Back then, I have had dreams of flying. Sometimes I flew like a bird, flying over the other houses surrounding our town. Sometimes I would try to go beyond the border of what I usually see when I look out the window. Squinting, I would imagine what it is like beyond the pier of our little town, and in my dreams I would fly off to whatever wonderful landscape I “see” beyond the border. But they were only as they were – dreams.
Soon enough, these frequent dreams and wonderings (pun intended) became, not only a desire, but a concept – A big idea that took the form of a realization:
“I am meant to go far – far beyond where the wind takes me. I will go far, not because of the circumstances, but despite the circumstances.”
And this became my truth. But no one else knew.
This truth has guided most of my decisions when I grew older. This was not because I am not proud of the soil I stepped on when I have grown as a young child. It is simply because this truth has driven me to try to go beyond what I usually see.
It was not enough to simply love a place – I also had to visit others, not just to see more beauty, but because of the powerful feeling that somewhere beyond lies something unsure yet certain. Funny, isn’t it? But when a person is strongly both certain and unsure, then there must be something to that, mustn’t it?
Now, if you have problems understanding what I say, can you just imagine how troubling it was to explain these to my parents? They didn’t want me to go very far, because they were afraid of things that may or may not happen – things that are out of their control. They allowed me freedom for school competitions, but convincing them that I wished to go to college somewhere far was difficult.
On my last year in high school, I have decided to take all the entrance exams for colleges, near or far, and pass them all so that it is easier to choose. Naturally, since Iloilo was the farthest, I set my heart in it. My mother had a different opinion, though. And I had to explain to her a lot of things – things that may be of importance to her, like my future. Eventually, she agreed.
But, on the first few years (yes, years) of my stay in Miag-ao, I was enveloped in a kind of sadness. I got my wish to study far away. I got to see beyond the borders of our small town. I even got to fly – on a plane. But these did not equate to the lonely prison of being far from the company of people you love. It is not mere homesickness. That feeling has left me after my first three months as a freshman. I don’t know what to call it exactly, for I can still live and laugh and continue to dream of going far. But there was always that feeling that there was something missing. It may be exciting to go far, but I can’t go as far as I want because something is holding me back. After all, I am still just a child, and I still need to have my beloved parents to comfort me and be by my side.
Then another realization, another truth, hit me on the last few months of my third year in UP Miag-ao. I was stressed and alone, contemplating on the future of my thesis proposal and wondered if it ever had any. Crying, I was tempted to call my mother and ask her if she is OK, half-wishing I could bear to tell her my problems – the fear that I may not be able to graduate on time, the pressure that came along with the thesis, etc.
Then, just when I was about to type her number, a bird flew past me. It was a quick flight, because before I knew it, my eyes followed the bird to the sky, until it became a tiny dot. That was when I caught a glimpse of the sky. The big, wide, blue sky, stretching far beyond me – going beyond the horizon and challenging me to ask what lies beyond it. Then a quote from the movie, Koizora (Sky of Love), played in my head:
This was the new truth that dawned on me. No matter how far away the wind will take me, we will always be under the same sky.
And, yes, beyond the horizon the sky is asking of me, I know that the answers are: (1) a certain and unsure future, and (2) the people I love. Because somewhere beyond, somewhere far, but still under the same sky, is the family I will be coming home to.
I stopped the decision to call my mother. I only looked at the sky and smiled. Indeed, beyond that horizon is my dream. And, so is the family I left, waiting for me. And I couldn’t be happier. For the sky no longer questions me. It now serves as my happiness, for I can smile happily with the thought that my dreams and my beloved(s) are somewhere beyond the horizon, covered by the same sky I’m smiling at.
Now, after sharing these sweet parts of my memory, let me share with you a very wonderful quote from The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery:
“All men have the stars,” (the Little Prince) answered, “but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travellers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You–you alone–will have the stars as no one else has them–“
“What are you trying to say?”
“In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night . . . You–only you–will have stars that can laugh!” (Chapter 27, Page 58)