if there was one thing i remembered about her youth, it was her ambition. her parents told her, she was the smartest among all the nine children they have. thus, being a poor family of farmers, they always had high hopes for her.
she dreamed of taking up a degree in economics and pursue a career out of it. she wanted to be a career woman, save up and live a life out from a land that they can't even call their own. but its hard to live a life when you started from scratch. thus, she pursued the (only) road most people like her usually takes--- it was an entirely different alley.
she took a vocational course and worked as a secretary in an appliance store in caloocan to save up for her dreams. but along the way, she met her employer's nephew. a young, charming seafarer with a big sense of humor. to make it short, she fell in love with him and before she knew it, she was already conceiving their first child.
so she had to set her dreams aside for the meantime and focus on the arrival of another unexpected path, being a wife and a mother.
then they decided to move together and eventually saw the downfalls of each other. the seafarer still in denial that he was about to become a father, began playing around. while she on the otherhand, was left inside a small apartment, he rented for them, brewing a strong concoction of frustration and depression.
i really can't speak on her behalf about what she was undergoing during that time. but if there was one thing i am sure of, it was very severe. so chronic that it actually cost us our supposed oldest sibling's life. but on the otherhand, it made my dad realized he was already a commited family man.
as time passed by, we then came, all four of us. two boys, two girls and me, now, being the eldest. and life flew above my mom like a swift passing breeze. it was so fast that she even forgot about the dream she once set aside. and for her, it was already too late now.
two months ago, my mom and i had a big fight over this huge favor i was desperately asking from her. she refused simply because my dad disagreed. i forgot the last time i went that ballistic. i was so mad at her that i decided to give her the silent treatment i thought she deserved.
i began asking questions like why can't she make up a decision of her own? why does she always link her life with other people? why can't she be independent? i guess, it was the feminist in me that added the flare in my anger.
for weeks i refused to get her calls. i never replied back whenever she sent me messages asking how am i? did i already find a job and all those other motherly questions, which i live for the most part of growing up.
basically, during that time, i lived a segment of my life telling myself, kung natiis niya ako, kaya ko din siyang tiisin. that was how far i could be when i am mad.
then early this morning, i woke up a bit awkward. i felt there was something different. then i realized, she was there. my entire family went back home here in manila to spend the holidays.
as usual, there she was again, living in her own world, built on that part of our house with a knife and a crop in her hands. silent, reserved and almost frail. though i always remember her to be very eager and a bit stronger before.
it always makes me wonder whats going on inside her head. i always wonder what she feels, about choosing to fulfill other people's life other than her own. i wonder what she will rant if given the chance or if she is even capable or brave enough to give out one? did she ever regret living a life behind us?
i grew up telling myself, i don't want to be like her. i don't want to live my entire life behind the shadows of other people. i don't want to lock and stagnate myself doing household chores only and that i will never allow love to hinder me from achieving my dreams. i want to live my life to the fullest. i want to be as successful as i can be until i will be remembered.
suddenly, she turned on my direction and caught me just staring at her. i was literally dumbstruck in that moment. for the first time, i couldn't think of anything that would get me out of that awkward situation. for i still want her to believe that i am still not okay and that i am still mad at her.
but then she smiled at me. something she rarely does and that completely swept away all the grudges i have for her. then she wrapped it all up by saying, "kumain ka na, pinagluto kita ng sinigang na baboy. tinanggalan ko na din yan ng buto para hindi mo na himayin tulad ng gusto mo"
thats when i realized, that indeed, if there is this one person who knows you better than anybdy else, it would be our parents, and for me it would be her.
i never thought, she knew. although it was a given fact in the family that sinigang is my favorite dish (probably because for me, my mom cooks the best sinigang in town like all other children will say about their mother).and compare to other kids who usually separate the fat part from the meat, i on the other hand, would never touch any meat which has bones with it and i hid this from my parents because of the fear that they will call me stubborn(again). eventually, i have outgrown this habit but never i have realized she would remember.
in that moment, as much as i want to deny it to myself and despite being taller and bigger than my mom now, i felt like a kid once again. her scent crumbles down all the knowledge and strength i have proudly acquired from my education and experiences. the touch of her warm skin as it accidentally brushed on mine, brings back memories of me crying for her name for refuge whenever i wake up in the middle of the night because of a bad dream. and her gentle voice can just conjure serenity and calmness, i kept looking for.
indeed, its really hard to talk or write something about the person you genuinely love. that is why i never wrote something about her until now.
i guess, i still don't want to be the person like her for the simple reason i can never be like her. she is beyond any words of description that only the child in me can comprehend. perhaps, she have already fulfilled her dreams, although not the dreams she intended to be but of a better one, and that is raising us well.
and now im writing this entry to affirm her success. so that every person who will read this will know that she has been as successful as she can be and she will be remembered to be the mother of this son who once wrote that simple but victorious story of her life.
letter in the closet