when i find it hard to see things that can make my old heart glad, i remember the scared eyes of my one-year-old self. my small arms hugging my then thin dad. at early 20’s, with his hair middle-parted. on his left hand was a pink, birthday balloon, on his lips a small smile. his finger pointing at the camera. assuring me that it’s okay to show my baby teeth. it’s okay to smile a bit. it’s okay. i am safe.
i am still not a camera-friendly woman. i prefer my photos shot without my face. but today, for some reasons, gratitude leads me to the fact that my dad’s arms, however far, are still around. holding my baby sister. tickling her ribs. keeping her safe. his hands, 3,000 miles away from me, still able to catch pond fishes. to cook them “sinigang” and fried tilapia and mackerels.
thrice i’ve almost lost
the first man i love. now he
sees me learn to drive.