I woke up yesterday morning thinking about my parents. I haven’t left my bed and yet I was already feeling mellow. Before I knew it, my tears were falling on my pillows. I wondered, saan na kaya sila?
How are they? How’s my mom, my brother. Are they really in heaven or just simply vanished.
I greeted them “magandang umaga”.
I looked around our masters bedroom, para bang half-asleep pa ako, parang I was expecting to see our bedroom in Binangonan instead. I imagined my parents’ bedroom. It was large, with two queen beds and still there’s a space for a double banig on the floor. We also had a batalan. A long wooden counter with lababo and gripo. There were two huge aparador, one solid narra for my mom’s clothes and valuables, and one with glass doors was for my father and my brothers. There was a smaller closet with hand-painting for Aileen and I.
We were 8 in the family and yet our clothes fit in those cabinets.
Far from my life now which is more complicated and sophisticated. I have three long cabinets and yet my clothes don’t fit. Clothes that I don’t even wear.
My mom also liked handbags. Saan kaya napunta mga bags nya? Ang style parang Audry Hepburn. I have never seen her scatter her bags. They were kept inside her cabinet.
I don’t have a lot of bags but they don’t fit in my cabinets. They are scattered in our room, some are on the floor.
We didn’t have a shoe rack. Our shoes and slippers were neatly lined side by side, alongside the stairs. My brothers’ big shoes and slippers were under the stairs.
Now, we each have a shoe rack and yet our shoes are everywhere.
I have just ordered two big cabinets for Oyen’s shoes and bags, gowns and dresses.
After waiting for four months, my son’s cabinet is finally here and we’re all happy at the prospect that he now has more space to organize his clutter.
Everyday I look at the clutter we have at home. I think of all the stuff we’ve accumulated, given away, thrown away.
Nuon sa Binangonan, we only had one toilet to clean. Now, we have more toilets than the number of people living in our house. And yet, masikip na yung toilets. Maids fight over who gets to shower first in the morning.
Last night, I forced Edmund to eat with me the remaining piko mangoes. he thought I was asking him to eat the buto. Hindi daw nila kinakain yung buto. I told him he’s maarte. Kami naman sa Binangonan, agawan kaming magkakapatid kung kanino yung buto.
I miss my father’s special fruit salad tuwing New Year and fiesta. Puto kutsinta from Cainta once a month. Bagong tsinelas once a year. A beautiful custom dress every fiesta. Yung tela galing sa palda ng mama ko.
My one peso a day baon in high school. Not because my father didn’t have money. He just thought that was what’s enough. I never complained.
The P25 baon in college. Again, I never complained. I was ashamed to ask for more. That taught me to be resourceful. I sold stuff to my classmates, that doubled or tripled my money. I think people now are more spoiled. They receive fat allowances from their parents working abroad or from their brothers sisters. Hingi lang ng hingi pag gusto ng bagong cellphone. Ako nuon, I never asked money from my parents, except for the tuition fees. Nahihiya kasi ako.
When I started working, I also continued selling things to friends, neighbors, office-mates. That allowed me to enjoy some luxuries.
I remembered the P200 worth of groceries that were too heavy for me to carry. Ngayon what can you buy for P200?
That stressful day when I received the Nawasa bill. We didn’t know our faucet was leaking, kaya the water bill reached a whopping P150. Mind you, P150 could buy you a round trip ticket to Bacolod in those days. P700 trip to Hongkong. I was so stressed out and problematic. P150 for water? Dapat P15 lang.
My mom would throw a fit every time she sees the Perla soap melting in the laundry area. The maids carelessly leave the laundry soaps submerged in water, or nasa drain, naku my mom would really get mad. Syempre sayang ang sabon, sayang ang pera.
It’s nice to remember my life then. It gives me a better appreciation of my life now. My past experiences keep me grounded at all times. The downside in thinking about the past, it makes me feel sad that my parents and brother are gone.