By the time I am done writing this, the old house of my childhood will be reduced to dust and rubble - the area to be flattened and paved as a parking lot for its new owners' three cars. Moreover, the surrounding lots have been sold and mowed down to give way for more cement. Heavily, I feel that the memories of that place and of my early life will forever vanish.
Block by block, tree by tree- there is so much to remember, so much to lose.
Over and around that house, you would have seen (1) pine trees, one fell during a storm; (2) a guava tree, whose fruits I used to sell; (3) the rabid sayote area that fed our countless dogs; (4) our countless dogs, all askals - mongrels - none survived; (4)The relentless marapait, a wild sunflower, whom I waged an equally relentless war with wielding my bolo and spade, cutting and digging thru the stems and the roots; (4)The valley which, because of the surrounding flora, can only be viewed from the 2nd floor veranda; and (5)the veranda where I, with my brothers and my cousins, used to shout to the world things never understood by anyone, including us.
We never worried about what others would say about what we want to say. We had the perfect excuse to be "crazy" and we had no immediate neighbors. The house stood between (6) the river below and (7) the mountain above, surrounded by trees and wide open spaces of greenery for us and the dogs to explore. Technically, however, there (8) are houses beyond the river, mostly empty vacation houses of the "rich"(some were famous actors), and on top of the mountain there is (9) the elementary school and convent run by nuns. We had to climb a mountain everyday (four years for me, three for my sisters before we all transferred to a city school).
We had the place all to ourselves. It seemed to be at the middle of everything while remaining detached from everything - so much activity in the middle of nowhere. Like a centerpiece of a table that stands in the middle but is humbly not the center of attention.
1) Can a parking lot be at the middle of everything?
No, there is just too much emptiness in a parking lot- a wide empty space to place empty vehicles.
2) Can a parking lot be that dusty box of old old dead toys just lying under your bed? Will I look at it and feel nostalgic? "No" is my hypothesis.
3) Move on, they say but why does it bother me to lose the only memento to my childhood?
I cannot yet answer that last one. Regardless, it is our duty like what we do for the dead to create fables as farewells before we send them to the realms of nothingness. Here are some eulogies before I lay to rest the house of my early memories (with their moral and not so moral lessons).
Here is the first story:
1. Defeating a Champion
It is said that if the blood warrior has so progressed in the art of the blade, weapon and man become one. The blade seemingly weightless in his hands, dance with the flesh of its enemies like bamboo branches swaying with the wind- waving but always in place.
No doubt, the warrior on this mountain, winning this battle one foggy afternoon is a blade master. Orcs, demons, and shapeshifters were torn like old paper, shattered like the thinnest glass. HACK and SLASH. HACK and SLASH. Two orcs down, two demons parting with their heads and other evils were vanquished in the most one-sided battle between good and evil. HACK and SLASH. HACK and SLASH. Good triumphs this afternoon. There is no stopping the warrior, now a champion of carnage and massacre. The blade danced as he danced, and death danced with them as bodies and parts of bodies dangled, swayed or flew away. Even the seemingly endless sea of enemies stood no chance of drowning the hero with fatigue or boredom. HACK and SLASH. HACK and SLASH. Mangled bodies littered the bloody path of the young war master as he made his way deeper and higher into the mountain. Almost no one could stop him. Almost. HACK and SLASH.
"Dinner Time!" .
Yet the hero heard it not, rather it was the only thing he did not wish to hear. HACK and SLASH
"Dinner !" this time, the call came louder and closer with a tinge of anger. The one who called, a middle-aged woman, was now standing a few distance from the hero, with her hands on her hips and with an admonishing look on her face.
Instantaneously, time and space and all those in between that only theoretical physics can name clashed and distorted to create a distortion of what is real and not real.
For what the woman saw was not an evil mountain but their own backyard. Not an army of monsters, but a series of Marapait (a wild sunflower). She saw no mangled bodies but branches and leaves cut not by a magic sword but by a bolo drenched NOT in blood but with the distinct smell of that sunflower.
And the hero?
Just a 9 year old boy, with mucous peeking from his baby nose, whom she tasked to clean their backyard apropos driving and stopping the mosquitoes for mosquitoes breed well in whatever stagnant water lay undisturbed under all the intertwining flora."Inka ag-lugam", she said but she saw what a poor job the boy did "tsk!" since the marapait is akin to the hydra, the more branches you chop, the more branches sprout. It is only by digging out the root will you be able to stop it from spreading. and she did not see any dug out ground. She would remind the boy during dinner.
"Now." She said with certainty.
"ish..." the hero snorted reluctantly (hack and slash) then, "coming" replied the boy.
Sluggishly, he made his way down the slope. He took a quick glance at the battlefield, and was proud with his unfinished victory. Tomorrow, he told himself.
1) Realize that your own grand epic adventure is just a sitcom for another, your own telenovela of pain and struggle is nothing but a noon time joke for someone who might have suffered more or just older.
2) "At the end of the day, every champion is a prisoner of care."
3) You are the marapait, who at the end of the day is busy building more branches from its own cuts, spreading itself further and fuller.
4) the end of the day is actually the start of another day?
Over the years I have collected scars and scarred others just the same. Depending on the story I choose to write, I could either be thankful for the ones I have received and remorseful for those that I have given or vice versa. But this time, for all those scars, we lay them all to rest. For my hand yearns for the bolo that is not there and I no longer see nor smell the Marapait.