Ang Aking Ama

Ang Aking Ama, 2005

Daddy, Father, Papa, whatever you call him. He’s the big man who shaped your life. He’s the man who made you a man. He’s your hero, your friend, your father.

I remember some interesting moments I spent with my father. Five of these have taught me how to be who I am today.

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The first memory begins when I was about eight years old. I remember engaging in pugilism with my younger brother over something I don’t recall. Father walked in, saw us fighting, and tried to separate us both. My younger brother and I were so heated up that we didn’t heed his order to stop. In fact, I think I even hit father’s stomach trying to sneak a punch in the unceasing scuffle.

Then father shouted.

It was like thunder- remembering it sends chills down my spine. Father then ordered us to lie on our stomachs as he unfastened his belt. I felt the fear of pain. Father raised his belt. I closed my eyes. No pain came. Father didn’t want to hit us. Instead, he looked into our eyes with sadness, a look of disappointment, of pain, and then left the room.

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The second memory was when the family was swimming at a resort in Subic. I recall being in the swimming pool, at about ten years old, drifting lazily with my floater when I heard someone shouting that someone was drowning. I saw father running to the pool with his beer belly and blue shorts. Man, was it sexy.

Then something un-sexy happened- he slipped on the wet ground and fell on his back. I remember seeing him falling, falling, falling with a thud. He didn’t break anything- he just had some wounds and bruises here and there. Oh, and the person who was “drowning”? Turns out that it was just a kid playing a prank.

We laughed at the end of that day. I don’t care what people say- man, was father sexy that day.

+++

The third was when I was in the hormone-riddled age of thirteen. If I can say, they were right in saying that the teen years are the roller coaster rides of life, but I digress.

I remember slamming my door at father when I was thirteen for refusing to buy a computer monitor for me. Now that I look back at it, it was a stupid thing to do. Father didn’t speak to me for a week. I didn’t speak to him for a week. Inside, that spoiled brat of a son kept saying that I did the right thing. I was convinced that I was right, that I was supposed to be the one in charge. Then the guilt gnawed into my heart; I remember father’s blank look when we crossed paths during that week of silence. By the end of the week, I told the brat to shut up and grow up.

Father was in the bedroom when I approached. I approached him from the back, quietly, like a thief. Outside I was playing it “cool”, as the kids then say, but inside, I was this little boy who was afraid to grow up. I sat by father’s side. The first words were hard to say, as if a lead pill were lodged into your throat. Then it came easily, as flowing water does when you drink it. I will never forget how father embraced me in his arms after I said sorry.

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The fourth story was when I was in high school. I felt insecure about who I was during those years. Yup, I was a nerd, in the purest sense of the word. And I proudly say that I still am, because of my father.

It was during a recollection that our school hosted for us when father wrote his first and only letter to me as of this writing. The letter was written on a short bond paper, folded crosswise. On the paper was father’s scriptwriting, slightly better than mine. He saw me in a way that the insecure kid inside didn’t. While the kid said that I was just a pimply, eyeglass-wearing, metal-mouthed weakling, father said otherwise. Let part of the letter speak for itself:

Sana paglaki mo hanggang sa ikaw ay makatapos ng iyong pag-aaral at magkaroon ng sariling pamilya, hindi ka sana magbago. Masuerte kami ng Mama mo na magkaroon ng isang anak na katulad mo. Mahal na mahal ka namin.

I keep that letter in a drawer. Call me cheesy, but I also keep it here, in my heart.

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The fifth was the many times I would talk to father as  we were heading home during my early college days. He would pick me up from the train station when I arrived, and we would listen to the news on the radio as he drove like a zen master through the rough traffic of swerving jeeps and buses.

It was during these times that father and I would talk about ideas on abstract things like democracy and human rights, on ideal things like love and peace, on dreams, on life, and on those mundane things that aren’t taught in school *wink, wink*. It was during these moments that father and I dreamed of the future.

Looking back, those many conversations are some of the reasons why I never stop believing in a better tomorrow.

+++

Today is my father’s birthday. I am here in the city, writing this. What gift can I give my father?

Today I shall give him this promise: I will finish my BSN degree by 2012.

I love you, Pa. Happy birthday!

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9 Comments

  1. kbugal

     /  July 21, 2009

    sana parang facebook,
    pwedeng mag ..”kara likes this.” haha!

    Reply
  2. jian5

     /  July 21, 2009

    haha, i likes this too. thanks kara!

    Reply
  3. The Symbiote

     /  July 23, 2009

    Wow… this entry’s significantly longer than your other posts. Anyway…

    Your parents are lucky to have such a good son. And a very thoughtful one at that…:) Imagine naman kasi, how hectic our workload is. *toink*

    ‘la lang. Even as a casual reader, I’m very touched by this post. Heehee… ^_^

    Reply
    • jian5

       /  July 24, 2009

      It would be longer if I wrote everything. Hahaha.

      Awww, thanks!

      And I’m glad you liked this post! Me likes it too!

      Reply
  4. Starlight

     /  July 23, 2009

    You are such a CHEESEBALL! Pero okay lang. I ❤ you anyway. Hahahahahahaha Uy. Tuwa na yan. :))

    Akala ko ba magkalapit ng birthday si tito at si daddy? Or were you pulling my leg? Or maybe I am misremembering? Anyway, happy birthday from me! And God bless (to your dad pero sa 'yo na din). 🙂

    Reply
  5. Starlight

     /  July 25, 2009

    Hey, sugar. :))

    This isn’t really a comment. I’m just testing it out.

    Reply
  6. Starlight

     /  July 25, 2009

    Ugh. Darn, it works now. 😛

    Reply
    • jian5

       /  July 25, 2009

      Hey starlight!

      Awww… I wish I knew what your comment was… Darn glitch..

      Reply
  7. Starlight

     /  July 26, 2009

    I know right? Ang naaalala ko na lang is Happy Birthday at God bless to your dad.

    Oh, and I can’t go train with you on Saturday and I can’t come na on Friday kasi na-move ang aming Cell Module Finals on Saturday morning. Huhu But at least it’s more time to study. 🙂

    Reply

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