“Walangya ka talagang demonyo ka! Patayin mo na lang ako! Patayin mo na lang kami ng mga anak mo!” — galit na galit na sigaw ni Aling Annie sa asawa. Duguan ang mukha at bugbog ang katawan nito matapos gulpihin ni Mang Andoy.
Alas-siete pa lang ng umaga noon, abala si Aling Annie sa pag-aasikaso sa mga anak na papasok sa eskwelahan. Family Day noon sa kanilang paaralan. Palibhasa’y isang ina, nagsimulang tumalak si Aling Annie sa mga pasaway na anak na siya namang ikinagalit ng asawa nitong nagsisimula pa lang matulog. “Alive” buong gabi. Bangag sa droga kaya’t buong gabing naglinis ng makalat na kwartong tinambayan nila ng mga kabarkadang dispalinghado na ang mukha dahil sa shabu.
Nakayakap ang tatlong taong gulang na si Buknoy sa duguang ina. Umiiyak at takot na takot sa amang nanlilisik ang mga mata. Wala sa sariling katinuan si Mang Andoy. Tila sinasapian. Hawak nito sa kanang kamay ang isang kahoy na ipanghahambalos sa asawa. Si Jim, bilang panganay, ang tanging naghihiwalay sa bangag na ama at sa duguang ina. Si Rona, ang nag-iisang anak na babae, ay nagtago sa loob ng kwarto kasama ang nakababatang kapatid na si Cedrick na noo’y nasa Grade 1 pa lang; sariwa pa sa katawan nito ang mga paso ng plantsa na kagagawan ng ama.
Ito ang karaniwang eksena sa tahanan ng mag-anak. Magulo. Maingay. Nakakasuka. Kung minsan nama’y tahimik at walang nagkikibuan. Sobrang tahimik na tila may nagbabadyang gulo na babasag sa panandalian at nakabibinging katahimikan.
Tindera ng palamig at murang merienda si Aling Annie sa harap ng eskwelahang pinapasukan ng mga anak. Dahil walang kwenta at patapon na ang buhay ng asawa niyang si Mang Andoy, siya ang tanging nagtataguyod sa pamilya. Bawat singkong duling ay pinagpapaguran nitong kitain sa pagtitinda upang maipambili ng kakainin ng pamilya. Kung minsa’y gugulpihin pa ito ng asawa dahil tuyo at itlog lang ang naihahain nito sa mesa.
“Mabuti pang mamatay na lang yang demonyong ‘yan eh, kaysa naman tayo ang unti-unting pinapatay niyan,” mahinahon subalit matalim na usal ni Jim. Lumaki itong may galit at namumuhi sa ama. Ilang beses na din silang kamuntikang magpatayan ni Mang Andoy dahil sa panlalaban nito sa adik na ama.
“Pabayaan niyo kami ng tatay niyo. Huwag kayong makisali sa gulo namin. Basta’t mag-aral lang kayong mabuti at ‘wag kayong magpa-apekto sa tatay niyo,” pangaral ng ina. Kalong-kalong nito ang natutulog na si Buknoy na nakayakap sa ina.
“Papano’ng hindi maaapektuhan?!? Halos patayin na tayong lahat niyang hayup na iyan! Ikaw, halos patayin ka na sa gulpi niyang asawa mo! Pag ikaw ang nawala sa’min, ano na’ng mangyayari sa buhay naming magkakapatid? Mabuti pang siya na lang ang mawala,” sabi ni Jim na halos mapasigaw sa galit at panggigigil.
Gabi na noon nang makapag-usap sila Jim at Aling Annie. Wala pa si Mang Andoy, marahil ay nakikipag-inuman na naman sa mga kabarkada nitong lango din sa droga. Tulog na si Cedrick. Lumaking tahimik at takot sa tao ang bata, bunsod ng matinding trauma na nakamulatan nito sa kanilang tahanan.
Biglang bumukas ang pinto. Alas-onse na ng gabi. Nagulat ang mag-inang nag-uusap.
Si Rona. Lasing na lasing at susuray suray sa paglalakad. Nalulong ito sa barkada at natutong magrebelde dahil sa sitwasyon ng pamilya.
“Sa’n ka na naman galing? Lasing ka na naman? Pambihirang buhay talaga ‘to. Ganiyan na nga ang tatay niyo, pati ba naman kayo makikisabay pa?” nagpupuyos at tila naiiyak na paninita ni Aling Annie.
“Wala kang pakialam sa buhay ko. Kung sawa ka na sa ganitong buhay, mas sawa na’ko. Kasalanan ninyo ng tatay kung bakit ganito ang buhay natin! Kung hindi niyo naman pala kayang bumuhay ng anak, hindi na kayo dapat nag-anak pa. Nagsisisi ako kung bakit kayo pa ang naging mga magulang ko!”
“Ang kapal naman ng mukha mo para pagsalitaan ako ng ganiyan Rona! Halos mamatay na’ko sa pagtitinda sa harap ng eskwelahan niyo, may maibigay lang na pang-baon sa inyo ng mga kapatid mo! Wala kang utang na loob!”
Subalit hindi natinag ang lasing na anak.
“Huwag mong isusumbat sa’kin ang pagtitinda mo dahil obligasyon mo sa amin ‘yon! At dahil sa pagtitinda mo sa harap ng eskwelahan namin, tinutukso ako ng mga kaklase ko! Nakakahiya!!! Kinakahiya kita!!!”
Sa puntong ito, nagsimula nang umiyak si Buknoy dala ng takot. Si Cedrick na noo’y natutulog, ay nagising na rin dahil sa sigawan. Nakatayo ito sa pintuan ng kwarto — tahimik na nakatingin sa ate nitong lasing at sa inang nagpupuyos sa galit.
Isang malakas na sampal ang pumutol sa sigawan ng mag-ina. Napasubsob sa sementong sahig si Rona nang sampalin ito ni Jim.
“Sumosobra ka na sa pagsagot mo kay Nanay!” At akmang sasampalin na naman ang kapatid na noo’y nanlilisik pa din ang mata sa galit.
“Sige! Gulpihin niyo ko! Pagtulungan niyo ko! Mabuti pa nga ng malaglag na ‘tong batang dinadala ko! Pesteng buhay ‘to! Ayoko nang mabuhay! Patayin niyo na lang ako!”
Nagsimulang bumulalas ng iyak si Rona. Nagulantang si Jim sa narinig. Tuloy-tuloy ang pagdaloy ng luha sa mga mata ni Aling Annie, at nagsimula itong humagulgol sa sama ng loob.
“Ginawa ko na ang lahat para maitaguyod ang pamilyang ito. Mahal na mahal ko kayong mga anak ko. Marami akong binubuong pangarap para sa inyong magkakapatid. Ginagawa ko ang lahat, hindi pa din ba sapat??? Patawarin ninyo ako mga anak. Patawad…” Niyakap ni Jim ang ina. Tumutulo ang kaniyang luha.
Padabog na bumukas ang pinto.
“Hoy! Mga ta*****do! Umalis kayo diyan. Dali!”
Biglang pasok si Mang Andoy kasama ang buong barkadang lango sa alak. Lima sila. Lahat ay wala sa sarili. Mag-uumpukan na naman sa kwarto para sa kanilang pot session. Dire-diretsong pumasok ang mga ito na tila sila ang nagmamay-ari ng bahay.
“Kailan niyo ba rerespetuhin ang pamamahay namin?” galit na sabi ni Aling Annie. May luha pa sa mga mata.
“Wag kang makialam kung ayaw mong makatikim na naman sa’kin!” banta ni Mang Andoy.
“Lumayas kayo dito! Lumayas kayo sa pamamahay ko! Punong-puno na’ko sa ginagawa niyo! Ang kakapal ng mga mukha niyo! Mga basura! Mga patapon na ang mga buhay niyo!”
Pinagtulakan ni Aling Annie ang mga ito palabas ng pintuan. Ang isa sa mga ito ay napikon sa kanyang ginawa kaya’t agad na bumunot ng balisong at tila hayup na pinagsasaksak si Aling Annie sa tagiliran. Bumagsak si Aling Annie na parang nauupos na kandila. Mabilis na kumalat ang kaniyang dugo sa sahig. Agad na nagtakbuhan ang mga kasama ni Mang Andoy at hindi na muling nakita.
Luha. Pawis. Sigaw. At di maampat na pagdurugo. Tila wala nang katapusan ang gabing iyon. Si Jim, si Rona, si Cedrick, at si Buknoy — umiiyak na nakayakap at hinahalikan ang inang nakahandusay sa sahig; hindi magkamayaw sa gagawin. Si Mang Andoy, tulala. Nanginginig. Kung sa takot o sa pagkabangag, walang makapagsabi. Ngunit bakas sa mata nito ang mga luhang nagpupumiglas na mamuo. Mga luhang tanda ng pagsisisi at ang kagustuhang bawiin ang lahat ng nangyari.
Isang linggo ang lumipas, magkakasama nang muli ang pamilya. Karga-karga ni Mang Andoy at pinapatahan ang umiiyak na si Buknoy. Hawak nito sa kanang kamay si Cedrick na noon ay tulala pa din. Sa tabi niya ay si Jim na namumugto ang mata, habang nakapatong ang kamay sa balikat ni Rona na di matigil sa pag-iyak. Muling nagkasama-sama ang ama at kaniyang mga anak, tila isang Family Day.
Sa harapan nila ay ang ataul ni Aling Annie na unti-unting ibinababa sa hukay.
DAY 1 CHALLENGE: A photo of yourself and a description of how your day was.
I wasn’t able to take a photo of myself today, so this photo would have to suffice. As the caption says, this was taken last year on our way to Mount Pinatubo’s Crater Lake. It took us nearly three hours before we reached the summit. Good thing though that the Crater Lake was really breath-taking; else, the grueling trek and the resulting sores on my foot wouldn’t have been worth it.
This day hasn’t been as adventure-packed as this experience had been, but it actually had its own share of suspense and thrill.
Now, on to the challenge!
As soon as I arrived home, I rolled up my sleeves to begin setting up the table that I’m gonna use as my working desk here in my room beginning tomorrow. After a few minutes of getting my hands dirty, my brother and I carried the table into my room and presto — I now have my own desk!
Right now, I’m sitting in front of it as I write this blog, with my “Baguio Songs” playlist playing on the background. Note: The playlist is a collection of classic love songs from the 80s and 90s. My best friend and I coined the term “Baguio Songs” as these remind her of her family’s summer nights in Baguio. Listen to the songs here.
I finished up work at around 12:30, prepped up and left.
First agenda: Go to the office to get my new HMO card and get some green.
Before leaving Makati, I thought of doing something else.
Story # 1:
It was a spontaneous impulse.
Since going to Makati is a bit rare for me now (I already work from home and I only report at the office almost once every quarter), I thought of surprising her at her office. So, after doing all my important errands, I grabbed some snacks at the nearest Starbucks, went to her office and texted her to meet me up outside.
Her reaction was more than what I expected. You know, we haven’t spoken since last week and there was no way she would even think that I still plan to show up, let alone cook up something sweet. Well, I didn’t really plan it out. Like I said, it was a spontaneous impulse.
It was the longest one minute of my life. In a single minute, I saw her reactions change from being shocked, confused, tensed, surprised, overjoyed and teary eyed. We exchanged jokes, stared at each other, laughed and said goodbye — all in one minute!
I met up with a good friend to get my long sleeves, which I will use at a wedding gig on Saturday. We just strolled for a couple of hours, had dinner, gratified my craving for Happy Lemon and went home.
Story # 2:
I spent almost an hour waiting for the bus. The wait must have been really long because a couple of things happened while I was waiting:
- An elderly woman suddenly approached me to ask for help; she told me that she needs money so she could go home. Her sudden appearance spooked me. She must have noticed it when I cringed, because she defensively explained that she is not a bad person. I started to get paranoid after that incident.
- I caught a creepy guy looking at me from a distance. After a while, the guy came to me and asked for the time. I cautiously looked at my phone and told him the time. His next question puzzled me: “Did you come from work? Or from school?” My reaction came out instantaneously, “Why? What is it to you?” My response seemed to have surprised him and prompted him to walk out, so I grabbed the chance to get away. I saw him, though, sneakily following me and eyeing me from afar with that creepy look. Freaky.
Story # 3:
This last story is action-packed. I was lucky to sit at the front seat of the bus.
A man in his late-twenties rode the bus and stood near the door (the bus was already full, so new passengers would have to stand). The grumpy bus conductor rudely yelled at the man. “Get inside! Move up!”
The man replied coolly, “No, I’m fine here.” He was smiling.
The bus conductor gave him the tiger look and yelled: “IF YOU DON’T WANT TO, THEN GET OUT!”
The man was obviously embarrassed. I don’t know what my reaction would be if I were in the man’s shoes, but I am just certain that I would get out of the bus at once when yelled at like that. Surprisingly, the man simply smiled and obeyed without protesting. I couldn’t believe it.
The rest of the travel was uneventful until the man signaled the bus to stop.
The bus conductor was standing beside the door; I’m convinced that he already forgot about his early encounter with the man as he was having a good laugh with the ticket inspector.
The door opened and the man walked down the bus. As he went out, he balled up his fist and punched the bus conductor in the face. It was a solid punch and the bus conductor nearly jumped in surprise. He was caught off-guard. From the window, I saw the man ran away quickly. And when he was sure he was already at a safe distance, he gave him the finger and a triumphant grin. All that the bus conductor had managed to do was cuss bitterly and spit empty threats to the man.
I mustered all the strength that I have to keep my poker face, but I was really laughing inside. HAHA. I don’t condone violence and revenge, but the scene was just too funny to watch — just like in the movies. The scene still repeats itself in my mind in cinematic slow-mo.
In the 30 minutes that ensued, the bus conductor kept laughing, albeit sheepishly, in a futile attempt to water down the embarrassment. He was massaging his jaw, though. He kept telling the driver and his inspector-friend that the punch didn’t really hurt, and that it didn’t hit him at all. The incident happened right in front of my naked eye, so I am very sure that the punch landed on his face.
That should be enough to teach him a lesson about being polite to passengers.
Oh well, that pretty much sums up my day. It’s 2 AM in my clock and I definitely need to hit the sack. Let’s call it a night.
Day 1 Challenge accomplished!
I think I’m signing up for this as I direly need something to push me to write. I need to flex my fingers and get my hands to work again.
Aside from that, I guess I need to start reading some books again. I feel like my brain is really getting dull by the day and it needs some serious tune-up to get it back to its original state. I don’t know if my telecommuting has something to do with this; I’m not experiencing any work-life imbalance, but I feel that something is really off. Whatever.
I guess I would start tomorrow by setting up a work station here in my room; that might somehow motivate me. I think it would also help if I draft a daily schedule of how I should spend my day productively. That could mean slashing a huge chunk of time on Facebook to do something more worthwhile such as reading books, washing the dishes, doing the laundry and attending to my freelance jobs.
Oh well, I will shelve those thoughts for tomorrow. For now, I would just seize the remaining hour of the day, summon my slacker self and watch Despicable Me, hot and fresh from Torrent.
Flashback to 2008.
I had my own PC in my room. It was a secondhand unit donated by a good friend, and I was really excited when I got my hands on it. But all I could ever do with it was play Solitaire, Chicken Invaders, Pinball and Minesweeper. Oh, I also used to play DotA a lot on it. We didn’t have an Internet connection then, so I had to rent out every time to check my Friendster (oh yes, Friendster) and post a blog.
Blog. That’s the reason why I was really excited when I acquired that PC. It was the most worthwhile thing I could do with it; aside from play all my favorite music on it. Then again, I always had to go to the nearest computer shop to post my blogs on the web; and I didn’t always have the money to do it. As a result, my blog entries usually piled up in my PC before I can post them online.
My usual sentiment: If only we have an Internet connection at home, I could update my blog anytime I want. And the sentiment would go on until it turns into the usual self-pity.
This went on until 2011. Thanks to Plants Vs. Zombies, which was a fun addition to my list of “worthwhile things to do” with my PC. But when I finished the game for like six times and my Tree of Life grew to more than a thousand feet already, playing PvZ got boring.
Nevertheless, that PC served me well until it got busted in 2011.
Fast forward to today.
I finally have my own laptop and a (relatively) reliable Internet connection at home. I need them for my work.
I still have Chicken Invaders in my laptop, but I don’t play it anymore. In fact, I’m not into games at all anymore. Aside from work, I only use my laptop to watch movies occasionally and to check my Facebook. “Check” is an understatement. This social networking crap consumes much of my time now and I’m beginning to actually hate it.
Because of too much Facebooking, I couldn’t find the time and the inspiration I need to blog more frequently even now that I have all the resources that I need. I really need to discipline myself on this aspect, lest I want my writer self to die.
I’m actually writing this entry just so I can flex my cranial meat again and see if my hand-brain coordination still works well.
If you reached this part of this entry and you regret reading this, my apologies. I told you, this has no sense.
Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.
I just finished watching Toy Story 3 for the second time and felt like I was actually seeing the movie for the first time.
The ending part where Andy decided to donate his toys to their new owner, Bonnie, still hit a soft spot. The lump in my throat began to form when Andy introduced his toys to Bonnie one by one. And when he actually played with them one last time, that did it! (I didn’t actually cry, but, I admit, my eyes got really wet.) It was actually 10x worse during the first time that I’ve seen it; I don’t wanna describe it here, really. Haha.
Mind you, I haven’t seen Toy Story 1 & 2 yet! I can’t imagine how it would be if I had actually seen these prequels before watching this part. I’m gonna download them now, nevertheless.