Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Fallen from Grace

It seems like just yesterday, when i posted about somebody's death. But if a lot of people were saddened with Jerome's death, nobody was for my poor old Aunty Grace's.

On our way home from the airport, two weeks ago, my mom told me she was dead. She died the day before i arrived. i asked my mom where the wake was being held. "Angeles, Pampanga, " came the reply. She didn't know anybody in Pampanga. She wasn't from that place. i found myself dozing off in the backseat of my cousin's car headed towards Angeles. We found the wake - empty, save for three househelps giggling in a corner. There were four wreaths - one from her adopted daughter's family, one from her sister-in-law's family, one from the funeral parlor, and one from her insurance company.


She was a character. she was described as an attractive and powerful woman, her face always made up , her hair high, and always dressed in a balloon skirt and high heels in the 60s and 70s. Sepia pictures displayed on her dusty table showed her in parties with the distinguished and elite people of the town.

She was mean. No househelp could stand her long. She accused one of stealing and clipped her hair bald. i heard of others being bruised before being sent away. A cousin of mine who stayed with her for some time never got married as Auntie Grace would frighten all her suitors away. Relatives feared her.

She was scary. My mom told us this story a long time ago. She had a fight with Auntie Grace in college and while coming out of the campus, she was dragged into a car by two unidentified men. Luckily she escaped. She somehow connected that incident with her fight with the old lady but didn't give out details.

But i never knew that mean old lady. The Auntie Grace i knew was a funny, frail old woman whom i always kid around. When her adopted daughter moved to Manila, the old lady was left alone in her house. The thieves knew of this and kept robbing the house that she literally sealed herself from the outside world out of fear. On her door she wrote in scrawny letters with a piece of chalk: "Beware robbers! High Tech Security Gadgets around. You are being watched by a secret camera."

Every week after school i'd check on her, fearing that she might have fallen down her stairs and was already decomposing without anybody noticing. Or maybe murdered by a robber who wasn't fooled by her door warnings. Oh but she was deaf! She wouldn't hear you if you called her name. From the outside, you'd think the house was deserted. I would throw about 3 or 4 stones against her window before she took notice. then she'd yell (to which i'd say to myself, oh she's still alive). She'd look out to see who was throwing stones at her house and would be thrilled to see me stading by her gate. Then she'd rush downstairs and start unlocking her door with her bunch of keys. there had been more than 5 bolts on that door.

I'd stay for some chit chat and then she'd ask me to play the piano for her. She was good player until her arthritis got to her fingers. She thought i was a prodigy (she exaggerates) and volunteered to give her piano to me when she died. She told me to take up Music at the Abelardo. A few years later, her house got flooded and, to my dismay, ruined the old piano. Good thing i had already stolen most of her pieces.

i was the nephew she liked most. she didn't like a lot of people.

Then the stroke came. And then the fractured hip. And the burden she caused her adopted daughter's family. And a lot more stories of pain and suffering. The once powerful and feared lady was reduced to a cripple.

And then finally death. Maybe she had been praying for it to come. She went silently knowing that her passing away would ease many tired hearts. She made a lot of enemies. i doubt it that she had friends. It is sad that she was buried in a place where no one cared for her, or knew her for that matter. But what is death anyway? "Death may be the greatest of all human blessings," so says Socrates. Maybe it was for my dear old Auntie Grace and the people around her. And in her passing, no tears were shed.

i don't think she will be missed by anyone but me.

my first metion of aunty grace on this blog was this.

and then the hip replacement.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Little David

The cabin i was in on my flight from LA to Manila looked like a geriatrics ward. there wasn't any passenger below the age of fifty...and all of them already in line for the restroom with the plane still on the ground.

at least it was going to be a peaceful 16 hours. Or so i thought until i got to my seat. sitting on the floor was a little boy with his gameboy in hand. i was wrong.

me: hi, i'm duke. what's your name?
little boy: i'm david.
me: ok, david, i will be your seatmate tonight. how old are you?
david: i'm five. may i touch your hair? (??????!!!!)
me: uhm..ok..go ahead.

and he proceeds run his fingers over my hair. the gelled stiffness had worn off since i just got off of two planes from houston and phoenix.

david: my brother is 16 and he's scared of girls.
me: and you're not?
david: no. may i touch your hair again?
david's mom: david, stop that! "pasensya ka na ha, sobrang malikot kse ito eh. gusto nya kse yung buhok na gaya ng sa iyo."
me: it's ok. you may touch it.

after getting his feel of my hair, he lifts the armrest and cradles his head against my arm and starts playing his gameboy explaining every little detail of the game to which i nod, pretending to understand. and every few minutes he'd ask permission to touch my hair again then rattle off with more of his stories while i tried my best to stay awake. his mom repeatedly scolds him to leave me alone in peace but when she dozes off he jumps on my lap and tells me stories again. He'd hand me his slate to draw him dinosaurs or asks me to say words for him to spell. then he'd ask to touch my hair again.

david: i want to pee. mom's asleep. could you bring me to the restroom? just promise me you won't look.
me: why would i want to look at your peepee?
david: come on, i gotta go!

and he pulls me along the aisle.

back in our seats, we did everything but sleep - arm wrestling to boxing to wrestling to jumping on me. the lady across the aisle fondly asks me how old my brother is. the man behind me whispers "kawawa ka naman di ka na makatulog."

later in the night..

david: hey duckie, will i ever see you again?
me: no. you will never see me again. when this plane lands i'll say goodbye and that will be the last of me you'll ever see.
david: (frowns) give mommy your address! so i can visit you back in the states!!
me: If you see me i'll pretend not to know you.
david: (punches my arm) Don't say that! take that back!! take that back!!
me: i won't.

i go under my blanket and feign sleep. he leans over to his mom and whispers..

david: mommy, will i ever see duckie again?
mom: i don't know.
david: coz he said he'll pretend not to know me when he sees me.
mom: that's because you keep disturbing him.
david: could i get his email address mommy? please? please??
mom: why don't you ask him?
david: (pulls my blanket and ruffles my hair) hey duckie! give mommy your email address so i can write you.
me: you can't even spell.
david: i know my letters! and i know what key to press if i punch in the wrong letter. come on!
me: i won't respond to your letters. i'll pretend it's spam.
david: (punches me again in the arm) give mommy your email!!!

voice over: we are 2 hours and 10 minutes away from Manila...

me: finally. two more hours and i'll be rid of you.
david: (looks at me, worried) i'll draw you!!

he gets his slate and draws a stick figure of me with my gelled hair. he shows it to me.

david: this is you, that is your hair.
me: what's this?
david: that's your tears. you are crying.

he curls up and lays his head on my lap for the rest of the trip.

voice over: one hour to Ninoy Aquino International Airport..

david looks more worried now. he clings tightly to my arm. from his seat he turns to me and puckers his lips.

me: what are you doing?
david: i want to kiss you.
me: ugh. no. don't even try. i don't want your saliva on me. let's just shake hands.

as i was getting my carry ons and helping the oldies with their, david just stands on his seat and looks at me.

me: i guess i'm going to say goodbye now. come on, give me a big hug.
david: ok.

and he reaches over and gives me the tightest hug a five year old could muster. and then steals a kiss and hugs me again, then ruffles my hair one last time. and i walk away.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


i turned 28 a few hours ago. :)

a lot of things have happened since my 27th birthday. pero wala ako sa mood magsenti senti o magreflect reflect kunwari. wahehehehe.

greet me!!!!! now na!!!

i'm back in the pilipins. pede ko na kaya sabihin yung mga "ay, walang ganyan sa isteyts." para kunwari sosyal daw. ayus.

"grabe, it's sooo inet here."

Saturday, April 01, 2006


this blog is not closing!!! hahahahahaa!

*laugh laugh laugh*

i always wanted to do that. in fact, i've been planning this for a long time now! hahahahaahahhaha.

ok ok, it wasn't april fool's day when i started that prank but i just couldn't wait. hahahahahahaha! sorry sorry sorry everybody.

anyway, i'm leaving for the Philippines in a few hours! and
i'm not flying them out of the country again. just this last time.
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