Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Naalala ko noong unang beses kong itanong iyon sa kanya. Halos bumagsak ang mga bubot niyang luha sa alulod ng kanyang mga mata, nangingig ang mga nanunuyong labi at halos hindi makapagsalita. Nito ko na lamang naintindihan ang hapdi nang pinagsamang pangamba at pag-aalala.
“Hindi kasya dito si Papa,” matapang na sagot niya habang binubuo ang mga bigkas ng bawat salitang yun.
“E, kailan po siya darating?”
“Malapit na,” yun lagi ang mga katagang s(in)agot niya.
“Gaano po kalapit?” pag uusisa ko.
“Basta, malapit na.”
Utang ko marahil ang pagiging Best in Math ko noong elementarya sa pagbibilang ng mga araw kung kelan darating si papa. Patunay pa ni nanay, mas nauna ko pa daw natutunan ang pagbibilang kesa sa ABAKADA. Mas naunang naunawaan ang adisyon at substraksyon kesa sa pagbabay at grammar. Lahat yun dahil sa paghihintay.Marahil kung susumahin, bago ako tumuntong ng kolehiyo, mas higit pa sa bilang ng edad ko, ang mga pagkakataong umuwi at nakapiling namin siya. At noong napagdesisyunan na niyang hindi bumalik sa barko, kasabay ng pagkawala ng hilig ko sa numero ang pananabik ko ding makapiling at makausap siya. Siguro kaiba sa mga prutas, hindi kailanman naging matamis ang pagkahinog ng aking paghihintay. Sa madaling salita, nangahulugan ang kawalan ng mapag-uusapan, ang madalas naming away. Nagagawa naming palakihin ang mumunting ‘di pagkaka-unawaan. Nagkamalay akong kaiba sa kanyang inaasahan. At kaiba naman siya sa mga imahe ng pangungulila ng aking kabataan.
Marahil kundi dahil sa edad namin, marahil ay perpekto na ang lahat. Hindi naging malaking isyu kundi man kami nakakalabas gaya ng iba, maging affectionate tulad ng iba. Naging masaya na kami sa kung ano ang napupuslit namin; kung ano lang ang pwedeng maging sa amin.
“Anong plano mo pagkatapos nito?”
“Pupunta ako ng Maynila. Gusto ko’ng magtuloy sa masteral. Tapos maghahanap ako ng trabahong pwedeng tumustos sa pag-aaral ko. Dyahe na din kasing humingi sa mga parents ko, e ikaw?”
Marahil kung alam ko lang kung ano ang isasagot niya noon, sana hindi ko na lang binalik sa kanya ang tanong.
“Pupunta ako sa Canada. Kukunin daw ako ng tita ko doon. Magtratrabaho para naman makatulong kanila mama at papa--- para makabawi naman kahit papaano.”
Malayo ang tingin niya habang sinasagot iyon, na para bang tanaw niya ang Canada mula sa aming kinauupuan.
“Maganda yan. Yan naman ang pangarap mo di ba, ang matulungan ang iyong pamilya.” Mahirap makipag kompetensiya sa pamilya.
Hindi ko alam kung napansin niyang binitawan ko ang pagkakahawak ko sa kamay niya. Pero magkaganun pa man, hindi ko na sinubukang bawiin ulit iyon.Gaya nga nang sinasabi ko sa sarili ko, matagal na akong gradweyt sa paghihintay.
Noong nakaraang taon, bumalik ang matalik ko’ng kaibigan mula sa Singapore. Halos magdadalawang taon na siya duon. Bakas mo ang kanyang pananabik sa kanyang bawat pag-uwi. Subalit mas madami pa sa pasalubong niyang over-sized na damit at tsokolate ang kanyang baong mga kwento. Kwento ng pangungulila at kung papaano trinatrato ang tulad niyang Pilipino sa kanyang pinagtratrabahuhan. Kayod kalabaw ...
Subalit sa kabila ng mga ito, matuturing niyang mas mapalad pa daw siya kumpara sa iba niyang kakilala, na tinutunggali ang araw sa pagkakayod kalabaw at binuburo ang mga gabi sa pangungulila sa mga mahal sa buhay. Magkaganun pa man, para sa akin, hindi pa din nalalayo ang kanyang buhay sa kanila.
“So babalik ka pa ba?”
“Kelangan eh. Kasama na ata yun sa job description ng kontratang pinirmahan ko.”
“Kelan ba matatapos ang kontrata mo?”
“Basta, malapit na.” Nakakatuwa at nakakainis isipin na pilit akong binabalikan ng sagot na ito.
kailanman ay hindi ako naging magaling sa pagpapaalam.
*special thanks to max
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
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 in a poor family of farmers, they always had high hopes for her.
she dreamt 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 also pursued the (only) road most people like her takes--- 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.
without even getting married, 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 other hand, was left inside their small apartment, brewing a strong concoction of frustration and depression.
i really can't speak on her behalf about what she was going through 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. but on the brighter side, 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 being the eldest now. and life flew above my mom like a swift passing afternoon breeze. it was so fast that she even forgot about the dream she once set aside. and for her, it was already too late.
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 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"
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 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 again.
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.
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