July 13, 2006

When walls are built

Ours is a very small family. My grandparents and my parents were happy with only two children each.

Growing up, i never noticed i had only one sister though. It's because what i remember is a big family living in three neighboring houses, which i felt like extensions of each other. They were the only houses i went to, consistent with the impression of one other neighbor that i was a snob, who never went out and mingled with the kids my own age. I was the youngest among us you see. I also never minded it, as i only thought about looking forward to each day as an adventure - going to the river, catching dragonflies or just sitting at the front yard, eating mangoes dipped in genuine sukang Iloko - with my big family.

It was a lot of fun, yes, they say kids have a nice life because they only think about food and leisure. Until now, a part of me wants to be that child forever, not thinking about relationships and the future and all sorts of what people call 'mature' stuff. I couldn't have fought against nature.

I left our house to spend college in Manila and momentarily forgot about the afternoon playtime and time spent telling stories all day long. I grew up and hated it. Suddenly, my eyes saw many things i never paid attention to as a little girl, whose only major concern was if she liked the food prepared on the table.

In college, i was taught that man loses his sense of wonder when he grows up; but actually, when one matures, that's when he thinks. The only difference is he chooses what to pay attention to and more often than not, his outward reaction is not manifest. He starts to build walls around his treasures, at times confined to what is inside, never looking out because what is confined inside takes too much of his time already.

The walls were built. The first time i took a break from school i couldn't freely go to the other house anymore. I had to knock and wait for someone to open. I hated change but that's the way it was. I learned to accept it.

Sadly, there were two walls built. One was made of hollow blocks placed on top of the other supported by steel and filled with cement. One was an invisible wall that confined us to our own lives and own dreams.

At a time when people have more ways to connect, my big family got razed to the ground. We were blown apart, disaster after disaster. I don't even want to remember how it happened but eventually, it became so real that the person who slept beside me and comforted me when i met the greatest loss of my life suddenly got married without me knowing it. They go and come back like ghosts. I couldn't keep track any longer.

We don't even live there anymore, having transferred to another house where we are not related to our neighbors. There are again three houses but this time, i don't see extensions. Perhaps, i don't want to relive the concept only to find it disintegrating in the end. I confine myself inside the house when i'm there not even bothering to go to the backyard. Not that i don't totally mind them, but i like it the way it is, little chitchats and genuine smiles here and there.

I may have built walls around myself this time mostly minding my own business.

Bitterness is a heavy load but i've been letting go of it. I think i've become quite successful. Do i miss them? Yes, but the walls are there. Maybe someday, the walls will be demolished but for now, as somebody once close to me put it, i don't want to rock the boat.

1 comment:

caramel cream said...

Haaay... Me, too. I hate the changes. A part of me wants to be a kid forever, not having to think about relationships and other "mature" stuffs. I want to keep the same people around me. But, sadly, many of them have become "ghosts." Grudgingly, we all learn to accept that change is inevitable.