What will make a teenager feel better after a sudden breakup? Maybe good food?
I stared at our almost full kitchen cabinet pondering what to cook for my daughter with a broken heart. I can feel mine throbbing too. If only her mom was still here, maybe she can say the right healing words to her.
What can an old man do to make her lovely daughter forget her not-so-good-looking ex-boyfriend?
I heard her almost silent sobs again. I don’t have her mother’s words, but I do have a father’s warm and tight hug. Maybe it will do for now.
If his hand is a tiled floor, a lot would accidentally fall.
“Chill, love.” I assured him Dad will be delighted to know her first princess is finally engaged. But his hand, which gripped mine nervously, is so wet with his sweat.
“So what’s the big news?”Dad asked as he take his seat.
“Sir. Uhm, I asked your lovely daughter to marry me —.”
“And I said yes, dad!” I said with delight as I showed him the empty crystal magenta box.
He eyed the box before looking at the diamond ring enthroned proudly in my finger.
“Well, congratulations. Just be cautious you two. Sometimes, the most beautiful packages are actually just empty shells. Grand engagements and weddings are not reliable foundations of marriage. Love is. Trust is. Communication is.”
Palms perspiring uncontrollably, heart throbbing ceaselessly, what’s wrong with me?
My one-year boyfriend will introduce me to his parents today. He said it’s their golden anniversary and despite being separated for almost two decades, his mom eagerly waited for her dad’s come back. Thus, the grand celebration with a photo display in the old-yet-still-famous Photo Centre.
So… why I am so nervous?
I looked good, actually our friends always joke that we looked creepily alike that we can be siblings– not a couple.
My jitters are unreasonable.. but they made sense when we entered the photo-filled room.
The man in the photos, his dad, looked eerily familiar.
When I saw him face to face, his wide blue-gray eyes, which looks like mine, changed the funny joke into an ugly truth.
I should be sad after the call has ended, but I am not, surely not.
“Your father is dead.”
‘Oh’, is the only word I was able to say.
“His remains will be at the Grace Baptist Church starting tonight.”
“Will you be there?”
“We hope to see you.”
“I will try. It’s late. Bye.”
He is my father, the man who gave those millions (or billions?) of sperms. Luckily (or not?) I won the race and made my way to my mom’s womb.
He is my father, but for him, I am just his illegitimate daughter. A daughter he accidentally made when he raped their home’s maid. A daughter with a dirty old mother who begged for financial support. A beg he never heeded.
Shaking with anger and decades-old rage, damn!
I promised myself I won’t cry because of him again!
Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly writing challenge hosted by Alastair Forbes where a photo is used as a prompt for a piece of fiction using around 200 words. The piece doesn’t have to center around exactly what the photo is, it can be just used as a basis for a story.
NOTE: This post is written both in Filipino/Tagalog and English.
Para sa aking poging-poging Tatay,
Buwan ng Agosto taong 2008, ang araw na bumago ng buhay ko. Yun yung araw na naaksidente ka.
Nasa unang taon pa lamang ako noon sa kolehiyo. Bilang panganay mo, ako ang naging tagapagbantay mo sa ospital. Lima pa lamang kaming anak mo noon. Isang taon palang ang bunso kaya naiiwan si Nanay sa bahay.
Buwan ng Setyembre. Inoperahan na ang nabali mong binti. Nasa klase ako nang kasalukuyan kang nasa loob ng ‘operating room’.
Pagdating ko sa ospital. Halatang umiyak si Nanay.
Muntik ka na palang mamatay.
Pitong taon matapos ang araw na iyon, ilang beses ka pang nabingit sa kamatayan. Yung puso mo madalas nang pumalya dahil ang kulit mo at ang hilig mong uminom.
Pero, patuloy pa rin ang pagpapasalamat ko sa karagdagang taon na ibinibigay sa iyo ng Diyos.
Sabi ko nga sayo noong kaarawan mo, ang buhay mo ang pinakamalaking biyaya ng Diyos sa akin.
Isang malaking pagpapala sa buhay ko na kasama pa kita. Naipagluluto mo pa ko ng inihaw na bangus. Nagugupitan mo pa ang buhok ko na ayaw mong paikliin. Nasasabihan mo pa ako ng ‘Ingat. God bless.’ pag nagpaalam ako sayo na aalis na ako.
At higit sa lahat, nasusundo mo pa ako ng motor mo, alam mo kasing hindi ako sumasakay sa motor kung hindi lang din ikaw ang drayber.
Ipagpapatuloy ko ang panalangin na patuloy ka pa naming makasama.
Hanggang sa ihatid mo na ako sa dambana at ibigay mo na ako sa lalaking nakakuha ng iyong tiwala.
Walang makakahigit sa iyo, Tatay. Wala.
Ang iyong panganay,
To my handsome Father,
It was August 2008 when that fateful day happened. A drunk motorcycle driver hit you, badly.
I was just a first year college student when that happened. As your eldest, I took the responsibility of being your aide and company at the hospital. You only have five children during that time. Because your youngest is just one year old, mother have no choice but to take of him first.
Come September, you went under the knife to fix your badly broken leg. I was in my Psychology class while you’re inside the operating room.
When I arrived, it was obvious that my mother cried.
Little did I know, that we almost lost you.
Seven years after that day, you have been in numerous near-death incidents. Your heart keeps failing because you’re just so hard-headed that we cannot stop you from drinking alcohol.
Because of that, I ceaselessly thank God for the life that he gave you.
Just like what I said to you on your birthday, “Your life is my life’s greatest answered prayer.”
It is such a huge blessing for me that I still have you. You can still cook my favorite grilled milkfish. You can still cut and trim my hair that you never wanted to cut short. You can still say ‘Take care. God bless.’ to me before I go to work.
Most of all, you are still there to fetch me with your motorcycle. Because you know that I am afraid of riding motorcycles, unless the driver is you.
I will continue praying for more years for you, Tatay.
Until you finally take me to the altar and give me to the man who have gained your trust.
No one can ever take your place, Tatay. No one.
In response to Blogging University’s WRITING 101 Day 9 Assignment:
Day 9: Reinvent the letter format
Some might say a post in the form of a letter is trite and overdone. But when done well, a letter can tell a great story or get your message across.
Today, write your post as a letter. Approach it in any way you’d like…