The cicadas were singing while I was on a jeepney going to a sick aunt’s house. It was around five o’clock in the afternoon. The sky is casting a grayish-orangey tint that reminds people of a coming rain. But there was no rain that afternoon. There was only a calmness of the perrenial cogon grasses behind the road, the stolidness of the houses behind the road and the usual chattering of people inside the jeepney. I was carrying flowers for my aunt. They were flowers for the dead. With all these “ordinariness” of things, a part of me still won’t believe that a dear aunt has indeed died.
I just got out from work and had this spur-of-the-moment decision to finally see her after receiving that horrible text message announcing her death. I can her a sob trying to escape from my throat while reading the message. It is so amazing how a person’s life can be concluded with just a very short message announcing her death.
After all this time, I still don’t want to use the word “dead” to describe her. She was merely sick and was in her sickbed for months now. Last time I saw her, she was mere skin, bones and what has been that so-called remnants of her long, curly hair has now turned into a disheveled mass in her pillow. She can’t speak back then and when I told her I was going, she only replied with a feeble nod. They had transferred her home as she refused to undergo another operation that was hoped to correct the first one.
A sodium light bulb was lighted in their doorway and there was a makeshift room that has been turned as an extension to their door. There were a few people playing cards on the tables and I can see that the interior of the house was lighted, overly lighted in fact. So this is it. I entered the door and there it was a coffin with some candles around it. There were flowers of different kinds, too. Then there was her husband, my uncle. His weary eyes greeted me. There were a few people sitting with him in a corner.
So it was all real. I sit there the whole time, not saying a word, just taking all that has happened so slowly. Silently, I imagined myself saying something to my aunt. I told her, I will always remember my summers spent in their house and all the warmth she has showed to me. Goodbye dear aunt. I will love you forever.