Tuesday, I woke up late because I do not need to rush myself. "I'll be off to school by lunch." I sighed. As I exit our yard I saw my father's tricycle, (it was a motorcycle with a sidecar, for foreign readers, in any case). Dust, cobwebs, and dried leaves from a nearby Narra tree are scattered in its couch. No one ever dared to clean it. Sort of. I couldn't remember the last time I drove that. Maybe it was 2010, oh, two years ago. Perhaps because my two elder brothers have their own motorcycles too, and maybe because I do not own a licence.
I waited for the bus for about fifteen minutes. I was giving a watch to it. But before the bus came, Mama went home for lunch. I am disturbed by that idea. Mother does not go home for lunch since my father has died in 2008. But today was different. She arrived with three men. Two of them are familiar to me. They are engaged in a tricycle buy-and-sell business. The other one must be the prospective client. Mother has pronounced weeks ago that she has this plan of selling father's tricycle. "No one uses it anyway." She said. Nobody in the family replied during that dinner.
It was a 1993 Honda TMX 155 Model, equipped with a Stainless Steel sidecar, which is kinda rare today. The motor costs P90,ooo; sidecar is P30,000. Imagine that value in 1993. Father was very careful with his humble toy. He would get angry if his sons would sit on its fuel tank. He doesn't want us to dent it, or damage it in any way. He succeed but not with the discoloration of its stickers which is inevitable --- I presume.
I rode the bus bearing the stare to my father's beloved possession. My mind went uneasy for the rest of the day.
Afternoon came, I went home. I alighted from the bus. There is no more tricycle resting in the porch that welcomed me. For the very first time after four years. It was five o'clock in the afternoon.
I couldn't bear the thought of someone buying it, "you know it's 19 years old! " I just need to console myself that the tricycle was just gone for a wash.
Then I proceeded to my mother's room. Papers are in a messy state as if someone has rummaged for something valuable from all of those. The chest was left ajar. I scanned the documents. Mother was not there in her room. Father's tricycle documents were not there, too.
Evening, I have discovered that it was sold already for P25,000. "Few hours after I have sold it, there came a man asking for the tricycle. He was offering P28,000!" Mother said proudly.
I replied a silence. "There are things that money can never quantify." I thought.
A day in September 2007, I was a little late for my final exams in Arts and Humanities course. It was 10:45 AM, and the exam is scheduled at 11:00. The bus didn't come by 10:30.
Father came from the farm. He had known my situation. He changed his clothes, then drove twenty kilometres for me. I ace that exam. Father never knew.
The same month a year after, I was stranded in the university when Typhoon Milenyo struck the North. It was already 8PM. I was alone. Nobody was in the school and even the security people in the university has abandoned their post. And there was too, no electricity. Father beat another 20 kilometres for me against the whooshing wind, and cold rain. We were wet, but I was safe. Thanks to his tricycle.
When I graduated in high school, I got home riding my father's tricycle. I shared my momentous moment with it --- the day when I got my only medal in high school, and that's of academics. Everyone in the family was very happy.
When I was in the fifth grade, I had an accident. My forehead was badly injured. They rushed me to the hospital. Our community has no ambulance then, they transported me by our tricycle. The rest, I cannot remember anymore, maybe because of the accident.
During summer and Christmas breaks, we would head to grandma's house 160 kilometres away, by tricycle. We would spend five hours in the road. It happened for n times. And I guess that made father's machine last for almost 20 years.
Did I mention that I sleep there during afternoons? That I cried myself there too every time father would be very upset to me?
More than that, I have a thousand of experiences, of memories, of the 'past' with my father's tricycle. Maybe most of them are too cliché, or too ordinary to appreciate. Or maybe I was just too ungrateful all these years because I didn't even give it a wash before bidding his goodbye. He has been a good servant.
I continue to miss father. And also the things that he cared most, whether material or not. Maybe I could say that I have developed a subconscious affinity to this transport.
I cannot blame myself for being trivial with this thing. But I am trying to keep the golden memories of that mass of accelerating steel toy that will not rust. Well, everyone needs to go.