When people ask me to define love, I say, "Love is like handing someone a gun, having them point it at your heart, and trusting them to never pull the trigger." (Sponge Bob)

When they ask me why I laugh at my mistakes and even write them with pride in my blogs, I say, "I'm not crazy. I just don't give a damn!" (Daffy Duck)

When one time I was conducting a group activity, a student asked what road sign I love the most, I said, "I like dead end signs. I think they're kind. They at least have the decency to let you know you're going nowhere…" (Bugs Bunny)

And when for the nth time a friend would ask me what do I get from writing, I'm not even sure if there are good old souls out there visiting my site, I just smile and say, "Kung gusto mong maging manunulat, eh di magsulat ka. Simple." (Bob Ong)

And last night when Eva said she wants to quit from her work because nobody believes in her, her boss got mad at her, she doesn't even have friends at her agency, and she's crying like hell, I said, "Either you stay to prove your worth or you quit and just show them you're a loser, you have to strive for your happiness." (MY original)

My CHOICES: I remained believing in love. I continued spicing up my mistakes and rewriting my life, accepting failure but keep on dreaming until words would fade into thin air.

Sep 28, 2008

For One More Day

Let me guess. You want to know why I tried to kill myself.”
-- Chick Benetto’s first words to me

THIS STORY IS ABOUT A FAMILY and, as there is a ghost involved, you might call it a ghost story. But every family is a ghost story. The dead sit at our tables long after they have gone.

THIS PARTICULAR STORY belongs to Charles “Chick” Benetto. He was not the ghost. He was very real. I found him on a Saturday morning, in the bleachers of a Little League field, wearing a navy windbreaker and chewing peppermint gum. Maybe you remember him from his baseball days. I have spent part of my career as a sportswriter, so the name was familiar to me on several levels……

……What I have written here is what Charles “Chick” Benetto told me in our conversation that morning – which stretched out much longer than that – as well as personal notes and pages from his journal that I found later, on my own. I have assembled them into the following narrative, in his voice, because I’m not sure you would believe this story if you didn’t hear it in his voice.

You may not believe it anyhow.

But ask yourself this: Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.

What if you got it back?

May 2006

For One More Day is a story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that lasts a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?

As a child, Charley Benetto is told by his father, “You can be a Mama’s boy or you can be a Daddy’s boy, but you can’t be both.” So he chooses his father, and he worships him – right up to the day the man disappears. An eleven-year-old Charley must then turn to his mother, who bravely raises him on her own, despite Charley’s embarrassment and yearnings for a complete family.

Decades later, Charley is a broken man. His life has been crumbled by alcohol and regret. He loses his job. He leaves his family. He hits bottom after discovering his only daughter has shut him out of her wedding.

And he decides to take his own life.

He makes a midnight ride to his small hometown, with plans to do himself in. But upon failing even to do that, he staggers back to his old house only to make an astonishing discovery. His mother – who died eight years earlier – is still living there, and welcomes him home as if nothing had ever happened.

What follows is the one “ordinary” day so many of us yearn for, a chance to make good with a lost parent, to explain family secrets, and to seek forgiveness. Somewhere between this life and the next, Charley learns the things he never knew about his mother and her sacrifices. And he tries, with her tender guidance, to put the crumbled pieces of his life back together.

This is an excerpt from the book and these very lines made me delay my read for almost a year. Because the first time I did try opening the pages of this book, I felt my heart constrict like there was no “later” and that oxygen is an element that never existed in this planet.

But after a year, I found myself grabbing it out my shelf… and I journeyed in the past with Chick Benetto.

When I’m ready, I will disclose in this same blank site I call my blog, my life and why I too, like Chick, crave for one more day…

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