Over lunch at Tang’s, Cherry updated our vocabularies with the usage of Pluto as a verb. Since its recent downgrade to a non-planet from the solar system, she mentioned that Pluto now means everything tantamount to demotion and relegation—to be less than what you used to be. Okay, okay now. . . my favorite usage would have to be: “Don’t pull a Pluto on me.”
I’m definitely back in more ways than one. For a while there I thought that I’ve been Plutoed. At first it seemed that my 60 days were already up by Day 1. I still can’t figure out how or why my circumstances seemed to tell a completely different and opposite story, but that is of no importance to me anymore. After all, “The secret things belong to the Lord” (Deut. 29:29). What’s even more important is the promise that I can always claim, just because He said so. My humanistic conditioning has taught me to prepare for the blow and to keep a safe distance in order to protect myself from what was to come. I prompted myself to let go (but not so calmly, to be honest); anyway, I have a divine Protector as my shield and the Specialists among specialists to heal me in case I get hurt. I decided to just enjoy the rest of my 59 days. Maybe, my work is done. Maybe there was nothing more to it than a mission accomplished. So, I finally trusted Him and let go, because that’s what He told me to do.
It’s funny how one flight of stairs can paint contrasting pictures. Exactly 2 months after having been enclosed in the excited buzz of the arrival area, I was standing one level up physically and 2 levels below ground level emotionally. At the departure area of the international airport, the air had this stillness about it, almost bordering on the mystical. After 2 quick hugs and kisses, I convinced Bo to pick up his luggage and walk into the check-in area already. Of course I would have wanted him to stay longer—and when I say LOOOOONGER, it may be more than what’s necessary—but not for the wrong reason like missing his flight. The guy didn’t really make it easy, because he stopped and turned twice before finally going in. And then I let myself absorb the scenes around me. . . of families huddled together, of wives and husbands whispering to each other, exchanging take cares and last-minute instructions and temporary goodbyes. I realized that we weren’t able to say goodbye, but instead of regret I felt relief, the kind that comes from knowing there was no reason to say it. That one flight of stairs changes everything. A week later I still find it amazing. Upstairs I saw strong men wipe a tear or two after helping their kids and wives into taxi cabs and watching the cab pull away and disappear into the horizon. But only for a moment, because then they’d smile wistfully to themselves, put on their sunglasses, turn and walk into the pre-departure area, toward a waiting opportunity overseas. I bet they had looked forward to that day, leasing properties to get them a placement; but more than that, I know what those smiles were for. It was more for actually looking forward to the next flight home.
After making sure that Bo didn’t have any trouble checking in, I took the stairs down to the arrival area leading to the exit where I would be taking a bus to EDSA, to Galleria, to the VCF service. I don’t know why, but the I-used-to-be-here place didn’t make me sad or envious. I smiled to myself too as I let the enthusiastic murmurs sink in–those of friends, families, and other welcome parties eagerlyawaiting their arriving passengers, betting against each other who’s going to catch the first glimpse. I smiled more as I fingered the trace of the healing wound that Bo nursed—the remaining sign of my clumsiness when we were cleaning the apartment. And for one moment I heard his sleepy “Schelli, what’s the time?” or his eager “Do you want me to heat bathwater for you?” Deep inside, I had this sense of peace and certainty that I would be back there quite soon. Maybe sooner than I expected.
I’m a sucker for signs and wonders, but these I didn’t expect so soon either.Pluto is back on the solar system, in my solar system at least.