Love is a universal feeling, but everyone views it differently. Some see it as an emotional obligation, so they try their best to stay out of it. While the others think it is the most precious thing to possibly ever exist. Love comes in multiple forms and Bagay Tayo showcases the love between two unrelated people, perhaps, a romantic one. For me, this form of love remains to be a foreign concept, so reading Jerry Gracio’s Bagay Tayo was very fun. His stories were neither too deep nor too shallow. It unveils Gracio’s experience with love which, to be frank, I found quite interesting and strange at the same time.
With the first excerpt, Gracio starts by quoting Shakespeare, “Whoever loves, loves at first sight.” He says he used to not believe in such a thing, but his fate takes an interesting twist when he meets Pitbull. In this excerpt, he analogizes getting to know Pitbull to puzzle making. This is where I started finding the “love” involved in this story a bit odd. To me, the way Gracio falls for Pitbull seems like a pity party. But who am I to butt in and change how he sees Pitbull? Anyway, he finds out the reason why Pitbull showed up that night at the run-down theater, and just like that, piece by piece, their love story starts falling into place. The analogy is a brilliant choice to show what is love for him. The puzzle gets completed as they get to know each other and these little stories they share become the foundation to not lose their connection with each other.
This perspective of love continues to the second excerpt. Gracio shares more about Pitbull. He narrates the reason why Pitbull is a stow-away, what went wrong at home, why was he treated like that, and a whole lot more. Gracio admits he fell in love with Pitbull the night he found out about why he ran away from home. And I’m glad he is aware that he is somewhat being held captive by Pitbull’s story. But then again, for him, love is like that. Those stories make you fall in love with the storyteller. Those stories make you stay.
The last excerpt we were told to read is one big illustration of how Raymond becomes Pitbull. Raymond is Pitbull’s real name and, of course, as couples they have endearments, but it was Gracio’s brother who started to use Pitbull to address Raymond. His family doesn’t like Raymond at all, especially knowing that Raymond is nothing like Gracio’s exes. Gracio then makes a quick rundown of his exes and how they were all like. Compared to Pitbull, most of them, according to Gracia, are good-looking and rich. Pitbull, unlike his exes, is unkempt, very average when it comes to looks, and not well-off. This comparison conveys that it’s Pitbull’s sad origin story that Gracio truly admired about him. Gracio includes him being domesticated by Raymond which is why his brother started calling him Pitbull. Raymond possesses some traits of a pit bull. Naturally, pit bulls are not inherently aggressive, but when provoked, they become aggressive. This situation is perfectly embodied when Gracio shares a big fight they had. He accidentally calls Raymond Pitbull which triggers him. Raymond leaves their home but eventually comes back. As expected, Gracio welcomes him with open arms. Just like a pit bull, Raymond is back to being gentle when Gracio tames him down.
After reading Bagay Tayo, I said “Bagay nga sila.” I might not be fond of some things that they do as a couple, but Gracio tells his stories in a way that makes me think that everything they have done together is reasonable and right. The romantic love that is going on between Gracio and Pitbull is clearly shown in the illustrations done by Gracio himself. Pitbull was nothing like the rest and his story, which has already intertwined with Gracio’s, keeps their relationship going. Spending thirteen years with a person who you cherish is a long journey. It takes twists and turns. It will not always be a smooth ride, but love is what keeps them going. And even if it were nothing like “love at first sight”, their love is truly special and only them can testify.