Tapos na ang concert ni Mariah Carey. Masaya ako. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, Christmas gift ko na yan! Now, as of this writing, feeling ko may hangover pa ako. Napagod ako sa kakasigaw. It was her second concert. The last time was 2003, her Charmbracelet tour. I remember we bought two fresh sunflowers sa Dangwa - one for me, and one for Gerald - bago kami umalis papuntang The Fort. Inisip ko tuloy nag effort talaga kami para sa dalawang sunflowers lang. Wait, now I remember, walang supply noon. Nahirapan din kaming maghanap. Seasonal yata ang mga sunflowers. The last concert for me was forgettable. Nagenjoy naman ako ng konti pero during that time, fading na ang mga moments ko sa kanya. Probably nagsawa na rin yata ako sa kanya, to be fair.

It was Mariah in the 90's - her MTV Unplugged (I'll be there), Music Box (i.e. Hero), Daydream (Always Be My Baby) to Butterfly (My All) days when I felt I could connect with her. The lyrical songs (her songs are really poetic, she has good choice of words), and her voice. They are one of a kind. Yung One Sweet Day niya, spent 16 weeks at No. 1 in Billboard singles charts. As for me, kinumpleto ang cassette tapes, nag rerequest palagi sa local radio para maging no. 1 ang mga bagong release na songs, nagpapakuwento sa mga seniors kung ano ang latest sa the Voice of America Billboard Daily Charts, inaway ang future class valedictorian namin at sabay naming binulabog ang buong faculty for a survey kung sino ang bet nila - Mariah or Whitney!? Pinatawag kami ng adviser at pinagsabihan bakit daw kami nagaaway para kay Mariah and Whitney. 'Shallow' daw yun. First time ko narinig ang word na shallow to be fair. haha. Nagplastikan kami sa pagbati kase alam ko naman mananalo naman talaga ako sa survey no at hindi lang niya maideny. But we became close friends eventually. Very high school. Oh well, what is high school for if not for sophomoric ways! Char.  

Back to Mariah, nainis ako sa kanya but then I also sympathized with her noong hindi siya nanalo kahit isa man lang na Grammys 1995 despite the 11 nominations for her Day Dream Album! Pesteng 'Kiss from a Rose' yan (from Seal). Agaw eksena talaga yang kantang yan. At suspetsa namin doon nagsimula ang downtrending ni Mariah. 

In all of these, there was Gerald, the ultra fan. We could talk for hours about Mariah. He always challenged me to memorize all of her songs but I never did. I ended up inventing words or mixing the lyrics. High school pa, sakit ko na talaga yan - mga mali maling lyrics. Gerald and I have become close, best of buddies. Mariah became the entry point of our friendship! I asked him, 'Since when did you start liking her?' He replied, 'Di ba, ikaw nga, nung nagsusurvey kayo, sabi mo mag Mariah na ako, eh nag Mariah na ako!'

Time passed and we grew apart. College years, konti ang opportunity para magkita. Then 2003, he encouraged me to watch the concert, I got the bronze but he got the gold area. Hayun naiwan ako sa likod, kasama ng nabili kong sunflower. After noon, nag focus muna ang bakla sa love life, went to South suburban (Laguna), at hayun, halos hindi din kami nagkita ng matagal. 

It was 2005, Mariah Carey released Emancipation of Mimi. She redeemed herself.  In between Day Dream and Emancipation of Mimi albums, there were flop movie, moments she was hospitalized due to nervous breakdown, low commercial sales of other albums, being drunk at the stage. This time in Emancipation, nagkaroon ulit ng taste of success. Strange, parang hindi ko man lang napansin masyado yung mga successes niya on this particular album. Feeling ko nga flop. I was busy with my professional career.

It only late 2006 when I began to appreciate her comeback, and during 2006-2010, during my frustrating moments, probably because you were in your 20's, young and you needed a good career, I used her music to lift me. Hindi ko man makanta ng maayos pero push pa rin. Binabalikan ko ang Daydream album niya. Vision of Love days then push for her E=MC2, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel - her music and songs have helped. Parang nag music therapy lang.

So when I saw her last Tuesday, I was kind of introspective. How have I grown? Where have I been all these years? When she sung Hero and I'll Be There, it  popped up to me, 'oh, kamusta naman ang buhay mo so far?!' When she sung Always Be My Baby, 'oh kamusta naman ang love life mo so far?!. It was like a dialogue with her music, When she sung, Fly Like A Bird, 'oh, kamusta naman ang career mo na?!' Touch My Body, 'eh ang sex life mo?' I appreciate the process. Char.

Gerald and I debriefed after the concert near his place. Gerald was all thankful. But he is forward looking now. He has definite plans to go abroad . It could have been earlier if not for Mariah. Iiwan na naman ako ng prodigal BFF ko. But we are thankful Mariah has been there for us all along. Sabi nga niya sa Make It Happen, 'Don't Let Go'