Behind a smile is sadness, behind failure is success and behind me is a hidden story to share.
It happened when I was just a child, when I started to feel neglected and when I started to feel that I have no friends to hold on.
I remember, I remember how happy I was . Iam like a bird that freely swing into the vast sky. I was so happy because I have cousins and toys to play me with. I am the only child back then. My parents work day and night and when they arrives home they hug me and give me on what they called ” pasalubong” . But after that , they will just lay in bed and sleep. You will never notice how it happened just like any other princess story I have read , that once the witch gave them the food with potion they will fall asleep and just a truthful kiss of a prince will save him. When I told that to my father he just smiled and said that I have an over active imagination.
But I know I was right because they didn’t even mind the destructive noise of the environment (because there’s a lot of distraction like the sound of washing machine, the raising voices of my Uncle and Untie whenever they argue something, the building construction in the left and the videoke in the right.) That’s why I wonder how anyone can sleep with that kind of environment while dealing with the heat of the sun.
But I manages to tell him what I have done the whole day like having a new tattoo in my arms or a new beyblade which is free when you buy a school bukol. Fortunately, he replied whenever I ask him and he said that he was listening so I continue the story until I ended up falling asleep.
When I wake up I just waited for the arrival of my mother knowing that she has a pasalubong for me( She never forget that) . , my father is preparing the things he needed going to his work and before he left me , he gives me a five peso coin so I can buy candies or other stuffs I want. When I am in that age believe it or not, I thought that having a 5 peso is something very valuable that you can buy everything with your 5 peso . So at that time , there are many ideas flashing in my mind on how I can spend it . I can play luto lutuan , tinda- tindahan or even bahay bahayan.
For sure, Ate Ingke will also be excited but I know at this point of time she was having siestas ( Siesta is what Filipino are known for and it is practice especially, in barrio where our ancestral teaches as to sleep from 1pm- 3pm) forcefully . In which according to them, it will help us to grow fast and to stay fit and healthy . Moreover when we try to refuse or see us blinking they will promptly say that ” tatahiin ko yang mga mata nyo” in a mad and creepy voice which force us to sleep . But fortunately, I don’t have to experience that because you know, my parents work in a day and night ship . Where they have no time to be and act like that , but I have no problem with that they are good to me and I feel good also . All what I have said about siesta is just a mere reflection of reality.
I glance up in the window , I whisper in a shout manner calling Ate Ingke to invite her to play and she seems to understand my little “pst”. She just said wait because Auntie Gina is about to arrive. So I suddenly hide in the corner as if nothing happens, because I know that when she see me , she will scold me like I am influencing my cousin’s in a non sense activity ( which is wrong in my opinion , because for me playing plays a great role in the development of every child because it doesn’t just teaches them to socialize. Moreover, It helps them to develop their emotional and mental intelligence) . She will say that Iam disturbing them because I have nothing to do and in sarcastic voice ” well, I am not shock because you have no parents to take care at you” that she recites like a mantra . It really hurts me but I never show to them and I am acting as if I doesn’t understand anything hoping that if I do that Auntie Gina will stop. It hurts me , knowing that is true ( well physically absent but financially present) . It hurt me because she repeatedly remind it slaping me the reality.
However I considered myself lucky back then, because I wasn’t judge . I wasn’t judge by my cousin’s as somewhat kadiri because of my skin allergy or what you called ” galis” in tagalog. I was not judge for being “lawayin” because the water in my mouth goes down in what they called “kwelyo” like a true falls but believe me, I really want to fix myself. However , Iam not allowed to be in our room because my mother and father will lock it after they leave the house so I have no choice but to wait. And whenever I ask why they do that , they will just say that it is for our privacy.
So I have no opportunity to change up clothes or put some colonge and baby powder to stay fresh(which is very evident) and since we are in our grandparent’s house . The no change clothe of mine turns to be a habit.
I cant blame my Auntie Gina for hating me or what, maybe she was just scared that Ate Ingke ( which is her child) can and possibly acquire or possess the kind of skin disease I have. If only she knew— if only she knew how much I hate it as much as she do.
My mother already consulted it to the doctor and he just gave me some ointment and medicine to take. I ask my mother what it is and he said that it is an anti allergy that will help me get rid with my itch.
I remember, I remember that everyday my mother ensures that I take my medicine on time while she fix me making me clean . After that, she will put a ointment on the affected skin . I remember— I cried a lot because I hate cold water or maybe I just used to cry.
I remember that when I was a child , I used to play in our backyard. I doesn’t even mind the heat of the sun that touches my skin making me feel like I am burning, especially when I feel bored because whenever I approach my Uncle and Auntie about how I can help them ?. They will just say to me that ” stay out of my way” and so do I . But hey! Iam still in this corner hiding and waiting for Ate Ingke to have an opportunity to My Auntie, I was so determined by then and I was greatly rewarded when I saw Ate Ingke are coming as she reminds me to stay quiet because Auntie Gina was fast asleep.
I asked her , how she know ? But she just told me it was a top secret and when I said ok . She then reveal that Auntie stop swinging its abaniko and that is a sign that she is already fallen asleep. I ask her , if they have an electric fan or aircon because we have both ( I was so boostful and sarcastic by then hahaha) but she just smile and said let’s play.
I excitedly show her my five peso coin then she told me to buy a match sticks and candle I was about to go but I stop and said wait. I was so confused I thought I will buy iskul bukol or different junkfood or what in order for us to play tinda tindahan or luto lutuan ( its better than to used cut leaves as a money and the product or food in our play) and when I asked her she just said she has a plan for that.
So I buy as what I am told to do and hide it in my back even it was hard because it falls down in my short and rest assured that when my Uncle and Auntie saw it, they will confiscate it, tell it to my father and my parents will not give me a money anymore. Fortunately, no one see me because they were so busy fixing and making things.
I immediately gave it to Ate Ingke asking her to lit up the candle . However , she said it was not the right time ( I felt little sadness, because when I am a child I used to collect flashlight from the used lighter and turn it on , in a dark place and I will never stop gazing at i and I don’t know why but I was so fascinated by that ) I fallowed her as she finds an empty room to play at. Then as we walk all rooms are look and some are pre occupied but fortunately, my father forget to close the door and I invited her to come in but she hesitated, she hesitated because she was scared that my father might scold her . I was able to convince her , by assuring that no one will find out except me and her of course.
The floor was so cold as we enter the room without slippers . The room was so organize ,neat and clean . I was still smell the fabric conditioner , that was used by my father when he mop the floor. It was sweet like a newly bloom flower in the garden. I showed her our electric fan and aircon and she was amazed by the coldness of the room. That is according to her , Mall is her favorite place that was as cold as our room ( We really feel that we are freezing) . Then we sat on the folded bed as she lit up the candle.
Everything where happy at first, we play tinda- tindahan and bahay bahayan where Ate Ingke plays the role of being ” rich woman who always get mad at me because I always lend to her” and I am the what you called the the lender or ” mangungutang” and bahay bahayan in which I am the maid and she is my boss. The time pass by and we are about to finish and we fix the things we used . Ate Ingke accidentally tap the candle causing the bed to burn and when she see the fire he ran immediately and I was left there standing and paralyze as I watch the whole room burning from bed to the curtains from my toys up to the cabinet. I was there watching everything still paralyze and doesn’t know what I would do.
Ate Ingke go back to the room and check me. She see me standing still to the place where she left me. She grab immediately and out me in the room still paralyze eating up her nail so confused on how she will get help or should she ask for help?. Ate Ingke called for help but it was too late, the whole room was already burning. It was hot and timid. I saw people and neighbors holding a ” timba” with water but I heard no voices , I know that they are panicking base on their facial expression. As I watch them dissiminate the fire.
After that, they were all looking at me as if they will eat me . They said that I was the bad luck in the family and a shame. That I should be thankful because I have a smart cousin that save me because I was so ignorant to know what to do . That they will not be schock at my parents would hate me.
I cried — I cried because I know they are right . I cried because I hated myself for being like that when the tough situation comes , that it takes a long time before I realize that I should save myself. I cried because I think of many what if? What if all what they have said would really happen? What if my mother would really hate me ?
Hours passed by, until the sun is preparing for a sleep . It was dark then and no one invited me to be with their room temporarily. No one check if I am ok , they just said that I better not move because I just destroy things in which I am just making things worst.
When my grand mother arrives and she finds out that I was the cause of burning . She hit me repeatedly with a hanger , a broom , slipper and anything he saw. She even grab my hair and shake me hardly but no one stop her . Not even my Auntie or Uncle because they believe that I deserve that kind of pain . Then they tell me to stop crying but I can’t. She hit me one more time and tell me that if I didn’t stop crying she will never stop hurting me . Even I don’t want to control my emotions I have to — I know Lola she is the type of a Grandmother that stand to what she said so I stop.
I hide under the table. In the part where Grandma will not see me and pretend that I was fallen into a deep sleep. Hours passed, I heard the voice of my mother so I close my eyes tightly knowing that I have done really really bad.
Mama wake me up telling that she already knows everything. Mama presented me her pasalubong which is a chicken joy from Jollibee and donuts . I remember how I dance whenever I see Jollibee whenever my mother bring me there . Where she hold my hands whenever my father felt disappointed with me because I don’t know how to use spoon and fork. I try but I use to wash my hands and use that in eating as what Grandpa and Grandma teaches me. And she did exactly the same thing when she finds out about the fire and the accident. I suddenly cry because even she doesn’t tell I can see in her eyes the pain and grief she felt that we almost lost everything.
She tap me and say that I don’t have to blame myself. That everything was an accident and no one wants it to happen, so do I am . ” What’s important by now is that you are safe because no money or things can replace you my child” My mother added. At that moment I can say that I really felt the tenderness of her love even at the first place, I don’t understand what she said all about.
Then she brought me in the bathroom so I can feel fresh despite of the long dramatic day I’ve gone through and while she scrubs me , she notice something that made her feel really sorry. She asked me who? Grandma I replied. Your Auntie doesn’t stop her ? She added but instead of answering her I just cry, then mama hug me tightly.
After that , I heard my mother raises her voice toward my father about what happened to me then father calmed her, but my mother doesn’t stop . She started to confront Grandma, Auntie and uncle but no one tried to argue. My father whispered toward her and said that “Grandma was just overpowered by her emotions and it will never happen again” he promised. Then she look at my father crying , he grabs me find her bag and leave. The house was filled with complete silence.
Mama rent a tricycle so I ask her where we are going? And she replied ” In the safe place where no one can hurt you . After that, I sleep on his lap because it was already late in the midnight.
The clock says tiktaktiktak as I was in the bed with the clock. I thought I was dreaming as the bright sunlight touches my skin. I know it was the house of my mother’s best friend Untie Len, I saw Ariel as I open the door waiting for me to wake up. He is so cute , chubby little baby in this house with his toy cars and bag. I remember when we visit Auntie Len with my Mom. Ariel asked me a lot of question like school, If I am popular in school, how do we play and so much more. He always tell to me that he was going to school next year and then recite to me the new spelling he learn that I heard a million times already .
I look for my mother while Ariel are still fallowing me like a cute chubby pig . However, I manage not to mind him thinking that by these way he will stop me then I saw my mother with Auntie Len and prepared breakfast. I ask where is papa? But she didn’t answer my question. Maybe because of the irritating voice of Ariel who always ask me different kind of question.
Days have passed and use to enjoy being with Ariel . We always play one game . Iam the master and he is the slave or the fallower , which I really enjoy a lot because Everytime I have a command he always say ” yes, master” . We play basketball, We make duyan while he prepared me merienda If I am hungry and give me a water when I got thirsty.
It last just for one week because Ariel realized that it was boring. He always pleaded me to change character however, I refuse and tell to him to complete a badge but when he share me his car, I have this excited and urge feeling that I have to play his car.
We play racing cars and accidentally I destroy and break one of his car which made him cry so I gave to him the remaining coin I have which is one peso and Auntie Len promise that we will go to Jollibee just for him to stop. We were so excited back then because it is our favorite place.
The days, weeks and month seems to fly like a brave eagle in the sky. Everytime seems to be so fast and how I wish to be with them forever.
And I realized that, the love of a mother is beyond measure. That, she will always be there by your side to protect, guide, love , care and believes in you when there’s no one to hold on. That she will do everything to give you the best of all because she see as her greatest asset. She is your number one fan and the living witness of your failure and success. She will help and be there for you even you slept and failed a million times already . She will not let anyone to hurt you , even it is just a flies circling behind the lamp.
Also, I realize that not all the people are same . They have different kind and variety. Some of them will show sympathy but the truth is , they just want to hear your story so they can have people to laugh and to talk on. But some will offer you help to stand, guide and understand you until you can fly again.