Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I was never the type to leave things to the supernatural. It was either I do it or I do not.

I was never the type to ask for specific signs from the Heavens. It was either happening or not.

I was never the type to confuse things to be done. It was either go or no.

There was rarely an in between, gray area, blur. But now, that’s exactly where I am—in between, gray area, blur. I don’t know where I stand. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know. At least not verbally. At least not on paper.

I had no other way of knowing if it was me you were dropping hints for besides swallowing my pride and asking directly, but I couldn’t. I was on the verge of giving up last week. Twice, actually.

Once when I was walking to school, and it’s been days since you’ve come home, and you hasn’t called or anything. I thought you didn’t really care and you weren’t a man of your words, so I wanted to call it off. “Moving On Day 1,” I whispered to myself. That same night, I came home with a “gift” from you. Why? I didn’t bother ask. I just said thanks.

Second time was when there was an event at school, live concert of local bands and artists, and I was in class for three hours trying not to zone out because it was the subject I couldn’t really miss. After class, I went to the crowd leaving my roommate behind. I told her I wanted to get close to Moira, but that was only partly true ‘cause partly I was searching for you.

Two songs after, my claustrophobia appeared. And in that same moment, I’ve almost given up thinking, “What are the odds I’d see you here? There are way too many people, and it’s quite dark.” A picture of you in a cap even slipped my mind, but I’ve sort of accepted the fate and was ready to go home.

All I wanted then was to hear Tagpuan live. So I went back to where I left my roommate and we stood at the back, I was right where the spotlight was pointed. And then a silhouette image was about to pass, I couldn’t hear Moira nor the crowd, it was all silent. I squinted in the attempt to see the face, then the person waved at me. Or was it me he waved to?

“Trish, hello!” as you walked near me. It was you with your cap on. It was the sign I asked for.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

“Just try it, one more time. Beg me to bring down my walls, to surrender my guard. Then step inside my heart and make a home out of it. Ask me to never let you leave. Make memories to decorate the empty space. Write your name in the silence between gentle whispers. Offer your sturdy hands to hold and arms to rest in. Make me feel like you’d never let any of it go for anything. Then fill me with fumes and strike a match. Watch it all go up in flames. Slit the backs of my hands and rub salt and ash into the wounds. Tell me it’s for my own good. Try to cover up the remnants of red and black as if it never happened. Then ask me, one more time, if I’ll be ok without you. I dare you.”

Almost A Century

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Of all the almosts I’ve known, this seems to be the one that’s hardest to grasp.

Earlier this year, you were in-and-out of the hospital due to respiratory problems that led to your immune system’s deterioration. It didn’t change overnight that you were healthy one day then very sick the next. It happened gradually, pneumonia slowly infected your lungs as if you were breathing with thorns in your chest.

N years back, you started to lose your precious memories. With Alzheimer’s wrath that took one connection in your brain after the other, you began to forget detail by detail, and then it was as if the disease vacuumed your remembrance all at once.

It didn’t immediately sink in when my mother approached me one Sunday ago that my father sent her a message saying you’ve passed away, and I checked my phone to find the same text. I was at a loss for words as I try to digest what just happened amidst my research in preparation for my thesis and back-to-back email exchange with hotel and airline for our first out-of-the-country trip.

There were so many things going on, I couldn’t process until tears fell from my eyes, and I started to recollect the moments we had. Although we didn’t live under the same roof, we’ve had a pretty unforgettable time spent together—aside from the Holy Week tradition that you let me, my sister and my cousins watch hampas walk barefoot under the extreme summer heat, it’s most difficult to miss our birthday.

Every 10th of February, I always sat next to you blowing candles as we got old one year until you were 98, and I missed the chance to be there on what I never thought would be your last birthday on with us. You were almost a century old. I could’ve had a grandmother who’s 100 years old, but I’ve come to realize how it’s not in the length of life you’ve lived, but what it was worth for you and the people around you.

It’s undeniable how remarkable your life has been knowing how you told us your fun-filled childhood stories like when you farted in class and your classmate was blamed for it and how amazing of a mother you were—seeing how my dad, aunt and uncles were raised and molded into decent individuals.

And for that, thank you. Happy Mother’s Day, Nana! Rest well.