that's me looking smugly at the camera.
I told him that I remembered him punching me all the time and even going after me with a knife. He said " I don't remember doing that" so I replied " Don't remember or just chose to forget?" I was the only one who always defended him to my other cousins since I was the oldest. We laughed after that.
I was happy yet troubled when I was a child. My grandparents had a big house in Ormoc and it had a big lawn filled with grass, a small pond near the Mama Mary grotto and surrounded with orchids and different plants. My grandmother loved plants and still do. Her house was very beautiful. It also had a round swing where we cousins go and sit and just chat about things that came into our little minds. That was also the spot where Dom's nanny would tell us all sorts of stories and we do so love her stories. I thought back then that she made those stories up but then I realize now that she listened to the radio and that's where she got them. We call those stories in my dialect " Sugilanon." My uncle also made up a story of animals which had each our names. I remembered that I was the turtle carrying my house. I can't recall exactly how the story went but it was funny and nice.
We always watch this cartoon He-man and we would mimic their actions on my grandmother's lawn, tumbling around on the grass pretending to be whichever character we favor the most. My grandmother would always prepare snacks at around 3-4 in the afternoon which ranges from chocolate porridge, bread, roasted bananas and caramelized bananas. I guess that is where i got the passion for food from. My grandma also has this little cave. It is where we play house. My sister Melody and cousins Brigitte(aye-aye), Regi and Dominic would chopped up my grandmother's flowers and plants. My grandma must have cringed every time we would play house because that would mean the loss of her flowers and plants. hahahahahah. We would play all sorts of games, like buy and sell, superheroes and other games. We would use candy wrappers for money or those broken clay pots. We would make juice from red flowers soaked in water. The water would turn red so it was very exciting for us.
My house is located at the far right side across my grandma's house and my cousins house are the far left of it. When we do fight we would each take a lamp post at the side of our houses and would make faces at each other and whoever makes the ugliest face would win. I don't know who came up with what but that was like an unwritten law when we fought. My cousin Regi, the baby in the group we call her the junkyard girl. You ask me why? Well the answer is simply because she would gather all sorts of stuff from leaves, to wrappers to plastic to whatever things she could get her little hands on. We would always take our slippers wherever we are whether we were using it or not whenever we offended Regi because if we don't we won't be able to find it if she gets her hands on them. It was like her way of exacting revenge on us. Hahahahahah. It wouldn't stop with us but with anyone who crosses her. I remember this funny event that she fought with a neighbor of ours, she took the pot which contained cooked rice.. hahahahah just now thinking about it made me laugh. I wonder if the neighbor ever found it. My sister and I would also often go to our cousin's house and watch Tom and Jerry or watch concerts of madonna. We would also go to our grandparent's farm and play there eating different kinds of fruits that they planted. Those were such happy times.
It embarrasses me to recall just now that we would strut around our neighborhood bragging in our costumes letting the other kids get envious. I was an indian maiden, Melody was supergirl , Aye-aye and Regi were batgirls and Dominic was superman. Looking back, some of our neighbors couldn't afford costumes like those so it makes me feel bad now but think that kids really do the darndest things.
It was also during my childhood that came the troubled times when my parents separated. I was 6 and my sister was 5. When my dad left I just grew up. I had to so I could support my mom emotionally and help take care of my sister. Our ages aren't that far apart in fact it's not even a year apart but still she was and is will remain the baby in the family. I have always looked big for my age so that helped in my growing up fast. Some of the events that transpired while my dad was still with us was traumatic to me. That is one of the reasons why now, I don't like hearing people argue. I remember this one time my parents were arguing about my father's infidelity and their voices were so loud that my sister , cousins and I were all huddled in our little bahay kubo (nipa hut) crying our eyes out trying to comfort each other. Even now it makes me cringed inside remembering that. After that I became a grown up and thus started my relative's high expectations of me. I was just a child for crying out loud. But then again I'm thankful for the experience which made me the kind of person I am right now.