Ascphil’s Recap, Asia, The Return of David Archuleta: Part 5
Posted by ascphil on Friday, July 15, 2011
The following is the final of five daily installments leading up to David’s return to Asia. Written by Ascphil at the conclusion of his last trip to that part of the world, and with exclusive photos by her daughter.
It was time to pack our cameras, take out our cd’s, and form a line. A lady’s voice kept telling us to move fast and make it easy for David to sign by preparing the cd cover. Everyone was hurriedly ripping off the plastic wrapping of their newly purchased cd’s to take out the cover leaf which is actually one big folded poster. She also kept reminding us that only the first 400 cd’s will be signed and no picture-taking with David will be allowed. Naree and JR were lined up in front of me. Naree then turned to me and told me she’ll try to take a photo of me and David when she got out of the stage. She wanted me to be the fifth person behind her so that she had time to position herself to take a shot. I nodded but I was still busy with my bags, trying to put my cell phone in my pocket as I held the cd, the wrapper, the folded poster cover, and getting rid of the plastic pouches which held the cd’s and VIP passes. I was surprised by how quickly the line moved. The guards at the start of the line were pushing people forward to go to the stage after checking our stubs. There were more hands pushing us forward at the base of the stage to go up. I was rushing to get out my gift to David which was in a shoulder bag inside my second bag. I thought I was several persons behind Naree, but I saw that she was only three persons in front of me. Dang! I was barely getting my composure when I realized I was already near the table where David was signing. Many people were hovering around him. Someone motioned to me to open my cd cover to spread it out as a full poster. I could already see David looking down on the table and signing the cd covers so fast. The lady ahead of me handed him a card envelope which was taken by someone to his right and put into a huge clear plastic bag, even bigger than the usual garbage bag. Hmm, so that’s where my gift will go.
When it was my turn, I stood squarely in front of David as I watched him sign my cd cover/poster with his full name as if it was just one of those things he does so well. He has mastered the art of the autograph, and as I watched him do it effortlessly, I was amazed by how he appeared to me up close. Spotlights were focused on the line, but because David was seated, he was shielded from the bright lights by anyone standing in front of him. We all know that he is of small stature, but as he sat there calmly signing the cd covers, he struck me as a larger person than his actual height. He exuded a silent but strong confidence and made me feel he was in control of what was happening around him. I then greeted him, “Hi, David.” As he looked up at me and said, “Oh, hi!” while completing his signature, I could see why people gush so much on how gorgeous he is up close. I was casting my shadow on him, and the diffused light somehow made his features more enhanced. If the word photogenic and telegenic were to be applied to David, I would have to say he is none of them. He is even more handsome and more gorgeous than I had imagined him to be. All the best photographs I have seen of him do not give him justice. In that fleeting moment, he did not appear like a teenager to me. He is a beautiful, beautiful man, in the highest form of the word beautiful. Is he real? Is he really sitting there in front of me? I was almost taken aback when he looked directly at me. His gorgeousness was ultimately defined by the wonderment that was his eyes. I could not distinguish their colors in the soft light, but all I could feel was the beauty of his soul streaming through those enthralling eyes as they gazed at me inquisitively. His eyes sparkled, well-framed by those thick brows gently arched above his eyes which appeared dark under my shadow. I barely had the presence of mind to remember to give him my gift and was able to tell him, “This is for you, David” and knew it would go straight into the plastic bag being held by the large woman behind him. He said “Thanks!”, gave me a grateful smile, handed me my signed cd cover, and seemed like he was waiting for me to say something else. I wanted to speak to him some more but all I could say was, “I love your songs.” He acknowledged me with another “Thank you”, smiled and nodded, then turned to the next cd cover to be signed.
EEGAD! I was silently slapping myself, realizing what lame words I said to him as I was being guided off the stage. Someone stamped my right hand with a wet red logo of Sony and I was shown out of the Sky Dome doors. Why didn’t I even think of shaking his hand? It’s the Archugaze’s fault. I had been forewarned, but did I come prepared? Noooo. I had been so preoccupied with sticking to plans and arrangements and cell phones and cameras, etcetera, etcetera, all in the name of David. Yet I did not even think of a single memorable line to say to him. Double slapping, ugh! Oh well. I comforted myself with the hope that he reads my letter. Even if he won’t remember me as the one who wrote it, it’s enough that he knows how much a mom-fan in the Philippines regards him with great respect. I then realized I was outside the Sky Dome by the VIP entrance and didn’t see anyone I knew. I started walking towards the left to see how to get back in because I had left my daughter inside. The first set of glass doors were closed off with metal railings, so I went to the next set of doors where some people were milling around. There was a guard manning the doors, so I told him I needed to get in to look for someone inside. I motioned to show my hand which had the red stamp, so he allowed me inside. As I went back in, there were hardly any people left at the area beyond the VIP section. There were just a few people left on the bleachers, but there were still a lot of people lining up for the cd signing within the VIP area. I saw a group of young Archies watching the cd signing in the emptied area. They apparently did not get to be the first 400 VIP’s. I then proceeded to walk around searching for my daughter. I could not see her anywhere, so I called her cell phone instead. She answered me immediately, replied that she was already outside the Sky Dome and was waiting for me. I had wanted to give her the extra cd I still had which was really meant for her, seeing how quickly David was giving autographs. She didn’t want to go back in because she had already taken photos of me as I got my cd signed. I sighed and then just told her to look for her father instead. I’ll look for someone else to give the cd for signing. I walked around again looking for a familiar face that was not yet in the line. I remembered the young Archies watching the signing and went back to them. I had met most of them the first time just yesterday, but one of them I recall meeting more than a year ago when we welcomed David at the airport as he arrived for the concert with Cook. I kept seeing her in the few get-togethers of ArchuletaPhilippines which I attended irregularly during the past year. I saw her again last night and even asked her name because her sweet face is very memorable. She hardly speaks in the meetings, is quite shy, but she somehow always manages to be at the get-togethers or anything planned by the group. I called out her name, she turned to me, and I asked her if she was able to get her cd signed. When her faced dropped and she started to say that she didn’t make it, I pulled out the spare cd with all the necessary documents. She shrieked with such glee and was jumping up and down. Those around her cheered her on and told her to run to the line. She was thanking me so much and was almost tearful that it warmed my heart to share that incomparable happiness. As she ran she was shrieking some more and holding up the cd until she got to the entry to the VIP section manned by guards. I was happy to see her allowed inside and she was excitedly looking for the end of the line.
Then I looked up at the stage. The giant video wall was playing the real-time video of the cd signing itself, focused on the table where David sat signing away. As I watched, I noticed a white-haired old lady slowly being escorted to the table. When she reached the table, she bent down so low in front of David that she seemed to be giving him a kiss. Then, I saw David’s bright smiling face slowly emerging above her right shoulder. He was standing up and was giving her a hug! Lucky old lady!!! Everyone was clapping and cheering as it was happening. I was laughing and kidding with the young Archies that it pays to be an old fan! But it didn’t take away the significance of the moment which showed how much David values his fans, and that he has a special place in his heart for old people. I was so glad to find out later on that this special moment was captured in a video and put up in YouTube, even if the quality wasn’t that good, and that this particular old fan’s granddaughter had previously released YT videos of her grandmother reading her letters to David as far back as a year ago. It was really a sight to see.
I felt that I had just seen a feel-good movie and that I had done what I needed to do: A grandma who got her long-awaited moment with David, plus a hug!, and a young Archie who will get her personal moment with David through a gifted VIP cd. David still had to sign more cd’s, and even if I wanted to watch some more, I had to go to my husband and daughter who were patiently waiting for me outside. I then told the young Archies I had to leave and we bade each other good bye.
When we got home at past 10 pm, my daughter immediately changed her clothes and prepared to go to sleep. She was out cold as soon as she lay on her bed. On the other hand, I no longer felt like sleeping even if my back was so sore. I did my usual rituals before going to bed, and one of them was turning on my laptop to check what happened in Archuland via Twitter. It was there that I learned that David signed more than just the first 400 cd’s. The timeline showed that he was signing all the cd’s that were brought to him. I knew it! That was just like David! He wouldn’t leave until he could accommodate all the fans who wanted autographs in the Sky Dome. The last tweet about the cd signing said that 600 cd’s have so far been signed and still counting. Oh, David, please don’t wonder anymore why your fans love you so much!