[ NOte from NOel : By pure coincidence, Panganay is in NZ with his mom. It is awkward, but we arrange to meet, at where else but McDo, in town. Besides editing for length, minor grammar and continuity, everything is nearly verbatim. Reading commentary, like everything else, is optional, and may be dangerous to your mental health 🙂 Thanks for reading ! ]
ME : Musta bro ?
Panganay (P) : Musta Pa ? ( Fist bump, chest thump, bear hug, but no beso-beso. )
Have I told you that one of the coolest things about seeing your kids fully grown is talking to them like an adult?
( After pleasantries, it’s all downhill from here. . . )
P : (between gulps of fries and frozen Coke) Lamo Pa, ang unang mali mo, kinampihan mo mga kapatid ko, kahit sa anong issue dapat diba fair ka? Pangalawang mali mo naman, pinagpilitan mo yung naging decision mo. . .
ME : Ganuuuun ???
Then again, have I told you that one of the awkwardest things about seeing your kids fully grown is THEM talking to YOU like an adult ? Promise, this was probably his third or fourth sentence from hello. He was cordial, but it had probably been bottled up a long time…
Seriously, Panganay’s easy-going manner does NOT come from my side of the family. And the fact that GF worked so hard to get us together was enough for me to just bite my tongue on that one…
(After a minute of awkward silence . . .)
P : Uhm, dala mo ba pang – gym ko Pa?
ME : Oo naman. Dala mo ba yung padala ni Ganda na simkard ko?
I earlier promised to share in his gym membership, ultra-reasonable actually considering that it’s a community gym, he has a youth discount, and his mom’s husband is chipping in. In return, GF gently reminded him to bring my OFW simkard Ganda thoughtfully bought back home.
P : Hiningi ko kay Mama nung Sunday eh. Di naman binigay sa ‘kin.
ME : Di mo hiningi kanina? Bago tayo mag-meet? Lamo namang magmi-meet tayo?
( Smiles at his own excuse, knowing how ridiculous it sounds. The best excuses are wasted on the young. )
P : Chaka di mo rin pinaalala. (We did.) na hingiin ko uli Pa. Para namang di mo alam na marami rin akong ginagawa, dapat kinulit mo (uli) si Mama. Busy ka ba talaga?
I don’t press further, cuz obviously commuting halfway across town for 45 mins (on bus), leaving work early and bringing him his gym money isn’t in his estimation a full enough plate for me. (deep sigh…)
He does look buff, compared to his scrawnier years back home. Looking for common ground, I point to my impressive Bill Blass ( bilbil ), hoping for some magic ab-forming techniques… He quickly switches to sympathetic mode.
P : straight up sit-up, anggulohin mo pababa Papa. Kahit abs ko nawala eh (pats his six-pack) ; kaya nga kailangan uli mag gym diba?
I roll my eyes but only for a millisecond, I don’t know if his ego is as delicate as it was back home. Probably not.
Inevitably talk turns to his Tita H (GF), and for some reason he finds it appropriate to assume the role of wise old owl in matters of the heart.
P : Di ka na makakahanap ng tulad ni Tita H Papa, bait na, maganda pa, masarap pa magluto ! Swerti ka na sa kanya !
I don’t know if he says this to please me ( highly unlikely ) as an honest assessment of mi esposa ( less unlikely ) , or misses Pinoy turo-turo back home. ( Least unlikely. )
ME : Sabi ko naman sa yo anak, kahit kailan pumunta ka lang sa bahay, pagtyagaan mo lang yung mga ulam namin, promise ko lang di ka mauubusan ng kanin. It’s a thinly veiled reference to the fact that, due to cultural and practical realities, they hardly eat rice at home.
** ** **
After a few more minutes of exchanging news back home, self-serving comments about siblings, ex-spouses and former in-laws, we book dates to watch movies, visit museums and eat more McDo.
All the angst and heartaches of missed Christmases, shouting matches and bypassed birthdays, graduations and reunions were compressed into those 30 minutes. It felt weird just passing the time of day with Panganay, after all those years of arguments and misunderstanding. . .
(After the repeated process of chest thump, fist bump and bear hug . . .)
P : Me papasabi ka ba kay Mama Pa?
ME : Yup. Pakisabi sa kanya patulugin ka sa amin minsan. At maraming salamat sa lahat.
P : Para saan ?
ME : Alam na nya yon.
P : OK. Salamat sa McDo Papa.
ME : Wala yon anak. I love you, ingat ka.
( Some things you just can’t avoid saying, no matter how grown up they are. )
Thanks for reading !
- Moning Whisperer (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- Eugene on Ai-ai: She Is My Queen (ricojr2010.wordpress.com)
- Aubrey Miles Believes She Could Win Survivor Philippines (ricojr2010.wordpress.com)
- The Curious Case of NOel Butones in Creeping Middle Age (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- Sharon on Kc: “Kc Is Not Perfect” (ricojr2010.wordpress.com)