Friday, June 18, 2010

Summoning The Bloodlines


T-Minus One



If a picture is worth a thousand words, a symbol is worth a million. A union between couples may go as planned, but without the symbolic presence of the people - the couple - particularly the bride cares about, the union loses its importance.

And so for three days, work and gym had to take a back seat. I called in sick as early as 5 am two days ago only to leave the house at 9 to catch the favorite aunt. She was doing her rounds at a hospital in Manila. The invitation was received, despite her most heartbreaking disappointment when she learned about my sister's pregnancy several months ago. She accepted the invitation and even volunteered to pay for our rented car.

She will come on her wedding.

Hours turn to dust as the blistering heat of a mid-day sun scorched a busy city. While chasing the other aunt who was under the radar these past few months, I learned that finding her would entail a lot of effort. I went to her office in Luneta only to learn that she had a seminar in a hotel in Makati. Meanwhile, the sponsors' invitations require personal delivery as well. Not to mention a special trip to Diliman to enroll in a European Language Class and a side trip to Pag-Ibig, to chance upon a loan that would boost my savings.

A wrong jeep lead me to the gates of Santa Clara Church. Listening to my better angels, I knew what to do. I had to pause and give thanks for a well-spent sick leave. A family friend in Katipunan (who I suspected to be gay - and he is well-beyond fifty) keeps a cute houseboy. I tried to downplay my suspicions but my baklameter registered otherwise.

Under the ruthless sun I walked miles to reach my destinations. I had to switch from one jeep to another just to catch up the people I had to see. The aunt who had a seminar in Makati has already left when I arrived. I could not send her a text message out of fear that she might decline the invitation. A security guard in a gated village refused my entry when I said the wrong name of another family friend. It was almost six in the evening and my journey is not yet over. I knew then that to catch the other aunt, I would have to drop by her place in Paranaque. Giving up is not an option. I felt - through my conversations with my mom before sending the invitations that she wanted her sisters to personally receive the letters.

In hope that some old wounds may be healed.

I boarded a not-so-ordinary bus in Ayala - the ones that are notoriously good in running-over people in Edsa and East Avenue. It was packed up to its very doors with oh-so-very ordinary masa eager to get home. Traffic was light at SLEX and Bicutan appeared just beyond an overhead signboard ten minutes after the jet-bus took off at Magallanes. Enduring the long wait to get a tricyle, the sticky, smelly skin after embarking on a road trip across a dusty metropolis, the bumpy road going to my aunt's house - only to find that she hasn't arrived yet,

would have crushed my already withering bones.

But such sacrifices only come rare in one's lifetime and a wedding is a once-in-a lifetime experience. So I waited.

waited.

and waited.

Finally after an hour, the doorknob turned and when the door opened, it was her. Handing over the invitation, the other aunt's bright smile hinted her answer.

"Of course we will come."




I rode a luxurious coach going north the following day. The invitation will be given to my father's only sister this time. Though she informed ahead that she will not come, (despite my unconditional offer of renting a car on her behalf) she presented 2 thousand pesos from her personal savings as a gift. This aunt survives by means of occasional remittances from my uncle. With a son (who has a pregnant wife and a daughter) she still requires to look after, an adopted kid she needs to raise. Such gift is a great sacrifice.

Before leaving the place, I went to the cemetery to visit a fallen bloodline. It should have been my sister honoring his grave, but my conscience would never let me rest until I perform the act myself.

In the remaining months of his life, we were arch-enemies.

We only found peace one year after his passing. In a dream.

"I would take your place on her wedding day. Sana buhay ka pa para nakita mo siyang maglakad sa altar."



9 comments:

~Carrie~ said...

It was noble of you to do these things.

red the mod said...

Often we focus incessantly on our plight to achieve our dreams that we fail to actually live our lives, the one we have at the moment. And the challenge of the succeeding generations is always to find this balance, and vindicate the shortcoming of their forefathers. Today you showed this, by choosing to prioritize what matters - family, and your heart. May you find tranquility in the vast rekindling of your bloodlines. And a new strength in the knowledge that it is still possible. Even now.

Kapag kinasal kami, punta ka ha?

Alterjon said...

so this is the other side of you that I've been hearing of.

Toilet Thoughts said...

your sister is really one lucky girl to have you as her brother. you've been doing a lot for her despite her giving you much headaches before. yeah, she's really lucky to have you as her kuya. kung sakaling me kuya ako, alam ko na kung sino batayan ko. :P

Guyrony said...

Arch-enemies. I share the same sentiment.

Have you forgiven him?

I haven't and I don't really know if I could.

Not this time.

Or maybe not this lifetime.

SOLTERO said...

i can't find the right words to say, but i'm glad you found it in your heart to make peace with him.

when u see your nephews or nieces in the future, your sacrifices will be all worth it!

JR said...

Master Galen- pag-uwi ko bibigyan kita ng bonggang-bonggang lap dance! hehe

Seryoso, you're a great soul..sarap mo maging kapatid..kapamilya ;-) I am sure your dad is so proud of you...keep it up bro.

Anonymous said...

sana pag-uwi ko ay magkita tayo,
patungong altar, maglalakad tayo.
para magpasalamat sa binabahagi mong kwento
at ipagdasal na sana, ang kapatid naman ang gumawa nito sau.

best wishes mugen!

a dubai reader...

jp_cardinale said...

aw napakabuti mong tao at kuya idol! i wish i had an older brother like you. nawa'y pagpalain ka pa ng bonggang bongga! =)