Good news? Or bad news?

by Evans Yonson

Barcelona – It is really funny when people ask you the questions, “Good news? Or bad news?” It’s your double edged sword but it doesn’t have the same intense pain. One brings goodness but is cut short because of the other. If you prefer the bad first, then you are always relieved in the end because the goodness overpowers the former.

How does one handle a bad news? Cry a river? Jump over the bridge? A round of San Miguel? Or perhaps laugh out loud?

My favorite tree started to show signs of life in mid-April. Barcelona, Spain. Spring 2010.

While I was working with the Philippine government years ago, I was nominated to be a candidate for a scholarship grant. I went through the process: preliminary interviews, document preparations and submissions, and so on. It was arduous. It was a 6-month radio broadcasting scholarship for the Netherlands. It was always my dream to be working for a broadcasting company. I received a letter from the foreign institution to submit more documents on my birthday. I submitted all the necessary stuff so fast before I could even blow my birthday candles that day. In December of the same year, on Christmas Eve exactly, I received the bad news that the Dutch organization decided not to get any Filipino participant for the incoming program. Big time! Christmas Eve! Bad news! I got drunk big time that night.

One cold May morning, I was awakened by the noise outside our veranda. It smelled of fresh Mediterranean breeze and gasoline. My favorite of all beyond my century old building is a beautiful tree in summer and a bold and lifeless being in winter. Cutting down the tree that I have grown to love for the past six seasons. What a bad way to start my day. Barcelona, Spain. May 2010.

When my mother died in May 2004, the bad news was delivered by the incessant phone calls from my siblings. They couldn’t take it to themselves to pull the plugs off my mother’s body that morning. I was so overwhelmed by the bad news that I couldn’t remember how I got to Cagayan de Oro from Manila. I know I took the plane but the memory is not there anymore. All I could remember was I sat beside a lady who kept asking me vague questions the whole time. It was that bad really. I don’t remember crying a lot during my mother’s wake. It was only when I went back to Manila and reported to work that it dawned on me the real bad news. My mother was gone. I cried for three hours in my office cubicle.

I really felt lost when they left my tree - bare and empty. No signs of life. No remorse from my tree. But someday I know it will be. Come to life and once again be a beauty to me.

Yesterday, I went to the library and organized my reading materials for the rest of summer. I hurriedly went home because I was meeting someone, who eventually never showed up. Imagine the agony of going back and forth and running to catch the next bus to be there on time only to be told that he was not coming at all. Strike one. I got tired and sat by our building door infront of my lifeless tree. I opened my email through my iPod and received a really bad news that I have been waiting for six months. No luck. But not bad luck. Strike two. I wanted to let a tear out of my eyes but I couldn’t. I didn’t understand my feelings then. I wanted to shout but I couldn’t. I badly needed Strike three. I waited for someone to shout, “Out!” No one came. I waited but no one.

I composed myself and stood up. I took out my keys and turned towards the door. From the corner of my eye,  I noticed that my once lovely then lifeless tree has started showing new signs of green and beauty.