After I was forced to log off yesterday, I went out for a walk: to simmer down a bit.
A few minutes later, down the road toward the irrigation canal, I encountered another godson of mine. He rode his bike as if he was hounded by a pack of dogs: he raced, to be exact.
I raised my right hand to signal him to stop. Naturally, I expected him to obey me, sure that with his excellent sight he could recognize me a hundred yards away.
He passed me by, nearly sideswiped me with the rear wheel as he sped off downhill. I was afraid he would take a tumble but fortunately he excellently handled the bumps and holes in the uneven gravel secondary road.
I shrugged off the miss encounter as something ordinary, tossing in my head several theories why I received the snub.
When I reached home an hour later, he stood by my gate with another godson, my frequent visitor. They were in an animated conversation, hands motioning in the air as if their subject involved flying.
“Care to share with me the gossip?” I interrupted, opening the imaginary gate.
They laughed at my antic, accustomed to the way I interact with them.
“Ninong, last night I saw an aswang outside our house!”
As curious as I was with the startling news, I calmly toned down my reaction, not contradicting him directly. I was most certain that his claim of seeing the folkloric local vampire was just a figment of his imagination.
“Did you not see me earlier?” I asked, diverting their attention toward reality.
“I was afraid so I did not look. Father told me to stop at nothing lest I could be snatched by the aswang.”
“Can you describe to me what you saw?” I asked, accepting his alibi.
“It was black as night, tall as a tree and silent as a mouse.”
“I saw something like it at home, too.”
My frequent visitor would not be defeated. He would match the story to stay in the forefront.
“I hate to tell you this but what you saw was your shadow. Look!” I pointed to them their afternoon black cast on the ground.
“But that’s at the back,” he reasoned out. “What I saw was in front.”
The lack of simple observation skill and the strategy of casting fear to a young mind created such a condition. Parents do not want their children wandering around at night so the tale was told.
“If you do not believe me, go out at night along with your father or mother, check out what I told you.”
Unimpressed, they politely waved me their goodbyes, probably thinking I was born a skeptic. Not true, of course.
Early this morning, my frequent visitor passed by on the way to school. He grinned to the max.
“You’re right, Ninong,” he reported. “I saw it.”
“I told you so.”
“But, there is an aswang,” he countered.
“Why are you so sure?” I asked.
“I heard mother calling father aswang last night after our lights went out.”
I said nothing further. Sometimes children misinterpret words they were not old enough to understand.