He Has Touched the Rainbow
He Has Touched the Rainbow
January 5, today is my dad’s third death anniversary. Allow me to post this.
“Tatay, can someone touch the rainbow?”
That was the first question I remember which I have asked my dad. He gave me a big smile.
“The angels in the sky can.”
We were in the farm. Yes. Tatay’s a farmer. He had been tilling the land which he does not own. During rainy season, he would have the farm planted with rice, legumes on dry season. During then, Mama would bring Tatay a lunch. That was on weekends when Mama has no work in school. Mama is a grade school teacher anyway. It’s a lovely scene seeing green fields and the cool breeze kisses your cheeks and you we’re all savoring the food under a mango tree with your family. It feels like heaven, then, I was three.
I remember Tatay, when I have reached grade school, I have abated going to the farm with him. I loathed the prickly weather in the farm then. When Tatay would request me to help him there, I would decline. If I cannot help it, I would annoy him by stamping my feet. Then Tatay would be very angry. He would whip me badly. He would whip me badly that my legs would have ridged welts in it.
I remember my first fistfight; it was when my cousin has mocked me because of those very obvious welts. It was the first and last time that I have been in a fistfight. I know, Tatay would only double it if he would have known it.
I remember Tatay. When I was in Grade 5, we were instructed to always watch news. Rewrite it and report it in the class. Because I don’t know how to write news then, I would seek help to him. Maybe, he was always watching news then. Tatay would demand a cup of coffee in return to the favor. Yes, a cup of coffee for a brief news a day! Tatay really likes politics. He would comment on how politics works then. I remember his face of dismay when the Asian Financial crisis news broke in July 1997. He was really worried then. And it was a big deal to him. He would comment incessantly for me to hear his wrangling of words. But it appeared nothing to me. I am not interested. Maybe I was. Oh, before I forget, he earned a degree in Political Science.
The idea of coffee for a news really annoyed me. Tatay wouldn’t want me to outweigh him! Yea. He’s unfair, for me, then. It was one of the things that I hate to him.
Yes. I am growing a little older. Tatay would order me to do these, to do that. All the things that he can command he’ll order. If I would preclude him, he’ll give me welts again. If not, I would have a long and arduous sermon for dinner that could ruin my entire night! And that makes me hate him, again.
O yea. I graduated in elementary as a valedictorian in the class. He was the one with me in dais when I received medals. He was the one who posed with me in every photo of my graduation album. He was the one albeit I asked for mom.
Then I reached high school. I passed the examinations for special science class. I belonged to the first section then.
Every card day he would go get my grades. He didn’t miss any grading period. But things come to end.
When I’m in my junior years, I was demoted and transferred to the second section of the class. I was really ashamed of myself then. I couldn’t believe it then because I know I am doing well! Then there he comes. I told the news. I was crying then. I need someone to comfort me. But then, he scolded me. He reproached me.
For months, I would have cried myself to sleep when I remember those moments. It really gave me the hell of it. It was the end. No tatay to get my grades during card day. Not mama, she has to teach during weekdays. No tatay has showed up. I am a pain in the ass. That was the last moment I really hated him.
It was January 5, 2008. A Sunday, the day when God has rested. It was 3:00 PM when Tatay has died after a 3-day stay in the hospital. I was there, in the ICU. Mama and my two elder brothers were there too. They were all weeping. All our relatives were crying too when they have arrived in the hospital. Me, I couldn’t think clearly that time. I want to cry but no tears to fall. I don’t know. I just don’t know. All I know is, tatay’s dead. And we will have to go home. Seven days of funeral, I didn’t cry. Seven days of that, I would sit beside tatay’s coffin. Stare at him. Stare at him.
But my heart felt that something in it has lost. It has lost. It has lost something. It has lost someone. I have lost someone. I lost tatay.
Oh, before I forget, I must tell something. Tatay, beyond my stupidity and selfishness, and unkindness, he had loved me. He did. He was there, when I woke up in the middle of the night crying. He would invite me to join him watching late night news. Then when I fall asleep, he would carry me, fix my sheet, and give me a goodnight kiss.
When I’m four, he would put me on his shoulders and carry me just to make me stop from crying. He would prod his beard on my nape. And it makes him happy too.
He was with me when I was rushed to the hospital because of an accident when I was in Grade 5.
He was with me during my high school graduation, when I received a medal for being the topnotcher in the class. He was really happy for me. I know he was.
When I’m off to university early morning, he would stay in the veranda patiently waiting with me, for my bus. And when I go home in the afternoon, I would see him waiting for me in the veranda, again.
When Typhoon Milenyo struck Pangasinan, he drove 20 miles to fetch me in the university. And he came.
Actually, a big part of who I am is because of him.
He taught me how to write news. I am an Editor-in-Chief, a year now.
He helped me memorized my multiplication table. A year to go, I will be graduating on my Civil Engineering degree.
He introduced me to politics. I have been a ‘good’ SK Chairman according to my constituents.
Sorry, a big part of me is him.
Without him, I wouldn’t know the meaning of sacrifice. Without him maybe hardwork is nothing to me. And without him, I wouldn’t experience how to be loved, and love in return: without reserve, without conditions, without limitations.
It’s January 12, 2008. A Sunday, the day when God has rested. 12:00 NN, I have thrown my last flower to his coffin six feet below the ground. It has been a seven-day of reserved suffering. At last, I cried. I sobbed. I wept. There’s no Tatay to call anymore. No more. No more. No more.
I turned my back as they bury Tatay. I turned my back and didn’t look back. Then it drizzled. The sky’s weeping. It stopped. I looked up in the sky. There’s a rainbow.
It ringed to my ear, “The angels in the sky can.”
And I know from then, he has already touched the rainbow.#