The 7th of April faded into the night as I watched the buildings grow smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror. We were already halfway to the outskirts of town when I wept. My mother beside me, with her eyes shut tight, stopped herself from sobbing as I hugged myself tighter and felt the summer breeze wipe off the ripple of tears at the corner of my eyes. It was a Sunday evening and we were riding the bus heading to my mom's small town after her mother died. The 2-hour ride from Gensan to Digos city was reduced to a deep slumber and by the time I woke up, it was already midnight. .
I was eleven years old that time and it was the first funeral vigil I attended. It was not what I had in mind at all. The last night of the wake was packed with people, food and prayers. It was more like a reunion as I first met my distant relatives where hugs, pictures, phone numbers and small talks were exchanged. To my surprise, drinks, board and card games were allowed in what was supposed to be a melancholic event. The warm jubilance of the visitors was the exact opposite of what I felt. After seeing how happy people were outside, I ran back into the room, took a chair, and peered at my grandma through the glass. It was until my uncle picked me up to take me away from the coffin's side, for I was already convulsively sobbing. My grandma wouldn't want it this way, I said to myself. .
My late Lola Berta had wavy hair, dull eyes and creases on her face that showed her age. Particularly, she always wore a faded flowery duster with a scent of fragranced mothballs on her. I was seven years old when she stayed with us in Gensan. During her idle times, she would swat at houseflies with the broom, sew clothes, tend the plants, and stare blankly by the window. Her cooking wasn't really special and, as a kid, I loathed the tasteless vegetables she served half-cooked, boiled and minimally seasoned. She never told me stories, played with me nor cradled me in her arms.