“Would you just get up and take a bath? Do you really want your grandchildren to kiss an old,smelly man? You’re putting all your children to shame,you lazy old man!
“Husssshhhh! Just go to the market, I will be fine here. Besides, once the kids got in here, they’ll be having so much fun, they won’t notice how I smell.
Such was the dialogue at home with my grandparents, every time we will be having visitors, especially if these visitors will be their children and grandchildren coming from Manila and Mindanao.
But now, the big house is quiet. It seems like even the insects and all other living things that have lived here was gone. Gone with the two most lovable person in my life. Gone with the most stable individuals in my existence,
And now I sit at the wooden bench where Grandpa used to spent most of the day. He can be just idly sitting here,sometimes he can be playing with his noisy grandchildren and on twilight, both him and Grandma would eat early dinner here. Now, the bench looked unused and there are several dried bird droppings.
Pain so raw and fresh bloomed from my chest, spreading in my entire being as I recall the many sunsets I have spent with my grandfather, sitting in this same spot. This is where he would often request me to cut his nails, or comb his hair. This is the same spot where I cried my heart out to him when somebody broke my heart.
I remembered how mad my grandmother would be if she saw my grandfather just sitting at the bench all day long. She would be grouchy and loud, but still, come 3:00 in the afternoon, they would share a cup of coffee at the very same spot.
Coming home and not seeing them,not hearing their voice, not being welcomed by their kisses and embrace is a struggle. At times, I felt like not coming home anymore.
But then, I think of Grandfather, of how, when I was still in elementary, he would sit by this wooden bench, watching me with laughter in her eyes as I ran along the rice paddies. I remembered how he sat on the same spot when I turned into college and he would wait my homecoming every weekend, teasing me that I failed to bring him some egg pie from the market.
And I will always remember, how on the last few months of his life, before cancer crippled him, how he would sat on this bench, marking the days of the calendar and counting how many days left before I come home. I will always remember, how, on this very same bench, he hugged me tight for the last time and said “Go on, keep going and live your life. Be happy.
I will never forget my own personal man who can’t be moved.