I AM HIM
When the blue night is over my face
On the dark side of the world in space
When I'm all alone with the stars above
You are the one I love.
So there's no need to worry girl
My heart is sealed for you
And no one's gonna take it away
Coz I promise you girl
I promise you this.
Blue Night Chorus, Michael Learns to Rock
A journey with papa, short or long, means listening to Michael Learns to Rock songs with Blue Night as his favorite and mine for the past year or two.
When I was in elementary and high school, his loud wake up song would be “Obladi-oblada, life goes on…yeah, la-la-la, life goes on…” When he sees me walking out of the bedroom, he would carry and waltz me even if I’m half-asleep. Maybe because of his overseas work, he never wasted translating his yearnings in his letters to vivid pictures of love and pride when he’s home.
My father must be trying to sleep by now (3:00 a.m., 26 April 2008) while having difficulty to catch up one like I do. In a few hours (7:00 a.m.), he will undergo a surgical operation (his first time in 65 yrs.) for an illness he dismissed as bouts of his ulcer. Three weeks ago, we found out it was colon cancer, stage 2. Since he has been diagnosed, the rushes of thoughts about him come flooding uncontrollably.
A month ago, he gave me a ride on the way to school. We saw a girl who must be eight years old, carrying a pail and a weighing scale quite heavy. She was beside her mother who was pushing her cart of fish for sale. Papa said the little child reminded him of himself. As a young boy, he would go out to sell their homegrown vegetables. His older and wiser brother was his barker while he carried the trade.
His humble beginnings have been instilled in me and my brother’s psyche- from the time he set foot to Manila from Cagayan Valley to work at Weinstein Pianos so he could pay for his college studies. He became a civil engineer and left for a number of countries to fend for us.
People say I am papa’s female version. I look like him. When my mother would reprimand me, she would compare my stubborn traits to papa’s own. I am him alright. I am his moderated version.
Papa gave much to us through the years. When he decided to stay in the country for good, he penny pinched. He kept to himself when he wasn’t feeling well and ignored his sickness. He needs to work. I would remember him saying. He doesn’t want to bother anyone as much as possible.
Behind his strictness, quick temperament and frankness, is a soft-hearted, single-minded, generous, and thoughtful man who would insist on his healing, not for himself but for us.
May his health be restored and he, be faith-filled.