Taong mahal mo, o taong mahal ka?

[cue music]

Are you gonna stay with the one who loves you
Or are you goin’ back to the one you love?

Catching the ~45-minute ride from the office to the city gives you a lot of time to stare off and reminisce (and to try not looking at the guy dozing off across from you in the train). The other day, I got to think of one of our favorite ways to kill time during GS/HS — taking turns to pose and answer this-or-that questions to amuse our juvenile selves. The question, ‘Taong mahal mo, o taong mahal ka?’ was right up there with ‘Walang kamay o walang paa?’ and my favorite, ‘Tadtad ng maliliit na tagyawat, o isang malaking tagyawat sa ilong?’. You know, matters of life and death.

Back then, my answer would always be delivered consistently and with 100% confidence — taong mahal ko, siyempre. I remember being baffled why others would think of choosing otherwise, yet they seemed to be so sure as well.

But fast-forward to a few years ahead, I find that whenever I try to revisit the question, I don’t blurt out my standard answer as fast as before. The confidence falters. When asked during different points of my life, sometimes the answer is even different. You start to consider factors that you would not have even thought about when you were a kid. You start to think about the takeaways from the relationship rant sessions with your (mostly drunk-)friends/loved ones. I guess you can only be sure of something when you’re actually in the moment. Not doing guesswork before, not reminiscing after, but only during the moment.

Another interesting thing to note is that years after, after supposedly going through all those life experiences that are supposed to make your earthly wisdom richer, we still find ourselves asking the same ‘juvenile’ questions. Yup, all that time and we haven’t even figured out the answer yet (and by we, I mean me).

It’s probably a good thing that all train rides must come to an end — attempts to go existential are rudely (and are gladly!) interrupted and you find yourself just going along with the flow. As things should be.

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