As the moving bus sped along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, a boy of merely sixteen years old cried upon seeing that Blue Cross atop The St. Francis Church, just beside his school Lourdes School of Mandaluyong. Everyday he did that, crying and gazing at that Cross, as he went home from school. It was at that time and space when Edsa, near corner Ortigas Avenue and Shaw Boulevard, was still a grassy space of land. When there was still no SM Mega Mall and other high-rise buildings. For him, it was almost Paradise. And as days went by, the Cross and that boy had a very special and intimate relationship. The Cross was telling him something, assuring him of something he could not comprehend at a very young age. All he knew was, he felt the beauty of that Blue Cross, as it lingered in his eyes while the passenger bus sped, and he would cry soon after when the Cross was no longer visible in his eyes.
He was an outcast in school during his high school days, having transferred from a different school in C.M. Recto (another exclusive school for boys- San Sebastian College) when he reached third year, High School. He loved his new school so much, for him, it was heaven itself, but he just didn’t know why a “call” had been bothering him, as he drifted-away from his curriculum studies and fellow high school classmates who were all nice to him. He just kept on adding-up his absences from school and simply gallivanted around the Cinema houses, or gay friends, or, much worse, simply walking by amid the dirty streets of Cubao.
Soon after, the boy dropped-out from his “most-loved school”- Lourdes School of Mandaluyong. But he would always sneak-by at his school Chapel- the St. Francis Church, which was so quiet and he could almost feel their Patron Saint- St. Francis of Assisi, sitting beside him as he prayed.
He followed his Patron Saint. He did let go of all things, simply just to get to know St. Francis a lot better. Somehow, he survived the “world” and he wondered why.
That boy became a writer. As he reached his early twenties, he started writing actors and actresses at the magazine his father was editing. He became a movie writer. And many other horizons and doors opened-up, so easily, without him asking for it. At a young age, he was already earning much and he did able help his father with some financial bills to pay. And during those times, he never forgot that “Cross Atop the St. Francis Church”.
He never loved the “hypocrisy and the plasticity” of the showbiz industry. What he loved were the friends he made along the way. It was the late Ms.Inday Badiday (R.I.P., and a former radio & TV celebity host), the mother of Daily Inquirer’s columnist- Ms. Dolly Anne Carvajal, who inspired him to write more good articles on showbiz personalities. “You are a good writer, Robert. Just keep on, I will be here for you”, were the everlasting words that Ms. Inday Badiday told to the young writer.
As he met people and friends, actors and movie directors, hairdressers and beauty queens- the writer opted to trek a road which was less traveled by. He became a drug user.
Unconsciously, he did let go of everything that was offered to him. All he wanted was to seek that “cross” over and over and over again…
But this time, he could no longer see the Cross as he rode a passenger bus from EDSA going to Shaw Boulevard. The Cross was now hidden and covered by giant buildings and SM Mega Mall. And he could no longer see, also, the splendid tall grasses in the fields on those vacant lots along EDSA. How his heart cried-out to feel the beauty of the world all over again.
One time, he tried to go inside the St. Francis Church again. But he could no longer feel the peace and the serenity. The area became tight and noisy, with people walking here and there coming from the many offices along the boulevard.
Not until an angel came.
It was a boy-angel who inspired him back and brought back memories of his high school days. He met this boy-angel already once upon a time in their lives, and it was him who saw him back again.
The boy is now 50 years old. He never got married. He never raised his own kids. He used to live alone, but now, he came back to his parents. But he’s happy now, very happy.
The Cross Atop the St. Francis Church and the boy angel never left him, though.
It lingered in his heart-
(written on a Black Saturday, while waiting for his “friends” and the Risen Christ on the coming day of Easter. Dated: April 4, 2015 and sealed upon the bondage of ETERNITY, by robert manuguid silverio).*