I've been living on electricity for the past weeks now,well... electrically powered things. The pc and my dvd's, the ever-faithful electric fan on these unusally summer-like December days (Global Warming I presume), and sleeping with the lights on in this yellow room that now houses me in it. Families came before me here, my brothers'. I helped the last one move out last Monday, it was the best moving out experience I've had so far and when I say "moving out experience", I mean somebody else moving out of this house, God knows if I'll ever get out of here. It was fun anyway, and quite light and pleasant, no resentment or bitterness on either side. I could see the light oozing out from the smiles of my sister-in-law. They're finally on their own now, their little apartment, their own little world as one family.
Yesterday I was cleaning this yellow room, moving in to the newly vacated prime spot of this house, air-con-ready and with a proper door that yes, can be locked, and I came across a box of letters left by my sister. Organized in small plastic bags, I picked the one containing letters from family members. Most of them where from her college days when she was studying at Diliman and all our hopes were placed on her promise. Reading the first letter I opened (that was from me) didn't take me a second to sob out loud and CRY. I looked at the date and the year was 1990, I was 5. I was beginning to think that this innocence, this happiness, this familial electricity never existed, and that I only reminisced about things that never happened, that we were once happy as a family, poor as the geckos on our walls but nonetheless HAPPY. Chai was there through SMS like technical support on how to handle overwhelming confrontations of the past. How in all bloody hell did we get here, this hole, this cursed, abandoned state where indifference is the only pacifier and condemnation is a form of communication? Answers come like meteorites, before you can utter a word, they've already gone. If one of these days, though, I should catch one swooshing through my skies, I would wish that one day we'd see ourselves back in that improvised wooden house, with painted tamarind branches for a Christmas tree, a staircase that looked more like a ladder and a sala set of cool, cool concrete finished with red-dyed cement. And we'd be shaking coin banks filled with 25 centavo coins, blowing on carton trumpets, and Pa'd be detonating firecrackers inside steel drums for safety reasons, all of us laughing, smiling, about being together for the holidays, about this bond higlighted by Christmas' sparks, about this same blood that runs through our veins, blood ties that should've been thicker than any connection we could ever have in our time on this earth.