Timeless Spirit LogoTHEME Your Ad Here

A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. November's Theme: "Grateful"
Volume 7 Issue 1 ISSN# 1708-3265

Index Meet Our Staff Free Subscription Donations Come Shopping Advertise in TSM Archived Issues


by Alegria Imperial

Its sheen rather jarred me—a gold-plated Union Jack lapel pin in my jewelry box. I had wondered why I had treasured it and had hesitated to pick it out and mix it with those I meant to leave with my cousin.

As I held the box to pour its contents into a silk pouch, she suddenly threw a long arm—this cousin seated right across from me—and fished out the lapel pin, saying, "What's it doing among your precious and semi-precious pieces?"

"It must be something as valuable to me as the rest," I stammered. "But honestly, I don't know. You can have it."

She took it and I had watched her fish it out with the tip of her thumb and forefinger as if it were a venomous insect but she didn't slip it into her jeans pocket; she was going to fling it among the broken bead necklaces in a plastic tub. I sprang from where I had squatted and snatched it from her—it had so tugged at my heart.

"I don't wear suits, you know," she explained. "And I thought you were giving it away."

I fell mute though my spirit swirled in a storm. Packing off a whole lifetime to immigrate to Canada had me on a raft bouncing on a churning sea. Not things passed on to me from my grandparents to my parents vied for my grasp but souvenirs suddenly pulsing with life.

I couldn't let go, especially the tiny ones. Like this miniature wooden clay pot that my late husband, then a suitor, had bought in an open market but brought to a fancy gift shop and wrapped in 'blue heaven' paper—to thank me for loaning him a peso bill for a snack of pop and rice cakes because he had no change. He had put in my change of three peso coins in the pot. "Thank you. First time a woman bailed me out. A small sum for a priceless gesture," he wrote in the card. Raw Food and Fasting Coaching with Aleesha Stephenson

"Are we shredding these old cards in this box?" my cousin asked in a voice that struck me like a roar from an oncoming wave.

She held out for me to look at a Black Magic box from a teenaged Vietnamese young man whose father, then the ambassador in Manila decades ago, sent to the university where I taught for a crash course in English. I had him writing and talking in six weeks—fluent sentences though lisped being alien to his tongue.

The day he was flying to California for schooling, he came to my classroom in a dark suit carrying a bouquet and the red beribboned box of chocolates. He wrote in the card, "When the chocolates melt on your tongue, I hope you remember me. You softened my tongue to speak, my mind and heart to understand. Thank you." I had honestly wanted to see him again.

My cousin by now had scooped out of the box stained linen note cards and scraps of paper. My heart by now a trembling mush of nostalgia, I grabbed the box from her, crying, "No, no. I need to look at them."

I did glance from the top of the box not a card but a wrapper. Was that a Union Jack in its logo? I caught a breath. It was and scribbled on the wrapper a "Thank you, from the unlikely chorus guy for 'Miss Saigon.' Yet, you believed in me."

"I remember where it's from," I burst out, my voice rising beyond the roiling sea within, an image calming me down as I relived it.

He crept behind the line of aspirants waiting for auditions at the Cultural Centre of the Philippines where I then worked. I picked him out for the feature article I was writing for the West End production of "Miss Saigon" because he stood out with his self-consciousness—garbed in an outdated tangerine shirt jacket, too garish for the space.

He hardly raised his head and smiled from sideways. He had flown to Manila on a sponsored ticket—his first airplane flight—from one of the Philippines' southern islands, this fisherman's son, a Physical Education teacher who dared to snag a role in the musicale.

My article came out in the Philippines' most widely circulated daily the same day audition results were released. He had flung the door of my office like a whirlwind when he came to share his triumph. I found this souvenir on my desk two years later when a dozen of the Filipino artists ended the first contract to perform in London for "Miss Saigon."

"So there's nothing to toss out or shred, is there?" my cousin had stood up on her way to the door.

"Everything else, I suppose, except these tiny things I can carry," I said.

My inner swirling had by then settled down, my spirit encrypting in my heart this thought, "These parts of me I had almost forgotten, these souvenirs will nurture me when in isolation I'd be fishing for thoughts to be grateful for."

A seeker of truth and peace after tangled pathways, I have also found a voice in my search. A retired journalist, I have since focused on poetry and fiction. I launched my first book in Manila before migrating to Vancouver last year and recently received two honourable mentions for poetry.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Timeless Spirit Magazine. All articles are the copyright of the particular writers and cannot be reprinted without their expressed permission. All rights reserved. International copyright laws prohibit reproduction of or distribution of this page by any means whatsoever, electronic or otherwise, without first obtaining the written permission of the copyright holder. We retain legal counsel to protect our copyrights.

Any advice given is for informational purposes only.