The itchy part of my lace belt was what bothered me the most. I was 7 and utterly impatient. But since I rarely spent time with my father I relished and hated those Saturdays in PhilamLife – and we’d eat in Aristocrat, or Selecta, or Savory along Roxas Blvd after or if he was up to it then he’d splurge on a Manila Hotel meal. He must’ve gotten or was given season tickets which was why this stretch was regular. Looking back I think it was a time where he said, “Okay maybe it’s time I educate my daughter on music.” (Of course I am romanticizing this now, I think it was just my Mom’s demands for days off and she expected or commanded him to spend time with the kids.) Season tickets came in twos so it was just me for that particular season.
I’m not sure why but my Mom always took the time out to take us to the theatre. Must’ve been Repertory season tickets, too. Back in the Insular Life auditorium along Ayala Avenue. And the ballet as well because my older sisters, Honey and Lorraine were afficionados while I was just flotsam to their preferences. My father frequented the experimental cinema circuit in the old allegedly haunted Film Center. I was dragged there too.
This time however, it was the orchestra. I remember him telling me, “They’re just sitting and playing music, so you might get restless. But I want you to do something for me. As soon as you sit down, start thinking what you want to be when you grow up. Think about it and describe it to me at the end of the night. THIS is how you watch the symphony. Don’t watch them. Let them perform while you think.”
To this day, this is how I watch the symphony. Except, of course, every now and then the motion of the bows and their heads and the tapping of their feet, the bowtie askew catches my attention and I am won over more. Classical music used to take me to my imagined future and now it shuttles me back to what was.
Grateful for classical music, the capacity to remember, precious nights with him, and the capacity to buy tickets on my own now.
Life begins soon!