When you wake up the next day, the dizzy spell nagging you to stay horizontal, giving you a reason to keep your eyes to remain closed or see the ceiling moving as if it would crash down on you, perhaps it’s a clear signal to stick to the alcohol-free oath you swore. No more exceptions, even the holidays included in the self-ban.
That summarized my condition after the celebration the day before. Eating, drinking (more than my limit) and singing had nearly shattered my schedule, particularly the morning chores.
I failed to mention that after my departure at my kumpare‘s place, someone accosted me on the way home and herded me against my will (or so I tried to justify how easy it was to be towed when one was weak) to another house for more merry-making.
“Come on! Seldom we have you around. Just this once.”
When I finally made his face, he was my other kumpare who was on the way to a store to buy more bottles of beer. Whether it was fate or misfortune on my part, I could never tell.
There I was, doing my ‘thing’ which they hoped to witness once a year. (laughs) The rest of the year, most of them rarely saw me wandering about, seeking company by simply hanging around at corner stores. I am often holed up at my place, quietly passing the days, doing my main ‘thing’ in private.
And, there I was, the day after, nursing a throbbing head. trying to command the rest of my body to disobey the order to stay inert, contradictory messages from the same source.
“Ninong! Are you awake?”
Unmistakably, the hasty question belonged to my frequent visitor. He practiced the routine of coming by at the wrong time. Not too many kids possessed such a knack.
“I am now,” I replied without emotion.
“Are you sure?” he tested again.
“How could I answer you if I am still sleeping?”
“My father talks in his sleep. One time I asked him a question and he replied.”
“Your father talks too much,” I said, forcing myself to finally rise. “That’s a good thing.”
I went out the front door, walked like a zombie to the first calamansi tree I found, and peed. I stood there and waited for nature to take its course.
“You’ll kill that tree,” my godson warned me.
I laughed out loud, a bit louder than necessary. The thought crossed my mind so many times before but I came to accept the fact that the notion was false.
“To prove you wrong, whenever you come here, pee at that small tree. That’s yours.”
What do you know? The boy went straight to it and followed my lead. He came back grinning without saying a word.
“Why are you here? You should be in school.”
“Hello?” his singsong surprised me.
“Aw! I forgot,” I said, rubbing my eyes, waking up for good.
“My parents sent me here. They have things to do at home.”
“I am sure,” I sighed audibly, “and that does not include you.”