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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Home, Revisited



The place now looks different, but not strangely familiar. There’s no denying I recognize its every nook and cranny, although they have already been stripped of the many things that once marked its entirety as our own.

I see the ravages of time as my gaze wandered. But no matter how time may dishevel its appearance, that entire space – with the house, the trees, the water well and everything else in the vicinity - will always be HOME. There is the cradle of our youth, the repository of sweet, poignant memories.

For most of our early life, we lived in this cottage built inside the public high school where my father worked as a teacher. This arrangement made us look and feel special, as it created an environment different from the rest of the town. We were practically located atop a hill far from the center of town. Call it suburbia, island-town style.

The community was small. There were only three houses from our side of the campus. There were probably nine others from the other sides but they were quite far. One cannot even call them neighbors. But that didn’t stop us from bonding with the rest of the kids. The entire school grounds were ours to explore. We would climb the ceilings of the classrooms, steal pineapples from the school farm, pick young coconuts, build our own “houses”, or just play at the open field. Finding and herding us back home when dawn breaks was pretty difficult.


Our house lies about 500 meters from the school gate. That’s the only disadvantage I could think of. You see, there was no electricity yet at the time (it’s still scheduled even today). That means that if by any chance you’re still out after dusk, you would have to traverse that entire length as you go home. It doesn’t make any difference if it were pitch dark or as bright as the full moon could glow. Instinct, or the fear of the fabled encantos, will automatically fire your feet to run like crazy as soon as you close the heavy gate.

For the run to be shorter, many times I wished it were just a straight pathway. But it wasn’t. And more, somewhere in the middle of the route lies a short bridge (covered by a nipa roof during our time, making it more eerie). From there, you can see straight ahead the flickering light of the gasera by the porch. With that as beacon, I would make my final dash to the comforts of home (I swear the bridge would seem to move as soon I’d step on it). Lydia de Vega would have been no match.


The trees we planted as part of our elementary school projects were still there. These were the trees that I would climb if I sulk from parental dressing down, or when I try to memorize a poem. I’m not sure though if the knifed messages are still there somewhere in the trunks.


We left the place when my father died long before he would have retired. It took us a while to simply retrace our steps and visit. It was quite painful at the time. It wasn’t easy leaving and forgetting something that is already part you. Truth be told, we weren’t ready to leave. But life has to move on. And we have.

So now, as I stand by the grounds that nurtured me, all I do is remember.

12 comments:

Gina said...

Reo,

I read..I felt. =(

Coldman said...

So I'm coming back home
Home, where love is waiting for me
Been gone much too long
This is where I want to be
So I'm coming home
Coming home
Cuz home is where I belong

It's nice to see the other side of you.

LAWSTUDE said...

Panyero, I was born and raised in Manila until before my parents decided to migrate to the province, so exact opposite pala tayo. I tried working in Manila but I really do not like the place. (traffic, pollution, stress, fast-paced lives). The irony is, I think I may be working again in Manila this January to practice my new profession. So, I think for now until December (as a consolation), I'll be traveling a lot around the country. You're island seems to be a good place to visit. Hope I can go there sometime.

carlotta said...

ahh, memories. even if you've moved on, it's still nice to come back to where you came from.

pepe M. said...

ah, na homesick tuloy ako!

pepe

intsik said...

i always love it when u talk about ur place. the first few posts that i read from u were about your island in samar. at nagustuhan ko yon. :)

now, revisiting it brings so much memories. nostalgia nga ba kasi ng umuwi ako, i found it strangely familiar... :)

Gypsy said...

The last time I stepped foot on my childhood home was 10 years ago--and that was for the first time in 16 years. I had a great ut poignant time wandering through my old haunts and reminiscing about those bygone days. But as you say, we all have to move on...

aryo said...

Gina; Karasa la umuli ano? Ikaw, san-o ka homeward bound? :-)

Coldman: Balimbing talaga ako. Too many sides, he he.

Lawstude: Pañero, you're always welcome to visit our humble island. Just let know para maihanda ang parada. :)

Pepe: Oo nga. I know the feeling pag nasa abroad. Pero ok lang, masaya din naman diyan, wink wink.

Gypsy: Moved on we seem to have, indeed. Masarap lang talaga mag reminisce. Sabi nga, ang hindi marunong lumingon....

Tami said...

aww... I know how you feel. Someday soon I'll post about my one Home, Revisited - ang 314. I last slept there the night before my dad died 6 years ago. Everytime I go back there, which is once in a blue moon, it still hurts...

but yes, reminiscing is good sometimes. it warms the heart. =)

KRISJASPER said...

Hi. Was just surfing other people's blogs and saw yours (and the pics). I felt homesick..

Glad to see it though.

jean said...

Hi! Hanggang ngayon di ka pa rin kumukupas.Ikaw pa rin ang dating Rio na idol ko. Kaya lang pinaiyak mo ako sa dito.........

dodong flores said...

There's not much words to say. But I can relate with the feeling. I blogged about my own experience of this kind, too...