It was a year ago today (Actually, three days ago, but who’s counting?), since my trip back home to Manila. I feel sad that I’m not able to go this time. And it doesn’t help to think either, that before that, the last time I was home was in 1987.
You would then think ,that last year’s trip was nothing short of a joyous and momentous occasion. And it was. I am grateful, indeed. But maybe, it was my divorce right around the same time which made the trip a little bit of a blur now, as well.
I actually felt so bad also, that I hardly remembered the city I grew up in. The streets seemed narrower. And the traffic, unfathomable! The population, doubled. Half of them trying to cross the superhighway! Yikes! And, is that our house? You gotta be kidding me! But it was. And the food! I enjoyed it very much. Unfortunately, the ol’ beloved flavors seemed to have left my palate. Oddly, most of them tasted almost foreign to me. I was left wondering if this was, in fact, the same food I grew up eating.
One day, my brother drove me to my old high school and university. Wait, wasn’t this the football field? What’s this building doing down here, then?
For the first time, I had met my sister-in-law, my niece, my nephew and a few cousins too. For the first time! Where have I been? My dad is now sporting a cane? He used to be Robert DeNiro in Goodfellas. What happened? I’m glad, though, that my mom is still the same ol’ spunky woman she’s always been! The only one that has not changed or aged a single minute, I’m not even kidding, was my old pal, Buddy! Best friend since third grade. He’s still the same ol’ crazy redhead who’s more concerned about his Nikon camera than life itself! I love the guy.
But today, I am left with nothing but memories. Although, I had a great time then, I was sad. Still sad, as a matter of fact. Sad because I could’ve enjoyed it even more but I didn’t. Sad because I could’ve given to my family more but I didn’t. And sad because I seemed to have forgotten a lot about home.
Yes, I was a stranger in my hometown.