“Why the long face?”

The next morning, he pushed his bike toward me, dismay was pasted on his face.

“Father got angry last night. Mother turned off the television because I asked that question. Did you hear about it?”

Hmmm! My kumare possessed that habit in which to cut off any argument, she would remove the origin from where the discussion started. Last night, the issue began while watching TV. She turned it off and problem solved. I guess my kumpare was not amused.

“Did they answer your question?” I asked, suspecting they did not.

“They told me to go to sleep. We all went to sleep.”

I would not open up the subject again because I myself  was not too comfortable explaining it, especially to a small kid.

Ninong, why do girls act differently?”

“What do you mean?” Suddenly I was nervous. He could be asking those difficult questions again.

“My classmate Amy always try to get close to me. She gives me half her food during recess. Sometimes, she gets angry when other girls give me more attention than necessary.”

Frankly, I was speechless. I raised my head to the heavens and hoped my muses came quickly. It was an emergency. All the warning signs of puppy love was present.

“She’s kind and generous. It’s a normal behavior.” I wished he would swallow the explanation and moved on to other safe topics.

“Maybe because other boys do not bother her,” he mused, tinkering with the bike’s chain. “One time, I told everyone that if anyone makes her cry again, I will make sure that that someone will answer to me.”

“Hey! No fighting.” I admonished, wagging my forefinger from side to side. “You’re not supposed to make enemies in school.”

“But, Ninong, you told me that self-defense is okay. I won’t be bullied.”

Naturally, he had a point. I shared the view that if you needed to defend yourself from harm, you have the right to fight back. Self-preservation and survival instincts were woven in our genes.

“I can count on you to make the right decisions.”

His silence afterward actually calmed me, what with the girl thing already forgotten, for the moment at least, I could send him home after a few more reminders.

Ninong, is Amy in love with me?”

Boom! I heard the explosions in my head. This eleven-year-old boy would not stop until I gave him a definite answer, which I could not expertly provide.

“Your mother is right,” I concluded, wishing to put an end to his queries. “You ask too many questions.”

“I guess you do not exactly know what love is,” he surmised, riding his bicycle, ready to leave.

“I beg your pardon?” That remark sounded wrong to me. “I know what love is.”

“Where’s my Ninang, then?” he asked with a smile. It was the usual question I always tried to avoid.

“Watch out! Christmas is near. Sometimes, I forget names.”

It was the best response I could think of. 😀



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