True love is ube ice cream
POINTILLISMS - Mike Acebedo Lopez (The Freeman) - November 22, 2014 - 12:00am

When I was a child, my favorite ice cream flavor was rocky road, replete with nuts and marshmallows and the flavor of chocolate, its taste and texture were perfection.  For years, I would never have any other flavor besides it. For me, rocky road was love.

One day, I asked my mom for a pint of rocky road as pasalubong from when she returns from work. This was before we relocated to Cebu and my mom was working for a branch of the family business in Makati.  I must've been four or five years old.

I was so looking forward to having my rocky road ice cream, so you can only imagine my disappointment when my mom arrived (I remember I made her 'bulaga' – jumping out of the staircase beside our front door as soon as it swung open and she got in) and there was no rocky road. "Nak, they ran out of rocky road, but I bought you ube ice cream instead. Since you like haleyang ube, you would like this, too. Just try it, it's good."

"No, I want rocky road. I don't want ube ice cream, I want rocky road and I want it now," I insisted, sounding spoiled rotten like a boy version of Veruca Salt. I was an only child then (for the first seven years of my life, I was) so I was sort of used to getting what I wanted. My mother, however, made sure I realize the importance of making the most of what's there. Even before the US government adopted the policy, she knew better than to negotiate with terrorists, and so she refused to yield to my demands and left the pint of ice cream in the fridge. "If you've changed your mind and decide to try it, it's just there."

I can be very stubborn and proud, especially because even when I was very young, I was already fiercely loyal; yes, even in the most inconsequential and immaterial of things. I felt eating ube ice cream in rocky road's stead was a betrayal of my favorite flavor, one that has given me a lot of happiness. But, as ever, my tenacity is evened out by probably the same level of openness and sense of wonder.

Deep inside, I also wanted to see what this new flavor had to offer. So after swallowing my pride, I swallowed my first teaspoonful of ube ice cream. And bam, I was in love. From the color to the flavor, it was magic in my mouth. 

From then on, I would ask for ube ice cream pasalubong, never again rocky road. When I was old enough to have money for my baon, and much later when I started to earn for myself, I would buy ube ice cream, never again rocky road.

Hence, for me, ube ice cream is like true love.  Because it's never about the one that came first, it's who stayed with you through it all.

Throughout my adult life, I've had a few rocky roads–and my gosh, were they "rocky" roads–and either because of the thrill or the adventure, they were flavors I thought I loved, but never really did. And always, I'd go back to lessons learned in childhood, recalling how we may be so sure but could actually be wrong about the things and people we think we love. And always, I'm left smiling, looking forward to when life finally gives me that ube ice cream. A shift in perspective, a change of heart-all for a true love that stays.

***

And of true love: It is no coincidence my darling niece Arya loves ube ice cream, too. Obsessed with any shade of purple, she can finish a cone with a couple of scoops by herself. Perhaps she is my ube ice cream, because with this ball of joy and love and laughter, what else is there to ask?

She just turned three years old last Monday, and here's my birthday letter for her for when she's old enough to read:

17 November 2014

Arabella Maria Sofia Lopez Celdran

Acebedo Compound

Cebu City

Philippines

Dear Arya,

To the joy of my heart, the light of my soul, whose laughter and voice are music to my ears, whose smile and smirk are perfection to my eyes, happy 3rd birthday.

I love you so much dearest Arya, so much, too much, up to the moon and the stars and the sun in the sky, to the depths of the deepest ocean, through space and time, through every plane of existence in this galaxy and in every world far beyond it, or those that may be within it, to and through infinity and eternity, I do. Very much.

Every waking hour of the day, I thank God for the gift that is you, and in my dreams I hug Him for all that you are, and for all that you will ever be – a happy, loving, thoughtful, talented, intelligent, and faithful child of God, that which you are now, and I'm very sure you will always be.

Love,

Tito Mike

mikeacebedolopez@gmail.com

ACEBEDO COMPOUND ARABELLA MARIA SOFIA LOPEZ CELDRAN ARYA CREAM ICE LOVE ROAD ROCKY UBE WHEN I
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