Just call me Saffron, will you?

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Saturday, March 20, 2004

I think Friendster is the coolest thing ever since the invention of toilet paper. Ohkay, maybe not the coolest, but it's somewhere in my top 5 list after chocolate.

Yeah, so, like I was saying, since Friendster is so cool and all, it isn't all that surprising that I chanced upon a really cool bulletin message posted by an old crush of mine. It was entitled "Dedicated to that Special Someone".

Funny enough, there was this strange tingly feeling that raced down my spine when I saw the heading. So, fine, I was only about 15 when I had a crush on him, but you know what it's like...right? Our relationship was a pretty complex one (yes, even when I was only 15 and he, 17). It was one of those friendships that made me love and hate him at the same time. One of those friendships that made me thank God every single day for bringing him into my life. Yet, it was also one of those friendships that made me loathe my very own existence...just because I met him. I loved him so much that I hated him, hated myself for loving him.

Now, now. Love itself, in my world, is a pretty complicated matter altogether. I loved him for being my teacher, my friend and my confidante. I loved him for the walks we used to take and the giggles and laughter that we shared. I loved him for the tips we swapped in the pool and the long and gruelling training sessions that he helped brighten up. I loved him for all the nonsensical chats we had online and longs talks about nothing in particular. I loved him for those long stretches of comfortable silences between us and I loved him for his reassuring presence.

Yet, for all the love that I had for him, he loved her more. Strangely, I didn't hate her. I couldn't hate her. I wondered what she was like. I wondered what was it about her that he loved. And I wondered what was it about me not to love. I wondered if he would ever find out that I loved him the way he loved her.

And then I hated myself. I hated the fact that I met him. I hated the fact that I loved him. I hated the way I looked, the way I walked, the way I talked. I hated everything about myself. Everything. I hated the fact that I simply wasn't her.

I began to ask myself questions that no one had the answers to. I asked myself why God had brought him into my life. I asked myself if I was falling in love with him, or if I had, indeed fallen in love with him, the way Juliet had fallen in love with Romeo, the stuff I see on TV. I asked myself many more questions after that. Questions that no one had the answers to. No one, but myself.

So I cried and I dragged myself into the pits of emotional hell. Suddenly, I knew. I knew the answers to all my questions. And they all led to the same thing. I knew. I knew why he didn't love me the way he loved her and I knew if I'd fallen in love with him without even realizing it. I knew exactly the reason God made him walk into my life.

He didn't love me the way he loved her because I wasn't her. And, yes, the horribly warm and sickening sensation that made me want to curl up and die had just about confirmed that I was indeed in love with my friend, my mentor, my confidante. It was a sick, horrible feeling of realization that tasted vile in my mouth, extemely bitter on my tongue.

All those movies that I've watched...they didn't tell me this was what falling in love would be like. I felt cheated.

And then I knew why God had sent him to me. It was so that I'll have a taste of one of those strange, whirly, roller coaster emotions they call unrequited love.

Now, years later, I still get a tiny flutter of butterflies in my stomach at the slightest mention of his name (or in this case, posts he'd made in Friendster). And my heart still skipped a beat when I read the post.

"I know if she is a dream, I never want to wake. If she is real let me never sleep."

I know how it feels like, old crush. I know.

Monday, March 01, 2004

I've always wondered what is so intriguing about Mona Lisa's smile. By my standards, she's not conventionally beautiful. And it baffles me why thieves would steal Mona Lisa away over and over again. Yet, there's just something about Mona Lisa that is strangely captivating, and I can't quite figure out just what that X-factor is till now.

Last night, I went to watch Mona Lisa Smile with a friend of mine. Of course, I did my homework beforehand and checked out the reviews before going to the cinemas. I'm soooo not paying for something that supposedly *bad*. However, this is an exceptional case. I went ahead to watch it even though the reviews were less than kind. Ohkay, so I'm a cheapskate and my ticket was paid for.

But the point is, I went anyway. And I came out thinking. So I don't think that much. BIG DEAL.

As I was saying, I came out of the cinema actually thinking. In my very humble opinion, the reviews were a little too harsh. Truthfully, Mona Lisa Smile was a pretty good effort, though there are loopholes here and there that'll need a bit of work. But as a whole, it reminded me of The Hours, where, on really rare occasions, men were secondary to women.

There's this strange indescribable beauty about being a woman that I can't quite put into words. A woman laughs, cries and carries the weight of many problems on her shoulders. A woman is born with a responsibility that only she alone can fulfill. A woman is...how should I put it...a woman is a friend, mother, teacher, wife, confidante...and most of the time, much more than all that.

Perhaps that was what Mona Lisa Smile is all about. Women are born with a certain kind of childish naivete, the determination that they can change the world, that they have what it takes to make a difference. Enter Julia Roberts's character Katherine Watson who believed that she will be able to teach women that they have an alternative route in life besides being a man's wife. She was passionate about art and she was passionate about living life as a person, not confine herself to the restrictions of being just a woman. She reminded me of someone I know. Someone who's totally devoted to helping others that she sometimes forgets the very reason of her own existence.

"Why can't you just be honest?"

And then we have Betty Warren played by Kirsten Dunst. Rich, beautiful, an unbelievable snob. She was born...perfect. Except that she wasn't. Being the bitch that she was, I was surprised at how much I felt for her character, because somehow, somewhere, I'm almost sure that I have met a Betty Warren at some point of time in my life.

"She's smiling, but is she really happy?"

I've always thought that Julia Stiles plays the best roles. I loved her in 10 Things I Hate About You and I loved her in Mona Lisa Smile. So she's young, she's smart and she's beautiful. She's one of those few who actually know what she wants in life and how to get there. I'd think that she'd make the correct choices with a good head on her shoulders. Any sane person would think that. Funnily enough, she didn't. It didn't take a genius to figure out why she chose what she chose. But it frustrates me a lot when intelligent people make unwise decisions. I can't count the number of times when I've seen intelligent people make the wrong choices and suffer from the consequences. It hurts to see them that way.

"It is my choice. This is what I want."

A day after I walked out of the cinema, I'm still thinking. I wondered what God had in mind when he created Eve. I wondered if God knew that the subsequent Eves that dotted the world would be put through trying times over and over again. And then I wondered why Leonardo da Vinci painted Mona Lisa with a smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes and touch others' hearts.

Someone once told me that a woman is all about essence. I suppose Mona Lisa's smile is a close representation of what a woman is.