"A candy rose! I want a candy rose, Mommy!", Berry said loudly, enough for everyone outside Vargas Museum to hear.
"What's a candy rose?", I asked. I mean, I figured what it was - a candy shaped like a rose, but couldn't exactly visualize what she meant, seeing no candy nor rose within sight.
"A candy rose! I saw a kid with a candy rose." Berry replied, in a tone that suggested, I should know better.
"Oh, maybe that candy rose is from her boyfriend." I suggested, as I went up to the artist Manny Garibay, because I wanted to ask him about his work. While talking to him, I could still hear Berry going on and on about a candy rose to her Tita Dianne. Until it got so loud, I had to excuse myself and do something about the candy rose. But before that, I asked for a photo with Dada's favorite artist and the artists Borsoto, Lofranco and Justiniani whose works I have only seen, read and heard so much about. I just had to do it. It's like Dada seeing Phoebe Philo with Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung and Phillip Lim - a photo op is simply a must do. No questions.
From L to R: Lawrence Borsoto, Manny Garibay, Berry & I, Jojo Lofranco and Mark Justiniani. Some of the hottest names in contemporary art, but Berry is unimpressed. All she wants is a candy rose.
"I want a candy rose, Mommy." Berry started crying now, as she sat on one of the pebbled benches of the museum.
"Ok, let's look for that kid and ask her mommy where she got the candy rose. Tell me where you found the rose."
Berry pointed at a young couple sitting on the front steps. The "kid" was a young man, who was pretty much done eating what looked like a candy rose.
"Go on and ask him where they got it, Berry." I prodded her. I wanted her to learn to speak up and work towards getting what she wants, rather than whining about it.
But she wouldn't budge. She stood at the top of the steps, looking at the candy rose longingly. So I went up to the young couple and said, "Hi! Somebody wants to ask you a question." With a huge grin on my face.
They looked at me puzzled. And then I pointed at Berry, who by this time, was hiding behind her Tita Dianne.
"Is it about this?" the young man asked, pointing at his candy rose.
Smart guy! He could pick up on our vibe. Or he must have heard Berry talking about a candy rose a zillion times. I nodded and said, "Yes! My daughter has been asking me about it. Where can we get one?" I said in Filipino.
The young woman said her Mom had some and she said she would go and look for one. They stood up and after a few minutes, they came to us with smiles on their faces, and the most perfect candy rose, still wrapped in plastic with a hot pink note card attached to it.
"Oh wow! Look Berry! A candy rose!", I said happily.
The young man handed the candy rose to Berry. But she would not look him in the eye. She stood there frozen, with her hands behind her. Biglang nahiya.
His hands were outstretched for the longest time, but still, he waited for her to accept their present patiently.
"What's your name?" I asked the young woman.
"Nina." she said, with a huge smile. "He's Mike!", referring to her boyfriend.
"Berry, please say thank you to Tita Nina and Tito Mike. They got you the candy rose you wanted." I said.
But she wouldn't budge. Nagpapakipot.
I thankfully accepted the candy rose and handed it to Berry, who by this time had a smile creeping up her lips.
"Thanks so much Nina and Mike!" I called out, as they walked away from us. They waved goodbye and I crouched beside Berry who by now was sitting on the steps, holding her beloved candy rose. Just like what Mike was doing earlier.
She got her Valentine's day wish, thanks to the kindness of sweet strangers.
To Nina and Mike, thanks so much for indulging our kulit Berry! You have made her Berry happy! May you have the sweetest days every day and always. This Valentine's Day post is dedicated to you two! HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!