Friday , May 25, 2018

Custodio: Hole in my heart

I REMEMBER happy days of my childhood spent at the beach, on a school day, right after school was out. My siblings and I would run towards the shore, swim, roll with the waves and then play in the sand.

Yes, on a school day. Dinner by candlelight in one of those small sari-sari stores that also sold grilled fish and barbeque along the road facing the beach. We had puso, those heart-shaped steamed rice, too. Yummm. We always went home happy.

We also watched movies on a school day. Usually a Fernando Poe, Jr. flick although I clearly remember watching one vampire movie. Spent most of the time “watching” it with my eyes closed. Nyahaha! We would watch the last full show or the one before it. Right after we had done our assignments and had dinner. Sometimes the movie date was planned but quite a lot of them were spur of the moment events.

Now I can say that of all FPJ movies, Pepeng Kaliwete is my favorite. A few years back, I watched the restored version of Ang Panday (another FPJ movie) and I had tears in my eyes watching the zombies die again from FPJ’s sword. So many good memories rushed in as the Zs hit the ground from Flavio’s blows. Great memories of my childhood spent beside my father watching Pinoy flicks (and a vampire movie). Priceless.

I remember Christmases given gifts that I really loved. We all know how magical that season is for children right? We made Christmas lists and tried to be good and nice especially as the yuletide approaches. I remember the excitement of Christmas Eve and being unable to sleep when I know I should be sleeping because Santa Claus won’t go near our house if I remain wide awake! There was that year when I got a basket of apples. All for me to eat until Three Kings! I remember “Santa Claus” tiptoeing in the dark with two child-sized walking dolls neatly boxed and wrapped over his head. Yeah, my Santa days were short but well, my real Santa was with me 24/7; not even a ride on the flying sleigh with Rudolph and his reindeer posse can ever beat that!

As I grew older, I began to see more of the superhero fathers are inherently made of. I saw strength and tenderness. Strictness with compassion and all those other seemingly opposite adjectives merge in one person--my father.

We were a family who went out together. We would go disco-dancing (they call it clubbing now right?) and my parents would spend as much time on the dance floor as we did. Sometimes, more. My father had no qualms about dancing on the dance floor and my mother was always willing to be his partner. He was always willing to try new things and he encouraged his children to do so, too. He inspired me to explore the world beyond what I thought I could do. He taught me to dream and try to achieve them at my own pace, on my own time. He always supported my endeavours but never hesitated to put in his two cents’ worth whether my ideas or plans were magnificent or dismal.

Like all families, we had our challenges and disagreements. I remember arguments and “cold shoulders” all throughout my teen and adulting days. Being young definitely has its perks but sometimes there is a tendency to feel too entitled and wise. Feeling all grown up. I laugh about it now. How conceited could I have been? Nevertheless, it is part of growing up and an integral part of all father-offspring relationships. No doubt about that. We are all unique individuals so at some point, there will be clashes in ideas and beliefs. But as long as there is respect, things can be resolved.

His death came as a surprise. It took me a year to accept it. His absence though, had an instantaneous effect. The house became gloomy. No one hardly eats at home. The sadness loomed, and palpable that walking through the house hurt. But like all children who have lost their fathers, I learned to live with it and just go on with life. But there are days that are just plain difficult at least, absolutely heartbreaking at worst. Arghhh.

Again, you who still have your fathers, are lucky. You have someone, a sure ally, to inspire you, encourage and guide you as well as a worthy adversary to argue and fight with, but will always love you and only have your best interest in mind in the end. Please hug them, say you’re sorry, say you love them and spend quality time with them because you still can.

Believe me, it is absolutely heart-wrenching whenever you badly need to talk to him and he’s no longer there. I spend time reminiscing how it felt like just sitting beside him. How his voice sounded. How he smelled. I miss laughing with him, eating with him. There is a big void in my life still aching and gaping since he left.

It’s been years since mine went away and I still have moments of tears and heartache missing him. I have a hole in my heart in the shape of him and I know it will never go away. It will go on for as long as I am here but the wonderful memories spent with him will comfort me.

So spend time with your fathers. Not only today, but as much as you can from now on. Make everyday Father’s Day! Happy Sunday everyone! :)