Seventeen years ago, my mom and dad got no problems at all and so God decided to give them one. (Cough!) My mom would usually tell me that never will she be able to forget my birthday because that was the greatest pain she ever had in her life, and mind you, up to now, I have no guts to ask whether that pain was due to her labor or because of my congenital stubbornness. My first birthday, as I watched on the beta max, was a taste of spaghetti and hotdog on stick as I walked around my visitors, trying to remember their faces. My tita, tito, ninang, ninong, their respective dogs, neighbors, playmates and a person so white like a flour with a shiny tomato as his nose and lips as wide as the dangkal of my lolo, perfect to frighten me and make me run to my dad, crying, like the sound of all my balloons being pricked one after the other. After that, the beta max went crazy and there are no more scenes.
My third birthday is what I clearly remember. My parents gave me a party again just like when I was one but the differences are first, I did not cry because of that same damn creature, which I now recognize as a clown and second, I was matured enough to join the parlor games... or so I once believed. It was Trip to Jerusalem, a usual game which will never be absent on children's party. It was my birthday and it was supposed to be MY special day. The music played and we all danced Macarena, wiggling with the beat and grinding our hips down to our knees. I danced with all my energy while I see familiar faces smiling at me. I know that they are admiring my moves and as I see them staring, the more I want to impress them. Then all of a sudden, the music stopped and the next thing I know, they were all seated at the circled chairs, each one of them. My mom called me, "Come here, baby!" and for a moment I felt that I was stuck on the ground with the glue gun my mom used to use in decorations and the Epoxy my dad is using for holes in our roof. I tried to step towards them but I cannot and I know that the whole world is watching me, saying maybe that I am the birthday celebrant who lost instantly on the first round of Trip to Jerusalem. I know that they are all looking at me and some maybe having their devil laugh while saying, "Poor little girl!". In sympathy, my relatives told me that it was just a game but in reality, it's not. It's all about being embarrassed on the day that was supposed to be yours and special. It was a psychological challenge whether to show people that you don't mind but deep down, you cannot understand all about sportsmanship and you'll forever have that L-O-S-E-R in scripted on your forehead or you will just swallow hoping that the sickness inside you will go with that gulp. I was still deciding whether to cry or not when the music played again and all of my visitor's attention is not anymore in me. I am not anymore in their spotlight. Finally, another loser was declared and thanks to him and his crying because everyone forgot my very tragic moment except for my parents who still makes me feel sick upon remembering and laughing about that.
After several years, it made me realize that life, indeed is just a simple game and usually it's really unfair that we tend to lose in the moments we are supposed to shine but it is not about giving up and surrendering to bitterness. It is all about facing the unfair reality.