To cut a long story from long ago short, I did end up producing and directing that project. She was right, I could.
The scene would be repeated over and over again in the next 18 years that followed. Once while writing a play, I noticed how a couple of lines I've written for one character rhymed pretty well and had a rhythm to it, and how I wished I could compose music so I could turn that play into a musical. There she was again, "of course you can!" I did go to a few piano lessons when I was about eight or nine, but I never went beyond memorizing a couple of grade one pieces and didn't really go as far as being being able to read notes well. But with her prodding and encouragement, that musical opened at the Baguio Convention Center in 2003. I have written two musicals and several other songs since.
Once, a cousin of hers asked if she knew anyone who could paint some kind of a mural. She came home that day to tell me that she had volunteered me to do the painting. I had to tell her that this time, she really did go a bit too far - I didn't paint, couldn't draw and couldn't even read my own handwriting at times. "But you can compose images on stage," she said, "I'm sure you can do the same on a four by eight feet canvas." Still, even if I "compose" a visual artwork in my head, I didn't have the skills to paint it myself. "I'm sure you can," she said again without a trace of doubt in her voice. A few days later, the "painting" I finished hung on the wall of cafe along Session Road.
I met her when she was working in Manila for a marketing firm. We moved (moved back, for her) to Baguio the following year and since then, she has taken on so many roles in my life: my producer, my production manager, my actor, my counselor, adviser, motivator, and many, many more. None of the all the things I have done in the last nearly two decades, I am doing now, and have yet to accomplish in the future would have been and be possible if not for her.
She's the sculptor who shaped me into who I am. And I thank her very much.
She's the friend who tells me to go slow when I'm driving too fast, take a deep breath when I'm feeling low, sings silly love songs to me in bed, who never hesitates to allow me that last bite on her burger or last sip from her glass of wine, tells me to straighten my shirt collar and stand straight. She's the best friend I have ever had who never stopped believing in me. She's the girlfriend I love holding hands with while walking down Session Road with or lying beside while reading a book under a tree. She's the mother of all five of our children who would do everything to help them realize their full potential.
She's my wife, RL, and I would like to honor her today, her birthday, and let her know that I am very happy that I am taking this life journey with her - over hills or down valleys, as long as I am taking the walk while holding her hand, I know everything's going to be alright.