On romance novels

I am addicted to romance novels.

There I said it.

It is sort of a guilty pleasure for me. It is funny because other people and some of my friends think that I am not the type to read romance. And I am talking about those bodice rippers-lust equals love- I need a guy in my life or it’s over- romance. They’ve always thought that I was the intellectual classic loving book snob (which I sometimes am). Funny thing though, I have read more romance novels than classics, or at least compared to any type of complicated literature.

I remember reading those Harlequin romance books out of boredom when I was in highschool. I was in my dad’s old bedroom in my grandmother’s house, I was cleaning and organizing the books there (it was a dusty heaven for me) then I saw it, them rather, my aunt has quite a collection. It was the start of my secret affair with romance. It was a perfect cure for my insomnia. I didn’t sleep, but I felt less shitty about being unable to.

Just now I’ve binge read a romance series (5 books in 2-3 days), and, well, I don’t know. It’s just weird.

I am a closet romantic though I have this cynical veneer thing going on. I mean, part of me is waiting for my fated one (cheesy right?) to sweep me off my feet and make me feel all pretty and worth it, while another part of me is laughing at all the bullshit that I just wrote. It’s an internal battle.

You see, it is easy to lose yourself in romance novels. The characters  (The hot alpha males with the emotional capacity of a teaspoon, the damsels in distress with a lot of baggage, the manic pixie girls who are not so bright and perfect beneath the surface, the angsty byronian males etc) are so surreal, with surreal problems and luck.  Then the generic plot line where everything miraculously goes right in the end. Sometimes it’s mind numbing, how almost all of them follow this generic formula for romance yet you seem to lap at it, because somehow you want to be part of it, rather,  you want it to be you in it.

Romance novels gives you hope. I don’t mean it in a cheesy way, but from all the years I’ve been reading this genre, everything that is bad in the beginning will turn out good in the end. Like all the shitty thing you’ve been through will just make you better (and somehow richer) in the end.

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Second

It wasn’t all that bad, her profession. Aside from feeling that she is not a useless human being, she feels a bit happy when patients thank her. As in genuine gratitude, and not a lukewarm robotic thanks we mete out in the name of propriety.

There was this one patient that she had, she cannot remember the particulars of the patient’s case, nor is she at a liberty to divulge it either– nurse-patient confidentiality and all that jazz. Anyways, she accompanied this patient to and fro the hospital to fix some papers (the patient don’t have a relative with them and they have vertigo) and the patient was thanking her relentlessly, even offering her lunch money as compensation. Of course, she did not accept it (reluctantly. Money is money), it was against the institution’s policy. She did feel nice though, as if she was really a genuinely nice person (aside from the popular view that she’s a sarcastic bitch with a heart [debatable] of gold). She did tell the patient that she is only doing this out of duty, but still, that patient thanked her continuously, even telling her that they wouldn’t have survived the whole afternoon without her (exaggerations applied) . It is quite touching really.

Then there is this one family, who gave her food — actually they insisted her to take it, sort of shoved it in her hand then walked away, nicely– it was from their mother, and the patient would be offended if refused. It was nicer than she made it out to be, really. It was really nice, and timely, she haven’t ate for half a day. 

Of course aside from feeling like an angel sent from heaven and all the food and gift perks, nursing can also make her feel human, in a good way of course.

She often see how families fight together; how they are united and supportive of each other, even though everything is going down the drain. There are children who are still happy, or at least calm even though they are aware that they are… for lack of better term, dying. They make her heart figuratively shatter into billion  little pieces with their bravery. Then there are elderlies who accepted their fate, as if dying is an old friend that they are patiently waiting for. They are the ones with most stories, and she loved listening to them.

Of course, not all patients are nice, there are some that she feels vindictive about. Of course, she’s not doing anything on purspose (or even accidentally, just in case you misconstrue) to hurt the patient, although she feels a bit better for watching them suffer, as if the deities are punishing them for their past transgressions.

Still, the patients all make her feel human, and she is thankful for them.

First

She never liked her profession. Nursing was, at least for her, not as noble as other people painted it to be. Maybe because she never believed in salvation and afterlife that she never saw taking care of the sick and dying people as a transcendental experience. One that is necessary for her soul in order to ascend to heaven. She never was deep in the first place. She only view philosophy as a veneer of sentimental tripe people used to hide their more selfish nature.

She thinks that you have to be a bit sadistic to be able to watch people writhe in pain on a daily basis. Wanting to hold their hand and muttering lukewarm platitudes while watching them slowly fall apart is only a paltry compensation for thanking whatever deity that decided that it shouldn’t be you suffering in their stead, or at least that is how she sees it.

Perhaps it is just the cynic in her talking, or maybe she is just downright mean. She never thought that anybody would want to become a nurse because it is a noble and selfless profession (this is in line with her view that selflessness is nonexistent). She always assumed that people did it for the financial compensation and the opportunity to move to a more economically stable country. Maybe she is one of those people  that she applied this kind of thinking to everyone; categorizing people makes it easier for her to hate them.

Sometimes she berates herself for such thoughts. People would think that since she came from a staunchly Catholic institution in a very Catholic third world country, that she would view caring for the sick and dying as a Catholic virtue, or a challenge or a fate given to her by God to prove her soul’s worth for a ticket to the pearly gates of afterlife. But no, she views this as a penance, a punishment for her past sins. Probably she was an executioner, or a torturer of some sorts in her past life, that she is now doomed to watch her tortured soul reflected in the eyes of her patients.

It never occurred to her why the fates would let a jaded, callous human being like her take care of people. It was an oddity that she mulled over again and again. She would try to escape it eventually, but for now she’ll just scream internally while flashing a sympathetic smile to her next patient.

I was re reading all my crap here and this do sound a little bit too dramatic. What was I thinking, I do not know. Although this is more fiction rather than my own thoughts