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.

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For dVerse Haibun Monday: Birthday