Tuesday, September 25, 2012

For The Future

Previously: Literary Bedrock 

The trend is to lay claim to the overhead cabinets, before they too fall victim to the hoarders looking for space to dump their keepsakes. These wooden storage boxes, while already being used as repository of useless things, don't make the most of the available space. Given proper attention, the old stuff they hold can be thrown away, allowing the essentials littering the ground and at the mercy of the elements to be kept instead. 

For this urgency, I volunteered to occupy the overhead cabinet opposite my room. It has never been used since it was put there, and the handful of bags and other small items it holds could be passed on to new owners who might have better use for them.

My idea was to squeeze in the comforters my mother bought when chill weather used to pay a visit. It's been ages since they were taken out of their dust-coated plastic bags, and their old spot not only blocks the passage along the narrow corridor, their ugly presence tell that we don't have a place to keep them. 

Using a borrowed ladder, the ledges of the overhead box were wiped clean. The material excesses, including the motorcycle helmet which I never used when I had a bike - were carted away. After turning the cabinet into an empty shell, I shoved the comforters in, but only my sister's sheet could fit. I still have to find a place for my comforter, or I might sneak the over-sized blanket out of the house and give it to someone who needs it.

But as I descend the steps of the ladder, I chanced upon a stack of carton boxes that are also blocking the path. And then I remembered the man-sized book case that used to occupy half the space of the corridor before it was towed away to the master's bedroom. The encyclopedias and information tomes were hastily put inside the carton boxes before they were abandoned.

Meanwhile, I craned my head up to where the overhead cabinet was and thought of a better use for the space.

The fate of those books and my plans to share the knowledge before their hard-bound sources become obsolete has always been a thorny issue between me and the matriarch. 

My mom insists that we should keep them "for the children." But I would counter that my nephews would be using tablets once they step foot in grade school. Mother would brush off my vision, while I secretly grumbled in protest. But between sowing discord and embracing world peace, I never dared touch those tomes out of fear that I might fall into temptation

And give away those books without her permission.

But as I take out the volumes of Collier's Encyclopedia, and the non-fiction sagas out of the carton boxes, I cannot help but recognize the matriarch's line of thinking. Those books not only nourished me, they were part of my growing up years along with Nintendo, Voltron and Bioman.

Those precious gems of knowledge may have lost their charm in today's world. Nevertheless they have played a role I can never deny. Letting the less fortunate gain from these books is the most prudent move. But what about our own children - our bundles of joy, whose minds are now beginning to search for answers about their world? And what about the memory? Would I drop my sentimental leanings knowing there's a path to remembrance?

The stuff I tried to fit in were suddenly seen flying out of the storage cabinet. When the ledges were cleared, the atlases, almanacs and children's fairy tales were carefully arranged so that they could fit together and leave a gentle afterthought that they were put there on purpose.

I may not know what the future holds, but following my mom's ardent faith that books are timeless pieces, I may have unknowingly passed on the wisdom I have gathered, like fireflies, to lead the way for those who will one day follow our footsteps.

"For the future," I said, before closing the sliding door. In my head, I could almost hear the squeaky voices of my slightly older nephews asking to be read a book.