This is a true story… I’ve changed some names, dates and circumstances, but the thing is this…
This a true story…..
Goryo is a childhood friend of mine when we were living in Sta. Maria Village. About 5 years ago he emailed me that his father has died and will be at Funeraria Angelina, on Wednesday. His father died in the U.S. Goryo is also in the U.S. but from another state.
When we were just kids, I’ve never seen Goryo’s father, he just said that his father died after her sister Nena was born. On the one occasion that I've managed to enter their house, there are no pictures of his father in their home; just his mother and 4 sisters and 1 brother who are all in the U.S. except Nena and his mother. I never ever once asked him why there’s no picture of his father. Nor did I ask his mother about it. Goryo’s mother was one character you could not forget. Aling Tea is like an Amazon. When she’s angry with Goryo you could hear her shouting from our home which is 3 houses away from theirs. You could not play in the road fronting her house. Her eyes could melt you when she’s angry. This one is a very bitter lady.
Anyway, here’s Goryo’s email. And I came to thinking, for all those years I was left to believe that his father is dead. For all those years, I never asked him the circumstances of his father’s death.
I emailed him about it. I’ve asked him why did they “killed” him? I’ve never got a reply. But the next day, he called me from home and told me that he will be arriving in four hours because he’s in NAIA. I told him that he’s a liar, because I’m hearing from the background the screeching sound of a tricycle and the clanging of plates. He laughs and told me to go there.
At their home, I’ve finally asked him the question. He told me that when her sister Nena was about two years old, his father just left them. He has another woman to whom he already has two children. They were devastated. Aling Tea was totally devastated. From then on her mother “erased” him from her memory and that of her children. Goryo’s mother told me that she considered him dead. Goryo too, considers him dead. But she knows that when he really died she will be the one to bury him. So that’s why she’s so bitter, I’d said to my self.
In jest, Goryo asked his mother what she’ll do if ever the “Other One” came to his father’s wake or funeral. Aling Tea said with those laser eyes of her that, there will be no hair left on the Other One’s pate if she ever dared visit him. Our conversation went through the night, and one by one the clan, Goryo’s sibling arrived. I’ve said my hello to them and at 9:00 P.M. I said my goodbye.
I only went to Funeraria Angelina on the last night before the funeral, telling my wife that I will be sleeping at the Funeraria, since I want to be there when the body is finally laid to rest. It was my first glimpse of Goryo’s father, and he looks almost exactly like Goryo. There’s simply no denying it.
At about 8:00 P.M. there was a brown out. We are about to light some candles and then suddenly, there’s this Pajero that stopped in front of the Funeraria.
Three women stepped out, one of them is old and the other two looks like they’re in their early thirties. Then Goryo said to me, “Let’s get out, I don’t want to see this.” “What?” I’ve replied. Just then Aling Tea rose from her seat, went down the center isle as if to block the three women. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could see Aling Tea stopped in the middle, the old lady whom I presumed as the Other One stopped also as if contemplating what she’ll do next, and as if preparing for the strong slap and Goryo saying “Dyos Ko!” in a loud whisper.
What happened next was too much to bear….
Aling Tea wailed. Aling Tea suddenly gave the Other One a tight hug, and then they were just there, for a long time, in an embrace, a lock. The two other women were sobbing, and trying to hold Aling Tea’s hand to put on their forehead. And then there was this gang of bodies in the aisle, all crying, all wanting to be in that embrace. Goryo was there, too.
As I’ve said the event was too much to bear. I went out took a cigarette, trying to light it up with a match that seems foggy to me and could not. I walked further, and then decided to go home. I got tears.
I did not go to the funeral the next day.
Why did I tell you this story?
Tomorrow, August 5, 2009, Tita Cory will be buried. For all I know, she is the greatest leader of the Philippines in my lifetime. She is a leader of integrity and honesty. She is a leader who reconciled this country that has suffered from cronyism, censorship and corruption. To me her term is marked with the utmost mission to reconcile each and every one’s difference be it from your own neighbor to the politician’s ever changing loyalty to different parties. It’s about time that we’d be loyal to the country instead. We are all Filipino’s we should love our country, get it, and love thy enemies.
I don’t know why, but it seems that the remaining Aquino clan is bent on ignoring the current president pass of reconciliation if ever she attends Tita Cory’s wake or funeral. But as far as I am concerned, when I was young I know a very bitter woman, whose husband left her, who is bent in vengeance and hatred but in the end, learned to forgive.
To the Aquino clan, I do believe that your mother, our Tita Cory wants the same.