Tempo

The mood for every situation is dictated by the individuals during the event and how they wanted it displayed for themselves and for those observing from the sidelines.

In our case, a subdued ambiance was in order, the gathering followed the norms dictated by tradition. To be frank though, not everything that transpired then was connected to sadness. There were lighthearted moments and a few funny incidents, too. Those welcome sidelights somewhat consoled our grieving hearts.

Take for example the food served to guests during the wake (a nine-day vigil). Most popular (and easiest to procure) are instant coffee mixes and biscuits. As hosts we needed not bother to provide complicated forms of refreshments: Mother chose a similar arrangement. Because I was a few days late (another long story), I was not included in the planning.

As soon as I arrived from the pier, I opened the big box of coconut-flavored homemade candies I brought along. Pre-ordered from an acquaintance who sell them for a living, I was sure they would be a hit, especially to children.

As small tokens of appreciation, Mother reserved half of them to be distributed to medical personnel who assisted her during Father’s hospitalization. I promised to bring more when I come back.

Quiet for most of the time, I listened to stories related to my Father’s life as revealed by relatives. But what caught my attention more was the sight of guests trying out the round-shaped, orange-sized and flat candies we served. If it was not a wake, I bet I would be doubling up with laughter seeing the difficulty some people had savoring the sweets.

“This is too hard for my taste!” a disgusted old man commented, revealing most of his teeth absent and lost long ago. Several tries later and the candy would not be divided in his mouth. He looked like a baby struggling with the pacifier.

“I never had this sweet candy before,” another remarked while licking hers instead of biting small parts bit by bit. She, too, was denied a perfect set of munching tools. Her ordeal could last much of the hour while the candy would only melt if she persisted.

“I can’t wait to finish mine,” an inventive fellow confessed, busy cutting his share with a knife. Like any Filipino, he would find another way to deal with a problem.

“Leave them alone!” a female voice ranted to the group. The old lady readily accepted her limitations and decided not to test her chewing power: she chose a cup of coffee and a small plate of biscuits instead.

I kept my peace and decided not to ruin my calm pose. Cold as ice is a description many people referred to my demeanor.

“It’s okay to smile, or even laugh.”

I did not recognize the person who uttered those words because there were numerous groups around me exchanging pleasantries and stories. Their animated conversations were spiced with quiet laughter and gaps of silence.

Well, he or she was correct, I had to admit. By then, I felt less guilty for having a sunnier disposition. It did not diminish whatsoever the genuine bereavement we shared.

More or less, I almost forgot why I brought those candies along in the first place. To be exact, the specialty was one of Father’s favorites.

Disoriented

Where was the point where I left off?

Like a program, I have not been updated for some time.

Scattered hints flash inside my head that I was once an enthusiastic blogger, reading innumerable posts with gusto, absorbing information like a sponge retaining water. I knew I was a long-time resident of this hang-out called WordPress, where the ins and outs were somewhat a vague memory today. I am still feeling my way in the dark.

When I saw my email inbox, I concluded that I was away far too long. I admit that the task of just checking them would be time-consuming, let alone read the contents of each notification.

I need time. A lot. I am sure you will extend to me all the leeway and tolerate my tardiness of reacting to your old comments. You are entitled of replies because you shared a moment or two to convey your thoughts. Everyone is greatly appreciated.

I might be too slow to catch up with your recent posts but in time I will see to it that I’ll do. Please wait for my visit.

I am most thankful that I have been, and still is, a part of WordPress’ blogging community. Now I am well aware what the word ‘support’ really means.

A productive day, everyone!

Duty

Bestowed on me is the responsibility of a good child. My parents reared and cared for me when I was young so it is only fair that I give back the same quality of time and effort they spent on my well-being during my growing years. It’s the way we were taught.

Sadly, I failed the task when Father was around though now I am given the chance to rectify that mistake by giving Mother more of my time. Given the opportunity to make amends, I am bound to keep her company for the rest of her days.

Yes, I will have lesser freedom when she stays with me. Much of my time wandering about would be restricted to short errands: no more long vacations. On the other hand, I could accompany her when she visits relatives. Her longer stay in their care could somewhat provide me with the same amount of time for myself. It’s a matter of scheduling and compromises, I suppose. A win-win formula so to speak.

Before I arrived at such an idea, I had to shuttle back and forth from my rural spot to the faraway city where she and her female cousin reside. Four round-trips later when the temporary accommodation that suited us both formed in my head. But such a scenario won’t do in the long run: money spent on travels could have been spent on more important needs such as food and medicines. A permanent solution has to be worked out.

In a few weeks, she will be here, at my place. She might rearrange my life as mothers often do with their children. I have to do a lot of explaining that I am old enough to do what must be done. But out of respect, she might get more of what she wants. (She is that good!)

She will hover around, getting on my nerves, making me laugh or irritated or both, asking too many questions why I am not chasing women, and all sorts of inquiries that even a genius could not answer. She might even dictate behind my back while I am blogging, retelling old stories that she thinks I might share with all of you.

Like my younger sister, a long-time inspiration for our family, Mother’s presence will always standout when she finally comes over and ruin my life -er, inspire me.

Mothers know best. Personally, I doubt that. 🙂

 

Desired

I have to admit I was at a loss when my father passed away. Our family of four was one less, a pillar removed, our stable state suddenly denied a solid foundation. Priorities were rearranged; the future uncertain.

Mother became my foremost reason to deny myself of any personal objectives. For a time, during my break, I began to accept that my life would be destined to caring for her: she is old and alone. Whatever I want or wish to do have to wait, her well-being stays first in my list.

Writing became a luxury, not a necessity. Slowly, I lost the desire to connect words and phrases to form a meaningful story. Although in my mind I possessed scrambled ideas and would-be plots, they faded quickly as soon as reality reminded me of what was more important at the moment.

But life is not always as one sees it. There will be times that the unexpected would introduce something favorable to what one first believed as an unfavorable situation. When there is that silver lining that one missed because of the dark clouds of confusion during an unfortunate incident, it might reappear some other time, ready to be taken advantage of to provide a compromise acceptable to everyone concerned.

It will come to us. We will talk and find a better set-up. Adjustments are necessary.

By the way, today is my inspiration’s birthday! If you have no idea who I am talking about, I guess you have to find out yourself by mining my old posts. 🙂

Have a wonderful day, guys and gals!

Weather

There will be highs and lows in a relationship. It’s a matter of finding the right reasons to compromise.

Keep the peace.

BLOGGING  LIFE/STYLES  MY STORIES  WHISPER  ZONE

Spinner

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.

BLOGGING  LIFE/STYLES  MY STORIES  WHISPER  ZONE

Incited

The intervening period between Christmas and New Year went like a blur. Without the online incursions I was supposed to busy myself with when indoors, I had no excuse when invitations came from various acquaintances. I was never a party animal even when I was young, though this time around, most of the gatherings I attended provided more of eating and singing. One such occasion happened two days before the year ended.

In the local setting, drinking is never absent in celebrations. Even though I could claim to be the most capable person who could turn down offers of sprees without hurting feelings, I could give in once in a while but for only several shots.

By accident, I passed by in front of the video karaoke after a song ended. It was the quickest route out the door.

“I dare you to sing Hotel California,” someone shouted from the crowd.

Murmurs followed; the kind that provoked the challenged to defend his honor.

No way, Jose! I had already my plan of escaping the scene when the chance presented itself. I would not make myself the main attraction, belting out a rendition of a classic like I was Don Henley himself.

“I have a sore throat,” I lied convincingly, clearing the passage with the corresponding sound.

“Drink this,” my kumpare took his cue and handed me a glass with yellow fluid in it.

“What is it?” I asked, frowning to show my disinterest.

“Pineapple juice,” he replied, grinning from ear to ear. He looked like a ripe tomato, his face glistening with perspiration.

“I have to go home. I am not feeling well.”

“That man is from the city. He kept on boasting that village people were no good in singing. You could prove him wrong.”

Like a conspirator, my kumpare whispered more compliments to my ears, trying his darn best to force me to take up the challenge.

“Drink this and you’ll make him eat his words.”

The imp on my shoulder won: I drank.

Guess what? I was not that bad. Clapping of hands accompanied my performance. I was like a restless body on my chair, twisting and turning to the rhythm, slurring the lyrics as if the American accent was my own since birth. 😀

Roars of glee erupted when I was finally finished. I was not sure if they liked what they heard or they were simply happy that I entertained them.

“I am impressed,” the man approached me, patting my shoulder.

“By the way, how did you know I could sing?”

“Your kumpare boasted that village people are better singers than city folks.”

“One for the road,” my kumpare intruded in our conversarion and gave me another shot. “Here’s to our champion!”

What the heck! Such indulgence would be over once I left the place.

BLOGGING  LIFE/STYLES  MY STORIES  WHISPER  ZONE