, started a new funeral file carrying their dead to destinations unknown to the cause of this tragedy – which happened to be me.

Thus, to add to the avocados and fireworks, think of ants when you consider a woman’s heart.

Does this confuse you?

So let’s talk about fireworks, bursts of brilliance that can only reveal their grandeur in the darkness of a night sky.

Right, fireworks are at their best when it’s dark.

They lose their power when the sky is clear and blue, or when the sun is shining.

They die quickly, these fires that dispel the darkness for the shortest while, but when these fireworks do explode, everyone sits up and takes notice.

Even after these outbursts are over, the grand memory of their magnificence stays with whoever is lucky enough to witness them.

Let me just say that this is but a small portion of a woman’s heart.

As for grandmothers, there is one in every woman from three to ninety years old – the inner grandmother that knows the secrets of life and death every month, the one who can tell you right away whether a man is good for you or not (but we don’t always listen to our inner grandmothers!), the one who understands that flashing urge to jump onto the first bus that will take us to somewhere far away.

She is the one who prays, the grandmother.

In one of my last conversations with my Lola, she told me to pray the rosary, because that is how I will know whether a man has good intentions or not.

When she was young, she ran away with my grandfather from Luzon to Mindanao.

Theirs was a love that outlived a war, ten children, and years of hard living off the earth.

Until the day my grandfather died, they used to have conversation s from three in the morning till the light of dawn.

I have ant-women friends and we sometimes gather together.

As we walk through each other’s stories, we carry each other’s death-moments or those times when we must let go of, or allow all that brings us pain, all that is dead or dying in our lives.

Coming together as friends is but one of the ways we ignite the fires within.

There are hidden fireworks in the dark corners of a woman’s heart, and all who dare to come near will have a sight of it, somehow.

Those who stay long enough after being burned by the first explosions are the ones who see the woman’s true colors, their brilliance and magnificence especially clear during the dark times.

Luckiest are the ones who are able to enter a woman’s innermost room, to meet the inner grandmother, wise and gracious, filled with a love that awakens before dawn, stays, and lasts beyond human endings.

When I come back, IF I come back to this page, I will perhaps continue our conversations about avocados, and such mundane things as a woman’s heart. Perhaps.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 18, 2014.


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