Friday, July 03, 2009


i remember the time when Ali and i had nothing to do, for about four months or so, except play pool. carom, to be exact, in the most pedestrian sense of the word. for some reason, there was no working TV in the house. mom was out of town. my papa was too busy doing something else to properly stock up the refrigerator with real food, so Ali and i had no choice but to play carom day in day out. get really good with it. chalk all over the table, all over our hands, all over our skin, us busting poses and moves that would've made the pahinantes and drivers on the outskirts of BF Homes blush. and we were good.
we learned to drive those disks into the holes with one shot. we learned to angle our shots and temper the force with which we thrust our sticks. we were coming up with absurd expressions to punctuate every move, like "slideh peninsula." we were learning to hustle. and we were learning to subsist on cheese. ("che-heeeeseee...." Ali used to mock-cry when we got hungry in the middle of the night, nibbling on an aging brick of cheddar.)
one day, when our mom was finally in town, we came home to find a gaping space in our family room. no more pool table. no more tako. no more chalk. "i gave it to Factoran," mom explained, naming her boss, the then-secretary of DENR. and us? what were WE supposed to do?
we never articulated it, but we loved that carom table. we loved those nights as we played, round after round, coming up with absurd names and poses of the shots we pulled off.
but as easily as we got used to the game, we got used to watching TV again.

my kids and i now dine on a carom table. a find derek traded for a bottle of tanduay. but it's not the same. it's not the same.

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