Still, Spontaneity

I never fantasize about having my own family. Don't like getting married. Don't like children. But of course I've thought about these things.

Batibot ChairSee, you have this space, or I have this space I've grown so accustomed to for how many years. I cannot imagine having this space shared, compromised--for all eternity, that is. In the simplest sense, I don't want to bother about somebody else who might not like a curtain I intend to put on the window.

But I like sharing, I like relationships. I like them so much I want a lot of them. It is just that I love solitude. And I want to spare myself the worry. I worry too much about myself already. If I have a child, I will go crazy thinking how s/he fits in her/his environment, that s/he might get into an accident, and the list goes on.

Great GrandmotherBatangas will always be my favorite place. Lolo and Lola Lipa will always be my favorite couple. Theirs is the energy I desire.

Every time we have a reunion, I appreciate what a family is (supposed to be.) You know it's not about the reunion itself, but what it elicits from you. Curiosity, care. You catch up, not just on each other's lives, but on how each other look like. Of course the stories. Tita Ning cries to Lola while talking about being cheated in her business.

Lolo Lipa, at 94, is a bit quiet. He can no longer walk on his own. He can't hear well, he can't see well. He can't see me. If he sees me, he doesn't remember who I was.

I feel lucky enough to have had a great grandmother in Lola Abe. She had reached more than a century. I want to reach more than that age.

Whenever we're at my grandparents' house at Lipa, we'd always eat mangoes fresh from the tree at their backyard. That Mango tree is older than me or any of my cousins. The new park just across the house is getting better and better every time we visit and my brother and I loves having coffee there. We've yet to try flying a kite in that well-contrived nature. And then there's Tito Joel's motorbike, well, him and his motorbike. My father used to have one, but I was so young then, I didn't have the chance to ride it. Now I can and I always do when I go to Lipa.

Mango TreeA Contrived Nature
Wild RideLittle Temple

My parents say that when my grandparents die, their home will be turned into a rest house. There was once a tree house in the backyard and a small bahay kubo. The bahay kubo was meant for us, the young ones, when we were still children. It was destroyed a couple of years ago. This time the two houses in the lot will be completely destroyed. I don't know if that means they'll also demolish the little village fixture in the backyard, which used to amuse me as a child. I would imagine a whole story set in it.

Lolo speaks up. He wants to go to their old house at San Juan where my father was born. Lola tells us that Lolo loves that place so much, because he loves the people in it. Without hesitation, Lola calls her brother at San Juan. A few more minutes, my father tells us to get ready and get in the car.

The house at San Juan is small, but tidy. The furnishings are color coordinated, the tablewares match.

San JuanAt the dining table, while having merienda, Lolo animatedly recalls the time he went to Mindoro in search for anting (of all the things he can remember...) He says he found it. The story must be cut short. It's almost four o'clock, which is the hour for the last mass. If we don't hurry, we might suffer the heavy traffic.

Lolo takes the front seat of the revo van, all to himself. He needs that space. Lola sits at the back with my mother. My brother and I are in the middle. Lola tells my mother that she recently brought a monoblock chair with armrests for Lolo.

"Para mas madali kapag pinapaliguan ko siya. 330 ang bili ko. Mabuti iyong matibay," Lola explains to my mother. "Daddy, okay ka lang diyan?" Lola shouts to Lolo. Traffic's getting bad. "Masaya ka ba?"

"Ay hindi pa 'ko natatawa," he answers.

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