I sat motionless, hoping the silence would temper the mounting grief, which, through all means of madness, was caused by the euphoria that had pulled a pang in the hearts of millions worldwide, inside me. Then I seized the carton of a camel’s milk from across the table into my palms. It was cold, fresh from the fridge. I stared at it; contemplating if I would be the wiser should I choose to cleanse my depression with it.
The space around me was dim and ominous, with every shadow appearing to dance by the flickering rays of the moon which seeped in from a distant wall of wrought iron and glass. They all seem to want to lunge at me, envelope me as if to make me part of their lonely universe. I wondered if they too were in anguish much as I am that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, JR., will no longer fight on March 13.
13…the number deemed more ill-omened than not by all has brought death to what was supposedly the greatest fight in boxing history – 13… how fitting, I said miserably in my head – in my distraught mental state.
I caught myself and yanked my eyes back to the carton of camel’s milk lying prone with the innocence of a child in my hands. I looked at it with so much longing. What am I doing? Quack doctors had already cautioned against the liquid, comparing the beverage to a deadly mixture of snake venom, cognac, Alco-Gel, and urine. But my despair was forcing me to ignore their warnings. Am I really out to get smashed?
I ripped the milk cap off. Oh saints forgive me for what I am about to do!
I took a swig.
I chugged another mouthful then another, stopping only after a whole minute of hysterical chugging. Ah… how I forgot how great the intoxicating flavor of the nectar once enjoyed only by gods!
Why was this happening? What on earth went so wrong that they chose not to praise each other anymore with a stellar exchange of their fistic talents? What did I and every soul in the world do to warrant such pain? I never should have kept my hopes up. It was too good to be true. I tipped my head back now to look up at the ceiling and remembered how perfect they were for each other.
Dazzling, well in my imaginings, there stands in one towering peak, Floyd Mayweather, JR: Good looking, so refined, a real big spender – a graceful defensive genius.
Another, seemingly shining with equal brilliance, standing in a crest of the same height and stature, Manny Pacquiao: Great smile, multilingual, a real superstar – a ferocious offensive genius.
As I mused over and pondered with the scene further, the picture in my head began to sprout to life in the form of a mist that embellished on the ceiling a dreamlike illustration of the two boxers standing mere inches from each other, with Floyd Mayweather, JR., glowering at an intense but smiling Manny Pacquiao.
Strange I thought.
What was Floyd’s gaze doing so high in the sky like he was looking up at the much smaller Manny as if the man was a thousand leagues taller than he was, even though, they stood on equal measure?
Perhaps he believes despite himself that Manny Pacquiao is the personification of a world he bears deep desires to have but cannot ever reach or touch since no matter how pure and splendid his own endowments are, he knows deep within him that it could be a world he might be forever barred from.
And Manny… true to his character his gaze remained leveled on his fellow combatant for he neither sees no one below him nor does he sees anyone above him save God.
My fantasy bubble snapped.
God, I thought.
Is Manny Pacquiao godlike or is he in fact a god?
Hundreds of people think that is exactly what he is – as such seems the destiny of someone whose power to galvanize an immense entirety radically surpasses the boundaries of his own world. They swear by him, some would plunge in deep waters with him, even through, as history would prove, his many slip-ups and wrong doings.
Fortunately, there are eyes around him which appear to far exceed the bands of those on the wrong. Their watch penetrates his conscience and it forces him to confront his mistakes, allowing him to set to right what was wronged and that… is the product of his humanity. Something his rival seems to lack. But given his tremendous force as a person, his enviable physical qualities as a fighter, his awe-inspiring authority over a people, all does not merit him the gift of infallibility. He does to the best of his ability to be what he can be for his people but he is far from perfect. What he deserves is to be seen as but a mere mortal for that is what he’ll always be.
Manny Pacquiao is no god.
The lips of the camel’s milk carton, without thinking, found its way to my mouth and while the lethal fluid gushed finely in my throat like there was no tomorrow, I mumbled. “I will pray for Manny but I will never pray to Manny.”
I pulled away from the milk carton. Tipping it over, I learned the awful truth that it was empty.
Anger swept over me.
The drink that had kept me sane was gone. Paranoia clutched my chest, putting me in dread of what I might become without it. With long, heavy breaths, I permitted seconds, minutes, hours to pass, and tried to keep my bearings together. What do I do now? What can I do to fix this problem? Kidnap both men and force them to fight each other? No… that will not work. I rose from my chair and swiveled about with eyes a great bulge in search of answers that would clearly not be found anywhere in the chamber’s ever-increasing darkness. On the instant my incessant circling stopped, my eyes locked on the carton of milk. Then, in one swipe of lunacy, I crushed it with both hands and back-handed it to the floor. Next, my glare fixated on the wooden table with wrath ablaze in my pupils. I closed my fist and pitched it downwards at the table in full force. CRACK! I heard it break… not the table but my hand.
The scream came thunderous only in my head for I refused to shriek out loud and risk losing face – with the girl next door being so hot and all…
My eyes welled up, my body possessed by a frantic state of thrashing. Then I tripped and smacked the floor. My wailing was ever so hushed, my tears flooded out like a cosmetic facial mask that coated every inch of my face, even my groaning was in utter disbelief of the electrical pain that surged from my broken fist into my entire nervous system. After what seemed forever, my aching at last abated, and I started to relax in the fetal position.
Then I laughed. My head was clear. Amazing how physical pain can wake your rational senses.
I know now what to do.
But first, something must be done to alleviate the milk’s sinister clout over my mental and physical fortitude. So like a bolt of sudden erection, I sprang up to my feet and got over to the refrigerator on the far end of the chamber in just .6 seconds. I heaved its door open. Light spilled from its rectangular interior and into the darkness beyond. What I found inside made my eyes sparkle with pure bliss. A bottle of cold beer sat, as lonely as I had been earlier, in the middle. Without delaying any further, I snatched the brew, its cold exterior freezing my palm. Then I closed the fridge’s door and glided right back out to the table. I made the cold bottled beer lie on its wooden surface. As I watch it lay there, I knew I was in love, it looked so beautiful to me. One problem, I noticed. I did not have an opener with me. But when I thought about it again, there was no problem at all. I broke into a stance and then Karate-chopped the bottle’s neck off Mr. Miyagi Style to give it a fine crater in which to drink from.
I savored the scent of alcohol in gold.
I will now write an open letter…
Dear our beloved Manny Pacquiao,
From the moment your fighting star soared the skies your nation fondly christened you as its modern day hero and you have always prided yourself with the designation. You are the fist of the Philippines – a hero of millions, the meek, the strong, the rich, and poor. So please show us the hero. Show your followers precisely what was it that they believed in. Show them the worth of their faith in you. I know the circumstance at hand is unwarranted, therefore unjust and extremely difficult to abide by… but since when did you cower from such a challenge – you who walked right through thorns and fire to feel the clouds?
“People do not follow titles. They follow courage…”
I forgot who said that (Mel Gibson?) but it sounds just right for how you have lived your life so far. It fits. Courage is the one aspect that sets you high above Floyd Mayweather, JR. When Lehlo Ledwaba wrestled you down and Marco Antonio Barrera fist-groped your sacred stones, you retaliated not in the same manner; instead, you punched back with great respect and honor for not only yourself but likewise for both your foes, regardless of their tactics, and your sport. No, I do not believe you have it in you to ever cheat boxing. But there are those who would say otherwise, those who would dare twist things to suit their own malicious hides.
Do their allegations against you hold real grounds? Only you can prove them wrong. I know you are just navigating a way around the dangers in the seas to give them not a chance to mess with your training – your psyche come fight night. I am afraid, though, that you have so little choice this time. The court of public opinion is divided on your case. Many have laid unfair judgment upon you. When you say you are scared of needles they bend its meaning into something wicked.
I know you meant the statement as a joke but in case you are indeed afraid of needles – here in my hand, a cold bottle of beer. Take it. It’s yours. It’ll help numb your fears… actually, you’ve got the money, get your own. No offense intended. I’m just too smitten by its frozen body to let it go… headless or not.
Anyway brother… you are lucky, because, just as many believe in your innocence. But this will not be judged by the masses. They can neither punish nor vindicate you despite the breadth of their emotions. This innuendo has become so large to a point where it could potentially leak into everyone who carries your name and blood. Imagine what they could suffer from what it might bring in the future. Disapproving eyes born of unpleasant hearsays is often the cause of inner torment. You were right to file lawsuits against these people. But I don’t think the spite in the air will fade away even if you win your case.
It has to be you – you can end this with your vaunted left fist in Floyd Mayweather, JR’s mouth or you can choose to ignore it and let it build into something you cannot control. It’s your choice. But then I don’t have to tell you for you know well as we all do that with one punch, you can finish it all.
If you have to go through his cowardly demands to greatly weaken you – go through it.
Because there is an entire world that believes you will never let him win – never let him leave the ring on his toes. When the hour comes that you knock Floyd Mayweather, JR., out blind, deaf, and dumb, all life on Earth, in space, and Hell will know him as the fake who thought he had the upper hand.
Manny Pacquiao, you are the re-embodiment of our ancestors’ enormous valor. What better way for you to leave the life of a warrior than to perform one final act of true courage – to save your name against all odds before they kill it? This in my heart I believe would be your life’s greatest act of heroism.
And that my friend… was my best punch…
I wish I could tell you to sleep on it…
I drank the cold beer.