Monday, January 06, 2003

ok, kuya joel. my writing assignment is finally done!

25 steps of how blood flows towards infinity

1. It has always existed, long before my tree swayed to the winds of change, long before the first branch had fallen to make new room for limbs to stretch towards the sky and hug the sun, long before the seed has been planted in the womb of the land.

2. It weaved my very fabric, stitching me within the loom nestled in my mother. Swirling to connect centuries of fables, rich red soil, coconut juice, and sea water by knitting them together with needles taken by daddy’s rib.

3. My first song, sung to me through tympanic beats. I harmonized with Mama for the first time. She was my bass, my strong foundation to help me build even before my hands knew how to make a fist to beat my heart’s drum.

4. I stretched towards the light, my artificial sun, bright enough to harden the fleeting melodic notes that so desparately clung to me, strengthened my arms so I may leave the nest as they cut the umbilical cord.

5. My building blocks continued to tower, spelled out name before I can even say it.

6. Multiple blows, one shot, and infinite red drops gave Daddy 365 days away from me and 3,000 miles between Mommy and me.

7. Tickles ran down followed by millions of needles, stinging like bees that Mama used to run from when ever she passed by Gramma’s hibiscus bushes. I shouldn’t have ran so fast in my shiny black shoes. They were for church only. My white tights not pure enough for Mass. Green, crimson red, and brown didn’t match my dress we bought at Zody’s.

8. Metallic copper hugging my tongue tasted far from candy. Mama said if I didn’t eat so many of her butterscotch from the jar on her desk, Daddy would not have needed to tie the string to my tooth and pulled.

9. I can’t break skin. Daddy made sure my fingernails were cut short because excema ran in the family. “Pilipinos are made for the sun and the rain, anak. Los Angeles is too dry for you. baby,” he would say as he rubbed lanolin lotion on my arms.

10. It flows faster from the head than curse words through the mouth. Mama soaked her favorite shirt from the Grand Canyon gift store with cold water, wiping Daddy’s brow. Daddy caught the man’s fist on his brow. The man was lucky to even connect a punch. He will not make fun of my mother’s English any more; my Daddy saw to that.

11. Anger rushed to her cheeks, looking like they have been kissed by waves in Venice, stroked by the sun’s hand. Mommy cried so hard. Daddy only pushed her. He didn’t mean to. Mommy heard the baby cry, which made her stop. Together, the three of us unpacked her bag.

12. Gravel stuck to the flap of skin that is exposing his tender flesh. He did not feel the pain until he looked down at his knees. Mama swooped him up, laying kisses on his cheeks. “Don’t cry! You’re Superman! You’re Tarzan.” I was always jealous of their relationship.

13. Two years later, he figured out what it felt like. “Princess” was born.

14. First-born daughter meant “part-time mother and father.” It is then I learned how to multi-task… and to be a martyr.

15. It stained the crotch of my Cabbage Patch undies. My mother called the relatives, to announce that I entered womanhood. I looked at my Party Time Barbie doll and saw a voodoo doll with pins stuck to her private parts and boobies. I secretly cried to God that day and told Him he was unfair.

16. Mama pulled back my hair to look at my eyes. She told me that it happened so quickly. The bullet flew through the back window, into Kristine’s head. I envisioned it to be clean, that she just laid her head on the dashboard and closed her eyes to sleep. Kind of like how she would just fall asleep on my teddy bear when she got sleepy when we were at day care, years ago. Mama cursed at the world for taking an innocent life. I knew better. My parents moved us to the suburbs just in time.

17. They didn’t think the gun was loaded. I laid in front of the television set, waiting for Dick Clark to do the countdown, when Bang !!! “Aye, Dios ko!!!!! Alpay! Alpay! Anak ko!!!” My Grandmother, Mother, and Aunt circled around me. My cheek pressed against Gramma’s breast as she rocked me. She was warm and smelled like roses. The bullet missed my leg by half an inch. My father kept the shell for good luck.

18. Within two years, I have said goodbye to the last of my grandparents, as they left to play with the diwaatas in the tree. The rustling of leaves and the branches clacking together became my lullaby on sleepless nights.

19. After two years, I consummated my love to him by signing my name in red on the bedroom sheets.

20. After five years, he breached the “I will love you forever” contract, having me to return to the One who can love me best.

21. In one year, I renewed my vows by purifying myself in a tub of Holy Water. Can water be thicker than blood?

22. I battle with temptations and repent on the daily.

23. One drop of ink, red-stained concrete and steel, and a frantic Big Brother gave my father 366 days and 562 miles from mother, brother, sister and me. But it is Big Brother who was the prodigal son, bombing countries and raiding Third World countries without us knowing. He’s fattening the cow for his own Homecoming while we struggle to make ends meet so that our father can come home.

24. Despite of mother’s advice of not getting married, I shall find a man deemed worthy to for my seed to call his name. A man whose rib shall knit me my greatest masterpiece. A collage of red soil, coconut juice, black asphalt, bass lines, high hats, and Santa Monica moonlight. I shall pour into her, my very being, mixed with his song, his poetry, his inner candle. I shall sign my name in candy apple red as she gives definition to my womb and name her “Legacy”.

25. One day, the streams will cease to flow and the landscape of my body will be as beautiful as the Sahara Desert, dry and seemingly void of life. I will not be there for I will always exist, swaying to the Winds of Change, playing with the diwaatas, singing to my children’s children’s children, stretching my limbs as I hug the moon and kiss the sun. But my name shall linger on, and on, and on…

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