camera shy: a haibun


Three photos have immortalised the birthday my mind cannot remember but will always be dear to me. The first photo was of me and my Tatay (father) who looks like a young TV actor with his Colgate-commercial-smile and polished moustache. My chubby, teenie tiny fingers were clinging tightly to his shirt, perhaps its instinct to know that someone who will keep me safe will be him. My eyes wide with fear, perhaps I’ve always hated the camera ever since.

The second photo was with my Nanay (mother) whose free-of-wrinkle face clearly wore her youth. She was wearing a loose shirt, her eyes mirroring my uncertainty, a feeling understandable for a woman who birthed a baby at her twenty.

The last one was me and the gifts I’ve received, I stood with the help of a walker as my knees are too weak to support my weight. I cannot remember the toys, the balloons, the cake, the guests, the clothes of that day. But with these photos I know one constant thing, I was loved and I am loved since the beginning.

Mem’ry of the first
birthday fades like rays of May—
only love remains.

©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo via Unsplash
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
For dVerse Haibun Monday: Birthday


18 thoughts on “camera shy: a haibun”

    1. oh you are ever sweet, Lucy. i haven’t seen my family since 6 months now and the uncertainty of when will i be able to see them kills me sometimes. i hope you are well on your side of the world. thank you!

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  1. Your three photos haibun made me catch my breath! I have the same thing with birthdays when I know I was happiest but was far too young to remember details. All I have left is one photo of my first birthday, so your words resonated with me. I love the way you describe your child self with ’chubby, teenie tiny fingers [were] clinging tightly to his shirt’, and the hint that something happened to make you hate the camera ever since. It is the love that makes it all special.

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    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful feedback, Kim. Your prompt made me revisit a memory which warmed my heart despite me being alone and uncertain on when I can see my parents and loved-ones. It is indeed love that makes everything special. ❤

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  2. A very beautiful trip down the memory lane, my poetess. The emotions painted here are so heartfelt. Almost seems like a painting, so visual, and the characters are speaking to the reader. Beautiful. So beautiful.
    (And P.S. – I have so many camera shy photos of you hehe 😀 )

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  3. Oh I appreciated each section of your prose as they conjured up the photos in my mind. Thank goodness for photos, but yes, it is the LOVE that is never forgotten. I’m so sorry you are feeling alone and separated from family. Sending you hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you for your kind words and thorough feedback, Mish. I believe I am not alone. There are so many yearning hearts at the moment. For now, let’s count the blessings to keep ourselves sane. I hope you are well, too, Mish! Some virtual hugs back!


  4. Thank goodness the love remains. It’s wonderful to have a supply to keep and rely on. The descriptions of your father, mother and you are detailed just right–your father’s mustache, your mother’s face, your “chubby” fingers. There are real people here, and we get to know them some. I know it might likely be a while, but I hope you and everyone get to be together with families soon. Hang on, sister!

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