Last night he called. They were given an hour break and get in touch with their loved ones through phone. I was blabbering, trying to sound casual as I didn’t want crying bouts to start. He was just listening most of the time, telling me how much he missed me, how wonderful my voice sounded, describing to me how magical the fireflies can look at night. He watches their nightly performance, the best that he can look forward to, at the end of the day. I told him Feb 14 is fast approaching. We will be reaching our 5th year of being married. God knows how much I pray for him to be there on that day. Nevertheless, I got my own plans. Me and my officemates have already booked a private videoke room. I won’t have time to be manic-depressive. I promise.
He was able to give me their exact location. Today we drove to that faraway town, to that primitive sounding barangay, and to where we saw their little makeshift tents erected proudly, but rather grotesquely, at least for me. Papang had a plan. We would pretend something’s wrong with the engine. That would give us at least 10 minutes. And so the engine ‘went dead’ right in front of the camp gate. How marvelous. Anyway, we didn’t see him. I suspected he was trying to hide up on that tower where he said he was assigned as a sniper. Whether he saw us or not, I didn’t think it mattered. It was enough for me that our son saw where his Tatay stays, while he’s away from us. As we drove away, I took two desperate shots. Just to try and capture the moment. In this first photo, Abe’s hand is shown waving. “Babay Tataaaayyy!!!”
It tugs at my heart, of course. Leaves this kind of pang that has become so familiar over the years. But I don’t have any choice but to stay strong, have I? “Nurture strength of spirit for sudden misfortunes” as my present mantra from Desiderata would say.
I praise and thank the Lord for being my pillar, for being a friend who doesn’t get tired of me. After some period of darkness I am out again, wanting to be excited for the happy days.