Febfuary 27, 2007 - My parents and I went to his classroom -the grade school principal holding my hand. It was nice to hear his classmates greet us, “Good morning, Mr and Mrs. ______. Good morning Ate Linzy.” I mustered the strength to return a smile. It’s his 12th birthday. My parents and I are here to give the Jollibee blow out he promised his classmates.
“They have been greeting each other, happy birthday since this morning.” His class adviser said.
It’s been five years but thinking about it still gives a heaviness on my chest, lumps on my throat and tears I can’t fight back. It was probably not a good idea to write this in the office.
I really don’t remember much from that day. I’ve actually just realized I don’t remember much of him at all. I’m really sorry and very ashamed. I just can’t help but cry and feel pain at the mention of his name. The only memories I have of him are of the few moments before and after his pictures that are on display in our house, the day he was born, and the day he was taken away from us.
Five years ago I didn’t have to think twice when people ask me how many siblings I have. I didn’t have to fake a smile when they say “Wow, 5 girls! Wala man lang kayong boy? Kawawa naman Papa mo, wala man lang siyang kasakasama at wala man lang magdadala ng apelyido niya. ”
You know the cheesy line broken-hearted-trying-hard-not-to-be-bitter people say? It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I hate that line. I hate it. If it was really better to have loved and lost you, why is it so painful to remember our happy times? Why do my eyes swell whenever I remember the morning of February 27, 1995 when our father woke me up smiling like I’ve never seen him do and asked me, “Sinong may baby brother?” His happiness was so contagious, I spent the whole day bragging to my second grade class that after having 3 sisters, I finally have a baby brother. I would feed him, change his smelly diapers, and put him to sleep on my chest.
Not having a heartwarming story of how we bonded as he grew up makes me sad. It’s not that we don’t have any. A lot happened with those 12 years he was here. Our parents had another baby girl and we moved to 8 different houses. We went from Luzon to Mindanao and back. Not having a story makes me sad but at least I can pull myself together during conversations with him as the topic. Which is a good thing because I don’t know how to do a headstand like Hua Zhi Lei to prevent the tears from falling.
I really shouldn't have written this in the office.