“That night I looked up at those same stars, but I didn’t want any of those things. I didn’t want Egypt, or France, or far-flung destinations. I just wanted to go back to my life from my childhood, just to visit it, and touch it, and to convince myself that yes, it had been real.” ― Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir
Running through the streets of my old neighborhood, the wind blowing gently on a March afternoon, the branches of trees, along with their leaves are swaying to the rhythm of the air–I hear laughter, I hear shouts of glee, bicycle wheels, slippers, feet rustling among the leaves. Aah, childhood. You have been good to me.
The long bike rides when I learned to ride, the fresh country air, the company of good friends, oh! the adventures! My first bruises, scrapes, scratches didn’t stop me from running some more, playing some more. Long afternoon naps, the rays of the afternoon sun that warm you up just right–life was simpler. I didn’t appreciate what good memories there are until now, now that I am here, writing, in another country, facing the reality of life. The only trouble I had when I was a kid was having to follow my parents’ orders–take naps, eat well, take showers. Life was awesome, still is, only now, I deal with so many complications–part of growing up.
Again, I am invited to look back to precious childhood and pick out a person to write to. I reach for my first memories of existence and I pick out a face blurred with time.
Dearest Lola Inday,
I remember you taking me by hand, walking through a piece of land. We pass by a banana tree, the other trees seasoned with time, like you, sheltered us from the heat of the sun. You take out your piece of tobacco, you rolled it and lit it up. I walked at your side, you look out and tell me that my dog, Bantay, died. Faithful Bantay, you said, was killed with rat poison. You told me you will be burying him later in the afternoon. I felt sad that time, but not so much. Maybe it was because you held me by the hand or maybe because I didn’t really know what dying meant.
I remember your plump figure, vaguely your face. I remember the kind of dress you wore, it was a one piece, one that most grannies wore on a regular day–that stretchable floral whole dress, comfy, light. I remember it as red with small white flowers clustered through the dress’s length and width. It was being blown by the wind.
You always smelled of tobacco.
I do not know where you are now–if you are still walking this earth or have passed away. I never did get to thank you for taking good care of me and my big brother. Thank you for the meals you cooked. Thank you for the lullabies you’ve sung on those sleepy afternoons. Thank you for burying Bantay. Thank you because you never left me alone at home.
I would love to see you again if I could.