Stop Calling My Name

I was walking back to the house, carrying my baby brother Marty. Earlier, I was watching my siblings play by a now dry creek. When I was younger, I remember being too scared to wander off by myself because I was always told of stories of bears and mountain lions that roam the hills. I also remember stories about duendes and water spirits, who would sit on the fence posts, luring children towards the river. I knew the kids would be fine, I just felt more comfortable watching over them as my dad and step-mom prepare dinner.

I was walking back to the house because I heard my father calling out my name. “Kiko, Kiko-man,” he said. I rounded up my little troopers, counted three little heads plus Marty in my arms. We headed back to the house, and marched up the kitchen. The kids sprawled on the living room floor, tired from running around the creek. Dad turned around and smiled. I asked what he needed. He gave me a puzzled look and asked “What do you mean?”

“You called,” I replied.

“No I didn’t,” he said, and turned back his attention on starting a fire in the old iron stove.

***

I had a bad habit of sleeping in on weekends. It was my second year in college, and I was still trying to get used to in my new school. I just transferred from a state university and now was in a Catholic college. The transition was hard.

My room did not get any sunlight. It used to be a huge kitchen that my mom decided to partition to have an extra room so I wouldn’t have to use the bedroom upstairs. It was the family ancestral house that Mom decided to take care of after selling our place in the city, and I was scared sleeping upstairs by myself. Silly, I know, but the house was older than me, it was where my grandfather lived and he passed away even before my mom got married to my dad. I usually imagine his ghost walking around this house, and him seeing me and wondering who I was and why was I in his room.

My room does has a window – it was just really an opening so you could get some air. The opening lead to an outside kitchen that lead to a bamboo thicket. Stories were told of how the natives would run through this area and head towards the river trying to get away from the Japanese soldiers that once occupied the town. History painted a bloody picture of the grassland behind our house. I never stepped my foot out there.

My mom has a bad habit of leaving her keys behind. She would usually go behind the house, and yell out and would ask to open the front door for her. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was napping the day away. I heard footsteps in the backyard. Footfalls on dried leaves. “Kix!” Mom yelled. “Ugh, she forgot her keys again,” I thought.

I begrudgingly got up and opened the front door. I dragged my feet back to bed. Minutes passed by. I thought Mom should have walked in by now. Maybe she shopped and she was grabbing the bags from the car. Maybe she needed help with the grocery.

I got up and walked to the front door. Mom wasn’t there.

I walked backed in and put on my shoes. I left the house and hopped on a jeepney heading towards my grandmother’s place.

Maybe she needed the company.

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Getting Old and Growing Up

Just saw a recent episode of New Girl. Early on the episode, Nick was talking to a homeless guy (not the first time he did this) looking for advice about making decisions as a grown up. He just lost his father and felt that everything can be taken away from you unexpectedly, and that he worries about his relationship with roommate Jess.

I thought, “Grow up, Nick.”

— — —

I’m still conflicted about my boyfriend’s dad passing away. Passing away – I hate that term. Sounds like he just happen to be in the area, walking from point A to Point B, and he just passed by me. But in this case, he did. I saw tears, grief, mourning during the wake – and I honestly felt sad. I don’t know if it’s because I felt bad for everyone there, the same way I felt sad when I saw A Walk to Remember, the same way I cry over sad movies. I don’t know if it’s because I felt bad for my boyfriend and his siblings, and being sad is the only closest I could feel to losing a parent since I’ve never lost one and I can’t find anything to compare it with. Maybe I just felt sad because I don’t know my boyfriend’s dad, and now I never will.

I don’t know what my boyfriend is going through. I feel helpless because there’s nothing I can offer to help. I do not have the tools for this. But in a very selfish way, he does not know what I’m going through either. He’s mourning because he lost something he had. I’m mourning for something I’ll never know.

— — —

I had cousins come over from Toronto and had a good time taking them around the city. Granted that it’s the most tourist-y areas in the city, I know by the abundance of pictures they took that they enjoyed the lights of Times Square and the view in Battery Park. Also introduced them to halal street meat, also known as heaven in a styro plate. Pictures were uploaded on Facebook, and I gleefully viewed every single one of them.

My favorite one was of my mom when she was visiting them the week before. She was surrounded by her “grandkids” – my cousins’ children, none of them older than ten. She looked very happy.

— — —

My body is killing me. I must have slept in an awkward angle because the muscles over my right shoulder blade are together in deciding I should be in physical pain for the length of whatever time frame they agree on. I had a massage to loosen them up, and I did get some relief that lasted the duration of the massage. It’s been a few days and the pain is slowly going away, but it is still uncomfortable to sit up straight.

Nothing is sexier than the red bear prints tattooed on my back next to Salonpas heating patches and smelling like a hospice.

— — —

I’m worried I’m getting old too fast. I’m worried my dad will be taken away from me unexpectedly. I’m worried my mom would be too old to play with my non-existent child. I’m worried my shoulder and back would be too frail for me to hold up a child.

And I thought, “Grow up, Ken.”

A Country Mouse visits A City Mouse

I spent Fourth of July weekend up in the family ranch back in Colorado to attend my cousin Dan’s wedding. It was a beautiful wedding – very small, just close friends and family. Hay bales and planks were involved, camping gear and a double-wide trailer newly installed. From a city boy’s view, it was a hicks-ville but from a mountaineer’s eye, it was just pretty. Totally enjoyed it, and totally worth the hundred some dollars to fly from NY.
But aside from the holiday weekend and family wedding, my brother Saul also turned sixteen earlier this March. I have a long standing promise to each of my siblings that in the summer after they turn sixteen, I’ll fly them out to NY and spend a week with me in the city. To my youngest sister Bella who’s turning two this year – we have yet to talk and I have yet to make the same promise. This can be a possible loop hole when you turn sixteen.
We flew the same day to NY – my boyfriend Andy and I in one flight, and Saul on a separate flight. I tried to get the same flight but no seats were available. When we checked in, I made sure I spoke with the airline agent (and I did one of those I-just-glanced-at-your-name-tag-I-WILL-mention-your-name-if-shit-goes-down moves) to let them know that my brother was flying by himself. He had a connecting flight in Atlanta, and that was the only time he would be totally by himself. I’m not saying he’s not bright, he can read signs and all, but the kid is from the mountains – Atlanta airport is huge compared to Colorado Springs Airport’s twelve gates.
I arrived in LaGuardia around 7pm and let Andy go home while I stayed to wait for my brother’s delayed flight. He did not land until 11:30pm and we did not get to my apartment until half past midnight.
As any tourist in NY should do, first thing we did was go to Liberty Island. It’s a very historic site. It’s where Magneto used Rogue to power a machine that would turn the leaders of the United Nations into mutants. We spent most of the time following a group of young French girls and their chaperone. I bet Saul was thinking I wasn’t aware of what he was doing – I am very aware. He thinks he’s so slick.

We were trying to take a picture of the couple making out by the railing across from us.


We also went to The Natural History Museum. He took some pretty cool pictures of the dioramas, and of me posing next to dinosaurs. My Lady Gaga impressions were very useful – raise your paws up, little monsters. Since we were already in the area, we headed to Central Park and checked out Strawberry Field – when CDs first came out, I remember my Dad bringing compilation CDs and we would listen to The Beatles over and over all day.

We had dinner at Vynl which was in Chelsea. I’ve never seen my brother so uncomfortable! We were surrounded by rather outlandish gay guys, and it’s just something he’s never seen before. At one point, when I was going to the restroom, he actually said “don’t leave me by myself.” Poor kid. So I left him by himself and he wasn’t devoured by gay men. That was a teachable moment.
We hit the art museums in one day. We started at the Museum of Modern Art and showed him the three paintings that made me move to NY. We followed MoMA with the Guggenheim. I think he was more interested with the architecture than the art works inside. Though there was one work that got us both perplexed – a room covered in $100,000-worth of one dollar bills. A few blocks down was The Metropolitan Museum of Art and stayed in line for almost an hour to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit.

On our way to the Met, we saw this being sold on the street - reminded me of Grandma!


My good friend Ryan wanted to take Saul to the Bronx Zoo. I’ve actually been there only once before, and it was with Ryan as well. The zoo was fun, but nothing compared to the commute to the Bronx. It was a weekend so there were some train issues. At one point, we had to take a shuttle bus, and there was a crazy guy in the bus. I could feel Saul’s heart beating like a drum. The crazy had no shoes, and he kept yelling at everyone. I didn’t mind because I’m used to it, but when crazy guy put his hands in his pants, that was when I grabbed my brother by his hand because I would want to know where he is when I start defending him from a pervert with my free arm doing jabbing motions despite the lack of a shiv.

If they are undiscovered - how do they know it's forty for every one?

We went to the wax museum in Times Square – it was pricey to get in, but after seeing what’s inside, I decided it was totally worth. I’ll even add it to my list of where to bring tourists. The wax models were amazing as it is, but they also had a 15-minute 4D experience of the movie Happy Feet. You basically watch a 3D movie but you also “feel” what was going on in the movie. We got sprayed with water, poked on the back, saw bubbles. It was stupidly fun and I will do it again.

Saul with Jennifer Lopez. I told him to squeeze her ass, he wouldn't.


Was telling Woody Allen my idea for his next movie.


The last thing we did during his stay was go to the Empire State Building. I typically do that first when I take visitors out to show the city and what to see and expect but I figured I shake things up a bit. I’d like to think he was impressed by the city, and I felt proud showing him MY city.
He told me he wanted to come back, and he asked how much the plane tickets were so he can find a job and save up for a trip. It’s cute, but I don’t know if he’ll actually go through with it. We talked about our sister Angel who is next in line for the sixteenth-birthday-gift, and how I’m not going to let her travel the same way he did. I asked him if he can maybe drive her to Denver, that way, she won’t have a connecting flight and just fly direct from Colorado to New York. When Saul got back in Colorado, my sister called me and there was panic in her voice: “Saul told me you won’t let me fly by myself and that he’s coming with me when I come visit you. IS THAT TRUE?!” After calming her down, she asked me what we can do in New York. She wants to start planning for our trip. Three years premature.

watching tv is bad for you

got home around 8pm, watched a filipino game show in the filipino channel, then watched britney spears cry as matt lauer asked questions i even wanted to ask, while i switch the channel to so you think you could dance, now watching the dixie chicks live in london through msn’s webcast, in a few gonna watch again in the filipino channel to see the near end of my favorite soap.

man, watching tv has gone international and technologically advanced.

back in colorado, stories later :-)

june 15, 2005
3:25pm

andito ako ngayon sa eroplano patungong colorado springs mula houston. kinakailangan kong isulat ito sa ibang wika dahil mukhang malinaw ang mata ng katabi ko. di ko nais na mag-isip siya ng anuman tungkol sa mga isinusulat ko kung magsusulat ako sa wikang kaniyang nakagisnan.

gaya ng sabi ko, ako ay lulan ng eroplano. marahil ay may mahigit ng isang oras ang nakakalipas simula ng lumipad kami mula texas. madaming bata sa flight na nakuha ko, maging ang lipad ko mula new jersey patungong houston ay maingay dahil sa mga bata. natutuwa naman ako at dala ko ang cd ng black eyed peas, monkey business. kahit papano ay nalulunod ang mga iyak ng mga bata sa likod ng “i wonder if i take you home, will you still be in love baby?”

gustung-gusto ko ng makauwi upang simulan ang mga kwento tungkol sa aking paglalagi sa mga museo ng washington dc at paglalakad sa mga kalsada ng new york city. ngunit kailangang maghintay muna ang mga ito. pagdating ko ng colorado ay tutuloy muna ako sa bahay ng mga daddy. kung tama ang pagkakaintindi ko, doon din tumitigil ang akong lolo at lola sa ngayon. at pagdating naman ng biyernes ay balik trabaho na muli ako, maging sa sabado. linggo lang ang naiisip kong pagkakataon na makapagsulat tungkol sa akong maikling bakasyon. tanda ko naman ang mga nagyari sa tulong ng isang talaarawan na isa sa mga kailangan ipasa sa akong guro para sa kurong kinuha ko ngayong summer. at marami din akong kuhang litrato! may mga litrato ako ng mga paborito kong gawa ng sining. hanggang ngayon ay nadadala pa rin ako ng aking emosyon tuwing naaalala ko na nakita ko ang mga orihinal na gawa nina rembrandt, picasso, van gogh, monet at mondrian. tama ang aking guro, sa isang araw kong paglalagi, marahil ay mas marami akong nakitang kahanga-hangang gawa kesa sa mga nakita na ng isang normal na tao sa buong buhay niya. sulit talaga ang pagpunta ko sa washington dc para sa kursong ito.

at ang pagpunta ko ng new jersey para makipagkita kay ate i.n ay isa pa sa aking mga nais ibalita.

hanggang dito muna, nais ko munang magbasa.