I was eating hot porridge at four o’clock in the morning taking a break from one of my night-time marathon when I realized that the goo tasted like soap.
Reminded me instantly of my youth, when a not properly rinse kitchen utensil would evoke a rage from my father and will result to an immediate incomprehensible reaction like forbidding all of us to go to school (which in our family was the cruellest form of punishment) unless you are the second child named Maricor and your parents thought you were their passport out of poverty which by the way a puzzle to everyone including yourself since you spent four years being a freshman in high school and the chance that you will stay there is 99 to 1 for so many obvious reasons like: spending your tuition money betting on a basketball game, stealing bikes (or carabao) drinking and smoking, experimenting with soft drugs (which btw a revolutionary for a girl like you in that place in that time but who cares certainly not you) but probably the best possible reason was it was because you failed to attend classes and instead roaming around preferably in the rain knowing your white uniform will be see-through and guaranteed for attracting boys attention by large. The rest will stay at home and clean the whole house crying, but not you; life was more exciting for you than everyone else. You had your own set of rules and those were the ones you follow.
There were neighbour’s kids to fight, trees to climb, and boys to seduce; so staying at home was no option even it will result to few broken ribs and couple of bruises when your own ever-believing father thrown you from the stairs because he caught you making out with one of so many boy-next-door while you said you were just going to the small shop to rent some comic books and that means not exchanging candy with whoever mouth-to-mouth. There is always tomorrow. And tomorrow is another day.
It was quite clear to everyone (except your blind parents) that you will end up to no good, and indeed you did. Before the end of another year being a freshman, you put your new clothes which was supposed to be for school’s Christmas party (your mother always bought them earlier during fiesta market because it’s cheaper and kept them hidden in an old-fashioned wooden chest full of mothballs and in the night when she thought everyone was sleeping, she will secretly take it out and hand-sewn the existing stitches to re-enforce them for hard-wearing) and disappeared humming in the night.
You didn’t come back until after three weeks and you showed up with a boy whom you gladly demonstrated with the art of French kissing to your wide-eyed-open-mouthed- siblings.
You married him shortly after because your father insisted on it when he found out that you were in the family way and not getting hitch before it becomes obvious will damage not only his self-conjured up “good” reputation but will shatter his oh so precious fragile gipsy pride. So, there you were, not even 18 and married to someone you never expected would beat you up to death while you were carrying his baby not knowing maybe it takes two to tango and your own attitude and ways didn’t really suited up for a married woman eighteen or no eighteen.
So when the baby born dead, you stayed just after the funeral and said to your mother you were going away and will never come back again. True to your promise, you never really did, even when they looked for you and found you in (un)likely place, looking more beautiful than ever with your fashionable cheap clothes and scars and needle marks on your arms.
Years after, your baby brother saw you at a stop light in a limousine populated by personal bodyguards, you looked through him, no expression no nothing. You live now in a mansion with an old Chinese guy who gives you everything but keeps you, prisoner. I wonder if that’s what you are looking for, I would not even ask myself if you’re happy or when we will see you again if ever. It’s been more than 30 years. Too long to know somebody or even remember. Even that someone is your own sister…