FORGETTING (MARY) JANE DOE: IMMORTALIZING “THEE” LASTTIME

Ever since I figured out the meaning of Will Shakes’ (William Shakespeare, that is) immortal “Sonnet XVII (Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?), I realized that poets are the luckiest people in the world. Unique. Different. Powerful. In their hands lie the secrets of making someone live and be remembered forever. When I discussed “Sonnet XVIII” during my class in World Literature, my students were filled with awe, astonished by the way the persona (which they assumed to be Shakespeare himself) immortalized his (or her) beloved – through the lines of poetry (“When in eternal lines to time thou growest:/So long as men can breathe, and eyes can see,/So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”). My students were even amazed when I told them that Shakespeare had written more than a hundred sonnets. Imagine how his “object of affection” feels whenever the poet offers him (again, or her) these love poems? They giggled.

As a poet myself, I always look up to Shakespeare as an epitome of a hopeless romantic. Although the movie Shakespeare in Love was quite far-fetched, I reckon that Will must have lived a complicated romantic life based on the sonnets, the comedies, and the tragedies which he prolifically composed. I may not be William Shakespeare, but I do know how to immortalize the love of my life.

Love is an unfathomable feeling, if you can call it feeling or emotion, or whatever. I arrived at this phase when all I did was to think of her. Despite the efforts to ditch her out of my system, unfortunately, she keeps on returning. You know, it is really hard to forget someone once that person has become a part of your life already, let alone consider him or her as “’thee’ love of your life.” Hopeless romance is surfacing, eh? I have been thinking that way. I guess, that situation brings about my being a writer. It seemed that I am living in a tug-of-war between reality and illusion. Almost, I succumbed to the latter. Uhm, you might be thinking: This guy needs to see a shrink! Well, maybe I should. I wonder what advice Freud could offer me. If he is still living.

Enough about that. I accepted the fact that we writers, poets, well, if not all, are romantically diseased (as my mentor Sir John would ask in one of his essays from his award winning book , asked “Sakit ba ang pagiging Romantiko?”). Sure, you are asking: who is “thee?” Let us just hide her by the name (Mary) Jane Doe. Uh, that’s the name used for a crime suspect on the loose, right? (Mary )Jane Doe is actually an alleged criminal who haunts my psyche every day and night. She has no face, nor has a voice. The only thing I remember is her iridescent white appearance that almost blinded me. She was like an angel and a devil at the same time. She was holding this unidentified sharp object (since she was all white, but I reckon it was a syringe) which she used to lull me into sleep. And when I woke up, the thought of her became more intense. It nearly killed me. I tried to find her, but she was out of sight, probably a thousand miles away from where I am right now. Now, she’s on the loose, that (Mary) Jane Doe.

I could never have her back. I know she will never return. For someone who has committed an obnoxious act, there in no hope that she will ever appear to me again. Thus, I resolved to forget her. The only way to appease the haunting memories of (Mary) Jane Doe is to do what Shakespeare did. Immortalize her, for the last time. It may sound ironic. How would I be able to forget someone who is immortal, right? Honestly, I have no idea. But deep inside, I know I’ll get over her. From the moment I successfully did, that’s the time when she will realize that despite the crime, she is forgiven. She will find her way to go back and no longer be (Mary) Jane Doe.

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