I still could not bring myself to write you Mother. It’s kind of weird how it’s hard to write for the people you love the most – turn them into literature or into something else beautiful. Perhaps it just me and my poetics, that I choose to write because I want to let go of things, to let go of people.
But I don’t want to close it there. Here I am, trying to write for the people I love, especially for you. I remember your reaction when I got published in a magazine for the first time – you told me that I was the best, that I could write well, you believed in me. You even asked me to write a poem for you and everyday I am crushed when I cannot find the right lines to begin with, everyday I am guilty because I cannot put you into poetry as I promised you. I feel weak when I cannot fulfill my promise – especially to you Mother.
Do you remember when we drove the brown Toyota home from the market? And the keys were inside the house and you made me crawl inside via our store window? Or the one when I kept on stealing the iced candies that you were selling so I could eat them? I remember Mother. I remember.
You were there when I had my faux marine coat sewn and supported my fandom, you were there when I finished college with a Literature degree, and you told me that we both had similar dreams of being teachers. I will become a teacher Mother, for myself and for you. You may not have finished college and became a teacher but you taught me to become one and I will be one. I will be one because I want to be like you – telling kids what is right and wrong, defining ambiguous words for them, reading books to them, giving them assignments and pats on the backs. I will do all of those mother. I promise you.
Recently, you were with me when my then-girlfriend broke up with me. And you taught me one more thing: that “A woman who doesn’t like your family isn’t worth it.” And it is true, but hearing you tell me that I’ll be fine and it’s alright while I sit on the sidewalks on Manila is enough to calm me down. I know you saw my hurt and almost wanting to kill myself for a girl who went with another man, who cheated on me, who nursed you when you were in the hospital. But it was you who told in the end that she’s not worth it. You told me that there would be a better woman ahead of me and hopefully you’re still there when she’s by my side. But enough of me. This is for you Mother.
Tonight, I’m here in Dubai and you are in Manila. After nineteen years of growing up in your midst, watching teledramas, walking places, talking, washing dishes, eating dimsum, going to noodle joints along the river, and haggling for shirts at the market, we are separated. After nineteen years I’m in another country and you are in another. I still remember how you cried on the night of my flight – I was going to the car with my bags and you were walking behind everyone, with tears in your eyes, maybe you have kept them inside for nineteen years as well. And then I saw you, through the commotion, the luggage, you were there behind everyone else… crying. You’re my Grandmother but I beg to differ. To me you are my Mother. Happy Mother’s Day.
11th of May, 2014. 12:27AM (DXB)