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Posts Tagged ‘child’

Your face tells much

and the crooked lines circling

your eyes, expressionless

but I have found a meaning.

 

You began to speak

but I can’t hear until

that voice, suddenly, came

from nowhere.  Sshhh. Quiet.

 

Keep calm. You wait-

for the one who sings the lullaby

to a child. Yes, you are a child

whose life will begin at forty.

 

And sleep will once again visit

to take away your silent screams

reverberating among these-

four corners of your reclusivity.

 

I have a hand that can grip

your shoulders from shaking disbelief.

The fears you have tried to put out

like a flame from a candle.

 

But no one said, it will go away

as easy, that one should get.

Only when that release of breath

would extinguish as a sign.

 

Your face tells much

not even a sound to decipher

the depth of words that was lost.

Searching for some kind of hope.

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I once had the chance to swim the Pasig River when I was just about five or six, I guess.  An uncle, who was a robust teenager that time, invited by his friends, tagged me along with him one afternoon.  We walked across J.P Rizal street and descended some flight of steps going to the not-so-murky water.

Uncle led my hand and told me not to be afraid. And when we dipped ourselves into the water, I felt the river current slowly pushing its force against my fragile frame. Suddenly uncle let go of his hand, and I was left wading by myself. He just laughed and laughed, along with his friends to see me panicking and gasping for breath. When I was just about to submerge into the water, he just snatched my hand in time and landed me safely back to the steps.

I was panting heavily as I watched amazingly to uncle and his friends vigorously swimming against the river current. Hoping that I could grow instantly  and have the strength to swim as long as I wish. 

But when aunt, uncle’s big sister, learned of our little river escapade, she scolded uncle for taking me down to the river, saying that the polluted water could make me more sick.  And aunt blares her disappointment at the two of us and told  me that it is too dangerous to swim in Pasig River, and I could get myself drowned.  My mother has allowed me to stay at aunt’s home for the summer to have my routinary medical EENT checkups. 

I just kept on listening to my aunt’s endless rant to uncle and heard her say that she was really disappointed with me and could send me right away back home. But I just  smiled  and throw a toothy grin to uncle, silently thanking him for taking me down the river.

I am thanking him for expanding the fragiled radius of my being. A new-found freedom, to allay fear of not sizing up to what other boys of my age can do. I don’t want my being sickly hamper the extent of what I can do. To belong and be accepted to a fraternal brotherhood like uncle’s.  And it is a feat that begins my tearing down of the walls of my sheltered existence.  A youthful independence. 

I am thanking him, because that’s when I have learned to stand up and defend myself when I am being wronged. To keep up heading on even when the circumstances are getting against me like a fierce river current drowning all the strength I could muster.  To exceed the limitations of what my mind tells me that I can only achieve that much.

As a child then, I believe, most of us, have become warriors against our own. When we have learned how to be brave even when we were afraid and often get discouraged.  When we  are walking out there in the world,  somewhere, winning our inner battles and living uncertainly day by day, and never giving up. 

Pasig River is my Rubicon,  where a warrior child in me has been borne out of the mighty rush of the river current while bailing myself out for survival. An invisible force pushing me to edge out and discover frontiers I have never been to before, now possible and within reach.    

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I was on my way to a restaurant that late afternoon to meet a friend, hurrying and my mind was filled with gloomy thoughts. My mind just wandered aimlessly, battling inner fears. 

Rebel as I was, it seems that I am all wearied and fighting against the world, crushed in the agony of my self-defeat- I succumbed into powerlessness.  I have met a familiar darkness of my soul once again. In such a long time.

I am depressed that day.  Defeated by reason. I am filled with anger emblazoned across my face.  That day- I am not the usual masquerading, self-hiding chameleon in the cloak of coolness and charm.  I am likened to a ticking bomb.

I have questions.  And lots of them.  As endless as the broken road markings. My combatant nature would never accept any kind word- even from the most endearing. That was one time I had feared myself the most- who is capable of hurting myself.  Like a jagged knife ready to cut the ventricles of humanity in me.

Somewhere,  in a sudden mysterious way, I heard a helpless chirp.  I stopped and started searching the source  by my side.   And I have found a little bird, that has fallen from a bird’s nest from the nearby palm tree and landed on the ground.  It is too early for the little bird to take flight.  My hardened composure melts gradually into a compassionate being.  How on earth, this hapless sight would pour a cold, cold ice to my raging soul?

Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a stray cat emerged. Prowling as if it is finding something to devour.  In my quick thinking, I immediately snatched the little bird from the ground, rescuing it from danger. From harm and from the claws of the enemy-  so vicious and lethal.

Just when I thought, that what  I did, is the right one, I felt a sudden pain.  A stinging one.  The little bird had bitten me.  Surprised as I was, I accidentally dropped the bird away farther  into the ground. Then the next thing I heard is a scuffle in the bushes until the hopeless chirping stopped.

I am overwhelmed.  I just stand there and was filled with a sudden grief.  I can’t believe that life has been snatched away from my very hands.  The life of a fragile creature. A tragic lost.  Tears quietly streamed down my face until it became flood as pent-up emotions surged and overpowered my anger like a dam  breached loose.

That moment, I wonder,  how vivid  this circumstance made my soul saved from drowning and wallowing in despair?  My life, I learned, can be like the hopeless little bird, compared to a  child out of God’s hand.  How powerful can God teach me a great lesson, a stiff-necked person as I am, who never learned from His admonishing?   The questions that I have over-analyzed  for years has crumbled under the weight of God’s wisdom which is mightier than what I can comprehend.

Like a prodigal son who came back to his father’s arm, I did the same coming home to what God has purposed me to belong.  With the lesson of that hopeless little bird, I just knew that my life on earth rest only on His hands.  All I needed to do is to have an unwavering faith and complete trust on Him.  And God has impressed to me to stay in His dwelling place as long as I live.

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At young age, I was severely smacked down by our pet dog.  When my father learned about it, he brought down his gun and pulled the trigger. The dog instantly died. But I was hospitalized, sending my parents into panic if I had contracted the dreaded rabies.  But thank God, there is no indication of infection.

Through the years, the wounds got healed. But the mark of that dog’s bite has deeply sliced through my heart.  Everytime, I see through their eyes are thousand words that connects me to their world. No matter how ferocious they can be, my heart will melt at the sight of those angelic beings wagging their tails when they meet you.

I had never been hateful of dogs, even if I had that bad  incident. And I am just into thinking, if that one incident has something to do with this affinity to the canine creatures. I guess so. There are just so many dogs who came in and out of my life.  And I can feel the pain whenever the time of separation ensues. I can’t bear the thought of leaving them there when I have to be somewhere.

I remember Cotton. A fluffy haired white dog who lived long enough with us since childhood and became part of our family. Everybody just adored her though she never had any puppies. But she became a loyal and faithful dog who never tires to come to you when she is called.  I remember as a child, I would join in whenever my aunt will bathe her by the garden hose. Oh, I would just love chasing her running away whisking out the water away from its body.

When I was in gradeschool, my father and my mother have left us to the care of our grandparents  to return to Manila for work.  I felt the loss of connection.  I am in limbo. I felt emptiness. But a dog has saved the day and made me assured of company from then on.  But like the others, the dog died and I was in deep sadness. I can still recall how I invited my playmates to come with me under the guava tree , to have a funeral for the dog.  I made some wooden cross, some santan flowers plucked from a neighbor’s garden  and put in on top of the mound.  When my grandmother have found out, she was so angry with me and shouted to stop the ridiculous thing or I would got spanked.

I have forgotten some of the names of my dogs. But most of them, I remember them giving birth underneath my bed.  Then in the morning, I will hear some little cute noises from its newly born puppies.  There is a dog who still remembered me even after three years of separation. When I held her to my arms, she gave out a heartfelt cry like a long lost child.  There is a dog that looks like a tiger who have gone missing after a New Year’s celebration. There is also a dog who  one day came home before dying. We later discovered that he got a huge knife cut in his stomach by some heartless bystanders in the street.

I remember Vladimir, the  dog who is sleeping during the day but a guardian through the night.  I remember Ella, my aunt’s dog in Cavite, who walks like a polio victim due to some birth defects, but she managed to have two beautiful puppies Jack and Ace. I remember Fubu, An-an’s dog in Fujeirah who loves Filipinos that much.

But for now, I try not to have a dog.  I don’t want to have the same feeling of loss anymore when something happens to them.  And the  pain of losing them just lingers so long.  I can’t help it. But the fondness I would remember, is when those innocent eyes of the dog would  search you through and start wagging their tails as a sign that they trust you enough. That you can be their dearest friend for life.

A dog is indeed a man’s bestfriend.

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Before the midnight sky  becomes cluttered by glittering show of the fireworks and the revelry of people shatters its silence,  I am lying here on my bed tracing back what this year the world had gone through.  It would be selfish for me to say,  that I am only too concerned of what had happened to me, knowing that on the far sides of the world, there are also people who like me, are in their silence thinking about the substance of it all.  Time has trodden a lonely and eerie path for some and here, most of us await for another new year to come.

The countdown begins. From the hours and the minutes gone to the last sixty seconds, and its ticking runs out to the finish line.  A tensioned stance that will be eventually released celebrating a new beginning of another year’s end.  And the cycle goes on.

I imagine.  About a child in Sudan begging to be fed.  A man in Chile waiting anxiously for the birth of his son.  An elderly woman in Russia staring blankly into the space in the cold of the night. A bargirl in Thailand sitting silently, waiting for a customer to come.  A seaman in a dock in South Africa, miserably misses his family back home. A teenager in Japan, held in her hands a knife, ready to kill herself.  A woman in Ireland, lying there in comatose in the hospital for a year.  And a father of three in India, unemployed, worrying about work that didn’t come for almost six months now.

There maybe thousands or even more souls out there, who welcomes the new year, not hoping, but filled with fear of how could they struggle to live one more day.  And fear has slowly crept into their being and deafening their enthusiasm to get on surviving.  Everyday, in our waking life, do we care to think about what’s on the other side, when half of the world is still in darkness?

What is the worth of this pondering on last sixty seconds before the clock strikes twelve?  I do not know how to calm down, when the world is on fire of succumbing to its continual decay and destruction.   And the day will come, that survival guarantees only the strong and the able. 

What an escape is there to whitewash with revelry the truth that we are coming nearer and closer into an end?  And all is vanity and a gasping in the wind.   Perhaps with this last sixty seconds, it is a reminder of what things may come.  In an eventuality that all of us cannot deny, where the headlines read that these are the worst of times.

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She, who had made herself contented, in the quietness and peacefulness of domestic life and who has remained unmarried.  She never complained about loneliness of going solo, though I believed she had the love of a real mother to her children.  She had the most of her daughters and her sons, even if she never gave birth to anyone of them.  But I believe she had been more than a mother who understands beyond what she can see.  She listened by her heart.

On a cold, gloomy night, when a feeble-hearted child search for warmth, her side is a tender light. Her blanket of motherly love assures.  More than what she can give, she gave without question.  More than she can be able, she lifted their spirits up, when all the world has abandoned them.  She defended them like a mighty tigress. 

Far-away, her children journeyed long to find their own reflections in life.  And she stood by, each morning by the door, whispering prayers by the heart and remembered them fondly.   Her thoughts traveled by and lovingly cherishes memories of her children when, once, she had taken care of them all.

She speaks louder in her quiet gaze.  Her eyes can pierce through a soul and can decipher the deeper need of a child.  Child, she had taken them, nursed them to grow into strong women and strong men who never compromise honesty to be themselves.

She had lived enough to a chance.  A chance to love without expecting in return.  A chance to fill her days of love and not of regrets.  A chance to keep good memories throughout the days of her life.

She waited days.  And waited more for years until she hopes to see them in her own eyes.  Hug them so tightly as she missed them so badly.  They are her world.  They are what completes her. Until she takes her flight to the afterlife.

I never had the chance to say goodbye and say thank you. I am not there to feel her silent tears.

That is real pain.  A hole ripped off my heart.  And its beyond words.

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“The last leaf clings to bow, with one leaf and all there is now. Will my last hope will be that lonely leaf, lonely leaf.”  And the Cascades song will just go like a merry go round in my head.  I could only bear so much happiness as I remember the songs my Grandpa used to play on the turntable.  Yes.  We still have the turntable here and kept among old things Grandpa had left after he died a decade and a half ago.

The turntable has been a symbol. Our ringing bell to jumpstart the happy mood around the house.  Every one is synchronized to each of their Sunday chores as we enjoy the rhythm of the upbeat music. Where my Grandma and my aunts used to prepare grilled dishes and vegetable salad for a picnic lunch.  The men used to fix anything from the knick knacks of the dog pen, the busted tube lights, the misplaced wood planks, to the leaking roof gutter.  And I, among with my brother, sister and other  little neighbor friends used to run and tumble around in the garden and playing until we are exhausted just to chunk on slabs of food lined up in the long table.

Sunday is the best time for us in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  Like a typical American scene of picnics, with families dressing up in a retro fashion sense.  With my Grandpa encouraging us to dance to the boogie music and sing the eternally minted jukebox songs. With the memories of going to CCP complex and catching the glimpse of Luneta and the bayview with the whole family. Then, going to Nayong Pilipino and take photographs among the many miniature scenic spots of the regions.  And the long walks we have had in Lamesa Dam with the many scupltures standing tall in witnessing the grandeur and natural beauty of the watershed.

Now, these memories will ring a tune out of my head in the songs popularized by the Platters, Three Degrees, Boney M, Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, the Bee Gees, the Beatles, the Stylistics, Air Supply, Everly Brothers, John Denver, Cat Stevens,  Roberta Flack and other great American singers that have a cyclical life in our turntable. Of course, who can forget Imelda Papin, Yoyoy Villame, the APO, VST, Ric Segreto, Basil Valdes, Celeste Legaspi, Coritha etc.

“Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain, telling me of what a fool I have been. I wish that it would go and let me cry in vain.  And let me be alone again.”  They are now.  The memories of the past is fading too faster now.  It seems that I would only had the chance to relive them every Sunday when the radio pays a tribute to these once great music. The memories that connects my mind like a Magic Sing to the many of our family’s great heritage, such that of my Grandpa’s old and forgotten turntable. Nothing beats the good old days of yore in my life, I guess.

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