i remember…



I’ve heard people recount their earliest memory happening when they were three.  I’m a little late.  I don’t remember anything earlier than the age of five.

It was supposedly a normal day.  Playing with the neighbours’ kids.  Getting into a fight with my siblings.  No, I don’t fight with the other kids, otherwise, they won’t let me watch TV — we have no TV at home.

Anyway, it was around ten in the morning, I think.  I can tell because the sun was already getting hot but my stomach wasn’t rumbling yet.  I was on my way to my grandmother’s house next door.  Suddenly, a jeepney stopped by.  Which was weird.  Because jeepneys followed a certain route.  Unless someone with heavy packages requested it to go a certain way.

An elderly lady, the one who sold cooked shrimps, smiled at me and shouted in Tagalog, “Your father’s here!”

I knitted my eyebrows.  That couldn’t be.  My father was abroad working as a carpenter.  For our family, “abroad” means Saudi Arabia.  He’s one of those folks commonly referred to as OFWs*, or as our government put it, “new heroes”.  Or so my mother said.  I did not know him except in pictures.  I knew he wrote some letters to mom, but I didn’t know how to read yet.

Then a tall man alighted from the jeepney, grinning.  Suddenly, i was in the air.  He was like one of those daddies in TV who throw their kids in the air and then catch them.  I cried.  No, not the dramatic kind – the frightened one.  I don’t know why – it was really dumb.

He put me down.  And my younger sister ran towards him, laughing, saying “Tatay!” (Dad) over and over.


Ok, that took me 29 minutes to write.  I’m still struggling with putting words into paper and checking my grammar at the same time.  And sorting out the imagination from the memory.  Business English is far easier for me.

*OFW means overseas Filipino worker

And my father’s not really tall.  I know that now.