The Sunbaked King

Leche Flan

It was around the time we transferred to Davao when I finally stopped sleeping in my parents’ room and got my own. It was a wonderful moment of independence. Sure, it was just a jump across a very micro-mini corridor, but those two feet of space made a lot of difference. My older brother almost always slept late, and sometimes at the living room couch at that, so I had the room all to myself.

I was a prince in a sturdy fortress. After class, this young knight went straight to his room to save the damsel in distress over and over again, and to conquer his fear of witches and the supernatural. Which just means to say: Nintendo games and Stephen King books. My parents did not approve of locking the doors, so there was no real sense of privacy, but who needs privacy when you get transported to another world? I was a prince. I was a knight.

Except when I became sick. Then I was back to being a little boy again.

Sometimes, I used to wake up shaking under my blanket, rivulets of sweat flowing down from my face. I felt sad and lonely and miserable. With my small hands, I’d peel the blanket off me, gingerly get down from my bed, and walk those two feet of space that felt like a thousand. Then, with a quiet sob, tears mixing with sweat, I’d knock on my parents’ door. Gently at first, then with some urgency. As I stand there shaking, Mama would open the door, utter a cry of concern, press the back of her hand against my forehead, and usher me in. I was back again in my parents’ bedroom, and Mama wouldn’t sleep until I was alright.

Flash forward 15 years.

Work has been quite stressful lately. I think I’ve done something that is partly my fault, and it’s killing my time for my other tasks, and it’s killing my time for studying. I came from a trip that, while fun, was also tiring. I’ve spent some nights working overtime, not getting enough rest, and feeling crappy the entire day. At one point last week, I almost broke down to cry. 

And then I remembered. I picked my cellphone up, looked under my contacts, and pressed the Call button. 

“Hello Ma. Saan ka ngayon?

      “Nandito ako sa Rockwell.”

Gutom na ako.”

      “O ano mang gusto mo kainin? Dito na lang tayo?”

“Ikaw bahala, para hindi hassle, sa bahay niyo na lang, luto na lang tayo.”

      “Ay puwede rin langga [palangga = sweetheart], may binili akong bacon para sa kapatid mo.”

“Sige, masarap yan.”

      “Pero puwede rin dito, sa Milky Way na lang ulit tayo.”

“Sige, Ma. Punta na ako diyan in a while.”

Mama was here. In Manila. For almost a month. At that moment, I felt awash with a gratitude so intense it tingled from head to toe. And like the mother that she is, she immediately took care of me like the little boy I was– and still am. Needless to say, for the entire time we were together, joking around, me poking her ukay-ukay attire, and she telling me how vain I was, I felt all my burdens come undone from my shoulders. I felt refreshed. I felt free.

I love my Mama to bits.

Happy birthday, Ma. The past month has been a blast. Leche flan in December? 🙂

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Filed under: Domesticated, Sunshine, Testimonial

One Response

  1. white says:

    happy birthday to your mom 🙂

    [ba’t ang daming me birthday na nanay ngayon?]

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