Friday, May 31, 2013

Mirror Universe

Seldom do I wake up in the morning to bad news; a blessing I am always grateful to embrace. Lately, it's about boys whining about their boner, or colleagues telling me they can't go to work. But today was different. I received an SMS from a friend's mom asking for prayers. She was facing a worrisome health condition, alone and with little relief.

Now you ask, why is the friend out of the picture? Why did my friend's mom send her text message to me, instead to her daughter? The answer lies on top of the Corcovado, and between the white shores of Ipanema and Copacabana. It knocks, at the door of her suite, overlooking the Atlantic where she is staying for a vacation. 

My friend won the grand prize early this summer, when her new flip-flops earned her the golden ticket. It was supposed to be a cruise trip in the Atlantic, but conflicts in schedule made her settle for the Rio De Janeiro instead. She left last weekend with a Mongolian friend. Her snapshots were all over Facebook and I was happy to be a mere observer. However, roles changed when her phone's roaming features suddenly didn't work. I was thrust in the moment I could not refuse.

"Favor naman, can you please tell my mom I'm ok dito sa hotel sa Copacabana." She sent a direct message on Twitter. 

"Her number is..."

From there, I have become an extension of her house; A liaison between mother and daughter. I have become someone ready to lend a hand - a friend she can reach out for help. But what didn't cross my mind came too soon, a sad reminder of the reason why she can't be with my friend on the far side of the planet.

"Pls help me pray for normal bp. Now very high. Am taking meds."

"I will po. May kasama naman kayo diyan?"

"Stay out maid... please don't tell..." She doesn't want her daughter to worry.

"Ok po..."

There was no need to worry after she assured me that she had taken her medicines. All she asked was prayer, and not for me to rush her to the hospital. But as I was eating my lunch, a part of me could not stay still. What if she just takes lightly her condition, and it turns worse?

Who will make decisions in behalf of her daughter?

"Manong, Caltex po."

With my mom's approval, I left home not to go to work. But instead, rode an FX going all the way to Fairview. It wasn't an easy trek, at such short notice. Even when I visit my friend, thinking of the distance usually cause me to call off the visit. But as I always do out of the blue, I went there putting myself in somebody's shoes;

What if it happens to my mother?

How does it feel when none of your friends can go see if she's safe?

And so it was a clandestine swing, where I dropped cans of Pineapple Juice and gave First Aid lessons to the one in-charge. My friend's mother was resting when I arrived, with only the maid present to receive me. Between the arrival and the departure, only three things stayed in my head:

  • Apply warm compress to the nape to stimulate blood flow to the brain.
  • Make sure the helper stays overnight, until my friend returns.
  • Learn the name of the helper. She introduced herself as Inday.

I didn't stay long, and left after parting my instructions. On the bus going to the office, I received a text message from my friend's mother, thanking me for the visit. She also said that her condition has improved.

In my head, I am planning for a follow-up visit.

I kept in touch even at work - as I was the go-between Rio and Lagro. Relieved of the outcome, I was even told that relatives came. To make sure my friend's mom has company. The stay-in maid will also arrive tomorrow.

To go at great lengths like that would count among the unsaid deeds I have done to others. Promising not to breathe a word, I have to drop this one for reasons of significance:

Since the time her daughter spoke to me again, there lingered the feeling that I will always be a stranger to her. I guess, she has not forgotten, or has never accepted the person I had become. More than for humanitarian reasons, or for some ends that would lead to my atonement, there is no denying the ties that bind:

Somewhere in an alternate timeline; in a mirror universe where I never learned to fall for men, being the first and last - her daughter that is. The lady I checked this noon could have been more than just a family friend.

In a parallel present very different from this life, she could have been my mother-in-law.

1 comment:

rudeboy said...

"For all sad words of tongue and pen/
The saddest are these/
'It might have been' "
-Joh Greenleaf Whittier