I learned a little lesson from lipstick while riding a bus.
No, I didn’t get enlightened by “sage words” of graffiti emblazoned in bright red lipstick letters on the back of a seat.
I was on a bus en route to Manila one Sunday morning. As the bus sped along EDSA, I realized that I would be reaching Cubao in more or less 20 minutes. So I decided to “powder my nose” so to speak.
As a final note to my brief beautification, I put on some lipstick. But just when I thought I put the tube back securely into my cosmetic case and into my backpack, the lipstick dropped to the floor.
This is where the fun begins.
First it rolled towards the feet of the man seated in front of me. Tried reaching for it without disturbing the other passenger but in as much as my arm was long, the lipstick kept rolling away from my reach. Obviously the fact that the bus was moving didn’t make my life any easier.
Poise and pride be damned. I squatted and stretched but to no avail.
Chest heaving from the exertion and getting increasingly irritated, I finally got the guts to inform the man in front of me of my dilemma. He bent over and tried to locate the item but alas, the thing rolled further towards the seats nearing the front of the bus.
I crashed back into my seat groaning inwardly at the absurdity of it all. Frustration welling up inside me, I started to think that heck, it’s just lipstick, give it up. Sure, it may be my only tube of lipstick but then I could buy myself another one if I wanted to. Why all the fuss? Forget it. Don’t let your day be spoiled on the account of a singular thing.
Breathing deeply, I was clearing my mind and convincing myself that giving up the lipstick for lost was the right thing to do. Even tried to think of when I’d be able to replace the thing.
Then practicality (that thing costs almost P 400 bucks. 400 bucks could buy me load, lunch, basic toiletri— sorry the miser in me speaketh), sentimentality (I bought the lipstick as a gift for my Mom. Then she gave it back to me. So in a way, my Mom gave this to me. There’s your sentimental value right there. Haha.), and I don’t know what else hit me. You could still look for it you know—if you really wanted to. If you think it’s worth anything to you, you’d try to find it. Dear God. An attack of conscience over a tube of lipstick.
So there I was again, dunking my head, peering under seats. Thank God for Sunday morning commuting—not too many passengers were onboard. Ignoring the funny looks borne out of my Trip to Jerusalem-like seat switching, I made my way to the seats on the second row shy of the front of the bus. I figured that since the lipstick was heading in that direction, I might as well overtake it and intercept it.
I looked beneath the seat to see the feet of a couple seated a few rows back, a few candy and snack wrappers here, some crumpled tissue and more floor space. What I could no longer see was a small, familiar green tube.
It was gone.
Straightening up, I sank back into my seat and sighed. The loss of the object finally dawned upon me, and regret started to seep into my consciousness. Perhaps if I didn’t give up too soon, I might’ve stood a chance in finding it. Even the thought of buying a new one didn’t make me feel any better.
We were now on the flyover passing Santolan and fast approaching Cubao. Breathing deeply, I cleared my mind and convinced myself that there was nothing else I can do. It was worth the effort but it was too late. It may have been a singular material thing but it served me well and it will be missed.
The vehicle came to a stop and a few people got off. My stop was next. As I prepared my things, the couple seated a few seats behind me moved to alight the vehicle as well. I watched them go past me and out the door. Then a thought struck me. In a burst of inspiration I got up and quickly walked towards the back of the bus till I got to the seat the couple recently vacated. Then I looked down.
There on the floor of the bus was my lipstick.
Sometimes in frustration, we can walk away from something good—not realizing how much it really means to us. We take some things for granted, thinking that we won’t miss them if we lose them, thinking that they’re replaceable. Dispensable.
But then we do lose them and realize how wrong we were.
I could’ve let that thing go if I wanted to. In fact I already decided to do so… to simply get down from the bus and not look back.
But then I realized that I couldn’t just give up without a proverbial fight and so I put up one last search.
It happens that sometimes when we’re on the verge of losing something, we make a final effort to save or salvage whatever we can. Of course, we could either succeed or fail in doing so.
At times, we can’t help but wonder if our success relies on how hard we work at it or whether or not fate, destiny, or if the Guy upstairs would deem it so.
All I know is, I’d rather give it one last shot. To fight for it and hopefully win or die trying… rather than just let it go, knowing full well that I could’ve done something.
Who’d have thought I’d learn so much from an encounter with an inanimate object?
Life can be the weirdest but funniest teacher sometimes.