Thursday, July 14, 2011

Too late?

He was the one who knew what I exactly need every time I am faced with a few set backs. He was the only person who thinks I look pretty when the whole world tells me otherwise. He is my father.

My father and I never had that idyllic father-daughter relationship. I have my own share of 'if only(s)" of him. But this morning, I realized, despite our relationship being not so good lately that I am still capable of worrying about him.

Growing up as the eldest of the brood, I had the unfortunate chance of experiencing and knowing most of the consequences of his past decisions. I had to work all the time to be able to provide for the things that I need in school. Whereas other kids may want to work for job experience, my reason for working was to survive. There was a time when I had to juggle multiple jobs just so I can pay for the things that I need. All through that, my father was a distant figure in my struggle. Even until now.

I was shaken this morning when I was told of his condition. I was on my way to work aboard the jeepney silently mouthing expletives because of the traffic when my phone rang. It said on the screen, "Tatay". Whenever my father sends me messages, he usually just asks about how I am. Thinking that it was another 'how are you' message, I nonchalantly opened it so I can delete it right away. A waste of message memory space, was what I thought.

It wasn't the usual message after all. My father got into an accident while at work. His whole arm and leg was burnt. Horrid images filled me. I know just how much my father loved cleaning our backyard. How else could he do it when his arm is incapacitated? He also loves to scour the market for cheap finds. How else could he do it if he can't walk anymore? Maybe I was exaggerating but distance allows for me to imagine the worst.

For the first time, I wasn't able to stop my tears from falling while in the jeep. Other passengers may have thought of me as a freak but I can't do anything about it. My tears just kept on falling.

I was used to having money troubles. That I can handle. Losing boys, I have also become quite adept. I've had my fair share of terrible losses. But to lose a family member, to lose that one person who might be the only person in the world who understood that instead of words I am most appeased through gestures was overwhelming.

I have ignored my father for so long. Only talked to him when I had to. For while he provided love, he was also volatile.Despite it all, I have somehow understood how having a father albeit vaguely is better than not having anyone at all.