we were out constantly when we were kids. my mom and papa took us all over. it stopped when B was in his teens. maybe earlier. i don't know why.
but when A and i were small, i remember going to paco park a lot. my mom and papa got married there, in the small chapel. st pancratius chapel, i think it's called. she wore a gown of old lace and a yellow belt. and three-inch stack heels with a snub nose. she still has those shoes today.
we went even before ali was born; my mom and i have a photo sitting on one of the benches, A still in her womb. later, when A came, i remember me, papa, and her taking walks all around the park. over the walls, skipping on rizal's marker.
one day, while my mom was hearing mass, my papa drew the church for us. he signed it, "to googoo and A, love papa." and the date. i still have it somewhere. he drew it with a charcoal pencil; the christmas before, they gifted me and ali with a pack of magic markers and sketchpads. tiny japanese branded markers in a plastic case. i knew it didn't cost much, but it was what they could afford then. i was only three or four but could feel their heartache at not being able to give us something more. my own heart twitches even now, seeing myself hold the markers in my small hands.
i also remember a trip to la union. i was much older, maybe 10 or 11. it was a sigma rho outing and my papa brought us along. now that i think about it, he was probably the only sigma rhoan who brought his family--maybe mom forced him again. we were billeted in an inn--those non-fuss, un-fancy ones with large rooms, basic beds, icky blue paint, and a clean bathroom. i can see my mom sitting in bed, reading. she's in a blouse and in her slip, and i get so mad, flare up so large and rapidly inside when our driver opens the door without knocking. my mom covers herself up quickly. eddie apologizes and says something in ybanag. later, we go down and check out the party. my mom stays behind and ali and i go up. the door is unlocked. i push A behind me, enter first, half-crouching, half-walking in a karate stance. as if i knew karate. nothing is out of place, no predators to karate chop. we lock the door and go to bed.
outside, the carousing continues. i remember us seeing a woman dressed in black, made up like a model, in the hallway. she's beautiful. we stare. we never saw women like that in our world.
the next morning, we take breakfast by the poolside. my papa and i are taking a walk, and i remember asking him, 'what does putang ina mean?' he doesn't answer me directly, he just says it's something i'm too young to say. we also talk about how the catholic church, in its twisted way, makes the poor feel good about being poor, so they stay poor. it's not dignity at all, it's just annoying, soap opera shit. "blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven," or something like that. around the breakfast table, talk is also of religion. pastor D, one of papa's brods says, "isn't this nice. it's a sunday and we're talking about God. what a great way to start the day."
by the pool, a young woman with the features of a mongoloid is unrobing. she's down to her bra and panties. someone calls out to her and asks what the hell she's doing. she puts her hand on her waist and juts her hip out. "bakit, sexy naman ako a!" then she dives into the pool.
until today, when A and i want to have a good laugh, we say: "bakit, sexy naman ako a!"