When I’m down and troubled, and I need a helping hand

“You just call out my name, and you know, wherever I am, I’ll come running, to see you again…”

Two things always pop in my head. One, go find some junk food…ASAP. Which is, of course, very discouraging and very disheartening to say that this…has always been my default choice for quite some time now. Two, go look for a coffee shop. Which is, in fact, just the lesser evil. But just turned out to be the best choice I had tonight.


Go look for a coffee shop. And I always end up in this particular cafe in one of the most not-really-so-discreet district in town, near the Zamboanga City Hall. Tsokolate. And I always end up having a cup of brewed coffee, with lots of creamer and sugar (yes, HB prone, believe me, I’m aware, GREATLY aware) and a slice of either Blueberry Cheesecake or Chocolate Genoise Cake, which has become a favourite ever since Kuya Brian introduced it to me.

I always sit in table for twos. But this time, I sat at Table #15. It was where my mother, my sister, and I was seated, celebrating the 52nd birthday of my mom, just on May of this year. I remember ordering the same thing—coffee and a slice of Chocolate Genoise Cake. I also made them guess the not-so-secret ingredient of the Genoise Cake. I remember announcing to them that it was on that very day when I received my first ever salary. It felt happy. It felt nice.

But tonight, I felt hallow. Like my-cup-is-so-damn-empty kind of desolation. It was the same kind of despair I felt during that moment at Max’s Restaurant somewhere in Quezon City, one late April afternoon of 2010. And to complete the parallelism, the service crew at Tsokolate were also so nice to me, like they felt something was wrong or that it was painted in my whole physique, stating the obvious fact that I was down and troubled and I needed a helping hand.


However, amidst my forlorn shape, somewhere deep inside me, I felt…serene. It was like something is telling me that “there, there, everything’s gonna be alright my dear”, and this time, it’s for real. That there’s nothing to worry about…anymore. It was like I have been lost and now, I was finally found. And that at the end of the day, everything is indeed, going to be alright.

It was strange. It wasn’t like the deceivable ones I had felt before. This one felt genuine and real. Though, the serenity I felt in the past also felt genuine and real. But this time, it’s encouraging me to trust it. Trust it. Trust this tranquillity. Trust this solitude.

I took my pen and notebook and started to write the title of this entry. Then, found out that the only pen I brought had run out of ink. For Pete’s sake. So, I ended up staring in space. Trying to fathom this moment. Trying not to forget. Trying not to mistake it from all my past could-have-been’s and supposed-to-be’s.


I headed to the paradahan, hoping that there’s still a Divisoria jeep waiting for me. Then I saw there were still quite a number of them. So I decided there’s no need to rush. And steadied my gaze towards Plaza Pershing’s colourful (and quite costly) Dancing Fountain. The serenity inside me was still there, lingering amidst the busy Christmas lights of the side streets, amidst the laughing teens still with their uniform on at this time of the night. And I wondered how water has always been my element; how it never failed to calm me down.

I took about 3 silver minutes of my time, allowing my thoughts wander its way in every woosh-wash of the splashing fountain in front of me. I looked at the pink and green ‘S’ of the Southway Square Mall at the background. I noticed couples cuddled into each other’s arms at my every single side. I stared as the tallest splashing water tried so hard to halt mid-air. Every detail seemed to magnify as my imaginary clock ticked its way out of me. Then, suddenly, I had to go.


The moment I was in the jeep, my spiritual contemplation has commenced. It’s me. Do not be afraid. It’s just me. I am your redeemer. Your one and only saviour. All you have to do is come back to me. Just call out my name, and you know, wherever I am, I’ll come running, to see you again. It seemed like I felt those words more than just hearing them.

I texted mom that I was on my way home, as expected if I didn’t want to hear her piercing voice the moment I step home. I held my hair since I didn’t have the chance to tie it very well. I clasped my phone since I can’t move an inch and had no chance to put it inside my bag. And then, closed my eyes.

As I hear the jeep’s engine roar. As I hear the girl beside my rumble something on her phone. As I glance at the fat girl in front of me. As I occasionally take a peek at the cute guy seated beside her. As I hold my hair so tight. As I clasp my phone that rings from time to time. I did the only thing that could have saved me a long time ago but never even tried—I have offered a prayer.

I am down and troubled and I need a helping hand. I am lost and I am sad. I am miserable and never felt so depressed. I have embraced the worldly way of coping up to this kind of distress. Felt those bogus happiness and faux joys. And now I never felt this bad about myself. But you never left, you never gave up on me, never pulled me down, never abandoned this weary little girl. Though I have forgotten and overlooked, disregarded and ignored, YOU and your presence, I take all the strength I have left and surrender everything unto you, my Lord and my God. I offer my miseries and mistakes. I lift up all my pains and sorrows. And what is left is my empty cup.

“You fill up my senses, like the night in the forest. Like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain. Like a storm in a desert, like a sleepy blue ocean. You fill up my senses. Come fill me again.”

Inspired from You’ve Got a Friend by James Taylor and Annie’s Song by John Denver


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