The floor needs sweeping. That was the first thing I thought when I opened my eyes and saw the floor, its cold hardness slowly waking me from sleep. I continued to stare at the dust that accumulated under our bed, forcing my brain to work and commanding my body not to move. The tambis tree outside our window already cast shadows on the walls. It must have been five-thirty in the afternoon. I could already hear the sizzling of Aling Elsa’s pans and the grating sound her spatula made as it caught its bottom. Berto had turned on the garden hose and started with the watering. Children’s laughter and chatter filled the street as they made their way towards our house that our neighbors envied. Somewhere down the same street, my children were making their way home to me. My angels, my two beautiful boys, my world. Nothing in this world would keep me from giving them the best. They deserved nothing less but the best home, the best food, the best clothes, and the best memories. These things could only be given to them by the best family. Nothing would keep me from giving them these things I never had. Not even the pain that prevented me from standing.
“I’m sorry,” he sobbed at the corner, on the couch where we had made quick love a few times.
Continue reading Family Picture
Rolando Tuka awoke to the familiar morning chill. He was already awake, but he didn’t open his eyes. Lying stiff as a steel bar, he listened to his little siblings’ shuffling feet, the bubbling pot of instant noodles her mother probably stirred, the tapping of the soft rain on their thatch roof, and his favorite, his family’s laughter as they start to gather around the kitchen table which serves as their dining table as well. A typical morning, only today his siblings are singing Christmas carols.
Kasadya ning taknaa. He opened his eyes, sat on the bed, wiped the grit off of them and stared at the poster he had on his small room. Dapit sa kahimayaan. He was a very practical eighteen year-old and he knew that his small frame that spoke so little of his age can only accomplish so much. Mao’y atong makita. That’s why, unlike his other co-workers who begged for the Mitsubishi or Ford cars posters a convenience store at the next town discarded, he asked for the other poster that was ignored. Ang panagway nga masanglagon. He was grateful for the Max’s Restaurant’s Chicken-all-you-can poster that was granted to him. Bulahan ug bulahan. That was three months ago and he appreciated the reminder to work extra hard for a little luxury of impracticality on Christmas Eve.
Continue reading Yellow Christmas