the triumph of luv over everything else




(please click here for the first part of this story.)

against his wishes, i took my apo to my chalet to better take care of him. i also wanted to know what's ailing him this time.
for god's sake, he is not getting any younger. he can't keep on doing this, shutting everyone off and hiding from the world every time something is not right.
i also wanted to know why he quit his last job, a fabulous one overseas.
something is not right, i know. as usual, his poor, helpless mother, pacita, doesn't know what to do. it has to be her mother-in-law who has to do the dirty deed for her.
don't get me wrong. even if pacita did not call me, i was really about to come to his place and get down to the bottom of things. i am starting to get worried. i luv my apo and i don't want anything bad to happen to him. i have seen it before and i don't want it to happen again.
it's sixteen past midnight and he is fast asleep inside the guest room. i asked the nurse to leave us alone. he luvs this room. all white from the ceiling, walls, curtains to the carpet. there is not much furnishing too. no teevee. no ipod. no ipad. just a few of his favourite coffee table books and a goya and a dali on the walls. he luvs dali, his child-like, dream-like images.



the doctor said he has high fever so he gave him some medicines. he said my apo has been sick for several days but he never took anything. my goodness. what if i did not drop by this morning?
que horror!
i put my hand on his forehead, the fever has subsided. i kissed him good night.
i was about to leave his room when he called my name.
"is that you grannie?" he sounded like a child, sleep still in his voice.
quietly, i walked toward him and sat on his bed.
"how are you?"
he tried to rise but i told him to stay in bed. he hugged me.
"i miss you grannie."
"i missed you too."
before i knew it, we were both crying.
"what's wrong?"
he kept on crying.
"shhhhhhshhhhhhhhhh. don't cry. grannie is here."

**********


he is sitting in the bed, his back resting on the pillows that i piled against the bedrest. he is wearing his favourite blue pajama set.
"thank you for coming grannie. i really missed you a lot."
"stop thanking me, ok? where else could i be?"
"thank you for bringing me here. i miss this house. this room."
"i know. nothing has changed since the last time that you were here."
"four years ago."
"that long?"
"yes, that's how long i have been away."
"can i ask you something dahlin?"
"of course grannie."
no hesitation. good sign. i wonder if he is still high from the medicines that he took earlier.
"why did you leave?"
"because i am sad here, grannie. i am tired of being sad. i want to be happy. i feel suffocated. i thought if i live away from everyone, from this family, then i will be happy."
"but you are not."
a weak smile.
"is that why you came back and left your job? because you are sad there too?"
"lonely grannie. very lonely. plus i want to be closer to mother. you know how she is after father died right? she has been sickly, getting in and out of the hospital. i want to be there beside her just in case.."
i nodded my head. he luvs his mother so much. he is his mother's son.
"why can't you be happy?" i asked again.
this time i only got a sad look in his eyes and a touch on my cheek.
then..
"are you happy grannie?"
my turn to be quiet.
"were you ever happy with grandpa?"
"to be perfectly honest? no."
silence once more.

********

it's almost three in the morning. soon the maids will be busy in the kitchen, preparing breakfast. yaya maring, the cook, will be especially busy because she will prepare a special meal for my apo: arroz caldo, his favourite. yaya maring has been with us for almost all of her seventy five years. she grew up in the house in the backyard, where her family has been living for years. her father was our family's driver and her mother was also the cook. we sent yaya maring to school, but she married early.


i wanted yaya maring to have a different life from her parents. but she fell in luv and got pregnant at sixteen. so she ended up just like her mother. she looked several years older than her real age. she has seven children, all dependent on her, even the married ones. we also sent her children to school, but maybe it was in the genes. the listlessness. the lack of ambition. how unlucky she is.
but my apo luvs yaya maring. he thinks she is a saint.
"i hate your grandpa, if truth be told. he treated me just like a flower vase. like a business partner. someone to entertain his friends from politics and business. someone who will sing and dance and talk during campaign rallies. someone who will attend to all these baptisms, graduations, fiestas, wakes that i never wanted to go. and for what? just so i will have money to buy all of these? it's not worth it."
i cried again. he hugged me, my apo with the kind heart. i have to admit, i am wrong. he has a soul. he never lost it. now, it's giving me warmth, a certain glow.
if there is one thing that i am grateful to pacita, it is this. how she brought up my apo.
"your grandpa never luved me. he married me because of our family's money and connections. i was young, bored, just fresh out of the university then. he was handsome, like a movie star. i didn't care if he has other women, as long as i was free to do whatever i want.
at first he gave me the freedom. but later on, i became his prisoner."
"why did you stay with him then?"
"because," i hesitated. i don't want to say it. but it's the truth. "i luv him.  luv will always be our family's greatest tragedy."
"why?"
"because we don't know how to luv."
(all pics were taken from the internet, so please don't sue my apo..or else....)

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