Thursday, March 01, 2007

Fried rice and scrambled eggs

It was in the mid-90s when I decided to leave home to pursue my high school education. Life was tough in Cagayan de Oro that my mama was really struggling for us to live another day. I knew I had to do something.

I saw my mom one afternoon sleeping, tired. We had no electricity that time and it was so hot that day. Mama was lying on bed, tired, and I could see perspiration dripping down on her forehead… I just stopped at our bedroom door staring at her… “Kapoy na kaayo si mama…” was on my thoughts and I can still remember how I felt that afternoon. I felt like I was not helping her much and I thought I had to do something for her.

That made me decide to leave for Bohol. All I knew was I had to finish at least high school somewhere else. That was the first time I had a goal. Finish at least high school.

But life was tougher. For two years I was a houseboy and at the same time studying. I had to earn it and I think that experience was worth taking. Tatay Rudy (SLN) was tough that it came to the point that I hated him so much. But later on I realized he was just trying to mold me, indirectly though, but he really made something good for me as a person.

All I needed was a letter from my mama or from Joy maybe, or from papa, which I believed he wouldn’t… I just wanted to know how were they back home, or maybe I just want to know if they missed me. The letters were seldom coming, sometimes, once in months. But I didn’t stop me from writing them a letter at least once in two weeks. It was my only way to at least express my madness. I remember that time, a postage stamp was worth a peso and I had to ask from my aunts (mama’s sisters) on a Tuesday, a market day. Tatay would give me money, of course, but a peso or five from my aunts was really special for me. I remember Tiya Ining (SLN) would hug me when I visited her small kakanin stall in the market or she would complain in tears if she couldn’t give me something. Tiya Inyang was really nice. She was like mama. She would talk to me like I am her own kid… and I felt like I was talking to mama also.

I really looked forward for Tuesdays those days. It felt like home.

I can’t forget one day when my friends threw me a “mañanita” for the first time. Mañanita was an old practice when friends would serenade you on your birthday at dawn. It was really nice and I really felt like I was really special, damn big time! Maybe, I was just trying to fit around or was insecure that I really wanted a boost… at least that day. It happened again but I was expecting it. It was not as fun as the first one though but it still felt good.

Well, those were the days. Like before, I am alone here in a bit strange place. I could only expect a call from my wife, hear my son’s voice over the phone or my daughter’s cries… Last night, I could only look outside from my room’s window watching the rain… no mañanita to expect, no friends coming, just me. No suman or biko to take but fried rice and scrambled eggs...

I’m 31 today… and I am missing my family more…