Who Says You Can’t Go Home

July 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm 1 comment

 
I went as far as I could, I tried to find a new face
There isn’t one of these lines that I would erase
I lived a million miles of memories on that road
With every step I take I know that I’m not alone
You take the home from the boy, but not the boy from his home…

-Bon Jovi

 

When I look at the mirror, I see the image of my sister. We look so alike that there’s no mistaking that we’re siblings. But the similarities end there. While we were growing up, we were like oil and water. We fought like cats and dogs. We simply couldn’t stand each other. Our father was at a loss as to why we couldn’t get along unlike he and his brothers and sisters who were very close as siblings should be.

It’s true that this underlying tension between me and my sister has subsided as we have matured and learned to get over it through the years. Still, the scars of previous conflicts remain. This is one reason why I had some reservations going to the Philippines last month. I felt like a cat, which had experienced being burned once, hesitates to go back to the stove even if it has already been turned off.

Another was the timing of the visit. It was during the local and gubernatorial elections. Past elections in our province had been violent putting the national police on high alert. To everybody’s relief, however, this year’s elections turned out to be relatively peaceful. It helped that our town mayor ran for reelection unopposed. Otherwise, it could have been a different story.

The elections might not have been as hot as expected, but that couldn’t be said of the weather. It was scorching hot. The temperature was hovering around 100°F (38°C) breaking previous records. I felt it right away as I was getting out of the car from the airport. It was like being inside the oven. I began to sweat as if there was no tomorrow.

Going inside the house didn’t offer much relief. I arrived just in time the windows in the bedrooms were being replaced. The smell of the new paint added to my discomfort. I wondered if my sister, who lives with her family with our mother, had this remodeling done during my visit to spite me and make me feel unwelcomed. But nah, it just happened. After all, everybody was inconvenienced not just me.

I didn’t have my old room anymore, so I slept in the extra bed in my mother’s bedroom. I noticed that she has aged since dad passed away. Despite her age, she appeared to be in good health. She’s a little hard of hearing now, but she could still go about her daily routine without much trouble and read without glasses.

The highlight of my visit was the family weekend get-together in a rented place in Subic, Zambales where members of the family spanning four generations attended. My father would have a blast seeing us together under one roof, finding the common thread that binds us, and enjoying ourselves.

It was at that moment that all my misgivings about this trip had vanished. I was glad I came home.

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