Sunday, June 20, 2010


Moments with my Dad

1. You were me carrying on your shoulder. I’ve was clutching on to my filthy, beloved pillow. Sick for days, you took me to this small hospital in Marikina. I will stay there for a couple more days, my first hospitalization, I believe. A few months after being discharged I told mommy that I think my hearing in my right ear has become significantly weaker. In my pre-pubescent years, you took me to several hearing centers, and despite being already fitted for hearing aids, we decided to follow a doctor’s advice against it since it might only make me reliant on them, when I’ve already adapted to this impairment. Besides, I thought the world is just too noisy when I tried those damn hearing aids.

2. I was waiting for you in the car as I watch you and the principal talk at the covered walkway outside. After, you told me that she was asking you to tell mom to just take the rest of the year off from teaching even if she is due to arrive as scheduled from her first US visit. You told me how you asked the principal if she thought Eva was a good teacher, and when she replied yes, you said then she should be allowed to take over from the substitute teacher as soon as she arrives because that’s what she promised to do, and no substitute teacher should be given priority over a good, regular teacher. “If you know you’re right, you should fight for it,” you taught.

3. Moments before walking to the gymnasium where the grade school commencement exercise will be held, you put your arm around my shoulder and assured me that whatever happens later, whether I get that legion of honor medal or not, you are already OK with me. Days ago, I rushed to my room and cried my disappointment away when I said you I may not have been aggressive enough that’s why I would graduate with just one academic medal despite being a shoo-in for salutatorian for the past three years.

4. We exchanged no words throughout the drive from Marikina to Katipunan, to my first apartment. You just silently watched me take several trips to and from the car as I hauled my stuff from the trunk to Unit 13. Everything happened so fast. A few days ago, when I texted you that I was thinking of moving out, you and mom invited me to your room the next morning and talked to me. Well, you did the talking, mom was just silently re-applying make-up that keeps getting washed off with tears. You were pacing as you expressed yourself, walking from the bed, to the dresser, fidget with your wallet like you’re looking for something, then you’d find nothing, place the wallet back on the dresser, and walk back to the bed. You said so many things, I was still heady from last night’s gimik. You ended with “Go and make us proud.” I almost broke down. Honestly, that text was one of the rare occasions that I was actually asking for your permission, and not telling you my next move. Had you said no, I would gladly not have moved out.

5. I still believed in Santa Claus. I whispered to you that I wish Santa would give me a cap and a bike for Christmas. You said “walang kuwenta ‘yun!” Christmas Eve, you take carried a red bike from your room as I sat amazed by the tree. I don’t remember when I stopped believing in Santa, but I never stopped believing in you.

6. When I entered high school, I abandoned my childhood kalaro in the neighborhood and started hanging out with two older girls from St. Scho. You kinda sternly told me infront of the whole family over lunch “na masyado akong bumabarkada sa mga chicks.” I knew what you meant.

7. Last year, I asked you how your interview with Probe went. You gamely discussed your thoughts on the proposed psychological tests for would-be priests to weed out supposed undesirables, including homosexuals. You argued na ilan sa pinakabanal na paring nakilala ko ay bakla, kaya wala ru’n ang pagiging mabuti o masama ng isang tao. I almost came out to you that night.

8. The party was winding down, over brandy I consulted with you my plan to resign from SOP. You told me to think it over, because people, the boss especially, remember these things. You were virtually dissuading me, but you allowed me to make my own decision. I wrote the finest resignation letter I could come up with, and stood beside my boss as she read it; that lesson on exiting gracefully would prove vital when I decided to return a few years after.

9. A few days before school starts, you asked me my choice of university and course. “Broadcast Communication po sa UP.” “Hindi ba mas maganda sa Ateneo?” “Hindi po.” And that was that.

10. I got up in the middle night to get a glass of water. Tin-Tin was sleeping beside me on your bed since mommy will be gone for a few months to visit relatives in the US. It will be the longest time she would be gone. When I got out of the room, I saw you pacing in the darkness of the terrace. You were smoking again. Guess you were really missing mom.

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