Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ashtray or Beer Bottle?

Posted by Kero at Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Note: I searched for this article for four years. It was imperative that I share because it saved my life and I know other people need to read this as well. Ceasar sent this on e-mail while we were trying to work the ldr.

First posted 04:41am (Mla time) Sept 17, 2005
By Andrew Benedict Lim Sy
Inquirer News Service


HOW many times have we ended up in the same place over and over again? Like a carousel, life has a way of repeating itself either through familiar circumstances or memories. Some things are worth reliving, while others are best left to the forgetful embrace of time.

Recently I found myself in a place and in a situation that were all too familiar. I was in an open-air bar in Quezon City, with a friend sitting across the table, distraught. That night looked, smelled and felt like any other night-dark, mysterious and inviting to those who wanted anonymity. For two people, that night was not just inviting but seductive.

We were hungry, so we ordered grilled tuna, a plate of "sisig" [chopped pork] and two enormous glasses of root beer. We ate silently, stopping only to exchange a few words. I could feel the weight she was carrying and the proverbial dark cloud hung over our small corner table, making the shadows appear darker and longer than they really were.

Like a decayed dam, she was ready to burst and through her teary eyes, I could see the cracks in her soul leaking her emotions. With each teardrop, I felt the weight of her sorrow as if it were my own, dull and piercing at the same time.

I ate the tuna and finished the sisig, but everything tasted like paper in my mouth. After finishing our meal, we ordered a round of beer.

While I nursed a bottle, she drank like she had been wandering the Sahara desert for days. Halfway through her third bottle, she began talking and by her fourth, she was weeping. I listened quietly like any friend would to a familiar story she had told me countless times before, interrupting her to seek clarification every now and then to assure her I was listening very closely.

After a while, she started to run out of words to say and tears to shed. We welcomed the silence. For me, it meant her load had been lightened; for her, it meant she had made a clean breast of everything. I knew what was coming next: It was my turn to talk.

As I played with the ashtray, sliding it back and forth across the table, she threw her first question almost in a whisper: "Drew, you know everything that happened between us from start to finish. How much, do you think, does he love me?"

Pondering her question, I looked at the ashtray in front of me and the now empty beer bottle in my left hand. I knew what she wanted to hear, but I wanted to let her face the truth. I looked into her eyes, which were eagerly pleading for assurance that she was loved, but I knew she deserved to be told more than a beautiful lie.

Motioning to the waiter, I asked for a glass of water. Then looking into my friend's eyes, I said to her, "You are asking the wrong question."

When the waiter came back with a glass of water, I took it and asked, "Ashtray or beer bottle?"

Bewildered, she exclaimed, "Is this one of your weird jokes again? If it is, you could not have picked a worse time!"

"No," I told her evenly. Taking the ashtray from the table, I proceeded to pour water into it until it was filled to the brim. "Let as assume this ashtray can contain 300 cubic centimeters of water," I went on. "Now you know the water is exactly 300 c.c."

Then I began shaking the ashtray, at first gently and then more vigorously when I was sure the waiters weren't looking our way. After about five seconds, I stopped and asked her how much water was left.

Looking at me as if I had more than one screw missing in my head, she answered, "Almost nothing!"

I took the ashtray, filled it again to the brim and then poured its entire contents to my empty beer bottle. By then she was looking at me as if I had grown horns or something. I placed the bottle in front of me to catch her attention, shook it as vigorously as I could and asked her: "How much of the water is left now?"

Unable to hide her exasperation, she replied, "No water was spilled. But get to the point!"

"The point," I explained, "is that the water represents how much he loved you. The difference between the ashtray and the beer bottle is not how much water was in it in the beginning, but how much water they hold after they were shaken. In the case of the ashtray, almost all its contents were spilled, while not a single drop escaped from the beer bottle."

Some time in every person's life, he or she asks, "How much do you love me?" I think the better question is expressed in the title of an old song: "How deep is your love?" Or, are you an ashtray or a beer bottle?

That night, my friend drank a total of six bottles of beer, while I managed to keep my consumption to just one. But come to think about it, there were actually nine empty beer bottles that night. Seven were left on the table, while two got up and left around midnight.
 

2 sweets for Kero:

metalpig on August 17, 2010 at 1:52 PM said...

ei great article, and learned some lessons too... :)

thanks for sharing!

metalpig =)

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