More than 5 years ago, Erwin Miranda (an officemate during my hotelier days) gave me a book as a Christmas present. It is entitled By The River Piedra, I Sat Down & Wept written by Paulo Coelho. This is the final book I read in 2008.
It was only in the last remaining days of 2008 that I had the audacity to read the book for I was hesitant to read it simply because of the title and its cover. The title is so sad while the book’s cover design is so depressingly gloomy. It made me decide that I would only read it if I am extremely happy so as to at least neutralize my feelings and overflowing endorphins or I am extremely miserable so as to realize that mine is not that shtity after all and others are actually suffering worse than I am. I know that more than 5 years was too long and it was such a trivial and superficial reason but I won’t reveal in which state or feeling I was prior to reading the book.
But upon reaching the middle of the already-sepia-colored-pages of the manuscript I fathomed that there really is nothing to be anxious about the story. It has nothing to do with despair, melancholy or hopelessness. My brain’s frontal lobe down to my medulla oblongata was actually digesting a beautiful literary masterpiece that discusses many of life’s big questions. It made me blameworthy why only now did I read it and had the precious book just gather dusts in my book shelve in all the years that passed.
What I like most about the story are the little tales and vignettes as told by Pilar and the main male character whose name was never mentioned – the story about the Other; the story of Bernadette and the apparitions; the story of Teresa of Avila; the story about the feminine face of God; the story about the presents given to each other by a boy and girl who were engaged and insanely in love; and, the story about a city that can be moved but not a well. These little stories within the story provoked reflections and meaningful messages to me as mortal being. The messages were so profound I would sometimes think that a lightheaded and mischievous person like me don’t deserve to have read such a literary masterpiece.
Ang lalim pero hanep! Oo, sa babaw kong ‘to, malalim na sa ‘kin ‘yon.